When I replace my main panel I will need to move it down about 2" or
3" from where the current panel is. Several of the branch circuits
are running through the top of the main panel and they will do the
same in the new panel. This will mean the NM sheathing won't reach
into the main panel.
The reason for the panel replacement is a complete rewire of the house
to replace/upgrade all of the Aluminum branch circuit wiring so any
'fix' will be temporary. I already have my panel replacement permit
and plan to submit my wiring replacement plans before I get my panel
inspected. This way the guy who does the panel inspection will know I
am planning on removing all of the current Al NM wire.
Is there a tape that is rated as a sheathing repair that can go into
an NM clamp?
Conduit offset fittings would probably be long enough to cover the
missing sheathing I'll encounter. Or I could install 3" pieces of
conduit but is there a clamp that allows you to connect NM to conduit
w/o a box?
(I know the sheathing has to be removed once you enter conduit)
If I went this route I would also have to use bigger knockouts and
standard NM clamps wouldn't work once I replace the circuits.
2x4 junction boxes are out of the question because of the number of
branch circuits (8) and their proximity to each other.
I don't expect the inspector to give me a hard time since I'll be
replacing all of the wires but I don't want him to start thinking
"what else did this idiot do?" I won't be able to get my power turned
back on until the panel passes and it is a little cold this time of
Bring the too short circuits into a smaller "pull box" with normal NM
connectors, something like a 6x6x4 box will probably do. Connect the
pull box to the panel with a section of conduit, 1" or 2" say depending
on the number of conductors (remember fill calc exception for less than
24" conduit). Wire nut to new wire in the pull box as needed to reach
into the new panel. You can consolidate grounds in the pull box if you
want, but the hots and neutrals need to go to the panel properly. When
you rewire the house, at most you'll need to cap off the one knockout
where the conduit connected to the panel.
Isn't this the sort of thing the large-diameter industrial heat-shrink
tubing was invented for? Borg won't have it, but I bet the local
industrial supply that sells to the local factories, will have it by the
foot. If you can postpone the project a week or so, multiple online
sources have it available.
I think you may be over thing this.
I don't know about your area but around here, for homeowners doing their own
work all the inspector wants to see on that first trip is a properly wired
SE. No branch circuits need to be in place. He approves the connection and
returns for the final at a later date.
Actually if you don't tell them you plan to do anything other than an SE
upgrade, they give you final right then and there. No more inspections
It would take a really hard-nosed inspector to turn you down on temporary
patch job where you were just missing a few inches of outer romex covering.
If you feel you must why can you not just splice short sections of wire to
the old wires a foot off to the side using the old SE panel as a big
Or use a short run of EMT with the wire feed into the top with no connector?
The 1/2" EMT connectors are the same size as a romex connector.
If the wiring is temporary and will be replaced, just use a few octagon
junction boxes and mount them up and to the side. Then run new wire from
these boxes to the new panel.
Or install junction boxes in the attic. Whatever...
"Limp Arbor" wrote in message
I'd just put a big trough above the panel and splice with wire nuts or
terminal strips in there, then pull new wire from the trough into the
new panel. If you eventually want to get rid of the trough, pull all
the NEW wiring straight through the trough without splicing or stripping
the jacket, and maybe even leave a little slack in it. You can just
connect the trough to the panel with a couple big nipples (2"?)
this is what I"m thinking of
(you'll need caps for the ends too but you get the idea)
Another option would be to stub up from the panel with a small conduit
for each circuit and then put a bushing on the conduit where the conduit
ends, presumably above the basement ceiling. If you do it that way
there'll be a lot of wire nuts in your panel though until you repull all
either way, make sure you use proper wire nuts or terminals for splicing
Al to Cu
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
I agree with Bob - ask the inspector.
If you are replacing the wires 'soon' anyway the main concern may be not
damaging the wires as they enter the panel. That could be done with a
romex connector not clamped tight, or even an EMT connector (gives a
smooth entry hole).
You describe the start of a more polished entry - a short piece of EMT
(thinwall conduit) going up to an EMT connector to a rigid pipe coupling
to a romex connector. This should even be code compliant.
If the wires were going to be replaced 'real soon' leaving the panel
cover off and running the wires into the front of the panel may be
acceptable. I suspect your replacement won't be soon enough.
===========================Regarding splicing aluminum wires -
The CPSC had a lot of research done on aluminum connections and was
apparently on the way to requiring a recall. (In the inevitable lawsuit,
the courts apparently ruled aluminum wire was not a "consumer product"
and thus not under the purview of the CPSC.) The main person involved in
the research has produced a paper, based on the research, on how to
connect aluminum wires. It is at:
The recommended conventional splice device is an Alumiconn connector (UL
listed for aluminum).
The author does not like the only wirenuts that are UL listed for
aluminum - Ideal 65 (Alumiconn is not a wire nut).
Before Alumiconn came out, his recommendation was 3M Scotchlocks with
added antioxide paste. And, as with all aluminum branch circuit
connections, coating the wire with antioxide paste and abrading the
aluminum to remove the oxide. Also twist the wires before wirenutting.
These are not UL listed for aluminum, but in testing this method was
more reliable than the Ideal 65 wirenuts that are UL listed. I would use
them for temporary connections at the panel, but since they are not UL
listed I would run it by the inspector.
==================It is probably not news to you, but the hazard of a service panel is not
just electrocution. If you manage to produce a short circuit there may
be 5000 or 10000A available. That can make screwdrivers disappear. Even
with the main breaker off, the service wire connections are hot, and
there is close to no upstream protection.
*Rubber tape with some vinyl over it will be more than adequate. However it
would be a good idea to discuss this with the electrical inspector ahead of
time and get his okay. The inspection will go a lot smoother that way.
Another possibility, mount the new panel to the side of the old panel a
few inches away. For now, feed the old panel as a subpanel. This allows
you to make the change a new service panel a lot faster because you can
do a lot of the work before you start disconnecting anything and you
don't need to move all the old stuff. Come out of the bottom of the
meter, put a sweep at the lower end to move the building entry point to
The old panel becomes a subpanel and should have ground wires to a
separate ground bar from the neutral bar and the bond from neutral to
ground should be removed. For your 'temporary' subpanel, the inspector
may let you ignore that and feed the old panel as-is.
I agree with this advice...
Install the new panel next to the old one...
Leave the "shell" of the old panel in place...
Remove the busbars, breakers and main feeders from the old panel,
connect the old panel to the new panel with several large diameter
conduits, connect the wires inside the old panel that used to go on
the circuit breakers in the old panel to jumper wires that run through
the large conduits to the new breakers in the new panel with wirenuts
you are good to go, your old panel essentially becomes a junction
That is what Previous Owner did on this place, when they put the
addition on, and had to move the service and upgrade it. New panel is
about 8 feet away. What they did NOT do properly was modify the front
of the old service panel properly (with plugs or whatever, or by just
screwing the door shut.) They just taped over the knockouts. I haven't
had the guts yet to pull the front off the panel and see how much of a
mess all the floating-in-space connections in there really are. Based on
what I have found elsewhere in the house, it won't be pretty. But
everything works, and all the grounds test out okay.
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