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Battery backup ,what are you using?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by nhdblfan, Jun 14, 2008.

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  1. nhdblfan

    nhdblfan Member

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    I have on order a Harman XXV and will hopefully have a order for 4 tons of pellets (energex) soon.The last piece of the puzzle (after picking up the stove,pad and pie,installing it and the picking up the pellets) is the battery back up.My neighbor uses a unit he picked up at BestBuy for computer backup.I think he said it was $70.00 which is a lot less then the several hundred the want for the Harman one.I am not quite surehow long this would provide power to the stove thou.
    Any one have some DYI suggestions?
    May just bite the bullet and go with a generator for the house @another 2-3K.Between the stove and the generator that would be 6-7k out of pocket this summer! Man I glad I own oil stocks to pay for all this !

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  2. mralias

    mralias Minister of Fire

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    I bit the bullet many years ago even before I had the pellet stove. Get both a generator and a UPS battery back up. The UPS will give you enough time to get the generator up and running to power the stove. Don't be cheap about it. Get a generator that will power most of your home. Things like, furnance, the ice box, well water pump if you have one, sump pump, etc etc.... some lights and a TV. You will not regret getting one. It is not hard to wire into fuse pannel if you are handy with electrical. A 30 amp breaker and some heavy duty 6 or 4 gauage wire and you are good to go for any power outage. I spent $1,000 for the generator for everthing including wire and breaker but that was ten years ago. You can get an 8,000 watt for about $1,300 which should do most of your home. Don't expect to run an electric clothes dryer, big microwave, airconditioner, or electric stove. Remember, this is for emergencies not a primary source of power. You don't need anything real fancy. $3k is more than you need. Look at Lowes or Home Depot or BJ's or even some on-line places. Good luck. You can also put it inside one of those sears outside plastic tool sheds. Not a big one...just big enough to fit the generator and run the wires through. Get one with an electric start as it is great in the winter to run out there and turn a key. The sheds are about $150 depending on where you buy. NEVER FORGET TO TURN OFF main 200 amp breaker before switching it over or you can fry the poor guy on the telephone pole. Good luck.
  3. FredJ

    FredJ New Member

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    I cheaped out. I bought a $20 500watt inverter. I pull my car on the lawn near the window by my stove, hook up the inverter to the car battery toss a extension cord throuh the window plug in the stove and let it go. the 500 watts should be more that enough to ignite the pellets. my stove manual says 340watts to start, but i use a little gel and a torch instead. I dont know how long the battery would last but in my experiments I let it go for around 45 minutes then start the car for a while then repeat. the inverter is suppose to shut itself off before the battery drains fully anyway. Power has never been off here for long so I cant see makes a few hundred dollar investment for something like the "official" battery backup. and dont forget- battery backups need the batteries replaced every few years. I know i'll get the "inverter doesnt give the right / filtered outputs" in response to this, but it does work fine so far.
  4. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    Inverter/battery would run the stove much longer but we decided on the UPS
    for surge and short blinks in the power as we already have a few of them in the house.

    We originally had the stove hooked up to an old APC 2200 but now using a APC RS 1300VA.
    The most we have gotten out of the 1300 so far, is about 40 mins with stove running on low.
    We also have a generator for longer duration if needed.
  5. FredJ

    FredJ New Member

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    good point but the surges and spikes can be filtered out with a Surge/Spike or line conditioner for 20-25 dollars more. dont confuse the cheapo power strips that say "surge protection"- those will only filter a 'long' surge and not the quick surges ( milliseconds) or spikes. get the ones that say they provide "$40,000 insurance" if there is damage due to spike/surge getting through and damaging equipment.

