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Old 09-18-2017, 01:34 PM   #1
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Adaptor: L5-30P to L14-30R

This is actually a portable electric generator-to-house question, but with hurricanes continuing to line up in the Atlantic, I figured the bona fide and armchair electricians on this forum could help educate me before the next one gets here. In a NEMA L5-30P 30Amp 125Volt Male Locking Plug (3 prong, like our generator) to an L14-30R 30Amp Locking Female (4 prong, like an electrical inlet to our house) adaptor (see link as an example), what exactly does "hots bridged" mean, and what does that do to the electrical capacity going in the male end and coming out the female end?
Locking Adapter NEMA L5-30P 30Amp 125Volt Locking Plug to L14-30R 4Prong 30Amp Locking Female Connector(Hots Bridged)-ADL530L1430 - The Home Depot
I want to know if using such an adaptor will rob me of generator output or just redistribute it around a bit - if that makes sense. Thanks in advance for any insight....
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Old 09-18-2017, 03:11 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by War Eagle View Post
...what exactly does "hots bridged" mean, and what does that do to the electrical capacity going in the male end and coming out the female end?
The L5-30 connection has only one line conductor, or "hot" connection, 120 volts away from the neutral; the L14-30 has two line ("hot") conductors, each 120 volts away from neutral and normally in opposite phase (so there is 240 volts between them). The "hots bridged" comment means that the two line conductors of the L14-30 side are both connected to the one and only line conductor of the L5-30 side.

Each conductor and contact on both sides is suitable for 30 amps. That means that the total current to house is limited to 30 amps (instead of 2 x 30 amps), but that's an inherent limitation of having only a 30-amp generator receptacle, not the fault of the way the adapter is wired.

Quote:
Originally Posted by War Eagle View Post
I want to know if using such an adaptor will rob me of generator output or just redistribute it around a bit - if that makes sense.
It does not limit the generator output, and does just distribute the power to all circuits in the house, so that does make sense.

It does not enable the operation of any 240 volt devices, because the two line connections of any 240 volt circuit are at the same voltage, instead of 240 volts between them; electric clothes dryers and ranges which you don't want to use on the generator anyway will have limited functionality.

This is the normal way that adapters for RVs work, to connect a 50A/240V RV (which uses a NEMA 14-50 plug) to a campsite with only 30A/120V service (the NEMA TT-30 receptacle which an Escape plugs into). All of the circuits in the RV then work, although they are sharing 30 amps total and no 240 V is available. RVs don't normally contain any 240 volt appliances anyway.
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:12 PM   #3
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Thanks, Brian. Makes perfect sense. It would make sense to upgrade our portable generator to take advantage of the house wiring, but after Irma, they are either back-ordered or priced at a premium. We can still get by fine as is, and as is, we are still more fortunate than many....
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