Generator cord

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  #1  
Old 02-10-08, 03:31 PM
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Generator cord

I already have a Square D interlock kit installed and 1" EMT stubbed out of the panel down to a 1900 box by the garage door, I'll put some THHN in it when the time comes, that's not the problem.

What I need is a way to connect the generator to that 1900 box, CHEAP. There is very little chance of every using this so I don't want to spend much money. Generator cords seem VERY expensive, as door specialty generator "inlets" to plug into.

What cheap alternatives do I have to finish this off inexpensively? Can I come straight out of the box with the rubber cord, saving me from buying the inlet and the male plug? I've seen blank 4" plates with half inch KOs I could open up to 3/4" if needed and use a grommet, then I could just hang the 10 feet of rubber cord from a garden hose type wall hanger. Would that work?

Ideas?
 
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  #2  
Old 02-10-08, 03:51 PM
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No, leaving a male cord end hanging out to plug in would not be safe. It could get energized just by flipping the backfeed breaker on.

Just install a flanged inlet receptacle of the proper size.
 
  #3  
Old 02-10-08, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
No, leaving a male cord end hanging out to plug in would not be safe. It could get energized just by flipping the backfeed breaker on.

Just install a flanged inlet receptacle of the proper size.
Help me understand what you are saying please.

How would the male cord end in the situation I described be any different than the male cord end inside of the inlet?

Second, how would the backfed breaker be flipped on while the main breaker was on? In case you didn't see the first line of the first post, a Square D interlock kit is installed.

Thanks!
 
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Old 02-10-08, 04:55 PM
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There are no cheap alternatives. Do it right or don't do it.
 
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Old 02-10-08, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by joed View Post
There are no cheap alternatives. Do it right or don't do it.
So there is something completely wrong with having the cord solidly connected to a box instead of connecting thru an inlet?

Out of curiosity, what exactly is wrong with it?

BTW, I came here to find other ideas and ask about one possible idea that I had. I found it hard to believe that before someone invented the "inlet" there was no other safe and code compliant way to connect a generator. I understand that people come here with horrid ideas (suicide cords for example) and just want people to tell them that it's ok to use since they are going to do it anyway. I am not here for that, if the idea that I presented is in fact dangerous I will surely NOT do it. I am an electrician, but I do commercial work so I am not familar with many of the residential aspects. If you could cite code and give the theory behind why it's just "wrong", I would greatly appreciate it. I posted here not only to find out how to connect this particular generator, but as a learning experience as well.
 
  #6  
Old 02-10-08, 05:27 PM
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As a commercial electrician, the same rules and "Theories' would apply. Probably for the same reasons.

If you were wiring a "Workshop" for example, The simple fact that somebody in a drunken stupor, after hours,and with no viable reason for being in the building , MIGHT take a 30 foot ladder and bump into your pigtail. It may or may not shock him, but the simple fact that it might, is enough to raise a red flag for safety consultants.

is there any way to absolutely ensure that a child , riding a bicycle will never "BUMP" your pigtail????

yes, safety codes are written for the safety of the absolute Moron, But this is the world we live in.
 
  #7  
Old 02-10-08, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Unclediezel View Post
As a commercial electrician, the same rules and "Theories' would apply. Probably for the same reasons.
Hi Unclediezel.

I already have applied those theories and rules.

If you were wiring a "Workshop" for example, The simple fact that somebody in a drunken stupor, after hours,and with no viable reason for being in the building , MIGHT take a 30 foot ladder and bump into your pigtail. It may or may not shock him, but the simple fact that it might, is enough to raise a red flag for safety consultants.

is there any way to absolutely ensure that a child , riding a bicycle will never "BUMP" your pigtail????

yes, safety codes are written for the safety of the absolute Moron, But this is the world we live in.
I think you might have missed the first sentence of the first post as well, I already have an interlock kit installed in my panel.

That means that there will be no potential present in the cord (as you put it, pigtail).

The only time that there could possibly be voltage present is when I turn the main off, then flip the interlock kit, then turn on the 2 pole breaker I am backfeeding, then connect and start the generator. That is the only time that the cord will be energized and it's coming from the generator, so it's no different than any other time a generator is connected with a cord (whether thru an inlet or not).
 
  #8  
Old 02-10-08, 05:57 PM
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I did note the presence of the interlock switch.
Not to be condescending, but the next safety card I will play, is the hanging or choking hazard, which will be present whether the cord is live or not.

I'll be the first to admit, that codes are written and put into place for the common occurances in an AVERAGE setting, and usually have nothing to do with common sense...

