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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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Inverter generator and transfer switch ?

I am looking to buy a champion 3000 watt inverter generator. I cannot for the life of me figure out what transfer switch to get. Most generators I have seen have 240 same with the switches. The inverters use 120. So where can I find a transfer switch that will work with an inverter generator? If any transfer switch will work what do I do about hooking it up? Anything special I should know? Most transfer switch I see have four prongs and the inverter generator has 3.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 03:31 AM
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You could use one of the 240 transfer switches but only on one leg of your home panel. Also you would need to wire in an L5-30 inlet plug. The actual reality is that that generator or any other 120 only generator is not intended for direct to home hook ups. It can be made to work somewhat but really intended for RV's and portable use.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 01:04 PM
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FWIW, I dont feel an Inverter Gen is really suitable for Transfer Switches. If you come up with a viable solution, I believe your cost vs return is not worth the trouble. If it were me, I would run the heavy duty extension cords for refrig and a second to a light or two and some heater/air conditioner that falls within the watts allowed.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by RonJ View Post
FWIW, I dont feel an Inverter Gen is really suitable for Transfer Switches.
Will you please elaborate on this?

Honda EM7000is Generator
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 06:41 PM
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There is no reason a manual transfer switch would not work with any portable generator, it merely switches to standby and back to utility. For your safety and insurance reasons have it installed to code by a licensed electrician.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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So they push inverter generators to be safe for electronics but aren't designed for homes or transfer switches? That's confusing to ignorant people like me.

So if I can hook it up to a transfer switch of any type then I assume an electrician will know how to do this with 120v. I just keep reading things like it will only power half the circuits on the switch but I am clueless as to why.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Shane Jordan View Post
So they push inverter generators to be safe for electronics but aren't designed for homes or transfer switches? That's confusing to ignorant people like me.

Technically speaking no portable generators are made to connect to homes but it can be done and is popular because standby generators are expensive. There are wiring issues that you must understand, that is why a licensed electrician is recommended to handle it.

So if I can hook it up to a transfer switch of any type then I assume an electrician will know how to do this with 120v. I just keep reading things like it will only power half the circuits on the switch but I am clueless as to why.
You can only power one leg of your home panel because all modern homes are wired for 240 volts. Basically two separate 120 volt circuits.

Last edited by davefred99; 02-04-2017 at 10:21 PM.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 10:27 PM
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IMHO most "home electronics" don't need inverter generators, will do nicely on a regular genset, at least I've never had any problems. When you think about it, the power that comes in from your utility isn't that pure, has spikes, dips, surges, etc. and your "home electronics" get along.


Not sure what you mean by transfer switch, to me that means something that just transfers from utility power to genset power and prevents backfeed from the genset to the utility lines and vice versa. "Usually," they"re used with a whole house generator powered by natural gas or propane so everything is automatic and are permanently installed and you do nothing when an outage occurs. Agree with Ron J, just run a couple of extension cords IF you want a 3KW inverter unit. To tie a transfer switch to that genset, not sure you could do it legally, you'll certainly end up with some very creative (Xpensive!!) wiring.


What you might consider is getting a 5000-5500W unit, put in a lockout switch and associated 30A breaker to feed your existing load center or breaker box. When an outage occurs, you open the main breaker which disconnects utility power, the "lockout" mechanically then allows you to close the 30A genset breaker, you then start the genset and connect. Obviously, you also have to open up all the "non critical" breakers in the box, leaving only the ones you need, e.g. Frig, Furnace, Freezer, a few lighting circuits. The load center typically would have a 200A main breaker and you're now limited to 30A so a lot of loads would have to go.


By all means, talk to an electrician who's familiar with gensets, lockouts, etc. otherwise you'll buy the wrong thing and have to get something else. There's a lot of info we can't possibly go into in a paragraph or two in a forum. e.g. Grounding, there would be two different schemes depending on running extension cords, vs interlocking a transfer switch.


Good luck,
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 02:40 PM
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When I said that about Inverter types, it is strictly info passed on by a guy a couple miles away. We lose power often; he said he had borrowed a buddies inverter type and it got messed up! He started going into detail, and he seemed knowledgeable and capable of hooking up a gen. He had the TransSwitch for awhile...his old genny just died and his intend was to buy another soon. So, I had a guy have trouble using an Inverter, for whatever reasons could be deduced, I have never heard of anyone having problems with the tried and true generator. I have an Inverter, for camping, but have a regular for house use. I looked at the current situation and it had not been bought, that is why I put FWIW.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 04:39 PM
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Just to add to the confusion:

The output of a typical inductive type generator is predominantly sine wave 60 hz AC, closely resembling what the utilities deliver.
The output of an inverter generator is more like square wave 60 hz AC, (having a LOT of harmonics in it... frequencies other than 60 hz). That's what can damage electronics.
Your electronics (and most of your other home electrical equipment) are actually safer on the inductive generator. (Assuming it is in good operating order.)

Agree with Ronj and exmar. If you can't go with a true 120/240 volt generator, forget about installing a transfer switch or lockout.
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