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Posted: 4/13/2008 8:33:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/13/2008 8:34:29 PM EDT by barrysuperhawk]
Ok, reading the generator thread reminded me of a half finished project I have going.

I live in a Mobile home, and my Shed is 20 feet from my house.  My power comes in through a single 60 amp box on a pole with it's own cut-off switch.  Power comes out of the ground, into the meter, out of the meter, into a all weather box with a single 60A breaker, then into a separate cut-off switch, then into my panel inside the house.  The panel in the house was originally fuses, but I re-wired it to a standard 100 amp box with breakers.  I have installed a supplimental ground [copper stake driven into ground] at the post where the meter is, but I have not hooked it up yet.  


My Generator is a 7500 Generac:
www.generac-portables.com/generators/generator.cfm?id=139


All of my lights are Compact flourecents and almost everything runs off APC UPS's [computers, TV's, some lights, etc].  As an experement I have run the entire house off the 3 prong 30A cord rednecked into the cutoff switch, and I was even able to run my little welder when 3 of the 4 UPS's were in Charge mode.   My Stove and Furnace are both Gas, so my house dosen't use much power.  The biggest draw is the AC at almost 20A startup.  Everything is 120, and there isn't 220 available at all.

I know how to wire the 3 prong 30A plug into the house, and was planning to wire a 30A receptacle so I could use a double ended cord [like was mentioned in the other thread] but, I think the 50A would be good to even run the AC, but where I am stuck is I don't know how to wire the 4 prong 50A plug.   In addition, it seems I am having issues at Lowes finding the matching plugs.  

My intention is 25' of 8 ga. stranded with a 50A plug on the generator end and ?? plug and ?? receptacle at the house end.  I will wire the recepticle in between my master cut off switch and my house.  If I can find a double throw switch I would use that but I most likely will have to just remember to turn off the switch to the world before I plug up the generator.  

The other issue is the Shed.  I have my eye a roof vent and a Fan that I will wire up to provide exhaust from the shed and suck in outside air.  This will allow me to close the shed and both deaden the sound and worry less about miscreants stealing my Genny.  

A second idea was to remove the muffler that came with the genny and plumb it into some type of exhaust that leads out of the shed, but I don't really know where to start with that idea.  I still use this generator as a portable, so I don't want to permanantly install it.  I just want to be able to lock the shed and not worry about it going poof if it's cold and I want to run my furnace all night.

Anyone have any ideas or comments on any of this?  
Link Posted: 4/14/2008 5:34:31 AM EDT
I'm a little confused.  

You don't have any 220 in your house??  

That's unusual.  You won't be able to use the 220 outlet on your generator unless you do some "creative" wiring.  

I guess I'm a little confused at what you are wanting.  


Can you post some pics?
Link Posted: 4/14/2008 6:33:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By barrysuperhawk:
Ok, reading the generator thread reminded me of a half finished project I have going.

Anyone have any ideas or comments on any of this?  


go with 100 amp direct burial aluminium from the depot pole to shed at that point

install their 100 amp H switch continue to the breaker at your trailer

use a short run of 6 or 8 gauge from the gen to the H switch in the shed

with the price of copper I'd bet you could dig up and use a portion of existing

buried line and only have to buy a short piece of 100/4 direct burial and save

enouch to buy the 100 amp H switch vs 25 feet of 8 gauge.

and the two 120 hot legs coming in are considered 220 110+110=220
Link Posted: 4/14/2008 6:39:47 AM EDT
I am confused about what you are trying to do also.  Are you trying to wire a 4 prong 220v 50A plug when your place only uses 110v?  

All the following are suggestions based on my guesses of what you mean in your post:
Looking at the outlets available on your genny you would be better off just wiring the 3 wire L5-30R (3 prong) plug to run your trailer.  It provides 30 amps at 120 volts.  For 120 volt usage the L14-30R 4 prong plug would provide the same amperage (30). The 4 prong plug would only be beneficial to you if you wanted 240 volt service.  Are you considering "splitting" the 240 volt power so you have 2-120 volt lines?

