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Back-up generator connection




 
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K6JEK
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« on: November 12, 2019, 06:02:22 PM »

A friend just moved into a house with unused breakers labeled Solar PV. Can he use those for his back-up generator, he asked.

They aren't what you need, I said. You need a transfer switch to disconnect the house from the utility power and connect it to the generator. You could use those breakers labeled PV for your generator if they happen to be the right size and you re-label them, but they don’t substitute for the transfer switch.

How did I do. Did I get it right?
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w4bfs
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2019, 07:43:36 PM »

I suppose if someone wanted to tie an emergency generator to a load center that it can be done but is not advisible .... this would require understanding of what the disconnect / connect sequence would need to be .... this would need to be formalized into a written procedure with check off steps and the necessary disclipine to do this

I believe that the automatic transfer panel is a better idea but will require a generator capable of full house load (48 kW for a 200 Amp load center)  very expensive
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Beefus

O would some power the gift give us
to see ourselves as others see us.
It would from many blunders free us.         Robert Burns
K8DI
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2019, 09:09:37 PM »

Your neighbor needs something like this:

https://www.se.com/us/en/product/QO48M30DSGP/qo-loadcenter%2C-gen-panel%2C-30a%2C-1ph-3w%2C-4-sp%2C-nema-1%2C-door-surface-cover/

It's way less money than a 48kVA genset and an automatic transfer switch....

Basically you move critical loads (freezer/refrig/water pump/smoke alarms/a few outlets) from the main breaker panel to this one, then power this panel from the main panel and also the generator. Its two main breakers are physically interlocked so only one can be on at a time, meeting the code requirements that exist to prevent you from back-feeding the grid and killing the line repairman....

Ed
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Ed, K8DI, warming the air with RF, and working on lighting the shack with thoriated tungsten and mercury vapor...
WD4DMZ
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2019, 10:26:54 PM »

My son's house has this system. The sub-panel has a 30A outlet for a jumper to a 3,600 watt genset. Simple enough to power a few lighting and outlet circuits.

Rich
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K6JEK
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2019, 09:43:39 AM »

Thanks, guys. I appreciate the expertise.
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w4bfs
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« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2019, 01:31:23 PM »

yes thanks for the NEC update ... definately a better way but the homeowner needs to be educated as to what is Watt...

sorry couldn't resist the pun  Tongue
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Beefus

O would some power the gift give us
to see ourselves as others see us.
It would from many blunders free us.         Robert Burns
WD5JKO
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WD5JKO


« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2019, 01:48:53 PM »

Amazon offers a simple solution....

What could possibly go wrong?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0793Y1V48/ref=dp_prsubs_2?th=1

Pasted from above web page:

It is not recommended by electricians, because of it is very easy to touch the terminal with power.

If you followed the right steps, it can be done safely.

Waht is right steps?
1. Turn off your main breaker.
2. Plugin all the plug to connector in both of two side.
3. Make sure first one step is complete.
4. Turn on your generator.
5. Don't pull any plugs out when generator working.
6. Turn off your generator when you don't want to use them.
7. Pull out the plug.

 Tongue

Jim
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W1RKW
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2019, 07:01:50 AM »

maybe not the most cost effective way to go but it's the easiest.

https://www.portablegenerators360.com/generlink-meter-mounted-transfer-switch-review/
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Bob
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kb2vxa
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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2019, 07:12:20 AM »

Oh it IS the easiest way to go... on a one way ticket.


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73 de Warren KB2VXA
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WD4DMZ
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2019, 11:02:11 AM »

The Amazon set-up is what is used for RVs or would work in my sons house.

In the RV there can be no back feed since it does not provide any power. The larger portable gensets from Briggs and Honda etc have the 120/240V 30 amp female outlet for this purpose.

In my son's set-up there is a throw over switch to the sub panel with the 30 amp feed. When thrown over it just covers some lighting and outlets. For a home I would buy the longest and heaviest cord available to keep the exhaust from the genset well clear of the house. In fact, for an early Christmas present today I am giving my son a CO monitor/alarm just in case the wind is blowing towards the house.

