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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi so I hired an electrician to run the wiring for my food trailer and he did everything superbly, however when it came time to put in a generator inlet on the outside, he recommended that I just let him run Royal Cord with the 3 prong generator connector, Directly from the Panel/breaker box. Is this safe?
 

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I am understanding that a flexible cord is going from the panel and plugs in directly instead of having an inlet mounted on the truck?
 

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Naildriver
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Storage of the cord would be a problem, IMO. It will be forever in the weather, hanging on the outside of the trailer, and could have the potential of dragging on the ground while in motion. A generator inlet makes much more sense, THEN use a cord from the panel to a female receptacle plug to plug into the inlet. For that application twist lock come to mind, too.
 

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I agree with Larry. It could have had a better setup.
 

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Here we go with the grounding and bonding issue. If you use the generators plugs you do not have a problem. If you move the outlets inside your trailer, then comes the rub. Have you joined the electrical ground/neutral generator and trailer frame?
Are you making 240 v? If you are then there are some problems to be solved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I live on an island (saipan) where no RVs or food trucks are available for sample and materials are very scarce. Also "code" out here is really lax. I'll post pics up in an hour and maybe it will help explain my story 😆
 

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Yes, is it safe?
That depends on how it is connected and where the connection is made. If the connection is made in a junction box that is located inside an exterior compartment then it is safe as long as the Neutral conductor is bonded to the frame at the point were the connections are made or in the circuit breaker panel on the truck. Best practice would be to leave the neutral bonded at the circuit breaker panel. You'll need to check that the Main Bonding Jumper (MBJ) is installed. MBJs take several different forms including a bonding bar between the Equipment Grounding Conductor (EGC) busbar; which is attached directly to the panel cabinet by it's mounting screws, and the Grounded Current Carrying Conductor (Neutral) busbar which is insulated from the cabinet, A screw, coated with conductive green paint, which is screwed through an unthreaded hole in the Neutral busbar into a threaded hole in the back of the cabinet until it is in firm contact with the Neutral Busbar; or a flexible copper strap which is fastened to the back of the cabinet and has a terminal pin affixed to the other end which is connected to the Neutral Busbar through one of it's regular terminal openings.

As long as the generator has it's winding's neutral conductor connection point bonded to the generator frame and the GEC round pin opening of all of it's receptacles also bonded to the frame then the trailer's wiring will be properly bonded just as it would be for an aircraft, floating building, or recreational vehicle. Just as a buildings service conductors neutral is grounded and bonded at it's source at the power utility's transformer and the supplied building's Service Disconnecting Means, the generator will also have it's neutral point bonded to the frame of the generator and to the food trailer's Service Disconnecting Means enclosure which is bonded to the trailer's frame. That is all done so that any current leaking from an energized conductor into the non conducting parts of the electrical system or the metal parts of the trailer will have a low impedance fault current pathway back to the source and the excessive current flow will trip the branch circuit breaker, the main breaker of the Service Disconnecting Means, or the generators Over Current Protective Device. Depending on the circuit which has been faulted to the bonded portions of the electrical system one of those 3 circuit breakers, and perhaps 2 or all 3, will open thus deenergizing the fault and eliminating the hazards of electric shock or the ignition of a fire.

That is also done on boats; which although the regulatory agency for Boats and Yachts; the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC); still allows it to be done, is terrible practice that can cause electrical paralysis drowning most especially in fresh water.

Additional safety precautions which I think are worth taking are not for electrical hazards but for any gaseous fuel that you are using on the trailer. The Main Gas line from the tank should be fitted with a fuel gas detector controlled automatic closing valve. There should also be an excess flow or deceleration valve that will cut off the gas supply in the event of a collision with a fixed object or another vehicle. The cooking area should also have a Carbon Monoxide Detector. Propane is much heavier than air and falls like a rock when leaking. You may not smell the mercaptan that is used as an odorant until quite a bit has accumulated at the floor level and finally fills that area up to an ignition source such as an oven or soup caldron burner which are lower than the cook top burners. A slow leak is even more insidious because prolonged exposure to mercaptan in small amounts will dull your ability to smell it. A fuel gas detector is sensing the gas itself and will shut off the flow before a combustible mixture can accumulate. Get yourself some real wheel chocks that are sized to the tire size. They should conform to the shape of the tires and go 1/4 of the circumference of the tire from it's contact point with the parking surface. A runaway working kitchen is never a good thing. Your trailer will be unwelcome at many public events if it is not equipped with a Class K extinguisher which is the only type that will extinguish a fire in deep fat. In addition your trailer must have a multi purpose dry chemical Ammonium Phosphate extinguisher. The size of that extinguisher is governed by US Department of Transportation regulations for road vehicles. There may be more stringent State or local regulations. Things such as a laboratory listed fire blanket for extinguishing fires in clothing and a particular type of first aid kit may also be required.

