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  • External Generator Transfer Switch

    Rather than use an inside transfer switch next to the electrical panel, could one be mounted outside adjacent to the electric service meter? The rationale being, since the portable generator has to be run outdoors, why not just run the power cable outdoors also vs having to crack a door to run the generator power cable inside into the garage.

  • #2
    I have a manual system that is mounted outside next to the meter, to cut the power from FPL. Then I have an outlet dropped down from there to plug the generator in. Works great.

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    • #3
      Hector,

      Thanks for your reply. How do you designate which circuits inside your house are going to be fed by the generator?

      Glenn

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      • #4
        in my situation I have a 200 amp three phase transfer switch on the distribution pole, one of incoming lines comes from the generator shed, the out going lines goes to the distribution pole, and the other in coming lines from the meter,

        (In the generator shed there are two generators and there is another 3 phase 100 amp transfer switch that can switch between them, depending on the one I want to use),

        one generator is a 30kw three phase unit, and one is a small 3.75kw single phase unit,

        and the generators can run to any building on the place, the 3.75kw will run a lot of things but one needs to watch that you don't over load it, I may shut off a few breakers, (like to the electric hot water heater in the barn, or the booster pump on the water tank, and keep other power needs to a minimal, but since we have refrigerators and freezers in three buildings, besides the walkin cooler and walkin freezer in the butcher/meat room in the back of the barn,

        but we used the 3.75 kw unit to power the farm buildings for over 30 day during a ice storm a number of years ago, after the ice storm I bought the 30 kw unit and it will run the walk in freezer and cooler if need to be, and the electric welder, as well as run the place nearly as nicely as the grid does, I can also run the walkins by using a rotary converter and the small generator if need to be as well,

        From the grid I have four wire 240volt open delta three phase,
        Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
        attributed to Samuel Johnson
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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        • #5
          RoseRx... I mounted a 6 circuit manual Generac transfer switch indoors next to my service panel. I tied the transfer switch into a weatherproof 30 amp outlet box mounted outdoors using 10/3 wire to connect the transfer switch to the weatherproof outlet box. The connection to the weatherproof outlet box was made through the rim joist into the back of the weatherproof box. During power outages, I connect the generator to the weatherproof outlet via a double male extension cord I made using 10/4 SJ wire. One end of the cord attaches to the 240 volt outlet on the generator and the other end attaches to the weatherproof outlet. Once the 6 manual circuits on the transfer switch are changed from LINE to GEN, the 6 cricuits I connected to the transfer switch in the service panel are energized, with no doors cracked open to accomodate extension cords from the generator.
          there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

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          • #6
            Finer9998,

            The cord that you are using is very illegal. It's extremely dangerous to use two male ends. They don't call it a "dogkiller" or a widowmaker for nothing. Get the proper cord and receptacle before you kill someone!!

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            • #7
              I went to Home Depot & I found the external transfer box switch for about $100. It mounts adjacent to the outside electric service meter panel. The active circuits are controlled by turning off circuit breakers on the inside panel box or light switches on the wall.

              Thanks for your replies!

              Comment


              • #8
                Rose, what I normally do is shut off all the breakers, shut off the incoming power from fpl(using the transferswitch), turn the main off, connect the 220V power cord that came with the generator to the generator and wall outlet(both ends are male), start the generator and let it warm up for a bit, and finally go to the inside breaker box and start turning on circuits. I think I told you my scheme for alternating between using the window a/c, clothes dryer, water heater and range. Other than that, I sit back and enjoy using tv, radio, lights working from the switches, HOT coffee, and all the comforts of electricity.

                Comment


                • #9
                  ND Master..Perhaps you can enlighten me as to what causes the problem in my hook up?
                  there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Finer9998

                    The problem is that if your power cord is ever jerked out of the outlet you plug it into you have an exposed live male end and the person or thing foolish or not aware of the danger will soon get a lesson they will never forget. You may want to look into some twist lock connectors for your cord and have a male end in a box with a hole in the bottom long enough to accommodate the female end that will be on a safer cord.

                    NDmaster could have put it in a kinder way but he is right.
                    "Diplomacy is saying nice dodging until you can find a rock." Will Rogers
                    "If a Monkey can do your job, are you in the right profession?

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Polar for explaining my point, I was to ticked at the time to be nice. We see stuff like that all the time, it has gotten to the point that I'm sick of it.

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                      • #12
                        ND Master...I guess I needed to be more specific. The connectors on either end of the connector cord that I fabricated are twistlock, rated for 30 amps. The receptacle on the generator recieves the twist lock, as does the house mounted receptacle which is in a weatherproof box with a weatherproof cover that can be closed during use to keep weather off the connection. When in use, the generator sits outdoors under a covered bump out and is open on three sides with 7' clearance above the generator to address air supply and exhaust.

                        While I believe my configuration is safe and up to my local code, I never really fully understood why the 240 volt rectacles were locking in nature. Any additional safety related observations would be much appreciated.
                        there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Finer,

                          If you have a double-male cord you're in violation of 406.6(B) of the NEC, even if they are twistlocks. It basically says that a male cord end cannot be energized unless inserted into an energized outlet. This means that you should have a male cord to plug into the generator and female to plug into the flanged male rec. at the transfer switch.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            they make a special plug with male end in it so you can do it safely, it feeds the transfer switch,

                            they make them in different amperages depending on the size of portable generator you have,

                            you may find them lower cost than this listing but it was easy to find,
                            50 amp it says
                            http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...0974_200220974
                            30 amp
                            http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...0924_200220924

                            and then use the proper cord that has a male end that plugs in to the generator and a female end on it that plugs in to the recepcital on the house to the transfer switch.
                            example;
                            http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...1324_200221324
                            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                            attributed to Samuel Johnson
                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                            PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              ND Master... Thanks for the heads up. I've changed the connections so there is a female on the end of the wire FROM the generator and a flanged male (like the 30 amp shown in BHD's link) on the house leading to the transfer switch. While the original configuration worked, I am embarrassed that I didn't realize the safety issue evident with the double male wire. I'll allways take a rap on the knuckles in the interest of safety.
                              there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

                              Comment

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