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Portable generator input.

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mgwin

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Marty A. Gwin
John K,
I made up a cable with a male plug on each end.
plug wire.jpg


I plug up the well pump before I crank the generator. If I need to switch it to the water heater, I unplug it at the gen. and then switch it. You don't want to be walking around with a hot male plug in your hand!
I went to the secondary side of the disconnects and wired in a female receptacle for this cable. I did not want a male plug hanging from the disconnects since it would be hot when the power was restored to my home.
All I do is pull the disconnect to keep the main power from coming to the well pump/water heater when the power comes back on.
When the power is restored, I just unplug the cable and plug the disconnect back in.
Here is a pic of the receptacle (silver), and the grey disconnect box.

receptacle.jpg
 

john.knutson

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Minneapolis, MN
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John K
John K,
I made up a cable with a male plug on each end.
View attachment 139349

I plug up the well pump before I crank the generator. If I need to switch it to the water heater, I unplug it at the gen. and then switch it. You don't want to be walking around with a hot male plug in your hand!
I went to the secondary side of the disconnects and wired in a female receptacle for this cable. I did not want a male plug hanging from the disconnects since it would be hot when the power was restored to my home.
All I do is pull the disconnect to keep the main power from coming to the well pump/water heater when the power comes back on.
When the power is restored, I just unplug the cable and plug the disconnect back in.
Here is a pic of the receptacle (silver), and the grey disconnect box.

View attachment 139350
Clever, I like it!

I am thinking I would like a transfer switch someday, probably add it on to the future pole shed plan/project. For now though I want to at least have ideas and options should an emergency arise, this is just the sort of thing I was looking for. Thanks for sharing!
 

titan

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Dec 10, 2019
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redding, ct
There is a device out there called an interlock kit for < 100.00 that is a kind of manual transfer switch. It consists of a steel cover and mounts inside your panel. The only wiring necessary is the addition of a main breaker to your panel. Advantage is that you can choose what circuits to power
Without any hardwiring. Might want to check it out.
 

kmcconaughey

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I added a generator panel to my house in the late 1990's and moved some critical circuits over to that panel. I have the well pump, the refrigerator, a freezer, and some lighting circuits in it. The generator panel is basically a breaker panel that has two inputs. Only one of the main breakers for the two inputs can be on at a time so the generator cannot back feed the main power line. I have an input connector on the outside of my house near the main electrical entry point where I can plug the generator in. No double male plug cables used. We have the same generator panel at the family cabin which is off grid. We used to use two generators there, one big generator and one small one and I installed the panel so both could be hooked up and we just switched to whichever generator we wanted to use. I might rewire it with a basic breaker panel as we no longer use the little generator and have since added an inverter system with a battery bank.

Here's a link to the generator panel at Home Depot. I see it's out of stock, not sure if they are still available. I see the price has gone WAY up since I bought the two back in the late 1990's. 😲

GE Generator Panel

Here's a photo from the link above showing the inside. Note the red parts on the breakers. As shown both breakers are in the off position. When switched on, the red part slides over and prevents the other breaker from being switched on, so that only one breaker can be on at a time. Pretty simple setup.

Generator Panel.JPG


Here's a photo of my house panel setup, note I do NOT have 400amp service, the builder of the house back in 1978 had this panel as a cast off and used it, it's basically just a BIG disconnect switch. :) There are two main breaker panels as I used to have off peak service and the water heater and the old electric forced air furnace were on that. I have since upgraded the HVAC to geothermal so no more off peak. The meter on the upper left is only for the geothermal system. The generator panel is on the upper right.

Electric Panel_01.jpg


And because it's impressive, here's a shot of the inside of the disconnect.

Disconnect Switch.jpg


At home I have a 4000 watt Generac generator.

Generac Generator_01.jpg


The generator "lives" in this little shed that I built for it. It sets under the stair landing on one of my decks. I don't run the generator in this shed it's just located in a convenient spot for rolling the generator out and plugging it into the house.

Home GenShed_01.jpg


At the cabin we have a Yamaha EF5200DE generator with remote electric start so we can start it from inside the cabin. We have a concrete generator shed that we have it in. We hired out the concrete portion and finished the rest ourselves. We wanted it to be secure from theft and the concrete does a good job of keeping the noise down. The exhaust is power vented out, we ran the exhaust to a pipe inside a 4" vent duct and have a fan that is on whenever the generator is running to force the exhaust out. We also have a second fan that vents the shed that also is on when the generator is running. There are two vents low in the wall where the generator sets for fresh air intake.

