I had an old 5.5 kw 240 volt generator with a 240 volt plug that was three prongs only, two hots and ground. I connected it(main breaker to street power off) to a dual pole 20 amp breaker with the two hot wires and then the ground wire to the ground bar in the breaker box that every neutral and ground in the house was connected to and it ran the house just fine.

Now I have a new generator with a 50 amp four prong plug. Two hots, neutral and ground. I am thinking I can switch out the old dual pole 20 amp for a dual pole 50 amp and now that I have four wires instead of three still just hook the two hots (red and black, left and right plug prongs) to the dual pole breaker and neutral and ground (white and green, bottom and top prongs) to the ground bar that every neutral and ground in the house is hooked up to and that should run the whole house, up to generator limits. And yes to the interlock plate that makes sure the main breaker has to be off before you can turn on the dual pole the generator is hooked up to. Anybody see any problems on this setup?


1 Answer 1


I hope this is only a terminology problem.

Only ground wires (bare, green or green/yellow striped) are allowed on a ground bar in the panel.

The neutral (white) wire from the generator should be connected to the neutral bar in the panel (and actually all neutral wires, except those connected to a GCFI breaker, should be landing on the neutral bar).

In the main panel, the very first panel after the meter, and only in the main panel is it allowed to land ground wires on the neutral bar.

Other than making sure that you connect the neutral and ground on the correct bar in your panel, there is no problem with your proposed setup.

  • Thank you for the info. This actually is my main and only breaker box. All of the neutral and ground wires in the box, every circuit in the house, has both the neutral and ground wires going to the same ground bar in the box. There are no mwbc circuits in the house. Knowing about the common neutral and ground bar, do you think this will work?
    – John G
    Commented Jul 5 at 21:58
  • My house was built in 1978.
    – John G
    Commented Jul 5 at 22:00
  • @JohnG, I think your panel only has a neutral bar and as it is a main panel, it can be use for the ground connections as well. That is what I meant with the terminology problem. Commented Jul 6 at 16:47

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