Quick generator hookup before blizzard: is this safe ?


  #1  
Old 01-08-24, 07:13 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 45
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Quick generator hookup before blizzard: is this safe ?

Ok. I have a pretty decent size generator I bought when I moved out here but haven't installed a transfer switch yet. Don't have one. Can't really get one and install in time. I know I can make this function for myself but want to make sure I am not sending current back to the lines to zap a worker.

so my plan was to (I have lots of wire/boxes/receptacles on hand) throw another wire into each of the breakers I need to power the circuit and run them down to a few receptacles. When needed flip selected breakers off and plug suicide cords into the new temp. Receptacles and the circuits will be fed from generator. Not ideal but will get the job done. Now here's where I need to know how to protect the lineman, if I ran the neutral and ground from the generator (unbonded at gen) to the bus bars in the panel will the returning current on the neutral go through the lines somehow? (I still don't fully understand AC and the use of the neutral that doesn't shock you with no load...) I can easily identify the neutrals and remove them and wire nut them to some leads going to the receptacles I just can't set that part up ahead of time and still use grid power for now so the first option is much easier. Then the same question on the ground. I know it should never carry current outside of some kind of fault but do I need to separate my circuits ground from the panel too?

I'm sure plenty will say don't do it at all but I'm not gonna freeze for days when I have a large generator and plenty of fuel for it and if needed I'll just isolate every circuit at the panel I was just hoping I could set it up before its dark and cold to make it a quicker changeover because I'd rather not work by candlelight.
 
  #2  
Old 01-08-24, 07:38 PM
C
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,505
Received 351 Upvotes on 294 Posts
If this is just a last minute thing before a storm why not just use extension cords?

I have a generator that is very rarely used. We just don't have that many power outages. Prior to a house fire it was wired to a transfer switch that was never used. Now I just run a couple of extension cords to power what we need during a power outage. I can connect to a gas fireplace (which heats our entire downstairs), I can connect it to our well to keep our pressurizer tank full, and of course we have enough power for the refrigerator, lighting, the microwave, a dual hot plate, TV, computer etc.

I think it's a lot cheaper unless you are in an area that has frequent and extended outages.
 
Norm201 voted this post useful.
  #3  
Old 01-08-24, 08:11 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 13,987
Received 200 Upvotes on 175 Posts
There is no safe way to do what you propose, especially with the use of suicide cords.
 
  #4  
Old 01-09-24, 08:18 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,556
Upvotes: 0
Received 285 Upvotes on 260 Posts
It will be safe for the Wichita Lineman if you label and unhook the branch circuit hot conductor from its panel breaker before connecting the loose end (perhaps with a wire nut) to your lots of wire and boxes and receptacles that ultimately connect to your generator..

Fot multiwire branch circuits or 240 volt circuits, both hot wires must be unhooked before either is connected to an alternate wiring.network or system.

It will also take time to make up the various outlet boxes and it may well be quicker to use ordinary extension cords in the first place.

Honestly, you should never create, possess, or use a cord with more than one (male) plug aka a suicide cord.


 

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-09-24 at 08:28 AM.
  #5  
Old 01-09-24, 03:22 PM
Norm201's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 10,969
Received 727 Upvotes on 643 Posts
Agree with CW. If it's just a one time emergency power supply use a heavy duty (10 ga.) extension cord for the basic needs. Sump pump, freezer/refrigerator and or furnace.
AND MAKE SURE THE GENERATOR IS TOTALLY OUTSIDE AWAY FROM WINDOWS AND DOORS.
 