I have a 30 amp genset and once did try to back feed thru the 120 amp outdoor circuit during a long outage. I opened the main CB before doing so. What could go wrong? Well, outdoor circuits have a GFI CB. It turns out they do not like to be back fed and not only did it open, the internals fried. Learned a lesson.

Now if there is a long outage I just run a fat cord into the house into a power strip. Much safer and easier.

Rich

Rich
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KD6VXI
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« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2019, 10:59:50 AM »

When I lived in Santa Cruz, Ca we had lots of extended power events.  Blackouts.

I used my dryer plug.

Shut off main breaker.

Hooked a custom 30A plug into the dryer outlet with a cord 50 ft long.

Plugged other end up to the generator.

Fire genny up.

Enjoy AC power while it's out.

I did 'prepare' the dryer outlet by putting a neutral wire and 4 wire socket on it and then had a pigtail with a 4 wire to old style 3 wire so the dryer could work again.


Took a few hours worth of work, the 8kw genny could supply more power than the 30A circuit breaker being backfed and it supplied power to everything, rather than having an 'emergency panel' with just the circuits I deemed important.

Downside, had to manually flip the main breaker.

Modern generators (its now NEC code) require a gfci on all outputs.  Makes the hack Amazon cord safer, but that still only powers half the stuff in your house (only one phase...  That can cause problems if you have a 220 powered item and it's trying to supply power to things in the opposite phase).

--Shane
KD6VXI

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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2019, 01:44:39 PM »

An industrial take out can be a good deal if found before it a broker grabs it and the price goes X5 for nothing! My 40K & 200A auto switch cost $1500 with 125 hours on all of it. A flatbed wrecker just scooped it up and away we went. In TX it's too hot so I want A/C. It'll run the house and shack with everything going full blast. No plugging or unplugging, barely enough time to light a candle before the lights are back. Most 3 phase units can be wired "zig-zag" to single phase 240 split single phase. The smaller 3 phase units go cheaper because industry wants larger stuff. Most commercial take-outs have been under maintenance contract and have very low hours even if it's an older unit. Also are USA-made prime-rated so they just run and run and run.
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W4EWH
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« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2019, 05:10:07 PM »

A friend just moved into a house with unused breakers labeled Solar PV. Can he use those for his back-up generator, he asked.

They aren't what you need, I said. You need a transfer switch to disconnect the house from the utility power and connect it to the generator. ...
How did I do. Did I get it right?-

Yes, you got it "right" - for the big-budget project with someone who wants the best and is willing to pay for it.

However, there are other ways, which are both UL-Listed and much less expensive. A simple physical block which requires that the main breaker be set to "off" before breaker which serves the generator can be turned "on" is all that the electrical inspector or your insurance company requires.

Take a look at https://www.ebay.com/i/172244594598?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-117182-37290-0&mkcid=2&itemid=172244594598&targetid=541453967412&device=c&mktype=pla&googleloc=9010267&poi=&campaignid=6470552634&mkgroupid=81274458647&rlsatarget=pla-541453967412&abcId=1139336&merchantid=6296724&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIzYDch-6D5gIVhZOzCh1FkQGxEAQYAiABEgLIjvD_BwE. Save the rest of the money for fuel and munchies, or a bigger TV set to watch everyone else doing without.  Wink

Bill, W4EWH
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« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2019, 09:38:04 AM »

The interlock that W4EWH suggests is almost exactly what I just installed. Mine is a different brand and for a horizontal main breaker. I can not close the top right breaker with the main on. That lets me mount a male connector in a box just below the panel. The generator cable is standard male on one end and female on the end that plugs into the house. No possibility of exposed hot pins.
Don
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KJ4OLL
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« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2019, 06:44:09 PM »

I really prefer the “CLACK”, makes me feel more secure about the electrical connection being safe.
Throwing the big handle provides the required noise!
So when the house needs to be switched over to the Diesel generator, any family member can do it w/o drama.


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