Alternate Electric Power Source

trainman55May 31, 2010

Is there any reason why I could not set up my new 6kW portable generator by installing a new main lug load center, completely separate from the wiring in the house? I intend to run all new wiring to alternate outlets, into which, I can simply switch the plugs of devices, lights, refrigerator, TV etc. during generator operation. I have no wish to connect to the main circuits, merely to install an alternate means of powering the necessities. When needed the generator would be connected to the new load center through an outside plug from the generator.

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Ron Natalie

Be sure to use a proper generator cable (i.e., there should be no exposed PINS that have power on them).

Your idea will work, though you might consider a transfer switch (or interlocking brakers) that makes it just one throw to move the "emergency" panel between the main and the generator.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 1:34PM
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Thanks for the reply. My main reason is to be able to avoid using a transfer switch. By bypassing that switch, I can assure myself that I will never inadvertently overload the generator.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 3:23PM
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Am I the only one who never even considered running new, generator only, branch circuits instead of a transfer switch? It would require more work for installation, and more work in the event of power failure ie: plugging appliances and so forth into the generator-fed recepts.
You also have the issue of hard wired equipment such as water heater, central air, furnace, well pump....... How will any of these benefit from a generator?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 8:10PM
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I am at a loss to explain why the majority of otherwise sane and reasonable people who buy generators will go to great lengths to avoid using a transfer switch. They will spend many hundreds or sometimes several thousand dollars on the generator, but Rube Goldberg something complicated, illegal, dangerous or all three to avoid buying a $349 switch and some wire.

"A "generator only" panel and circuits completely separate from other house wiring is not ideal but is vastly superior to some of the schemes that have been seen here and elsewhere. In the interest of avoiding controversy and promoting safety, I won't mention the details.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 9:01PM
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I would really recommend a transfer switch. A 6k generator is quite big and should easily handle you home needs during a blackout. If you are concerned about overloding the generator, why not wire and electrical panel inline between the trnasfer switch with a 50-60 amp breaker in it. Many automatic transfer swtches can also signal the
generator to startup during an outage automtically. A nice feature when you are on vacation.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 4:26PM
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Being old enough to understand the "Rube Goldberg" reference from first hand familiarity with the comic strip, I believe that my question should have been admired for its originality. Having served in the US Navy, over a half century ago, and being a "Tin Can Sailor" in particular, I am not unfamiliar with electricity, nor the ability to improvise when necessary. My intent was to alleviate any possibility of ever having feed back into the utility lines. Besides, I enjoy working on my home to make it the way I want it to be. Your postings have been given due deliberation, but I can not see any real reason why I should not continue with my plan. Thank you all.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 8:11PM
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Nothing wrong with your scheme that I can see, except that (as one other person points out) it doesn't do anything for essential equipment that isn't plug-connected (furnace, well pump, et cetera).

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 3:44PM
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No need to worry about "furnace, well pump, et cetera". Have a wood stove that heats the entire building when I use it, and I have city water. The rest of the essentials, refrigerator etc., can just be switched from one outlet to generator powered outlets. I'm only installing four new circuits, with breakers, none over 20 amps. The panel will be fed through a 30 amp breaker.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 8:13PM
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And you might be able to feed it as a sub-panel with a transfer switch later on if you get tired of moving plugs around.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 8:14PM
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It is a 100 amp panel, so there would be no problem just converting it to sub panel status to run from a transfer switch.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 10:04PM
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