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Electrical Wire and Cable


Zinsco Magnetrip Breakers and Electrical Panels

Should I replace my Zinsco Electric Service Panel? Zinsco Magnetrip Panels and Circuit Breaker Problems.


Guide to Zinsco Magnetrip Panels and Circuit Breakers
Electrical Question: Should I replace my Zinsco electric service panel?

This home electrical question came from: Brad, a Handyman from Spokane Washington.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your home electrical question Brad.

Should You Replace Your Zinsco Electrical Panel

Zinsco Circuit Breakers

Skill Level: Advanced – Licensed Electrical Contractor, Not Recommended for Homeowners.
Tools Required: Electricians pouch of hand tools and the various power tools necessary for the specific service upgrade.
Estimated Time: Depends on the type of panel and available access to the project area.
Precaution: This is an extensive project that should be performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Notice: Making changes to the Electrical Service Panel should be done with a permit and be inspected.

Zinsco Magnetrip Panels and Circuit Breaker Problems

More about Electrical Panels and Circuit Breakers

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House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers

This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.
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A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring. When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.


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Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.


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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.





Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

6 Responses to “Zinsco Magnetrip Breakers and Electrical Panels”
  1. Lisa Jones says:

    I am trying to help my dad replace an old (dead) breaker it is a 20 amp double pole Magnatrip type RC 38. Does anyone know what we can replace that with that will fit in the same box?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Lisa,
      Replacement circuit breakers for the Zinsco brand are now available from the Sylvania brand. The Sylvania circuit breakers are available from your local hardware stores, or online at several outlets. Circuit breakers are best replaced by an electrician who can also inspect the panel to make sure the contact surface has not been damaged.
      NOTE: Work in electrical panels is not recommended for homeowners or individuals who are not certified or licensed electricians.
      Dave

  2. carol says:

    I need to find a breaker that will work in a Zinsco box but it needs to be a bolt in style, and all I can find out there is a used plug in. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  3. Steven weeck says:

    I have a Pannel that is a Magnetrip with Zinsco breakers in it. It has had more than one person working on it over the years and I have a little bit of a mess in it. I have removed some of the wires that went to knowhere. (220 just cut laying on top of the duckwork no caps) I have a question about the dbl breaker problem I have read about. Can you give me a better discription on them. Thank you

  4. bob kristunas says:

    I have a 200A Zinsco panel. No problems at all, but Ive heard the stories. Is there away I can tell if I need to replace it so Im not totally at an electricians mercy?

    Thanks Bob K

  5. Donna, potential home buyer in WA. says:

    I have a question, rather than a comment and it is also about the Zinsco Magnetrip. I just returned from a home inspection where the inspector showed me that the home I am looking to buy has this. He highly recommended having it inspected by an electrician and replaced. What I am finding online really does reinforce what he told me about them. Are you of the same opinion? The home I am looking to buy was built in ’46 and I don’t know exactly how old the box is.

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