Generator Backfeed to Panel

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Old 06-11-20, 09:31 AM
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Generator Backfeed to Panel

Hi,

I live in Northern California, and am preparing for the planned PG&E power outages this year. I purchased a generator power inlet box and wired it to a dedicated 30 amp circuit. I am getting ready to purchase a 7500 watt generator to plug into the generator circuit and backfeed the panel (taking all of the safety precautions, of course). The run from the inlet box to the panel is less than 5 feet on 10AWG braided copper wire. What I'm wondering is, whether it is safe/ok to run a 100 foot generator cable, as my preference on the generator running location is about 80 feet from the panel. I don't have to do this, but I would really prefer to. If it is not appropriate, I will just pickup a 25 or 50 foot cable and run the generator near the panel.

Thanks so much for your input!
 

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06-11-20, 12:46 PM
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If I read you right, what you are doing is probably at best illegal and at worst potentially fatal for PoCo workers.

Your hookup method is referred to by electricians as a "suicide cable" for good reason.
 
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Old 06-11-20, 10:15 AM
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"Safety precautions", does that include an interlock or a transfer switch?
 
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Old 06-11-20, 11:02 AM
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I'll probably get shredded for this, but in the spirit of full transparency, no transfer switch. The Main breaker is in an entirely different panel compartment than the circuit breakers, so interlock wasn't an option. I dedicated a 30amp breaker to the generator (via the power inlet box: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1) and have labeled the crap out of the panel and the inlet box. Generator circuit is off, and placarded to only be turned on after the main is turned off, with a placard on the inlet box indicating not to use unless the main is turned off. I'm guessing that's not going to satisfy many as "safety precautions", but It's what I have under the budget I set. If there's a better, reasonably affordable way to do it, I'm open to suggestions, but given the research I did ahead of time, it seemed safer and cleaner than many of the solutions I saw on YouTube.
 
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Old 06-11-20, 12:46 PM
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If I read you right, what you are doing is probably at best illegal and at worst potentially fatal for PoCo workers.

Your hookup method is referred to by electricians as a "suicide cable" for good reason.
 
CasualJoe, Drangd voted this post useful.
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Old 06-11-20, 02:11 PM
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Fair enough... I will revisit my solution and look at what a transfer switch integration would take. Much of my guidance has come from building contractors and actual electric company linemen/technicians who have implemented similar solutions. A lot of what I have seen in my research does involve true suicide cables. Ultimately mine isn't that much different, but it does result in the use of a standard generator cord, with a female end to hold and plug in. However, I can see how the power inlet box essentially becomes the suicide cable, albeit protected by a spring loaded cover. I do want a safe solution, for myself and any lineman downstream, so I will revisit! Thanks!
 
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Old 06-11-20, 04:09 PM
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He is using an inlet. That means NO suicide cable which is a cable with male on both ends.

Totally agree. A transfer switch or interlock is required. It has to be foolproof not just you must read the directions.
 
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Old 06-11-20, 04:39 PM
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If it is possible for the prongs of the inlet to become live then your system is improper, incomplete, and illegal.
 
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Old 06-12-20, 08:52 AM
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You can label until the cows come in. Does not replace a transfer switch and/or interlocks.

Moving the gen 80' away is going to put a strain on the generator when large loads starts if you planning on using #10 wire. Yes it is with in norms but 80' away is not the distance to the load which will probably be greater.
Also your possibly running head long into a grounding issue. The gen is grounded to the frame, your house is grounded to the earth ground established for the electrical service. These are 80' apart. The wiring on the generator can be modified to use the ground at your electrical service. Which unfortunately means that the generator can not be used for anything other than powering your home.

I applaud you at finding out as much as you have.

 
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Old 06-13-20, 06:13 AM
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The generator should not be modified in a manner that could void its warranty.. Nothing bad will happen if the aforementioend grounding issue is not addressed.

The generator should be installed in a secure location.

 
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Old 06-15-20, 11:27 AM
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Having two ground sources is a really bad idea, most residential electrical services in the USA are based on single point grounding. I say most cause that is all I have ever seen in 50 years. There are other grounding schemes but I have never seen one of them used in a residence.
My generator has a diagram to change the grounding from the frame. Pretty sure using their diagram will not void any warranty. Your generator mfg may have a similar drawing for you to use.
The best book on grounding, the libarary will have a copy.

Soares Book on Grounding and Bonding

 
 

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