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Old 01-11-2023, 08:59 PM   #1
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RV Generator for House Use

Hello all, I have a question that will hopefully be a simplei-sh answer for some.

I have my 4k watt, 120V 60hz, 30A generator that I use for my camper. It has a L5-30, 30A outlet for residential use also.

My question is, can I take a 3 prong (L5-30) inlet box that will go on the outside of my home. Wire 10/3 romex (ground, neutral, black and red) in a way where the black and red power is on one pin of the inlet box so I have two power wires going into my houses breaker panel. Then attach this to a double pole 30A breaker in the available space?

My goal is to energize both legs of my houses panel at 120V. I understand that there will be no 240V and the only 240V breaker I have, will be turned off. But I'd like to be able to choose which breakers I need in the entire panel.

Unfortunately whoever owned the house before me cut the wires in the panel so short, I can't really rearrange the breakers to 1 leg.

If I did the above install, will everything work at 60hz and function normal at 120V on both legs?

Is my thinking correct or way off base?

I am not buying a 240V generator, and I understand limiting power usage.
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Old 01-11-2023, 09:07 PM   #2
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yes, I have done that with a interlock device to protect from back feeding. Works with no issues.

I have two 200 amp panels in my house and the way it was wired was all the 120 outlets are in one panel, so this is the one I used.

If you have 240 volt double pole breakers in that panel I would turn them off. That device might have some parts that use 120 volts along with the 240 and may cause issues.
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Old 01-12-2023, 04:36 AM   #3
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The key words in the previous post are "interlock device".

Check your local codes before wiring in a generator.
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Old 01-12-2023, 04:51 AM   #4
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you will need to install something similar to this so you do not back-feed the grid and kill a lineman; suggest an electrician if you are not handy.
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Old 01-12-2023, 04:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bentjm View Post
The key words in the previous post are "interlock device".

Check your local codes before wiring in a generator.
Ditto. Without the proper interlock devise you could kill someone. Donít do it without being sure you meet all the codes.
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Old 01-12-2023, 05:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duster73 View Post
Unfortunately whoever owned the house before me cut the wires in the panel so short, I can't really rearrange the breakers to 1 leg.
You do not want to even consider this rearranging of circuits anyway. You need to have the electrical load balanced between what in reality is two halves of the 240V feed. You do not want to load up everything on one side for the sake of convenience for your generator.

It is feasible to feed the two separate 120V legs with the same 120V feed - but I anticipate you are aware; you need be very cautions to not have the main breaker on or any other two pole breakers. It won't even take half a second for things go bad over even the simplest lapse in judgement.

I have done this for a living, and yes - I have back fed my home panels with generators in the past (the I'm not going to spend a lot of money methods) and it is all too easy to make a mistake and let the smoke out of some things...
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Old 01-12-2023, 06:23 AM   #7
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its easy enough to do. just be sure to use a licensed electrician to do it.
its done all the time by companies that sell generators for home power back up. its usually done with an automatic transfer switch in the middle to protect everyone involved.
an electrician is much cheaper than a lawyer.
i just run a couple of cords into the house from my rv to run the refrig and the tv.
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Old 01-12-2023, 07:09 AM   #8
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Not supposed to do it but I've pulled the meter a time or two when I knew it would be a long while before power was restored. This was my sure fire disconnect to keep my genset voltage from getting out. This was with a 4k watt Onan and was to run refrigerator, washing machine, and a few lights in the house.

That was convenient but I probably won't do that again since it's really just as easy to run a heavy extension cord from the genset into the house. Then use it to power different items as needed. It was hot back when Rita came through, we couldn't run the residential hvac system off the genset, so we slept in the motorhome anyway.

Imo, it's not worth the trouble trying to get both legs hot with a small 4k watt genset. You can only run a few things at a time anyway and there'll probably be some tripping of breakers if you or a family member isn't paying attention.
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Old 01-12-2023, 07:46 AM   #9
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Thanks for the replies, I do plan to install an interlock switch.

Before I had two little kids, I'd just run the cord into the house from the generator to power certain items. But now with night lights and noise machines. I need to power different rooms along with the refrigerator and deep freezer. So that's why I am looking into this option. 4000 watts is more than enough to power what I need for emergencies.

I'm glad it will power both legs at 120V as I thought.
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Old 01-12-2023, 11:08 AM   #10
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We've lost power enough over the years to where we purchased a coleman 5500 watt 220 volt generator.

We just throw the main breaker to disconnect from the grid along with breakers for our AC and electric water heater, then back feed thru a 30 amp 220 volt ac outlet in our garage.

The cost of that gen set was about $600. It got us thru 14 days after hurricane Sandy, and many outages over the years.. The fact that we have a well for water supply, a deep freezer and sump pump in our basement were major factors in our decision.
Based on our situation it does the job at a reasonable cost.

I would recommend against any fancy wiring arrangements and be sure to comply with local codes.

All the best
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Old 01-13-2023, 04:04 PM   #11
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Oops double post ....below
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Old 01-13-2023, 05:01 PM   #12
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Look for generator interlock kit for your brand of home CB panel. No need for a $400 generator ATS load center IMHO. You would need to rearrange the one breaker/location for use. Hopefully I don't have to mention not to consider any suicide cord or anything else crazy that comes up. https://www.google.com/search?q=gene...8s2NiAE_25:620
There are a ton of posts on powering house from MH already if you do a search.You may want future-proof your install by running the extra wire and 6ga wire or at least large enough conduit to pull 50amp wires. NEC grounding wire chart I checked shows #10ga copper good up to 60A for ground wire.
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Old 01-13-2023, 08:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1stimerveer View Post
We've lost power enough over the years to where we purchased a coleman 5500 watt 220 volt generator.

We just throw the main breaker to disconnect from the grid along with breakers for our AC and electric water heater, then back feed thru a 30 amp 220 volt ac outlet in our garage.

The cost of that gen set was about $600. It got us thru 14 days after hurricane Sandy, and many outages over the years.. The fact that we have a well for water supply, a deep freezer and sump pump in our basement were major factors in our decision.
Based on our situation it does the job at a reasonable cost.

I would recommend against any fancy wiring arrangements and be sure to comply with local codes.


All the best

How can you tell the OP to be sure to comply with local codes, when what you do is illegal as per the National Electrical Code by backfeeding your panel?
Article 702.2 of the NEC addresses this.


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Old 01-13-2023, 08:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Duster73 View Post
...

Before I had two little kids, ....
Now that is a good reason not to power your house with an RV toy.

My emergency plan included flash lights, candles, and board games.

Did not have a generator when camping either with small kids. No TV either.
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