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Author Topic: Wiring Reliance Transfer Switch for generator.  (Read 7861 times)
KB3MDT
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Posts: 193




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« on: November 12, 2012, 06:13:10 PM »

Hi,
      I'm installing a Reliance Power Transfer Switch next to my Circuit Breaker Box so I can easily switch from Utility Power to a generator.   The generator will connect to a L14-30P plug that is about 50 foot away from the Power Transfer Switch and Circuit Breaker Box.  My question is on the wire from the remote L14-30P plug to the transfer switch.  It must be 10 Gauge with 4 wires - Two Hots (Black and Red), Neutral (White) and a Ground Wire.   Should the ground wire be insulated (i.e. Green) or is it okay if it's a bare wire?  (I.e. what does the NEC code say?).    I want to make sure I get the right type of wire when I go to the Big Box store.    Thanks.

KB3MDT

P.S. I have a home contractor friend giving me assistance.     
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KB3MDT
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Posts: 193




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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2012, 06:46:25 PM »

Hi,
      While I'm asking the experts, I have two more follow- up questions.
1) The wire should be NM type wire, correct?
2) Solid Wire, not stranded wire, correct?

All my previous wiring experience has been with 12/2 or 14/2 with ground.   Thanks again.

KB3MDT
Ken
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W8JX
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Posts: 5447




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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2012, 07:11:27 PM »

For a 50 foot run I would use 8/4 and not 10/4. This will minimize voltage bounce on heavy 120v loads. Remember you are also going to have a 10/4 extension plunging into power receptacle in circuit too adding to losses.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2012, 08:54:26 PM »

Two things:  Use stranded wire (read flexible here)  That way it's easy to roll up (loop up) and stow out of the way.

10-4 will work fine 30A

Have a qualified electrician do the work.  It's very cheap insurance!

This is exactly the setup that I have.  While I felt that I could have done the installation myself, I prefer to defer some things to people who make a living doing this type of work. 

(My setup:  5KW/30A generator located away from the house approximately30ft.  I have 30ft of what I call "Railroad cable" which is a very flexible cable #10-4c with a male plug on the end.  The cable, when not being used is looped over a hanger in my garage out of the weather.  The end goes through the wall to my transfer switch and sub-panel with the loads that the generator will power)
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N4NYY
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Posts: 4742




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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2012, 04:44:04 AM »

For a 50 foot run I would use 8/4 and not 10/4. This will minimize voltage bounce on heavy 120v loads. Remember you are also going to have a 10/4 extension plunging into power receptacle in circuit too adding to losses.

My father-in-law installed mine, and I also had about a 50 foot run, and I am pretty sure he ran 6 gauge.
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K2DC
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2012, 06:32:11 AM »

Mine is a 7KW/12.5 surge, in the free-standing garage just over 50' from the house, and I had an electrician put mine in.  The previous owner had a long cable that you had to drag across the driveway and plug into the corner of the house.  I had the electrician put in a permanent overhead run from the peak of the garage to the peak of the house.  It was not necessarily cheap insurance, but it was very good insurance.

73,

Don, K2DC
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W9GB
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Posts: 2598




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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2012, 07:22:46 AM »

Ken --

FIRST, Watch Ask This Old House episode 25, season 10.  First aired on March 22, 2012
Installing a Manual Transfer Switch for a Portable Electric Generator (gasoline).
Episodes are available for viewing on their web page.
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/tv/ask-toh/video/0,,20581468,00.html

In your case, the plug to the transfer switch is not short (outside wall), but about 50 feet in length.  That line will likely need to be fused/circuit breaker.

You have a couple of questions, not answered.
Quote
My question is on the wire from the remote L14-30P plug to the transfer switch.  It must be 10 Gauge with 4 wires - Two Hots (Black and Red), Neutral (White) and a Ground Wire.   Should the ground wire be insulated (i.e. Green) or is it okay if it's a bare wire?  (I.e. what does the NEC code say?).    I want to make sure I get the right type of wire when I go to the Big Box store
You likely will NOT find proper cable at most Home Depot or Lowe's (Big Box) stores.
Electrical contractors, Rural electrical Co-op, and Electrical Distributors WILL have this cable.
You need to size cable (AWG) based on current (Amps) and overall cabling length (Voltage drop).

Your LOCAL Building & Electrical Codes take precedence in this installation.  
For example: In DuPage county (IL) the county building states, non-metallic sheathed cable (ROMEX) is illegal for fixed wiring.  Home Depot & Lowe's stores do not carry it in county and staff are told to educate consumers OR new residents.

