Generator cable

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Old 01-15-17, 08:27 AM
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Generator cable

My house has a professionally installed Reliance Control Protran manual transfer switch Model 31406 B (six circuits 120/240). During a recent power outage, I connected my Honda 2000 watt portable generator to the switch using a three prong 12 gauge extension cord which I modified by replacing the female end of the cord with an L14-30 plug. In the plug I connected ground to ground, neutral to neutral and line 1 to line 1. Line 2 connector was obviously not used. This gave me activation of at least two of the circuits in the transfer switch and that worked fine for me. None of the circuits in the switch are 240. I was able to run my furnace and power a 15 amp receptacle in the kitchen. That basically served my needs. What I need advice on is whether this generator cable that I cobbled together is safe or not, and whether running this setup will mess up the transfer switch?
 
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Old 01-15-17, 10:11 AM
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Usually a plug is considered the male connector. You obviously used a female L14-30 to match the transfer switch.
I don't see a problem with that. Keep on eye an the amp meter of the Reliance switch. Only one will show a reading, keep it under 16 amps.
16amp x 120V = 1920 watts
 
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Old 01-15-17, 10:58 AM
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It is okay to cobble together an adapter or extension cord with (male) plug to match the amperage rating of the cord wire (e.g. 20 amp plug for 12 gauge wire), and a (female) receptacle end of greater amperage e,g. 30 amps.

You may not go the other way, cobbling together a lower amperage female end and a higher amperage male end without a box with a breaker or fuse inside in the middle of that cord to limit current draw to the rating of the lower amperage female end or the rating of the cord wiring whichever is less..
 
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Old 01-15-17, 03:08 PM
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I changed the twist-lok receptacle on my generator from a three-pole (120 volt) model to a four-pole model. I wired the X and Y terminals together so either one provided 120 volts combined with the neutral.

This way I have a "standard" L14-30 plug/connector on my interconnect cable as well as the power inlet box on the side of my house. The wiring to the transfer switch and standby circuit breaker panel is also standard so that a 240/120 generator can be connected without any wiring changes. It does place both buses in the CB panel in parallel when connected to the generator so it is important to not have any multi-wire branch circuits supplied from this panel to preclude overloaded neutrals.

Now ANY dual-voltage generator can be connected to my house, even using my interconnect cable.
 
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Old 01-16-17, 01:42 PM
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Generator Cable

Thanks for all of the responses to my question. I appreciate the education that I'm getting. Furd mentioned that he had changed the receptacle on his generator from a three-pole (120 volt) model to a four-pole model etc., which made me wonder if I could put in a jumper wire between line 1 and line 2 within the confines of the L14-30 receptacle on my generator cable. That seems like a way to make all the circuits in my transfer switch available for judicious use, but again I'm looking for input as to whether this is safe.
 
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Old 01-16-17, 02:11 PM
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...I modified by replacing the female end of the cord with an L14-30 plug.
I hope you mean you used an L14-30 connector and not a plug. A connector is female with no exposed contacts whereas a plug is male and does have exposed contacts. A cord with male plugs on each end is called a suicide cord for good reason.

There ARE a couple of caveats to what I did. The first is that you may NOT have any "multi-wire branch circuits (MWBC) in the transfer panel. These are circuits that are connected to a two-pole (240 volt) circuit breaker and use a shared neutral. The other is that in a quick read of the National Electrical Code (NEC) you will find it is not allowable to parallel conductors of less than 1/0 size. There is, however, an exception when each conductor by itself will handle the entire load as is true in my case. You also have to label the new receptacle as providing 120 volts ONLY with X and Y terminals in parallel.

...made me wonder if I could put in a jumper wire between line 1 and line 2 within the confines of the L14-30 receptacle on my generator cable.
Theoretically yes but in practice the answer is no. The connections inside the connector are for a single conductor only so you can't add a jumper to the one connection already holding the cable conductor. Also, there is simply no room inside the connector body for the jumper. Using a four-conductor cable and changing the receptacle on the generator itself is the only method I know of that is truly safe.
 
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Old 01-16-17, 03:34 PM
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OK. You have answered my question. I'll just work with what I have right now. Thanks.
 
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