Federal Pacific Panel

I looked at a house yesterday that had a Federal Pacific Panel. I noted that 3 breakers had been replaced with Challenger breakers. Are Challenger breakers approved replacement breakers in a Federal Pacific Panel?

Any insights will be greatly appreciated.



No, they are not.

Although I would take Challenger breakers over Federal Pacific any day.

A Federal Pacific Electric “Stab-Lok” service panel is in use. These panels and breakers are a latent hazard and can fail to trip in response to over current, leading to electrical fires. The breakers may also fail to shut off internally even if the toggle is switched to “off.” Some double-pole (240-Volt) FPE circuit breakers and single-pole FPE Stab-Lok circuit breakers simply do not work safely. There are other panel-defects independent of the breaker problems, panel and panel-bus fires and arcing failures in some equipment. The failure rates for these circuit breakers were and still are significant. In some cases failure to trip occurs 60% of the time - a serious fire and electrical shock hazard. Failures are documented in the CPSC study and by independent research. Have a licensed electrician make further evaluation and corrections as needed.

Sorry I disagree with your post .
ESA does not say this and they are still manufactured in Canada.


I know Roy! You still can be my friend. LOL

Inform, document, refer, collect the check, done. IMO, I recommend replacement on all FPE panels. I just let the buyer know, refer him/her to web sites, let them decide.

Possibly a dumb question, but… The names “Federal Pacific” and “Stab-Lok” seem to be used interchangeably. Are there FPE panels that are NOT Stab-Loks that are not problematic?

Is that even possible?? :shock:

It is the way the breakers are installed on the bus bar.
They are stabbed into position and they are supposed to lock.
If you have opened a panel with FP with SL and had the breakers fall out. You have just experienced the locking mechanism failure.

That’s what Sean is stating, how is it possible to install Challenger breakers?

I did advise the client of the issues with Federal Pacific panels and advised to have an electrical contractor fully evaluate the panel.



You did not mentioned, but were branch circuits connected to the challenger breakers, or were they simply plugging missing twist outs? The challenger breakers I’ve seen did not mechanically appear possible to connect to the buss.

You are correct to point this out at any rate, as the breakers are improper for this panel.

Jonathan, was the tag on the inside of the panel showing a ‘list of compatible breakers’ there? A lot of older panels are missing these labels, but it is a good place to start.

One problem with an older panel is that at the time the panel was manufactured, many now compatible breakers did not exist.

I seem to recall Challenger breakers that were specifically made for use in FPE Stab-Lok panels. I will check into it a bit further, but I’m almost certain they exist.

Well, that didn’t take very long…

Well done Jeffrey R the Price tag is still on, I wonder why?