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Old 05-02-2019, 07:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Wiring generator/RV hookup to panel

The area we live has been affected by hurricanes all 3 out of the last 3 years, I donít expect that to stop. We also recently moved from a neighborhood with underground lines to one with conventional power lines and a lot more trees.

I have a 6kw generator that Iíve added a natural gas conversion kit to, as we have gas at the new house. Iím planning to hook it up to the panel, but in a little different way than normal.

This generator has a 20A twist lock receptacle on it, but Iíll likely purchase a Hobart 11kw welder/ generator at some point in the future, which has a 50A standard receptacle on it.

I have 2 unused 220V double breakers in my panel since converting from an electric oven and cooktop to a gas range. One will get replaced with a pair of 110V breakers to run the garage when I enclose it, the other will be used for the generator.

Is there any issue with putting a 50A breaker in the panel, running heavy enough wire to a 50A male receptacle like this one, and then building an extension cord with a 50A female plug on the house end and a 20A male plug on the generator end?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Conntek-80S...-/253469458054

I canít see any, since the generator has its own breaker that will trip if the house tries to draw too much power, and the wiring will easily be able to handle it. Then when I buy the Hobart I should be able to swap out the generator plug and run 50A input.

For some reason, the 20A and 50A twist lock plugs donít have a ground, but the 30A twist lock and 50A straight plugs do.

The second part of this setup is Iíd like it to double as an RV hookup, my in laws have been looking at buying one for awhile. It should be simple to build the 50A twist lock to 50A or 30A RV pigtail, but again there in the grounding issue.

Yes, I am aware that youíre now supposed to have a mechanical interlock (piece of sheet metal) that prevents you from backfeeding from a generator with the main breaker on. I know it can kill a lineman.

I also own firearms, ride motorcycles, and run chainsaws with non-safety chains. Iím competent enough to make sure the main breaker is off before I hook up the generator, I will be the only one doing it, will have instructions inside the panel and will disconnect it in the event that we sell the house. Appreciate any input.
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Old 05-02-2019, 08:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If this is the plug that you are looking at the ground is on the outside of the male end. It's at the bottom of the top picture near the screw.
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Old 05-02-2019, 08:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Just because you know not to backfeed doesn't mean the next home owner will...also means you won't be having the electrical work inspected/passed and if you had a house fire due to electrical, good luck with your insurance on that hack job.

Just do it properly and get an interlock.
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Old 05-02-2019, 08:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Just because you know not to backfeed doesn't mean the next home owner will...also means you won't be having the electrical work inspected/passed and if you had a house fire due to electrical, good luck with your insurance on that hack job.

Just do it properly and get an interlock.
As I said, I’d disconnect it before we sold. I can make an interlock in 15 minutes rather than paying close to $100 for one, but that prevents the circuit from doubling as an RV hookup.

Already have an electrical permit from the other wiring work I’ve done on the house, this will probably be done after the final inspection.

Not really worried about a “house fire” from a circuit that is dead 99% of the time and is nothing more than a breaker, appropriately sized wire, and receptacle.

I guess the alternative would be having the interlock in place as a default, and backing out 2 sheetmetal screws when we wanted to hook up an RV.

Last edited by gatorgrizz27; 05-02-2019 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 05-02-2019, 08:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If this is the plug that you are looking at the ground is on the outside of the male end. It's at the bottom of the top picture near the screw.
Yeah thatís it, I saw that outside contact after the fact. Guess that solves the grounding issue other than the temporary 20A generator input, appreciate it.
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Old 05-02-2019, 08:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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https://www.amazon.com/Reliance-Cont.../dp/B000HRWGBW

this one the ground is in the center
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Old 05-02-2019, 08:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 05-02-2019, 08:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I would suggest getting the correct main breaker and if space is the problem look into tandem breakers for some of the smaller loads.

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Old 05-03-2019, 02:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by gatorgrizz27 View Post
The area we live has been affected by hurricanes all 3 out of the last 3 years, I donít expect that to stop. We also recently moved from a neighborhood with underground lines to one with conventional power lines and a lot more trees.
Then you're smarter than all the Canadians I've been hearing on the radio complaining that they "didn't expect their town to flood out again so soon"

Flooded out last year, flooded out again this year. Guess what's gonna happen next year morons.
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Old 05-03-2019, 03:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I permanently wired into a 50 amp Cutler Hammer switch that back feeds into my shop sub panel, this is coming off a 100 amp in the main at the house. Shut the main off, start the generator, throw the switch, done. If its pouring rain and dark out the last thing you want to do is be fucking around with giant electrical cords and plugs then putting power to them. This being said I'm the only person that runs this genny
( 2-71 Detroit 25 KVA @1200 rpm), no need to worry about a meat head not following proper procedure.
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Old 05-03-2019, 04:03 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I made a short cord that plugs into my genny and then into my welding outlet, of course I shut the main off before I hook it up.
Here's how it was explained to me, If a lineman is working to procedure they will never get bit, secondly and most importantly to me is the fact that my 8500 watt genny would stall outor trip out in the event I tried to charge the whole grid, they tell me it can't happen. That being said, I use extreme caution on the rare occasion I hook it up.
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Old 05-03-2019, 04:33 AM   #12 (permalink)
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the Generator inlet should be a male plug on the building while the RV outlet should be female - The general rule in plug sockets is that the exposed male prongs should never be live.