  #6  
Old 01-10-24, 04:53 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 45
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
ended up spending all day running to town for parts and rewiring my panel entirely. wind whipping around the overhead line maybe wallowed out the hole some (in the admittedly old wood) and ripped the weatherhead/mast right off the side of my house (tree did take down the line 2 poles down my road but I think the poles are rigid enough and I have enough belly in my line to the pole that it wasn't a domino effect thing that pulled mine) which of course caused the conduit nut in the panel to rip out and enlarge the knockout. but on my way to town they were clearing 5 trees plus the one on my road I knew I had time. so I got a bushing and new eye lag and came home and went to work. also finally got the lower panel back on the 6th breaker in the main disconnect section. for some reason the previous owner had put the wires up in the main lugs. and it wasnt a space concern because there was over half the panel empty when I moved in. but in order to speed it up I just gutted the entire panel and then pulled wires out of main lugs, went outside and pulled the socket away from the wall after already pulling the wires back to the new eye lag, took off the plastic nut then metal nut and then fished it back in through the hole with a 2-1/2 to 2" bushing and got it all back together and then rewired the panel (which I even finished that 3 hours before they got to the tree on my street.)

in doing so got my new idea which is now I will wire a box outside where the generator will go with a 14-50r (have it) and then make a cord with a 14-50p to 14-30p (have an 8 gauge 14-50 appliance cord Ill buy a 14-30p for other end) and then on the inside of the house leave a roll of wires. 2 hots with lugs on them to bolt in place of the main lugs now, 1 with bare end to replace neutral in neutral lug, and another bare end for the ground bar. will maybe take 5 minutes to execute the swap if needed and I'll tape rubber chair feet over the main lugs I remove while not in use. now my entire house is on the generator and I will just have to turn some breakers off so I don't overload the "jumper".

about never possess a dual male cable, we've been running one for almost 25 years at our place in baja so that when you want to run the generator you have to steal the cord inside from the inverter to the house (receptacle in entry room) and take it to plug the generator into the house (receptacle in garage corner, entire house is one circuit with not much more than ceiling lights/fans, 1 fridge, 1 tv, some random receptacles to charge phones,etc...). boom, impossible for anybody to ever fire up the generator and backfeed the inverter. think about what you're doing and nobody has ever been zapped.

power went out a few days ago at 4pm was back on at 2am. went out again sometime the next morning and came back on at 8pm. was out when I woke up today but came on relatively quickly but no idea when it went out. the blizzard may now miss me but I'm far enough from town that it can still miss the town like they say but get me. and Im in a situation where I am in one county but at the tail end of the other counties pud so we make up maybe 200 of their customers all together so we are obviously last in line to be restored every time.

still not entirely clear to my original question though. hot conductors from genset to circuits bypassing panel, ground and neutral from genset to panel lugs. (circuit neurtrals and grounds left in panel fed by bus bars fed by gen set) does this risk any current returning on a neutral and making it upstream to a lineman? sounds like yes according to Alan but wanted to doublecheck in case I want to just quickly power a couple circuits instead of the whole panel.
 
  #7  
Old 01-12-24, 09:27 AM
B
Member
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Ct.,USA
Posts: 3,282
Received 306 Upvotes on 271 Posts
Can you describe the connection from the inverter output to the house distribution panel?
 
  #8  
Old 01-12-24, 05:43 PM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,556
Upvotes: 0
Received 285 Upvotes on 260 Posts
You are putting a temporary receptacle somewhere convenient to your generator. You are planning to connect that temp receptacle to an existing branch circuit by throwing the connecting wire into the existing breaker in the house distribution panel for that branch circuit. Total no-no. That lets you feed generator powerr to the utility power hot (non-neutral) lines because the breaker is still in the panel, regardless of whether the temp receptacle is male (inlet) or female.

Another legal and good way to power just a few branch circuits with your generator is to purchase a transfer switch box with several small toggles, one for each branch circuit you want your generator to power. You mount the box next to your house distribution panel. This box comes with a bundle of wires to be connected to branch circuits in the house panel and prevents generator power from getting into the utility lines. The box also has an inlet on it to connect to your generator using an (usually 120/240 volt hothot-neutral-ground) cable with (female) cord end receptacle to plug onto the transfer box and (one) matching (male) plug to connect to your generator.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-12-24 at 05:55 PM.
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: