Generator Backfeed

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  #1  
Old 07-28-05, 06:13 PM
CubeDude
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Generator Backfeed

From my generator disconnect I have a 10/2 wire to a single pole 30 amp breaker. This connects back into a 120v 30 amp on my generator.

I know I have everything wired correctly and when I turn on my generator only some circuits will work and other won't. Here is an example:

If I use an extension cord and plug my refridgerator directly into my generator all is good. My fridge also works perfect when the main breaker is on. If I backfeed the generator into the panel with no power from the main feed my fridge won't run. It isn't a wattage issue.

The only thing I can think of is that there must be some wiring issue in my main breaker panel, but why would it work from the main feed and not the generator. Why do some circuits work and not other. Even when those are the only circuits on and they don't exceed the generators max wattage?

I am stumped. Please help.
 
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  #2  
Old 07-28-05, 06:26 PM
WFO
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Quote;

"From my generator disconnect I have a 10/2 wire to a single pole 30 amp breaker. This connects back into a 120v 30 amp on my generator."

Does your generator only generate at 120 volts?

Also, please tell me you have a transfer switch or some means of disconnecting from your normal service.
 
  #3  
Old 07-28-05, 06:29 PM
CubeDude
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Yes that is all in the disconnect box.

My generator only does 120V.
 
  #4  
Old 07-28-05, 07:59 PM
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From my generator disconnect I have a 10/2 wire to a single pole 30 amp breaker. This connects back into a 120v 30 amp on my generator.
I'm trying to understand what you are saying here. I'm seeing this as you are running a cord from a 30 amp receptacle on the genset to a ON/OFF disconnect and from that disconnect you are running 10/2 cable to a 30 amp single pole breaker. Then feeding the branch circuits of the panel thru that 30 amp breaker. Is this the correct "picture" of what you are doing?
 
  #5  
Old 07-29-05, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Roger
I'm trying to understand what you are saying here. I'm seeing this as you are running a cord from a 30 amp receptacle on the genset to a ON/OFF disconnect and from that disconnect you are running 10/2 cable to a 30 amp single pole breaker. Then feeding the branch circuits of the panel thru that 30 amp breaker. Is this the correct "picture" of what you are doing?
If this is what you are doing then you will only work the circuits on half the panel. It sounds like your fridge is on the other leg of the panel. Try moving the fridge breaker up or down one position and see if it works.

To backfeed the entire panel you would need a 240V generator and a 2 pole breaker.
 
  #6  
Old 07-29-05, 07:26 AM
CubeDude
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Thanks.. I knew there had to be an explanation. That makes sense to me. I know that all the wiring is correct.
 
  #7  
Old 07-29-05, 07:34 AM
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Ok this what I thought you were doing and it is illegal and a non-code compliant application. This is why I was asking the question to be certain this was what you had going on. Blizzard is simply telling you why it isnt working. You do not want to actually do this. You must use an approved genset transfer switch as WFO stated and it in many cases it must be accepted by the local utility.
If you back feed the local utility you will be responsible for injuries or deaths to linemen working on the utility due to this backfeed. It doesnt matter whether you have turned your main off or not. You run the risk of backfeeding the line side of the utility if you forget to do so. A Transfer switch prevents this from happening and takes the human error out of the loop. A disconnect is not an approved transfer device.
 

Last edited by Roger; 07-29-05 at 03:01 PM.
  #8  
Old 07-29-05, 07:44 AM
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You have been asked twice if you have an approved bus transfer device, and your answere have not made it clear if you know what this is. Feeding a panel without a permitted transfer device is ILLEGAL, and potentially DEADLY. You could go to jail for this, which is why I and others are repeating this question forcefully. Please tell us exactly how you are installed.
 
  #9  
Old 07-29-05, 11:42 AM
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Roger is correct and I should have been clearer. I only explained how to make it work and not why you shouldn't do it.

