I am looking at the electrics in a house that a friend just bought, and it has one of the problematic "Stablok" Federal Pacific panels. Watching this video, made by a supposed master electrician who I find to generally be pretty good:
He talks about ways to determine if a Federal Pacific panel is really dangerous. This includes pulling the breakers to look for signs of overheating damage to the breakers and/or the bus bars.
But the part that gave me pause was where he talks about testing the actual breakers, to see if they trip properly when shorted. He first says to turn off a breaker, then short neutral to hot somewhere on the circuit, and then see if the breaker allows itself to be turned back on; seems reasonable. He then talks about shorting neutral to hot on a live circuit, disclaiming that you shouldn't try this unless you're very experienced.
I'm curious was the wiser people here think of these suggestions. To me, shorting a live circuit is crazy, mainly because you could cause overheating and/or wiring damage somewhere else (perhaps hidden) in the circuit, and never know it. Seems like even the technique of shorting a dead circuit and seeing if you can turn the breaker on, is suspect if you do it using the circuits conductors in the house - for the same reason.
But what about this? Turn off a breaker, disconnect its hot lead, and run a short jumper from the hot terminal to the neutral bar; then see if the breaker will turn on. This eliminates the possibility of doing any damage to installed wiring.