    also dont forget battery backups are constantly "on" using electric for their own charging and line monitoring 24hrs/day - Touch them, Heat=Electric being used - probably not too much a month, but to me every dollar counts and also Heat = damage to batteries, so be sure to test how long the UPS will run every 6 months or so. When its time to replace the batteries, if you have a 'lower end' UPS, roughly under $200, its usually cheaper to replace the entire unit vs just the batteries
  6. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Egads man ! There`s no need to have to shut off the main breaker if the system is installed by someone qualified and the proper equipment is used. You are no doubt scaring the OP out of buying a pellet stove. And 8,000 watts is gross overkill that simply wastes gas period. Bigger is not always better especially when it comes to energy. You can power pellet stove, water pump, sump, refrig, a few lights and more with 3500w and less.
    You will definitely need an emergency generator power transfer panel with at least 6-8 manual transfer switches .
    And you should have a qualified person (read: certified/licensed electrician) connect those circuits up to your existing electrical system. One screw up and the power company along with your neighbors will sue your a$$ for damages caused by backfeeding into their system. OK, I`m a bit overboard here but you need to get the message straight on this, as it`s important and can be dangerous to you and others if not done correctly.
    Lets see now.
    3500w generator---------$400-$500
    6 circuit transfer panel ....$325.00
    Qualified electrician....... 4-5 hrs @$75 per + mat`l......$500

    Total should be about $1300 or less. (Pay a lot more if you wish, your choice)

    However, a cheap way out of it (and reasonably safe too) is to just buy a small 1000-1500 watt generator set and run a good 3 wire cord directly to the pellet stove from the generator. Add a surge protector with 800-1800 joules protection , preferably more. Total cost from $200 $400 depending on gen set. It will be nice and quiet and last for hours on a gallon of gas.
    Be sure to ground any generator used with a 5/8" copper coated ground rod 6-8 ft long driven into the earth and use an acorn clamp with a short run of #8 solid copper wire , insulated or bare.
    Good luck,
    John
  7. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Oh, BTW If power goes out at my house for any length of time and I have to fire up my generator you can be sure I`ll be using my oil furnace and not the borderline pellet stove space heater that needs to run constantly. The oil furnace will heat the house to a set temp pretty quickly allowing me to shut the generator off for a few hours till the temp drops .
    The refrig and water pump does not have to run constantly either . Refrig`s can go 8-10 hrs without substantial loss if it isn`t opened often. Freezers go a day or more.
    These appliances need only an hour of power a few times a day to recoup for another extended off period. Plenty of water can be pumped and stored in a few minutes and then shut off. Toilets don`t have to be flushed with each pee taken either.
    Purchasing an oversized generator is akin to buying a Sears 2.5 HP vacuum cleaner. Why in hell would anyone need 2.5 HP to pick up dust is beyond me ?

    John
  8. mralias

    mralias Minister of Fire

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    Giovanni,

    I am not trying to talk anyone out of buying anything so please don't assume. There are many ways to wire a generator into an electrical system and I am not here to debate what you think is the right way or what is the wrong way. My point, in case you missed it, was to show what I have done at my house to keep things going in case of a power outage. Buy a 3500 watt generator and I'm sure you can get by for a few hours running a few light bulbs and your pellet stove. Have your oil burner and sump pump kick on at the same time and you risk too heavy a load on the generator. Why do I say this? Because I had a 4500 watt generator and fried it just becuase of that. I learned not to cheap it. The orignal poster want to know "what are you using?" So I have told him. Pure and simple.

    By the way. You would'nt perhaps be an electrician are you? Hmmmmmm?
  9. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    How did you guess?
    You fried a 4500 watt generator ? If your load was properly distributed and installed with the right equipment it should not have happened . But then again if your installation was not done by a professional there can be numerous reasons why it did.
    That said, my bro in law who is a building contractor has gone thru cheap one ($500 range ) in 6-8 months of rough useage but for home use they should last a reasonably long time.
    John
  10. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    OK, The following I took off the net and I think it summarizes what I have said earlier.
    It followed a suggestion that all anyone has to do is hookup a 30 a line from their generator into the dyer outlet and backfeed their electrical panel but that the main must be turned off.
    This is illegal in all states and very dangerous as I have said before.

    1. "Shutting off the main should prevent backfeed, unless your main is not set up correctly to begin with, which is always possible. I have read about feedback even when the main was shutoff.
    2. There is a danger of overloading the circuit you are plugged into if your generator is putting out more amps than that wire can carry, and that could cause overheating and a fire before it gets to the main.

    If you forget to shutoff the main you can KILL somebody. Not just hypothetical, but actual. A search of the internet will reveal stories of linemen getting killed.

