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Thread: Question for the electricians

  1. #1
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    Question for the electricians

    In my garage workshop I have a power inverter for emergency use. One the other side of one wall is the utility room where I need the emergency power. I want to pass the power through the wall to avoid running an extension cord theough the door.

    My plan is to install a duplex outlet on both sides of the wall and wire them together. There will be an extension cord with a male plug at each end; one plug will connect to the inverter and the other will connect to the outlet in the shop. I can pass the electricity through the wall and connect extension cords in the utility room to use as needed.

    Does this plan violate any building code? Does this sound ok to do? Is there a better way to do this?

    See attached diagram.

    Thanks for your nelp.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Raymond Fries; 11-04-2018 at 10:32 PM. Reason: correction
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  2. #2
    I don't know much about building codes, but putting a male plug on a wire that will have power on it is not a good idea. You show a wire that will plug into the inverter and will have a male plug on the other end. That's a real no-no because once you plug it into the inverted those prongs on the other end of the wire will be hot.

    I know you plan to plug it into the outlet before you plug it into the inverter but that's besides the point.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  3. #3
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    Interesting question. I "think" that since it is not attached to anything, it is not subject to code requirements.

    As Mike said, a double male is dangerous. In an emergency it is easy to do things wrong. I've done it several times, but still recommend against it. They make recessed male outlets exactly for this purpose.

  4. #4
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    Raymond

    Uhmmmm. No, at least not like that. That's "wicked" dangerous. Please don't do it.

    What you want to do, can be done, but there are very specific connectors, boxes, plugs, cords and receptacles to do it. Without knowing more about the internal wiring of that Inverter, it's grounding scheme, and your local codes, it's almost impossible to do it via the internet.
    If you're going to do it anyway, regardless of code, look at Generator Inlet Power Boxes and the plugs. That way you can never have a live , exposed, conductor in your hand. You'll need to resolve the Neutral/GND Bond of that inverter output as a separate issue.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    Interesting question. I "think" that since it is not attached to anything, it is not subject to code requirements.
    .
    Wade
    The code does deal with any power coming "IN" . Raymond's picture does not have enough detail to understand that inverter arrangement.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  6. #6
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    Thanks Wade. That looks like a better solution. Thanks. I did not know they existed. So do you think I could install it this way:
    Install an outlet box in the garage wall.
    Modify a metal switch plate cover with a hole drilled where the rectangle is punched out to accomodate something like this:
    https://www.amazon.com/JEGS-81910-11...SIN=B078WJ791W

    Screw this outlet to the modified metal cover.
    This outlet would be connected to the duplex outlet installed in the utility room.

    I really like this option.

    Mike,
    The inverter has two110v female outlets to connect to.
    Last edited by Raymond Fries; 11-04-2018 at 11:26 PM. Reason: added comment
    Sometimes decisions from the heart are better than decisions from the brain.

    Enjoy Life...

  7. #7
    Your original proposal has a name earned from folks taking a similar approach for connecting a generator without using the proper devices. It's called a suicide cord.

    If you just need a way to connect the inverter to a single piece of equipment, essentially serving as a through-the-wall extension cord, then you could use something like this: https://www.amazon.com/PowerBridge-R...37706068&psc=1

    which is designed to route power to a wall mounted TV. It has a male plug at one plate and standard female receptacle at the other.

    This would require you to manually unplug the equipment from it's normal receptacle, and plug it in to the powerbridge unit, and then connect the other side of the powerbridge to the inverter.

    You would need to verify that the powerbridge can handle the full rated current of your inverter.

  8. #8
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    To use a generator in my previous house I simply mounted a box on the wall and wired a permanent cord with a plug on one end connected to the generator as needed. I ran Romex from that box through the walls to an isolated receptacle in a central location in the house. There I could plug in a light and an extension cord to the fridge, all I needed for a power outage.