Second question which impacts wiring is the grounding of your generator. Is the neutral bonded in the generator or is it a floating neutral? What you're doing is only (semi)permissible with a floating neutral generator. Multiple ground paths is not a great idea especially after a hurricane and everything is wet. It also will impact your GFCI circuits and their ability to properly function.

You'll find some more information in this thread While it is asking about a much larger generator. My solution is toward the end.
What I'd suggest is that you do similar except that you would add a junction box and make a split one side goes to the generator inlet and one side goes to the RV Plug. This allows you as a "competent" operator to decide what you're using and make sure switches are thrown appropriately and upon your departure you pull the generator inlet and leave an RV Connection. Additional cost is not too high and you could also make the "junction box" an exterior sub panel which would be more expensive but would be code compliant (minus the whole backfed generator) and possibly viewed as a plus by the next owner.
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Last edited by demonranger; 05-03-2019 at 04:36 AM.
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:55 AM   #13 (permalink)
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You might need to double check on their RV's input voltage. I'm not confident that all the 50A ones are 240V, but I believe they are. The 30A ones are 120v.

Edit--Not that that means it's super difficult. But I do think it means that you'd have to consider a subpanel for the RV piece.

Last edited by OHV Wildcat; 05-03-2019 at 05:56 AM.
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Old 05-03-2019, 06:01 AM   #14 (permalink)
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the Generator inlet should be a male plug on the building while the RV outlet should be female - The general rule in plug sockets is that the exposed male prongs should never be live.
Are you saying the outlet on the building should be male for the generator? Since it's just a switch throw away from being hot, that seems risky. I'd much prefer a male-to-male suicide cord from the generator. It's very difficult to not know the generator is running, so you know when you have to be very cautious of the exposed male connector.

I could be completely misunderstanding, of course.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:45 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Are you saying the outlet on the building should be male for the generator? Since it's just a switch throw away from being hot, that seems risky. I'd much prefer a male-to-male suicide cord from the generator. It's very difficult to not know the generator is running, so you know when you have to be very cautious of the exposed male connector.

I could be completely misunderstanding, of course.

yes technically the genset inlet should be a male socket, when it is connected as the OP has posted you are a switch flip away from making it hot. Inlet I posted does have a cover over the male socket. Male - Male suicide cords do eliminate this while creating other hazards though. My suggestion is a method to for semi-right way which is still wrong, take your pick on deciding which wrong way is more or less wrong.

Given the OP is in FL and hurricanes suck. Generlink is the easiest (far from cheapest) way for floating neutral generators. 200 amp+ manual transfer switches are relatively cheap on ebay making the proper connection a piece of cake and increasing his property value.
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Last edited by demonranger; 05-03-2019 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 05-03-2019, 04:28 PM   #16 (permalink)
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As I said, Iíd disconnect it before we sold. I can make an interlock in 15 minutes rather than paying close to $100 for one, but that prevents the circuit from doubling as an RV hookup.

Already have an electrical permit from the other wiring work Iíve done on the house, this will probably be done after the final inspection.

Not really worried about a ďhouse fireĒ from a circuit that is dead 99% of the time and is nothing more than a breaker, appropriately sized wire, and receptacle.

I guess the alternative would be having the interlock in place as a default, and backing out 2 sheetmetal screws when we wanted to hook up an RV.
If an electrical fire of any sort happens in the property, regardless of whether this is hooked up or not, the fire marshal will catch it when they investigate for cause and your insurance could not pay out because of it. If you're willing to take the risk of doing something so blatantly not code compliant, have at it...but I wouldn't.
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Old 05-03-2019, 07:29 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Alright, hereís what Iím leaning towards after a bunch of thinking on it.

30A 240V breaker in the panel wired to a male NEMA L14-30: 30A, 120/240V twist lock generator input with weatherproof cover. I can add the interlock if it makes everyone happy.

A 6/3 generator extension cord with NEMA L14-30 female and male plugs.

A short adapter cord from the 250V NEMA L6-20 generator receptacle the NEMA L14-30 extension cord.

The generator has a bonded neutral/ground, but also a separate ground lug for GFCI. Can I install a ground rod attached to this and tie the ground from the L14-30 extension cord (tied to main panel inside the house) to it?

I believe all the 120V circuits running off the breakers in the panel will still work fine with the 250V generator input, correct? I donít plan on actually running any of the 240V circuits in the house.

If I use 6/3 wiring, I should be able to just swap the breaker and plugs out to 50A if I buy the upgraded welder/generator at some point.


Now, as far as the very rarely used RV hookup goes, my thought is to put a box with the 30A TT output and a NEMA L14-30 female receptacle input. When itís not in use, itís just a dead metal box with plugs. To use it, Iíd plug in the generator extension cord between the house and box, remove the interlock, and flip the breaker. Yes, Iím aware if the extension cord was unplugged from the box, the male ends would be hot. If the RV situation becomes a common thing Iíll add a dedicated circuit and permanent wiring for it.
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