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Old 08-21-2008, 12:08 AM   #21
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Note that while many have gotten away with bypassing or ignoring the national and local electrical codes for some time this is not a practice that we should embrace or endorse. There are fines and penalties to be paid if you get caught and in a moment of inatentiveness lives can be lost.

Please lets not endorse unsafe or illegal activities here.

Even if you think you know what you are doing don't bypass safety regulations. What we think we know does not put us above them.

If in doubt try to get a building permit to rig up one of the mentioned alternatives to installing a real transfer switch and see how far you get toward having it signed off and passed with a final inspection.

I was head of building and plant maintenance working with 40' steam boilers, 3 phase bus bar electrical systems, 15 to 35 kilowatt power plants, multi ton anhydrous amonia systems and the list goes on. I do know how to in theory safely do this as long as one is 100% attentive and never ever makes a mistake however I will not do it or endorse it because of the electrical code and the human factor. Humans eventually will make mistakes and a mistake involving electricity a generator and the utility power grid is not one any of us wants to be involved with.

I you backfeed the powergrid the potential is not the 110/220 volts of your generator but the backfed, out of sync conversion to a minimum of 4000 volts (I also did some electrical utility mapping for WP&G, several US municipalities and the Canadian Government and 4000 volts is the lowest voltage I recall for a residential power grid) the power grid transformer will be putting back into the power grid.

Please keep it safe.
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:45 AM   #22
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by NeilV:
Please lets not endorse unsafe or illegal activities here. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
To Neil's point, I think a reminder of iRV2's rules might be in order:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">By participating in the Forums and Private Messages, you agree that you will not upload, post or otherwise transmit any content (including test, links, communications, software, images, sounds, data or other information) that:

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Thanks for everyone's cooperation.

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Old 08-21-2008, 04:38 AM   #23
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This thread is more persistent than the national debt..

Again... supplying a house from a gen set without a transfer switch when done properly is safe. This is my opinion. If some think it's not safe, that's your opinion.

Pronouncing it illegal or non-code presumes quite a bit. For example, in Florida it is legal for a homeowner to do their own electrical work. A transfer switch requirement most likely is in the National Electrical Code, but I can tell you from experience not every municipality follows that to the letter or even cares. Our own house has electrical work that was not done strictly to code.

The forum TOS of prohibiting unlawful or harmful postings is a good one, but it is a real stretch applying it in this case.
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Old 08-21-2008, 05:04 AM   #24
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Here's the State of Washington's take on the subject - see page 2 of 4:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Connecting a generator directly to any point of the home's electrical wiring without a transfer switch is illegal and dangerous due to the possibility of "back-feeding." </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

As I said earlier, a check with you own governing authorities is highly recommended.

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Old 08-21-2008, 05:37 AM   #25
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by John_Canfield:This thread is more persistent than the national debt..

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Good one John! Had not heard that one before. Now thats persistent!!!

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Old 08-21-2008, 05:45 AM   #26
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I believe the original question was: will the generator provide electricity thru the "umbilical" power cord and that answer is NO. At least my trailer won't. My trailer has a transfer switch so that it either uses the power cord supply or the generator. That said I don't know of a way, without physically re-wiring the trailer, of providing generator power thru the power cord.

What I have done is fire up the generator and use an extension cord from the trailer external power receptacle to the house (thru a window) to power the `fridge. and maybe the TV if it were a race day.
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:03 AM   #27
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Thanks K-Star
That's the answer I was looking for.
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:28 PM   #28
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Technically turning off the main will isolate the generator from the utility.... that is if it is in good working condition. I do a lot of large generator connections for commercial clients during natural disasters. We turn off the main and padlock it so it cannot be turned on, that being said I've had a number of mains that even though turned off, did not open all connections to the utility. Corrosion and infrequent use would cause the breakers not to open. Especially in areas like Florida where salt air corrodes everything. Be safe and use the proper transfer switch, there has been many linemen killed or injured by improperly installed generators. Their life is in your hands if you forget to turn off the main, or it fails to open.
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Old 08-26-2008, 09:05 AM   #29
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I agree with K-Star and Hillbilly2 as a temporary short fix. I have a 10,000-watt gasoline type Generator that I originally had hooked up without a transfer switch. You turn the main breaker off from the Utility company, fire up the generator then turn another breaker on that would allow the feed from the Generator to back feed the house. My opinion is! Do I want to take the chance and possibly end up standing in my yard watching a First Responder trying to revive a Utility worker who has come in contact with a hot feed because something, for whatever reason was not done properly? This is in all probability being done during a storm or possibly in the dark. And the feed back to the Utility does not get disconnected. Thus back feeding to the Utility Company. Of course you know that they are experienced enough to check first to make sure the line is clear. But then there is always the possibility that some one could energize the system while the Utility is in the process of working on it after they checked it out. Do you want to add all the extra factors to the mix? They have enough to worry about as it is. My opinion is if you are without power that often that you would need to try and feed off your MH Generator. Take K-STAR or Hillbilly2's recommendation. Or spend the money and install a standby system that runs off Natural or Propane gas. When the Utility power drops out it automatically drops the Utility side starts the Generator, which then feeds the house. When the Utility comes back on again the Automatic Transfer Switch puts the Utility back on line to the house disconnecting the power from the Generator. Again there is the possibility that this system could have a malfunction. Although it is programmed to start on it's own and run a diagnostics check once a week. At least this way the possibility for human error has been removed. We have eliminated all the issues about rights and wrongs and legal codes. Frankly I think it should be a law in every state that you cannot tie into the Electrical grid without Automatic switchover. My system now has 125 hours on it in about 4 years. Well worth the money spent to have piece of mind. Plus I don't have to try and talk my other half into going out in bad weather to get it all switched over while I sit by the fire. (Just kidding) And like the other John that's just my opinion and I have no idea how I ended up on the Winnebago site and will now go back to my on house.


