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Text and photos depicting the installation of an Interlock Kit on an older Cutler Hammer Circuit Bbreaker Panel.  Click for The Home Page

Interlock Kit on a Cutler Hammer Main Breaker Loadcenter With a Reliance PB 30 Inlet

 
Dear Mr. Electrician: How do I install a generator inlet box to supply portable generator power to my Cutler Hammer main circuit breaker panel so that I can power all of my circuits. 

Answer: A generator interlock kit works best if you want to supply power to your entire circuit breaker panel and can be an economical choice compared to installing a separate external transfer switchBelow are step by step photos depicting an interlock kit installation on an older Cutler Hammer main circuit breaker panel.  A YouTube video depicting the same installation is at the bottom.
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A Cutler Hammer circuit breaker panel before the interlock kit was installed. Click for next photo
This is what the Cutler Hammer circuit breaker panel looked like prior to the installation of the interlock kit.

Fortunately there were five available spaces in this 30 circuit panel.  The interlock kit for this particular CH panel requires three spaces on the top right.

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A closer shot of the Cutler Hammer circuit breaker panel before the interlock kit was installed.  Click for next photo

The homeowner had typed up a panel directory for most of the circuits years before this installation.  It came in handy when identifying critical circuits to run off of the portable generator

A circuit tracer is handy for tracking down circuits throughout the house.

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A close shot of the directory on the Cutler Hammer circuit breaker panel.  Click for next photo

This is the location that the homeowner chose to have his portable generator sit and operate during a power outage.  The open door is the entrance to the garage.

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A view of the outside of the house where the the generator inlet box will be mounted.  Click for the next photo

The hole in the wood siding was made using two spade drill bits.

First a 7/8" bit was used to drill an 1/8" deep hole to allow for the button connector.  A 1/2" drill bit was used to drill all the way through into the basement.

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Close shot of the hole where the wire from the inlet box will penetrate and proceed to the main panel.  Click for next photo
   
   
   

The 10/3 Romex which will be entering the rear of the generator inlet box.

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Photo of the 10/3 Romex wire coming through the outside wall.  Click for next photo

Duct Seal was used to seal the hole from air and moisture.

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The opening around the 10/3 Romex cable is packed with duct seal.  Click for next photo

A button type Romex connector  was used to prevent the 10/3 Romex from being pulled out.

The generator inlet box was secured to the wood siding using #8 x 1-1/2 inch pan-head sheet metal screws.

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The inside of the generator inlet box before the connections are made.  Click for next photo

Note how the number 10 bare copper ground wire is shaped in the rear of the generator inlet box and then wrapped around the green ground screw using the included clamp.

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Close shot of the generator inlet box before the connections are made.  Click for next photo

The PB-30 generator inlet box comes with a factory installed green grounding pigtail. Consult article 250 in the National Electrical Code for information on grounding.

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The inside of the generator inlet box with the connections made.  Click for next photo

Here is the finished generator inlet.  It just needs a small bead of clear caulk at the top to keep water from getting behind it.

Article 702 in the National Electrical Code pertains to generator installations, but other articles in the code book also apply to the wiring methods used in this installation.

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The completed generator inlet box.  Click for next photo

You can see the 10/3 Romex as it penetrates through the drilled hole in the rim joist in order to come into the back of the generator inlet mounted outside.

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The inside view of the 10/3 wire as it penetrates through to the outside.  Click for next photo

Duct Seal was also used inside where the 10/3 Romex penetrates through the rim joist to prevent air from coming into the basement.

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Close shot of the 10/3 Romex as it penetrates to the outside and is surrounded by duct seal.  Click for the next photo

The 10/3 Romex is secured to the rim joist using BX staples.

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The 10/3 Romex installed between existing pipes and wires.  Click for next photo

This is an older house.  The orange 10/3 Romex stands out against some of the original wiring and pipes.

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Another angle of the 10/3 Romex mounted to the rim joist.  Click for next photo

The 10/3 Romex is stapled along the rim joist using BX staples.

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One more angle of the 10/3 Romex stapled to the rim joist.  Click for the next photo

Check out the transformer mounted on the junction box which is attached to the Cutler Hammer Load Center. This is an old doorbell transformer which does not appear to be connected to anything.

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The 10/3 Romex as it enters the top of the Cutler Hammer panel.  Click for next photo

A two screw metal Romex connector was used to secure the10/3 Romex to the CH circuit breaker panel.

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Front view of the 10/3 Romex entering the top of the Cutler Hammer panel.  Click for the next photo

Note how tightly twisted together the #8 wires are before the blue wire connector is screwed on.

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Two number 8 copper wires spliced together.  Click for next photo

Here's a close shot of two Ideal 30-454 Wing-Nut Blue Wire Connectors being used to splice short pieces of #8 copper wire to the existing stove feed wire. This was necessary in order to relocate the existing stove circuit breaker down a few spaces to make room for the generator circuit breaker.

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Number eight copper wires spliced together using big blue wire connectors.  Click for next photo

The generator circuit breaker with the wires attached. The space below the generator breaker is needed for the operation of the interlock kit.

Note the label above the Ideal 30-454 Wing-Nut Blue Wire Connectors.  It is attached to a strap that is holding the generator circuit breaker in place and is required as per the interlock kit instructions.  Without the label attached, this interlock kit installation would fail the electrical inspection.

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Inside view of the backfed Cutler Hammer circuit breaker.  Click for next photo

An inexpensive circuit tracer comes in handy when trying to identify important circuits before you have a need to turn on the generator.

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Inside view of the Cutler Hammer circuit breaker panel with the backfed circuit breaker installed.  Click for next photo

The upper red arrow points to the generator ground connection.

The lower red arrow indicates the white neutral wire connection.  This is the main panel so the ground and neutral are connected on the same terminal bar.  In a sub-panel the ground and neutral would be kept separate.

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The ground wire connections in the Cutler Hammer panel. Click for next photo

These are the holes that were made using the included drill bit.  It is also required to scrape and file the perimeter of the holes so that the screws can make good contact for grounding of the interlock kit.

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Holes drilled into the Cutler Hammer Panel cover.  Click for the next photo

Here are the holes with the screws in them and the interlock kit mounted on the front side.

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Back side of the Cutler Hammer panel cover with the interlock kit installed.  Click for next photo

This is the completed interlock kit installation on an older Cutler Hammer type CH circuit breaker panel (AKA Loadcenter).

The interlock kit functions as a transfer switch without having to install a separate box with additional wiring that also requires additional wall space.

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Front of the Cutler Hammer panel with the interlock kit installed.  Click for next photo

The red tape marks on some of the circuit breakers are there so that the homeowner can easily identify some of the critical circuits that will require generator power.  These include the heating system, the well pump, and the refrigerator. The bathroom and kitchen lighting circuits are also identified.

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Another view of the Cutler Hammer with the interlock kit installed.  Click for the next photo

The interlock kit prevents the generator circuit breaker, located in the upper right column, from being "On" at the same time as the main circuit breaker.  The labeling is an intergral part of the installation and must be in place to pass inspection.

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Click for the "Before" photo

Click for text and photos depicting an interlock kit installation on an older GE loadcenter instead of installing a separate transfer switch.

Interlock kit installed on a Cutler Hammer circuit breaker panel.  Click for next photo
 
 

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Created February 28, 2013         Updated December 13, 2015

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