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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New to the forum. I tried searching the forum to get hints on what could be causing my particular issue but did not find anything. I don’t know if my new generator is bad or if my house wiring is bad.

I have a WEN8750 Inverter Gen bought new. Before I got the gen an electrician put in a 50A (4prong) outside inlet box installed along with an Interlock system for the breaker box and a 50A breaker in the breaker box for the gen. When I finally got a gen and hooked it up it blew out some LED lights (same brand cheap ones - did not blow out better ones I had) and a surge protector in the house. The gen did not run any of the breakers I tried such as refrigerator. I disconnected gen from house and everything ran as it should from main power. I was rushed when I did the above test because we were leaving that day to see family and I blamed any failure or screw up on my being in a hurry.

Fast forward to our return and I tried again. This time another surge protector blew out. I tried each breaker one at a time to see if I was getting power. The lights came on in only one room. In another room if I flipped the switch the light came on and then immediately went off. Nothing else worked in the house. After shutting down the gen and going back to main power everything worked as it should.

Electricity is not an area I am good at and I do not know all the terms. However, I did use a multimeter and found power from the gen, power at the inlet box and power at the 50A gen breaker in the power box.

Blowing out the 2 surge protectors (if that is really what they were - I threw them away but they may have just been mulitplug extensions) Made me think surging power which some stuff I read said might be caused by a poor ground. The WEN has a floating neutral I think and my limited understanding was that if used through the breaker box it would use the house ground. Also the 120/240 plug coming off the gen is a L14-30R and I am using an adapter to plug it into the 4 prong 50A inlet box.

I did swap out the inlet box the electrician put in for better one but don’t think that is the problem since the first test failure was on the box the electrician put in and the second fail was on the one I swapped in. I was a little confused with the 2 ground wires coming out of the house but I tried running the gen with one house ground attached to the box and not attached and no different results.

I don’t know anyone with a generator that I could borrow to see if my gen is just crap. I am thinking I need to get an electrician up here but I am still reeling from sticker shock at having the inlet box, interlock and breaker installed. Has anyone heard of anything similar to my problem?
 

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"plug coming off the gen is a L14-30R and I am using an adapter to plug it into the 4 prong 50A inlet "

just a thought:
Maybe there is an issue with the adapter (reversed polarity / some other weirdness)?

The above has happened to me...I had an adapter that-did-reverse-polarity.....

I would first go to the generator and check if the power output is ok (plug in basic stuff first; clip light, then a fan, then a space heater....).

Once the power at the gen is ok'd, check downstream...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
"plug coming off the gen is a L14-30R and I am using an adapter to plug it into the 4 prong 50A inlet "

just a thought:
Maybe there is an issue with the adapter (reversed polarity / some other weirdness)?

The above has happened to me...I had an adapter that-did-reverse-polarity.....

I would first go to the generator and check if the power output is ok (plug in basic stuff first; clip light, then a fan, then a space heater....).

Once the power at the gen is ok'd, check downstream...
I did plug a few things into the 110v outlets to see if generator was putting out power but I didn’t have anything that matched the 30A 120v/240v plug.

I did check voltage inside the inlet box with a multimeter and it showed 240v but I don’t know what a reverse polarity would look like. I will look it up.
 

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If you have a multimeter you are in good shape to trace down where the issue is.

Do you have an extension cord you can run from an outlet that will reach the generator outside?

Unplug the generator, turn all the breakers on (or at least the one of the circuit your extension cord is plugged in to) and test continuity through the neutral pin of the L14-30 (opposite the ground pin - ground pin is the largest pin so directly across it, might be labeled "N") and the wide blade of the extension cord. You should have continuity.

Next - check continuity between the grounds and neutrals. Ground and neutral are (should be) bonded in the breaker box at the service entrance. You should have continuity between neutrals and grounds of all parts of the circuits, through sub panels, etc (the bonding is in the entrance panel, the bonding should not be in a sub - that causes a ground loop).

Next - check continuity between the narrow blade (the hot pin) of the extension cord and either X or Y pins of the L14-30. You should find continuity on only one.

At the end of the day what should happen is that pins X and Y of the L14-30 should have continuity to each hot rail in the breaker box.

