Why is it so difficult to put a circuit breaker in? I push the plastic part in but the steel contact does not go in. I broke a single 20 amp...any tricks? My panel is a FPE.

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    What brand of breaker and panel? Do you have a picture of the broken breaker and the open panel that you could add to the question?
    – BMitch
    Aug 8, 2015 at 3:36
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    You might be doing it improperly. You might have a breaker that does not fit the panel in question. Hard to say without more details. With Square-D QO panel and breakers, I don't find it particularly difficult.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 8, 2015 at 3:43
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    This is that Federal Pacific panel that's probably about to commit suicide in a flash and a bang. I think it's trying to communicate something. Most Federal Pacific circuit breakers available if not OEM NOS are of cheap Chinese manufacture and are probably out of manufacturing tolerance, else socket for the tang is burnt. The 20A breaker was fused to the 40A double breaker next to it. Aug 8, 2015 at 5:32
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    Please contact a local licensed Electrician. It sounds like there may be something seriously wrong, and your property and/or life could be in danger.
    – Tester101
    Aug 8, 2015 at 5:38
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    Second motion on @Tester101's comment. If you're having problems inserting a circuit breaker, this is not the medium to solve it.
    – BillDOe
    Aug 8, 2015 at 6:06

1 Answer 1


You have a FPE panel, so why are you trying to put breakers in it? Just replace the entire panel, as the panel is telling you to...the fact you can't stick a breaker in easily should be a gigantic red flag that something is badly broken inside and you shouldn't bother trying to repair it!

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    If the panel interior is big enough, Eaton makes a Cutler & Hammer retrofit kit that an electrician can install. Pull the meter, gut the old box of the bus bars and attachments, install the insert and rewire. And wow, now you can have GFCI and Arc Fault breakers as well. And you don't have to rip out the wall, insert a new panel, hope the wires and cables are long enough, etc. Aug 9, 2015 at 17:41
  • @FiascoLabs thank you for the emphasis on an electrician doing the installation. We're not talking about swapping out a bathroom receptacle, here... Aug 10, 2015 at 0:16
  • Yeah -- I figured that that was a given, chuckles Aug 10, 2015 at 1:44
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    Yeah, when I wrote that up, I realized that vital word didn't stand out enough so I bolded it. It's definitely a contract job if you're DIY. You don't want to replace one problem with another, you want the issue to go away permanently. Aug 10, 2015 at 4:13

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