Little Generator, Big Inlet

john2175October 3, 2011

My house has a properly wired (I assume) NEMA 30 amp-120/240 Volt generator inlet receptacle (l14-30) which was designed to handle say a 4000 Watt generator.

However I only own a 2000 Watt-120 Volt generator that has two NEMA 20 amp/120 Volt outlets (5-20).

Can I safely make a conversion cord to hook one of these outlets to the inlet receptacle and power both electrical bus bars at the main ciruit breaker panel?

I know that only 120 Volts are available so I will just have to keep all of the 240 Volt circuits switched off.

I also know that I have 16.7 amps max and will have to carefully manage which 120 Volt circuits I switch on.

The main circuit breaker panel has the necessary interlock switch (this is why I assume that the whole generator inlet circuit has been properly wired).

I'd rather not buy a bigger generator until I see if I can live with the smaller one.

I'd rather not rewire the existing generator circuit.

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Ron Natalie

Well, it's not Kosher but it's probably OK. 240 won't work (you'll see zero volts there and if they have a neutral connection as well who knows what they might do). You'd have a problem with multiwire branch circuits as well as you could put twice the load on the neutral as it may see in normal use, but given the fact the generate is going to keel over at 17A, it's hard to imagine you'll overload it that much.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 4:47PM
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I'm thinking of doing this, also, for my EU2000i Honda.How should the adapter cord be wired? Should the hot wire be split on the 5-20 to go to each side of the L14-30 plug at the transfer switch?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 1:45AM
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