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electrifier
electrifier, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1629
Experience:  Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise
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I am trying to plug a portable generator into my house. The

Resolved Question:

I am trying to plug a portable generator into my house. The house already has a transfer switch installed to legally and safely disconnect the house from the grid while doing this. The transfer switch does not have a male plug to connect to the generator, however. It only has a 4 pronged dryer-type female plug. I could splice male-male plug together with 4 pronged dryer plug on one end and a regular 3 pronged plug on the other end but don't know if this is safe.

If it is safe, how do you do it? There are 4 wires on one cord and 3 on the other. Plus goes to plus, minus goes to minus . . . then what?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  electrifier replied 3 years ago.

electrifier :

You're saying someone has installed a female receptacle to plug a male into to feed the transfer switch?

Customer :

correct

electrifier :

That is a code violation and unsafe. Where are you located?

Customer :

oklahoma

electrifier :

Do you have Menard's?

Customer :

what is Menard's?

electrifier :

It is like Home Depot

Customer :

no . . Lowe's

electrifier :

I don't use Lowe's if I can help it. Their prices are too high.

Customer :

okay, what do i need to get?

electrifier :

Anyway go to the electrical department at either HD or Lowe's. They sell an outside box with the male generator plug as part of the box like a receptacle would be. The cord will plug into the generator and into the box and all will be well. It is rated for outdoors so everything is covered. They come in 30 amps for generators up to 8kw

Customer :

So I need to replace the transfer box with a new one?

electrifier :

Not at all. Do you have a cord coming out of the transfer switch or do you have a receptacle mounted someplace?

Customer :

A receptacle. Standby for picture . . .

electrifier :

Excellent

Customer :

Full Size Image

electrifier :

Ok, it's conduit. Let me find a picture of just what you need.

Customer :

awesome

electrifier :

HERE you go. This is for 30 amps. Click on the link and you will see just what you need.

electrifier :

This is for 30 amps. How many watts is your generator?

Customer :

Okay, picture is kind of unclear. What do I do the 4-prong power inlet box? Generator is 2k.

electrifier :

What is your cord rated?

Customer :

not sure

electrifier :

I would guess 20 amps.

electrifier :

This site has all different rating power inlet boxes. Look on the plug or receptacle end on the cord and see what the number is XXXXX the outside.

Customer :

I'm still kind of unclear. The image I send you is the receptacle mounted on the wall of my house which comes out of the transfer switch box. I'm trying to connect it to a portable (2k) generator which does not have a cord. The generator only has receptacles as well (the regular 120V kind on your wall).

Customer :

So I've got two receptacles, no cords.

electrifier :

HERE are some 20 amp boxes

electrifier :

Does the generator have a receptacle for 240 volts?

electrifier :

2 kw is very small to try to power a house.

Customer :

ahhh, i see

electrifier :

2000watts/240volts=8.3amps

Customer :

no, it doesn't have 240v receptacle

Customer :

just 120

electrifier :

The receptacle you have shown me is required to be a male for safety. Having a cord with 2 male ends is dangerous

Customer :

understand

electrifier :

120 volts you have 16.6 amps available. You could run a microwave, nothing more.

Customer :

fridge?

electrifier :

yes, but not much more

electrifier :

You will not be able to run anything that is 240 volts

electrifier :

What type of transfer switch do you have?

Customer :

yeah, didn't buy the generator for this purpose, but would like to have the option of hooking it (or a larger generator) in if I needed to

electrifier :

Tell me about the transfer switch.

electrifier :

What type is it?

electrifier :

Manual or automatic?

Customer :

Thomas/Betts

Customer :

manual

Customer :

30A/250

Customer :

250V

electrifier :

Is it connected in front of the main panel or for just part of the house

electrifier :

I would get the 30 amp power inlet box like I showed you.

electrifier :

You can use a generator up to 8kw with that.

Customer :

part of the house

electrifier :

If a generator has a 30 amp receptacle for 240 volts then a regurlar cord will connect directly.

Customer :

it has 6 breakers for essentials: fridge, microwave, master bedroom lights, etc.

electrifier :

Ok, great.

electrifier :

I would connect a 30 amp power inlet box on the outside of the house.

Customer :

i see, plug the female end into the house, and the male into the generator?

electrifier :

Exactly

Customer :

okay, great

Customer :

thanks for your help!

electrifier :

Are you seeing the picture better now? This website will have everything you need if you can't find it locally.

electrifier :

Remember G is for ground and W is for the neutral. The other 2 are for the hot wires, each one is 120 volts to neutral and 240 volts to each other.

Customer :

the 20A was much clearer than the 30A

Customer :

copy

electrifier :

Those are links to the website with the parts.

electrifier :

Look around there and see everything available

electrifier :

They have the cords, etc.

Customer :

will do, thanks

electrifier :

If you pick up a used generator someplace you can piece things together. Make your own cord but I would use a 30 amp rated cord so you don't have to buy another one if you get a bigger generator

electrifier :

just change the plug

electrifier :

If you have another question later on come back to me here and I'll help you then. No need to pay a 2nd time for more of the same. You can come back here again after you accept the answer.

Customer :

Will do. Once again, thanks for the help!

electrifier, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1629
Experience: Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise
electrifier and 2 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you

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