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This panel cover is not flushed to the circuit breakers and has gaps with visible wiring. Is this unsafe and a code violation? enter image description hereenter image description here

  • 4
    Can you get us a model number of the panel, or do you feel brave enough to pull the cover and get us pix of the labeling on the backside of the cover and/or inside the panel? Oh dear Benny, what have they done??? This is not nearly Code. Right off the bat if you push the handles to "off" hard, you can pop the breaker right off the bus. What did they do, put the cover on upside-down and then get a hacksaw and double-down on the mistake? Sep 22 at 22:53
  • Thank you! Yes, you’re exactly on point. Just uploaded a pic of the panel removed. Clearly, the cover was modified to mask a mistake they made. Inquired with the company, and I was told the lead journeyman says this does not need to be fixed.
    – user141885
    Sep 23 at 2:01
  • Can you post photos of the labeling on the panel itself please? Sep 23 at 2:17
  • Thank you everyone for the input. I escalated it to the local union of electricians and state electrical inspectors who all agree this is a safety hazard that needs correction. Took all of that effort to finally have the company come out to check it out.
    – user141885
    Sep 23 at 3:08
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    I think it's safe to say that in all circumstances, if someone is using tin snips on a breaker panel, whatever they are doing is wrong. Sep 23 at 5:53

They know not what they did!

So this is an outdoor-rated "NEMA 3R" panel. You notice there's a very particular "dance" that the swinging door cover does in order to latch in and provide watertightness. As such, the deadfront cover has a very specific correct orientation. Therefore my original theory - that they put the deadfront on upside down - is not possible. It only goes one way.

Indoor panels are quite different, they can be mounted upside-down anytime you please. That's why the breakers go left and right, so inverting them doesn't make "off" "up". So it's perfectly routine with indoor panels to mount it upside down if that will make it reach the existing wires easier.

Here's one of my favorite tricks: Panel manufacturers sell many, many panels, but make only a few box sizes. You can see this in the Eaton panel catalog. What makes one panel different from another is the deadfront cover and the bus assembly. The bus assembly is everything that isn't the box itself. It unbolts with 3-4 screws, and like I say, many panels use a few boxes.

But the deadfront cover must match the bus assembly, so the breakouts line up with the breakers! That's what has gone wrong here.

So they did one of two things. Either they found short feeder wires, considered the normal trick of flipping the whole panel upside down, realized that does not work with an outdoor panel, and flipped the bus assembly over instead. Or, they "kitbashed together" one panel's bus assembly with another panel's deadfront cover.

So all they need to do is buy a matching cover for that bus assembly. And, if they flipped it over, un-flip it, which will require extending the feeder wires. It's an annoyance as it requires three $20 Polaris connectors, but it can be done.

They may have to buy a whole new panel to get an intact deadfront. Panel manufacturers do sell deadfronts, but generally for indoor panels so they can sell the same panel surface-mount (normal box lid) or flush-mount (extended flare to cover drywall edge).

  • Thank you. I’ll be sure to share this with the company if they can’t figure out a solution to fix it or try to take another short cut.
    – user141885
    Sep 23 at 20:01

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