If the connections are proper through the connectors then the next question is the voltage and frequency of the power. 240v is a pretty ubiquitous number. It may fall somewhere between 230-245v or so. However, that should ONLY be measured across both hot pins (X, Y) of the L14-30 - which would correspond to the hot rails in the breaker box (why you have 2 pole breakers for 240 - to bridge both rails, as opposed to one for a 120v circuit). If you are getting 240v between either single rail and neutral you have a problem.

The frequency should be very close to 60hz, maybe only one or two hz either side at most.

I would also highly recommend that you ground the generator frame at the generator. Technically, with a properly wired set of connectors/cables, your neutral and ground wires of the 4 conductor cable from the generator to the breaker box will tie the generator to the house ground system through the breaker box. However, it is always best to have a ground at the generator itself that doesn't rely on that cabling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I did plug a few things into the 110v outlets to see if generator was putting out power but I didn’t have anything that matched the 30A 120v/240v plug.

I did check voltage inside the inlet box with a multimeter and it showed 240v but I don’t know what a reverse polarity would look like. I will look it up.
OK got it. It is possible that the wires in the inlet box are crossed. I marked them exactly as they were in the original box so I would reattach them the same as the electrician had. Didn’t see how if the polarity was reversed I would only get one breaker to work with generator. But it is something for me to check. Thanks.
 

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but I don’t know what a reverse polarity would look like. I will look it up.
I covered this in my post above - if your neutral is hot is you're "reversed". Neutral and ground should have continuity, you have 2 hots - pins X and Y of the L14-30 - and those are the only pins that should be hot back to the hot rails of the breaker box.
 

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I covered this in my post above - if your neutral is hot is you're "reversed". Neutral and ground should have continuity, you have 2 hots - pins X and Y of the L14-30 - and those are the only pins that should be hot back to the hot rails of the breaker box.
OK got it. It is possible that the wires in the inlet box are crossed. I marked them exactly as they were in the original box so I would reattach them the same as the electrician had. Didn’t see how if the polarity was reversed I would only get one breaker to work with generator. But it is something for me to check. Thanks.
Just a note about "reversed polarity" now that I read your last reply there - if you flip X and Y around it won't hurt a thing. All that does is change the phasing. Any power device you plug in won't have any possible clue X and Y are Y and X or X and Y. Its all the same.

What WILL matter is if you try to load neutral. On a 120v circuit if you switch the hot and neutral lines you still have 60hz 120v AC power. But some devices can not handle neutral being the hot side. Some devices don't care, but not all. Plus a lot of devices will fault out if they don't sense continuity between neutral and ground.

There is a chance that the above is what blew out the LED lights - the circuitry that lets them run on 120v AC may not be able to handle a "hot neutral" circuit. However, I would find it hard to imagine anyone messing up neutral on a whole house circuit as it is bonded to ground in the breaker box and the vast majority of generators have neutral bonded to the gen frame, which is also connected to the ground pin of the power connectors on the unit. So me thinks you would blow something first before you were able to get power even to the house if you tried to load neutral.

So why are there 2 wires that supposedly are connected together? Couldn't you get by with 3 wires and not 4 and lower the cost of connectors and cables? You can't pass current over ground per code. Current has to run between hot and neutral on a 120v circuit, where ground is retained as a safety. In order to stabilize the circuits - neutral is grounded so it is pulled to 0v. If it was left floating (non-bonded) you could have some strange scenarios where one side goes high and one side goes low. Neutral referenced to ground helps protect the voltages.

There are some circuits you may find, like electric ranges and ovens, that are 240v appliances running on 3 pin connectors that use 120v lighting and controls where they get that 120v between one hot and ground (because the power connector does not carry neutral). I don't believe this is code anymore, but you will find some circuits set up that way. The issue with that set up is that in order to run anything on 120v without neutral you have to pass current over ground - and that isn't proper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you have a multimeter you are in good shape to trace down where the issue is.

Do you have an extension cord you can run from an outlet that will reach the generator outside?

Unplug the generator, turn all the breakers on (or at least the one of the circuit your extension cord is plugged in to) and test continuity through the neutral pin of the L14-30 (opposite the ground pin - ground pin is the largest pin so directly across it, might be labeled "N") and the wide blade of the extension cord. You should have continuity.

Next - check continuity between the grounds and neutrals. Ground and neutral are (should be) bonded in the breaker box at the service entrance. You should have continuity between neutrals and grounds of all parts of the circuits, through sub panels, etc (the bonding is in the entrance panel, the bonding should not be in a sub - that causes a ground loop).