Much like Traffic signals.... 'they Installed a traffic light on the corner of "MAIN AND BROADWAY" , 2 days after someone got killed. Too little too late. If it can happen , it is assumed it will happen.
 
  #9  
Old 02-10-08, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Unclediezel View Post
I did note the presence of the interlock switch.
Not to be condescending, but the next safety card I will play, is the hanging or choking hazard, which will be present whether the cord is live or not.
Ok, now we are getting off topic. The cord will be hung from the wall even if I use an inlet, just like my hoses and climbing ropes are. If someone chokes, good, they definitely deserved it (it's called darwinism plus burglary since I live alone).

You've brought up new issues, but you never responded to the old. If you knew about the presence of the interlock kit, why did you make such a fuss about someone "bumping into the energized pigtail"? Since you know it will never be energized, what is the problem?
 
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Old 02-10-08, 06:11 PM
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Since you know it will never be energized, what is the problem?
If you can get that question past the electrical inspector, then I guess there isnt a problem.
 
  #11  
Old 02-10-08, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Unclediezel View Post
If you can get that question past the electrical inspector, then I guess there isnt a problem.
This is a prime example of a cop out...

If you didn't know anything about it, why did you post?

If you knew that I had an interlock kit which would stop the cord from being energized, why did you go on and on about how someone could hit the "energized" cord?

In the end, your argument came down to someone choking on the cord that I might hang from the wall, jeeze...

Thanks for the waste of time, you suceeded in your mission.
 
  #12  
Old 02-10-08, 06:31 PM
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no...Its not a cop out...

However, Logically, I can tell you anything that comes to mind, and its up to you to interpret it.
Whether or not Im right, doesnt matter , Im not the one signing off on it, and Since you will never invite me to your home, it will never be hazard to me.

Having said that, I have no intention of engaging in a spitting contest with anyone here. You are absolutely right, it probably wont hurt anyone the way it is, or how you propose it to be.
But, in the end, its not up to myself, or anyone else here, or even you, to determine what can and cant be done.
Thats what electrical inspectors are for...
 
  #13  
Old 02-10-08, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Unclediezel View Post
no...Its not a cop out...

However, Logically, I can tell you anything that comes to mind, and its up to you to interpret it.
Whether or not Im right, doesnt matter , Im not the one signing off on it, and Since you will never invite me to your home, it will never be hazard to me.

Having said that, I have no intention of engaging in a spitting contest with anyone here. You are absolutely right, it probably wont hurt anyone the way it is, or how you propose it to be.
But, in the end, its not up to myself, or anyone else here, or even you, to determine what can and cant be done.
Thats what electrical inspectors are for...
Isn't there some type of philosophy and faith forum you should be posting on?

For the rest of us, we go by code and theory. I started this thread to learn the code and theory behind different methods of connecting a generator.
 
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Old 02-10-08, 06:41 PM
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For the rest of us, we go by code and theory. I started this thread to learn the code and theory behind different methods of connecting a generator.
Since you have been told since post #2, that this is unacceptable, by the "Non faithful" professionals among us, Then I , in fact have been wasting our time here.

Go in peace child,...... and prosper.
 
  #15  
Old 02-10-08, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Unclediezel View Post
Since you have been told since post #2, that this is unacceptable,
And since I have asked since post #3 just why it isn't acceptable, I have expected a reason. However, all of your posts did not contain one, that is because you do not know.

I just looked and found you to be an auto mechanic, so it's no wonder why you can't answer my question. The only wonder is why you even posted in the first place...

And just to recap:
Originally Posted by Unclediezel View Post
Since you have been told since post #2, that this is unacceptable,
Post #2 said: "It could get energized just by flipping the backfeed breaker on."
That is a false statement since he apparently overlooked the fact that the cord could never be energized since I have an interlock kit. So post #2 is not the end all be all declaration that you are making it out to be.
 
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Old 02-10-08, 06:56 PM
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I just looked and found you to be an auto mechanic, so it's no wonder why you can't answer my question. The only wonder is why you even posted in the first place...
As a COMMERCIAL ELECTRICIAN, you have access to the same publications as a residential electrician.

The "LOW VOLTAGE" section of the NEC would be a good place to start. There is also a section on Seperately derived power systems , that you may wish to look into.
 
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Old 02-10-08, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Unclediezel View Post
As a COMMERCIAL ELECTRICIAN, you have access to the same publications as a residential electrician.

The "LOW VOLTAGE" section of the NEC would be a good place to start. There is also a section on Seperately derived power systems , that you may wish to look into.
You still here spreading misinformation?

Don't you have to go warn someone that something hanging on their garage wall might hang someone else?
 
