View Full Version : Generator Aux Power question
I just picked up a new generator for aux power here at the house.
I was wondering if there would be any harm in wiring up a cord with the 30 amp twist-on plug at one end and the 6-50 welder plug on the other end, and backfeeding power through one of my welder receptacles to power the house?
I know that I would have to open the main breaker on the house panel so as not to light up the linemen working on the power lines.
Also, what would be the best cord to use for this? Not much info in the generator operator's manual.
Thanks for any advice!
01-03-2008, 08:00 AM
Attached is a picture of my aux installation in the house. I built up a Hobart G-3010 welder/generator for portable work and back up power. As this is 10,000 watt it has a** enough to run the entire house. In Pa. I'm told, it is illegal to attempt to power a service from a gen set with out a failsafe manner of disconnecting from the utility line. ie; a transfer switch. Backfeeding thru a welder outlet may sound easy and is until that one time you forget to switch off the main and somebody down the line gets hurt or killed and you get criminally charged.
As I have a 200 amp 240 v service, I would have been required to install a 200 amp transfer if I had wanted to power down and cut into the main entrance cable. A licensed electrican would have been required as well as re-inspection and the power company to re-install the meter and re-seal it. BIG money and a HUGH PITA!
Using my handy-dandy amprobe I calculated that at full load, the house only uses about 30% of the capacity. So I pulled all the 'critical' loads out of the main entrance panel and wired them into a separate 125 amp main lug 12 slot entrance panel. I put in a 60 amp industrial transfer switch and power the new panel from a 60 amp double breaker in the main panel via the transfer switch. The gen set is connected to the aux side of the transfer switch Via 80' of 2/2/2/4 underground entance cable (in conduit no less) so the genset can sit in the drive away from the house on it's trailer for easy servicing and access. In the event of a power outage I can start up the Hobart and throw the transfer and power the house completely and positively separate from the utility line. This is especially important if my wife or kids need to power the system up, just sure as heck one of them would forget to switch the main breaker off. Somethings must be idiot proofed. The other nice thing is I have peace of mind knowing my system is correct and the power company knows as well, so if somebody else backfeeds a line and somebody gets whacked, I won't be the first one they look for.
01-03-2008, 09:19 AM
As has been said, make sure you have the proper required transfer switch set up for your generator. Never ever make up an extension cord with male plugs at both ends. These aren't called "Widowmakers" for nothing. Electrical supply houses will have the proper ends with protected male prongs to buy if you ever need to go that route. Even if you are careful with the double ended cord, things can and will go wrong and someone in your house may inadvertently lend it out to a friend, neighbor who doesn't realize what they have in their hands. And remember when you plug in any extension cords, the male goes into the receptacle at the power supply LAST after all other connections have been made and checked. There is an obvious reason for this, especially in light of the double-maled cord just described. Be safe out there -- especially with electricity. There is NO room for mistakes.
01-03-2008, 12:50 PM
First, it is a code violation to back feed a service without a transfer switch. Still, (smack my hand here...) that's how I power my joint in an emergency, and I certainly know better!
You could run a new circuit from your service panel for your backfeed and install a recessed style male plug on it, which is made for a generator connection. That would eliminate the need for a cord with two male plug ends.
Me, I've got the double-male cord!:o When the power goes away, I open the main breaker, open the breaker to my 30-amp outlet, plug in my generator cord at both ends, then start the genny. That way, there's no change of getting whacked from the hot male plug end. Of course, you could plug in the male at the dead outlet and then plug it into the genny with the same result!
All I do then is close the breaker (and flip off the A/C breakers if it's summer!) on the 30-amp outlet and life is normal again, except for the noise!
I just reverse the procedure when the power comes back.
This is piss poor advice from an electrician, I know, but because I know what's going on, I do it this way. My bad!
01-03-2008, 02:06 PM
You can get a Transfer Switch too:)
01-03-2008, 02:19 PM
I lived in my house for 17yrs and lost power many times due to hurricanes mostly off nc coast. Bought my trailblazer back in 01 and set up to backfeed the panel and we havent lost power since......... Go figure:confused:
Well, I did the bad thing... and made up the male-male cord. But, I also made up and printed out this checklist that I put inside plastic page protectors in a 3 ring binder that will reside at the Main circuit breaker panel.
By following this checklist, it should ensure that nothing is done wrong when the time comes to use the generator. Heck, even the wife will be able to hook it up. I put all the events in order so that any chance of electric shock will be minimized with the male-male cord. I think it's a pretty good safety policy when not using one of the $600 transfer switches...
01-06-2008, 02:49 PM
Wow Ed, that's a MUCH better price!!!
Here's what I was looking at:
01-07-2008, 10:52 AM
Interesting time for this discussion if you live where I do!
We had a severe storm on Friday, which knocked out power to much of No. Califormia from Bakersfiield to the Oregon border. I ran my generator for two days before I ran out of gas. Had to try to find a gas station in town that had power, which was pretty difficult!
We got our POCO power back here yesterday, but there are still 250,000 customers out in various places with no prognosis for restoral.
01-07-2008, 11:32 AM
Also there is an issue with the neutral ground connection, remember a 6-60 has no N, you need N when powering up a pannel.