Good Luck in our new or continuing enterprise.

Tom Horne
 

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Naildriver
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Aaah, Saipan, that explains the US flag in your logo. And there's not a Cliff's Notes version of @hornetd 's comment, sorry. You'll have to read it.
 
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Naildriver
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So you'll have to use an extension cord anyway. I think an inlet would have been better, since you will use a cord anyway. Is the disconnect being used? Is it a breaker or just a solid disconnecting point? None of the wiring is protected. It should all be in conduit between boxes with an inlet posted before the disconnect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Generator
I explained that I needed 1 light, 4 outlets and an open breaker for the mini split type A/C to be installed. I showed him what generator I was going to use and he said " no problem, I just make line from panel box to generator, no need extra box or cord" :unsure:
 

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Naildriver
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You asked us if it was "safe". We are in different countries with different "codes". Here it would not pass muster as a safe installation. You have lax codes and your "electrician" knows it.
 

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The cords that I am familiar with, SO SOEW and SOO are not rated to be in a wall. The electrical cables, SE, SER do not hold up to be in the weather .
Suggestions (only) use a cable, SER from the panel to an outlet on the outside. There was a pic of the box I used to feed my RV at my home. Yes this is another complication,
Most of the guys I buy from on the mobile carts either get a electric start generator so they can stop the noise when they can, and save fuel. Or they use a heavy cord from the Trailer box to the generator and move it some distance away. You might be able to get a made rv cord and sent to you faster than finding the parts on island. I used to support a couple of guys that worked on Guam doing circuit breakers for the Navy. I got good at locating the NAVY logistics guys and could sometimes sneak a couple of 1000 pounds on to a airplane. I do mean sometimes.

Nice touch to put the electrical panel so high.
 

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The electrical cables, SE, SER do not hold up to be in the weather.
Would you please explain what you mean by this? Both SEU and SER cables "hold up to be in the weather" for decades as the service entry conductors between the end of a service drop and the Service Disconnecting Means on the outside of buildings exposed to the complete range of weather conditions from Northern Maine to the Desert Southwest.

--
Tom Horne
 

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I live on an island (saipan) where no RVs or food trucks are available for sample and materials are very scarce. Also "code" out here is really lax.
OK, that explains why your forum flag looks like Guam's flag (my first guess was Palau, whoops!) Northern Marianas (incl. Saipan and Guam) is on NEC 2008 (National Electrical Code 2008 edition) as of August 1 2020. It's normal for governments to lag adoption of NEC by a couple of versions.

However, almost everyone says "code out here is really lax". Actually, they are novices and haven't yet been bit by a Code compliance problem. Generally the #1 way you interact with Code compliance is after a fire or accident, when the insurer is looking for a way to deny your claim or the DA is deciding whether you were criminally negligent. If your health department has inspections on a food truck, they may get you there too.

I'm sorry you don't have LOCAL exemplars to look at, but you can look at well-built examples all over the web. (and some bad ones too lol).


Are you making 240 v? If you are then there are some problems to be solved.
Saipan has North American 120/240V split-phase.

If it is a 3-wire connection I presume the loads in the truck are 120V. If any loads are 240V, then a 4-wire connection is mandatory.

In NEC jurisdiction, you should be using a NEMA 5 type receptacle for 120V, or a NEMA 14 family receptacle for 240V.

I'm actually alright with a short pigtail cord instead of an inlet if it's in a compartment sheltered from road spray off the wheels, being hit by rocks and the like. However, even better if there's an outlet right next to it that the plug is inserted into when not in use. That way it is not flapping around.


I mention 240V because a lot of food trucks here take pretty big 240V service to run fryers.
 
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