Use old breaker panel as junction box?

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Thanks, Evan -
That is EXACTLY what I was thinking. I recently did some wiring in my kitchen ceiling, and the condition of the old wire was a little scary. You can move it a bit without cracking the insulation, but it would be better to leave it where it is. I replaced the stuff in that ceiling, as I was redoing all the plumbing above it anyway, but I really don't want to do the whole house,
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On May 31, 11:28 pm, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

Agreed, it takes time when you have the electrician MOVE the actual wire for each circuit from the old panel enclosure to the new one IF IT WILL REACH...
Popping wire nuts on each conductor and extending a circuit to the new panel in a large diameter segment of conduit that runs from the old panel to the new panel won't take as long as you think...
The wiring runs in the old installation to the old panel are fine if you don't start messing with them, you have no idea what will happen to older wiring when you start bending it in a new way to route it to the new panel...
As long as you have the required conductor length inside the old panel (you will find you have more than plenty as minimum) you can use it as a junction box after you gut the panel and remove all the old fuses/circuit breakers and all the busbars...
~~ Evan
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In most places the "sub" has to separate neutral from ground.
When all is done and said, it may be more trouble than it's worth.
The best solution is to entirely remove the old panel and plop the new panel in the same place. You might want to look at several panels to find one that best approximates the location of the feed wires and the loads used in the existing box.
The odds are that the electrician will not have to use any "wire stretching" techniques.
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Ultimately it will be up to the inspector, but it is often done, and yes you would gut the panel and screw the door closed.
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rangerssuck wrote:

That is exactly what previous owner did in this place. The addition required moving service and a service upgrade, so rather than re-pull all the old circuits, they gutted the panel and used it as a giant J-box. Didn't do a real clean job, and it is on my list to open it up and check it out one of these days. New panel has an 'installed by, and in case of problems call' sticker from a local 'real' electrician company, so presumably it is kosher. But they just taped over the old breaker holes inside the door, and didn't put in blank covers or screw it shut or anything, so I at least want to take care of that before I put the house up for sale in 2-3 years. No idea if the removed the old buss bars, but the new connections are floating in space so presumably they aren't connected to anything. (I peeled tape loose on one corner, and peeked in with a flashlight. I shuddered, and closed it back up.) Old and new panels are about 8 feet apart.
If you go this way, recommend dressing the old panel real well so it doesn't look like a rat's nest like mine does. Label the runs with breaker number for new panel, and maybe leave a typed printout inside the door for the poor SOB 20 years from now trying to figure it out. And find plugs for the old breaker holes, or screw the door shut.
--
aem sends....

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Or you could buy a piece of sheet metal of the correct thickness and cut it to the correct dimensions and shape to properly seal the front of the old panel, drill cover plate screw holes in the right places, paint it a color which won't be out of place and install...
How nicely do you want it dressed ? It is a junction box, not a service panel... Unless something serious happens no one should ever have to open it again...
~~ Evan
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*It's been done, however that old panel is not an approved junction box. You would need to remove the guts and plug any holes and the cover would have to be screwed shut. I would talk to the electrical inspector to see if he would allow that. I think it would be much neater looking to just swing all of the old wires into the new panel.
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Many times they are too short.
If they come from all directions I would reroute the ones I could straight to the new box. Otherwsie I'd do the same thing.
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On 5/31/2010 8:48 PM, rangerssuck wrote:

did when I upgraded. They stripped all the old stuff out, then ran new cables to the new box and wire nutted them together. After that they screwed the old box shut and marked the door that there were no user serviceable parts inside. The inspector here was happy with the job.
Bill
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I agree, but John Grabowski's point, that it's not an approved junction box, is the gray area, and why I would check with the inspector.
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I did it and the inspector made me remove the existing front and replace it with a solid piece of metal. No biggy I just used the old front as a template.
Jimmie
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OK. I spoke with the local electrical inspector and he said that even though it's not his favorite way to do this, when he was a contractor he did it all the time. Just make sure you screw the door closed. The fact is that if I don't use the big box as a junction box, I'd have to mount a bunch of other boxes anyway since most of the wires are way too short to make it to the new panel.
The bottom line is, it's OK with him, and it will save a bunch of time & money.
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