EMI & Private Label Federal Pacific Electric FPE Stab Lok circuit breakers and electrical panels
PRIVATE BRAND/ EMI FPE PANELS - CONTENTS:
How to identify Federal Pacific Electric FPE Stab-Lok® electrical panels and circuit breakers found in private brand and "off-brand" electrical boxes or under other manufacturer or electrical supplier labels.
POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about identifying FPE Stab-Lok® and Federal Pioneer electrical panels and circuit breakers and about their associated hazards, testing, failure rates
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Here we describe how to reliably identify private label FPE Equipment such :
Using photographs provided by Minnesota home inspector John Mika this article describes EMI branded FPE-Stab-Lok electrical panels and circuit breakers. These important photographs demonstrate that FPE-designed panels were widely distributed under a range of names and brands besides FPE, FP and Federal Pacific.
This article series describes how to identify Federal Pacific Stab-Lok® Electric Panels and circuit breakers in buildings. It is information for building inspectors, home buyers, home owners, electricians exploring the background of possible hazards associated with Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok® circuit breakers and service panels.
Replacement FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breakers are unlikely to reduce the failure risk of this equipment. We recommend that residential FPE Stab-Lok® electrical panels be replaced entirely or the entire panel bus assembly be replaced, regardless of FPE model number or FPE year of manufacture. We do not sell circuit breakers nor any other products.
At page top is a close-up of the identifying tag in an EMI circuit breaker panel sold in Minnesota by Electro Mechanical Industries, a Minneapolis MN company.
This is a 200-Amp rated FPE Stab-Lok electrical panel further labelled as type NALP File No. 6062-L-2, was installed in a commercial building. The EMI Electro Mechanical Industries company is also located in Minnesota doing business as as EMI, though FPE-designed equipment is not in the company's current product catalog (as of 2015/11/27). We give contact information for EMI and for inspector Mika at the end of this article.
[Click to enlarge any image]
Shown above is the upper section of the 200A EMI FPE-Stab-Lok circuit breaker panel found by Minnesota home inspector John Mika [contact information is given below].
As you'll note just below, even without having removed the panel cover to examine the circuit breaker connectors and panel bus design you can recognize the characteristic red toggle switches found in FPE Stab-Lok equipment.
Below is Mr. Mica's photo of an EMI Electro Mechanical Industries FPE Stab Lok panel giving view of the breakers with a panel cover removed.
Below we provide a close-up of heat-switching devices in this panel that do not appear to be standard FPE-stab lok products though they'd have to connect to the same interior bus design as the circuit breakers. We have no field reports nor failure data for this re-branded electrical panel.
Here is a closer look at the FPE Stab-Lok design electrical panel bearing the EMI or Electro Mechanicals Industries data tag.
Shown here: a three-phase electrical panel using FPE Stab-Lok design & equipment. This is a 400-amp unit labelled as File No. 20832, 120/208V 3 phase 4-wire with a date code of 9-21. The inspector, John Mika, reports below. We don't have a firm date on the FPE-EMI electrical panel age.
The attached photos are from a 1954 commercial building. It appears to have been constructed in phases with various differences in floor and roof frame construction (wood, metal, concrete) and various panels including newer GE, Bulldog Pushmatic and EMI brands. There is a wide shot of the subject panels included. The two EMI panels are on the right. These EMI panels also had 3 phase breakers installed.
Note: we have no failure data nor field reports on the performance of this electrical panel series - Ed.
Reports of Electrical Failures at Commercial FPE Stab-Lok Electrical Panels
I did see one commercial building that had a FPE branded panel with evidence of failure. There was a new panel installed in the electrical closet with a discarded Federal Pacific panel board on the floor with a melted bus and a big hole burned through the panel cover. I regularly see FPE panels in commercial and apartment buildings in this area, I see only a couple per year in homes. Last fall I did a big project for a public housing authority that had FPE panels in several units. I recommended immediate replacement. The inspection was part of a physical needs assessment that is based on HUD guidelines. There was no mention of FPE panels in the HUD guidelines. The FPE panels in apartments usually have boxes and other flammable materials stored near to or obstructing (sometimes touching!) the panels. I wonder how many apartment fires are associated with FPE panels? - J. Mika, personal email to DF, 2015/11/30
In the particular commercial FPE panel failure case reported by Mr. Mika just above, we don't know what failure occurred nor if the failure was due to the FPE breakers and bus or some other event that could also cause arcing, burns or damage at or in an electrical panel. For an example of how simplhy substituting a sheet metal screw in a panel cover can cause damage,
see ELECTRICAL PANEL COVER SCREWS.
