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Is using the main panel as a junction box a code violation?

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    Is using the main panel as a junction box a code violation?

    This is my very first thread, and I hope someone has an answer...So, recently we experienced quite a few power outages and a lot of people are now buying up generators and wanting to connect them using a transfer switch to the main panel. What I am seeing is when the transfer switch is wired in with its own bank of breakers, the connections to the house are being made in the main panel (and the backed-up normal power breakers abandoned). This is usually done with wire nut connectors. Now, my understanding is that the main panel cannot be used as a junction box, but it seems this is allowed in the US. What is the alternative solution to this? A separate junction box for say 10 circuits outside of the main panel? This makes little sense to me, as the branch circuit wiring to the house will most likely be too short now...suggestions?

    #2
    difference between NEC and .canadian codes possibly?

    NEC allows the connections within the panel box and if you were moving the panel box like six feet you can splice the wires in old box to do that without any problems. Many times the new box is next to old box when you design the generator panel box, so again, not a large problem.

    But, do not have the Canadian code book handy. Know some parts of canadian code were used in last code update in Jamaica, but not sure how many were, but the inspector here in Jamaica would allow me to move wires to new breakers using old box as a jumper... though he would prefer I pull new wire ... because we use conduits in most work I do here in Jamaica. But he would not require new wire, just prefer it...
    Student of electrical codes. Please Take others advice first.

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      #3
      Yes it is against Canadian code. CEC 2015. 12-3032(1)

      The circuits would have to be removed and installed in the new panel. If they are not long enough a junction box will need to be used.

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        #4
        Since this is the Canadian Forum section what Eddy posted probably applies. I can't say anymore as I don't know Canadian code.

        If NEC is what applies, one needs to look at some terminology - a panelboard is the assembly with the bus and breakers, it gets installed into a cabinet. You can make splices inside a cabinet. Kind difficult to make splices inside a breaker or the bus assembly, which are what makes up the "panelboard".
        I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

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          #5
          I know several years ago it was ok. I started out in residential and performed several service upgrades and fuse to cb swaps where branch circuits were too short. I extended them with a joint in the panel and the ESA inspector had no problem with this. This was in the mid 2000's, I don't really keep up with current residential codes anymore but its worth checking in with your inspector.

          my $0.02

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            #6
            Originally posted by BMANN06 View Post
            I know several years ago it was ok. I started out in residential and performed several service upgrades and fuse to cb swaps where branch circuits were too short. I extended them with a joint in the panel and the ESA inspector had no problem with this. This was in the mid 2000's, I don't really keep up with current residential codes anymore but its worth checking in with your inspector.

            my $0.02
            Making a splice in a panel is ok when adding to an existing installation as long as the wires and joints don’t take up more than 75% of the space.

            Using a panel as a junction box for conductors feeding through or tapping off to other apparatus, like conductors fed from another panel, is not allowed.

            12-3032 + 62-212

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              #7
              Originally posted by Eddy_Current View Post
              Making a splice in a panel is ok when adding to an existing installation as long as the wires and joints don’t take up more than 75% of the space.

              Using a panel as a junction box for conductors feeding through or tapping off to other apparatus, like conductors fed from another panel, is not allowed.

              12-3032 + 62-212
              Can't argue with that - although if I was the OP I would contact local inspector and get his input - if the originating panel is piped with a nipple over to the backup panel I don't think he'll have a problem with said joint. However I'm not an inspector.

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                #8
                IMO the Canadian code requirement does keep the rats nest of wire nuts out of the main distribution panel.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by DanS26 View Post
                  IMO the Canadian code requirement does keep the rats nest of wire nuts out of the main distribution panel.
                  Does it really matter or impact safety if you moved the rats nest to a junction box right next to main panel for those conductors too short to reach their terminal.
                  I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by kwired View Post
                    Does it really matter or impact safety if you moved the rats nest to a junction box right next to main panel for those conductors too short to reach their terminal.
                    Wires that are too short to reach the breakers can be extended as long as the space does not get filled more than 75%. What can not be done is using the panel as a junction for circuits that do not originate from that panel.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Eddy_Current View Post
                      Wires that are too short to reach the breakers can be extended as long as the space does not get filled more than 75%. What can not be done is using the panel as a junction for circuits that do not originate from that panel.
                      So the rule is more about not having circuits inside that don't originate inside or are supplying the panel, and less about splicing inside?
                      I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by kwired View Post
                        So the rule is more about not having circuits inside that don't originate inside or are supplying the panel, and less about splicing inside?
                        Yes. There are two rules.

                        First one says “ enclosures for overcurrent devices, controllers and externally operated switches shall not be used as a junction boxes, troughs or raceways for conductors feeding through to other apparatus”. ​12-3032(1)


                        The other says. “The enclosure identified shall be permitted to be used as a junction box where wiring is being added to an enclosure forming part of an existing installation and the conductors, splices and taps do not fill the wiring space more than 75%”. 12-3032(2)(a)(i)

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Eddy_Current View Post
                          Wires that are too short to reach the breakers can be extended as long as the space does not get filled more than 75%. What can not be done is using the panel as a junction for circuits that do not originate from that panel.
                          Agreed, and if you pipe two panels together they are technically considered one panel.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by BMANN06 View Post
                            Agreed, and if you pipe two panels together they are technically considered one panel.

                            ??? What do you mean by pipe two together?

                            You can can not have wires connected to a breaker in one panel leave, and then run through conduit to another panel, and then exit the second panel to the field.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Eddy_Current View Post
                              You can can not have wires connected to a breaker in one panel leave, and then run through conduit to another panel, and then exit the second panel to the field.
                              It's done with almost every residential generator-panel installation.
                              Master Electrician
                              Electrical Contractor
                              Richmond, VA

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