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How do the Zinsco 'red-tab-stab' CBs work/release wire??

Posted by fixizin (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 23, 10 at 20:32

Back in the 1960s, when men were men--and MILKmen apparently were total studs--ZINSCO was in a race to the bottom of circuit breaker quality. They actually put serious and deliberate thought into how to make their products lead the way in fire and shock hazard. Verily, the real world results show they succeeded. ;')

Anyway, Zinsco actually made CBs--up to 20A--withOUT screw-downs for the load wires! Yeah, basically "backstabs", but with this red tab protruding above the wire hole. The red tab is flimsy, but if you push it in just the right way, you feel/hear a definite click... but it still doesn't loosen its grip on that bare copper...

... SO, what's the Jedi trick to disconnecting this dreaded sub-genre of the larger and greatly dreaded ZINSCO family of not-so-fine ee-lek-trikal products?

Thanks in advance.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How do the Zinsco 'red-tab-stab' CBs work/release wire??

Wire cutters?


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RE: How do the Zinsco 'red-tab-stab' CBs work/release wire??

I agree with Joed....why waste your time, cut it and strip it to new copper.


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Sorry, perhaps I should have mentioned...

... I want to SAVE/re-use the CBs, just need to slide them out of the way for a moment, but the loops are too short.

So if there's some Jedi trick to RE-seating the wires, I'll need to know that too. ;')

Shoddy panel + shoddy install = "fun" times. (*GRRRrrr*)


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RE: How do the Zinsco 'red-tab-stab' CBs work/release wire??

with as much as you've been complaining about Zinsco (two threads worth now) why are you not replacing the panel?

If you're doing this for yourself it's a no brainer. Even if you're doing this as a side job, the cost of a Square D Homeline panel and breakers is probably cheaper than the amount of labor you've spent dicking around with this Zinsco.


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ALLLL-righty then... :{

OK, SO... you're NOT familiar with this panel, and you do NOT know the "trick". Got it. Thanks for stopping by. Next.

PS: Family member. Pure favor. Total panel swap beyond my current DIY skills, at least as far as getting it done in a day. Family member now convinced and saving up for SquareD panel swap... still recovering from new roof... FL HVHZ *concrete* tile roof... that's $21,000 of new roof.


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RE: How do the Zinsco 'red-tab-stab' CBs work/release wire??

So you'd rather insult those who are trying to help then get the answer?

By the way, your current DIY skills have no business doing illegal electrical work if you don't have a clue. It's one thing to subject your own house and occupants to your ineptness, but not to extend that to other innocents.


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RE: How do the Zinsco 'red-tab-stab' CBs work/release wire??

To follow up on Ron's comment, most areas allow a homeowner to do his or her own electrical work (if the homeowner pulls a permit). Working on someone else's house, rental property, or commercial property, is almost universally prohibited. Not to mention that if something should go wrong you could be legally liable.


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RE: How do the Zinsco 'red-tab-stab' CBs work/release wire??

He has gone way out of the realm of either homeowner-permitted work (he pulled and replaced the meter without even contacting the utility).


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RE: How do the Zinsco 'red-tab-stab' CBs work/release wire??

"Total panel swap beyond my current DIY skills"

yet you took it upon yourself to pull the meter?!?

"that's $21,000 of new roof."

I care why? That has what to do with any sort of electrical question?

Your ego and sense of "I can do anything" is going to catch up with you one of these days and someone is going to get seriously hurt, if not killed. From your child like attitude and the way you write your posts it's obvious you don't know what you're doing.


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ok, my ))apologies(( for the snide-ness...

... t'was NOT intended to be insulting, but rather to "snap" people BACK ON TOPIC. Again, I've been on this great forum for 7+ years, so, a thousand pardons!

In my own defense, the original question is quite simple and focused, thus I intentionally omitted any larger context, to keep it so. Perhaps I omitted TOO MUCH context, and there IS a fine tradition on this forum, of helping the OP step back from the tree, and take in the whole forest. Sometimes this prodding is useful, other times... not so much. ;')

So, my snideness was NOT the classiest response (mea culpa), but, let us all find our better angels, put on our Dale Carnegie hats, stand in the other guy's shoes, and ask yourself how the other party might be receiving things. (I did, felt like dog-squeeze, and thus send an individual apology out to hexus.)

In hindsight, I don't think any of the advice here was given in MALICE. I should've realized that, and NOT gotten miffed. OTOH, it was implied that I don't know how and when to use wire cutters (jeez, come on), and my quest for a $2 solution was yielding a lot of $500 answers. I guess I felt that if I didn't rein in the "topic drift", I would soon be calling a real estate agent, and swapping out the whole house, lol.

Then I dropped a snide-bomb, and the fracas started. Time out... cease fire... and please, if you want to call me a jerk, I probably deserve it, but just do it DIRECTLY, without all the sidebar fallacies, e.g. equating the TINY time+effort+skill of pulling a meter, with the MUCH greater (even for you pros) time+effort+skill of a main panel swapout--esp. with conduit linked in. Come on... seriously.

As for how a new roof links to electrical work, sorry if that seemed like a non-sequiter. Let me clarify--it's a "guns or butter", "only so much money" thing. My sister just dropped $21k on roofing, ergo, she's not eager/able to drop another $800+ on a real sparky, just because one lone $55 CB went poof. This is compounded by the fact that the umpteen bad practices and outright code violations extant at her house were ALL committed by REAL LICENSED ELECTRICIANS! It's a So-Fla-attracts-lame-"professionals" thing... been going on for decades. Be glad you don't live here.

Anyway, I'm back to being the non-jerk I am 99.1% of the time. Peace out... and beware the dreaded ZINSCO... it will bring out the worst in you! ;')


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