Generator "Back Feed" through GFI Outlet

J

[email protected]

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hi,

I am planning on getting a generator incase of a long term loss of
power. So far that has never happened to me, but I want to be prepared.

If such an event would occur, I would "open" the main breaker, then
use the generator outside in back of my house to "back feed" through
an outside GFI outlet. Note: I have no interest in whole house power, but
power for the refrigerator and some low power devices.

I was planning on replacing the GFI outlet with a "regular" outlet, but a
friend told me he once used his generator and "back feed" through a GFI
outlet without a problem.

Does anyone know if "back feeding" through a GFI outlet is OK?

C

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hi,

I am planning on getting a generator incase of a long term loss of
power. So far that has never happened to me, but I want to be prepared.

If such an event would occur, I would "open" the main breaker, then
use the generator outside in back of my house to "back feed" through
an outside GFI outlet. Note: I have no interest in whole house power, but
power for the refrigerator and some low power devices.

I was planning on replacing the GFI outlet with a "regular" outlet, but a
friend told me he once used his generator and "back feed" through a GFI
outlet without a problem.

Does anyone know if "back feeding" through a GFI outlet is OK?

backfeeding into an outlet is never ok. don't do it.

just run your fridge off a really good quality extension cord.

N

N_Cook

Jan 1, 1970
0
backfeeding into an outlet is never ok. don't do it.

just run your fridge off a really good quality extension cord.

Assuming the power rating of the generator was just enough power for when
the fridge is on, would such a generator be able to start with the fridge
compressor load in line and on, when powered up? How much of power headroom
required to overcome such an initial load, should the owner not be aware of
this , and wait and not power on the fridge when the gen is up and going.

M

mike

Jan 1, 1970
0
It is NOT ok, GFI or regular outlet. The technique is often called a
"suicide cord" where you have a power cord with a male power plug at
both ends. One goes to the generator, the other into a wall outlet.
Lots of problems.

I found a good deal on a generator at a garage sale.
I found another good deal on a DIY transfer switch at another garage sale.
These were both impulse purchases with no opportunity to research.

When I got around to setting it up, I discovered that the permit
fees exceeded the cost of the hardware.
There were other issues where the national electrical code seemed to
specifically prohibit things that the inspector said would be ok.
And since the electrical service doesn't meet current code, there's
risk that messing around in the breaker box might require some
other major COSTLY changes. Opinions vary.

I don't think the project will ever happen.

Extension cord sounds like the right option.

B

bud--

Jan 1, 1970
0
There are two types of transfer boxes. The one that connects on the
utility side requires utility company involvement and can be
expensive. If your transfer box is designed to work with an autostart
type generator and/or you plan to power the entire house, you need
this type.

