Generator Transfer Switch Install Thread

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  #1  
Old 01-31-12, 03:10 PM
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Generator Transfer Switch Install Thread

I have frequent power outages in my area and short of spending several thousand $ on a whole house, natural gas piped generator I've decided on this approach that I want to document on here. This is all thanks to the wonderful people on this forum.

First, the switch:

31410CRK Pro/Tran | Product Details | Reliance Controls Corporation





I really wanted the full 10 circuits for the most flexiblity. The Reliance website is very informative so I'm confident I can do this myself.

My design (poke holes early and often please):
  • The generator will be outside when in use
  • I'll use the 10' 30amp cord that came with the switch to connect from the 30a outlet on the generator

  • The cord will connect to a remote inlet box

  • From there I will wire the inlet box to the transfer switch
  • the switch will be mounted right next to my service panel


Here's a rough sketch of what I'm thinking:



I have a 6,000W generator (11,000 starting watts) and am in the process of planning out which circuits to hook up.

Please respond back with any questions or feedback.

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-31-12, 05:25 PM
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The only hole I can poke is your inlet box appears to be floating in space. Were you planing on mounting that to a garage wall or something? Where/what is the first 15' of #10 cable going through?
 
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Old 01-31-12, 06:56 PM
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I only see one issue. The inlet appears to be in a raintight box with weatherproof cover, but the cover is no longer weatherproof if the cord is plugged in. This wouldn't be an issue if your outages are all during dry weather.
 
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Old 01-31-12, 08:03 PM
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Here is a 30 amp inlet with an "in use" cover. Cheap too.

NEW GENERATOR POWER INLET 30AMP, L14-30 Twist Lock | eBay

Have you considered an interlock kit? Most manufacturers make one for thier panels.
 
  #5  
Old 02-01-12, 02:12 PM
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Thanks for the feedback! Forgot to mention Im just a normal DIY'er and no expert so really need the help here.

Tolyn Ironhand - great screen name BTW! I'm planning on mounting it right next to my breaker panel in the basement. Like 3 inches to the left. The first 15' of 10# wire will be outside and I'm planning on running it through PVC conduit. I assumed that's ok.

CasualJoe - i was wondering the same myself. Im very concerned b/c, to your point, many of my outages are in rain and snow. So, my plan is to have alot of this underneath my deck. I know that my generator needs sufficient room to exhaust. The deck is about 8' high. underneath the basement of the house borders two sides. So the other two sides under the deck will be open to the air. But...my expectation is they will receive less hard weather. I'm thinking of running a small tarp over top, technically underneath the floor of the deck, to further keep rain out.

Auger01 - thanks for that link. I'll have to use something like that to keep the inlet dry. And to your point about an interlock, yes! I did hear of those and that really sounded like a better idea. but i know they're not allowed in some states. And both an electrician that came out to quote doing this for me, and the utility guy, never heard of them when I asked them about it. And its not a the type job I'd be comfortable doing from what I've read.
 
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Old 02-01-12, 03:14 PM
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The interlock is actually easier to wire than the transfer switch, but it is not for everyone because it does require the user manually manage the loads so as not to overload the generator.

This guy makes some good points:

Interlock vs. Transfer switch - YouTube
 
  #7  
Old 02-01-12, 03:25 PM
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That Youtube video is the reason I did the interlock kit instead of the transfer switch (not to mention the switch was on endless back order too). I first purchased that inlet box on the Ebay listing, but when I put it on the side of the house it was a monster in size. I figure if I really need to I can wrap the PB30 inlet box during bad weather when in use if need be.
 
  #8  
Old 03-01-12, 04:36 PM
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Update

I'm finished and have some pics to show the completion. While I'm very excited to have accomplished this, please give feedback and suggestions.

When in use the generator will be rolled out of my basement put into service outside the basement wall, underneath the deck.



The 10' ext cord plugged into 30Amp outlet on Generator



Inlet box is located underneath my deck:



Here is where I started the run of 10-3 building wire insulated in 1/2" PVC. I purchased a roll of 100' which was the max run I could safely use here.
This wire was really tough to work with.



In hindsight I should've used 3/4" pvc at least.

This is where it entered my house. Had to drill through the deck header, the stucco and the wooden house header. Was happy when I found I didnt have to drill through a cement foundation.



Here's the other side, where it enters the house



Then ran it through my basement...



...on its way to the Transfer Switch



and into the service panel




I made up this to indicate which circuits are powered on my main panel



In the end cost:

1) Transfer Switch Kit: $600 (over-paid by $100 like I said, I think I got the last one in the country. wait was 18-26 weeks everywhere)

2) 100' of 10-3 wire: $125

3) PVC supplies: $12

4) Misc electrical supplies: $10

= $747

I was quoted 250% of that amount by a large electrician to do the same whole job. Hope I did this right so I can feel good about doing it myself.
 
