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Old 07-02-2012, 04:25 PM   #1
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Generator question..?


I want to back feed my electrical panel with a generator for the next prolonged power outage.

My house is 40 years old and appears to have a recepticle on the exterior of the house to plug in a generator. The way it appears to be set up is there is a seperate main breaker at the bottom of the panel. This breaker controls the exterior recepticle and is normally in the off position. If I turn on this breaker I read 230VAC across the two terminals.

My problem is this exterior recepticle is a standard 110VAC type outlet one would commonly see. It's 3 progs enclosed in a metal outlet box. See attached photo. My generators 230VAC outlet is a NEMA L14-30 4 prong type. My common sense tells me it probably would not be the correct thing to just make a cord with these two different ends on it.

I'm prepared to replace the exterior recepticle with a matching NEMA L14-30 if that is the correct course of action. Also is it ok to have the two main breaker configuration as is. Basiclly when the power would go out I would kill the main breaker then activate the generators main breaker then I'm on line with back up power. Reverse the order when power is restored. Any help appreciated. An electrician will be doing most of the work, I just want to be somewhat informed ahead of time as to what is the correct way of doing this. Thank you.
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Old 07-02-2012, 06:44 PM   #2
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Generator question..?


the plug needs to be replaced, your genny size will determine with what. Most likely the wire back to the panel will need to be replaced as well to provide for two hots a neutral and a ground and you'll need an interlock for the panel.

sorry to say you'll basically have to redo the whole setup

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Old 07-02-2012, 08:46 PM   #3
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Generator question..?


That would need to be replaced with a properly sized INLET...not outlet.
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:54 PM   #4
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Generator question..?


How many circuits are you wanting to use during a failure? You pretty much can't use what you have now. Would you consider a small generator panel with maybe 8 or 10 circuits? Whatever you do will need an interlock of some sort (mandatory) and a generator transfer panel has the safety built in along with the appropriate connection to accept a 30amp plug.
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:05 PM   #5
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Generator question..?


The item in your picture was an old-style "weatherproof" type outlet commonly installed in the 1960s. The chain at the bottom was supposed to keep the screw-on cover from getting "lost" while the outlet was in use.

One was supposed to replace the cover after use to keep the weather out.

It is not suitable as an inlet for standby power. You'll have to install a separate inlet and interlock or transfer switch for a proper installation.
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:18 PM   #6
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Generator question..?


In order to meet code, the system needs to be arranged so that it is physically impossible to cause a backfeed into the utility.

Turning off the main before you connect the generator doesn't qualify as physically impossible. It has to be a double-throw switch, an actual transfer switch or a breaker interlock.

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Old 07-02-2012, 09:58 PM   #7
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Generator question..?


Thanks for all the advise folks. I feel a little more informed of the situation at hand. I'll be calling my electrician to handle this. I kinda had a feeling it would be more involved. The generator I have is an 7500 watt unit with 230VAC 30 amps output or 110VAC at 20 amps. I was hoping to use the 230 side to feed the panel to keep the esentials in the house running like the fridge and a few other things.

I know my father (its his old house) used to plug 110VAC generator into the box pictured when our power was out years ago so I know that's what its purpose was. It just on the other side of the wall from the electrical panel. Dangerous or not thats the way he did it back then.

Thanks again for all the suggestions and advise. Its much appreciated.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:20 PM   #8
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Generator question..?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom2112 View Post
Thanks for all the advise folks. I feel a little more informed of the situation at hand. I'll be calling my electrician to handle this.


Very good idea. Perhaps think about what you need to back up before you call him. I have a 8k generator as well, although it is a standby generator which starts when the power fails. I only back up 10 circuits in a 40 circuit panel and it's absolutely fine for the time I need it. It is for the refrigerator / freezers and a few creature comforts in the event of an outage. Good luck
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:21 AM   #9
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Generator question..?


There may not exist at any time a cord with (male) plugs at both ends or a cord protruding from a generator to supply power via a male plug at its end.

When different switches or breakers are used to switch on and off utility power and generator power to the same panel, there must be a mechanical interlock using cams or sliders or similar means so only one of the breaker sets or switches can be in the on position at any given time. Not all makes and models of panels or breaker positioning within a panel allows this.

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