why do panels not "hide" the main lugs?

Old 09-17-14, 06:56 PM
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why do panels not "hide" the main lugs?

Why do many electrical panels not "hide" the main lugs in another enclosed compartment? Most seem to be open with both hot wires visible.
In a separate enclosed compartment, you could disconnect the main and safely work on the breakers without fear of accidentally touching anything.

I've seen advice to put a piece of cardboard in front of the panel to hide them whilst working on the panel.
I've also seen advice to take the panel cover off whilst standing on wood/rubber but if you use both hands then even if the cover became energized, it would go throiugh you anyway?!
Old 09-17-14, 07:16 PM
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In Canada there is a shield over the incoming power. I agree it would be a nice feature to add but I doubt it will be added until mandated here.

The cover should be grounded when installed by contact with the grounded enclosure.
Old 09-17-14, 07:28 PM
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I've seen advice to put a piece of cardboard in front of the panel to hide them whilst working on the panel.
I think that recommendation is primarily for inexperienced DIYers many of whom shouldn't be in a live loadcenter anyway.
Old 09-17-14, 07:31 PM
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While we do help a lot of people with doing their own electrical work, doing such work has its risks. I always suggest that a DIYer shut off the main breaker to de-energize the panel, except for the mains lugs, where the service conductors terminate. Those lugs will almost always be hot, but are more shielded then a main lug only panel.

A main lug only panel should be able to be shut off remotely so the entire panel is de-energized
Old 09-17-14, 09:13 PM
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You shouldn't work on main panel without 100% confidence. If you feel you're at 98%:

Turn off main and check breaker buss bars.
Remove cover to prevent it from dropping unexpectedly.
Have a plan as to how to route wires and preform. This includes ground, neutral and hot.

Attach hot to breaker before inserting breaker, again, making sure it's preformed and will fit easily.

All the above limits your time inside panel and most can be performed one-handed.

If you have any doubts whatsoever, do not enter panel.
Old 09-17-14, 11:16 PM
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Funny thing is, I was just thinking this yesterday while wiring in a new 320A service.

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