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Old 12-25-2022, 10:27 PM   #1
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Generator Hook Up

Skoolie Friends:
For those of you that have generators on your build, how do you actually electrically hook up your generator? The generator will have a couple receptacles on its front panel. Do you all use the correct size extension cord and plug it into the front panel of the generator and the other end, wire it into your installed breaker panel? Or, do you hard wire a cord onto the generator, perhaps behind that front panel somewhere?

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Old 12-27-2022, 09:27 AM   #2
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On my bus the only on board 120 VAC electric debvice that I have is the rooftop a/c unit. It consumes about 15 amps, So I have 12g wire ran from it, to a male wall outlet, and then use a 12g extension cord and either plug into the onboard genny, or plug into any standard wall outlet.

The rest of my stuff(phone chargers, lights, etc) runs off the 12vdc through the starting batteries. Those get charged from the alternator and also from the onboard genny running. I might eventually put a 3rd battery, and then some solar on the roof. But those loads are so small that it currently doesn't need it.

What you need to do depends on the generator you've bought, the amount of electrical you have, and the scenarios you're going to put yourself in.

If you need more then 15 amps to your subpanel, then you should use a tt30 connector, and then use a twistlock adapter to go into your generator. Most generators that can feed 30 amps of 120v will have a twistlock receptacle. The tt30 will allow you to connect to campground power if that's where you'll be staying. They also make tt30 to 3 prong wall outlet adapters, to give you power when that's all that is available.

If you'll be primarily boondocking or without shore power, you can skip the tt30, and just install a twistlock onto your cable, and then not require the adapter.

You also have to take into account any battery/inverter systems you might be running. I'm not going to go into the multiple ways of wiring up that to be compatible with shore power.
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Old 12-27-2022, 10:55 AM   #3
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Both of my Crowns have generators installed but neither one has outlets on the generator. I hardwired the generator into the main electrical panel through mechanically connected paired breakers so that either outside power or generator power is available in the panel, but never both.
A second set of mechanically ganged paired breakers in the panel connects either outside/generator or inverter power is supplied to a subset of circuits in the bus in the "new Crown".
If your generator only has outlets then you could make a plug in cord that goes to your panel, but use wire and connectors that are capable of your expected current flow from the generator.
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Old 12-27-2022, 12:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flattracker View Post
Both of my Crowns have generators installed but neither one has outlets on the generator. I hardwired the generator into the main electrical panel through mechanically connected paired breakers so that either outside power or generator power is available in the panel, but never both.
A second set of mechanically ganged paired breakers in the panel connects either outside/generator or inverter power is supplied to a subset of circuits in the bus in the "new Crown".
If your generator only has outlets then you could make a plug in cord that goes to your panel, but use wire and connectors that are capable of your expected current flow from the generator.
Ganged brakers can work good for power transfer, but how do you handle switching the ground and neutral?

Hardwiring with breakers is "okay" in an emergency situation, like back up power in a storm scenario. But breakers don't switch neutrals and grounds. That's why on something that's going to be frequently changing the power source, most will use a transfer switch, as it will also switch the neutrals and grounds in the system. Especially if the generator will be hard wired to the panel.

That's why I like using a cord/plug over hardwired, as a cord/plug facilitates the switching of all wires cheap and easy.

Also, care must be taken to ensure that one ground-neutral bond exists in the system, and only one. For instance, plugging into shore power would not require a ground-neutral bond in the bus panel, because the ground-neutral bond should be in the pedestal or main panel of the house or campground. When powered by a generator, some don't have a ground-neutral bond, and in that scenario you'd have to be sure that you create one, whether in your panel or at the generator.

With a generator hardwired and gang breakered, you'd have to figure out a way to disable the bond when you're plugged into and powered off shore, otherwise the bond in the generator will create a 2nd in the system, which is no good.
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Old 12-27-2022, 01:43 PM   #5
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Use a standard rv 30 amp inlet that is hard wired to your panel through an autotransfer switch, and use that to plug in your genny.

An autotransfer allows only one source of power at a time, and mine is configured so it takes shore power over house power (from the inverter). When there is shore power, the inverter input is disabled; then there is no shore power, the inverter power is enabled.

My autotransfer is a GoPower 30, no manual switching needed.
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Old 12-27-2022, 02:25 PM   #6
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My wiring has ONE common neutral connection and ONE separate ground connection. When connected to outside power, my ground is connected to the outside power ground. My house has a connection for a generator as well as the power company and the same setup is used to switch between the grid and my generator. This connection was inspected by the county building inspector and signed off. The ground for the house is through the foundation with metal straps. This same ground goes to the generator. The neutral connection is the same for both generator and house.
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Old 12-28-2022, 07:40 AM   #7
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I'm not following your description, but you seem confident in it, so I'll leave it be.

I've had several building and house inspections. The inspectors I had were more interested in seeing that the permits were correct, then anything safety or correctly built, so I consider them mostly a joke.
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Old 12-28-2022, 10:35 AM   #8
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when i got my bookmobile, it had a 12kw gen hardwired to electric breaker panel. no outlets on the gen, no shore hookup.

over time, i added a shore cord.

i cut the wires between the gen and panel and inserted a transfer switch. that gave me a place to wire in my shore cord.

the transfer switch has gen priority and transfers over when it detects volts on the shore cord. i can run a computer on the generator and transfer over to shore without affecting the computer. the switch is fast.

the thread where i added the shore cord is right here:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f49/h...wer-15981.html
unfortunately, i used to use google plus for photo storage and they went out of business with my photos.
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Old 01-04-2023, 11:23 AM   #9
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HAPPY NEW YEAR to all! Thank you for your replies. I have been visiting in the state as well as out of Texas, though I'm still in my mini van! By August of this year, hopefully my I/C will be road ready.

As far as my generator hook up, I will use the proper SO cord wired to a transfer switch. I guess the one 30 amp twist lock outlet on the generator will be enough for now. I plan to have shore power also. Perhaps sometime in the future I can add a solar/battery to the system. Right now, that part of the build is too expensive.

There is more info on bus electrical I need to acquire. Thanks for the replies.
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Old 01-04-2023, 01:01 PM   #10
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From what you describe I don't think you need a transfer switch.

If you're going to be plugging into the generator, use your cord to plug into it. When you have access to shore power and wish to use that, then unplug from the generator and plug into shore.

The only time you need a transfer switch is if the generator is permanently mounted on the bus and hardwired. You'd then use the transfer switch to choose between generator or shore power(or battery/inverter power depending on how that system is designed and integrated).
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