Cabin GenShed_01.jpg
 

grozar

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Dec 23, 2016
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Greg Rozar
It is best and legal to use a transfer switch. In my area if they catch you using a generator without a transfer switch, the fine starts at $10,000.00.
 

mgwin

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Marty A. Gwin
Haven't heard of anything like that in NC.
If you have a generator, whether portable or household, you do not want to be feeding power back out the main supply.

While repairing power lines, the power company shorts each line to ground which will take out your generator. This is done to protect the workers.
They don't want any worker to be electrocuted by several generators supplying voltage back through the power lines.
There is no need for fines, they just short out your generator! LOL
 

dware

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Feb 2, 2013
Messages
49
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David Ware
Clever, I like it!

I am thinking I would like a transfer switch someday, probably add it on to the future pole shed plan/project. For now though I want to at least have ideas and options should an emergency arise, this is just the sort of thing I was looking for. Thanks for sharing!
John K,
I made up a cable with a male plug on each end.
View attachment 139349

I plug up the well pump before I crank the generator. If I need to switch it to the water heater, I unplug it at the gen. and then switch it. You don't want to be walking around with a hot male plug in your hand!
I went to the secondary side of the disconnects and wired in a female receptacle for this cable. I did not want a male plug hanging from the disconnects since it would be hot when the power was restored to my home.
All I do is pull the disconnect to keep the main power from coming to the well pump/water heater when the power comes back on.
When the power is restored, I just unplug the cable and plug the disconnect back in.
Here is a pic of the receptacle (silver), and the grey disconnect box.

View attachment 139350
NO code inspector would approve this disaster looking for a place to happen . There are ways to do it right . I run a 50 amp supply to my connection ( 8-3 SO ) with a safe hookup . When I go out I will take pics .
 

mgwin

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Marty A. Gwin
Kraig,

How long have you had the inverter system installed? I remember you talking about it when it was put in, but can't remember how long it has been.
How are the batteries holding up? How much power are you able to produce?
 

mgwin

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Reidsville, NC
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Marty A. Gwin
My generator setup is NOT permanent. It is only for when my power is out for more than 6-8 hours. I have been doing this for almost 20 years and have had no problems. It is no disaster if you know what you are doing. :bluethumbsup:
It is only the two of us living here (the wife and I), no children, or anyone else to mess with anything. My wife takes care of the inside of the house upstairs, and I handle everything else.
It is well known around here, that NOBODY touches any of my stuff!!! :bear:
 
Last edited:

dware

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David Ware
NO code inspector would approve this disaster looking for a place to happen . There are ways to do it right . I run a 50 amp supply to my connection ( 8-3 SO ) with a safe hookup . When I go out I will take pics .
Pictures of auto disconnect box that goes into meter box between meter and your breaker box . All circuits are hot up to the generator capacity . Small green light indicates on line , red light indicated on generator . This one is 10,000 watts . I know they made 20,000 watt auto disconnects.
 

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hydroharry

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Harry Bursell
Here's the easiest and least costly solution: Generator Interlock Switch from National Ram Electronics

Install one of these on your main breaker panel and it won't let you have the breaker for the generator on at the same time the main breaker is on. It appears to be within National electrical codes - and hopefully your local and state codes.

If you do this you can have 2 female plugs on your generator extension cord and don't have to worry about a male plug being hot. You can have your male plug receptacle wired to the generator breaker from the main panel. It can only be hot when the female end of the generator extension cord is plugged into it. I would highly recommend your male receptacle be the type with a box cover - especially if you have it mounted on the outside of your house.

Neat, simple, and inexpensive solution. The only issue I see that can take some work, is that you have to free up one of the top breakers on your main panel. Probably not that hard to do for most situations as long as you have one breaker space available.
 
