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Old FPE and Westinghouse Parts Compatibility

One of the more interesting aspects of our market is the history of the equipment and how it has changed over the years. While most of those changes were technological, some revolved around the people behind the scenes. One in particular that comes to mind, was a group of design engineers that had left the Westinghouse Corporation and went to Federal Pacific Equipment. While the story has certainly has been passed from mouth to mouth over the years, it does have some evidence to back it up. As told to me it goes like this:


Back in the era of the Westinghouse DB 25 single position circuit breaker, a group of design engineers left the old bar W and went over to FPE. With their designs fresh in their heads, they used much of it to design the old FPE DMB circuit breaker product line. The similarities between the two are obvious. Westinghouse manufactured the DB 25 and the DB 50, etc. FPE’s new product line was called the DMB 25 and the DMB 50, etc. Both of these manufacturers used similar technology and materials for their parts, for example, pole base insulators and arc chutes but the similarities continued to the point that some of the parts are physically interchangeable! In particular, parts like secondary disconnects, control relays, shunt trips and a few others.





    Westinghouse vs. FPE Shunt Trip                                                         Westinghouse vs. FPE Secondary


               If you happen to have this FPE switchgear in your facility and you are having a difficult time locating the parts to maintain it, give us a call at 800-647-0815 or send us an email to  and we will show you parts that are much more common to the market (and less expensive) and how they can be used to keep your equipment up and running for many more years of reliable service.


As we say at NPE- that’s what we’re here for!



News from NPE's Product Improvement Center: LA-1600 and LA-600 Covers


Spotlighting today in NPE’s PIC is our replacement mechanism cover for the problematic blue-faced LA-600 and LA-1600 circuit breakers. As we all know, this molded blue plastic cover is prone to breakage, cracking and/or other failures and it was later replaced by the gold (yellow zinc plated) steel cover in later versions of this breaker line.



                                                                   Cracked/Broken Plastic Faceplate


Our solution? A hand-made steel cover, painted blue and detailed with our house made labels! Guaranteed not to bend or break with normal use, this one and done solution has become very popular. Simply specify what frame size you need and if the breaker is electrically operated or manually operated and we will ship you a new cover within 24 hours. Quantities are limited so large orders may require additional time, but are well worth the wait.


NPE's Allis Chalmers/Siemens Allis LA-1600 and LA-600 Faceplate Cover New Aftermarket Parts List:

*OEM part number 18-657-346-537

*OEM part number 18-657-346-550

*OEM part number 18-657-346-523

*OEM part number 18-657-346-579


*Part numbers used to reference original OEM's for identification purposes only. They are not manufactured, endorsed or warrantied by OEM.



This is just one of the many solutions to day to day issues that NPE can help you with. For more, visit If you still don’t see what you are looking for, give us a call and we’ll try to custom engineer a solution for just for you. We make our aftermarket parts better, stronger and get them to you faster! Our motto is, "The right part, at the right price, right now!"


Watch for NPE’s next spotlight in our Product Improvement Center’s series of blogs.

News from NPE's Product Improvement Center: GE VB VB1 Powervac Secondary

Today, we are spotlighting the General Electric Secondary Disconnect Block for Type VB and VB1 Powervac Circuit Breakers. This is the black power plug that is mounted on the back of the breaker that mates with another in the cell to bring control power to open and close the breaker. In our day to day sales of breakers, we have noticed an inherent problem with this part cracking at the ends in the area of the guide holes. Closer inspection revealed the issue to be the voids in the original mold that allowed the plastic to crack when under day to day stress.



     Block in cell                           Block in breaker                                         Damaged Block                                                                     



We’ve eliminated this issue with our fiber reinforced material and designed a mold that eliminates the voids for a much stronger product. The most common application that we’ve seen for this product is to replace cracked/damaged blocks that are discovered during routine or periodic maintenance. After de-energizing the circuit, simply mark the wires according to the numbering on the front of the block, pop the contacts out with our contact removal tool, re-insert the contacts in the correct order and reinstall the block.  A quick simple fix and one you should never have to do again, at least not on this unit. In other cases, when wiring needs to be changed or replaced we offer replacement contacts with the block and we also offer the blocks with the wiring harness installed. We keep a limited supply, approximately 10-12 of these parts, on hand for same or next day shipments and we can ramp production up for more if you are anticipating issues with an upcoming outage.


NPE’S GE VB VB1 Powervac Secondary Disconnect New Aftermarket Parts List:



*OEM 0209B3579G001




*OEM 0209B3579G001 block OEM 0282A2081P001 contact



*OEM 0209B3579G001



*OEM  0282A2081P001



*OEM  0209B4052G009



*OEM 0209B4052G009 block OEM 0282A2081P002 contact



*OEM 0209B4052G009



*OEM  0282A2081P002






*Part numbers used to reference original OEM's for identification purposes only. They are not manufactured, endorsed or warranted by OEM.


