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Can one run a cord between a 5000W Powermate generator and a 240V garage outlet to power a few lights a fridge and TV during a blackout?

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2015-07-15 18:38:08
2015-07-15 18:38:08

Never do this! This may work (depending if your generator is delivering 110/220 or straight 220). However, this creates a severely DANGEROUS situation to the line workers - the people that are restoring your power during the blackout.

This is a straight textbook example (i'm a 3rd year Electrical Engineering student). I'll give a quote from my textbook:

'Unaware of the [generator], the line technician believes that there is no voltage on the line. However, because of the [generator], 7200V exists between the two points, and the line technician could be seriously injured or even killed if he comes in contact with this high voltage.'

The line worker sees 7200V because the 110 V goes through a transformer (the often green boxes on the street where wires are underground or the 'cans' on telephone poles). Thus this is a SEVERE violation of electrical code. The proper way to do this is to install what is called a transfer switch. There is a display of a setup at the Home Depot where I live. I suggest visiting them and talk to someone in the electrical department. Of course, if you were just concerned about keeping the fridge running, you could use an extention cord connecting your generator to the fridge.

Why not turn off the main breaker switch to protect any linemen?

The correct and legal way to do this is to install a generator transfer switch. It has a male plug to connect to the generator so you're not using any highly dangerous male-male dongles. It also allows you to switch circuits between generator and line power when needed and usually has a meter so you can tell when you overload your generator.

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