Just moved into a house built in 1961 (Bay Area, CA) and saw this box on the outside of the house in the back yard. I'd like to secure it somehow but haven't been able to locate anything that fits from either Home Depot or Lowes.

Any suggestions on where to find the make/model and where to find a replacement?

Meter and box Close up of breaker box

  • i would ask pg&e assuming that is your electricity provider and they installed a smart reader. Commented May 18, 2021 at 5:54
  • I doubt that a cover for this panel is readily available as even if the manufacturer is still around it's unlikely they will still have parts for such an old design. Probably the simplest thing is to get a sheet of steel or even aluminum large enough to cover the opening, make two tabs to fit into the two slots at the top with right-angle bends in them and a slot at the bottom for the locking tab.
    – jwh20
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 9:34
  • 5
    Do not know if it done in CA, but here the power company uses a plastic type lock on their meters. Where you show the loose bent wire on the meter. Power company might like to know the lock is missing, before they find out about it.
    – crip659
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 10:00
  • 5
    Yeah, the "locks" on the meter base are simply for evidence of tampering, they do absolutely zero to lock it. I second the notion of notifying the power company that it's missing.
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 12:49

1 Answer 1


Uh-oh, it's a Zinsco!

Unfortunately, just buying a new door isn't enough to restore this panel to a serviceable condition, as it's a Zinsco (from the design of the breakers), with its attendant breaker-to-busbar contact issues. If that wasn't enough, independent testing has shown Zinsco breakers to be both miscalibrated and unreliable, with issues with jamming or simply failing to shut the power off when switched off. So, I'd have the whole box replaced with something of a current make and model that won't fail in such a way.

  • 11
    The added bonus is that the replacement box will come with a cover - a money saving tip! :D (Actually, not having to rebuild the house because an electrical fire burnt it down, is money saving!)
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 12:51
  • ThreePhaseEel the title to your answer is exactly what I first thought: OH NO! It's Zinsco. They are so readily identifiable with the long throws and multi colored handles. Commented May 18, 2021 at 13:17
  • As a phase 1, can we rip and replace the current wires in a new box and new breakers (without rerunning / replacing new wiring everywhere)? Commented May 18, 2021 at 16:54
  • @rishimaharaj -- that would be about the only sensible phase 1 given your circumstances, even Commented May 18, 2021 at 22:22
  • 2
    Also consider putting in a much larger panel. What you have right now is jam-packed and as you upgrade you will likely want and/or need to install GFCI, AFCI, etc. as well as add new circuits. So replace it just once with something much bigger instead of having to replace it again (or add a subpanel) a year from now. Commented May 19, 2021 at 2:52

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