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Old 07-13-2012, 11:40 PM   #1
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Am I heading in the right direction with my generator install?


I will be purchasing a 15Kw portable genny. I had an electrician come out and determine what needed to be done. He wants to install an interlock kit. I was leaning more towards a separate transfer switch and panel, but he said it wasn't necessary. I like the idea of being able to use my existing panel to run what I need. (Saving some $$ on install and materials) He is also going to install a power inlet box for the genny cord.

The generator company I will ordering from doesn't recommend an interlock kit even though it is widely accepted as a safe way to feed the sub panel. They said something about sharing the same neutral bond or something to that effect. I don't understand that aspect of electrical stuff.

The main reason for such a big genny is I want to be able to run my 3 ton A/C unit.

Is there any negatives to feeding my existing panel via an interlock kit with such a big generator? Its a 200 amp panel and the genny is rated for 63 amps and I'll have a 50 amp cord.

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Old 07-14-2012, 05:26 AM   #2
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Am I heading in the right direction with my generator install?


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Originally Posted by JayBird View Post
I will be purchasing a 15Kw portable genny. I had an electrician come out and determine what needed to be done. He wants to install an interlock kit. I was leaning more towards a separate transfer switch and panel, but he said it wasn't necessary. I like the idea of being able to use my existing panel to run what I need. (Saving some $$ on install and materials) He is also going to install a power inlet box for the genny cord.

The generator company I will ordering from doesn't recommend an interlock kit even though it is widely accepted as a safe way to feed the sub panel. They said something about sharing the same neutral bond or something to that effect. I don't understand that aspect of electrical stuff.

The main reason for such a big genny is I want to be able to run my 3 ton A/C unit.

Is there any negatives to feeding my existing panel via an interlock kit with such a big generator? Its a 200 amp panel and the genny is rated for 63 amps and I'll have a 50 amp cord.

We just had a thread on the issues of hooking up portable generators, and the reason your generator company didn't recommend a interlock kit is because the generator contains a Neutral-Ground bond at the generator, the connection also already exist at your main disconnect as well, it's against code to have two of these connections, even though 98% of portable generators are installed this same exact way.

Bottom line, either installation method is used and accepted.

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Old 07-14-2012, 06:08 AM   #3
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Am I heading in the right direction with my generator install?


As long as you are using only the receptacles on the generator to take power it is FINE the way it is.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:08 AM   #4
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Am I heading in the right direction with my generator install?


A few cities do not permit interlocks and side breaker feeding of the generator (backfeeding the generator power into the panel).

I personally would use the interlock method, but run the generator feed cable only to the back wall where a male receptacle (inlet box) is installed. Then use a cord and plug cable to connect up the generator.

When you install a whole house transfer switch ahead of the main panel it usually requires bringing in a professional because you need to rearrange the fat wires from the meter to the panel.

When you install a whole house transfer switch ahead of the main panel, you will usually end up rewiring the main panel to separate grounds and neutrals which incidentally will cure any possible problems with a generator that has neutral and ground bonded within it.

You can install a "whole house transfer switch" between the main panel and a subpanel yourself without too much effort. The subpanel has (or should have) grounds and neutral separated and then a generator with neutral and ground bonded within won't have a problem. Only the circuits in the subpanel will be eligible for generator power.

Here is another thread on using household generators. I do have to suggest reading it all.

Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?
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Last edited by AllanJ; 07-14-2012 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:52 AM   #5
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Am I heading in the right direction with my generator install?


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As long as you are using only the receptacles on the generator to take power it is FINE the way it is.
Not sure what you mean? I will be using the 50 amp receptacle on the generator plugged into an inlet box near the panel, supplying power to my panel.

AllanJ and Stickboy - thank you for your response. I want to do the safest and best way without breaking the bank but sometimes I guess its not always possible.
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:01 AM   #6
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Am I heading in the right direction with my generator install?


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Not sure what you mean? I will be using the 50 amp receptacle on the generator plugged into an inlet box near the panel, supplying power to my panel.
That's exactly what I mean.
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:04 AM   #7
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Am I heading in the right direction with my generator install?


I've preached already on how a portable generator should be properly installed, I'm not going to do it every time someone posts they are wiring one up, especially since 99% of portables are wired in correctly and the death rate is zero.
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:47 AM   #8
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Am I heading in the right direction with my generator install?


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... the death rate is zero.
More folks die from carbon monoxide poisoning than from electrical issues from portable generator use.
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Old 07-14-2012, 12:35 PM   #9
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Am I heading in the right direction with my generator install?


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since 99% of portables are wired in correctly and the death rate is zero.
With 1700 people in the US electrocuted each year, nobody died from this? How 'bout injuries?
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:13 PM   #10
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Am I heading in the right direction with my generator install?


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With 1700 people in the US electrocuted each year, nobody died from this? How 'bout injuries?
OK, shoot. Give us some stats.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:39 AM   #11
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Am I heading in the right direction with my generator install?


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since 99% of portables are wired in correctly and the death rate is zero.
Is there any other conclusion except that the NEC rules governing these things are irrelevant?

This is like requiring GFCIs in car washes even though there has never been an incident.

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