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Author Topic: Generator Tails  (Read 6067 times)

Mike Sokol

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Generator Tails
« on: June 07, 2017, 08:55:37 am »

I'm evaluating the best way to build some new generator camlok tails for the shop, and wondering about the fan-out insulation. The overall jacket insulation is SOOW, but once you cut back the jacket to create the fan-out there's no real insulation except what's on the single conductors themselves. And that's the part that's often hanging out of the generator panel, sometime with sharp edges. I've had a few generator tails cut up this way over the years simply from the generator vibration over a long festival weekend. So for my new generator tails I've considered adding SnakeSkin over the individual conductors, much like Whirlwind does for their microphone snake fan-outs. Does any manufacturer make something like this? Am I being overly cautious or is this a reasonable concern? 

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Mike Sokol
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Generator Tails
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2017, 09:04:18 am »

I'm evaluating the best way to build some new generator camlok tails for the shop, and wondering about the fan-out insulation. The overall jacket insulation is SOOW, but once you cut back the jacket to create the fan-out there's no real insulation except what's on the single conductors themselves. And that's the part that's often hanging out of the generator panel, sometime with sharp edges. I've had a few generator tails cut up this way over the years simply from the generator vibration over a long festival weekend. So for my new generator tails I've considered adding SnakeSkin over the individual conductors, much like Whirlwind does for their microphone snake fan-outs. Does any manufacturer make something like this? Am I being overly cautious or is this a reasonable concern?
Mike, your concern is warranted.  SOOW cord needs to be fully terminated in a plug or enclosure for code compliance - you can't split out individual conductors as you have shown (though it's commonly done).  Snake Skin won't solve the code compliance issue, but may provide some physical protection.

You don't indicate what's downstream of this, but the right way is correct ampacity SC cable into an enclosure with a receptacle protected by the correct OCPD if you're using something like a Cali plug or 14-50.  I have a distro board with cam inlets feeding a pair of 14-50 receptacles that I use for this purpose.  It has a 100A main breaker and 50A breakers for each 14-50.  Parts cost was ~$300 - about the same cost of the set of 10' 2/0 tails I just bought.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Generator Tails
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2017, 09:51:45 am »

Single pole separable connectors are allowed only on singe conductor cables.  This assembly would not pass Code in most jurisdictions.  I still see such things used and have been known to look the other way, but I'm not an inspector.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Generator Tails
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2017, 10:08:22 am »

In this particular instance I want a 14-50P plug on the head end, with the camloks being plugged into my Lex distro. I plan to use maybe 15 ft of 6/4 SOOW portable cord. I have a number of venues that already have 14-50R receptacles in place, and I want to use my big Lex distro simply out of convenience since all my stage stringers plug right into it. I don't see the need for an OCP device on this tail set since by definition the 14-50R at the venue would need to be protected with a 50-amp circuit breaker to begin with. But those 18" lengths of unjacketed 6 gauge bother me. I did consider a junction box as you describe with a grommet strain relief for the 6/4 SOOW and panel mount cam outlets. But then I'll need to also build 5 ft cam/cam extension cables to interconnect between the panel cam outlets and the Lex distro cam inlets. Ugh. Is there any sort of SnakeSkin product that's SOOW rated? I don't need this to be UL listed, but I would like to follow code to the best of my ability. And as you note, this non-jacketed generator fan-out is something that's been done by the industry for decades. I just want a better way that's code compliant.
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Mike Sokol
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Generator Tails
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2017, 10:09:32 am »

Single pole separable connectors are allowed only on singe conductor cables.  This assembly would not pass Code in most jurisdictions.  I still see such things used and have been known to look the other way, but I'm not an inspector.

Do they make single conductor 6 gauge portable cord in SOOW? I've looked casually, but I can't imagine it's in high demand.
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Mike Sokol
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Generator Tails
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2017, 10:16:25 am »

Do they make single conductor 6 gauge portable cord in SOOW? I've looked casually, but I can't imagine it's in high demand.

I think I've just answered my own question. I'll order up 50 ft of this and band it together. That should keep everyone happy, I think...  ;D
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Generator Tails
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2017, 10:44:05 am »

I think I've just answered my own question. I'll order up 50 ft of this and band it together. That should keep everyone happy, I think...  ;D
Yep - Single conductor is "SC".  :)

For the letter of the law you're still in trouble because your 14-50 plug's cable clamp isn't rated for bundled single conductors, but it's a better situation than broken out SOOW.  Now we need to talk about using #6 wire for 50 amps.  :)  In this particular case #6 SC can handle it (unlike 6/4 SOOW which is only rated for 45a for 3 current-carrying conductors), but it's not a good habit.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Generator Tails
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2017, 10:52:25 am »

For those of you wondering, most of my gigs are in western Maryland and much of West Virginia where I've NEVER had an inspector show up. However, I have done a number of high-profile political gigs in Wash DC, and that place can be crawling with inspectors. Much of our distro gear is old legacy stuff which needs to upgraded anyways, so I'm trying to migrate out of it and be fully code compliant before the next election cycle puts me under the microscope.
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Generator Tails
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2017, 11:20:43 am »

I think I've just answered my own question. I'll order up 50 ft of this and band it together. That should keep everyone happy, I think...  ;D

Is that going to fit into the 14-50p? I had a difficult time with just the normal 6awg fan for mine.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Generator Tails
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2017, 11:25:16 am »

Is that going to fit into the 14-50p? I had a difficult time with just the normal 6awg fan for mine.

Yeah, that's the next thing to worry about. I don't know if anyone makes a 14-50P with a big enough strain relief, so I'll check around a bit.
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Mike Sokol
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Re: Generator Tails
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2017, 11:25:16 am »


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