Probably not for auto-transfer. The generator would have to supply the

The transfer switch below is more likely to be auto-transfer. It only
runs selected loads which a properly sized generator can supply.
The type that installs on the load side of the breaker box, is much
easier to deal with, does not require utility company involvement, and
is treated by the county as a secondary breaker box. Any competent
electrician can do the work. I don't recall the exact permit fees,
but I think they were about $150 as of a few years ago. Something like this: <https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200321033_200321033> <http://www.reliancecontrols.com> A third approach is in Phil's post. You install a breaker in a top position in the service panel and backfeed it from the generator. A mechanical interlock on the door prevents the service disconnect and generator breaker being on at the same time. Phil gave a source for the interlocks. Some panel manufacturers also sell them. I agree with others that a "suicide cord" is a real bad idea. For an easy to disconnect connection a proper method is to use an "inlet" with appropriate ratings: http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/SectionDisplay.jsp?section=41854&minisite=10251 The cord from the generator to the inlet is a normal extension cord with the appropriate rating and ends. With a transfer switch or interlock, the prongs of the inlet will never be live. M mike Jan 1, 1970 0 Probably not for auto-transfer. The generator would have to supply the total connected load. The transfer switch below is more likely to be auto-transfer. It only runs selected loads which a properly sized generator can supply. I bought one of those for a buck. And a new 5KW generator for$100.
Were those "Can'tPassItUp" deals that I later regretted.
I have some really nice cable that can easily handle the generator
interconnect, but it doesn't have the proper markings, so wouldn't
be strictly code compliant either.
An additional $150 for a permit and iffy approvals killed my ambition. A third approach is in Phil's post. You install a breaker in a top position in the service panel and backfeed it from the generator. A mechanical interlock on the door prevents the service disconnect and generator breaker being on at the same time. Phil gave a source for the interlocks. Some panel manufacturers also sell them. I asked about interlocks and was beat bloody in the newsgroups that those were NOT legal under any circumstances. Didn't really matter cuz... My box has 5 primary breakers each supporting a set of secondary breakers. Since there's no single disconnect, I have no way to get from one branch to another using an interlock. Next time we have a substantial power outage, I'll dump the whole lot on Craigslist. C Cydrome Leader Jan 1, 1970 0 N_Cook said: Assuming the power rating of the generator was just enough power for when the fridge is on, would such a generator be able to start with the fridge compressor load in line and on, when powered up? How much of power headroom required to overcome such an initial load, should the owner not be aware of this , and wait and not power on the fridge when the gen is up and going. the compressor in a fridge isn't too bad. Being able to shut off the defrost cycle coils might help a big during a power outage though. They waste lots of power. C Cydrome Leader Jan 1, 1970 0 Jeff Liebermann said: I currently have two small generators, neither of which runs. At one time, there were four generators. I bring home obvious repair jobs in the hope that I would find the time to repair them. Somehow, it never happens. There are two types of transfer boxes. The one that connects on the utility side requires utility company involvement and can be expensive. If your transfer box is designed to work with an autostart type generator and/or you plan to power the entire house, you need this type. The type that installs on the load side of the breaker box, is much easier to deal with, does not require utility company involvement, and is treated by the county as a secondary breaker box. Any competent electrician can do the work. I don't recall the exact permit fees, but I think they were about$150 as of a few years ago. Something
like this:
<https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200321033_200321033>

Welcome to the real world. One of my friends finished a custom home
last year. Inspector 1 would show up and declare everything to be
wrong. After changes were made according to Inspector 1's opinions,
Inspector 2 would arrive and declare that it's all wrong and should be
done yet another way. The process is endless and seems to be designed
to keep general contractors and inspectors in business. Reciting NEC
code chapter and verse to the inspector does nothing useful. We even
have examples of the county breaking state law, and not caring because
they know it's too expensive for a homeowner to run it through the
courts.

Yeah, that's a problem. As soon as they find anything that's not to
current code, they will sometimes make you bring the entire house up
to specification. You could be doing a minor electrical modification,
but the county will sometimes turn it into a major project. This
tends to discourage homeowners from obtaining permits. The major
incentive is that the homeowners insurance company will not use
non-permitted construction as an excuse to not pay a claim.

Yep. Cheap, easy, and versatile.

Incidentally, one of the neighbors nearly had a fire trying to run his
freezer, fridge, electronics, and who knows what else, from a series
of cheap 16/3 extension cords. Make sure the extension cord can
handle the load. Also, make an effort to balance the load between the

sadly the only way to get a good extension cords these days is to make

goto the hardware store or electric supply and get some good rubber cord
and some real plugs and make a receptable box.

I'm terrified by the shit they sell as extension cords these days. The
contact are always utter crap, the crips are usually corroded by the cheap
plastic and they are going to burn up at more than a 3 amp load.

If you're a contractor doing work an a cord burns up running a chop saw,
no big deal.

If you're asleep at home, that's different story.

J

[email protected]

Jan 1, 1970
0
Government asshole bullshit ends at the outlet. It is not that hard to setup a system that does not touch the electrical wiring in the house and just use cords. The transfer switch is built into an electric cord basically, they have absolutely no jurisdiction.

I could do it, I could show you how to do it and I can do it reasonable in cost.

Not one single permit required. You don't even have to take an outlet coveroff.

Get a couple 24V relays and a transformer, a roll of 12-3 WG UF Romex (has to be UF) and a few other things and you can tell the inspectors to go fuckoff.

However you WILL have to completely understand how the thing works and all the safeties involved and never defeat them, otherwise your house insurancemight refuse to pay in the event of an ,,,,, event. One of the most important things is that the device(s) must not cause a fire or any other problemlike that.

