Tidying up wiring in a panel

Reply

  #1  
Old 08-01-14, 07:39 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,466
Tidying up wiring in a panel

I am trying to tidy up the wiring in a panel.

The existing wires are all over the place and everything is tangled up and I can't tell which is which.



So next week I will try and reorganize them a bit. Looking for a few pointers.

(1) Do you trim the conductors such that the ones going into the breakers up top are shorter and the ones going into the lower ones are longer? That way you don't have as much extra conductors that need to be tucked away? Or you leave them because you might need to move them around one day and don't want to be short.

(2) Do you pair up the neutrals and hots for each circuit so the neutral for a particular breaker goes in the neutral bar right behind the corresponding hot? Or doesn't matter? Right now I think whoever did that put the neutral wherever it was convenient.

(3) In my case most of mine are EMT conduits with individual conductors. But I do have a few NM cables, and some of those 12-3 were used for 240V and the neutral conductors are not used. Do you leave them dangling or do you cut them back to the knock out hole?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 08-01-14, 08:11 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,385
You have what is referred to as a 12-24 panel and they are difficult to keep neat when trimming out the panel, but it can be done. That is one of the reasons I do not like that type panel. In your case, I don't like that type GE panel because you have to use the GE Type THQP thin breakers and they have little contact surface with the bus bar.

Do you trim the conductors such that the ones going into the breakers up top are shorter and the ones going into the lower ones are longer?
Yes. Route the hot conductors around the outside of the panel box and make a neat 90 degree turn to the breaker where it terminates.

Do you pair up the neutrals and hots for each circuit so the neutral for a particular breaker goes in the neutral bar right behind the corresponding hot? Or doesn't matter?
It doesn't matter. Route the neutral to the nearest open termination point on the nearest neutral bar and don't leave excessive length, but do route the wire along the outside of the panel box and make a neat 90 degree turn where the wire needs to turn to enter the neutral bus termination hole.

some of those 12-3 were used for 240V and the neutral conductors are not used.
I wouldn't have used a 3 conductor cable for a 240 volt circuit, but since they did you could cut them off where they enter the panel, but that would be optional.
 
  #3  
Old 08-02-14, 05:24 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
Holy cadeusus batman! What CJ said. If this panel is not energized yet, the main breaker wires are trimmed back too far leaving too much bare wire showing. I would cap off the white wires in case, for whatever reason, someone decided to make MWBC's out of them, or add an appliance which requires a neutral. Trim all your casings back to within 1/4" of the strain relief. The red and white wires entering at the bottom.....are they in conduit? There needs to be a bushing if so. If the blue wire is chaffed, it should be cut cleanly in the middle if the tape, tape removed and wires joined via b cap.
 
  #4  
Old 08-02-14, 06:14 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,385
It's hard to believe that any of this work was done by a professional, but I have seen panels worse than this one that were done by "alleged" professionals. Sadly, just because someone works within the trade does not equate to a true professional.
 
  #5  
Old 08-02-14, 06:51 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,466
I bought this property not too long ago. Some of the conductors I pushed around a bit in order to figure out what goes where, it's virtually impossible.

The bottom is a conduit run to a receptacle right below.

The conductors that are bent outside of the panel are in conduits going somewhere that's been cancelled. Box is still on the other end, but I capped it for one reason or another. Most of the time it's due to redundancy.
 
  #6  
Old 08-02-14, 07:44 AM
bigboypete's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 218
That's a real mess.

Granted I don't know your electrical skill level, but I wouldn't suggest you open everything up for the sake of "tidying up"? You will open a can of worms for yourself.

If you want a "tidy" panel, its time to start getting some quotes from licensed electricians for a service upgrade.
 
  #7  
Old 08-02-14, 08:17 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
Not sure why an electrician would be needed to tidy up the wires in the can. I can't read the main breaker nomenclature, so assuming an upgrade is necessary may be premature.
 
  #8  
Old 08-02-14, 08:42 AM
bigboypete's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 218
Not sure why an electrician would be needed to tidy up the wires in the can.
Maybe disconnecting and re-terminating circuits in an energized panel would be one reason?

Anytime someone suggests working in a live enclosure on this forum, its a real assumption of skill. I wonder if anyone has ever gotten hurt with the encouragement they have gotten on this forum?
 
  #9  
Old 08-02-14, 08:58 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
No one, to my knowledge, has ever encouraged anyone to work on an energized enclosure. If a person feels safer, knowing the main breaker wires are always hot, they can always turn off the main to work on breakers and/or their wiring. My first question was whether or not the panel was energized.
 
  #10  
Old 08-02-14, 09:04 AM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: usa
Posts: 279
first get a headlamp so you can see what you are doing. b4 working in the panel you could turn the main breaker off. next,you could test for voltage with a meter. so all that would be hot would be the line going into the main breaker. BE CAREFUL to keep all the bare ground wires away from the hot side of the main breaker. you could work on 1 or 2 wires at a time. i would not cut off any unused wires .......cap them....you may use them later.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes