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-   -   Better way to protect portable generator inlet? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/better-way-protect-portable-generator-inlet-2586/)

IvoryRing 05-26-2006 01:37 PM

Better way to protect portable generator inlet?
 
In the kit with my Reliance ProTran manual transfer switch, there was a remote power inlet box (their part #PB30), intended to be mounted close to where the portable generator is. For CO2 contamination reasons, everyone seems to be pretty clear that the generator should be outside, and away from windows or doors. My plan is to do exactly that, using the supplied inlet box. This box has an L14-30 inlet (male), into which a L14-30 female would get plugged in from the generator. When not in use, this box is weatherproof by way of the flapper & foam seal which is spring loaded and completely encloses the inlet. When it is in use, however, I don't see anything protecting from intrusion of water - specifically, driving rain.

I emailed Reliance, and asked them about this - they state that the PB30 is code compliant (which I don't doubt, and didn't question in my email to them), as it is both 30a (therefor not being covered by the 15/20a 'waterproof in use' language - not sure where that is in the code) and an INLET, not an OUTLET, therefore not required (for 'inuse' rating) by code anyway. They additionally indicated that the interface between the face of the plug and the face of the inlet being ~1 inch "in" from the surface of the box protects it from water.

Having said all that, I'm still a touch uncertain about this... I understand it is NEC compliant, but 'good enough for code' isn't always the same as 'without risk'.

Does anyone make a 'bubble cover' for this kind of box? Have any of you come up with some better way of protecting this inlet from water while it is in use?

Speedy Petey 05-26-2006 01:44 PM

Consider that there are thousands of these in use. If it were an issue I'm sure it would have been addressed.
Also consider the time of use. How long will a cap actually be plugged in to this box? And how much of that time will have driving rain?

IMO a small "roof" over the box would be simpler than converting the whole thing to "in-use" status.

IvoryRing 05-26-2006 02:46 PM

I'd say it's more likely that a portable gen will be used during a thunderstorm than an electric trimmer... in fact, around here, I'd say 'bad weather' is exactly the driving reason for getting the gen & transfer switch in the first place.

A mini-roof, however, might actually be a good approach.... hmm.

Speedy Petey 05-26-2006 07:40 PM

I do agree, but the really bad weather is usually over by the time I pull out the genset....and wait for the POCO.

IvoryRing 05-30-2006 08:58 AM

I put the inlet up for now, but the more I think about it, the more I like the miniroof idea... but, since I never have enough projects anyway... I think I'm going to just do a whole concrete pad & doghouse off the back wall of the garage to house the generator. I'll even make it big enough for the next size up portable gen, so I have room to grow.

okinawap 05-30-2006 10:27 AM

Ivory...the connectors are perfectly safe. You would do fine to just build a mini-roof over the gen set if you are worried about the weather affecting the generator.

I think that maybe this is what you are talking about?

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...0924_200220924http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...rfno=200220924

I have used these before and there is really no problem of water getting inside the connectors.

If you are still worried about water, you can create a small cover out of aluminum flashing. We have done this in the past.

IvoryRing 05-30-2006 01:49 PM

okinawap,

Yep, that's the one. You say you've made an extra cover - what was the circumstance where you felt that was needed? Did you investigate the possibility of a rubber boot on the plug itself? Since it twist-locks into place, I was wondering if that might be a viable way to keep water out.

okinawap 05-30-2006 08:30 PM

I work in a typhoon prone area with a lot of sideways rain. I think that you would be fine without the cover, but a little extra insurance never hurt anyone. I believe you could purchase one of those HVAC control boxes (the plastic locking type) or just a typical electrical enclosure if you really wanted to!


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