PORTABLE CORD (SERVICE CORDAGE)
Stranded conductors are used.  A variety of portable cords, differing in styles, lengths and thicknesses, exist in the marketplace. Common types include Type SJT, SVT, SEOW, SJ, SJOW, SO and SOW. Each has specific applications associated with it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_cord

FIXED WIRING (BUILDING)
Many electrical codes now recognize (or even require) the use of wire covered with green insulation, additionally marked with a prominent yellow stripe, for safety grounding (earthing) connections. This growing international standard was adopted for its distinctive appearance, to reduce the likelihood of dangerous confusion of safety grounding wires with other electrical functions, especially by persons affected by red-green colour blindness.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_wiring

North American wiring
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_wiring_in_North_America
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 08:00:59 AM by W9GB » Logged
W8JX
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2012, 08:04:06 AM »

For a 50 foot run I would use 8/4 and not 10/4. This will minimize voltage bounce on heavy 120v loads. Remember you are also going to have a 10/4 extension plunging into power receptacle in circuit too adding to losses.

My father-in-law installed mine, and I also had about a 50 foot run, and I am pretty sure he ran 6 gauge.

If I was going to do over 50 feet I would do 6ga for sure for a 30 amp service feed from a generator. You need to minimize cumulative voltage drops for feed to main panel. I will help with hard starting items that draw high starting currents.
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WV4L
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2012, 08:30:23 AM »

Good read and info here. Thanks guys. I'm in the process of doing my install as well. Fortunately I don't have a 50 ft. run. My power inlet box will be on the other side of the basement wall from the manual transfer switch made by Reliance. The DVD that came with the switch gives straight forward instuctions on the hookup. The only corded run I have, will be the 10ft cable that came with the generator.

73

Wayne C.
WV4L
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W4VR
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2012, 08:50:28 AM »

I installed the same transfer switch a couple of years ago.  My generator is a 5550 watt (8500 peak).  I used 10/4 and in retrospect I should have used a minimum of 8/4 for my 75 foot run.  When the oil burner comes on it goes off immediately...too much voltage drop along that 10/4 line to make the furnace start relay hold.  What I had to do to circumvent the problem is to install a separate single breaker transfer switch by the furnace and wire it into 10/4 as it enters the basement...a run of about 20 feet.  Now, everything works fine.
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N4NYY
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2012, 10:56:43 AM »

For a 50 foot run I would use 8/4 and not 10/4. This will minimize voltage bounce on heavy 120v loads. Remember you are also going to have a 10/4 extension plunging into power receptacle in circuit too adding to losses.

My father-in-law installed mine, and I also had about a 50 foot run, and I am pretty sure he ran 6 gauge.

If I was going to do over 50 feet I would do 6ga for sure for a 30 amp service feed from a generator. You need to minimize cumulative voltage drops for feed to main panel. I will help with hard starting items that draw high starting currents.


He originally ran 8 ga because the run was pretty short. However, the genetator hookup was right outside of the bedroom window, which after 1 night, I would not take much more of it. I had him relocate it to the far end of the house, hence he went to 6 ga.
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KB3HG
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Posts: 404




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« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2012, 09:58:08 AM »

FWIW
A simple rule of thumb:
For every 100 feet of length increase one wire size, a 50 cord, 50 feet feed and 50 feet return, increase one size, inductive inrush for motor loads can be up to 4 x full load motor current. Just something to be aware of. I know you don't have big motor loads switching all the time so the thumb rule works pretty good. Running florescent lamps helps with the power factor when using small generators.
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WA8UEG
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Posts: 339




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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2012, 04:22:42 PM »

I put one in a couple of months ago, only took about an hour and a half including mounting the receptacle next to the generator and mounting the transfer switch box. The transfer switch wiring is coded per circuit and once you have balanced your load and know which circuits will go to the breakers in the transfer switch it's a piece of cake if you have any experience working in a panel box. Remember when you throw the main breaker you still have lethal voltage on the hot side  of the main.
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KE4DRN
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Posts: 3714




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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2012, 09:47:57 PM »

hi,

Extreme caution is needed when you run a portable generator to the home.

Never, ever place the generator near a window or living space,
it should be 25 feet or further from the home.

We had an older family here in NC that had one powering the house
and it was located near an open window.
The furnace was running and the exhaust from the generator
was distributed all over the home by the forced air furnace.

The older man died from carbon monoxide  and his wife survived because
she was on an oxygen supply.

You may want to check with your utility co or coop, they may have
requirements for inspecting generator transfer switch installations.
Some utilities do not allow any residential generator connections.

I use this type of interlock device  www.interlockkit.com/index.htm
it may or not be approved for your area or utility company.

Most Home Depot, Lowe's or Menards has 10-4 SJOOW cable
and locking NEMA plugs and receptacles.

73 james

« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 09:56:59 PM by KE4DRN » Logged
KD8CGF
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Posts: 39




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« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2012, 10:41:15 AM »

Every home should have a carbon monoxide detector in good working order.
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