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Old 08-26-2008, 11:14 AM   #30
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The transfer switches rusty referenced are not all that expensive. For everyones safety, $300 or $400 is not all that much money. For the piece of mind of everyone, it is owrth the little cost to do it right the first time.

Depending on written instructions for someone else to follow, leaves something open to interpretations. The transfer switch makes sure that the designated circuits are off the grid.

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Old 09-04-2008, 05:33 AM   #31
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will follow advice of all of you and do it. thanks. question please. distance from mh generator to house plug is about 70-80 feet. if i use 3-30' 50a extension cords is that a problem? will need male 50a at each end. do they sell 50aF to 50aM connectors?
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:13 AM   #32
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I've never seen a ready made cord with a male plug on each end. I made my own. I can not provide any insight on the cable size for the length you require.
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:53 AM   #33
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by FlyFish:
will follow advice of all of you and do it. thanks. question please. distance from mh generator to house plug is about 70-80 feet. if i use 3-30' 50a extension cords is that a problem? will need male 50a at each end. do they sell 50aF to 50aM connectors? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

That is a long distance for that size wire. You probable need to up the size tot he next cable size. For 50 amp service you will need #6 wire for 50', #4 for 90'.

If you drop to 30 amp service, #8 for for 60' or #6 for 90'.

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Old 09-04-2008, 07:05 AM   #34
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Hi Ho Flyfish: The best thing for you would be to have someone who understands house wiring check out what you want to do. The size of the wire depends on how much current (amps) the wire could be called on to carry and how much voltage drop you can tolerate (depends on wire size, length, and current). In general #12 AWG will handle 20 amps, #10 will handle 30 amps, and #6 AWG will handle 50 amps, but again each installation is different.

One thing that has only been touched on in this thread is that your house probably has two banks of circuit breakers which are 180 degrees out-of-phase with each other. If your generator in the motorhome only has a single output (some have two) you must make provision for that or just power half of the things in the house. Unfortunately important things like furnace blower and refrigerator may be on opposite sides of the box.

It's kind of like insureance. You may never need to power the house from the RV, but we were very happy about 10 years ago that we could because power was out for 6 or 7 days in the winter!

Good luck, Dirk
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:15 AM   #35
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thanks for response, will do. two more questions pls. in this thread it says put female 50a plug in electrical bay. my elect bay in rear, generator in front. since purpose is to get generator power why not put plug with generator which is closer to house plug? is this a problem or difficult? understand comments about 'house' transfer switch. what about 'mh' transfer switch to keep all generator power going to house and none bleeding to the mh?
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:52 AM   #36
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I put the female receptacle in the electrical; bay for two reasons:
1. For me it was the most convenient installation, right next to the transfer switch.
2. Weather proofing, the electrical bay is sealed from the outside elements.

From a lay person's view putting the female receptacle near the generator would be okay if:
1. Sombody who knows what they are doing does the wiring.
2. The receptacle is protected from the outside elements both when being used and not being used.
3. The receptacle is protected from the elements when traveling.
4. It is easy for you to hook up and use, during inclement weather.

To me, the transfer switch for the coach is a bit of overkill. If everything in the coach is turned off, any coach draw would be insignificant.
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Old 09-05-2008, 12:55 AM   #37
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by GaryKD:
I've never seen a ready made cord with a male plug on each end. I made my own. I can not provide any insight on the cable size for the length you require. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

There is a good reason that you have never seen a ready made cord with a male plug on each end. It is a very very dangerous thing and should not be done.

The proper connection is like this:

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/p..._200321033_200321033

If you accedently pull the plug from the input of the transfer switch while the generator is running you will have a dead male connector partially exposed at the transfer switch and a live female connector at the end of the cord. However with the male to male cord you will have a live exposed male plug endangering life and property.

Another option is a whole house manual transfer switch which can be had starting at around $100.

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/p..._200196574_200196574

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/p..._200196624_200196624


Or a whole house switch panel:

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/p..._200321929_200321929

Doing it right installing a transfer switch at the house panel with a proper connector and cord set will protect everything, the house, coach, linemen and greatly limit your liability. It is not that expensive especially when one considers what they have at risk.

Please be safe and don't anyone make up or use any male to male power cord sets or anything else that could result in an exposed live male plug putting out any level of house current.
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Old 09-05-2008, 03:43 AM   #38
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Please be safe and don't anyone make up or use any male to male power cord sets or anything else that could result in an exposed live male plug putting out any level of house current. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Excellent advice. The potential for electrical shock is too great.
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:32 PM   #39
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">quote:
Please be safe and don't anyone make up or use any male to male power cord sets or anything else that could result in an exposed live male plug putting out any level of house current.


Excellent advice. The potential for electrical shock is too great. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

AMEN!
Bottom line is that the exposed male end now coming from the generator and being plugged into the female outlet on the house/garage/pedestal is now "providing" the power rather than "receiving" it. WARNING touching the exposed male end while generator is running will ruin your day.
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