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Old 11-05-2012, 01:05 AM   #1
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


Posted something similar Ina different thread but figured would try my luck in the electrical area...

Ok here is my plan and thought process... but ALWAYS open to suggestions and criticism from others.

Currently I have a Main 100W breaker panel for my house. Back in the day they pulled wires from everywhere and anywhere to get power to where they needed it.. Soooo when I did some testing to see what breaker was for what I had a breaker running some things in the master bedroom along with some items in the kitchen and what have you. This is all over the house though. And from doing some small upgrades and installs myself I have come across 14g and 12g wiring on the same breaker and its a mess. BUT no breakers are tripping yet and no issues yet. All the breakers as you can see in pic are 20a but are all different and not uniform.

We do not get hurricanes so no outages from that.. BUT we do get strong winds and earthquakes which will cause an outage at some future point. So instead of sitting in the dark I would like to create a back up system, And this was my thought process:

I would like to remove 6 or 8 of the current breakers in the main ( the ones I consider essential that I will need during a power outage... fridge lights tv microwave etc...) and install them in a smaller sub panel that I will install right next to the main panel. I will move the washer/dryer 40a double pole breaker that is in the top right slot down 4 spaces and and move the 4 single breakers to the sub panel. In place of the 40a breaker I will install a new 60a double pole breaker that will power the sub panel. I will then use 6 gauge wire to connect the 60a breaker to another 60a breaker I will install in the sub panel. In addition to the 60a double pole breaker and all the relocated breakers from the main I will install a 30a double pole breaker that will connect to a 4 prong 30a receptacle with 10 gauge wire that will be where I plug in a liquid propane 6kw generator ( http://www.generatordepot.us/gentron...ric-start.aspx ) that will thus power the sub panel and the breakers in it during the outage. For a fool proof measure I will install a interlock transfer switch kit ( http://www.interlockkitstore.com/Pro...uctCode=K-8015 )so that we don't have a backfeed issue when main power comes back online.

lastly... i have an email into this co. to see if our local power co. approves of this device being installed on my meter.. if it is and I can do that... that would be cheaper and easier but I doubt they will say yes. ( http://www.generlink.com/about_generlink.cfm )

Well that was a long winded and I apologize for that but I wanted to get you pics of what I have currently, what I am delaing with and what I hoped to accomplish. I am confident with the right guidance I can do almost anything ( even though I am not an electrician...) BUT... with that said... if i get in over my head or this becomes unsafe or "not right " for me to do.. then of course I will call in for a professional back up.

SIDE NOTE.... if I install that interlock transfer switch kit to my main breaker such as the one I linked to above. Do I need to do the whole Sub Panel install? Or can I just do an instal of a weatherproof box with a 4 prong 30a receptacle for the generator to plug into and then a 30a in place of where I was going to put the 60a breaker ( where the current 40a breaker is for the washer dryer )?? And just move the dryer breaker down.

Thank you for your time and I truly appreciate any and all feedback.
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.-image-3917090143.jpg   Back up generator for main panel in power outage.-image-1151209161.jpg  

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Old 11-05-2012, 04:15 AM   #2
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


As stated MANY times in your other thread, you CANNOT use a receptacle to backfeed power from your generator. You NEED to install an INLET. I have not seen the meter adapter thingy before. It says its "Now UL listed", but don't see any proof of that.

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Old 11-05-2012, 05:47 AM   #3
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


After you install the interlock in the panel and install an inlet (male receptacle) for the generator, the dryer receptacle or other loads on that stretch of wiring or cable may no longer be powered by the panel. These loads can be powered by the generator subject to the latter's capacity.

(If the dryer receptacle sharing the line to the generator inlet can still be energized by the panel then your interlock installation is incorrect and dangerous and the generator inlet prongs, exposed, will be live.)

If you go through the exercise of installing a subpanel for the branch circuits eligible for generator power, it is better to use a transfer switch instead of an interlock. Put the transfer switch between the main panel and the subpanel with its common terminals connected to the subpanel. (Generator power goes to the transfer switch) This produces a very clean installation.

If you put the interlock in the panel (main panel?) that feeds the subject subpanel so you can introduce the generator power into that subpanel then that subpanel is restricted to generator power only.

When installing an interlock, it may be necessary to move breakers around in the panel so the interlock cam or slider will reach the breaker being interlocked. Be sure that each double wide breaker spans a pair of fins (stabs) underneath where you measure 240 volts between them.

As an aside (an OT comment) you should put 15 amp breakers on all circuits that contain any 14 gauge wiring.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-05-2012 at 06:10 AM.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:06 AM   #4
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


If you have 12/14awg landed on 20 amp breakers you have issues. 40amp washer dryer Cir is dryer . This panel is a mess.....have a pro look at it..14awg is not rated for 20amps. From what I see maybe just a gut swap if possible with new breakers...I would replace whole panel easier cheaper, safer. Then set up ur gen set
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:43 AM   #5
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


You could easily do the subpanel for the generator. Square D even makes an interock device desgined for making a generator panel out of one of their standard panels. The part number is: QO2DTIM. It costs around 45 bucks.


It probably would be easier (and cheaper) to interlock your main breaker with a generator breaker and skip the whole subpanel idea.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:54 AM   #6
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by k_buz
As stated MANY times in your other thread, you CANNOT use a receptacle to backfeed power from your generator. You NEED to install an INLET. I have not seen the meter adapter thingy before. It says its "Now UL listed", but don't see any proof of that.
If you are referring to my old thread question about back feeding through the old 240 dryer receptacle then thanks. That's why I posted this long winded question. I'm not doing that. I'm strictly inquiring about installing an interlock transfer kit switch versus a whole new sub panel.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:00 AM   #7
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobka
If you have 12/14awg landed on 20 amp breakers you have issues. 40amp washer dryer Cir is dryer . This panel is a mess.....have a pro look at it..14awg is not rated for 20amps. From what I see maybe just a gut swap if possible with new breakers...I would replace whole panel easier cheaper, safer. Then set up ur gen set
I tend to agree this panel appears to be a mess. Like I said it seems back in the day they seem to have used different gauge wiring as well as pulled wires randomly from wherever they could to get power to wherever they could. Not much rhyme or reason back then. I'm sure someone can attest to that fact? They just pulled a wire from the panel on whatever breaker they could get to the device
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:08 AM   #8
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ
After you install the interlock in the panel and install an inlet (male receptacle) for the generator, the dryer receptacle or other loads on that stretch of wiring or cable may no longer be powered by the panel. These loads can be powered by the generator subject to the latter's capacity.

(If the dryer receptacle sharing the line to the generator inlet can still be energized by the panel then your interlock installation is incorrect and dangerous and the generator inlet prongs, exposed, will be live.)

If you go through the exercise of installing a subpanel for the branch circuits eligible for generator power, it is better to use a transfer switch instead of an interlock. Put the transfer switch between the main panel and the subpanel with its common terminals connected to the subpanel. (Generator power goes to the transfer switch) This produces a very clean installation.

If you put the interlock in the panel (main panel?) that feeds the subject subpanel so you can introduce the generator power into that subpanel then that subpanel is restricted to generator power only.

When installing an interlock, it may be necessary to move breakers around in the panel so the interlock cam or slider will reach the breaker being interlocked. Be sure that each double wide breaker spans a pair of fins (stabs) underneath where you measure 240 volts between them.

As an aside (an OT comment) you should put 15 amp breakers on all circuits that contain any 14 gauge wiring.
I'm afraid to do that I would eventually need to open every single appliance and switch in my entire house to see what wire is pulled to it and see if there is any different gauge wire pig tailed to it within a junction box. I know for a fact that there are some light fixtures that have 1 sized gauge wiring pulled to it and a different sized gauged wire pigged tailed off it in the jBox to a different switch or light fixture all on the same 20a breaker. Again though I only know is to be true on some things I have opened already. God knows what else is going on in the places I haven't opened or looked at. As you can see the entire panel is made up of 20a breakers and not 15's.

Not a project I want to do right now more do I have the $$$ to pay a electrician to re-wire my entire house. As for many, times a bit tough...hence why im on a DIY board. Lol.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:12 AM   #9
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Auger01
You could easily do the subpanel for the generator. Square D even makes an interock device desgined for making a generator panel out of one of their standard panels. The part number is: QO2DTIM. It costs around 45 bucks.

It probably would be easier (and cheaper) to interlock your main breaker with a generator breaker and skip the whole subpanel idea.
That is what i was thinking and why i was asking. After reading up on it. Can I just move the current 40a breaker in the top right position elsewhere and put Ina new 30a double pole breaker for a new installed 30a inlet receptacle that the 6500kw generator would plug into and find a new position for the 40a washer dryer breaker I took off and then in an outage power the main down and all the other breakers. And then fire up the generator. Plug it in to the new 30a receptacle and power up just the breakers I need during the outage?
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:14 AM   #10
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


As a electrician I would not back feed this panel via generator...The NEC has been clear on wire sizing for decades....someone who did not know what they were doing f'd with this panel...if you want and or need a genny...run your home off extension cord/mulit strip until you can have that panel updated....it is not safe now and backfeeding it is the last thing you want to do.......again...I would inspect this panel and refuse to backfeed it period...good luck be safe.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:19 AM   #11
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


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Originally Posted by Greenie View Post
That is what i was thinking and why i was asking. After reading up on it. Can I just move the current 40a breaker in the top right position elsewhere and put Ina new 30a double pole breaker for a new installed 30a inlet receptacle that the 6500kw generator would plug into and find a new position for the 40a washer dryer breaker I took off and then in an outage power the main down and all the other breakers. And then fire up the generator. Plug it in to the new 30a receptacle and power up just the breakers I need during the outage?
Yes, that can be done. However, the main and generator breakers must be "interlocked" so that only one can be on at any given time.

I would agree with the others about the panel, it is a mess. It does need to be fixed, but if it works right now on utility power, it will work on genny power.
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:20 PM   #12
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


Doing the sub panel AND the interlock is overkill.
You don't need both.
The interlock will be MUCH cheaper to do then the sub panel and it is a completely safe way to run what you need from a generator with backfeeding.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:30 PM   #13
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


Again...i can not stress this enough...this is not a safe situtation...14awg is rated at 15amps...if it is landed on a 20 amp breaker your load demand could easily melt/burn a 14awg wire and not trip the breaker...just because it works doesn't make it safe...potenial is the problem..20amp circuit breakers allow more potential than the wire can handle..insulation melts now you have a toaster in your wall...the breaker don't care there is no short..be safe buddy...you can swap out those 20's with 15's check your wire size and rebreaker as required..
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:18 PM   #14
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


If you are only going to use 8 circuits just get a small generator transfer switch panel. It has an inlet built in or you can mount it remotely. It installs next to your main panel and no interlock is required. It is fail safe by default and no backfeeding can occor by it's design. Now if you were going to install a standby generator that would be a different story. An automatic transfer switch would take care of everything.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:12 AM   #15
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Back up generator for main panel in power outage.


Can't you do it by simply interposing a DPDT switch between the main and subpanel ., CT goes to subpanel.

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