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Old 11-22-2012, 08:34 AM   #61
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


Wow, lots of stuff still happening in this thread.

First question, what Champion generator did you get? I have the 7000/9000 watt one, and I believe that I read somewhere that the N-G is unbonded at the generator from the factory. I forget where I read it, but I thought I read it somewhere.

What I did, and I should preface this with I am **NOT** an electrician, I just try to research and read up on these things. I bought an 'inlet' from Lowes and used a normal 30-amp double pole breaker in the box. I think I ended up running four cables; two hot for 240v and a neutral, then another one that's ground. I think I connected the ground to the grounding terminal in the breaker box.

I ended up getting my interlock kit from Menards. That was the cheapest place I could find for one of these. For the Square D homeline one, it was like 50 bucks.

Hope this helps!

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Old 11-22-2012, 11:11 AM   #62
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


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Originally Posted by Wayfarersun View Post
Perfect.

Did you find kits for less than the $150 on InterLockKit.com? Price is pretty steep for two plates, a retainer and stickers. Does look like soimething that can be homemade.

Price wise when you add up the cost of the kit, backfeed breaker, piggyback breakers, inlet and generator cord; it's not a big savings over the 10 circuit transfer switch KIT at Home Depot. Though the flexibility to use any circuit with the interlock is nice as long as you don't over load the Gen.

Thanks once again!
I bought the kit from Interlockkit.com, but over the phone. Their ecommerce site was NOT SSL encrypted when I went to buy it online (wasn't an HTTPS URL). Pointed that out to the guy on the phone. He said they were awaiting an encryption certificate. I told him he shouldn't have the site up without it. Allowing customers to provide credit card info without encryption is really dumb! Don't buy from them online if they haven't fixed that yet.

Nonetheless, it is a well-made interlock, although still over-priced. Machined billet metal plates, bolts with sleeved nuts for the plate to slide up and down on, Locktite for the bolts, strap for the back feed breaker, drill bit, etc. If you have a machine shop and the know-how and materials, make your own.

And, yes, you could do a transfer switch for the same price, but as you point out, you lose the flexibility of powering any circuit you want. Plus the wiring is more tedious with the transfer switch.

I created and posted next to the power panel a chart of precisely what each breaker in my panel feeds. Ceiling lights, outlets, fridge, TV, etc., and marked each one with green (OK to use on generator) or red (not OK, such as AC, oven, etc.). I also have posted a chart of how much current appliances in a home typically draw.

I also have a dual gauge power meter mounted in the wall by the inlet plug and power panel that shows the current used in each of the two feeds from the generator. And there is the LED power gauge on the generator itself.

Last edited by tjnoff; 11-22-2012 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:22 AM   #63
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


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Was unbonding neutral and ground in the generator as you did it according to the generator instructions?

Maybe you were not supposed to unbond N-G in the generator, and the generator center taps and other neutral related conductors were fundamentally connected to the frame with the neutral conductor to the receptacles also connected to the frame.
Well, the only mention in the manual about how/where neutral and ground are bonded in the generator was a drawing with a warning to ensure that the bond was connected after getting the generator serviced. Sure, there could also be bonds through the outlets, but I had no documentation for that, and I wasn't going to tear the generator apart with exploratory surgery.

Unbonding at the generator was what was recommended in this thread, so that's what I tried. When I got no juice to the house, I knew that was the only thing I had done that might cause an issue, so I shut down, bonded N-G, started back up, and stuff worked!
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:17 AM   #64
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


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I wasn't going to tear the generator apart with exploratory surgery. :
I am so glad that you did not.

Doing that is not recommended.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-23-2012 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:01 AM   #65
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


Thanks for the info and tips.

I have the Champion Model 41532 7000/9000W made specifically for Costco.

I think if you have a relatively recent Square D panel that SquareD makes Interlocks in th 50-60 bucks range. My SquareD is about 30 years old and I can only find 2 sites that make what I beleive are aftermarket kits in the $150 bucks range. One site is the one everyone quotes, IntrerLockKit.com.

So far I've concluded to leave the neutral/ground bonded at the Gen (I'll try it unbonded too) and connect all four wires of the 10-3 wire from the inlet to the panel. I'll connect the neutral and ground wires to my common neutral/ground bar in the panel since it seems, even if not perfect, that this will work and the potential for risk is so minimal or in reality none, at least when using the GEN as a solely dedicated power source to the house. AS a stand alone gen i would bond N and G.

What ever I do. I'll label the house panel and gen with respect to the status of neutral and ground, even if just to remind myself.

So even though the I/L kit is overpriced I still like the flexibility it provides over the transfer switch and I think its a great idea to mark the breakers to be used in GEN mode including a corresponding chart of running and start up watts.