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Old 02-10-08, 06:58 PM
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Your proposal would be no different if you had the female end and flanged inlet but never unplugged the cable from the flanged inlet.

It's fine as you propose.
 
  #19  
Old 02-10-08, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by VoltageHz View Post
What cheap alternatives do I have to finish this off inexpensively?
Ideas?
VoltageHz,
How cheap do you want do go; a couple of bucks?
I had an electrician (my step-son) do the same job a couple of years ago.

He made an 8 foot extension with two males on each end (10 gauge/3-conductors W/ground) and added the receptacle in the box in the garage and the cost wasn't really that much....... I think it was about 45 bucks.

Being an electrician; you should be able to get the parts wholesale!

I'd just do it the right way; it's neater and you won't have a wire dangling.
Phil
 
  #20  
Old 02-10-08, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Philossifer View Post
VoltageHz,
How cheap do you want do go; a couple of bucks?
I have no price limit, I just don't want to waste money on something I will most likely never use and have no other use for.

I had an electrician (my step-son) do the same job a couple of years ago.

He made an 8 foot extension with two males on each end (10 gauge/3-conductors W/ground) and added the receptacle in the box in the garage and the cost wasn't really that much....... I think it was about 45 bucks.

Being an electrician; you should be able to get the parts wholesale!

I'd just do it the right way; it's neater and you won't have a wire dangling.
Phil
If it has a male plug on each end, it's very dangerous. If you unplug it from the receptacle while it's still plugged into the generator, you can get shocked. That's the whole purpose of having one end be female and using an "inlet" (male) on the wall opposed to an outlet (typically female) with a male plug.

As for me getting wholesale, I do commercial electrical work for other contractors so I get no discount at all.

You said $45? All the cords I have seem are $200 and up, even when buying separate cord ends and rubber cord. If I could get one for $45, I wouldn't even have made this thread.
 
  #21  
Old 02-11-08, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by VoltageHz View Post
If it has a male plug on each end, it's very dangerous. If you unplug it from the receptacle while it's still plugged into the generator, you can get shocked. That's the whole purpose of having one end be female and using an "inlet" (male) on the wall opposed to an outlet (typically female) with a male plug.
VoltageHz,
My mistake...... I went out and looked at the cord and you're right; one end has a male end to plug into the generator and the other end has a female end to plug into the box.

It's been a long time since I've hooked it-up. We don't get outages very often where I live.....

I might be off on the price by 10 or 20 bucks, but I know for a fact I didn't pay $200 for the generator extension cord parts.

In fact, I was surprised at how relatively inexpensive the whole set-up was (considering I only had to pay for parts and not for labor)

I have a 60 amp transfer panel with 8 circuits hard wired to the generator hook-up in the garage (40 foot run) with THHN, 10 guage/4-conductors through EMT conduit. Plus he made the 8 foot generator extension cord so I can put the generator right outside the garage.

Good luck; I hope you find what you're looking for!
Phil
 
  #22  
Old 02-11-08, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Philossifer View Post
VoltageHz,
How cheap do you want do go; a couple of bucks?
I had an electrician (my step-son) do the same job a couple of years ago.

He made an 8 foot extension with two males on each end (10 gauge/3-conductors W/ground) and added the receptacle in the box in the garage and the cost wasn't really that much....... I think it was about 45 bucks.

Being an electrician; you should be able to get the parts wholesale!

I'd just do it the right way; it's neater and you won't have a wire dangling.
Phil
BAD SETUP. This one is definitely a code voilation. You should have had a male receptacle on the wall and the regualr extension cord with male/female connectors. They are called suicide cords for a reason. Imagine if someone fired up the gnerator with only the cord plugged into the generator. Now you have live prongs exposed on the cord.
 
  #23  
Old 02-11-08, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by joed View Post
BAD SETUP. This one is definitely a code voilation. You should have had a male receptacle on the wall and the regualr extension cord with male/female connectors. They are called suicide cords for a reason. Imagine if someone fired up the gnerator with only the cord plugged into the generator. Now you have live prongs exposed on the cord.
He posted afterwards correcting himself, he has the proper setup.

I had replied to one of your earlier posts, do you mind responding?
 
  #24  
Old 02-11-08, 07:56 AM
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It is always a bad idea to try to figure out _why_ an installation violates code; because then you go down the path of analyzing a particular risk (energizing exposed terminals), and never answer the question of 'does this violate code or not'. I recommend trying to find the applicable code articles, then at least you are only arguing interpretation of the words, and not trying to do an engineering analysis.

IMHO the issue of the exposed terminals is a red herring. A flanged inlet on the wall would have similar exposed terminals.

VoltageHz, the installation that you are considering will be allowed or disallowed under article 400 Flexible Cords and Cables.

