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Old 11-09-2013, 10:45 AM   #1
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Generator Issue


Hello - I'm not a professional electrician but I need to have another conversation with my electrician and would appreciate any advice beforehand. I have an old portable 4kw Coleman Powermate generator with a 240v NEMA 6-15 outlet. I want to power a 6 circuit trasfer switch but my electricial told me I can't because in my old gen the neutral and ground are bonded - which I did confirm via the gen's wiring diagram. Is this a problem and is there a transfer switch available for this configuration? Thanks for any and all help.

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Old 11-09-2013, 10:59 AM   #2
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Generator Issue


Your electrician is correct. The other problem is that the NEMA 6-15 is a 3 wire 240 volt grounding receptacle, hot-hot-ground. There is no neutral in it.

What model is the generator? You may be able to modify it so that the neutral ground bond is removed and set it up for a proper 4 wire connection to a transfer panel.

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Old 11-09-2013, 11:08 AM   #3
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It's a Coleman Powermate 4kw from the early 90's. Here's an image of one just like it.
https://www.google.com/search?q=cole...ml%3B502%3B427
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:32 AM   #4
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Generator Issue


That is one tiny old generator to be going to all the expense of wiring into a panel.
It's not going to be able to power much at one time.
I'd use extension cords until I was ready to buy a larger one.
Once you do buy a larger on all the inlets and wiring may have to all be redone.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:36 AM   #5
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If you pull the plate by the receptacles you should see a green bonding jumper, if I remember correctly it is on the 120v receptacle. Note the location and remove it.

You'll still need to change over the 6-15r however. Use something like an L14-20r.

The two hots stay the same. Connect the neutral and ground to their respective colors.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:37 AM   #6
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Generator Issue


Yeah I hear you but it's enough to power my well, boiler, air handler and a couple of outlets which is all I need. I bought it for $50 so the price was right off a buddy. He had the exact same loads and it worked fine.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:41 AM   #7
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Don't feel bad. I run a 3000 watt generator, cost me $75 a few years back. It runs the boiler and fridge, along with a few lights and TV.

And it's easy on fuel compared to a big monster.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:44 AM   #8
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Generator Issue


Did you have to do a similar retrofit on your gen?
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:50 AM   #9
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Yes I did.

It had a 6-15 as well as two 5-20r receptacles. It now sports the L14-20r.
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Old 11-09-2013, 12:00 PM   #10
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Generator Issue


I'm a little reluctant to do that as I don't have the confidence to deal with electricity. I called three generator repair guys around here and asked them if it could be retrofitted and they all said no. Perhaps a liability issue but I would have thought someone would do it for me. So you think the neutral from one of the 110's is completely fine to use once unbonded? Your gen functions perfectly well?
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Old 11-09-2013, 12:05 PM   #11
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I'm sure it is a liability issue.

You said you have the wiring diagram, can you post it?

Yes, it functions just fine.
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Old 11-09-2013, 12:44 PM   #12
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Hope you can see it.
Attached Thumbnails
Generator Issue-gen-diag.jpg  
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Old 11-09-2013, 12:56 PM   #13
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Generator Issue


It's perfect.

Yes, use the neutral from the 120 volt receptacles.

The neutral ground bond is at the 120 volt receptacles. I attached a picture of what it should look like, from another Coleman my buddy had. Remove that bond.

On your new 4 wire receptacle run a wire to the frame.

The only other thing to be aware of is that if you run it, not on the transfer switch, you really DO want to have a neutral/ground bond. Make up a jumper plug that bonds the neutral/ground when testing.

Last edited by AandPDan; 11-11-2013 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 11-09-2013, 01:05 PM   #14
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Yeah so you're saying on the new 4 pin twistlock to run a wire from the ground pin on the receptacle to the frame of the gen and then I guess have the gen conencted to a of grounding wire literally placed in the ground?
On your other point, I'm not sure how to make that plug configuration. I understand your point but maybe I'll just never plan to use it w/o the tran switch.
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Old 11-09-2013, 01:11 PM   #15
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Generator Issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by mjcibor View Post
Yeah so you're saying on the new 4 pin twistlock to run a wire from the ground pin on the receptacle to the frame of the gen and then I guess have the gen conencted to a of grounding wire literally placed in the ground?
Yes on the wire from ground to frame but NO on the rest.

We really aren't eliminating the neutral-ground bond. We're relocating it to comply with the NEC.

You need a 4 wire cord to connect to your transfer switch. You already have a neutral ground bond in your main panel. As soon as you plug the generator in the neutral-ground bond is made and you're code compliant.

You don't put anything in the ground.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mjcibor View Post
On your other point, I'm not sure how to make that plug configuration. I understand your point but maybe I'll just never plan to use it w/o the tran switch.
Just pick up a regular 3 prong 120 volt plug and put a jumper between the neutral and the ground. That makes your neutral-ground bond up when you ARE NOT using the transfer switch. You could put a switch in to do this too.

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Last edited by AandPDan; 11-09-2013 at 01:13 PM.
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