  9. #9
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    A pipe conduit large enough in diameter for your power cord's plug to fit through could be installed through the wall so you could run the power cord through it when needed. The code does not allow a power cord to be used as wiring in the wall, but inside a short straight metal conduit (nipple) through the wall would be acceptable when only used temporarily. The conduit would protect the interior of the wall should anything happen to the wire.

    You need a transfer switch to positively dis-connect your panel from the incoming power and transfer the connection of your panel to the generator. NEVER make up and use a power cord that has male plugs on both ends. A short power cord with a plug on it can be run from the generator side of the Transfer switch with a male plug on it to plug into the generator because the transfer switch will prevent this plug from ever having power on it unless it is plugged into the generator. If unplugged, even when the transfer switch is in either position, the plug will have no power on the pins and is safe.

    Charley

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    To use a generator in my previous house I simply mounted a box on the wall and wired a permanent cord with a plug on one end connected to the generator as needed. I ran Romex from that box through the walls to an isolated receptacle in a central location in the house. There I could plug in a light and an extension cord to the fridge, all I needed for a power outage.
    This idea should be safe.

    The cord you have labeled "wire with male plugs on both sides" you should change to an appropriate flexible wire with one male plug.
    The other end should be enclosed within the box and connected to the wire you have labeled "wire connecting outlets.
    Use a blank cover on the garage box with a 1/2" knockout and appropriate wire clamp. You should also include a strain relief fitting or secure the wire prior to the clamp. Hang the coiled cord neatly, ready for use as John said.

    You will still have a grounding issue. But many inverters are relatively clean. You should be able to work around that ground problem with the use of a GFCI outlet in the box in the utility room. I believe code allows grounded receptacles on an ungrounded circuit if it is GFCI protected

    PS As Charles Lent noted wrt the issue of unknowingly energizing a service panel, I am assuming the outlet in the utility room is an isolated outlet that will only be energized when it is plugged into a power source. This is basically an extension cord that works around NEC prohibition of having an extension cord pass through a wall.
    Last edited by Charlie Velasquez; 11-05-2018 at 1:04 PM. Reason: address Charles Lent's concern
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  11. #11
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    How will this inverter supply power? You need to consider fumes and hazardous gases from either batteries or a generator.
    Bill D.

  12. #12
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    I think I was 15 when I taught myself why you don't put a male plug on the end of a power cord.

  13. #13
    Just curious about what you want to power with the inverter. Most household loads such as a fridge, freezer, furnace, etc that you'd need power for during a power outage would require an immense battery bank to run for more than a few minutes.

  14. #14
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    Raymond, when I was doing cell sites we'd install a male receptacle on the outside wall for a generator plug, in the event of a long term power outage. It was mounted under a disconnect switch. This enabled the outside wall receptacle to be disconnected when not in use. With your setup, there is no disconnecting means. I realize there is no power at the interior receptacle until it's connected in the garage, but I some electrical inspectors are fussy.

    I've never seen a up like the one you describe so I have no personal insight about the legality concerning the code. However, when I think about it, I can see an inspector saying, "You're installing a dead receptacle," and failing you on the inspection because yours is such an unusual setup. But if you install a disconnecting means where both the hot and neutral can be completely disconnected through the wall, I can see most inspectors passing that. A simple single throw, double pole switch will do the job. (Now I'm imagining an inspector requiring a lockout )

    Any time we had an inspection coming up and we had an unusual situation, we went through the process of trying to predict what the inspector might have problems with. While most electrical work discussed on this forum will never be seen by an electrical inspector, there's nothing wrong with doing the work as if it will be inspected.
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  15. #15
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    Hi, there are 4 issues

    1) a cord with a male plug at each end is dangerous, don't do it.

    2) Is the neutral on the inverter bonded to ground? It needs to be if it's used as a stand alone source.

    3) Is the inverter output ground wire grounded? It needs to be

    4) the correct way to run power through the wall would be to put a receptacle in the other room, and wire it to a box on the other side of the wall with a suitable length of flexible cord to plug into the inverter.

    Regards, Rod.

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