How to Build a Generator Cord

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A homemade cord can fit your exact needs.
A homemade cord can fit your exact needs. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

To minimize the effects of unwanted noise and exhaust gases, including poisonous carbon monoxide, generators are located outside and away from the living area. Unless the generator is part of a permanently wired standby system, transferring the electricity from the generator to the house requires a power cord. Because generators vary in size, and households have different electrical needs, it can be difficult to buy a cord that exactly fits your needs. Creating your own cord ensures that it meets your requirements.

Things You'll Need

  • Outdoor-rated cord
  • Plugs for both ends of the cord
  • Wire strippers or knife
  • Electrician's screwdriver

Examine the plaque on the generator to establish its maximum wattage. The wattage divided by the voltage determines the current flowing through the cord. For example, a cord powering 6,000 watts of appliances at 110 volts carries a current of 54.5 amps. The calculation is 6,000 divided by 110 amps. To be safe, the generator cord rating must exceed the maximum current it will conduct. Purchase a suitable length of generator cord rated at the correct current.

Unscrew the retaining screws on both plugs to separate the plug body from the top. Place the plug tops and screws in a safe location. Use wire strippers to remove the final 3 inches of insulation from each end of the cord. Remove the final 1/4 inch of insulation from each individual wire.

Use an electrician's screwdriver to loosen the terminal screws. Attach the "hot" black or red wire to the brass terminal, the "neutral" white wire to the silver terminal and the bare copper or green-covered wire to the "grounding" terminal. This may be marked as GND. Ensure the terminal screws are tight enough to firmly grip the wires.

Fasten the cable grip around the cord. Gently pull the cord to ensure the cord grip prevents it from slipping out of the plug. Replace the tops on the plugs, ensuring that you do not pull or crush the wires as you do so. The cord is ready for use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ensure that your cord is polarized and has a grounding wire. Both are important for your safety.
  • Unless you are competent with electricity, consult a qualified electrician and do not undertake do-it-yourself electrical projects.
  • If you use a low-current cord that you overload, it may melt and catch fire.

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