To be able to use a portable generator one must be able to match the power cable with the outlet of that generator. Using cables that do not match the power outlet leads to loss in power being supplied to your appliance.
When you want to extend your power cord from your generator to your appliance you need to attach a cord with the same rating to the first cord. This will ensure that there is not much line loss in the power and your appliance gets the power it needs to work properly.
The Other Problem
There is also one other problem that you might face when using a portable generator. The outlet plugs may not match the plugs of your appliances since most of the portable generators only have duplex 120V 20 amp outlets and one 120V/240V 20 or 30 amp twist lock outlet.
When you look at the plug that your appliance has, you might also find that it does not match the outlet of the generator. For instance if you want to connect your RV to the generator you are going to need a cord with a plug that matches the RV inlet plug.
Common Type 5 Outlet
The most common types of receptacles found are the type 5 which are labeled according to the amps as 5-15R, 5-20R, 5-30R and so on where the number after the hyphen indicates the amps. These are 3 prong receptacles where you have the positive, the neutral and the ground.
Depending upon the amps that your appliance uses you will need a power cord that matches the amps of your appliance or is capable of a higher amps in order for it to deliver the power that your appliance needs.
Twist Lock L Types
The twist lock receptacle on the generator is a L type outlet. These outlets are usually labeled as L#-20R or L#-30R where the number after the hyphen denotes the amps and the R stands for receptacle. L5 are 3 prong and L14 are 4 prong receptacles where you have 2 positive, one neutral and one ground.
On a 4 prong plug, the 2 positive prongs supply 120Volts each which allows two 120Volt circuits to provide the 240Volts output. This receptacle is used to supply power to the transfer switch in your house which powers the whole house.
Other 3 Prong Receptacles
If you want to use this receptacle to power 240Volt appliances you will need a power cord that has the 3 prong receptacle to connect your appliance. These are known as NEMA 10 outlets which are usually designated as NEMA 10-30R where the 30 indicates the amps. Most Rvs use a TT type of an outlet and this is usually designated as TT30, which indicates 30 amps.
There are many choices that you have when it comes to power cords for your appliances but it is suggested that it is advisable to have a power cord of the appropriate length or a bit longer with the same rating as the generator output. Joining cords with different rating can lead to loss of power. If you have an appliance that uses a different configuration than the receptacle of the generator you will need to get an adapter cord with an outlet that matches your appliance.
Here are several adapters you may wish to consider: