Eventually I plan to put in a subpanel and transfer switch or circuit-breaker interlock for several house circuits to run from my generator, with all permitting and inspections. But as a temporary measure until covid is over, would the following be OK, as a 'poor man's transfer switch'?

  1. Remove the desired circuit cables (some Romex, some two-conductor armored) from the circuit panel and terminate them in junction boxes with inlets sized for the amperage of the circuit, mostly 15-Amp, so NEMA 5-15(?)

  2. connect the emptied circuit breakers to appropriately-sized Romex and outlet boxes.

  3. Connect the inlet to the outlet through very short extension cords (plug and socket with a foot of SJOOW cord).

  4. This setup would be repeated for each circuit I wanted to be generator-capable.

  5. For times where generator or inverter power is needed, unplug the cord from the inlet and plug in the cord from the generator or inverter.

The setup would be quite similar to the answer by 'Harper - Reinstate Monica' here https://diy.stackexchange.com/a/168326/140350 except it is for entire house circuits: lights, outlets, the fridge, furnace, etc, instead of a single feed to one outlet.

Is it still permissible to put both the outlet and inlet in one box, per Harper's answer?

Will this temporary measure need to be inspected too, in order to be legal?

  • I am in New Jersey, USA. Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 23:36
  • That sounds like more work and expense than just going it right the first time. Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 23:55
  • 1
    I did something similar and mine passed inspection. I put the sub panel in and connected all of the circuits the generator was to supply in that panel. I then used a 50A 4 Wire plug and used that to feed the sub panel. Then I mounted two outlets compatible with the 50A plug. One was connected to a Breaker in the main panel the other went to the generator. When the power fails I just moved the plug. It is still in place even though I subsequently went to a whole house generator. Check your generator and be sure it is compatible with the grounding scheme, some are not.
    – Gil
    Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 1:18
  • @Gil, Fascinating, plugging in the whole subpanel! Especially that the AHJ went for it. Will have to check your idea with my town when I do the subpanel. Switched Neutral on a 'dime'! Are you in US too? Commented Aug 12, 2021 at 2:26
  • The Ohio Valley so we get our share of outages as well.
    – Gil
    Commented Aug 12, 2021 at 15:49


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