View Full Version : dressing a panel

12-06-2008, 05:39 PM
i don't know what the electricians call it but in computer racks and data centers, we call the practice of making all the wires and cables run nice and neat and bundling them by function "dressing the cabinet". Presume a panel where the wires can only enter through the top or bottom (and likely, the top only), unlike that picture that jar456 showed with the wires stapled to the backer board and coming in from all sides.

in the illustration (hopefully all the components should be self-explanatory), on the right is a wire that is cut long enough to reach its respective breaker. this reduces panel clutter, but makes it difficult to move the position of the breaker in the future.

on the left, the wire is basically measured to reach the bottom of the panel, or at least the last breaker position, then folded up enough to reach the position of its respective breaker in use. this does allow for relocation of this circuit to any breaker position in the box (on the same side) but does require stuffing more into the panel than is really necessary.

I'd like to know what you pro's out there do with regard to how long you trim down your wires that enter the circuit breaker panel. or, if this is dictated by NEC code, what the code citation says.


12-06-2008, 05:46 PM
Right side of your drawing.

Once the circuits are installed there should be no need to be moving them around.
The moving of the breakers is not a good idea. It would be better of leave them and move the conductor even if it means the use of a wire nut.

Removing and replacing the breakers will weaken the jaws and do more harm to the bus bars.

12-07-2008, 06:49 PM
For start, I am not a pro although I do have EE degree. Over the years I have done a number of projects (with inspection) for myself and, knock wood, never been "failed".

My prference is for a combination of "dressing". I route both neutral and ground short and direct as they can stay where initially installed. I do leave a loop in the hot lead going to the breaker so that it can be repositioned, if necessary, in the future.

In reality I can't say I ever took advantage of my "future planning" but it costs nothing and takes little room in the panel and may avoid a wirenut at some point.

12-07-2008, 07:21 PM
I say the word for most electric panels is "static" - never or rarely changes. So trim the wires to the breaker.

However for computer facilities, the words are "constant change"!
Nothing stays put for very long. Always updating, moving, reconfiguring, replacing equipment, etc. So I would say leave the wires long so they can be moved around in the future.

12-08-2008, 06:30 AM
Seeing the two side by side might help you decide

Here this one looks neat and clean and would be easy to work in


This one wil allow the breakers to be moved from place to place but is is not neat or clean.

To try and move anything around will really get every thing twisted and tied together.


Which one would you rather say you did?

With over 40 years in the field I can honestly say that should I be called to work on the second panel, when I left it would look more like the top panel.

Experience tell me that if I ever need to move anything it is real simple to move something up than to move all that extra junk in the panel making a mess.

12-08-2008, 12:18 PM
i'm ashamed to admit that mine makes panel #2 look neat. of course, the majority of the rats nest was from the first electrician who replaced my old Federal Pacific panel and the second electrician who installed the transfer switch for the generator and re-directed some of the circuits. i added some circuits but by that time the "damage" was already done. i'm debating about going back and making it look more like #1, but i'm conscious about the comments regarding moving breakers and weakening the stab-locks.

static is good - i can live with that.