Split bus, realy split...

I didn’t know it was possible to do this. Leave it to Federal Pacific. Anyone want to take a stab at a narrative?

I’m not seeing the split bus aspect of this service. It looks to me like the panel is being fed from the 60 amp breaker at the bottom. Everything else is a branch feed. The electricians out there might see something different so I would defer to them!

Looks like a poor installation, not a poor design. Though, it is a stab-lok panel.

I think the lugs on the left and right are where they should have put the hot wires. But the installer thought the panel needed a disconnect.

Either way CYA.

“Safety Hazard: Amateur installation. I recommend a qualified electrician repair, re-wire, or replace panel. In the mean time, the panel circuit should be turned off at the service panel (a.k.a. main panel).”

Pretty standard FPE. Not a split-bus, however.

I’ve not seen this installation. It looks like a sub-panel, but the connection from the main service is coming into the 60 amp breaker on the bottom, middle. I basis this from the wire size. The lugs on the right and left don’t make much sense though. One is double tapped with white wire (neutral). That would lead me to believe the neutral is connected to a one of the buss bars.

Where am I going wrong?

I thought the handles all had to be up for on or designed to move horizontally. The upper and lower sections are almost mirror images of each other. Is this an acceptable installation? I’m assuming that the bottom is the main and the top feeds a sub panel.

nice collage !

Chris, the white wires are not double tapped on the left center lug but go behind the breakers exiting to the upper right. The left and right center lugs appear to be unused.

The panel configuration is quite common for FPE, but this panel is a mess. The 60 amp breaker at the bottom is back feeding the entire panel, but as Chris suggested, the side lugs are the norm for this panel. I’m not sure this panel is listed to be back-fed, and the disconnect is not locked/fastened in place.

I agree, it looks like a sub, but it’s wired more like service equipment. In any case, this panel needs some serious TLC.

So the side lugs should be the terminals for L1 and L2. The neutral SEC terminates correctly. It’s ok to have one set of breakers upside down becauswe that’s the way the panel was designed, but the supply bus bar should not be energized by the bottom 60 amp breaker, which condition is backfeeding the panel. The terminals on the bottom 60 amp breaker are for branch wiring not for connection of the SECs.
Is there a bond for the neutral bus bar somewhere?

Looks like the 60 amp CB is serving as the service disconnect and is permitted to be back fed if held in place by a clip, screw or other method. Since a main is required you could not eliminate the 60 amp CB and simply use the lugs on the side. If this were a sub-panel then you could eliminate the 60 amp CB and use the lugs. The neutral should be bonded to the enclosure. The conductors now under the lugs are tap conductors since they’re smaller than the 60 amp main OCPD.

I know you are very experienced with residential electrical installations, but a clip? Sounds pretty hill billy-ish. I take you’ve seen this setup before? Does code or mfg instructions support it? Plus the idea of reversing polarity on a CB does not seem like we’re using the product in the fashion it was designed. You may be right, but I’m thinking I’d still call it out.

Note: CB = Circuit Breaker; OCPD = Overcurrent Protection Device

The “upside down” breakers would not be allowed in current production panels, but was relatively common in panels of the fifties and earlier.

Often, the bond will simply be a conductor (wire) attached to the terminal and directly to the panel.

A “clip” is just a generic reference to an attachment mechanism. There are different types of fasteners provided by manufacturers for securing back-fed breakers. Most breakers that are designed to allow for back feeding will include something in their case-molding to allow for a fastener, whether it be a screw-hole or a protrusion for attaching a “clip.”

OK…I see where you’re going with the clip. You want to “connect” the two poles together as a 220 V. That parts fine.

I’m still concerned about the reverse polarity of the CB. Maybe I just need to see the panel apart to understand it. That’s what you get with an engineer.

Does this mean that if the 60-amp CB were fastened down, it would then be compliant and would service as a main disconnect. Remove the lug taps and bond the neutral and it’s ugly but acceptable?

Not quite. The double pole breaker has to be mechanically secured to the panel when it is a back-fed device. Snapping into the bus bars is not enough.

The breaker can have current in any direction.

As long as the equipment is listed to be back-fed.