Portable generator hookup to home(easy way)

joseph11August 4, 2011

I recently got a 3500w gas portable generator for in case.

I know I can simply connect to home electric device directly from that GEN(generator).

But I think the GEN should be connected to home on 3 ways.

#1. Using separate trans_switch panel and wire each line from Main electricity panel. - Best way? most recommend ..

#2. Using Interlock switch to use safe mode either Main power or GEN power with that Interlock switch. - Acceptable, but still hassle.

#3. My way... and this is my question. Will it work???

To do this, just provide one MALE-TO-MALE connector.

And, turn main & all other switches OFF on house power panel , and connect/hookup one male from GEN to a connector outside of house.

And switch on main panel for this outside connector and only some switches those can be used in home.

So, the power from GEN will go to a connect on outside of house to Main panel, and distribute thru some switches those were on for limited/minimum use for emergency situation.


Other than danger or illegal, Is this way work??


Is this way OK? or Any other easy way other than #1 & #2?

Thank you for your help for in advance. Joseph

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Did you read what you wrote at all?

You seem to realize that what you propose is both dangerous and illegal, then ask "Is this way OK?"

Buy some extension cords or a proper transfer switch.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 10:02PM
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I for one and getting tired of people asking about this, ESPECIALLY if they are stupid enough to admit it is illegal and very dangerous.

I wouldn't care if they would only hurt or kill themselves, that's evolution, but there are others at stake here.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 6:40AM
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Hey, Reply forks...

Thank you for your time to concern this case.

As I mentioned in my article, I DO know this way is dangerous. Meaning that I did not ask how dangerous...

I just want to know whether this method is WORK or NOT academically/technically cause I'm curious on this method.

Again, thank you for your advice.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 2:45PM
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Skydiving without a parachute will work- one time. And very occasionally, that person will have second chance.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 4:08PM
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Male-to-male cables are called suicide cords for a reason.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 4:25PM
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No, it will not work. Not even close.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 7:02PM
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FYI- Power linemen have no reservations about burning up your generator. This man says "that's what we want to do..."

Here is a link that might be useful: here is what the power guy says

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 9:04PM
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Hey there joseph11, I'm in the process of setting up a permanent connection for my Briggs 5500 watt generator. Have done a little research and came up with what I feel is the best way to do this.
Generator sits on patio when running, connects to a Reliance Controls PB30, L14-30, 30-Amp Generator Power Cord Inlet Box ($46.26), with a Reliance Controls PC3020 20-Feet, 30-Amp, L14-30 Generator Power Cord ($63.85).

The Inlet box is wired to my main panelboard with standard #10/3 w/g NM cable. This is run into a 30-amp, 2-pole breaker located directly under the 100 amp main breaker. Was able to buy the 10/3 off Ebay at a good savings.

I'm using a Square D mechanical interlock ($24) to prevent simutainious opertation betwene generator and main line.

Advantages to this method is, less expensive, can choose any or all branch circuits to energize (except central a/c), and easier to install.

If you don't have Square D equipment, here's a link to another brand that provides a mechanical lockout kits for virtually any type of equipment (abet more expensive - but cheaper than a generator transfer box). They also have a video showing how it all works.

Here is a link that might be useful: Generator InterLock Kits

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 10:42PM
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I have not actually seen one of these interlocks. Looks to me as if one of the drawbacks to this device is that one does not know when the power company has restored the power. Since the main is OFF, one would have to switch everything in order to check for power restoration. But the interlock does offer the desired safety features and requires minimal changes to existing equipment. Hugo 1989 left me without power for 5 1/2 days. Generators were sold out. I bought one as soon as they were available, a 4400 watt unit. Since it will power only a few things at a time, I just run cords from the unit to my refrigerator and freezer. No connection to the house wiring. Within the last two weeks we had an outage and at the 3 1/2 hour point, I got out the generator (purchased right after Hugo), fueled it (it is stored with dry fuel tank) and started it. Started first pull. before I got the cords connected, the power was restored. The generator was permitted to run until the tank was empty.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 9:52AM
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Reliance PowerBack�
Utility Power Return Alert
When the main circuit breaker in a panel has to be turned off during a power outage, in order for a standby generator to provide emergency power, the PowerBACK will emit a 100dB alert when utility power has been restored.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 1:54PM
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Reliance PowerBack
$44.95 Utility Power Return Alert
In our area, when you call in to the power company to report power being off, you can set a flag (you press 1 on the phone) and they will call you back when power is restored (for those who are using generators). I usually have it call my cell phone which I carry with me.

The problem I read about with the above alarm is that they are not loud enough to alert you. They are wired at the power box and if it's in the basement, you just doesn't hear it (gen noise on top of everything else). One person wrote his neighbor called him to tell him he could shut down his generator as power had been restored. When he went down to the basement to switch over the power, he finally hear the alarm going off.
(I read the comments on Amazon.com).

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 4:55PM
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When people think along those lines....go to a motel - your going to seriously injure someone or worse - kill them. If your not going to accept the correct way stay away from a generator.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 7:08PM
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If I understand the original post correctly, the only difference between option #2 and #3 is in #2 we have an interlock kit installed so that the main breaker and the breaker that connects to the GEN can't both be turned on in the same time. Wiring wise, both options should be the same.

Now we talk a lot about the danger. What is the danger? The only thing I know is that if both breakers are on, the power generated by the GEN may hurt/kill somebody like a utility worker who is touching/repairing the power lines. If we are careful enough to make sure both breakers never be turned on in the same time (for example, in my case, we have 3 switches to turn of the main, and I always turn all them off even if I am only doing a minor power checkup), will it be OK? Or is there other danger out there?

I think option #1 is the most inconvenient way. For option #2, I tried http://www.interlockkit.com, the kit which contains just 2 piece of metal asks $149.95. I though I was robbed! Therefore I am thinking about doing #3. Can somebody point to me the official site where I can find this option #3 is illegal? I am living in Massachusetts. Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 9:35PM
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I've done option #3 with a bank of deep cycle batteries and power inverter to power lighting, computers, television during short outages less than 12 hours leaving coolers and freezers closed up. I shut down the main and hookup in a locked room with only myself having access to the "suicide cord".... I am very curious as to whether or not this is illegal to do. I watch for my neighbor's lights to come back on or if during the day I unplug from the wall and try the main...

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:22PM
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ok,, I got off track here.... he say's to an outside outlet... not good but what about extension cord ran inside to a locked room with only the emergency hookup guy having access? is this illegal? I'm in California. off course the main would have to be for sure shut off and safely tagged to remember or let others know if the guy becomes unavailable (away, dead, ill, etc.) when service is restored.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:31PM
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There are outlets with male prongs so you have no suicide cords hanging around. I would mount one on an outside wall and then a regular cord works and an interlock device on the breaker panel.

The suicide cord concept sounds so innocent because it is only two male connectors on a cord. Say I just lopped off that female end and put on a male end in its place. IF anyone gets that cord and plugs one end in and walks to the other what are the chances they will look and REALIZE something isn't right and pick up the hot end including you. Studies have shown that even people knowing a suicide cord exists in the area will walk over with the drill, grinder, shop vac or whatever and before they realize that both ends are the same they have already picked up both.

Short stubby cords are more prone to brush up against something or someone.

Add in many times these tasks are done in the dark and with other distractions its not a good idea.

240v cords change things but the danger factor of the higher voltage is a whole different ballgame from 120.

I hope someone will chime in on some more cost effective alternatives for plugs but here is an example of a kit with an outdoor box and plug.

Please at least take it to this level or if possible a transfer switch is even better yet. Either is cheaper than a funeral for a family member or utility worker.

Here is a link that might be useful: Transfer switch and plug kit

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 12:40AM
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Ron Natalie

There were two problems with the situation

1. No interlock
2. Power on exposed terminals.

Yes, you can get a male receptacle to get around the suicide court on #2.
No, your assurance that you wouldn't throw both breakers at the same time energizing the mains is NOT good enough. There needs to be a mechanical on electical interlock between the two. Which can either be a transfer switch, a mechanical interconnection between the breakers, or just the inexpensive and low tech thing of just taking the cord-and-plug connected loads and moving it to the new power source.

Myself, I have a proper transfer switch. It's rather satisfying to pull the 400A disconnect from the utility and watching the generator fire up and the switch move.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 7:57AM
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I agree that an interlock is the absolute minimum. We are human and sometimes we need to protect against ourselves especially when someone else might be flipping switches and plugging in this or that. The price you pay to play it safe might save someones from serious injury or death what is the value of that?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 9:41AM
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"but what about extension cord ran inside to a locked room with only the emergency hookup guy having access? is this illegal?"