DO NOT build yourself a cord that has male plugs on either end.  You will likely fry yourself or someone else.

You only use 4 wires when wiring 240 volts. 2- 120 volt hot power lines, 1 neutral and 1 ground.  120 volt wiring uses 1 power, 1 neutral and a ground.

If you could provide some pics, a diagram, or even further explanations it would really help.        
Link Posted: 4/14/2008 6:59:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By barrysuperhawk:
The other issue is the Shed.  I have my eye a roof vent and a Fan that I will wire up to provide exhaust from the shed and suck in outside air.  This will allow me to close the shed and both deaden the sound and worry less about miscreants stealing my Genny.  

A second idea was to remove the muffler that came with the genny and plumb it into some type of exhaust that leads out of the shed, but I don't really know where to start with that idea.  I still use this generator as a portable, so I don't want to permanantly install it.  I just want to be able to lock the shed and not worry about it going poof if it's cold and I want to run my furnace all night.

Anyone have any ideas or comments on any of this?  

can't help you w/ the electrical part, but i can w/ the above.  i know the shed is not sealed, but i would add a small fresh air intake along w/ the ventilation fan to aid in cooling airflow.  perhaps place the intake on the opposite corner of the shed from the intake to encourage air flow.

i wouldn't remove the muffler, what i would do is use rigid exhaust pipe from the exterior of the shed to about a foot, maybe a foot and a half, from the genny's exhaust and then either use flexible metal exhaust pipe that you could adapt down to the size of the genny's exhaust pipe, if needed, or use the heavy rubber stuff that repair shops attach to car exhaust pipes to vent the fumes.  you can buy the flexible exhaust locally, but may need to look to a specialty shop for the rubber stuff, maybe northern tool.

not sure what kind of shed you have, but if it's aluminum, you may want to buy some sound deadening material to line it w/.
Link Posted: 4/14/2008 7:06:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/14/2008 7:07:46 AM EDT by blackhawkhunter]

Originally Posted By Cacinok:

Originally Posted By barrysuperhawk:
The other issue is the Shed.  I have my eye a roof vent and a Fan that I will wire up to provide exhaust from the shed and suck in outside air.  This will allow me to close the shed and both deaden the sound and worry less about miscreants stealing my Genny.  

A second idea was to remove the muffler that came with the genny and plumb it into some type of exhaust that leads out of the shed, but I don't really know where to start with that idea.  I still use this generator as a portable, so I don't want to permanantly install it.  I just want to be able to lock the shed and not worry about it going poof if it's cold and I want to run my furnace all night.

Anyone have any ideas or comments on any of this?  

can't help you w/ the electrical part, but i can w/ the above.  i know the shed is not sealed, but i would add a small fresh air intake along w/ the ventilation fan to aid in cooling airflow.  perhaps place the intake on the opposite corner of the shed from the intake to encourage air flow.

i wouldn't remove the muffler, what i would do is use rigid exhaust pipe from the exterior of the shed to about a foot, maybe a foot and a half, from the genny's exhaust and then either use flexible metal exhaust pipe that you could adapt down to the size of the genny's exhaust pipe, if needed, or use the heavy rubber stuff that repair shops attach to car exhaust pipes to vent the fumes.  you can buy the flexible exhaust locally, but may need to look to a specialty shop for the rubber stuff, maybe northern tool.

not sure what kind of shed you have, but if it's aluminum, you may want to buy some sound deadening material to line it w/.


You are right, you need a fresh air intake.  You can get a set of louvers and hook up a motor to run them whenever the gennie is on.  It takes a lot of air to keep it cool.

The exhaust hose works or you can run a piece of black iron outdoors and put the muffler there.  Just make sure you maintain clearances from combustable surfaces.  Also, if you bolt your gennie down make sure you use a flexible section of exhaust to minimize vibration.

