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Thread: 30 amp generator circuit to 20 amp wire - ?

  1. #1
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    30 amp generator circuit to 20 amp wire - ?

    I may be missing something here. Looking for electrical advice.

    My generator has a 220v L14 30 receptacle and I have a 10 gauge generator cord that plugs in. I also have a heavy duty 12 gauge generator cord with two circuits for several 110v outlets along its length. It has a L14 20 plug so it doesn’t fit the first cord.

    I have a pretty good (basic) knowledge of wiring and electricity but here’s my question: I see there are L14 30 to L14 20 adapters available. Do they have a built in fuse or something to protect the 12 gauge wire? Or since this splits the 220v to two 110v circuits for the outlets does that step down the amps to 15 amps each circuit?

    Could I simply replace the L14 20 plug with a L14 30 plug? Seems the adapters I have looked at just change the plug configuration.

    Thanks in advance!
    Burt
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    Re: 30 amp generator circuit to 20 amp wire - ?

    if it is a plain extension cord there are no over current devices built into the various plug styles. The amp rating is what they were designed for, but in reality you could run any amount of current through that cord and burn it up. You can change the plug since they are both 4 wire plugs (2 hots, ground and neutral), but be careful of what you plug into the 12 gauge cord, and don't overload it/start a fire. More than likely your generator has a 30 amp breaker on that outlet. If you put the full 30 amps through one circuit of 12 gauge, things could get hot. But it all depends on the load draw of whatever you plug in really.
    Last edited by Louie1961; 11-02-2020 at 10:11 AM.

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  4. #3
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    Re: 30 amp generator circuit to 20 amp wire - ?

    As Louie mentioned you can change out the connector.

    The other thing to consider is what your generator is RATED at.

    Even with the 30amp L14-30 you wouldn't want to draw 30amps continuously on your genset unless it is rated for that type of load.

    Example.
    My Honda 6500 has the 30amp L14-30 because it can handle 27amps/240v briefly but in reality it is only rated at 5500 watts.

    so it can only handle 22 amps/240v continuously.


    What are you plugging into the L14-20 multi outlet extension cord?
    Last edited by Broccoli1; 11-02-2020 at 12:27 PM.
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    Re: 30 amp generator circuit to 20 amp wire - ?

    Thanks Louie and Ed.

    My generator is 7500 surge, 6000 running watts. I have a transfer switch at my house to power 10 circuits and it works fine. But I took my generator to my son’s house in Atlanta while he was out of power this past week. First time I tried to use these cords. He only wanted to run their refrigerator, freezer, and some lights. Also used the coffee maker and microwave a little.

    I’m just trying to be better prepared next time.

    So if I bought one of those adapters, i think it would not offer any better protection than just changing the plug to L14 30. Right?
    Burt
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    Re: 30 amp generator circuit to 20 amp wire - ?

    Your generator is 25 amp 240 volt
    I would just make a pig tail from L14 30 to L14 20.
    Since most generators today have a L14-30 plug and need to replace the generator. Later you just move the pig tail.
    This what I did with mine for range plug and a pig tail for my air compressor that use a 6-20R

    Even my old welder back 1980-s used L14-30

    Dave


    Quote Originally Posted by wb4rt View Post
    Thanks Louie and Ed.

    My generator is 7500 surge, 6000 running watts. I have a transfer switch at my house to power 10 circuits and it works fine. But I took my generator to my son’s house in Atlanta while he was out of power this past week. First time I tried to use these cords. He only wanted to run their refrigerator, freezer, and some lights. Also used the coffee maker and microwave a little.

    I’m just trying to be better prepared next time.

    So if I bought one of those adapters, i think it would not offer any better protection than just changing the plug to L14 30. Right?

  7. #6
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    Re: 30 amp generator circuit to 20 amp wire - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by wb4rt View Post
    Thanks Louie and Ed.

    My generator is 7500 surge, 6000 running watts. I have a transfer switch at my house to power 10 circuits and it works fine. But I took my generator to my son’s house in Atlanta while he was out of power this past week. First time I tried to use these cords. He only wanted to run their refrigerator, freezer, and some lights. Also used the coffee maker and microwave a little.

    I’m just trying to be better prepared next time.

    So if I bought one of those adapters, i think it would not offer any better protection than just changing the plug to L14 30. Right?
    If you don't need the L14-20 connector I would replace it with an L14-30

    You can find a quality Leviton 2711 30 Amp, 125/250 Volt, NEMA L14-30P for around $16.00 on Amazon.

    I think box stores have them as well.
    Ed Conley
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    Re: 30 amp generator circuit to 20 amp wire - ?

    Likely no protection built into the adapter but if you use the two 120 outlets sensibly you should not have a problem. The cord may or may not have protection but usually they are mechanical reset when they do have them so if no pushbutton resets it may not have anything either .

    Changing the cord cap or using adapter accomplishes the same thing but doing the cord cap is the more robust way to correct the mismatch.
    Last edited by danielplace; 11-02-2020 at 01:32 PM.

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