Author Topic: Electricians Question....?  (Read 219 times)

Offline Bronx

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3412
  • Gender: Male
Electricians Question....?
« on: August 28, 2017, 07:47:44 AM »
I have a main ciruit breaker that has gone bad. It's a Challenger Zinsco 150 amp QFP-2T 2 pole double 240V QFP2T main circuit breaker. The questions I have is, is this something I can change myself or do I need to get a pro.

Also they don't make this breaker any longer. I found a USED one on Ebay for 200 bucks. Is this a good Idea or should I just change out the whole breaker panel. If so I will hire an electrician for this. What would an electrician charge to change out the penal....?

Thanks in advance.
People sleep peacefully at night because there are a few tough men prepared to do violence on their behalf.

Bowtech Experience  70lb, QAD HDX, HHA DS 5519, 400 gr Black Eagle Carnivores, 100gr Grim Reaper, True-Fire Hardcore 4 thumb.

Online Solar

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 56279
  • Gender: Male
Re: Electricians Question....?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2017, 09:13:31 AM »
I have a main ciruit breaker that has gone bad. It's a Challenger Zinsco 150 amp QFP-2T 2 pole double 240V QFP2T main circuit breaker. The questions I have is, is this something I can change myself or do I need to get a pro.

Also they don't make this breaker any longer. I found a USED one on Ebay for 200 bucks. Is this a good Idea or should I just change out the whole breaker panel. If so I will hire an electrician for this. What would an electrician charge to change out the penal....?

Thanks in advance.
Your best bet is to replace it with a 200 amp panel, buy twice the breakers necessary, in the event it gets discontinued as you've discovered, or get a GE box, their breakers are readily available.
Go to your local electrical contractor supply, check prices, ask them if they would recommend good electricians in your area.
And yes, you can change it out yourself, but the upside to having an electrician do it, is he'll have the equipment to check every connection for an issue, issues that may be causing you to draw more power than you want, like mild grounding issue, tiny shorts, failing appliances etc.

I built and wired my home by myself, and 20 years later discovered I wired an outlet with a reversed ground/neutral, which appears like a short to test equipment, and messes with backup power supplies/GFI plugs etc. for computers, though there's nothing wrong, it was a stupid dyslexics mistake.
But your electrician will catch it, I've even found where a customer made the same mistake with a fluorescent light which was actually drawing enough current to get hot even when turned off.

So my suggestion is to let a professional do it, it'll probably cost around $120.0 for a panel with about a dozen breakers included, so buy an extra 6 or more so you don't have to hunt them out later when they fail.
Labor will run you about $90.00 give or take for your area as low as $45.00 an hour in some places and about a half day/3 to 4 hours to swap it all out.

Hope that gives you a better idea of what you're facing, oh, and get quotes from at least three guys.
Assuming it's a straight forward job, they will possibly do it over the phone/ball park figure.

Good luck.
Koolaid is for kids, TEA is for adults

Online tac

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3667
  • Gender: Male
Re: Electricians Question....?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2017, 09:14:14 AM »
If it's the main breaker, hire an electrician to change it out. Is your main electrical panel really old? If it is and you can't find circuit breakers, new ones not used, you might want to consider replacing it. But hire an electrical contractor for the job.

Online Solar

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 56279
  • Gender: Male
Re: Electricians Question....?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2017, 09:26:15 AM »
If it's the main breaker, hire an electrician to change it out. Is your main electrical panel really old? If it is and you can't find circuit breakers, new ones not used, you might want to consider replacing it. But hire an electrical contractor for the job.
Good points.
Yep, never buy used electrical equipment. And correct, if it's the main, then there's a reason it's failing, the panel is most likely overloaded and needs some of it's leads broken down and divided so as to lessen the load on a single feed.
Sounds like 15 amp breakers were changed out to 20 amp or more, allowing for a heavier load than the main breaker's minimum rating, making it hot and causing it to trip.

So yeah, a 200 amp service will alleviate this problem as well.
Koolaid is for kids, TEA is for adults

Offline Hoofer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4148
  • Gender: Male
  • HAM Radio - the last form of free expression
Re: Electricians Question....?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2017, 03:00:17 PM »
There's a couple of problems with a complete change out.

a.  The new panel and old break types will not be grandfathered in, per the NEC (national electrical code) changes.  Hence, the cost of going to those fancy short-detecting breakers & GFIC will be 3-4 times more expensive than a typical circuit breaker.

b.  Practically ALL of your existing wiring could easily fall under the newer requirement - an electrical contractor is gonna be seeing $$$.

c.  Before you plan on changing out the panel, it would be wise to either add a secondary panel for emergency circuits (for a generator), and add in a transfer switch to it -or- add a transfer switch for the entire panel and provide the electrical connection for a future whole house generator.

d.  If you do go with a new panel, just one panel, add in a few extra slots for expansion, and of course, buy a handful of extra single pole and double pole breakers of the 15 & 20 amp variety.   

e.  Most electricians won't install breakers 'you provide', because they can get them cheaper and make a few extra bucks selling them to you.  They by them discounted, and in bulk because they are in "business", and set up arrangements with the stores.

f.  If this main breaker is the Service Disconnect, you'll have to pull the meter to change it out.  Power companies don't like that - you touching the meter.  Then you've also got the issue of doing electrical work with or without a permit, that's usually the decider of "who" does it.  You may have to pull a "remodeling permit"... again, electricians make a few bucks if they do it.

g.  If you KNOW an electrician, who can pull the permit for you...   but you do the work... that's the cheapest way.   What you CAN do, depends largely on what's allowed in your area by the inspectors.  Living in the rural area, is great for me, I just file the paperwork and pull the permit, (avoiding the fine if we sell the house), and the inspector looks it over upon completion - done!   Around here, if you do work without a permit, they have been known to make you completely disassemble everything (so you'll get really scared/pissed and warn your neighbors!).

The cheapest way is to "take a picture of the wiring to the main", pull the meter, swap out the main, compare it to the picture (make sure you did it right/the same), test it with a meter for shorts to ground, reinsert the meter - and beg forgiveness if the power company gets pissed for pulling the meter.  (something was buzzing and you were trying to track it down..?   A June bug got caught behind the meter...)
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Offline Bronx

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3412
  • Gender: Male
Re: Electricians Question....?
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2017, 06:56:28 AM »
Thanks guys. I had two electricians look at my situation already and I have one more coming today.

Since it's my main breaker and they don't make these breakers any longer I will switch out and update my whole panel instead of trying a used breaker.

Thanks for your help. You guys are the best.
People sleep peacefully at night because there are a few tough men prepared to do violence on their behalf.

Bowtech Experience  70lb, QAD HDX, HHA DS 5519, 400 gr Black Eagle Carnivores, 100gr Grim Reaper, True-Fire Hardcore 4 thumb.

Offline Bronx

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3412
  • Gender: Male
Re: Electricians Question....?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2017, 01:30:53 PM »
WOW.....i'm so gald I posted on this board. I was ready to change a good main breaker out with a used one. I stopped and thought about it. I came on here for advice and I sure received awesome advice. I had four electricians come by and look at my situation.

Ready for this.

The first one said it was the main breaker. He tried to get the breaker but they don't make then any longer. He told me I can use and used one. $150 no need to cut power from the meter.

The second one also told me it was the main breaker and told me not to use an old one but to change out the panel since they don't make this breaker any longer. $2,500 cut power from the outside

The third told me it's not the main breaker it was a loose screw. All it needed was tightening but that the panel was very old and everything is outdated and a penal update would cost me $1,700.

I had a fourth guy come in and said the main breaker was good and there was a screw loose also. I asked about a panel change out and he was in the $2,500 range.

I went with the third guy and will be replacing the breaker panel.

Thanks fopr the help guys.
People sleep peacefully at night because there are a few tough men prepared to do violence on their behalf.

Bowtech Experience  70lb, QAD HDX, HHA DS 5519, 400 gr Black Eagle Carnivores, 100gr Grim Reaper, True-Fire Hardcore 4 thumb.

Online Solar

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 56279
  • Gender: Male
Re: Electricians Question....?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2017, 03:19:37 PM »
WOW.....i'm so gald I posted on this board. I was ready to change a good main breaker out with a used one. I stopped and thought about it. I came on here for advice and I sure received awesome advice. I had four electricians come by and look at my situation.

Ready for this.

The first one said it was the main breaker. He tried to get the breaker but they don't make then any longer. He told me I can use and used one. $150 no need to cut power from the meter.

The second one also told me it was the main breaker and told me not to use an old one but to change out the panel since they don't make this breaker any longer. $2,500 cut power from the outside

The third told me it's not the main breaker it was a loose screw. All it needed was tightening but that the panel was very old and everything is outdated and a penal update would cost me $1,700.

I had a fourth guy come in and said the main breaker was good and there was a screw loose also. I asked about a panel change out and he was in the $2,500 range.

I went with the third guy and will be replacing the breaker panel.

Thanks fopr the help guys.
Not bad really, considering the work involved, though based on cost overall, looks like an all day job, or at least 6 hours work.
A loose screw. Classic!! I don't know how many times I stumbled across that during my years, even had brand new inverters come with loose lugs. Over the years, heat and cooling, expansion and contraction take their toll.
Glad we could be of service. :thumbup:
Koolaid is for kids, TEA is for adults

Online tac

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3667
  • Gender: Male
Re: Electricians Question....?
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2017, 03:53:28 PM »
WOW.....i'm so gald I posted on this board. I was ready to change a good main breaker out with a used one. I stopped and thought about it. I came on here for advice and I sure received awesome advice. I had four electricians come by and look at my situation.

Ready for this.

The first one said it was the main breaker. He tried to get the breaker but they don't make then any longer. He told me I can use and used one. $150 no need to cut power from the meter.

The second one also told me it was the main breaker and told me not to use an old one but to change out the panel since they don't make this breaker any longer. $2,500 cut power from the outside

The third told me it's not the main breaker it was a loose screw. All it needed was tightening but that the panel was very old and everything is outdated and a penal update would cost me $1,700.

I had a fourth guy come in and said the main breaker was good and there was a screw loose also. I asked about a panel change out and he was in the $2,500 range.

I went with the third guy and will be replacing the breaker panel.

Thanks fopr the help guys.

I believe you made the right decision changing out the panel. The quick fix would have been dirt cheap, for now.

Offline Hoofer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4148
  • Gender: Male
  • HAM Radio - the last form of free expression
Re: Electricians Question....?
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2017, 04:28:23 PM »
I believe you made the right decision changing out the panel. The quick fix would have been dirt cheap, for now.
Agreed.

That's very typical to see prices all over the place, too!
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

 

Powered by EzPortal