Wiring Home to Acceopt a Portable Generator


Old 09-15-08, 02:05 PM
Starnan's Avatar
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Question Wiring Home to Acceopt a Portable Generator

I'm looking for information, links, good web sites, whatever, showing wiring options for connecting a mid-size portable generator (5500/8500 W) to the main line of a standard dwelling.

The generator's connector to use is a L14-30 (30A) connector and I seek to put a similar receptacle indoors next to the main breaker box. Maybe a bypass will be used (I understand pulling the master cutoff can serve just as well, possibly).

I already understand the basics of this connection; I just want to make sure I'm doing it RIGHT, as you can never be too careful when dealing with the main box.
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Old 09-15-08, 02:47 PM
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Most importantly you have to ensure that you are not backfeeding the utility line, or you could kill somebody.

You need a manual transfer switch. In your load center you just add a 60A 2-pole breaker and connect this. Then move your generator loads to the transfer switch's load center.

Something like this:


You will see that the breaker handles on that unit are linked so that as you transfer to the generator, the utility power is automatically shut off.

If you want to do this on the whole load center, you are going to have to reconfigure and add a much larger transfer switch.

Simply put, it is not safe to do in any way except by using an approved transfer switch.
Old 09-20-08, 01:51 AM
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Pulling the master cutoff is a bad idea. Put simply, you will most likely end up working on that breaker while the main from the utility is live. On most panels it can't be pulled without undoing connections that are hot from the utility drop. Even then, the chances of having a dropped tool dead-short the incoming line are significant. If nothing else, you'd have to deal with re-installation on a live line afterwards.

While working on live 20A circuits is dangerous, working on live utility lines is suicidal. The utility's protection for your drop is designed to allow "burn-through" levels of current. If a tree branch falls on the overhead lines, they want it to burn through rather than shut down, saves them a trip out. It'll burn through you just as easily.
Old 09-27-08, 07:46 AM
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I am doing the same and found this site to be helpful


This is next on my wish list


Good Luck & YES....DO IT RIGHT
Old 09-28-08, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by ArgMeMatey View Post
i have the ten curcuit version. if you buy one order a spare switch or two.
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