Small Cabin

Small Cabin Forum
 - Forums - Register/Sign Up - Reply - Search - Statistics -

Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / Electrical Puzzle
Author Message
Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 6 Oct 2019 21:02
Reply 


I moved my generator to it's new location and finished the wiring today. The issue is with a second 12/3 line I ran to power three receptacles- either side of the back deck and one on the deck where my workbench currently is. Everything works, the 30amp to the inverter and the 12/3 runing to the receptacles except when I test the receptacles my widget says the common and hot are reversed.

So here is the wiring run down. 30amp outlet from the generator supplies 120v power to a 60amp 240v square d panel. I removed the 60amp 240v breaker and replaced it with a 30amp and 20amp 120v breakers (single pole I think they are called.) I then put a jumper between the 120v in and the other input to move 120v power to the 20amp breaker. All grounds went into the ground buss bar and all white common wires were tied together. A 10/2 from the 30amp breaker goes directly to the inverter... no issues there I can see. A 12/3 cable with both the black and red wires tied into the output of the 20amp breaker go to the first receptacle. At this receptical the red wires are tied together and pushed back in the box to carry power on down the line. The white common wires are connected to the white side of the receptacle the black to the hot side, all grounds tied together. A junction box 10' along the run is where the red hot line is now connected to the black hot going up to a receptical at my workbench. White commons and grounds all tied together. 16' further along the run the white common enters the last receptical on the common side, the black on the hot side and the red hot is folded and taped for a future run.

I can't see what I did wrong here... yet my tester says the hot and common are reversed. Does this have something to do with the jumper at the breaker box? Am I missing something? Any help will be appreciated!

Thanks guys and gals!

darz5150
Member
# Posted: 6 Oct 2019 22:14
Reply 


Quoting: Nobadays
Does this have something to do with the jumper at the breaker box?

That would be a good place to start. Disconnect it, then check the problem.
If that doesn't work, I would back track and disconnect each breaker/circuit one at a time.

darz5150
Member
# Posted: 6 Oct 2019 23:07
Reply 


Here's another way to look at it. You need to get 1 outlet to test correctly. Then add other circuits 1 at a time till you find the faulty one. If you can't get one to work. Then the problem is upstream from your breaker box. Meaning how you have power coming in from your Genny.

old243
Member
# Posted: 7 Oct 2019 09:02
Reply 


I think darz is correct. Start at the generator , if it has correct polarity. Then work down the circuit. until you find the problem. Make sure your tester is giving you the right info, as well. Good Luck old243

Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 7 Oct 2019 09:17
Reply 


Good advice... I'm beginning to think it originates at the generator. Just not sure how to check the 30amp plug on the generator. It does have 15amp outlets, I'll start there. Just thinking, I don't have a ground on the generator right now after moving it, that might help...?

Is there a way to check for reversal of common and hot with volt ohm meter?

Thanks!

Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 7 Oct 2019 14:09
Reply 


Ok still chasing the problem. I decided since the only thing I didn't wire was the 30amp pigtail from the breaker box to the generator. When I took the plugin apart it looked to be wired correctly but I switched the hot and neutral for the heck of it.... when I started the generator and kicked the 20amp breaker for the receptacles, this caused an immediate fault at the generator and it shut power off. The breaker did not blow. I switched the hot and neutral back. Fired up the generator and at all my receptacles I still read that the hot and neutral are reversed. No surprise as I changed nothing.

I added a picture so you can see how the breaker box is wired. The problem with removing the jumper from the 30amp to the 20amp side is then I would lose power to that breaker and consequently to all receptacles on the circuit. That won't help.

I took apart the first receptacle to see if it was correct and it is. Plus, the reds are tied together and only fed one of the three receptacles so even if the other 2 were reversed, that one should be correct, but it's not.

Pulling my hair out here! It's not like I'm new to electrical work, I've wired one home completely and numerous remodels and workshops over the years, not to mention just installing our solar system on the cabin. I'm baffled!

Thanks for ideas!
IMG_4925_resize_14.j.jpg
IMG_4925_resize_14.j.jpg


darz5150
Member
# Posted: 7 Oct 2019 15:00
Reply 


Try and unplug the 30 amp plug. Then use your tester on 120 outlets on the generator. If it is correct then go downstream. Plug the 30 amp back in.
I hate to suggest this but go to the first outlet and reverse the wires. If it works and you have correct polarity and voltage. You can use your own discretion as to leave it or continue your quest.

toyota_mdt_tech
Member
# Posted: 7 Oct 2019 15:25 - Edited by: toyota_mdt_tech
Reply 


Quoting: Nobadays
I added a picture so you can see how the breaker box is wired


OK, I see what you are doing. Feeding it with 110VAC and running 2 circuits Do I see 2 wires coming off one breaker?

ICC
Member
# Posted: 7 Oct 2019 15:48
Reply 


If you have not already tried testing with only the black connected, or only the red connected I would do that. One step, one change, at a time moving downstream.

Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 9 Oct 2019 10:07
Reply 


Darz.... yep tested the standard outlets on the generator and the are not reversed.... assuming the 30amp is not because when I reversed hot and neutral the generator immediately let me know.

Toyota... yes feeding 120vac from the 30amp generator outlet to 30amp side of this normally double pole 60amp 240v breaker box.... then jumper from that side to the other side to feed the 20amp breaker. Yes there are two wires into the 20amp breaker.... the yellow romex is 12/3 so the black hot is feeding 2 receptacles, the red hot currently 1 receptical but in the future I will extend the red hot to another outside receptical at the front of the cabin.

ICC.... good idea, that will be next. I will pull the black hot out of the breaker and check the receptacle for the red hot, then vice a versa.

I am considering making up a 3 prong cord to power the 20amp breaker off the generator's standard plugin. This would eliminate the jumper wire.

Thanks for the help! On going......

Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 9 Oct 2019 14:54
Reply 


Giving up.... I have a neighbor who is a retired electrician I'll see if I can interest him in this dilemma.

Here is what I did today. I tried each of the hot legs - red/black independently to no avail, still wrong polarity. So thought maybe reverse hot and neutral in the box.... generator told me right away that wouldn't work. So made up a pigtail to plug into the 20amp receptacles on the generator allowing me to disconnect the jumper from the 30amp side to the 20amp side... so feeding the 20amp independently from a different plug on the generator. Neutral to neutral, hot to bus bar for the breaker and ground to ground busbar. Still registering reversed polarity on all receptacles. Even changed out the 20amp breaker for a different one. Took another look at the 1st receptacle... it is correct and regardless that shouldn't affect the 1 receptical off the red hot line.... I will take a thorough look at all receptacles this afternoon as I'm sure if one is reversed it would affect the rest...

Thanks again you suggestions!

toyota_mdt_tech
Member
# Posted: 9 Oct 2019 14:58 - Edited by: toyota_mdt_tech
Reply 


You know many generators don't have a hot and a neutral, just 2 hots at half voltage (peak voltage, and gets you full voltage peak to peak). I wonder if this is your issue. If you use one of those 3 light testers, you will not get one of the lights.

Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 9 Oct 2019 15:15
Reply 


Toyota.... hmmmm.... I have a HF 3500 watt inverter/generator. One of my first thoughts was if this was an issue originating in the generator. When I plug the 3 light tester in the generator it reads correctly. That said it could very well still be the issue. I'm going to check the rest of my receptacles in a bit if the are correct, which I'll be surprised if they are not (and embarrassed! ) , I'm going to write it off unless my electrician neighbor will take a look. I have other work to do.... supposed to snow a little tomorrow and the temp drop to the low teens. Good check on that new buried/insulated water system.... but need to get my winter water system in place and operating too.

Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 9 Oct 2019 17:16
Reply 


Took every receptacle out and looked at the wiring, examined the junction box and the breaker box, no where do I have the hot and neutral reversed. I am leaning towards this being from the generator output. I'm just done with trying to chase down this fault when there shouldn't be one.

Thanks all!

1tentman
Member
# Posted: 10 Oct 2019 11:12
Reply 


I have been following your post here Nobadays, first Iam going to tell you Iam by no means a electrician, but I do all my own wiring in my cabin and my house. This box you have installed is basically your breaker panel, the black wire coming from the gen is hooked right but shouldnt the commons be hooked to the ground bar with the bare wire. then you should have a ground wire hooked to the ground bar and run to a ground rod. The way you have it wired you are sending the common back to the gen. Look at your panel in your house the common and the ground are bonded together and go to a ground rod. I was reading a article where people are going camping and running their camper off the generator, but they are putting a sure protector between gen and camper when the fire up the gen the surge protector flashes reversed polarity, some will let the current go on thru others will shut it down. They are taking a male plug in and hooking a jumper wire between the common and the ground terminal and plugging that into a extra 110 plug in on the generator,basically bonding the ground and common together and the polarity light goes out. You would be doing the same thing by hooking your commons and grounds together in your box. Like I said Iam no expert just trying to give a differant point of view here I could be totally wrong ,but this will give you something to think about. Good luck with this keep us posted on your results.

Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 10 Oct 2019 11:25
Reply 


1tentman.... I see what you're saying, you may be correct here, I'm just not sure. My generator does have a ground lug and as yet I have not driven a ground rod and hooked that up.... maybe with the generator grounded that would help? Possibly a pigtail off the neutral wire to the ground buss? I'm a bit worried if I do that and the generator output is as Toyota suggests (2 hots) I would cause a dead short.

Probably best to start by grounding the generator, as this should be done anyway..... and possibly that ground would help the generator to output correctly...don't know?

Pounding an 8' ground rod into our rocky ground is not something I look forward to! My son in law was here when we did the solar instal and he drove the rod for that system.... saved my arm!

Your reply
Bold Style  Italic Style  Underlined Style  Thumbnail Image Link  Large Image Link  URL Link           :) ;) :-( :confused: More smilies...

» Username  » Password 
Only registered users can post here. Please enter your login/password details before posting a message, or register here first.