I'm adding a circuit in my basement. The wires run to the right of my panel, but I'm out of slots on the right side of my panel. Can I tap into the box on the right, and run the hot wire to a breaker on the left? Or do I need to run the cable around the outside of the box and tap into the left side so the wires don't cross inside the panel?


Yes, of course you can. The ample margins on all sides between the breaker area and the wall of the panel is considered a type of raceway, and is precisely for that purpose.

What you cannot do is route conductors across the area where breakers are supposed to go.

There are those who say you should nip the wires back smartly so the panel is very neat. That is nonsense. Leave yourself enough length that you can move breakers around if you need to. While some consider the extra wire length to be ugly, what I consider ugly is yellow wire-nuts all over the place because someone cut wires too short.

Do not coil extra wire (you don't need that much extra) or you will accidentally create an electromagnet.

  • 1
    All wires carrying current induce a magnetic field, Coiling it just 'stacks' the effect.
    – James T
    Mar 5 '18 at 9:49
  • @Sanchises Nope, theory doesn't meet practice because theory is missing something important. See NEC 300.20 for actual practice, there are 2 pages on that here that are pretty descriptive. If you want the theory behind it, work backwards from there. Hint: Why do they laminate motor windings and transformer cores? Mar 5 '18 at 15:46
  • @Sanchises If it was just eddy currents, Code wouldn't require you to use an aluminum nut, because aluminum is vulnerable to eddy currents. Like James Trotter says, every AC wire emits a magnetic field That's why clamp meters work so well on AC. We certainly do see a loop or two (see it?) from time to time, but I wouldn't swerve out of my way to create it. It'll make the panel buzz, make the wire wobble and potentially fail from metal fatigue. Copper loves to work-harden. Mar 5 '18 at 18:23
  • @Sanchises If you had all conductors go through a coil like in a GFCI so the conductors' fields canceled... and potted the coil to arrest wire movement... then maybe. Wonder how that would do for spike suppression. Mar 5 '18 at 18:24

Makes no difference where and cable enters the panel and once it is there it can take power from where ever there is an open space.

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