Portable Generator Hookup

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  #1  
Old 12-10-08, 04:36 PM
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Portable Generator Hookup

Hi, I haven't posted for a while although I've been reading faithfully.
According to all Generator Transfer Switch/Panel installation instructions I've come across, the splices between Transfer Unit and Main Panel are made in the Main Panel. I take this to be the way it is done in the USA.
Today while looking at a Transfer Switch/Panel I got talking to a seemingly knowledgable Sales Guy from Home Depot.
He told me that the cables for the generator dedicated circuits have to be physically moved from the Main Panel to the Generator Transfer Switch/Panel. In other words you cannot leave the affected cables in the Main Panel where they are now and connect/splice the Transfer Panel circuits within the Main Panel. You can't use your Main Panel as a junction box for the Transfer Panel.
This is contrary to what all the Transfer Panel installation instructions are saying ie. GenTran, Eaton etc.
If what he said is true, I would have a problem in that 2 of the affected cables ( Fridge and Freezer) going into the existing Main Panel would be too short to be re-routed into the Transfer Panel which would be mounted above the Main Panel. Pulling new wires is not an option since everything is closed up and finished.
Question - can I run the Fridge and Freezer receptacle cables into the new Generator Transfer Panel via 2 separate octagon junction boxes. All Panels are in my garage and the junction boxes would mount between both Panels and would have covers on them. They would be accessible and not hidden.
Last but not least I should mention that I live in Canada where the rules may be different.
Any advice is appreciated and if there's any other canucks on this forum I'd like to hear from them.
Thanks
 
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Old 12-10-08, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by torpedo203 View Post
a seemingly knowledgable Sales Guy from Home Depot.
Isn't that an oxymoron???

Anyway....

If I understand you correctly, you have your generator directly running these circuits in question bypassing the transfer switch. If that's the case it's a hugh no no. What will happen is the generator current can back feed into the street when there's an outage possible putting the linemen in harms way.
 
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Old 12-10-08, 05:50 PM
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Sorry if I didn't explain myself clearly
I'm not bypassing the Transfer Switch.
Basically I want to feed the interlocked 60 A Input breaker of the Transfer Panel from a 60 A breaker in my Main Panel. From there I power the circuits I want to power by generator via separate circuit breakers in the Transfer panel.
The main breakers in the Transfer Panel are mechanically interlocked so that only one of them can be on at any one time( Utility or Generator)
My main question was whether or not it is acceptable to have a junction box between a panel (Transfer Panel) and my Fridge and Freezer receptacles, since I can't pull out the old ones and replace them with longer cables
Thanks for your response and the Sales Guy I met today actually seemed to know about Transfer Panels and such.
I know, I know that's extremely rare but it's good to know that it happens here and there
 
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Old 12-10-08, 06:16 PM
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i'll call the transfer switch a "device" to make things more clear.

for a Gentran manual transfer device the device contains two wires for each curcuit switch. (on-off-on switches).
matching pairs are labeled A,B,C,D,etc. you will disconnect the output wire for the curcuit you wish to energize from the main panel breaker, attach it to one of the "A's", the other "A" will go to the original breaker in the main panel.
all of this takes place in the main or sub panel containing the chosen curcuits.
now, the original breaker powers the curcuit through the transfer device and you will move the curcuit switch from line to gen to power it with the generator. this way since the switch has to go into an off position between the two sources there is no way to backfeed the generator power into the grid or house system.

for an automatic device the curcuits are relocated to the device and it is powered by a breaker installed in the original main or sub panel. perhaps this is what the employee was thinking about. of course there could be other options as determined by the mfg but i've done both of the above installations.
hope this helped.

BTW, you said 60 amp breaker, and a portable generator.
unless you have a unit capable of producing 60 amps you risk exposing your generator to an overload. that's the reason i don't like those setups.
 
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Old 12-10-08, 09:30 PM
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Hang on tight I allready got ahold of one of my Canada electrician he should be here soon to see what he have to say .,,,,


Edit ., got ahold of him and here his reply.,,


You can pull the circuits off from the main panel to the generator transfer panel and yes you can use the wirenuts in the main panel to make the splices as necesseary.,
{ as long you have room in there }

For the netural you will have to pull the netural for each circuit and transfer it to the generator transfer panel { if it do have it then you will have to do this per CEC code }


This is for myself I have a question what brand name and model number the genrerator panel it is ? due some have specal note to deal with wiring setup.


If you have more question let me know myself or other Canada electrician can step in here and give you more reply on the info you are looking for.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 12-15-08, 05:57 PM
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Thank You for your replies.

