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I acquired a Briggs & Stratton "Storm Responder" 6250 watts, 8500 starting watts 1850-series 425cc generator. It´s American. I now live in Spain - were 240 volts as normal.

The generator has a couple of 120V outlets - and of interest to me, an outlet labeled 120/240 volts.

I have enough knowledge of wiring to have fully rewired a house in Europe and know the concept of Earth, Neutral and Live. There is a clearly marked earth wire arriving at the 120/240 volt socket - no problems there!
My question: which wires do I combine for the new 3-pin socket in a way that will give me 240V out rather than blow up my generator, me and anything in the area?

DETAILS OF EXISTING SOCKET:

  • grey wires feed into pin labeled X
  • Red cables feed a pin labeled W
  • Blue cables feed the pin labeled Y
  • Earth cables feed earth

As an alternative to installing a new 3-pin socket directly on my generator, I could purchase online a 4-pin male to 3-pin female adaptor - but those are described as for welding equipment (square profile pins for live and neutral)...my thought being, to then use a welding type plug to feed the three cables into a regular type couple of European multi-sockets both rated for 16 amps. I only want to power a few things like lights, fridge, computers and other low wattage kit.

Thanks in advance.

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    Europe(Spain) uses 240 volts on one hot wire, plus neutral and ground. America uses two 120 volt wires to have 240 volts, two hots, a neutral and ground. Makes life difficult trying to use American with Europe, plus Europe uses 50hz, not 60hz. Usually need a transformer or similar device between the two systems, instead of just changing plugs.
    – crip659
    Jan 12 at 15:59
  • If near a US military base, look around at local electronics stores for 240-to120 transformers to allow US gear to be run from Europe power. Rewire to run in 'reverse' with appropriate fusing. (Did this for years to run my European-bought stereo back in the US - the surplus transformers were dirt cheap at the local 'Electronics Dump'.)
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 12 at 16:48
  • You can use the two 240V terminals for 240V. Bear in mind that somewhere in or near your house one of the conductors may be bonded to ground, and in the US generator there is a different neutral, between your two lines, that may be bonded to the chassis that may be sitting on the ground ... so you may have a current path for a 120V potential between your house's neutral and one side of the generator. You have to get WAY into the weeds to make this work.
    – jay613
    Jan 12 at 17:00
  • Briggs and Stratton has European operations and one assumes it's close to the same generator for North America and Europe. Have you looked into an upgrade to see if you can swap one for the other?
    – gwally
    Jan 13 at 18:52

1 Answer 1

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This is largely impractical.

Your generator's 240V is 120V-neutral/ground-120V with 240V between the two hot wires, and 120V from each to neutral/ground

Your house power is 240V-Neutral/ground. One hot wire with 240V to neutral/ground.

That's not even getting into the fact that the generator is 60 Hz and the house power is 50 Hz. Which your computers and lights probably won't mind, but your fridge almost certainly will, as it will most likely be spinning 20% faster than designed.

While there are a variety of steps you could attempt to take to rectify these problems, the simple and safer solution is not to attempt modifying this generator.

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  • Sounds like you are right - even if it´s not what I wanted to hear! Appreciate ur time.
    – David
    Jan 14 at 8:30

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