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stevehull 08-20-15 05:03 PM

best adaptor for generator connections
Am redoing some connections to my electrical infrastructure and would like some input.

I have ~ 600 A one phase service distributed first to a manual transfer switch and then that goes to three subpanels. Farm house, guest house and barns/shop (200 A each).

Have a 7.5 kW battery electric start gasoline generator and a 15 kW PTO (power take off) generator. Currently, I use a "double male" (dangerous) to hook things up with the 7.5 kW through a 50A female electric stove type receptacle in the shop. This is the one I use with my welders. I have not had to use the PTO generator yet.

I really dislike exposed "male to male" electrical connectors as there is a very hot and dangerous end when you have it connected to the running generator. Have done this "safely", but I would rather replace it with a proper connector. If I am not home, I do not want my wife or someone else to be hooking up a live hot male connector in the dark.

I know to first turn the transfer switch to remove grid, turn off all sub-panels, hook up dead wire ends to receptacle connector and generator, turn generator on and then turn on panels and specific circuits on each panel that are absolutely necessary.

Have been looking at 50 A Reliance (PBN50) female receptacle at a cost of ~ $75. But before I do I thought I would ask the group for their thoughts. This would mount to the side of the manual 600 A transfer switch.

Reliance Controls PBN50 50-Amp Power Inlet Box Non-Metallic

The 7.5 kW generator works great to start and run the deep well water pump, freezers, a few lights and fridge. The problem with it is that it just sucks gas down (only a three hour run time on the 4 gallon tank) and filling it with gas in the middle of the night, in the dark can result in unpleasantness . . . .

An el Nino looms and in in those Oklahoma winters we get BIG ice storms and can be out of power for days due to downed power grid lines. A few years ago we had power after a big ice storm, but just to the west people were out for five weeks . . . .

The nice thing about the 15 kW PTO generator is that I have plenty of diesel fuel storage (several 50 gallon drums) and the 80 HP diesel tractor has a large fuel tank. I can then run my geothermal heat pumps and almost anything else with 15 kW for about 6-7 hours without refilling with fuel.

In the future I may put in a Generac unit that automatically turns on, but for now I can use my existing generators.

Thoughts on plugs/receptacles, etc? TIA


jeff5may 08-21-15 04:58 AM

Your interest in replacing the suicide cord is warranted and highly recommended as a first priority. Those things are lethal and a temporary rig to be used in very limited circumstances. A transfer panel is a much safer and better solution.

stevehull 08-21-15 10:41 AM

Just observed something interesting. 30A receptacles have four prongs (hot, hot, neutral and ground) yet 50A receptacles have only three (hot, hot and neutral).

Why is this?


stevehull 08-21-15 11:19 AM

Here are links to Generac boxes and plugs.

The box is ~ $67 and the plug is ~ $45.

Again, I will mount this box on the manual transfer switch case and install the plug on a three wire (copper, 6G stranded) flexible cord.

This will eliminate any exposed "hot" ends and will be a lot safer than the "suicide cord" (thanks Jeff, I hadn't heard that term, but it is VERY appropriate).

If anyone has a better/safer/cheaper approach, please let me know. TIA


gtojohn 08-30-15 11:55 PM

For around $100 I don't think you'll find anything safer than the Reliance. They do make 4 prong 50amp range cords, still not safe. You might consider a smaller genny for better fuel economy my 5500 can run 7-9 hrs with its 5 gallon tank. Or save a little fuel by lowering your rpm from 3600 to 3000 your frequency goes down to 50hz , electronics should still be happy.

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