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Old 10-28-2012, 01:56 PM   #16
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


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Buy a 120v reliance transfer switch, and someone qualified install it for you.
Already have a gentran box with proper 4 prong wiring for use with larger Honda generator. The problem, however, is when I want to use a much more fuel efficient 2000 watt Honda for modest loads like just a fridge & lights. Since this is a 3 wire set up it cannot plug directly in the gentian inlet box, hence my adapter cable. I called gentran & they told me this is what many do (even the guy who answered the phone, if I remember right) although they can't officially recommend it.

The 6500w Honda uses approx 1 gallon every 3 hours, while the 2000w model 1 every 9 hours. Why use the big one all the time when its higher output is only needed for the well pump and furnace? Hard to store enough fuel to run the big one all the time.

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Old 10-28-2012, 01:58 PM   #17
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


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Already have a gentran box with proper 4 prong wiring for use with larger Honda generator. The problem, however, is when I want to use a much more fuel efficient 2000 watt Honda for modest loads like just a fridge & lights. Since this is a 3 wire set up it cannot plug directly in the gentian inlet box, hence my adapter cable. I called gentran & they told me this is what many do (even the guy who answered the phone, if I remember right) although they can't officially recommend it.

The 6500w Honda uses approx 1 gallon every 3 hours, while the 2000w model 1 every 9 hours. Why use the big one all the time when its higher output is only needed for the well pump and furnace? Hard to store enough fuel to run the big one all the time.
Im a professional, not sure what else to tell you about that setup.
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Old 10-28-2012, 01:59 PM   #18
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


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You dont even know the dangers of this....
GenTran & the local Honda service dealer were fine with it--they even suggested it! What are the dangers of using a smaller generator to power select circuits via the transfer panel assuming all 240v breakers are off?

If I am missing something bad I'd certainly want to know! Can't see having 2 transfer panels with one for each generator.

Thanks!
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:04 PM   #19
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


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Im a professional, not sure what else to tell you about that setup.
I must be missing something. Is there a better way to use a smaller, more fuel efficient generator with an existing 4 prong GenTran panel? Seems inefficient to run a larger, more gas guzzling unit for just the fridge & a few lights.

If there is a better & safer way I'd sure love to hear it. While I value efficiency I don't want danger or a lack of safety. GenTran (unofficially, of course) said no issue as long as 240 breakers are off as did local Honda techs and a local electrician I spoke to. Yes, there are certainly issues if over used, but given the smaller units 3 fold less fuel usage I prefer to use it whenever possible.
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:06 PM   #20
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


you could overload a MWBC neutral by using a 120v generator the way you described.
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:10 PM   #21
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


Nah. Imma just do it right and get a fixed position genny. But good to know. AND a bigger panel.
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:12 PM   #22
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


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you could overload a MWBC neutral by using a 120v generator the way you described.
Great point. I recall now researching this back when I first posted this. If I remember the conversation right with the local guy each of my breakers/circuits has a dedicated neutral. None are shared, again assuming my memory is good.

I do appreciate your comments. Trying to find the best solution without compromising safety.
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:12 PM   #23
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


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Great point. I recall now researching this back when I first posted this. If I remember the conversation right with the local guy each of my breakers/circuits has a dedicated neutral. None are shared, again assuming my memory is good.

I do appreciate your comments. Trying to find the best solution without compromising safety.
The only way is the right way...
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:18 PM   #24
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


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The only way is the right way...
I cannot philosophically disagree. But, is there a way to use a smaller, much more fuel efficient generator on an existing panel? Can't store enough fuel to the big one for nearly as long as the small one.

Seems silly to have the correctly installed gentran panel, all wiring done right and then bypass it all by using extension cords for the fridge & lights when using the small generator.

Is there a different or better way? Must I always use the big, gas sucking generator even when all I want is the fridge & a light or 2? There has to be a better way......
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:20 PM   #25
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


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Nah. Imma just do it right and get a fixed position genny. But good to know. AND a bigger panel.
Can't see spending many thousands for a fixed backup, especially since we have no gas/propane. Its gasoline or nothing for a generator, unfortunately. Besides, I already own two Honda inverters which I can take with me if I move.

