Newer inspector, older panel


Trying to get this report out by tomorrow afternoon so any help is appreciated. I have a few questions that I think I’m correct on and a few I need help with. Thanks in advance.

I think I got enough pics here to give you a good idea of what I’m working with.

  1. Looks like 60amp meter (pic 1), but I understand that it could be 100 amp service. I was not able to tell the size of the wires from the meter. Based on the two 2 pole 30 amp breakers am I correct to assume that this is a 60amp service? The 2 pole 40 breaker on the left is wired to the range.

  2. What are the termination screws on the inside of the breaker (center on the lower bus) that have no conductors? Some are missing the flat head screw. They are are also on the two 30amp mains disconnects on the upper bus.

  3. Pic 3. Solid AL conductor going to the water heater. Defect? If so, would stranded be acceptable?

  4. Yes, I know this is a zinsco and the failure history of this panel. So lets not go down that road.

  5. Pic 4 is just another view

  6. Other things I can see: Improperly terminated conductors in panel. The neutral service entrance conductor and the bare #6 grounding electrode are under same lung. Missing connectors. Bonding wire looks undersized? Just an FN mess in general.

  7. The ground rod was galvanized. Am I correct that galvanized ground ground/DIY attempt at grounding service is improper?

Yep, further evaluation but help on those few questions I had would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks guys!

60 amp, split bus.

The “missing” screws are for another mounting option with these breakers, in a panel without bus bars. An older style Zinsco.

There is no AL conductor in that panel. Those are cloth covered, tinned copper (TCCW). Yes, it’s a Zinsco, but so what. This one has copper bus bars, which don’t have the same issues as the AL type.

Galvanized piping was often used in this era for the grounding electrode.

That meter socket is rated 100 amps. Its hard to tell but the service conductors look to be #2cu which would be 125 amps for residential. That was a popular setup years ago. Today it would be rated 100 amps because of the meter.

I agree with Jeff.

The only thing that I would add is there are different sizes of neutral wires under the same lug (center).

@ Will H.

To help me understand how to identify this in the future can you tell me what indicates that this is a 100 amp socket?

Round meter bases will generally only allow a conductor sized roughly for a 60 amp service. This is based on the bending radius of the conductors behind the meter.

Larger conductors are used in the square and rectangular meter bases, which have sufficient room to accommodate the maximum bend radius of the conductors.

Although the meter base is not a definitive indicator, it’s usually safe to assume that round bases are indicative of 60 amp services and square bases are indicative of 100+ amp services.

Hi Luke
The paper labels that came with those “pan” meted sockets listed them at 100 amps. You can still buy them.
The typical 100 amp service they were connected to consisted of a small fuse panel with two pull outs: a 60 amp for lighting and a 40 amp for the range fed with either #4 or #2cu. Hope this helps.

This confirms what I was what I was taught. Thanks for your replies Jeff.

Unless you can supply manufacture’s installation instructions that prohibit a #4 conductor in that meter I can pull 100 amps through it. Pan meters are not indicative of a 60 amp service.
You can still buy these meter pans. Just do a Google search and you will see they are rated 100 amps. I have worked with thousands of these in the past 40 years.

I understand Will. I’ve seen plenty of 100 amp services fed through a round meter base, however, in these older set ups, the base can be an indicator. Newer meter bases have terminals that allow for little or no bending of the conductor, where many of these older bases required very tight bends in the conductors for terminal attachments. But as I stated, the base is never a definitive indicator.