This is VERY important. The insurance can say whatever they want, but no matter what you do, I mean you could have a fucking meth lab in there, and ifit does not CAUSE the loss it is not grounds for denial of claim in any jurisdiction of which I am aware.

Just like if you are drinkiing or don't have a license, they will tell you that any accident is your fault because you should not have been there evenif you get reareanded at a red light. That is another thing "they" tell you that is simply a fucking lie. Some are told that if you don't have car insurance you cannot collect if you get rearended. That is also bullmotherfuckingshit.

Maybe it is different in othr countries, but in the US that is the way it is no matter what the lawyers say, even the ones in government. The COURTS say, and that is a bit different crowd. And the cops are not lawyers eityher, so do not forget that. Remember what YOU know if you get busted for something, not what they tell you.

Enough on that. This is not tht hard to do. With a bunch of extension cordsgoing to a couple of boxes I can do this in a prefaectly acceptable fashion. I can make it comply with all major UL requirements. Not a big problem at all.

J

B

bud--

Jan 1, 1970
0
I asked about interlocks and was beat bloody in the newsgroups that
those were NOT legal under any circumstances.

I have no idea what "the newsgroups" are.

I have only looked at SquareD and Siemens. Both have panel cover
interlocks. They are code compliant. Likely Phil's link is also allowed.

J

JW

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have no idea what "the newsgroups" are.

K

klem kedidelhopper

Jan 1, 1970
0

I was recently talking with a utility lineman who brought a TV in here
for repair. We were discussing this very thing. I told him that I
wouldn't want his job for any salary. He told me that back feeders who
are not smart enough to kill the main are a constant problem. There
was a case here a few years ago where a lineman was critically injured
from a back fed secondary. I'm also told that if an electrocution
should take place the AG might seek a manslaughter conviction. So
"how" I asked do these poor guys protect themselves against these
bozos?
There are apparently a number of ways this is done. First, with
utility power off on the primaries the guys ground the line, (phase)
on each side of where they're working. This does two things. first it
protects them against 240v induced into a pole pig's secondary and
second, as long as Mr. Bozo's generator connects to house neutral at
some point, which it would if he's using a suicide cord etc, it should
trip out the breakers on the generator or smoke it. They also have
inductive poles they can hold near a line that will light up and sing
in the presence of primary voltage. I still wouldn't want the job.
Lenny

A

Allodoxaphobia

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have no idea what "the newsgroups" are.

that you weren't just another Google Grooper...

N

N_Cook

Jan 1, 1970
0

I was recently talking with a utility lineman who brought a TV in here
for repair. We were discussing this very thing. I told him that I
wouldn't want his job for any salary. He told me that back feeders who
are not smart enough to kill the main are a constant problem. There
was a case here a few years ago where a lineman was critically injured
from a back fed secondary. I'm also told that if an electrocution
should take place the AG might seek a manslaughter conviction. So
"how" I asked do these poor guys protect themselves against these
bozos?
There are apparently a number of ways this is done. First, with
utility power off on the primaries the guys ground the line, (phase)
on each side of where they're working. This does two things. first it
protects them against 240v induced into a pole pig's secondary and
second, as long as Mr. Bozo's generator connects to house neutral at
some point, which it would if he's using a suicide cord etc, it should
trip out the breakers on the generator or smoke it. They also have
inductive poles they can hold near a line that will light up and sing
in the presence of primary voltage. I still wouldn't want the job.
Lenny

++++

I don't know about electricity supply but this is what they do on UK
railways. At least like in our area with the third rail at ground level.
When the ground crews have possession of a piece of track a shorting bar is
clamped between the rails at either end of the possession. These bars are
then tested regularly at Southampton University , that they will carry 5,000
amps or whatever the rated figure is.

B

bud--

Jan 1, 1970
0
that you weren't just another Google Grooper...

Better would have been "no idea which of the newsgroups you are
referring to".

Panel cover interlocks have come up at least a couple times since Sandy
on alt.home.repair and many times before that.

I have watched this newsgroup for years - one of the more interesting
(for my interests).

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