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Old 12-18-2009, 07:24 PM   #1
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Hooking up generator


I have a 5000 watt generator that I want to hook up to my breaker box. I plan to have a dedicated 220 breaker in the box to feed the 110 switches when I lose power. I need to know what size electrical wire to run from the generator to the power box.....12-3, 10-3, etc. Based on the size of the generator, which size would be adequate? I will run about 50 ft from my box to a plug and then about 25 feet from the plug to the generator. The last 25 feet will be an outdoor extension cord. Any suggestions?

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Old 12-18-2009, 07:35 PM   #2
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Hooking up generator


I hae two suggestions: 1) Do not try to do this yourself and 2) Hire an Electrician.

The only legal and safe way to connect a generator to your home wiring is with a "Transfer Switch" or a "Transfer Switch Kit". The transfer switch or kit provides a mechanical interlock that absolutely precludes having both the utility power and the generator power connected to your service panel at the same time. Failure to utilize an interlock may result in you, your neighbor or the lineman beng electrocuted.

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Old 12-18-2009, 07:35 PM   #3
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Hooking up generator


How are you connecting this to prevent back feeding ?
There are very specifc rules in regards to connecting a generator
You can't back feed your panel via a breaker unless you have a lockout breaker

A transfer switch is only 1 way to connect this
There are other ways & a homeowner can connect a Gen in a way that will meet code & be safe
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Old 12-18-2009, 08:22 PM   #4
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Hooking up generator


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
How are you connecting this to prevent back feeding ?
There are very specifc rules in regards to connecting a generator
You can't back feed your panel via a breaker unless you have a lockout breaker

A transfer switch is only 1 way to connect this
There are other ways & a homeowner can connect a Gen in a way that will meet code & be safe
Huh? Please provide this strange connection you are suggesting that is listed in the Code. A transfer switch is the way to go. And you also should use twist lock plug connections and the correct wire type (rubber cord) and strain relief connectors if you are using an extension code. (Also not a good plan)
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Old 12-18-2009, 08:30 PM   #5
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Hooking up generator


There are a number of ways to connect a gen
One is a meter plug connection, not available here in MA
Must be approved by local POCO

Note: all can be considered a transfer switch of some sort
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Old 12-18-2009, 08:52 PM   #6
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Hooking up generator


Quote:
Originally Posted by czars View Post
I hae two suggestions: 1) Do not try to do this yourself and 2) Hire an Electrician.

The only legal and safe way to connect a generator to your home wiring is with a "Transfer Switch" or a "Transfer Switch Kit". The transfer switch or kit provides a mechanical interlock that absolutely precludes having both the utility power and the generator power connected to your service panel at the same time. Failure to utilize an interlock may result in you, your neighbor or the lineman beng electrocuted.
My generator was originally wired by an electrician. I am simply moving it farther from my house (into my workshop) to prevent carbon monoxide fumes. My breaker box has a shutoff which cuts power to the outside lines. Before I run generated power to the box, I shut off power from the outside line. If power cannot get into the box from the outside line, how can it get out of the box to the outside line? The electrician assuredme when he installed the lines that power from my generator could not get to the outside line as long as the main breaker was off. Is this right?
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Old 12-18-2009, 08:56 PM   #7
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Hooking up generator


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Mariani View Post
Huh? Please provide this strange connection you are suggesting that is listed in the Code. A transfer switch is the way to go. And you also should use twist lock plug connections and the correct wire type (rubber cord) and strain relief connectors if you are using an extension code. (Also not a good plan)
Is a 10-3 outside extension cord not sufficient to run from the generator to the plug? Wouldn't it be the same as a 10-3 line buried in the ground to the generator? If I buried a line to the generator, I would still need an extension cord to hook from the plug to the generator.
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Old 12-18-2009, 08:58 PM   #8
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Hooking up generator


Simply shuttting off the breaker does not qualify as means of connecting a generator under code
You can do it that way but you need a lockout on the main breaker & the breaker that receives power from the generator
This lockout prevents both from being on at the same time
Is this what you have ?

A picture would put all doubts to rest & help us help you
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:01 PM   #9
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Hooking up generator


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Originally Posted by ace061 View Post
Is a 10-3 outside extension cord not sufficient to run from the generator to the plug? Wouldn't it be the same as a 10-3 line buried in the ground to the generator? If I buried a line to the generator, I would still need an extension cord to hook from the plug to the generator.
5000w /240v = under 21a = so #10 wire does work
Is there a surge rating on your gen ?

On the one hand you say an Electrician connected this
Then you say you are connecting it with a 240v breaker
Thus the concern over an improper hook-up which could back feed the main electric lines
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:12 PM   #10
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Hooking up generator


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Simply shuttting off the breaker does not qualify as means of connecting a generator under code
You can do it that way but you need a lockout on the main breaker & the breaker that receives power from the generator
This lockout prevents both from being on at the same time
Is this what you have ?

A picture would put all doubts to rest & help us help you
My breaker box is a Square D with a large toggle switch at the top directly connected to the outside wires coming into the box. The 220 breaker connected to the generator is in one of the bottom receptacles and is connected only to the generator. It remains in the OFF position until the generator is in use. My procedure when I have a power outage is (1) turn off the main breaker at the top of the box, cutting all outside power (2) crank the generator (3) engage the generator-dedicated 220 breaker, introducing current to the breaker box. When I need to restore power from the outside line, I (1) turn off the generator (2) put the 220 breaker to the Off position and (3) throw the main breaker switch to ON.
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:15 PM   #11
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Hooking up generator


You have an illegal generator setup
It does not meet code & is dangerous
Your generator if connected by accident & back feeding the utility will have the power stepped up to 7200v by the telephone pole transformer & you run the risk of killing someone
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:24 PM   #12
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Hooking up generator


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
You have an illegal generator setup
It does not meet code & is dangerous
Your generator if connected by accident & back feeding the utility will have the power stepped up to 7200v by the telephone pole transformer & you run the risk of killing someone
How would the power get through the box to the outside with the main breaker off? It doesn't get into the box from the outside when power is restored and I am operating on generator power. How do I get it fixed? And how can I tell my electrician he is incompetent?
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:26 PM   #13
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Hooking up generator


It is not a safe or legal installation that meets code
Was this inspected ?
Call your local building Inspector out & have them take a look

You need a breaker lockout & the gen breaker must be next to the main breaker
If this is like my Square D panel then the main breaker is at the top

You will need a main transfer switch installed ahead of the feed to your main panel

One switch that passes power either FROM POCO power to your panel
OR it takes power from GEN to Main panel & Main feed is cut off
You can't have a setup where you can have both active at once
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:29 PM   #14
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Hooking up generator


There was a report of two out-of-state emergency electrical linemen here to help us were killed by electrocution right after Hurricane Isabel in an adjoining county!! THE CAUSE WAS AN ILLEGAL GENERATOR HOOK-UP!
A homeowner, with a generator WITHOUT A TRANSFER SWITCH, had cut-off his main panel breaker, and the line was still apparently energized. He was only fined $10,000, but the families of those two men lost all. Repost
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:31 PM   #15
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Hooking up generator


They are lucky...in some cases (states ?) they can be charged with manslaughter is my understanding

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