Next - check continuity between the narrow blade (the hot pin) of the extension cord and either X or Y pins of the L14-30. You should find continuity on only one.

At the end of the day what should happen is that pins X and Y of the L14-30 should have continuity to each hot rail in the breaker box.

If the connections are proper through the connectors then the next question is the voltage and frequency of the power. 240v is a pretty ubiquitous number. It may fall somewhere between 230-245v or so. However, that should ONLY be measured across both hot pins (X, Y) of the L14-30 - which would correspond to the hot rails in the breaker box (why you have 2 pole breakers for 240 - to bridge both rails, as opposed to one for a 120v circuit). If you are getting 240v between either single rail and neutral you have a problem.

The frequency should be very close to 60hz, maybe only one or two hz either side at most.

I would also highly recommend that you ground the generator frame at the generator. Technically, with a properly wired set of connectors/cables, your neutral and ground wires of the 4 conductor cable from the generator to the breaker box will tie the generator to the house ground system through the breaker box. However, it is always best to have a ground at the generator itself that doesn't rely on that cabling.
That is a lot to digest. I am not even sure what continuity is but will look it up. I have regular 110 v extension cords but I don’t have anything to plug the 30A cord into except the 50A inlet box using the 30 to 50 adapter.

The breaker is a 2 pole and I put one probe on the screw for each pole and it read 240v.

Thanks. I am going to have to study your post. Lol.
 

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I am not even sure what continuity is but will look it up. I have regular 110 v extension cords
Continuity is exactly that - is there a connection? Does one pin conduct to the other? Another way to think of it is low resistance. If you have a good connection the resistance should be near 0 ohms. A bad connection would be very high ohms, or infinite/open circuit. Most multimeters have a setting for continuity, but a resistance check can work also.

A regular 110v extension cord is exactly what I meant. It carries neutral and that is the most important connection in what I was getting at with the "checks".

Again, I would find it hard to believe neutral being loaded as hot but worth a check.

I will say, it might be best to get your electrician back over there that put the inlet box in. I assume the person that did that install is a licensed electrician. Technically you need a licensed electrician to do any wiring in the breaker box. Given your doubts with things and the blown lights that would be the best thing - have a proper electrician check it over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just a note about "reversed polarity" now that I read your last reply there - if you flip X and Y around it won't hurt a thing. All that does is change the phasing. Any power device you plug in won't have any possible clue X and Y are Y and X or X and Y. Its all the same.

What WILL matter is if you try to load neutral. On a 120v circuit if you switch the hot and neutral lines you still have 60hz 120v AC power. But some devices can not handle neutral being the hot side. Some devices don't care, but not all. Plus a lot of devices will fault out if they don't sense continuity between neutral and ground.

There is a chance that the above is what blew out the LED lights - the circuitry that lets them run on 120v AC may not be able to handle a "hot neutral" circuit. However, I would find it hard to imagine anyone messing up neutral on a whole house circuit as it is bonded to ground in the breaker box and the vast majority of generators have neutral bonded to the gen frame, which is also connected to the ground pin of the power connectors on the unit. So me thinks you would blow something first before you were able to get power even to the house if you tried to load neutral.

So why are there 2 wires that supposedly are connected together? Couldn't you get by with 3 wires and not 4 and lower the cost of connectors and cables? You can't pass current over ground per code. Current has to run between hot and neutral on a 120v circuit, where ground is retained as a safety. In order to stabilize the circuits - neutral is grounded so it is pulled to 0v. If it was left floating (non-bonded) you could have some strange scenarios where one side goes high and one side goes low. Neutral referenced to ground helps protect the voltages.

There are some circuits you may find, like electric ranges and ovens, that are 240v appliances running on 3 pin connectors that use 120v lighting and controls where they get that 120v between one hot and ground (because the power connector does not carry neutral). I don't believe this is code anymore, but you will find some circuits set up that way. The issue with that set up is that in order to run anything on 120v without neutral you have to pass current over ground - and that isn't proper.
It is not suppose to snow tomorrow and will be a balmy high of 18 deg so I may venture outside tomorrow and try to follow your instructions. Thanks again.
 

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I did not read all of the posts, but I am curious: Did you turn the main breaker off before you plugged the generator in the first time?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Continuity is exactly that - is there a connection? Does one pin conduct to the other? Another way to think of it is low resistance. If you have a good connection the resistance should be near 0 ohms. A bad connection would be very high ohms, or infinite/open circuit. Most multimeters have a setting for continuity, but a resistance check can work also.