Inspectors who observe evidence of electrical failures can help out the industry by documenting the observation and photographing it. Because the reporting frequency is such a small % of the total number of electrical failures, every documented case is important. Use the page top or bottom CONTACT link to send photos or field failure reports of electrical components to InspectApedia.com. U.S. readers should also report such observations to the US CPSC.
While blocking access to a panel and storing combustibles close by are bad ideas, it's the failure to trip in response to overcurrent that causes trouble (fires). The breaker/panel is a latent safety hazard: it doesn't initiate the failure (fire) instead it fails to protect when it should. So the risk of fire depends in part on how people use the electrical circuits in the home and the condition of wiring.
Commercial FPE / EMI Electrical Panel Information Sources
Special thanks to Minnesota home inspector and general contractor John Mika for these images. Mr. Mika's contact information is just below.
John Mika, Minnesota Inspections LLC, Tel: 612-328-1522, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.mninspections.com
Excerpt quoted from Mr. Mika's website: John Mika is a Minnesota home inspector and commercial building inspection specialist with over 20 years experience in building construction, landscape design and installation, project management, municipal contract and field inspection services. John is a ITA certified home inspector with a background in both new construction and renovations. He is also a licensed home inspector for the cities of Bloomington, Hopkins and Robbinsdale providing time of sale evaluations for seller's. John brings a unique perspective with a broad knowledge of both traditional and modern construction techniques that range from stick built homes to custom modular structures that he has designed and built.
E-M-I Electro Mechanical Industries, 13300 6th Avenue North
Plymouth, Minnesota 55441 or EMI, 13300 6th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55441, Tel: 763-546-5998 1-800-536-3678, Website: http://e-m-i.com/ Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Excerpt quoted from the company's website:
Electro-Mechanical Industries, Inc. (EMI) is an OEM manufacturer that specializes in custom low voltage switchgear, metal clad and metal enclosed medium voltage switchgear, paralleling switch-gear, control panels, special wire ways, wall and floor ducts, pull boxes, and sound-attenuated generator enclosures (IBC certified), switchgear houses and control houses. Our generator enclosures are fully engineered and manufactured to fit the customer’ application as well as complying with local and state codes.
EMI adds value to existing gear by upgrading breakers/switches, adding controls, metering, and by providing phase loss and GFI protection. Our in house engineering and manufacturing allows us to respond to the ever-changing requirements of our customer. EMI excels at working within project constraints such as needs for special dimensions, revisions to gear and quick lead times. We stand ready to deliver service to give our customers the best, most cost effective solution for their needs.
Watch out: While this article series includes FPE Stab-Lok® equipment part or model numbers (see the complete FPE Stab-Lok article index given at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article ), those examples are provided to assist in the identification of this equipment - tests and field reports indicate that
all of the FPE Stab-Lok® equipment, electrical panels and circuit breakers sold and installed in the U.S. suffers the no-trip breaker and other problems across all residential equipment models and ages. Thanks to Patrick Hedderman for suggesting this clarification.
Because the names, labeling and appearance of FPE Panels varies both by age and by area of the country where the products were distributed, we include photographs of a variety of models from the East Coast of the U.S., the
West Coast (FPE in California), as well as some other areas such FPE Stab-Lok® panels in Florida, and FPE in Texas, and Federal Pioneer panels from Canada.
Names and panel labels all associated with the Federal Pacific Stab-Lok® design include at least
ACBC American Circuit Breaker Company
Challenger electric, in the ownership chain of FPE may have distributed FPE Stab-Lok design panels under the Challenger brand.
EMI, Electro-Mechanical Industries, Inc., Minneapolis MN and possibly other private-brand labels found on FPE electrical panels
Federal Pacific Electric
The following pages of this article series provide identification photographs and descriptions of this equipment including descriptions and identification aids for FPE stab-lok panels and circuit breakers sold under the brands listed above.
You will find field reports of FPE failures here that include actual fires and losses, but not a national survey that recounts a total number of fires. When there is a house fire, very often the root cause is not accurately diagnosed and components that may have been a root cause are completely burned up. Take a look at " FPE Technical Report - Independent Research 2011" ( on this page at Continue reading we provide an INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES that includes live links - ) - or see
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