I believe that 400.7(A)(1), (6), or (8) would permit the use. However the permissions of 400.7(A)(6) or (8) are modified by 400.7(B) which requires that the flexible cord be connected using an attachment plug, although this appears to apply specifically to the side that _energizes_ the cord, and does not consider the use of generators. However 400.7(A)(1) specifically permits 'pendants', and I belive that this is what you have.

Some might argue that 400.8 prohibits the installation. At this point you are down to the level where you need to check things with the inspector. Not a 'cop out', but simply the fact that the words get different interpretation, and the inspector should know how the words get interpreted in your area.

IMHO you can't simply use a grip on the cable through the box cover, because that would not provide proper strain relief on the cable. But with a proper strain relief cord grip, that problem would be answered.

I would strongly suggest the use of something to protect the exposed terminals; it would be a pain to discover that someone had bumped into your pendant and damaged the leads.

Finally, since you are an electrician, and don't expect to need this any time soon, probably the cheapest way to get the job done is to set up a running query for the necessary parts on 'e-bay' and buy them when cheap.

-Jon
 
  #25  
Old 02-11-08, 08:15 AM
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Jon, thanks for the post!

Since Philossifer mentioned how inexpensive it is, I have decided to look around for a typical cord and inlet. My original complaint with that method was the $300+ price tag that I have seen for those two items, but since I could find it cheaper I will do it that way.

I appreciate your insight on the matter, your post is exacly what I was looking for. I will be looking up your code references and studying this issue to learn for myself.

When people like joed and Unclediezel post saying "it's wrong because I said so" and give no valid reason, it really tends to bring the thread down, thank you for saving it.
 
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Old 02-11-08, 09:01 AM
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I don't see a safety issue, although..

cordage that is "permanently" installed into wiring boxes does make replacement a bit more difficult for the average person. What is effectively an extension cord does not have the lifetime of "permanent" wiring, and the cord itself will have a wear life.
Bottom line, I would not have a problem with this, if it's in a dry location (inside garage). If its an outside wall, then no.

To answer the plug protection argument, there are plug lockout boxes that snap on the outside of the entire plug.

From personal experience with generators, and little used plugs, i'd watch the corrosion of the blades; keep them shiny.
 
  #27  
Old 02-11-08, 05:59 PM
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Thanks telecom_guy.


As for the cord size, my original plan was to run all #10 wire, including the rubber cord. But I did the math and even my small 4000 watt generator could put out over 30 amps. Knowing that, why don't I see many #8 generator cords for sale? Surley most people have generators as big or bigger than 4kw, so what's the deal here?

Also, does anyone know a cheap online source for cords and inlets?
 
  #28  
Old 02-11-08, 07:15 PM
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If you are planning on connecting to the 120/240V 30A receptacle on your generator, a 10ga cable is just fine.

30A at 240V is 7200KVA, well in excess of what you will get out of your 4000W generator.

-Jon
 
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Old 02-11-08, 07:26 PM
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I regularly see 10/4 generator cables on eBay for reasonable prices.

They also have the individual twist-lok (L14-30) connectors available at much more reasonable prices than the big box stores. Right now they have a Midland power inlet box like mine with a starting bid of $24.94. I paid about $50 for mine.

Just do a Google using L14-30 for the search term and you will get a lot of hits.
 
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Old 02-11-08, 07:29 PM
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Will do furd, thanks.

While we're on the subject, where could I find a listing of all the NEMA designations for plugs and what not? I tried NEMA's website, but it talks about membership and stuff, I didn't find any listings.
 
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Old 02-11-08, 07:46 PM
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Old 02-11-08, 07:55 PM
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That's great, thanks!

The "R" at the end of each designation, does that mean it's a receptacle or is that just standard on all of them?
 
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Old 02-11-08, 08:35 PM
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The "R" at the end of each designation, does that mean it's a receptacle or is that just standard on all of them?
Yes, or if you prefer, receiver. It is the female end. The diagrams for plugs are the same except the "blades" are solid rather than "empty" boxes.
 
  #34  
Old 02-12-08, 06:11 AM
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Gotcha!

Ya see, this is the only thing that makes me hate commercial work. All the engineering is done for us, we don't have to make many decisions, we don't even have to use the code very often other than basic things. All we do is follow the plans.

I've installed many cord ends recently at a hospital for some 480volt medical equipment. However, I didn't have to find out which type since the plans specified what was required, the foreman ordered them, and I just installed them.
 
  #35  
Old 02-13-08, 07:10 AM
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Does the inlet have to be protected by a "bubble" cover if it is mounted on the exterior?
 
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