I am puzzled on why one would need a "bigger panel", however. If I have a properly sized panel, proper back up gentran box & correct wiring why would I need a bigger panel? I'm not trying to skirt things by backfeeding or something equally dangerous. Just want to at times use the back up panel with a smaller, more fuel efficient generator.
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:20 PM   #26
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


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I cannot philosophically disagree. But, is there a way to use a smaller, much more fuel efficient generator on an existing panel? Can't store enough fuel to the big one for nearly as long as the small one.

Seems silly to have the correctly installed gentran panel, all wiring done right and then bypass it all by using extension cords for the fridge & lights when using the small generator.

Is there a different or better way? Must I always use the big, gas sucking generator even when all I want is the fridge & a light or 2? There has to be a better way......
I would pick a setup for whatever generator you want to use and stick to it.
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:28 PM   #27
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


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I would pick a setup for whatever generator you want to use and stick to it.
All was set up for the 6500W unit and then I experienced how much fuel it could use, even on the ECO setting & as an inherently more efficient inverter. Realized that 90% of my needs could be met with a 2000x unit so long as I had the bigger one for the well, hot water & furnace. With a wood stove even the furnace circuit is seldom used.

At 1/3 the fuel consumption the smaller one has a certain appeal, even though totally unusable when one needs higher amounts of power. Don't want to compromise safety and am puzzled why the gentran people, Honda & local electrician all had no issue provided I use it as described. Yours is the first substantive concern I've seen, hence my alarm. Of course, all this talk on the TV about power outages got me thinking!

I wish the panel could be designed to accommodate everything!
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:30 AM   #28
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


Update: while I philosophically dislike mwbc circuits, I do have some. I've scheduled a trusted electrician to come by and inspect/change my panel as needed. Gentran makes NO mention of watching out for mwbc circuits in the install instructions. Still undetermined is if I moved only half or both sides of any mwbc circuits & if such is an issue under either line power and/or gen power.

I am annoyed. All this BS because the original electrician took the easy path. Yes, i know mwbcs are common, but I still do not like the idea.
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:08 PM   #29
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


To allay any concerns, I had the gentian panel & wiring, etc. inspected by a local licensed electrician. He acknowledged that there are indeed some MWBCs in the box and which are hooked up to the gentran panel. We also discussed my desire to use a 3 to 4 wire cable adaptor for circumstances where the larger, much less fuel efficient generator isn't needed and the concerns expressed here by some.

In short, he agreed that those concerned with an overload of a MWBC are theoretically correct, but given the maximum 16A output of the smaller Honda generator (13.7 continuous) there is little, if any, real world risk of an overloaded neutral even under worst case scenarios. Were one to connect a much higher output generator with a 3 to 4 wire adapter & run crazy loads on those circuits sharing a neutral an overload could be a risk. Since I have no intent of doing such, nor do I even own a 3 wire generator capable of such high output all should be, or so I hope, fine.

Thanks to all for the comments & discussion.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:01 PM   #30
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3 wire to 4 wire generator connection possible?


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Originally Posted by stickboy1375 View Post
You dont even know the dangers of this....
There really are none

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Im a professional, not sure what else to tell you about that setup.
I'm a professional too, or at least a licensed electrical contractor

The setup that he described is perfectly normal and commonly used. I do it myself.

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you could overload a MWBC neutral by using a 120v generator the way you described.
Impossible. The generator is only capable of delivery 2,000w (16.6A) for a short period of time. The generator is simply not able to overload the neutral of a MWBC.

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The only way is the right way...
There is nothing wrong with this way. I understand that it seems wrong on the surface, especially to an electrician, but it's not.

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I would pick a setup for whatever generator you want to use and stick to it.
Again, I have to disagree. I do pretty much exactly what the OP does, I run a Honda EU2000i full time and only connect my large generator when I need water or heat. This system worked well for me for over 12 days last month, and many other people.

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