Pushbutton Electri-Center Panel

My inspection had two breaker panels under a junction box. The wires were split-bolt lugged in the junction box, then fed to each panel.

Since the j-box was not a disconnect, do the neutrals and bare grounds need to be isolated?

They are old Pushbutton breaker panels, and one breaker (kitchen and some other lights) was “buzzing” during the inspection. The buzzing was not as loud after the dishwasher quit.

My recommendation is to repair/replace the panel with the buzzing breaker. I could see the discoloration under the terminal screw, and it had a noticeable arc when operating the breaker.

I was just wondering if the neutral and grounds have to be isolated, since there is no disconnect upstream, other than the meter.

The j-box is above the boxes. Sorry, I thought I had a better pic.


The panel is old, so its going to follow the standards for what was required then. With any panel that old, there are typically going to be noticeable issues or retrofits needed.
I also can’t tell if the circuits are grounded, which is another consideration.

Sounds like you already summed it up. If i cant find anything wrong with a panel like this, I will note that it is obsolete and while in good working order, has past its prime. Let them decide on what to do. Finding one in good condition with no issues is rare in itself.

Thanks Sean. It also sounds like a good argument for me to invest in IR :cool:

I think (please correct me) the old Bulldog/Pushmatic breakers are obsolete, you could say.
There is no internal magnetic trip mechanism.
After much use, they may not reset or disconnect properly.
My daughter used to have them & every time the range was on you’d hear the buzzing, the kitchen lights dimmed.
When the breaker was “pushed”, the little indicator showed off, but it was still on.
Replaced with a GE Powermark panel last year. Her home was built in 1974.

Whatever you decide to write in your report you should identify panel as “Pushmatic”, not Pushbutton.

Many electricians will tell you that these Pushmatic breakers are the best that were ever produced. If they’re working, I wouldn’t be inclined to call for replacement.

As for the neutrals -

Where is the service disconnect? It’s difficult to make out anything in your photo, but it almost looks like those are BOTH sub panels. In which case, the neutrals at each panel are required to be isolated from the enclosures.

“Grounds” (egc’s & gec’s) must always be bonded to the enclosures.

Man where you been? I though the hogs done got you.

Been on the DL as of late :mrgreen:

How’s them FL swamp lands been treating you?

That’s just it, JP, there is no disconnect, other than each panel has it’s own Main. That’s why I wasn’t sure about the neutral-ground bonding. The power cable comes from the meter, and is split-bolt connected in a junction box above both panels, feeding each (100 amp) panel.

If that junction box with those service leads tied in was a disconnect, I’d know they need separated.

I’m sure the electrician my client calls will figure it all out (there are lots of other issues), I was just curious for my own knowledge.

Here’s the pic of the junction box that should have been a disconnect

lol, the brand just said “Electri-Center”. I didn’t see “Pushmatic”, but that’s what I"ll call it.

I tried some Google research, and it looks like Bulldog Pushmatic, but it didn’t say that on the panel-just “Electri-Center”

I see.

It appears that one of those panels used to be the service equipment. Rather than adding a sub panel, someone added an additional panel off of the SEC’s and wired it like the original. Pure speculation of course.

These panels are not “grouped” in a manner that would allow each panel to be used as part of the service equipment, so the neutral-bonding is a mute point.

In a case where there are properly grouped panels being used as the service equipment, the neutrals will be bonded to the enclosures.

Based on this photo alone this thing is a fire hazard.


I agree 100%.

The “sizzling” of one of the breakers verified my concern as well.

You can’t take photos worth a crap!


Yeah, I shoulda used a downloaded photo from Inspectopedia :roll:

Hey, I ain’t no photographer, I’m a home inspector! :mrgreen:

come up here and inspect in the snow with me, Roy!! It’s a balmy 19 degrees out today.

I may just inspect in my tank top and flip flops :wink: