The Electrical Contractor Network

ECN Electrical Forum
Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals

Books, Tools and Test Equipment for Electrical and Construction Trades

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#124263 - 09/08/06 04:17 PM The Worst Breaker Design Ever?
electure Offline


Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
This is a Zinsco RQ38, 30 Amp plug-in 2 pole circuit breaker. I believe the only reason this one lasted is because it powered a dryer receptacle in a home with a gas dryer, and was never used. It's 3/4" wide.
(It's got "IQ65" stamped in a small emblem on the side; possibly the designer's test score?)

How do you like it?
Do you have any other candidates for the honor?

[This message has been edited by electure (edited 09-08-2006).]

Tools for Electricians:
#124264 - 09/08/06 04:47 PM Re: The Worst Breaker Design Ever?
iwire Offline

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
Are those 'speaker terminals' used on a breaker????
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#124265 - 09/08/06 05:44 PM Re: The Worst Breaker Design Ever?
mxslick Offline

Registered: 10/24/04
Posts: 785
Loc: Atomic City, ID USA
Are those 'speaker terminals' used on a breaker????

Indeed they are. And the performance is about what you'd expect from them, too.

Believe it or not, this horrible piece was available in 40 and 50 amp ratings too!!

I still have a few Zinscos in my junk box, along with the bus assemply for an old mini (I think 4 space) panel.

I plan on breaking the one I have open to see what condition the internals are in. When I do, I'll post the pics....
Stupid should be painful.

#124266 - 09/08/06 05:49 PM Re: The Worst Breaker Design Ever?
Jim M Offline

Registered: 08/10/01
Posts: 453
Loc: Chestertown, MD, USA
My vote would have to be FPE Stab-loks. Between the handles being too wide to take the cover off without turning some of them off by accident, they were prone to just falling out of the panel if you did take the cover off.

#124267 - 09/08/06 06:02 PM Re: The Worst Breaker Design Ever?
Wizzie Electric Offline

Registered: 01/16/06
Posts: 59
Loc: Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, Can...
Ya shes a real fine instrument.(sarcastic)

#124268 - 09/08/06 06:32 PM Re: The Worst Breaker Design Ever?
allen476 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/21/06
Posts: 7
Loc: Elmira,NY
My nomination is the Bulldog/Gould/ITE Pushmatic. They were prone to fail to the ON position. Many never survive more than 4-6 on/off cycles.

#124269 - 09/08/06 08:26 PM Re: The Worst Breaker Design Ever?
Rewired Offline

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 567
Loc: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
I nominate the ITE "Blueline" series.. they were chincy little breakers that just felt "weak" when you operated them, and the buss-breaker connections were tiny and had a tenancy to burn up..


#124270 - 09/09/06 07:44 PM Re: The Worst Breaker Design Ever?
Theelectrikid Offline

Registered: 04/30/04
Posts: 854
Loc: Levittown, PA
GE Skinnies. They don't trip, and an electrician (Yes, an electrician) said, "If that main didn't fry that skinny breaker would've let your house burn."

Ian A.
Is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

#124271 - 09/09/06 09:56 PM Re: The Worst Breaker Design Ever?
trobb Offline

Registered: 06/08/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Geeze, I'm no spark and I know that 2x 50A breakers in a single would (at load) put an unholy amount of heat through the breaker. How on earth could even CH or SD build something to work, let alone Zinsco?

#124272 - 09/10/06 01:23 PM Re: The Worst Breaker Design Ever?
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
Personal experience is a funny thing; that's why we are taught that personal experience has no relationship to what the actual reality may be.

Failure at the buss connection is a good example of this principle. While we all "know" that certain brands are "junk," compare that opinion with my experience over the past five years.
(Again, I am only referring to failures where the breaker connects to the buss).

I've encountered this failure in:
1- Sq D "QO" 100 amp 2-pole
1- Zinsco 50 amp 2-pole
2- GE snap-in 20 amp 1-pole

Complicating factors included:
- The Sq. D was often run slightly overloaded (say, 108-112 amps); and,

- The GE failures were from a panel where the maintenace guy "cleaned the buss bars" with a wire brush on his Dremel (!!!!).

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >

ECN Electrical Forums - sponsored by Electrical Contractor Network - Electrical and Code Related Discussion for Electrical Contractors, Electricians, Inspectors, Instructors, Engineers and other related Professionals