A regular 110v extension cord is exactly what I meant. It carries neutral and that is the most important connection in what I was getting at with the "checks".

Again, I would find it hard to believe neutral being loaded as hot but worth a check.

I will say, it might be best to get your electrician back over there that put the inlet box in. I assume the person that did that install is a licensed electrician. Technically you need a licensed electrician to do any wiring in the breaker box. Given your doubts with things and the blown lights that would be the best thing - have a proper electrician check it over.
Yes it was a licensed electrician. I realize that I am in up to my chin but the only way to learn is to do. Once I am convinced the generator is good then I will most likely bring in an electrician. Thanks!
 

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Can you describe your generator cord in more detail?

Is your cord custom built or a store bought. What plug ends are present on the cord. And what brand adapter are you using. Pictures would be useful.

Personally, it sounds like a poor connection somewhere between the generator and the breaker in the panel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Can you describe your generator cord in more detail?

Is your cord custom built or a store bought. What plug ends are present on the cord. And what brand adapter are you using. Pictures would be useful.

Personally, it sounds like a poor connection somewhere between the generator and the breaker in the panel.
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The first 2 pics are the adapter which is a: RvSky Gen to Transfer Switch 50Amp inlet box adapter ( L14-30 30Amp 4-prong locking to 50Amp CS6364 ).

The last is of the prongs on the 30Amp extension cord. It is a: Circle Cord UL Listed 4 prong 30Amp gen extension cord heavy duty NEMA L14-30P / L14-30R 125/250v 7500w 10 gauge SJTW. The cord is 100 feet long and from what I read, that length would not impair function.
 

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New to the forum. I tried searching the forum to get hints on what could be causing my particular issue but did not find anything. I don’t know if my new generator is bad or if my house wiring is bad.

I have a WEN8750 Inverter Gen bought new. Before I got the gen an electrician put in a 50A (4prong) outside inlet box installed along with an Interlock system for the breaker box and a 50A breaker in the breaker box for the gen. When I finally got a gen and hooked it up it blew out some LED lights (same brand cheap ones - did not blow out better ones I had) and a surge protector in the house. The gen did not run any of the breakers I tried such as refrigerator. I disconnected gen from house and everything ran as it should from main power. I was rushed when I did the above test because we were leaving that day to see family and I blamed any failure or screw up on my being in a hurry.

Fast forward to our return and I tried again. This time another surge protector blew out. I tried each breaker one at a time to see if I was getting power. The lights came on in only one room. In another room if I flipped the switch the light came on and then immediately went off. Nothing else worked in the house. After shutting down the gen and going back to main power everything worked as it should.

Electricity is not an area I am good at and I do not know all the terms. However, I did use a multimeter and found power from the gen, power at the inlet box and power at the 50A gen breaker in the power box.

Blowing out the 2 surge protectors (if that is really what they were - I threw them away but they may have just been mulitplug extensions) Made me think surging power which some stuff I read said might be caused by a poor ground. The WEN has a floating neutral I think and my limited understanding was that if used through the breaker box it would use the house ground. Also the 120/240 plug coming off the gen is a L14-30R and I am using an adapter to plug it into the 4 prong 50A inlet box.

I did swap out the inlet box the electrician put in for better one but don’t think that is the problem since the first test failure was on the box the electrician put in and the second fail was on the one I swapped in. I was a little confused with the 2 ground wires coming out of the house but I tried running the gen with one house ground attached to the box and not attached and no different results.

I don’t know anyone with a generator that I could borrow to see if my gen is just crap. I am thinking I need to get an electrician up here but I am still reeling from sticker shock at having the inlet box, interlock and breaker installed. Has anyone heard of anything similar to my problem?
verify all wires on the cords and the connections.
somewhere you have a couple of wire flipped.
check the updated inlet.
pm if you need wiring diagrams.
i have color coded diagrams
 

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yea very few things can make a system act like this...
a lifted neutral or wires flipped for neutral and L1 or L2.
and yes even on molded cords this can be a real thing from the factory!
we check all of the new cords here just to make sure before putting them in to service.

lol you can let the genie out of the bottle on appliances!
(smoke show)
most will not stand for 240 vac on an 120 vac appliance.
 
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