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Old 03-01-12, 04:44 PM
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Good but. Don't you hate buts? It would be better to have an in-use cover on the inlet. You seem to have used SO cord for connecting the inlet to the transfer switch. I don't think it is approved for that use. It should probably have been UF-b.
 
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Old 03-01-12, 05:01 PM
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:-) Yea, dont you! But hey, thats why Im here and why I'm so grateful for this forum and feedback like yours. So

1) Yep, CasualJoe above mentioned the cover on the box. I went to home depot and found one for maybe $27. The guy there said what I had was just fine (I brought it with me to compare). So do you think I really should have the one with the bigger cover? It's already under the deck. Its no problem to upgrade if its worth it.

2) So what's "SO"?

I trusted Reliance provides proper stuff thats up to code. But maybe not?
 
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Old 03-01-12, 05:43 PM
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It seems your install is in violation. :NO NO NO:, unless I’m missing something.
 
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Old 03-01-12, 06:27 PM
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You seem to have used SO cord for connecting the inlet to the transfer switch.
Ray, it looks to me like he used 10-3 NM-B cable in 1/2" PVC conduit between the outdoor inlet and indoor transfer switch. NM-B cable is not approved for use outside, even in conduit. I think I would have used THHN/THWN in conduit till I got inside the basement and then switched to NM-B cable. The PVC conduits should be supported to the wood framing members of the deck or to the concrete wall with 1-hole straps or minnies rather than being wired to the other conduit. I assume there was no permit or inspection. Does it work?
 
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Old 03-01-12, 06:32 PM
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1) Yep, CasualJoe above mentioned the cover on the box. I went to home depot and found one for maybe $27. The guy there said what I had was just fine (I brought it with me to compare). So do you think I really should have the one with the bigger cover? It's already under the deck. Its no problem to upgrade if its worth it.
It might be both fine and dandy, but the advice you were given is bad and it needs an in-use cover. Don't ever assume you will get good advice in a big box store.
 
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Old 03-01-12, 06:45 PM
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CasualJoe wrote:
Ray, it looks to me like he used 10-3 NM-B cable in 1/2" PVC conduit between the outdoor inlet and indoor transfer switch.
You may be right. I saw round and orange and didn't even think 10-3 NM-b.
 
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Old 03-01-12, 07:40 PM
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You may be right. I saw round and orange and didn't even think 10-3 NM-b.
That’s not the only violation.
Casual has already mentioned a few, that I was going to follow with—after my previous comment.
 
  #16  
Old 03-01-12, 08:04 PM
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ok got it. This is one of the reasons I'm posting this.

casualjoe and ray, thanks. to your comments:

- yep, I used NMB wire. good catch on the orange wire. I truly thought if you have it encased in pvc it was fine.

- and yes, I know well enough not to always trust what I learn from someone I dont know. my mistake.

- no, I didnt get a permit or have it inspected.

SeaOn - other than saying its in violation a few times didnt get anything specific so I'm assuming CasualJoe and Ray covered it.

so here's what I need to do:

1) install proper covering for inlet box. I know the exact one to get.

2) correct outdoor conduit. I've seen the MC cable so I knwo what it is. Will have to check out THWN wire as well. then I'll replace the 15' or so from inlet box to where it enters the house with correct conduit for outdoor use.

3) support under deck. I wasnt sure what to do here so good to get the right feedback. I'll use 1-hole straps for sure.

Thanks. Will report back with updates.
 
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Old 03-01-12, 08:25 PM
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2) correct outdoor conduit. I've seen the MC cable so I knwo what it is.
Not sure what you mean. No one mentioned MC.

You can salvage most of the NM-be. If the run is protected, and it seems to be, you could just replace the NM-b under the deck with sunlight resistant UF-b with out adding conduit. Just put a Jbox inside the basement for the transition.
 
  #18  
Old 03-01-12, 09:56 PM
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SeaOn - other than saying its in violation a few times didnt get anything specific so I'm assuming CasualJoe and Ray covered it.
Yeah, I was interrupted, so I wasn’t able to continue my post.
 
  #19  
Old 03-03-12, 01:31 AM
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If you decide to go with THWN in conduit, consider using an LB fitting or two where it enters the house. It will make a much neater install than those sweeps.
 
  #20  
Old 03-03-12, 07:10 AM
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I used the same 10/3 wire for mine. Unless they come and nab me on inspection I am leaving it as is. I have very little that goes outside. It's inside the inlet box and leaves out the back in conduit right into the house. Never sees the light of day.

Could not get the image to embed so this is the link

Mode Note: This forum strongly advises always following code. Posts advising not following code will be removed or edited. The situation described actually seems to be code compliant except for the lack of a in-use cover.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 03-03-12 at 08:45 AM.
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