Wiring Generator to Breaker Panel Issue

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  #1  
Old 01-26-15, 10:20 AM
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Wiring Generator to Breaker Panel Issue

First, let me start by saying I did have this setup working properly at one point. I had a electrician come in and replace my breaker panel. Since then my generator hookup doesn't work. The only difference I see between my old breaker box and the new one is that the electrician put the neutral and ground on the same bar.

The Issue:
With my interlock kit, I have the main off, all breakers off. I connect my Reliance 30-amp cord from my generator to my Reliance 30-Amp inlet box. As soon as I fire up the generator, the breaker that's on the actual generator itself, trips. Without any load, it trips. I checked the wiring on the inlet box and on the breaker panel, everything looks good from my point of view.

The only difference I notice from the old panel to the new panel:
In the old box, it had a separate ground bar and separate neutral bar. I had the neutral and ground from my 10-3 wire going to each individual bar. It worked. With this new box, the neutral and ground are bonded together on the same bar. From what I've read this is normal in breaker panels, but I wonder if it's an issue for generators? The fact that the breaker on the generator trips with no load bothers me. There must be a short somewhere, but I've checked the wiring at each point multiple times. Any ideas?

The specs:
Westinghouse 5500/7500 generator
SquareD QO breaker Panel
SquareD QO 30-Amp breaker in the panel for the generator
Reliance 30-Amp inlet box
Reliance 30-Amp generator cord
SquareD Interlock Kit
 
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  #2  
Old 01-26-15, 10:47 AM
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  #3  
Old 01-26-15, 11:25 AM
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Does the generator have GFCI protection built in to the breaker?
 
  #4  
Old 01-26-15, 12:01 PM
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What happens when you run the generator without the 10/3 cord connected to it?
Geo
 
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Old 01-26-15, 03:01 PM
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Interesting... your old panel had the grounds and neutrals separated and now they are combined.
Is this a main panel..... or is there a disconnect outside ahead of it ?
 
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Old 01-26-15, 07:48 PM
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To answer your questions

1. When I run the generator by itself it runs fine. For now I can run extension cords to the house to power a few appliances. I did try one experiment. I disconnected the wiring at the inlet box, then plugged in the cord and turned it on. The breaker did not trip

2. I did try to unbonding step today. Didn't work.

3. Yes this is the main panel
 
  #7  
Old 01-27-15, 04:53 AM
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Just a thought,if you have a volt meter preferably analog test for voltage on the inlet receptacle when you switch the interlock to the emergency position,reason being to be sure that the breaker is actually opening as it should.
Geo
 
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Old 01-27-15, 07:00 AM
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You may need to unbond the neutral and ground at the generator.
I think Ray has it right, the GFCI is probably tripping the generator's breaker.
 
  #9  
Old 01-27-15, 08:08 AM
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I have the Westinghouse WH5500.
According to this website, it does not have GFCI:
Westinghouse Review 2015 | Best Portable Generator
 
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Old 01-27-15, 08:11 AM
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I mentioned before, unbonding didn't work. It's a real head scratcher. Why would a new breaker panel cause this issue?
 
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Old 01-27-15, 08:32 AM
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My next thought would be that something got damaged during the panel replacement. Maybe some skinned wires shorting to a box or conduit fitting? Maybe a neutral connect to a hot or something like that? Are you certain the panel main breaker is opening - a bad breaker is unlikely but possible.

Step-by-step troubleshooting should help. It seems you already started that process by trying the generator and cord alone. Next unhook from the interlocked breaker and just try the generator, cord, inlet and feed to the panel. Then hook up one hot leg, then the other. Try it will all of the breakers switched off and turn on one at a time to see if one particular branch circuit is causing it. Etc. I suspect the missing information will arise out of a detailed process.
 
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Old 01-27-15, 09:12 AM
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PJ's earlier question also needs answering though it may not be related.
Interesting... your old panel had the grounds and neutrals separated and now they are combined.
Is this a main panel..... or is there a disconnect outside ahead of it ?
 
  #13  
Old 01-27-15, 09:40 AM
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Thanks, ibprooks, I'm going to try that when I get off work. Stay tuned.

For the other question, this is the main panel.
 
  #14  
Old 01-27-15, 09:51 AM
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When you say unhook the interlock breaker, do you mean take off the red,black wires from the breaker or take the breaker off the panel with the wires still connected?
 
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Old 01-27-15, 12:44 PM
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Remove the red and black from the breaker and cap them off, then fire up the genny to see if it trips. This should test the integrity of the wiring from the generator to panel.

Shut it down, reconnect the black & red to breaker. Turn off all the breakers including the interlock. Fire it up, then starting with the interlock breaker, turn each circuit on individually to see if/when the generator breaker trips out.
 
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Old 01-27-15, 06:23 PM
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BUT.......


Interesting generator, I have never seen one like it. I notice it is not UL, CSA or ETL Listed. Maybe that is why it doesn't need GFCI protection. I wonder who makes this generator, it says it has a Westinghouse engine, but Westinghouse has never made a small gasoline engine before as far as I know. I suspect the Westinghouse name is licensed to be used by a company in China.

More info on the generator here.

Shop Westinghouse 5,500-Running Watts Portable Generator with Westinghouse Engine at Lowes.com
 
  #17  
Old 01-28-15, 05:24 AM
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Unhooking both the red and black from the (double) breaker does the same thing as unsnapping the breaker from the panel leaving those wires connected.

The white wire must never be unhooked while the black and/or red are still connected.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-28-15 at 05:43 AM.
  #18  
Old 01-28-15, 06:18 PM
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Haven't had a chance to test it again. I've been getting home from work too late and I'd rather do this with some daylight. I may wait until the weekend. Stay tuned.
 
  #19  
Old 02-08-15, 09:12 AM
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Sorry for the late update, I've been too busy the last few weekends to mess around with this again. I tried unhooking the red and black wires, caping them off, and turning on the generator. The same thing happened, the breaker on the generator tripped immediately. What should the next step be?
 
  #20  
Old 02-08-15, 12:25 PM
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Breaking news! The issue is resolved. I had my electrician come over. He inspected everything and found the tiniest little nic on one of the hot wires that was shorting everything out. Easy enough fix, and we're back in business. Thanks for all your help and support. If anything, I learned alot about troubleshooting electrical problems!
 
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