How many of you if any open federal Pacific stab-lock panels?
In my case I never do because of the way the breakers overlap the panel cover.
Does anyone finagle the cover off to actually check the wiring?
In my case I just explain the facts about the panel and explain why I don’t pull the dead fronts off of them.
I’m always curious of what I would find if anything.
I have tripped the breaker several times while taking the panel covers off so I tend not to pull them. I should also explain I always find these panel in condos tucked up under the kitchen cabinets with very little room if any to move the cover up and over the breakers. The picture is of my latest one that had other problems as you can see.
This one was accessed though the inside of a cabinet about a foot inside a 12" duct chase and near the end of my arm. The panel had been built into the chase back in '67-'72 when the kitchen was remodeled. No way was I going to try and remove the cover. I wondered who added the GFCI?
Client: “What needs to be done?”
Me: "Consult a carpenter and an electrician for the cost to relocate to an accessible location.
Client: “Why a carpenter?”
Me: “Have you ever seen an electrician tear into a wall to gain access?”
Me: “The only thing worse is when a plumber does it.”
If you were to open the panel up due to the design of the buss stab it is quite possible that some breakers will just fall out of the panel. At this point you could see any hot spots or deterioration of the buss.
While perhaps bordering on a violation of the SOPs does anyone just trip the main breaker(s) before pulling the cover off of such panels? I would think that would be preferable to not inspecting the panel at all.
Clearly, if the house is oocupied, it is wise to advise the occupants that during the coarse of your inspection, some or all circuits may be interrupted - intentional or otherwise. It is not uncomon at all to accidentailly trip a a breaker when removing or reinstalling trim. Yes, safety is paramount - yours and mine !!
I always insist computers be shut down just in case, most people appreciate the warning.
As far as turning off the main, I would not suggest this at all. Occasionally an old main that has not been operated for years will never reset once you have tripped it, likely resulting in you operating at a loss for the day.