Flopshot, the reason I went with a 60A transfer panel is because I have to feed my whole basement through the Transfer Switch via a 220V 40A DP breaker which is run to a pony panel in the basement. It's the only way I can power my oil furnace with the generator.
I realize that my generator can only produce 30A max and I won't exeed that since I will shut off all ccts in my basement pony panel except for the furnace and some lights.
A 30A transfer switch would not be heavy enough when the utulity feed is used.

Frenchy, thanks for the info. I can't see why one would not be allowed to splice in the main panel, within reason of course.
In my humble opinion it doesn't make any sense to also move the neutrals for the spliced runs from the main to the the transfer panel. This just means that these neutrals are being returned to the mainpanel via the cable between main panel and transfer switch. That's where they came from in the first place
But then again, not everything the code says makes sense
I used is a Siemens Generator Panel, 220V 60A 1 phase, 3 wire with 6/12 ccts. Cat# is EQG 660D
It has 3 Utility breakers and can be used with both bonded and unbonded Generator neutrals. ie.
bonded neutral = neutral is switched in transfer panel
unbonded neutral = neutral is continous, not switched
 
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Old 12-15-08, 07:18 PM
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He told me that the cables for the generator dedicated circuits have to be physically moved from the Main Panel to the Generator Transfer Switch/Panel. In other words you cannot leave the affected cables in the Main Panel where they are now and connect/splice the Transfer Panel circuits within the Main Panel. You can't use your Main Panel as a junction box for the Transfer Panel.
He is correct, Rule 6-212(1) Enclosures for circuit breakers and externally operated switches shall not be used as junction boxes, troughs, or raceways for conductors feeding through or tapping off to other apparatus. (From 2nd last version of code book, don't have the latest one at home, so unless something has changed...)

Question - can I run the Fridge and Freezer receptacle cables into the new Generator Transfer Panel via 2 separate octagon junction boxes. All Panels are in my garage and the junction boxes would mount between both Panels and would have covers on them. They would be accessible and not hidden.
You could use one J.Box for both cables, just use the appropriate size
 
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Old 12-19-08, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Buzz View Post
He is correct, Rule 6-212(1) Enclosures for circuit breakers and externally operated switches shall not be used as junction boxes, troughs, or raceways for conductors feeding through or tapping off to other apparatus. (From 2nd last version of code book, don't have the latest one at home, so unless something has changed...)



You could use one J.Box for both cables, just use the appropriate size
I just looked through the 2006 CEC at our library and found rule 6-212(1).

However, there are also some other rules on 12-3034 Wiring Space in Enclosures, which seem to say the exact opposite
Wouldn't that make my case for being allowed to splice in my panel??

enclosures for overcurrent devices, controllers and externally operated switches shall be permitted to be used as junction boxes
acc. to rule 12-3034 2a (ii) which states
where wiring is being added to an enclosure forming part of an existing installation and the conductors, splices and taps do not fill the wiring space at any cross section to more than 75% of the cross-sectional area of the space
AND
rule 12-3034 2(b) which states
The enclosure identified may be used as a raceway where the conductors are being added to enclosures forming part of an existing installation and all conductors present do not fill the wiring space at any cross section to more than 40% of the cross sectional area of the space
with only 3 splices in the main panel I don't even come close to filling the wiring space in either panel at any cross section to 75% & 40%
respectively.
Which rule does one go by
Any thoughts??
 
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Old 12-20-08, 09:15 AM
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forming part of an existing installation
This section is refering to existing installations, you are performing a new installation.

That being said , the easiest way to know for sure is to contact your AHJ and ask them for clairification. If you have their blessings you are good to go, make sure you ask for the name of the person you spoke with, then if you have any issues at "inspection time" at least you can provide the name of the person you spoke with.

What province are you located in ?
 

Last edited by Buzz; 12-20-08 at 09:24 AM. Reason: To add more to the post
  #10  
Old 12-20-08, 06:50 PM
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Thanks for your reply Buzz,
I'm in Nova Scotia where the rules in my municipality (Halifax) state that ALL transfer panel installations SHALL BE DONE by a licensed electrical contractor. They won't even talk to you unless you have a license.
Inspection requests from private individuals cannot/will not be granted.
I've been working in the electrical/electronic field for over 35 years (I'm retired now) so I"m no novice at this . My installation is safe and sound and does not present a hazard to life or property. I don't think I'll loose any sleep over this.
BTW what's a AHJ?
CheersBeer 4U2
 
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Old 12-21-08, 08:22 AM
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BTW what's a AHJ?
"Authority Having Jurisdiction", or in other words your inspection department.

Merry Christmas !
 
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