Main breaker is at bottom of panel

Is this a problem? First one I have seen like this. Panel is actually turned upside down. I can’t see why it would really matter, but wanted to see what you all thought.

Most panels can be mounted either way as long as the breakers operate side to side.

Like Greg said, if the main breaker moves side to side, there is NO such thing as “upside down”.

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When the word TOP appears in the cabinet it gives an instruction that must be followed.

2008 NEC Section250.8(A)UL Product Category Code Guide InformationZMVV

I agree.
When was the last time you saw that in a new residential panel though?

I think it’s embossed in the back of the Square D cans, but both ends say “TOP”, so it’s a moot point. I think the little 6 and 8 circuit panels say TOP in them.

Underground service must be rare in Knoxville, Texas. That is when we always see the main breaker at the bottom, shortest distance, right?
There was a pretty big gap between the siding and the top of the meter box in this installation. Looks like rain splashed in there and leaked in to the panel, which was directly behind on the inside. I called for an electrician to clean up the connections, but should have specified a little roof for the meter box as well. :mad: Maybe he’ll squirt some foam in there.

John Kogel


Here’s a couple of subpanels, both right side up, with power cable coming in the bottom. Any objections? :smiley:

John Kogel

The one on the left has a distinct TOP designation, and is correct.
The one on the right could have been mounted the other way to prevent the feeder from looping around like that. It is only marked LINE, not TOP.

Thanks, Speedy. I agree it appears to be a code violation, and am willing to bet all 30 units have similar looking panels. Flipping this panel around puts the French above the English, unacceptable west of Montreal. :wink:

Is this a safety concern if only qualified electricians work in the panels?

No, there is no violation.
I merely mentioned it as an option. It could have gone either way.

There is an obvious “Code Violation” in both panels.

I have asked an extremely knowledgeable electrical Guru by the name of Joe Tedesco to explain them to you.


For the record, I was referring to the question AS ASKED. Meaning about the panels being “upside down” or not.

I don’t see that words being upside down is a code violation.
Line is line. Top is top.

Frank, thanks for looking out for the greater good. I would not want to make and egregious mistakes and appreciate your covering for me. :mrgreen: :roll:

This cabinet is upside-down!


As long as all the breakers are operating side to side I don’t see a big issue in any of them. If Joe was my inspector I would have peeled the “ENIL” label off and printed a “LINE” label … maybe even one that said “TOP”.

Where’s the cabinet front for these panelboards?

Is the equipment listed by the CSA and what do the instructions say, that white label on the top, for example?

If the cabinet was upside down, could we read the instructions on that door?

You may want to look at 90.7 in the NEC, seems like you would have altered the instructions.

That’s what’s wrong here when only some of the story is posted with pictures, and then with the eyes of an inspector we see more problems other than the items asked.

If you want a field inspection let’s do that and bring lots of cash!

I believe that this type of posting is sometimes very good and then in others will lead the question in many directions we find in the field.

I always stand behind my comments.

There are VIOLATIONS in these panels and must be noted in the reports!

Whatever joe. So do I.

I don’t feel like getting into a pissing match with you started by frank.

I am done with this thread now.

You can keep going.

OK as long as there is no hazard to my clients. :cool:

So long as the AHJ says its okay, and the breakers operate in the correct direction (like the “up” position being the “on” position, I see no problem. I’ve seen several large panels mounted upside down, with the main located at the bottom. Up was ON. Breakers worked side to side. No biggie, IMO.

Also, I have seen installations of side-to-side breakered panels, mounted sideways, where breaker operation is CLEARLY incorrect, still blessed by the AHJ. Why? It was a situation unique to this older home, and had to do with replacement of an older panel and the existing installation of a cast-iron waste line. I brought up the issue, as I saw it, in my inspection report and recommended further evaluation by a licensed electrician. That’s it. AJH got back to me and said it wasnt a problem, as the panel was marked, and the situation was quite unique.

I have found that in this business there are few absolutes. Labeling is one of those grey areas. Observe it, call it out as a concern, call for further evaluation. Move on.