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Thread: Generator-ready subpanel question

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member charp's Avatar
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    Default Generator-ready subpanel question

    My last house had a generator ready Connecticut Electric 200 amp mechanically switched panel and I'd like to install one in our current house. My question is whether it's possible to downsize the main breaker in this type of panel to 100 amps since that is what the main panel is and that's what the underground service conductor is sized for. That would give me the ability to upgrade down the road if needed.
    The panel will be mounted on the exterior of the house and will have roof cover, in a breeze-way. Will it need to be rated for exterior installation? Any other panels I should look at?
    Last edited by charp; 09-25-2011 at 09:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    1- Yes
    2- Yes
    3- many

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member charp's Avatar
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    Got any recommendations for a panel? Is it possible to convert a standard panel?

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    Electrician ActionDave's Avatar
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    Are you wanting to transfer power to the entire house or set up a separate panel with some selected loads?

    Either way any off the shelf outdoor panel would do the job. Whatever brand is most popular in your area is what I would purchase.

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charp View Post
    Got any recommendations for a panel? Is it possible to convert a standard panel?
    1- no Whatever brand is most popular in your area is what I would purchase.
    2- yes

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Whatever panel you use it MUST have a positive interlock on the transfer switch so the two power supplies could NEVER be connected at the same time. Normally, the sub panel is wired to supply power to the more critical devices, NOT the entire house. In any case, it requires a city permit and inspection, and possibly an approval by the utility company, before being energized.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member charp's Avatar
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    The panel I had in the last house everything was powered when the generator was used. I had to manually shutoff non-essential breakers to not overload the generator. It was used to power the frig, and a light circuit or two. With the "new" house I will need to power the well - if I want water during a power outage.

    Anyone have experience with Interlockkit - a kit that converts a standard panel to generator ready?

    Permits and inspections - around here you probably need a permit to wipe your backside. Can't count the number of times I've had to wait on an inspector who then doesn't even do his job! I better stop now before I get worked up. I've had my fill of Government.

  8. #8

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    I have used the interlock kit before. Its easy enough to install if you can measure and drill a hole (I think they even include the drill bit.) And its probably the least expensive way to manually transfer the entire load of an existing panel to a generator. As long as your comfortable with using your breaker panel as a switchboard to keep from overloading the generator I think you would be ok with it.

    It usually requires that you use the top breaker spaces next to the main breaker as your main breaker from the generator. You'll probably end up relocating a couple of existing breakers to open spaces lower down in the panel to make room for it.

    -rick

  9. #9
    Electrician ActionDave's Avatar
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    The interlock kits are fine, but they are only useful if you are using a portable generator.

  10. #10
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Why do you think that? It is a manual transfer and can be used with permanently installed generators.

    The small generators that come with the receptacles already on the generator require a special transfer switch that switches the neutral.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member charp's Avatar
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    So enlighten me on using a small portable generator in regards to the neutral.

  12. #12

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    Check with your local inspector on the shared neutral issue. Gentran manual transfer switches don't switch the neutral and they are the most commonly installed transfer switch for portable generators in my area.

    -rick

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    Electrician ActionDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    Why do you think that? It is a manual transfer and can be used with permanently installed generators....
    I'll amend my statement and say that they are most useful for portable generators.

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    Electrician ActionDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charp View Post
    So enlighten me on using a small portable generator in regards to the neutral.
    This gets into deep electrical issues that requires a common vocabulary shared mostly among electricians and electrical inspectors.

    If you have the generator you want to install in your possession post the make and model.

  15. #15
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charp View Post
    So enlighten me on using a small portable generator in regards to the neutral.
    FTCN.GuideInfo
    Engine Generators for Portable Use

    GENERAL
    This category covers internal-combustion-engine-driven generators rated 15 kW or less, 250 V or less, which are provided only with receptacle outlets for the ac output circuits. The generators may incorporate alternating- or direct-current generator sections for supplying energy to battery-charging circuits.

    When a portable generator is used to supply a building or structure wiring system:

    1. The generator is considered a separately derived system in accordance with ANSI/NFPA 70, "National Electrical Code" (NEC).
    2. The generator is intended to be connected through permanently installed Listed transfer equipment that switches all conductors other than the equipment grounding conductor.
    3. The frame of a Listed generator is connected to the equipment-grounding conductor and the grounded (neutral) conductor of the generator. When properly connected to a premises or structure wiring system, the portable generator will be connected to the premises or structure grounding electrode for its ground reference.
    4. Portable generators used other than to power building or structure wiring systems are intended to be connected to ground if required by the NEC.


    The UL listing requires that these type generators be connected to the house as a SDS


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