abchoppersAugust 26, 2013

I have a champion 4000 watt generator, it only has 120 volts. My generator is located about 50 feet from my house in a generator shed. I'd like to run a line from the generator underground to a 4x4 with a gfci receptacle by the house. This line would only be hot when the generator was in use and basically just allows me to not have extension cords running from my shed, the cords would start at the gfci and into the house. My question, since its possible for the generator to produce 4000 watts does my wire have to be Able to hold that total? In that case I'd have to run at least 10/2 probably 8/2, which poses the problem of connections to a gfci. Can I run two 12/2 lines and plug each into separate receptacles on the generator, than have 2 gfcis on the post? I'm attaching the wire to the generator with plug ends.


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Why bother with GFCIs when everything else you propose is a code violation, potentially deadly, would only power one side of your breaker box (or with your two GFCI solution might put both sides on the same phase depending on the position of the breakers), would damage any 220 equipment on site, etc.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 1:30PM
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The genset has to be wired to put a max of 20 A through each outlet. It can not work any other way because they are 20A plugs. That means in order to get the full 4000 W, you need two pairs of conductors (and associated grounds).

You might be able to avoid this by careful analysis and rewiring of the genet, but then you would have to figure out overcurrent protection. (You'd need circuit breakers or fuses at the end where you are planning your "GFI on a stick".

I would think that the most electrical code-compliant way to do this is to have two generator cords hooked to two inlets near your shed. I don't know if it is allowed to mount them directly to the shed our you will need another box on a stick in the yard. You then run underground cables or conduit to the stick near your house and have at least two GFI receptacles there.

You can game the conductor size effects on voltage here:

This post was edited by ionized on Mon, Aug 26, 13 at 15:49

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 2:11PM
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You've answered my question, each of my two outlets can only put out a total of 20 amps, therefore I need to run two lines. Thank you


Maybe you should reread what I wrote before jumping down the throat of somebody asking a question about electrical work on an electrical forum. I never said anything about my panel, never anything about 220. I'm doing everything plug in, but it's potentially deadly?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 3:39PM
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Not to say that an electrician is not going to find something wrong with the plan.

It seems like a lot of work to avoid laying down a couple of 50' extension cords unless you get very frequent power outages.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 3:51PM
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That generator is rated 3500 watts continous, which works out to 29.17 amps. It has a twist lock 30 amp outlet right?

Since you only have one 20 amp outlet on the generator, you would need to add circuit protection (breaker) at the gfi in order to run a second line from one of the higher amp outlets on the generator. If you are going to add a breaker panel at the gfi outlets, you might as well just run one 10/2 and use two breakers on a small panel at the outlets.

IMO, that sounds like too much of a hassle and expense versus just using extension cords when the power goes out.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 5:40PM
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I am assuming that the OP has 2-20A outlets available. If there is only one 20A and one 30A, it would not be proper to use 12 ga on the 30A outlet.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 6:09PM
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It has two 20 amp receptacles, an rv 30 amp, and a twist lock 20 amp. I agree though, my other plan was to just lay cords, I thought I might be able to get crafty and eliminate cords on the lawn.Thanks for the help, I'll go with the cord set up.

Edit to add- I have a champion 3000 watt that has the receptacles listed above, my father has the champion 4000 that does only have one 120 receptacle, one 120 twist lock, and one 30 amp rv. I was planning on doing this at both our houses since I just got done with both our generator sheds. Either way, cords will be easier.

This post was edited by abchoppers on Mon, Aug 26, 13 at 19:09

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 6:56PM
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