Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Making Outlets For The Generator

We have a little down time while we're waiting on plans from our architect.  The basement is dug as best as we can do it without dynamite, and I'm getting tired of moving rocks, so I decided to wire up an outlet cord for our generator.

I bought this generator from Scottish friends at Brunswick Landing Marina.  I didn't look at it much.  It only had a half hour on the clock and it was a good deal so I  bought it.  When we got it to Bleecker and I needed power to run an air compressor, I looked and it had no outlets.  Only something that looked like marine shore power outlets, round, but with three round holes to plug into.

I'm pretty good at figuring things out thanks to Google, and I figured that these were special European electrical connectors.  I went to an electrical supply place in Northern Ireland and determined that I needed two 110 volt 32 amp IP44 connectors, and one 220 volt.  Only they didn't have the 110, only the 220.  Believe it or not, I found them at an electrical supply house in North Carolina.  Earl had extra electrical wire, and I bought the parts for a four outlet box at Gloversville True Value.   Yesterday was a good day to put it all together.

For those electrically challenged, like me (I don't know why electrons don't leak out of wall outlets and pile up on the floor), I googled the proper wire colors.  White is neutral (like the French battle flag), black is hot (like if you got fried by grabbing a hot wire) and green is ground (both start with G).  As my Irish Grandma O'Malley used to say, "Be the job big or small, do it well or not at all."

First, I wired the two outlets together.  Before connecting to the wire, it's a good idea to stick the wire through the box.

To make the outlets fit in the box, I had to snap off the tabs on the end.

Then Pam came by riding Jeremiah.

Then they trotted off, headed for Tolman Town Road, a public road between Bleecker and Mayfield that was either abandoned or never finished.

The finished box.  I had to cheat, though.  I didn't buy the strain relief clamp for the wire, so I wrapped a few yards of black electrical tape around the wire so it wouldn't pull out of the box.

This is the inside of the IP44 outlet.  The connection on the left is labeled "W" for white, and the bottom one has a symbol for "earth", or what we call ground.


I started up the generator and plugged in the cord, and a lamp into the outlet box.  I had light.

A check with the multimeter showed that I had correct polarity and 122.6 volts.   The hot wire is the slot on the right when the ground is pointed down, and I had voltage there, so I know the polarity is correct.

So our property now has power to charge a dead tractor battery, or to power tools when we start building our house, or to power our house because it will take months for National Grid to run power to my pole.  You can't even apply to get on their schedule until you have a building permit, and then it takes them four to five months to do it.   Seriously.  They claim that it's because many house building projects are never started.  I guess that's is the kind of customer service you get when you have a monopoly.

And that's probably why so many cabins in the woods are off grid.

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