Good luck with the electrical part.... just make sure to do your homework.  You dont need an electrician, but you do need someone that knows what they are doing.... unless of course its a permitted and inspected location.
Link Posted: 4/14/2008 9:46:08 AM EDT
Ok, time to answer a couple questions:

I do not have 240 because this is a Mobile Home.  None of us have 240, and when I inquired about adding it I was told it would cost "thousands of dollars" to run a spacial wire just to my house, and the park wouldn't approve it even if I was willing to pay..

As far as the shed and generator, I was planning on but didn't explain that I was going to use 2 vents, louvered, one with an exhaust fan.  It's a wooden shed and I was also concerned with heat buildup, but having run it inside with nothing more than a box fan blowing on it seemed to work well.  

I want to use the 50A plug not for the 240 but because it can handle and deliver the starting load of my AC.  I don't think the 30A will.  I just need to know which plug lead to connect to which house power connection.  I will try to diagram things tonight....
Link Posted: 4/14/2008 10:03:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/14/2008 10:07:47 AM EDT by blackhawkhunter]
On a NEMA 14-50 plug the G=ground, W=white, and the X and Y are the 2 hot conductors.  So that makes the oval U shaped prong (at 12 oclock) the ground, the flat one oppostite it is the neutral and the 2 at 9 and 3 oclock the hots.  Is that what you are asking?

As always, check your work with a meter.  If you dont know what you are doing get an electrician....  many will work for beer and pizza.....  at least I used to.  At least get someone to stop by and review your plan.
Link Posted: 4/14/2008 11:56:40 AM EDT
Let's be sure we all understand correctly -- are you saying that you have only 1 hot leg coming to your meter?  So you have a hot and a neutral at the service entrance and nothing else, right?
Link Posted: 4/14/2008 12:08:19 PM EDT
This has the potential to go very badly unless some professional help is secured.

John
Link Posted: 4/14/2008 2:52:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By blackhawkhunter:
On a NEMA 14-50 plug the G=ground, W=white, and the X and Y are the 2 hot conductors.  So that makes the oval U shaped prong (at 12 oclock) the ground, the flat one oppostite it is the neutral and the 2 at 9 and 3 oclock the hots.  Is that what you are asking?

As always, check your work with a meter.  If you dont know what you are doing get an electrician....  many will work for beer and pizza.....  at least I used to.  At least get someone to stop by and review your plan.


Blackhawkhunter makes a wise suggestion.  I second the notion to get some help.  Don't kill yourself to save a few bucks.
Link Posted: 4/14/2008 8:33:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By autumnsong:

Originally Posted By blackhawkhunter:
On a NEMA 14-50 plug the G=ground, W=white, and the X and Y are the 2 hot conductors.  So that makes the oval U shaped prong (at 12 oclock) the ground, the flat one oppostite it is the neutral and the 2 at 9 and 3 oclock the hots.  Is that what you are asking?

As always, check your work with a meter.  If you dont know what you are doing get an electrician....  many will work for beer and pizza.....  at least I used to.  At least get someone to stop by and review your plan.


Blackhawkhunter makes a wise suggestion.  I second the notion to get some help.  Don't kill yourself to save a few bucks.


Ok,  I have a basic understanding of what I am doing here.  I have already re-wired most of my trailer to house-spec [regular breaker and box, copper 14/2 wire in place of the aluminum, ran 20 A service to the shed, etc.  


Originally Posted By Templar223:
This has the potential to go very badly unless some professional help is secured.

John


So does most anything to do with firearms...  


Ok look, all you doom and gloomers, Being a Mobile home, my house has a grand total of 60 amps comming in.  Two wires, hot and ground, that provide me with 120v AC.  This is entirely different from regular house spec that generally has 240 wheather it is needed or not.  You should have seen the original dryer wiring...

