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Old 12-22-2011, 09:23 AM   #1
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Home Generator Confusion


Hello All. Many thanks to this forum, which has been a God-send to me for quite some time.

Here's my issue:

I recently purchased my first home in Maryland. It's a small house built in the 1960s that utilizes a 100amp electrical box. The previous owners had a system of hooking up their backup generator to the house, which I would like to utilize as well.

The box has an Interlock kit over two breaker slots (30amp), with 10/3 wiring going across the basement ceiling to a receptacle that is basically a covered male dryer plug receptacle (3 contact points).

Now I move in and want to attach my Honeywell 7500watt backup generator. My cord coming off my generator, however, is 10/4 with twistlock connectors.

So I buy the female equivalent of the dryer plug and think I'm just going to modify one end of my 10/4 generator cable... but then I run into all these questions about the neutral and ground wires, with conflicting information on the websites I usually visit for information.

Is there a way to modify my 10/4 generator cable with the female dryer end to utilize the already-existing system in the house? Do I just not connect the neutral wire on the house receptacle side of the cable (only utilzing the two hots and the ground)? If I bonded the ground and neutral together, wouldn't I be sending current back to the generator frame since the neutral is bonded to the frame on the generator side?

And in the long run, should I install some kind of 10/4 run off the box to a more updated receptacle? For now, I would rather just utilize the system as it currently stands, since I am much more comfortable modifying a cable than reworking a box.

Many thanks in advance.

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Old 12-22-2011, 10:14 AM   #2
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Home Generator Confusion


Rework the box.

You need 4 wires from your generator, not 3. Neutral and ground must be separate.

You may need to replace the cable connecting the inlet (male plug) to your panel if it isn't 3 conductors, black, red, and white with a ground. You will also need to replace the inlet itself.

It shouldn't be that complicated a project and it will be to Code when it is done.

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Old 12-22-2011, 11:59 AM   #3
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Home Generator Confusion


That does help.

Last question (I think): Since the ground and neutral are connected at the box, what difference is there if they are bonded at one of the cable ends?

I assume that's a code thing developed by people way more intelligent than me.. and that the code is that this connection can only be in one spot?
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Old 12-22-2011, 12:49 PM   #4
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Home Generator Confusion


Correct. They are to be bonded at only one location.

It's a code thing.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:01 PM   #5
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Home Generator Confusion


So it appears that the original genny feed in is only 120v(3 wires).
Where as your new genny is 220v (4 wires)
Is this correct ?

If so how are you going to configure it ?
Depending on your panel configuration,
you might have to run another wire
and fit a 4 pin feed in.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:51 PM   #6
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Home Generator Confusion


I am going to take AandPDan's advice and rework the line and box.

I'll replace the 10/3 and male dryer receptacle with a 10/4 line and proper generator inlet for 120/240v.

Since I'm using the Interlock Kit, I'll connect the ground and neutral to the bar inside the main panel, which is connected. Apparently, it's OK that the neutral is bonded to the frame of the generator on the far side?

That's the plan... please chime in if I'm going to hurt someone :-)
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:21 PM   #7
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Home Generator Confusion


Occasionally you run into a problem with a portable generator with a built in ground fault interrupter that keeps tripping. This might possibly require one of the following corrective actions:

1. Unbond the neutral from the generator frame within the generator unit,
2. Separate the neutrals and grounds in your main panel,
3. Unhook the green wire from one plug or one receptacle along the line that connects the generator to the house electrical system.

Normally #1 is best but if that cannot be done easily, I say that the next best choice (lesser evil) is #3 and set the generator on wood or other poor conductor to get it off the ground.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:02 PM   #8
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Home Generator Confusion


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Occasionally you run into a problem with a portable generator with a built in ground fault interrupter that keeps tripping. This might possibly require one of the following corrective actions:

1. Unbond the neutral from the generator frame within the generator unit,
2. Separate the neutrals and grounds in your main panel,
3. Unhook the green wire from one plug or one receptacle along the line that connects the generator to the house electrical system.

Normally #1 is best but if that cannot be done easily, I say that the next best choice (lesser evil) is #3 and set the generator on wood or other poor conductor to get it off the ground.
Hey Allan,
I just purchased a portable Generac to power my welder and plan on installing a receptal to power the house, when needed. I noticed there is a ground terminal on the frame of my machine and wonder if this would help in a ground fault situation...?
Your thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks.
Danny
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:47 PM   #9
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Home Generator Confusion


Quote:
Originally Posted by NAIL BENDER View Post
Hey Allan,
I just purchased a portable Generac to power my welder and plan on installing a receptal to power the house, when needed. I noticed there is a ground terminal on the frame of my machine and wonder if this would help in a ground fault situation...?
Your thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks.
Danny

In order for any of us to help you properly, you need to start your own post.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:15 PM   #10
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Home Generator Confusion


Hey there Missouri, I was looking for Allan's personal opinion regarding his statement on portable generator ground fault problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Occasionally you run into a problem with a portable generator with a built in ground fault interrupter that keeps tripping. This might possibly require one of the following corrective actions:

1. Unbond the neutral from the generator frame within the generator unit,
2. Separate the neutrals and grounds in your main panel,
3. Unhook the green wire from one plug or one receptacle along the line that connects the generator to the house electrical system.

Normally #1 is best but if that cannot be done easily, I say that the next best choice (lesser evil) is #3 and set the generator on wood or other poor conductor to get it off the ground.
I wasn't trying to hijack MD's thread and apologize if that's how it looks.

Danny aka: NAIL BENDER
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:19 PM   #11
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Home Generator Confusion


You don't need to apologize. It's just that if you start your own thread you will get several answers from other members, not just those subscribed to a particular thread. It's just a more efficient way to get answers. Good luck.
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:17 AM   #12
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Home Generator Confusion


The instructions for the generator will say when the generator ground terminal should be connected to a ground rod. If you have GFCI tripping problems during household use, then the ground rod will not help.

Some generators have lugs under an easily removed panel to connect to a home electrical system bypassing the generator's own GFCI.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 12-23-2011 at 07:40 AM.
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