Circuit breaker panel question


Hi. I've a newbie question. My circuit breaker panel has 240volt service entering it. I removed the cover to investigate how the breakers are installed and tested some of the breaker leads with a voltmeter. The breakers are arranged in 2 columns, with 6 breakers in each column. I see two black cables, one to each column, and one white cable to the neutral bus.
While holding the probe to the lowest circuit breaker in the first column ("R#1, C#1") , I found that the next row up in the same column ("R#2,C#1) had no difference in potential. But both were 120V above neutral (which makes sense to me). However, the difference between R#1,C#1 and R#3,C#1 was 240 volts. Same for R#1,C#1 and R#4,C#1. R#5 & R#6 go back to no difference in potential over R#1.
Is there some type of standard crisscross pattern of feeders behind the circuit breakers? I remember reading about this somewhere... maybe to reduce the chance of overloading one feeder over the other??
I'm sure any electrician or someone familiar with an empty breaker box can answer this. Please help.
Thank you. Anthony M. Falcone
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Most modern breaker panels alternate L1 and L2 vertically in each column of breakers. Some models like zinsco and ITE pushmatic do it horizontally

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In addition to what was said below it sounds as though you have some twin breakers in your panel. Instead of one breaker per slot, you actually have two which is why you don't have 240 volts between adjoining breakers.

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Yes. The bus for each leg serpentines to alternate connections. Next time you're at HD, look at an empty box and it'll be crystal clear.
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If still present and readable, there should be a wiring diagram inside the panel door that shows the bus arrangement if you look closely.
Don Young
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On 12 Dec 2006 14:21:05 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

The real answer is on the label, although some are hard to figure out. It is somewhat standard for every full sized slot to be on the opposite phase as the one below it so a 2 pole breaker will develop 240v but there some panels (GE?) where this is not true except for the ones in the middle. It should be described on the label though.
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Thank you all for the very informative answers. As suggested, next time I'm at HomeDepot, I'll observe an empty box to see for myself.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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