    Some who do backfeed try to justify it by saying they won't forget to shutoff the main, and linemen should be properly grounding and testing before they handle the wires. Well fine, but that just leaves you 2 mistakes away from killing someone. Both of those mistakes can and do happen.

    A transfer switch, by design, does not allow the generator to backfeed through the main. It doesn't rely on you to remember to switch anything. The transfer switch mechanically either allows your selected house circuits to get power from the main or to get power from the generator, but not both at the same time. It is dummy proof.

    Another reason to have a transfer switch is so you can manage your loads. For example, if you have a 6 circuit transfer switch. One leg of the 240 feeds circuits 1-3, and the other leg feeds circuits 4-6. You balance the draw when you assign those circuits, and you have 2 meters on the transfer switch to view the draw off of each leg. In order to run a 240, you tie circuits #3 and #4 together so you are drawing from both legs."

    Failure to balance the load from a generator can indeed prematurely burn out a good generator.
    John
  11. wil lanfear

    wil lanfear Feeling the Heat

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  12. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

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    I have an eye on a good deal for a Vector Electromate generator. Basically a 1000W inverter/power supply that runs off a 12v battery. I figure it would run a back up boiler pump up to hours and I could just put in a fresh battery. I am not sure they make them anymore but it is an interesting item.
  13. mralias

    mralias Minister of Fire

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    Don't get me wrong....transfer switch is always the best way to go. Makes life much easier and simple to switch over. I'm still looking for a reasonable price on a 8 switch 30 amp transfer switch. Have not found one yet. My most recent generator, which was given to me (FREE best price) is a 7500 watt and does most of the house. It is not going through a dryer plug. It is on a switch. According to a master electrician I know he states that putting the breaker in the main panel and going through the proper switch over is legal as long as you have been insructed on how to do so. Nevertheless your point is well taken on the chances of hurting someone on the pole by a backfeed. So where might I find a reasonable priced 8 switch 30 twist lock transfer pannel? I'm willing to change for safety sake.

    ps: sorry about the hi-jacking of this thread I will not go beyond this last post.
  14. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Don't get me wrong....transfer switch is always the best way to go. Makes life much easier and simple to switch over. I'm still looking for a reasonable price on a 8 switch 30 amp transfer switch. Have not found one yet. My most recent generator, which was given to me (FREE best price) is a 7500 watt and does most of the house. It is not going through a dryer plug. It is on a switch. According to a master electrician I know he states that putting the breaker in the main panel and going through the proper switch over is legal as long as you have been insructed on how to do so. Nevertheless your point is well taken on the chances of hurting someone on the pole by a backfeed. So where might I find a reasonable priced 8 switch 30 twist lock transfer pannel? I'm willing to change for safety sake.

    ps: sorry about the hi-jacking of this thread I will not go beyond this last post.[/quote]

    I probably ought to apologize too for the hi jacking but my interest was the safety aspect.

    Here`s a link that might help. They even have the prices posted and it looks like fair trade price to me.. These or similar other brands transfer switches are usually available at any elec supply store.
    http://www.gen-tran.com/eshop/10Browse.asp?Category=MTS6-10

    John
  15. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

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    Hm... this looks like one of the easiest and cheapest ways to have power backup. Well pulling up my car with a power inverter might be cheaper, but not a viable solution for me.

    I'd only want backup for the pellet stove, Power outages only last for a couple hours max. No need to get that concerned with fridges/freezers. And candle light makes for a nice change of pace for a few hours :)



  16. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    This looks like it could be a workable low cost solution for a pellet stove backup. I`d be sure to check the actual voltage output and adjust if necessary and then use a decent surge suppressor at the stove.
    John
  17. wil lanfear

    wil lanfear Feeling the Heat

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    The ones I've received, the output voltage measured 110 ~ 113 volts. I've got to purchase another for myself, maybe a couple of them. I have a generator to meet the needs of the complete house, this is nice to just get my pellet boiler or someones pellet stove up and running quickly.
  18. JDenyer232

    JDenyer232 Member

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    Some local codes now require the use of a transfer switch to prevent backfeeding. You just have to forget once, or have a switched neutral and someone's gonna get hurt. Either plug directly into a small generator with a cord, or use a transfer switch if you gonna be running it off the panel.
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