In addition to those limitations, one other "odd" thing about Mobile homes is that I have a cutoff box AFTER the meter but on the same pole, before the wires go into the house.  Flipping this switch cuts the Hot before it enters the house [I need to check the ground, but I am a bit fuzzy on how].

So, in theory, if I wire in some type of receptacle AFTER the switch, before my breaker panel, My process would be simple.  Power goes out, go out, flip the switch off, plug in the wire between the Genny and the receptacle, fire up the Genny and I should be good.

Link Posted: 4/14/2008 11:17:29 PM EDT
Believe you are trying to make this work otherwise than it is intended...if I understand what you are wanting.

I have no reason not to believe you that you only have 120 volt service but this must be a very low budget trailer park.  All the local parks where I live offer 200 amp 220 service.  220 volt service has been the standard for years.  I'm surprised that they can even get away with it.  No one in your place must have central AC.....at least I've never seen 120 central AC.  You really need to post pics of this place.  I'm not trying to make fun of you though because everyone needs a place to call home.


You should be able to draw out about 3600 watts from the 30 amp 120 volt outlet.  Since you only have 120 volt service, your AC probably won't draw more than 1800 watts (15 amps) but at the most it could draw is 2400 watts (20 amps).  So your 120 volt/30amp outlet should be plenty of juice to run the AC.  



No need to get pissy about people suggesting that you get professional help.  You clearly don't know a whole lot about electricity and that's a good way to get hurt or killed.  We are trying to prevent that but if you absolutely insist on not having any help....well the Darwin awards need more candidates.


Link Posted: 4/14/2008 11:22:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By barrysuperhawk:
*snip*
Ok,  I have a basic understanding of what I am doing here.  I have already re-wired most of my trailer to house-spec [regular breaker and box, copper 14/2 wire in place of the aluminum, ran 20 A service to the shed, etc.  
*snip*




Hope you ran 12/2 outdoor rated for the wire to the shed.  14/2 should only be a 15 amp circuit and 12/2 for a 20 amp circuit.  

When I built my house, all the 120 volt wiring was 12/2 for the ENTIRE house.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 5:17:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ColtRifle:

Originally Posted By barrysuperhawk:
*snip*
Ok,  I have a basic understanding of what I am doing here.  I have already re-wired most of my trailer to house-spec [regular breaker and box, copper 14/2 wire in place of the aluminum, ran 20 A service to the shed, etc.  
*snip*




Hope you ran 12/2 outdoor rated for the wire to the shed.  14/2 should only be a 15 amp circuit and 12/2 for a 20 amp circuit.  

When I built my house, all the 120 volt wiring was 12/2 for the ENTIRE house.


+1

However, anything is better than that scary aluminum crap!

I see your plan, the only thing I would say is you really need a simple, manual transfer switch after your first disconnect on the pole.  Otherwise you will have a hot male cord cap dangling somewhere when the normal power is on (unless I am misreading your intentions).
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 7:26:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By barrysuperhawk:

So, in theory, if I wire in some type of receptacle AFTER the switch, before my breaker panel, My process would be simple.  Power goes out, go out, flip the switch off, plug in the wire between the Genny and the receptacle, fire up the Genny and I should be good.



I think I see what you are trying to do now.  I would suggest a 3 position switch box with a male generator plug be added in place of the existing shut off box just past the meter.  The 3 positions would be (1)off, (2)gen power plug to trailer, (3)line power to trailer.   If you just put a generator plug in-line between the existing shut off box and the trailer you have a safety issue because the plug will always be hot while the line power is switched on to your trailer.  And because that plug will be a male plug you have an electrocution hazard waiting to happen.  I guess you could use a lockable outlet box but it wouldn't pass an inspection.  If you used a female plug you would then have to use a gen extension cord with a male plug on BOTH ends.  VERY DANGEROUS!  Also DO NOT just put a plug/receptacle in line between the trailer and the shut off box.  That is just a disaster waiting to happen.... you don't want the responsibility of someone getting fried even if you are smart enough to avoid it.