This is just one of the many solutions to day to day issues that NPE can help you with. For more, visit If you still don’t see what you are looking for, give us a call and we’ll try to custom engineer a solution for just for you. We make our aftermarket parts betterstronger and get them to you faster!


Watch for NPE’s next spotlight in our Product Improvement Center’s series of blogs.

Circuit Breaker Parts Availability in a Google World

Finding the right part to keep your circuit breakers and switchgear up and running should be as easy as punching the part number into Google or on Amazon, then having a list of suppliers populate, right? Well, if you have the part number, if it’s even still available from the manufacturer and if it is sold individually and not part of a larger assembly that gives you a lot of parts that you don’t need nor want.  Well, in that ideal world, yes, that is all it can take. Of course, then you will have to deal with lead time, which can be weeks or months for a part that is still in production. What if it’s no longer in production or you cannot find the part number? That is what NPE is here for.

The old saying, “time is money and money is time” still holds true. Chances are good that if you need it, your breaker and possibly key elements of production are down. You need the right part, you need it right now, and most likely, NPE has it in stock and it can be shipped right away, without the hassle and also without all the parts in an assembly that you do not need nor want to pay for.  So, what should you do? Contact us.


This is what we need:


  • Breaker Model Number
  • Brief Description (what it is or what it does)
  • Photos
  • Part Numbers (they are helpful, if available, but we’ve been doing this so long we can work around that little detail)


How to get it to us:


Email: - simple and easy to remember. 

Mobile website: - this mobile site will walk you through a series of questions to help identify the parts and give you an opportunity to submit photos as well, or even faster, use our Quick Note Ap.

Call us: 1-800-647-0815. We’ll be happy to talk you through your problem and customize a cost-effective solution for you.

That is what we are here for.


We have tens of thousands of parts on hand along with our trained, experienced personnel that can get them to you when you need them.

Commonly needed parts are also available online at our aftermarket parts store. Many of them have new and improved designs to ensure that whatever shortcoming the OEM part had, was corrected. You may never have to replace that part again.  Visit this store at, register and enter the promotional code: GOLD20 at checkoutto get 20% off your order.


Try NPE and find out why our motto is “The right part, at the right price, right now!”


Maintaining and Replacing General Electric Magne-Blast Switchgear Primary Disconnects (Bottles)

As discussed in other articles on this site, care and maintenance of the primary disconnect (bottle) assembly in your GE Magne-Blast switchgear is a critical element that ensures proper functioning for years to come. Performing this critical maintenance can be tricky to do in a cost-effective manner if you are not intimately familiar with the equipment. Fortunately, we specialize in this area.

Magne-Blast breaker primary disconnects, also known as bottles.

The Two Routes for GE Magne-Blast Maintenance

Remove and Rebuild

The first maintenance option is to remove the bottles from the Magne-Blast gear—either one breaker at a time or in mass—and then have them rebuilt in a proper fixture (to ensure proper alignment) using modern materials that ensure proper functioning for years, if not decades, to come. Performing maintenance in this manner can become time consuming from both a labor and an outage standpoint since each breaker will be taken out of service and will remain that way for at least a week or more depending on labor and outage schedules.

Magne-Blast bottles for an am13 8 load sideSide view of Magne-Blast breaker primary disconnect bottles

Swap Them Out

The second option is to purchase bottle assemblies that are already rebuilt and tested and have them swapped with existing equipment in one outage. The cost savings in downtime and mobilization costs for labor are obvious. However, you will need a supplier like NPE with both the experience and the inventory necessary to ensure that the replacement bottles you acquire match the existing ones, making them interchangeable without modifications in the field. GE has published very little comprehensive information on this subject. The attached diagram is often thought to be an all-inclusive guide, but our hands-on experience has shown that there are many more styles and factors that can affect interchangeability.

Getting the right information to your switchgear dealer is fairly simple, but it does require an outage. You will need to remove the inspection covers and get detailed, well-lit photos of the copper details at the top of both the line and the load side bottles, as well as photos of the bottom side by the shutter. Also, you will need to document the model number and the frame size of the breaker that will be installed into the cell. The feeder breakers are often the same configuration, but care will have to be taken with the main and ties breakers and document them separately.

Once the proper bottles have been identified, rebuilt, and swapped out, the existing bottles can be rebuilt and kept on hand for future spares or, if they are in rebuildable condition, they can be returned for credit as cores.

Standard front 45 15kv primary disconnects for Magne-Blast breakers.

Have an Expert Handle Magne-Blast Bottle Repotting

If it’s time to maintain or replace your Magne-Blast Switchgear primary disconnects, NPE can help. Learn more about how NPE’s bottle repotting program can be just what you need or just contact us today to talk to one of our experts.