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Old 02-01-2013, 07:06 PM   #31
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generator and transfer switch box


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Originally Posted by french_guy View Post
Yes, the house is from 1984.....So I guess the panel is the same age
But like I said, if I can't find one, I will probably build one myself out of some steel or aluminum
I don't want to pay $150 for 2 "basic" pieces...it's way overpriced !!!!
Yes, $150 for 2 "basic" pieces of metal is expensive. But buy the transfer kit and have an electrician install it like I did at my last house. Cost about $1200, and nowhere near the flexibility of an interlock kit.

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Old 02-01-2013, 07:36 PM   #32
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Well, it seems the interlock kit gives you a pretty high flexibility as well...for much cheaper
I went to Home Depot and it was a real pain. The girl at the Electrical Dpt had no clue of what I was talking about and sent me to the generator Dpt, and the guy at the generator sent me to the electrical Dpt !!!
I bought the 30 A double pole circuit breaker anyway, and will probably have to build my own interlock kit (I will give a try at Lowes, who knows)
Next step will be to return my Ridgid generator (I only used it less than 2 hours)
Too bad Ridgid didn't include 240V on that model....
I will probably go with the PowerMate 5,000 Watt
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:56 PM   #33
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i was thinking about something: What if HD doesn't want to take my generator back?
I will have to deal with the 120V 30A outlet...
So I guess in that case, my only option will be to buy a transfer switch and use the only available phase to wire the 6 switches.....Am I right?
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:03 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by french_guy View Post
i was thinking about something: What if HD doesn't want to take my generator back?
I will have to deal with the 120V 30A outlet...
So I guess in that case, my only option will be to buy a transfer switch and use the only available phase to wire the 6 switches.....Am I right?
No offense, but why should they take it back if you used it? Interlock kits need to be listed, so making your own will not work.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:15 PM   #35
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1) When I went to buy a generator, I was looking for their Powermate 3,250 Watt. But of course, they were out of stock. So I took the next cheapest one, which was the Ridgid. I thought it was a good brand anyway so I took it
2) I didn't pay attention when I bought it that it was only 120V and not 240V...(I was stressed with my sump pump not running !!!)
3) I used only 2 hours max....
4) I am planning to buy another one, more expensive....Not just returning because I don't need anymore

And why do you say making my own interlock will not work?
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:18 PM   #36
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Once you put gas in them, they are not allowed to take them back.

Interlocks MUST be listed by a national recognized listing agency like UL or ETL. These listing costs (sometimes) tens of thousands of dollars, which is why interlocks look more expensive than they "should" be.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:22 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by french_guy View Post
1) When I went to buy a generator, I was looking for their Powermate 3,250 Watt. But of course, they were out of stock. So I took the next cheapest one, which was the Ridgid. I thought it was a good brand anyway so I took it
2) I didn't pay attention when I bought it that it was only 120V and not 240V...(I was stressed with my sump pump not running !!!)
3) I used only 2 hours max....
4) I am planning to buy another one, more expensive....Not just returning because I don't need anymore

And why do you say making my own interlock will not work?
"I didn't pay attention" is not a reason to be able to return a generator that's been used. List it in the local paper, and chock it up to a learning experience.

An interlock kit needs to be UL listed to be legally installed.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:57 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by k_buz View Post
Once you put gas in them, they are not allowed to take them back.

Interlocks MUST be listed by a national recognized listing agency like UL or ETL. These listing costs (sometimes) tens of thousands of dollars, which is why interlocks look more expensive than they "should" be.
I know, but $150 for 2 pieces of steels that slide together is a real steal
About the generator, I will ask nicely and explain why I want to upgrade, I will see how it turns out......
If I really can't exchange it for a 240V model, I will have to deal with it and find a way to switch the circuits I need in case of power outage

Last edited by french_guy; 02-02-2013 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:48 PM   #39
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1.What is the advantage of the interlock over a transfer switch? Is it just cheaper and gives you more options in choosing which circuits to run?

2.If we have a main panel and a subpanel in different parts of the house very far apart, how do we connect both panels to a transfer switch? Or, can I put an interlock on each panel, then connect both to the generator? (Each panel has a few circuits that we need.)

Thanks. Didn't mean to hijack your thread, but this is a related question.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:02 AM   #40
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An interlock is usually cheaper yes.

NOTE: By transfer switch I'm referring to something like the 6 circuit switches that are usually sold as a generator accessory not a whole house transfer switch.

The other advantages of an interlock:
1. You can select ANY circuit(s) that you want to power.
2. AFCI and GFCI breakers will still function. Almost all transfer switches only switch the line. An AFCI or GFCI breaker can't function in that case as they need a neutral.

I'm in the same situation, with a subpanel, as you. I only have ONE interlock in the main panel. If I want to power any loads on the subpanel I just have to turn on the breaker feeding that subpanel.

You can't really do that with a transfer switch.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:35 AM   #41
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The more I think about it, the more I find the interlock kit has PROS only and no CONS
1) Cheap
2) Simple to install
3) Simple to wire (only 1 breaker to add)
4) Flexible (you can use your entire panel to switch the circuits you need)
5) No risk to mess with multi branch wiring
6) Did I say cheap?
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:24 PM   #42
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OK, a quick uodate about that post:
I went yesterday to HD and they took back my genarator. They were very nice, no problem at all...
I took another one, with more power (5,500 Watt) and 240V
And on top of it, they honored my 20% coupon from Harbor Freight

Now, I will have to do the permanent cabling and look for an interlock kit...

Thanks for all the info
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Old 03-04-2013, 01:53 PM   #43
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Glad they took it back AND the coupon

Just remember, watch your loads, especially as to what "leg" they're on. It's not an issue with a 240 volt load but you may have to move some breakers to put them on the other leg - for load balancing.

Good luck.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:02 PM   #44
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What's the best way to measure the current on each leg? A clamp meter?
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:13 PM   #45
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That would work or just go around and figure out what loads you're going to run and how much they draw.

I'd make sure things like the refrigerator and furnace/boiler are on separate legs.

The idea is just to try to keep them fairly close to balanced.

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