I also think I understand that you want to use one leg of the 50 amp 240 generator plug instead of the 30 amp 120 plug because you will have 50 amps at 120 volts instead of 30.  I would advise against this.  The 30 amp 120 volt plug should be more than adequate to run the A/C and depending on how your genny is wired/built it could damage it to run only one leg of the 240 volt plug.  It would possibly create an unbalanced load situation. On a electrical motor that uses power, both legs of the 240 volt circuit will be balanced meaning they utilize the same amps.  Motor damage can occur when the amps used on the legs are different.  I am not an electrician, but I would think that the brush-less generator in your Generac  could also be damaged by a load imbalance created on the production side.

Link Posted: 4/15/2008 9:37:39 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/15/2008 9:46:12 AM EDT by ColtRifle]

Originally Posted By autumnsong:

Originally Posted By barrysuperhawk:

So, in theory, if I wire in some type of receptacle AFTER the switch, before my breaker panel, My process would be simple.  Power goes out, go out, flip the switch off, plug in the wire between the Genny and the receptacle, fire up the Genny and I should be good.



I think I see what you are trying to do now.  I would suggest a 3 position switch box with a male generator plug be added in place of the existing shut off box just past the meter.  The 3 positions would be (1)off, (2)gen power plug to trailer, (3)line power to trailer.   If you just put a generator plug in-line between the existing shut off box and the trailer you have a safety issue because the plug will always be hot while the line power is switched on to your trailer.  And because that plug will be a male plug you have an electrocution hazard waiting to happen.  I guess you could use a lockable outlet box but it wouldn't pass an inspection.  If you used a female plug you would then have to use a gen extension cord with a male plug on BOTH ends.  VERY DANGEROUS!  Also DO NOT just put a plug/receptacle in line between the trailer and the shut off box.  That is just a disaster waiting to happen.... you don't want the responsibility of someone getting fried even if you are smart enough to avoid it.

I also think I understand that you want to use one leg of the 50 amp 240 generator plug instead of the 30 amp 120 plug because you will have 50 amps at 120 volts instead of 30.  I would advise against this.  The 30 amp 120 volt plug should be more than adequate to run the A/C and depending on how your genny is wired/built it could damage it to run only one leg of the 240 volt plug.  It would possibly create an unbalanced load situation. On a electrical motor that uses power, both legs of the 240 volt circuit will be balanced meaning they utilize the same amps.  Motor damage can occur when the amps used on the legs are different.  I am not an electrician, but I would think that the brush-less generator in your Generac  could also be damaged by a load imbalance created on the production side.  



I think it would work but just because it would work doesn't mean that it's a good idea.  I wouldn't do it.....but it's your house.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 9:43:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ColtRifle:

Originally Posted By autumnsong:

Originally Posted By barrysuperhawk:

So, in theory, if I wire in some type of receptacle AFTER the switch, before my breaker panel, My process would be simple.  Power goes out, go out, flip the switch off, plug in the wire between the Genny and the receptacle, fire up the Genny and I should be good.



I think I see what you are trying to do now.  I would suggest a 3 position switch box with a male generator plug be added in place of the existing shut off box just past the meter.  The 3 positions would be (1)off, (2)gen power plug to trailer, (3)line power to trailer.   If you just put a generator plug in-line between the existing shut off box and the trailer you have a safety issue because the plug will always be hot while the line power is switched on to your trailer.  And because that plug will be a male plug you have an electrocution hazard waiting to happen.  I guess you could use a lockable outlet box but it wouldn't pass an inspection.  If you used a female plug you would then have to use a gen extension cord with a male plug on BOTH ends.  VERY DANGEROUS!  Also DO NOT just put a plug/receptacle in line between the trailer and the shut off box.  That is just a disaster waiting to happen.... you don't want the responsibility of someone getting fried even if you are smart enough to avoid it.

