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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    203

    Question Correct Wire Gauge For Portable Generator

    I am looking into buying a portable generator for emergencies. This Old House just had one on their show recently and I really like the idea. I'd like to place it outside in the back yard when I run it. I just measured it and it's around 30 -35 feet from where the transfer box will be mounted (the power inlet box will be in the back yard with the generator). HERE is the portable generator that I was interested in (also interested in any recommendations that you might have). I believe it's 30 amp unit.

    What gauge wire do I need to run between the power inlet box (in the rear of the house) to the transfer box (30 - 35 feet away)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
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    1,522

    Default Re: Correct Wire Gauge For Portable Generator

    it should say right in the info book with the generator or theyll know if you go to a dealer as opposed to big box store
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    203

    Smile Re: Correct Wire Gauge For Portable Generator

    I downloaded the owners manual for the portable generator, and also the install guide for the transfer box / power inlet box and the only gauge they talked about was "AWG #10 minimum". Don't I have to figure in how long the wire is going to be run? I would have thought that for 35 feet it would have been minimum AWG #6 or bigger. I just don't want to buy wire and then find out it was too small a gauge....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
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    Default Re: Correct Wire Gauge For Portable Generator

    Generally you don't have to up size wiring unless it is excess of 100 feet one way. I would suggest you look at a http://www.reliancecontrols.com/Products.aspx?pl= I would suggest a larger transfer switch than is needed for the generator, that way you have additional circuits that you can switch on and off as needed.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    203

    Smile Re: Correct Wire Gauge For Portable Generator

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    I would suggest a larger transfer switch than is needed for the generator, that way you have additional circuits that you can switch on and off as needed.
    Larger in which way? Larger as in more circuits, or larger as in more amperage?

    The transfer box handles 10 circuits, which is the largest Reliance makes. I could get a 16 circuit from Generac, but because of the way it installs I would also have to buy an additional sub-panel box.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,558

    Default Re: Correct Wire Gauge For Portable Generator

    Actually you can get up to 36 circuits. If you get one rated greater than the generator amperage it gives you the option of switching circuits as needed. It took less than a hour to install the one I have. It came with everything needed except the cable from the switch to the generator connection box. I wish I had gotten the next size larger so I could switch off the well pump and switch on the water heater once pressure was up.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    203

    Smile Re: Correct Wire Gauge For Portable Generator

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    Actually you can get up to 36 circuits.

    From which manufacture(s)? I only saw up to 10 circuits from the link you posted above. Also, they make a power inlet box that has a circuit breaker added to the connector. Should I be considering this or is it over kill, considering the portable generator already has circuit breakers? Thanks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
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    Default Re: Correct Wire Gauge For Portable Generator

    For that size Gen I would recommend you get this http://www.reliancecontrols.com/Prod...il.aspx?30310A It has more than enough circuits for emergency use. 8 120 volt circuits and 2 240 volt circuits plus power meters so you can watch and make sure you don't overload. They ave other units that go up to 36 circuits but it would be a waste. You can get an idea of prices here http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...=39&Search.y=7
    It would be item 31410CRK

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,558

    Default Re: Correct Wire Gauge For Portable Generator

    And a little cheaper from Homedepot

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    203

    Question Re: Correct Wire Gauge For Portable Generator

    THANKS Jack!

    So do you think it would be OK to run AWG #10 for 35 feet from the Inlet Box to the Transfer Switch, or should I go #8 or #6?

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