Zinsco Electrical Panel & GTE-Sylvania-Zinsco Circuit Breakers Failure Mechanisms & Failure Photos

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How & why do Zinsco breakers or electrical panels fail? Here we describe & provide photographs of the apparent failure mechanism involved with Zinsco and GTE-Sylvania-Zinsco electrical panels and circuit breakers. We include field photographs of Zinsco equipment failures from a variety of sources.

This website discusses the electrical, fire, and shock hazards associated with Zinsco electrical components, circuit breakers, electrical panels, including certain Sylvania electrical panels and breakers which are in fact of the same product design and origin. Our page top photo of a burned Zinsco main circuit breaker and burned greased Zinsco electrical panel bus was provided by Washington state electrician J. P. Simmons

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FAILURE MECHANISM - Failure Mechanisms for Zinsco or Zinsco-Sylvania Electric Panels and Circuit Breakers

Zinsco Sylvania panel bus burnup (C) J Simmons D Friedman

Our photo (left, courtesy of J. P. Simmons) shows the typical Zinsco or Zinsco-Sylvania electrical panel main bus damage from arcing.

Types of Zinsco Panel and Circuit Breaker Failures

At OK to USE ZINSCOS? we report on a different viewpoint from a vendor who continues to market this equipment and feels that at its price point in the market this product is reasonable to use, and who opines that when Zinsco equipment fails (burnups, failures to trip) it is because it was "over-used" at too-demanding an amperage draw. Our view is that it is just under that condition that a circuit breaker should trip off.

FAILURE PHOTOGRAPHS - Zinsco Sylvania Electric Panel and Breaker Field Failure Photographs

Clicking on any of the thumbnails at left will display a larger photograph of field failures of Zinsco electrical panel components & circuit breakers.


Zinsco no trip wiring burnup (C) D Friedman J Shuma

Photo 37, burned electrical wiring and receptacle, Zinsco circuit breaker did not trip
, case report 2/20/2007 J. Shuma


Zinsco burnup bus (C) D Friedman J Weissman Zinsco burnup bus (C) D Friedman J Weissman

Note: this breaker photo (below) was submitted to us from a purported GTE-Sylvania photograph - it may have been collected from a GTE-Sylvania electrical panel that did not use the Zinsco-design circuit breakers and/or may be of a different brand or manufacture.

At below right is a close-up of the bus-connection portion of a classic Zinsco circuit breaker - showing the difference between these devices.

Zinsco burnup bus (C) D Friedman J Weissman Zinsco circuit breaker close-up showing bus connection (C) Daniel Friedman

Notice: besides the Zinsco & Zinsco-Sylvanial field failures illustrated in this article, additional field failure reports and more photographs of Zinsco circuit breaker failures are found at ZINSCO FAILURE REPORTS


Zinsco Electrical Panel Article Series


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