The code doesn't require a transfer switch, just a mechanical interlock that prevents you from having the genset and commercial ac on at the same time.

What you are doing is fairly common in this area, but there is an exception to make it code compliant. Square-D makes an interlock that will fit the Homeline or the QO panels. It is basically a little sliding metal plate that prevents the the top right breaker and the main breaker from both being on at the same time. The genset is connected to the top right breaker and the house is "legally" backfed through the panel. You really need to have a double pole breaker and a 240V gneset to use this method.
 
  #10  
Old 07-29-05, 11:50 AM
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Blizzard, wasnt trying to step on your toes. Just thought the poster didnt need to now how to fix what he was already doing incorrectly. No disrespect was intended.
 
  #11  
Old 07-29-05, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger
Blizzard, wasnt trying to step on your toes. Just thought the poster didnt need to now how to fix what he was already doing incorrectly. No disrespect was intended.
None was taken. It is very easy to forget that when you don't know somebody, you really don't know how they will take your advice. Some times it takes somebody looking from another angle to remember that.

We all need to err on the side of safety. So feel free to take me to task if I am wrong or don't provide enough detail.

Have a nice weekend.
 
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Old 07-30-05, 08:20 AM
CubeDude
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?

Dear 594tough you need a vacation. I was going to post my install, but I think knowing you will lose sleep over this makes me feel better about myself. Maybe if I was asked a THIRD or FOURTH time I would cower in fear and instantly beg for your mercy.

Blizzard you were right on. All is good now. I wish I had more people like you around and not an electrician who would take my money and install a fully code compliant disconnect box and then dissapear without installing the sub-panel. I am not saying that is my install or anything. You know.. I am just saying

Much to the dismay of 594tough I will not be going to jail anytime soon.
 
  #13  
Old 07-30-05, 12:32 PM
WFO
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Before you get too sarcastic with 594tough, go read the thread "Electricity can Kill" where a young lineman died because of someones lacadaisical attitude toward generators.

http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=224005

There's a doctor in there who might be wishing he had listened to someone like 594tough.
 
  #14  
Old 07-30-05, 02:09 PM
CubeDude
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594tough has a good message, but his delivery needs a lot of work.
 
  #15  
Old 07-30-05, 02:32 PM
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So does your arrogance over being informed of the reality of what you were doing. The idea of these forums is to help people and your vague replies offered very little recourse. When something sounds like its done in an unsafe/illegal way, you try to get the person to correct it. And it seems like it fell on deaf ears until it was repeated by multiple people. Badgering someone for taking the stern road in getting your attention is also unwarranted.
 
  #16  
Old 07-30-05, 02:48 PM
CubeDude
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Originally Posted by Hellrazor
So does your arrogance over being informed of the reality of what you were doing. The idea of these forums is to help people and your vague replies offered very little recourse. When something sounds like its done in an unsafe/illegal way, you try to get the person to correct it. And it seems like it fell on deaf ears until it was repeated by multiple people. Badgering someone for taking the stern road in getting your attention is also unwarranted.
I was asked in the first reply if I had a way to disconnect my generator from my main power feed. I answered YES. I don't see how that was vague.

The reality of what I am doing? Now your the one being sarcastic I hope?

It is funny how Blizzard seemed to piece everything together quickly.

I think a more civilized response to my post would have been:

If you are backfeeding your generator without an approved disconnect switch then you could be endangering the lives of power workers and doing something illegal. Please see this article <link>. I would prefer not to help you untill I know a little more about your setup. Please only do this if you have an approved disconnect. Read that article carefully!

To which I would have responded:

Thanks for the link. I do have an approved disconnect switch that prevents dangerous backfeed. Thank you for letting anyone who may read this in the future know the dangers of backfeeding. I paid an electrician to do this, but he installed the disconnect got it inspected and then high tailed it with the rest of my money. He keeps claiming he is busy and will get to me as soon as he can. I am glad that we have a forum like this to come to when we need help.
 
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