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wingless

wingless' Troy-Bilt 5500 Watt 3,600 RPM Portable Generator

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My southern Florida home requires standby power generation, for living after storms.

 

My long-term solution was the 7kW Westerbeke generator on my boat, parked next to the house on the canal, using my 100' 12AWG extension cords. Not elegant, but effective. Note that my Westerbeke 7.0 BCGB generator is 1,800 RPM, not the Troy-Bilt 3,600 rpm. That half speed is much quieter and is a better long-term operation solution, especially on a boat where there is not distance and multiple walls available to place between the generator and the living space.

 

Now that I am replacing my Zinsco main circuit breaker panel, I decided to include a transfer switch, w/ generator feed, to make powering my house much easier.

 

This Troy-Bilt 5500 watt model 030245 portable generator wired to a 30A transfer switch on my new Siemens panel is my current solution to safely providing emergency power. There will be a 30A exterior power inlet that will be connected to the generator's twist lock NEMA L14-30 receptacle, using a 4-conductor flexible power cord. 

 

This 3.600 rpm generator has: 5,000 watt continuous capacity; 8,550 starting capacity; 46.2 amps at 120 VAC or 23.1 amps at 240 VAC capacity and 5 gallons of gasoline capacity. This includes a 25' dual 20A 120 VAC Briggs & Stratton cordset, P/N 197474, providing four pigtail receptacles, two on each leg. The generator controls are: engine on/off; carburetor choke; fuel valve open / closed; circuit breaker on/off switch and a recoil pull start. There is also panel illumination when running, pointing at the receptacles and circuit breaker. All the receptacles have a floppy rubber weather cover. The circuit breaker has a see through / push through rubber cover. The generator has a gravity-stored hoop handle and solid rubber knobby tires / plastic wheels for movement. The fuel cap has an integrated mechanical fuel gauge.

 

This was a lightly-used, complete and most-importantly indoor-stored generator. Many users selling this generator store them outdoors and they end up w/ LOTS of surface corrosion. All mine needed was cleaning and polishing for the exterior to look brand new.

 

The carburetor on mine was clogged, so I disassembled and cleaned the interior fuel passages. Now it is running before the first cord pull.

 

Now I run the carburetor dry, then disconnect the fuel hose and drain the tank dry after each usage. This should permit easy starting w/ fresh gasoline and a clean carburetor.

 

On mine, I modified the electric box to add a totalizing hour meter. I wired the meter to be powered whenever the generator is running, on the generator side of the circuit breaker on/off switch. That electric box interior volume usage only permitted placement of the hour meter at the less-exposed surface, making observation of the display possible, only by bending over and looking up at the interior of the generator. I selected a panel-mount hour meter, used a utility knife to cut the rectangle in the plastic box, used UL-rated wiring and crimped Faston connectors w/ stacking connectors to effect the connections. At least now I can track generator usage, for gasoline consumption and oil changes.

 

So, when I need to use this, fill with gasoline, wheel to the side of my house, plug in the cordset, fire up the generator, then flip the main panel transfer switch, after selecting the circuits that will be powered and those that won't be energized.

 

 

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On 1/2/2020 at 6:12 PM, wingless said:

Another factor driving this panel selection was the ease to safely implement a generator standby interlock. Simply select the correct ampere rating on a Siemens QP two pole circuit breaker, locate at the top left positions, leave the two top right positions empty (no breakers) and use these parts. Use a Siemens ECSBPK03 generator standby power mechanical interlock and a Siemens ECMBR2 main breaker hold down kit, used to create a secure main, for a safe generator connection. For my 5,500 Watt portable Troy-Bilt generator I used this Reliance Controls Corporation NEMA L14-30 PB30 30-Amp NEMA 3R power inlet box with 10/3 (four conductor) wiring to that exterior wall box. There are different boxes available, such as for a 50A generator, but I didn’t need that larger size.

 

One thing to note on these generator interlock parts is that removal is difficult, due to the snap retention tangs, so only install these parts when everything else is completed.

 

This Siemens load center has 40 circuit breaker positions, good for up to 80 circuits. Four are consumed when properly using the interlock for a generator transfer switch. Some modify the interlock parts, to NOT lose the two top right spots, but that is unsafe and that does not permit the required placement of the hold down kit for a secure main.

The generator wiring has been completed.

 

There is now an exterior power inlet box where I may connect my portable generator.

 

The main panel has a mechanical interlock for safety and for compliance. The generator breaker is mechanically secured, for the same reasons, to create a secure main.

 

The hold down kit includes a black molded electrical screw insulation cover. This does not remain in-place on my 30A Q230 Type QP double pole breaker, to not fall off when not held by my fingers. According to the Amazon Siemens ECMBR2 hold down kit listing, this is compatible w/ breakers 60A or larger. A telephone discussion w/ Siemens revealed that the 60A and larger breakers have a hook that grabs the cover tang for retention. The smaller amperage breakers don't have that hook. Mine will not have that screw cover installed.

 

The mechanical interlock must be installed last because the retention tangs will make removal difficult.

 

The ONLY way to remove / replace the panel cover is with BOTH the main breaker and the generator breaker in the OFF positions. The interlock has a detent to hold the lever up during the panel cover installation / removal process.

 

Now the interlock permits either street power or generator power to feed the circuit panel. It is also impossible to back feed the exposed exterior power inlet box electrical prongs. The interlock makes it impossible to connect the generator output to street electricity.

 

 

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