I think I'll stay away from homemade locks with hopes that the UL "tested" (as opposed to UL "listed") still avoids any liability should anything happen which I don't foresee since no will remove the breaker panel cover and the main and gen breakers can't be in the On position concurrently with the interlock. I've read both transfer switches and interlock kits are covered in the NEC code.

Thanks

Last edited by Wayfarersun; 11-23-2012 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:13 AM   #66
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


Two other questions:

If the neutral and ground wire from the outside generator inlet box are connected to the neutral/ground bus in the breaker panel box, does that mean that a running generator is sending current into the house circuits via their neutral/ground legs as well as the hot legs? Or does it not matter because that is how Alternating Current works anyway? Or am I just not making sense?

And can the Gen send electricity back to the utility pole via the backfeed breaker which is connected to the neutral/gound bar which I beleive is also connected to the heavy ground cable coming from the utility pole (and the house grounding rod??), and does that pose a potential danger to the linemen? Or is that not a danger simply because it is the ground? Or am I just not making sense again or going in cicles?

Sorry if I am wasting time due to my own ignorance or confusion about electrical theory.

Last edited by Wayfarersun; 11-23-2012 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:22 PM   #67
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


Nothing is being setn back to the utility power lines when a properly connected transfer switch or interlock is set to generator power, even if the neutral remains connected to the utility lines.

Two conductors are needed to complete a circuit and establish a current flow. The transfer swtich or interlock disconnects all the hot lines so only one line, the neutral, remains connected to the utility feed.

When a generator is being used, hot from the generator to the panel hot bus or individual circuit/feed, and neutral back to the generator from the panel neutral bus are the two needed conductors for any 120 volt branch circuit. Downstream from the panel through any branch circuit or subpanel feed, ground and neutral are not supposed to be bonded so no current will flow on the ground wires that far.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-23-2012 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:22 PM   #68
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


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Originally Posted by Wayfarersun View Post
Thanks for the info and tips.
I have the Champion Model 41532 7000/9000W made specifically for Costco.
I've got that same one too. I don't want to stray away too much from the topic, but have you thought about converting it to NG (natural gas)? I've been thinking about it since finding gas in power outages is fun. If you are thinking about the conversion, PM me. The other thing I'd like to do is build a sound box for it...one of these days.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:12 PM   #69
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


AllanJ: that makes sense now the way you layed out the circuits. Easier to visualise with confidence once an expert describes it.

Wiz: Just got the Gen, so dealing with conections-How-To at the moment, but I've given thought to alternate fuel since we almost ran out of gas locally with the majority of Conn. out of power and everyone running GEN's. Plus close enough to NY that they were coming to CT to get gas.

I though you needed a tri fuel GEN but then I thought I saw a conversion kit.

I'll definitely catch up via PM with you. I'm thinking of a sound barrier but saw one video that supposedly proved it's more about the muffler.

You guys have all been great with me coming in so late on this.

Thx
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:50 AM   #70
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


For some reason, I can't send you a PM. I started another thread here that talks about the generator...

Champion 7000/9000 Watt Costco Generator
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:49 AM   #71
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


Recently installed a Square D interlock with a reliance inlet 30amp using 10/3. Hooked everything up and powered up gen and noticed sparking in my panel box. Unhooked the N/G bond on my generator and everything worked fine. Only conclusion I can make, is running a N/G bonded in two places is causing the ground to carry a current and has to be very dangerous. In my opinion you should never hook a bonded generator up to a panel.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:14 AM   #72
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


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Recently installed a Square D interlock with a reliance inlet 30amp using 10/3. Hooked everything up and powered up gen and noticed sparking in my panel box. Unhooked the N/G bond on my generator and everything worked fine. Only conclusion I can make, is running a N/G bonded in two places is causing the ground to carry a current and has to be very dangerous. In my opinion you should never hook a bonded generator up to a panel.
Check for loose connections, screws,a nd setscrews, particularly on the neutral and ground busses of your panel, as a separate topic to that of bonding neutral and ground.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:58 AM   #73
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayfarersun View Post
Perfect.

Did you find kits for less than the $150 on InterLockKit.com? Price is pretty steep for two plates, a retainer and stickers. Does look like soimething that can be homemade.

Price wise when you add up the cost of the kit, backfeed breaker, piggyback breakers, inlet and generator cord; it's not a big savings over the 10 circuit transfer switch KIT at Home Depot. Though the flexibility to use any circuit with the interlock is nice as long as you don't over load the Gen.

Thanks once again!
Check this out they range from $24 to $60. They might have one that will work for you.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:13 AM   #74
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


So general consensus is that if you're using an interlock and backfed breaker you should either buy a generator with no neutral/ground bond or remove the bond yourself?
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:04 AM   #75
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Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires?


The generac generator I bought showed how to remove the N G jumper. And If i use the generator somewhere else I can just reinstall the jumper.

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