Another generator thread...

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  #1  
Old 10-20-12, 11:58 AM
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Another generator thread...

Just purchased a portable generator, with the intent to feed it into my house's load center. I'm pretty sure I've read every single thread/post here on this subject, and as usual, the knowledge and wisdom of you experts never ceases to amaze me. You've been beyond helpful on my previous projects, so I come before you again with a few questions on this endevour.

Troy-Bilt 7000/10500K portable generator
200A panel (Cutler Hammer BR) - (still have 6 or 7 empty spaces at the bottom)

Rest assured, this will be done with SAFETY as the paramount objective. As a matter of fact, my work will be done by (or at least supervised by) my neighbor who, conveniently, is a mucky-muck with our POCO.

I wil be removing the original Cutler-Hammer panel cover, and replacing it with a Cutler-Hammer panel with the interlock installed BRCOV30G1FM - Eaton Cutler Hammer - COMBO STYLE MECHANICAL INTERLOCK COVER FOR BR3040B200
My 2&4 slots are currently occupied by my elec dryer breaker (30A 2-pole) which I will now use for my generator-in breaker. Therefore, I'll need to install a new dryer breaker further down (slots 24&26...I think). Not sure how much extra wire the electrician left me, but I'll prob have to splice 'extensions' to get the dryer conductors down to the new location. I've learned (from this forum) that it's perfectly acceptable to splice inside the panel, however:

1. For splicing inside the panel, do you experts prefer wire nuts? or butt-connectors? I would think butt-connectors would look neater...but it seems wire nuts are more often mentioned.

Since I'm so tight I squeek, I was going to forego the inlet box bolted to the outside of the house, and just drill a 1" hole in the wall, and route the 10/4 SOWR cord through it and right into the panel (thru a side KO with the appropriate clamp). Then leave the cord coiled up and hanging on a hook outside. This way, all I (or the wife) have to do is grab the cord and plug it into the genny. However, I have one possible concern with this:

2. Any problem with having the male-end L14-30 plug exposed outside (at the end of the coiled-up cord)? Since the MAIN breaker and the GENERATOR breaker are interlocked, it should never be energized...but I still wanted to get your thoughts.

I just got the generator, and I certainly will be asking my neighbor for his POCO insights on these questions, but I would definitely appeciate y'all's input as well.

Thanks as always...

Wally
 
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  #2  
Old 10-20-12, 12:06 PM
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Unless you have special butt connectors that require a hydraulic crimper I strongly suggest that you use wire nuts.

I do NOT like leaving the interconnect cable outside. It WILL deteriorate from exposure to the elements. If you want to build a cabinet to store the cable I will begrudgingly approve but an inlet box is (in my opinion) a far better method. The inlet box I used was about $50 and completely encloses the connector in a weatherproof box.
 
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Old 10-20-12, 01:00 PM
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I've never seen butt connectors used on any residential wiring; while they may be code compliant, they will definitely raise some eyebrows if anyone inspects it down the road. Wire nuts IMO are the way to go.

I agree with Furd, though the cable and connectors are rated for outdoor use, over the years the plastic connector and wire covering will break down prematurely. Also you'll have to contend with spiders and whatever else deciding that the male end is a perfect place to build a nest.

I'd also say that the temporary extension cord that you'll be using will look much more permanent when wired up and through a hole in your house. I'd probably say that wouldn't be considered code-compliant, though (just as everyone here often says you shouldn't do that with an orange extension cord to run your fountain or whatever 'semi-permanent' thing the person is installing).
 
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Old 10-20-12, 01:11 PM
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The flex cord is for temporary usage and should not be used inside the building walls.

I would go with the inlet hardwired to the panel with a proper Chapter 3 wiring method like NM or a conduit.
 
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Old 10-20-12, 01:18 PM
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What's wrong with spending $40 for a proper inlet and $30 for a female cord end?
 
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Old 10-20-12, 01:29 PM
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Thanx to all for your quick responses! I knew I'd get the right advice here.

I'll never sacrifice $ for safety...just thought the added convenience (of one plug-in point) plus not having to use the inlet box made this at least worth asking about.

But 'nuff said...wire nuts and inlet box it is.

Thanx again! Wally
 
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Old 10-21-12, 09:31 PM
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just thought the added convenience (of one plug-in point) plus not having to use the inlet box made this at least worth asking about.
A properly mounted and wired inlet provides one plug-in point.
 
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Old 10-22-12, 01:55 PM
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One end of the cord to the genny + the other end to the inlet box = 2.

I was trying to eliminate the inlet box.

Thanx!
 
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Old 10-22-12, 02:06 PM
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One end of the cord to the genny + the other end to the inlet box = 2.

I was trying to eliminate the inlet box.
Oh. OK. No, you need the inlet, installed with a weatherproof (in-use) cover. You may be able to find a kit with everything you need.
 
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Old 10-22-12, 05:29 PM
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What's wrong with spending $40 for a proper inlet and $30 for a female cord end?
Justin, what brand do you recommend? I just had that very question come up today in a conversation.
 
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Old 10-22-12, 05:33 PM
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Justin, what brand do you recommend? I just had that very question come up today in a conversation.
I use Reliance inlets with Hubbell cord ends.
 
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Old 10-22-12, 05:35 PM
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Are the Reliance inlets available at most supply houses or are they ordered from the internet? Any idea what they cost?
 
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Old 10-22-12, 05:44 PM
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~$40 for the plastic model and $55 for the metal one. I purchased all of the materials at my supply house.
 
  #14  
Old 10-22-12, 05:57 PM
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Thanks for the info. I was told Generac has a nice one too, but I have no idea what they cost.
 
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