I also think I understand that you want to use one leg of the 50 amp 240 generator plug instead of the 30 amp 120 plug because you will have 50 amps at 120 volts instead of 30.  I would advise against this.  The 30 amp 120 volt plug should be more than adequate to run the A/C and depending on how your genny is wired/built it could damage it to run only one leg of the 240 volt plug.  It would possibly create an unbalanced load situation. On a electrical motor that uses power, both legs of the 240 volt circuit will be balanced meaning they utilize the same amps.  Motor damage can occur when the amps used on the legs are different.  I am not an electrician, but I would think that the brush-less generator in your Generac  could also be damaged by a load imbalance created on the production side.  




I have no idea if this is true but I would not do it for fear that it might be true.  I think it would work but just because it would work doesn't mean that it's a good idea.  I wouldn't do it.....but it's your house.


Ahhh, now some of the fog is burning off...  definatly stick with the 30A 120V receptacle.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 4:20:16 AM EDT
Ok, for the 12 vs 14 debate, I was pulling wire through existing walls.  I TRIED 12, and I couldn't get it to go more than a few feet before it bound up.  The 14 was murder itself, but I was mostly successful at least.

[RANT ON] It is obvious that many of you are professional electricians with brand new houses wired to the latest codes, and that many of you wouldent even know where to find a trailer park, much less have ever been in an actual mobile(ish) home.   <news flash> EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT IN A MOBILE HOME!!  From the wiring, to the plumbing, to the walls to the doors, everything is different!  Even the blasted waterpipes are an oddball size.  
My mobile home is a 1973, the park wasn't new when it was placed.  We did not even have CABLE TV until 2001.  
Y'all are probably the same crew that only has ACOGs on all of your AR's and cannot honestly imagine why anyone would bother with a $50 scope or some type of clone.  Personally, I have lived in a tent, and I have lived even without a tent, so I really don't care much where I call home.  To me, home is where I lock my stuff up in the safe when I am gone. [RANT Off]  <sorry>

Back on topic:
I have seen RV plug boxes that take what is essentially a big ass extention cord and are rated for 50A, but the plug is different.  I have considered buying one of those and just adapting the plug on the generator end, but, like I said, I don't know how to wire it.  The other option I have seen is a hot-tub box, but they seem smaller [20/30A] and my intention is to be able to run the AC.  All I know about it is that it is as old as methuzela and is on a 30A circut.  There are no dataplates or stickers anywhere to be found on it.  I think the previous owner took that stuff off to paint it..  

I have already proven I can run the rest of the house on 30A, but I think the AC would put it over the edge.  The other option I have considered is running a separate 30A wire just to the AC, but that's ALOT more wiring.  I have plenty of Genny capacity, I just need to figure how to get it into the house.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 7:42:02 PM EDT
heh, guess I killed my own thread...  
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 8:05:04 PM EDT
Just adding mu $.02 here, but a 50A plug is useless for the size of the generator. The breakers on the genie would pop LONG before you maxed the amperage for the line size you'd be using to support that current.

Your generator is likely rated for the 7,500W @ 240V, that only equals out to 62.5A @120 and that plug is rated at 50A@240 (100A @ 120V), in other words you would be able to run 12,000W through it at 240V.

Don't get me wrong, overkill is a good thing Just make sure that you are taking stock of what the generator can actually provide. Your 60A service at 120V is the equivalent of 120A @ 240V if you actually had both legs of the circuit available (two hots, one ground and a neutral).

In reality since you are stuck with 120V only in the trailer, you can only utilize around 30A of what your generator can provide on a single leg, since you can't tie them together at the junction box without creating a dead short in the generator. There is also the aspect of running your generator with only one leg taking all the load with the other assuming none, that may lead to an early death of the generator head itself.

Others out there feel free to harpoon me, I'm not always the greatest with math.

Once again, just my $.02
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