#602: Portable Generator Connections Author: Guest, Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2003 6:06 pm
Have a 5550 W portable generator that can output 110V or 220V. However, the 4 wire output splits into four 110 pigtails. I want to be able to power a 220V/20 amp water heater in the attic, which has a 3-wire plug.

I can build a 10 gauge extension cord to run the 220 to the attic, but I end up with a 4 wire female. Can I construct a pigtail to convert the 4 wire to a 3 wire? I've been told that I can simply connect the neutral and the ground to the same connector and that I'm protected as long as I ground the generator to the ground outside the house by the electrical panel. Does this make sense? Or, should I just hire an electrician and avoid the spectacle?


#619: Author: suemarkp, Location: Kent, WA Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2003 12:18 am
Yes, you can convert the plug. What you need to do is not use the neutral prong in your existing 4-wire outlet. Do not connect the neutral and ground together. A 6-30 plug and receptacle are hopefully what you have at the water heater. Just match X to X, Y to Y, and ground to ground. Cheapest thing to do would be to buy the 4-pin plug for the generator and just don't connect a neutral wire. You need a 10-3 cord (black, white, and green, with the white acting like a red and NOT a neutral). Put the proper receptacle at the far end of the cord.

It would be nice if there was a way to reclaim the waste heat from the generator and use that to heat your water. Then, do something useful with the electricity generated. Heating with electricity from a generator is an inefficient way to heat!


#730: Portable Generator Connections Author: Guest, Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2003 10:18 am
Appreciate the response. The generator is used for household backup and to enable a hot shower when the power is out. Every couple of years we get hit with storms that take out the power for several days. Thanks much.


#753: Author: Wgoodrich, Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2003 7:10 pm
YOu are severly limiting the ability of your generator.

If you would install a transfer box between your meter base sized equal in amp rating of your main service rated panel, and your main panel running the load service conductor from the meter to the top lugs of that transfer box. Then run a plug and wire from the bottom side of that transfer box to a point of connection for your generator. Then connect the wires going to your main panel to the center lugs of that transfer box. You could run almost anything in your home one thing at a time including your water heater without any further wiring done.

You would then plug in your generator connected to that transfer box. Switch the transfer box to power B [generated] and energize anything in your home.

That generator could run your refrigerator, A burner or two on your electric range, Could run all the lights in your home. Could run a small air conditioner or furnace and much more if ran one at a time turning on only what you need not overloading the generator. The fuse or breaker on the generator will limit the amp load protecting overloading the generator from damage if you accidently overload the generator.

Transfer boxes are not that expensive size equal to your main service panel in amps rating. Estimate about 300 dollars. Then you will have ability to use that generator for what it was designed to do.

The lights in your entire home would only pull about 20 amps if all lights were on.

A couple of burners on your electric range would pull about 25 amps.
Your refrig would pull about 6 amps.

Why limit what you can do with that generator during a power outage when you can run so much more in options if a transfer box is installed?

Just my thoughts



#777: Author: rlfrazee, Location: Olathe, kansas Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 3:31 pm
Just in case you come back to read replies here are some images of two types of transfer switches available both are around 300 dollars as Wg mentioned....RL