View Full Version : Temp Power Panel

06-17-2008, 06:37 PM
Background: I have a generator that I'm resurrecting. It's an honest 7500 watt generator with surge a fair bit higher than that. It has a 50A outlet on it's power panel. It isn't running very smoothly now and it has been suggested that I load it down for a few hours and let it work the decades of gunk out.

I could go get a 3500W water heater element and a *large* jug of water but I had another idea: what about essentially a job-site power box. They are generally several hundred dollars here and provide 20A and 30A twistlocks. Neither of those features is terribly appealing to me (cost or those twistlocks).

I do have a spare male plug that would mate to the end of my genset's power cord, and I could install a box with a set of 15A outlets on breakers. I'm at a loss for that box though. I don't think a DIY plywood box is a great idea, but I can't seem to find a load center or other purpose-built metal box that has slots for outlets in it. I could use outlets with built-in breakers but I still need a box with enough room to make the connections to the 6 gauge cord that I'd be using.

Maybe I just don't know what to ask for? Someone must have a box that's designed to hold multiple outlets.


Bob NH
06-17-2008, 09:50 PM
Don't make it unnecessarily complex.

You can make or get a "Power box" but you would still need something to use the power. High power lights would work but you would need a lot of them. Maybe you could find a lot of light fixtures for 100 watt bulbs. Forty bulbs would use 4000 watts.

Tap water is a good insulator.

Get a standard 4500 watt water heater element.

Connect to a 20 Amp plug on the generator with a couple of #12 THHN/THWN to the 4500 Watt element.

DO NOT ground the generator for this test.

Get a 5-gallon steel bucket (plastic will not reliably survive boiling water); set it on some wood, and drop in the heater element.

Alternative to the bucket; if you have a plastic kiddy pool support the heater element about half depth and fill the pool with water.

The water WILL NOT short out the element. Arrange it so the terminals don't hit the wall of the bucket.

The heater will evaporate about 2 gallons of water per hour, so every hour fill the bucket with more water.