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Flexible cable for generator backfeed use?

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Posted by Richard on August 18, 2005, 3:44 pm

I've been using 10/3 romex to go from my generator to the main house panel, but
it's a pain to coil up and roll out when I need it.

I'm thinking about replacing it with something like welders cable, but since
that's a fine threaded copper wire, I don't know if I need to go larger or what?

I'm only using about 50'.

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Posted by Dale Farmer on August 18, 2005, 4:27 pm

Richard wrote:


    SO 12/3 cable is readily available at anyplace that sells decent extension
cords.   fifty feet is good for about 13 amps at 120 volts, without actually
going and looking up the tables.  Small generator.  May be easier to just
run the extension cable direct to the things you are powering at the time.


Posted by Richard on August 18, 2005, 6:26 pm



Not an option.  

The generator feeds the house and that's how I'm going to use it.  I'm
certainly not going to start moving and unplugging equipment every time we
lose power.

It's a 240V 30A output on the generator, so that requires #10 solid copper.

10 is a very cumbersome wire to roll up and work with, so I'd rather get
something flexible.

Posted by Dale Farmer on August 18, 2005, 7:40 pm

Richard wrote:



  Wire gauge is measured by the amount of copper cross section.  10 gauge
stranded and ten gauge solid have the same amount of copper in them, the
stranded is just slightly larger in diameter because of the air gaps between
the strands.   10/3 SO cable is readily available at Home Depot.  I would
recommend that you upgrade to 8 gauge though, if you are drawing the full
thirty amps, that cable is going to get a bit toasty.
    Welding cable used for temporary power applications was disallowed
in a recent edition of the national electrical code. ( Assuming you are in
the US. ) I'm not sure why.

    SOrry, I misread the number 10 as 12.  THat's what I get for doing email
before the caffiene kicks in.
  The correct way to do this is to get one of those generator switch over panels,
that have an L14-30 male connector on them.  Then just get the cable, and
a pair of the connectors to make up an extension cord for your generator.  You
can also get an external box permanently wired up to the outside with the
L14 connector, so you don't have to run the cable in through a window or
door left open. May have to get a locally licensed electrician to do the work,
modulo your local electrical code.  Positive disconnecting means that has
no possibility of connecting your generator to the utility power feed are
often required by law, due to the non-trivial number of utility workers who
got electrocuted by home generators back feeding the street after power


Posted by Vaughn on August 18, 2005, 11:47 pm

     Don't say I didn't warn you Richard!   ;-)


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