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Old 10-06-2012, 08:54 PM   #1
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120v Generator


I'm looking for the best way to wire up a 30 amp generator that's 120 volts only to my panel. The generator has a dryer plug-style plug and also a RV style. I am not looking to power any 240v circuits.

Problem I've seen with transfer switch kits is they have 4 prong cords, and my generator has 3 prongs.

I also thought of an interlock kit but they seem to need a 240v breaker. Could I split the 120 so it covers both legs of the panel?


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Old 10-06-2012, 08:59 PM   #2
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If I understand what it is you want to do...the answer is no.

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Old 10-06-2012, 09:19 PM   #3
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120v Generator


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I'm looking for the best way to wire up a 30 amp generator that's 120 volts only to my panel. The generator has a dryer plug-style plug and also a RV style. I am not looking to power any 240v circuits.

Problem I've seen with transfer switch kits is they have 4 prong cords, and my generator has 3 prongs.

I also thought of an interlock kit but they seem to need a 240v breaker. Could I split the 120 so it covers both legs of the panel?
Yes.....but with caution.....

You will have some serious damage if power comes back on while the generator is connected.

It is a pretty extensive modification to install an interlock/bypass on a typical load center.

Poor mans version...if you have a power outage and need the generator....you open the main breaker to your load center...flip the breaker for your generator and run it.....and yes, you can take the 120 from it and connect it to both legs....you do this by back feeding a breaker in your load center. As long as you understand that you have only the ampacity of the generator....you should be fine....

Just remember....when power comes back on...flip the generator breaker off...then turn on your main breaker.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:32 PM   #4
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120v Generator


Dawg...no you cannot do that. If you have multi wire branch circuits you may be overloading the branch circuit neutral.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:35 PM   #5
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120v Generator


I don't have any MWBCs but I don't like the idea of not having any kind of interlok. I'd always remember to shut off the main but the wife may not remember no matter how many times I tell her about it. I'd hate to see someone get killed or injured because of this.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:36 PM   #6
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120v Generator


I would just use extension cords for what needs to run, and a block of foam to make the seal under the window that the cords are run through.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:36 PM   #7
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I don't have any MWBCs but I don't like the idea of not having any kind of interlok. I'd always remember to shut off the main but the wife may not remember no matter how many times I tell her about it. I'd hate to see someone get killed or injured because of this.
You can't legally do it without an interlock of some sort....whether it be a mechanical one or a regular transfer switch. The consequences are deadly to install without the proper safety devices in place.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:37 PM   #8
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I would just use extension cords for what needs to run, and a block of foam to make the seal under the window that the cords are run through.
In this instance it may be the best way to to
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:39 PM   #9
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can you post a picture of the generator, and the plugs. if it has a dryer style i wonder if it does have 240. find the model number of the plug on the face of the plug
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:40 PM   #10
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I'm sure it does, he is just looking for a cheap way to wire it up.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:35 PM   #11
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Dawg...no you cannot do that. If you have multi wire branch circuits you may be overloading the branch circuit neutral.
30A generator? Possible.....but I really doubt it.....
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:36 AM   #12
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What does the size of the generator have to do with overloading a neutral of a MWBC in the home?
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:08 AM   #13
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What does the size of the generator have to do with overloading a neutral of a MWBC in the home?
If the 120 volt generator can deliver more than 15 amperes altogether and is connected to both legs of the 120/240 volt system then a 14 gauge multiwire branch circuit can be overloaded. If the generator can deliver more than 20 amps then a 12 gauge MWBC can be overloaded.

With a proper and legal interlock or transfer switch the utility power and generator power cannot be connected to the home system at the same time. Then it doesn't matter if the 120 volt generator is connected to both legs, other than the MWBC issue above.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:08 AM   #14
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120v Generator


you have 2 seperate 120V plugs there on the generator already with different styles.... plugs looks like these http://www.cabelas.com/generators-ac...yword={keyword}
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:24 AM   #15
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120v Generator


I have 2 issues with using extension cords. First, one of the big reasons I wanted a generator was to be able to power the furnace in an outage. Certainly can't do that without hard wiring. And second, I only have 2 long extension cords. And good quality ones aren't cheap.

I think I will get an interlok for the panel, use a single breaker, and just move any circuits I want to power to that leg of the panel. As far as running a cord, I can use the dryer style plug. Can this be wired directly into the panel or will I need to add an outlet for it at the panel (and modify the cord to have a male plug in both ends)?

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