ANY installation that has ANY way of back-feeding the POCO lines is illegal.

You must have a 100% guaranteed way to disconnect from the POCO.

Every time.

All the time.

And the Reliance Powerback might be acceptable since it capacitively couple from the mains (just like a non-contact 'volt tick') to tell if voltage is available) right up till the batteries die.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 10:07AM
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that cord was cut this morning... thanks guys.... hey, I've heard of solar panel systems that generate back actually spinning the meter reverse.... never saw for myself but heard of this.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 10:17AM
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"hey, I've heard of solar panel systems that generate back actually spinning the meter reverse.... never saw for myself but heard of this."

The inverters made for this application automatically shut down when no power is available from the POCO.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 2:00PM
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Lakesider 2007 has the right idea.
Find yourself a hot chick and go to a motel
By the time she gets done with you, you
won't know if it is night or day, let alone
if you have any power. YMMV.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 2:44PM
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1bpod >>> LMAO yeah... fireplaces, oil lamps, extension cord direct to fridge freezer from generator... better yet go freeze dried food all the way... get rid of the fridge and freezer, disconnect the power for good, more money left to spend on hot chicks in motel rooms :P

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 12:35PM
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National Ram Electronics sells a much cheaper interlock kit than the $149.99 listed above. Nat'l Ram's interlocks are all $69.00 as best I can recall. We put in an interlock kit along with a Reliance Power inlet box rated for 50 amps and used 8 gauge wire to wire the power inlet box from outside the house back to #2 & #4 breakers.

Here is a link that might be useful: National Ram Electronics

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 12:19PM
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Please do not do this! If u want to hurt yourself then thats ur business but u r putting so many strangers in jeopardy when u do this. It should be called a murder cord rather than a suicide cord. I am a high voltage powerlineman. Let me explain to u how transformers work. They reduce power from 12000 volts to 120 volts so it can be safe for u in ur house. But transformers change voltage both ways. So for example, u plug ur generator into ur house, that connects to the transformer which changes it back to 12000 volts, and then that comes down the wire that I am working on in the middle of the night in the rain to get YOUR power back on, and then im dead. Taken away from my friends, my wife, and my 6 year old son. Still sound like a good idea?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 9:03PM
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I just went through that with the power cord from the genset to the panel.

I would not bother to do it is my advice, the responsibilities and possible tragedies are far more involved, or could be, than just you.

I had made a fused male plug connected to the board via an outside fused breaker with a female dead ended plug as a cap for the male.
when not in use it is switched off and locked, capped and out of sight, and when the power goes out, I shut off the main and all other switches, reach for the plug, remove the cap and plug in the connector to the genset (which is female from the genset end), turn on the generator and then the breaker and then a few lighting breakers.
It's not an approved system and regardless as to how much you safeguard, mistakes can be made.

So after my friendly talk with the repair crew, who said that there are approved systems out there that are legal as long as they have been inspected after installation, I'm going to bite what ever bullet I have to, as we have many power outages where I live.

It's going to cost some probably, but I don't care to be responsible for an eventual problem that could be a life changer in more than one way.

It is not just me and the power outage...there could be others there when something finally goes wrong, which will eventually happen like it always does.

So the main connection is gone now and I'm home free other than probably a few more power outages before I have an approved system in place.
I can still hook into my genset direct if I need to and for the most part the outtages are shorter than a day and don't usually last for more than a few days at worst.

This post was edited by mowerpilot on Wed, Jun 25, 14 at 3:14

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 2:45AM
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Ron Natalie

A simple mechanical interlock will suffice and cost less than a hundred dollars if you have a panel that is supported. A automated transfer switch can run a bit more money.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 8:12AM
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A portable generator can provide emergency electrical power to a home, it does not have to provide power to all appliances, it only provide its services to essential appliances like TV, refrigerator, lighting etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Electrical contracts

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 9:45AM
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Gee Mr. GlenBurgess, WilliamFitzgerald or whatever, you sure do get around.

This is a known spammer BTW.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 5:37PM
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I thought his posts sounded familiar. Did all his posts at ET get deleted?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:11PM
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