Load center wiring: short & sweet vs. long leads


Old 09-06-13, 10:23 PM
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Load center wiring: short & sweet vs. long leads

The tidy wiring inside the panel in the "Panel Safety" thread
Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...el-safety.html
has brought a question to mind:
Is it better to take the branch wires straight to the intended breaker with crisp bends & neat wire lay--OR take each wire (typically) all the way to the bottom of the panel and then up to the breaker? The first would make a mil-spec inspector happy but the 2nd seems more practical for moving breakers at some later date.

What does everyone prefer? I don't imagine this is a "right vs. wrong" thing--just a preference.
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Old 09-06-13, 10:54 PM
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First of all the wiring inside the panel in that thread doesn't look very tidy by the standards I'm accustomed to meeting. If someone on my crew had done that, they would have done it over or been relieved of responsibility for making up panels, or both.

As that implies, there is a preferred method for shaping the wires a panel. It is not sharp bends that can distort the conductors and lead to overheating at those bends. It is also not running the conductors to any part of the panel, such as the bottom, where they do not need to be and, by doing that, to make following or tracing a conductor more difficult.

The preferred method is to bend each conductor in gentle curves that bring it straight and level into the terminal on the breaker or bus bar. It should also be cut and stripped so that, when it's lined up and released, it will move into position to be terminated, or nearly so.

If you ignore the length of exposed conductor and just focus on the shaping of the wire, the two hot feeders in that panel look very well done.
Old 09-07-13, 04:37 AM
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To add, if you need to move a breaker, you can always pigtail the hot lead inside the cabinet and extend it to the location you desire.
Old 09-07-13, 07:38 AM
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There is no need to run extra conductor down to the bottom then then back up. Rarely would a breaker need to be moved and as Larry said, a splice can be added if needed.
Old 09-07-13, 12:02 PM
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Although I have never seen a splice in a panel it's nice to know they are allowed.

Do sharp bends heat up from all those electrons spinning out in the corner and crashing into the wall?
Old 09-07-13, 01:03 PM
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I hate when people do the loop in a panel. It does nothing but eat up space in the panel cabinet. Breakers rarely get moved.
Old 09-07-13, 02:56 PM
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You guys are guaranteeing that if anyone does prefer loops they wont comment for fear of being branded a heretic.

During my renovation I will probably do BOTH--long loops till I'm satisfied with the layout, then cut off the excess. I like neat and tidy but for me a splice is the ugliest thing imaginable inside a panel.
If I were a pro I am sure I would view it differently but this is going to be an incremental process.

(The panels in the houses I've owned have all had at least several long loops-- not counting old fuseboxes that just dont have room)
Old 09-07-13, 07:55 PM
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If I remember correctly several decades ago I read a book on wiring and it stated to leave the wires long enough to reach any circuit breaker in the panel; it might have been a WWII era book on marine wiring.

I like to leave long leads looped until I am absolutely certain of the arrangement of the circuit breakers and then I will go back and trim the wires to fit a specific circuit breaker.

Remember, I am NOT an electrician although I have probably run miles of wire and made thousands of connections. The above is my personal opinion.
Old 09-09-13, 09:28 AM
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The above is my personal opinion.
It's one I agree with
If I were "on the clock" I suppose it would be wasteful but I have plenty of time to work on my own house. I've already changed my mind on layout and am glad to have the extra loops. We used to call them "service loops" and I suppose it's still standard practice with many types of wiring.

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