Last edited:

mgwin

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Marty A. Gwin
Harry,
Wow, many options! I probably would consider that if power outages were frequent. I have very few outages that last over four hours. I went about 4-5 years once without even one! Needless to say, my generator is a good dust collector. LOL

I need to clarify something in my last post yesterday. The "well known around here that nobody touches my stuff" is referring to my home, and not this web site. Thanks
 
Last edited:

hydroharry

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Harry Bursell
Marty - when I moved to CT we lost power once or twice a year the first few years, and it was during the summer and only for a few hours. I thought getting a generator wasn't really worth the costs. Then about the 4th year we were there we lost power during the WINTER for over 12 hours!!!! That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I went and bought a generator. My main breaker panel was in the garage which made it fairly easy to add the 220V receptacle for the generator, and allow for a fairly short extension cord so I could place and run the generator just outside the garage door. The generator was still a good dust collector (so I kept it covered with a large plastic bag :) )

Years later I helped my son install the connections for his Generator including the Interlock I linked above. His main breaker panel is in his basement. It's quite a distance to go back and forth between the panel and location of the generator so the interlock gives peace of mind that the Generator can only be hooked up and operate the house circuits when everything is correct.
 

mgwin

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Marty A. Gwin
Yep! One hot summer day outage did it for me years ago. I soon installed the "setup" so I could have water. The temporary setup worked fine since long outages were kinda rare. I just left it that way.
I was in a pinch, so I had to go with what I could get my hands on.
 

hydroharry

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Harry Bursell
The winter incident that did it for me was 12 hours when it was 20 degrees outside. We had NO heat, NO water (the toilets only flushed once), and NO lights. You just wait and hope the power is coming back - and it doesn't and doesn't and doesn't. When it's been daylight a few hours it finally does. I bought a 6000 watt generator that gave me enough power to run my 220V well pump, run the 110V furnace, run the fridge, run some lights - AND run my wife's hair dryer unless there were to many lights on :) . Yup, for some reason the hair dryer would occasionally trip the breaker on the generator panel. That always seemed odd to me since it didn't trip when the 220V well pump would kick on - and I was getting all the power out of the 220V generator power outlet.
 

kmcconaughey

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Kraig,

How long have you had the inverter system installed? I remember you talking about it when it was put in, but can't remember how long it has been.
How are the batteries holding up? How much power are you able to produce?
Marty, we installed the inverter in 2004. It's a 3000 watt Prosine inverter/charger that operates on 12v/DC and outputs 110v/AC. When it senses 110v in, it switches to charge mode and charges the battery bank. We started with four John Deere, 12 volt, 225amp hour batteries. In October of 2010 two of the John Deere batteries were getting weak so we swapped them all out for eight Interstate brand, 6 volt, golf cart, 232amp hour batteries in a series parallel setup to get 12volts. In April of 2012 the cabin was broken into and the thieves stole the eight new batteries and the four old batteries and a bunch of other stuff. For some reason they did not take the inverter. Even though they broke into the shed they didn't find the generator as we had a way to hide it. This break in was the main reason we built the concrete generator shed. We also built an in-floor battery box and hid the inverter inside the cabin behind a custom cabinet that I built. We had planned on doing this eventually anyway as having the batteries setting out on the floor was not the nicest looking setup. The in-floor battery box is insulated and vented with a 12v fan that draws in cabin air from near the center of the cabin to either warm the batteries in winter or cool them in summer.

Here's the original battery setup with the inverter. Fall 2004.

Battery Inverter_01.jpg


Here's the new third set of batteries (to replace the second set that was stolen) in the new in-floor battery box. The batteries have a temperature sensor mounted on them that the Prosine inverter monitors and will adjust the charge current as needed to prevent overheating. July 2012

Battery Box_01.jpg


Here's the fan that draws air from near the center of the cabin through a floor vent.

Battery Box_02.jpg


Here's the inverter mounted in a corner so I could hide it behind a cabinet. June 2012.

Inverter_01.jpg


Here's the cabinet in place. Looks much better than having the inverter exposed and it provides a nice storage space. It's open above and below for good air flow for the inverter. June 2012.

Inverter_02.jpg


Here's the controls, at the top is the Prosine inverter control panel, then some random switches, the generator breaker panel and the Yamaha generator remote start controls. Eventually I will replace the generator breaker panel with a normal breaker panel and mount the new panel, and wires, recessed into the wall.

Electric Controls_01.jpg
 

gloughery

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George Loughery
How do you guys regulate freezing and dampness in your spaces? I like everything you guys have done and thinking of rebuilding and enlarging my well pump house, but how do you regulate the inside air, your little PC fan can handle that much air? My pump sits with my water tank in a 6x6 hole 8’ deep and is always dripping wet inside and hard to keep dry.
 

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