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wrwheeler 11-15-2011 09:46 AM

portable generator hookup question
I'm looking to get a generator hookup done to my house. I'm targeting buying an 8000 watt generator and want its 230 volt output to power my entire electical panel. While the generator will not be able to power all my circuits simultaneously, this setup gives me the option of toggling breakers to dynamically control where I want the limited power to go to.

It appears that all 8K generators available on the web (which have a 10K surge capacity) have at most a 230 volt 30 amp outlet. 30 amps is not sufficient to handle 8K watts or 10K surge watts. This leads me to believe that I have to spend considerably more money to buy a higher wattage/higher output amperage generator (which I don't want to do), or I should consider buying something considerably smaller in which 30 amps can always handle the generator's surge watt limit.

My question is this: Am I looking at the issue correctly? Should I be looking at a smaller generator? Why would companies sell 8K and 7.5K generators which don't allow their power output to be realized through the 230 outlet?

Billy_Bob 11-15-2011 10:23 AM

When my power goes out, I'm just wanting to power the essential things. And that is the refrigerator right away. And maybe some lights.

Then if more than a day of power outage, I'll plug in my separate freezer.

But for lighting I can use camping lanterns, flashlights, candles, or oil lamps. It is just for reading I like a generator powered light.

And for cooking there is the BBQ, or I have a Coleman camping stove. I can heat water on those for a sponge bath or washing dishes.

Some people might need to power their electronically controlled furnace. In that case get an "electronics friendly" generator. Or if you must watch TV.

AandPDan 11-15-2011 10:29 AM

When planning, assume you're limited to 7200 watts continuous. 30 amps at 240 volts.

Regarding the "surge" rating, the wiring and breakers can easily handle a temporary load of more than 30 amps. It's the same as when a heavy motor load starts in your house. Just make sure the generator is sized (surge rating) to handle the startup of a heavy motor load, like a well pump, if you have one.

Personally, I think a lot of it is marketing hype. My 8000 watt generator is better than your 7500. They'd both be limited by the 30 amp breaker on the input.

On some, it appears as though you can also use the other outlets on the generator itself to get those few additional watts.

One other thing to consider, you really don't want to run a portable generator near maximum load continuously.

Hope it helps.

biggles 11-15-2011 02:39 PM

check the specs out on the generators listed for ratings vs voltages the outputs are higher then 30A on the 230V outlets.when you feeding the house panel there is no need to flip breakers off just run the house in a normal conditions.

josall 11-15-2011 03:47 PM

Something else to think about when buying a genertor, you will use more fuel the bigger you go. I bought a Honeywell 5500 (8250 surge) and now wished I would have bought a little smaller unit. Cover the basic power needs and buy for that. If I could do it over I would buy the Honda EM4000 and cut my fuel consumption in half and it's alot quieter..

AllanJ 11-15-2011 05:42 PM

Does the generator have a set of large screw down lugs (hot, hot, neutral) under an access panel to allow connecting to a home electrical system, perhaps drawing over 30 amps, and relying on the latter's breakers to protect the generator?

Bondo 11-15-2011 06:17 PM


My question is this: Am I looking at the issue correctly?
Ayuh,.... If this is gonna be a hardwired permanent installation,...
Look into powerin' it with Anything but gasoline...
NG. Propane, or Diesel...

The crap they call gasoline nowadays goes sour in no time flat, leavin' ya with a generator that won't start, til ya tear down the entire fuel system, 'n Clean it...
Even treated gas, draws water outa the air,..
Damn alcohol,... Only in America do We burn our Food, instead of our fuels...

I think the Diesels in that wattage class are lookin' pretty Sweet...

Missouri Bound 11-15-2011 07:59 PM

wrwheelr. Your 30 amp double pole breaker supplies 240 volts....that's also 60 amps at 120 volts. It's 7200 watts no matter how you apply it. And if you install an auomatic generator you will need a automatic transfer switch. It limits your ability to pick and choose the appropriate circuits since it is determined at the time of installtion, but by far it is the easiest and best scenario in an power outage.

biggles 11-15-2011 09:25 PM

get a routine in running your generator for 30 minutes every saturday screw the neighbors:wink:.... and check the gas and oil that will keep everything fresh and ready to go.clean and regap the spark plug every month..and when the power drops that thing will run like it is new out of the box....with the neighbors acting like they are related to you....:thumbsup: by running the generator like this you cycle the gas and keep it fresh.

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