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Generator placement?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by kast, Dec 13, 2008.

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  1. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    I see nothing wrong with doing what he is doing IF you fully understand what you re doing, know exactly how everything works, and are meticulous about following the proper protocol and steps for connecting and disconnecting the gen set.

    The people who are stupid are the ones who do not fully understand what they are doing and the ramifications if they make a mistake.


    BTW, I don't know this for a fact, but I would think a generator would likely die as soon as it's connected the grid because it wouldn't be capable of meeting the load demands for the surrounding area.

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  2. lass442

    lass442 New Member

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    "Linemen are suppose to ground and/or short the power lines before they are work on them in case of a back feed. There is also in-line knife switches on power lines so they can turn off sections. If they forget to do their safety procedures, they deserve to be zapped."

    While you're right, lineman safety protocol is to check the reclosure switches to be sure they're open, and a few other steps, because many people just don't know what they're doing when they run a generator. In your case, however, you are fully aware of safety hazards to yourself, your family and to the utility workers. At least you know enough to run it safely, shutting off your main as the first step. But you're serious when you say that if a lineman, who's been working since Thursday night and might not be home this week, forgets a step in THEIR safety procedures ( which were developed because of homeowner ignorance), that he deserves to be electrocuted.... REALLY??? Lance, I'd be interested in what you do for work.
  3. ResOps

    ResOps New Member

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    Wow Lance- a few items in response:

    A) ever forget anything before? Turning off the main breaker is great if you never forget but your betting someone elses life on it. Do you actually lock the main open with an approved lock-out device? Do you verify the main is open with a meter? Breakers do fail!

    B) I don't know why you bring up your amp draw, the transformer on the pole is looking at the voltage (pressure) on the secondary (120v from the genset) and reverse stepping up to the distribution side ( 7200 volts and up) Your 'assumed load" is irrelevant....100>140 mA will kill -and at 7200!!.

    C) The comment about Linemen checking and grounding is great. I hope your local ones get a copy of how you feel. Yes they ground out lines before working on them and there are procedures that on a clear day in a perfect world always happen. Then theres mistakes that occurr after 30 hours in the freezing rain, snow or other catastrophic event.
    If your smart enough to know how to back feed a panel you should be smart enough to wire a genset in right.

    D) see bold in note C - Surges are not only produced by utilities or lightning strikes - I'll let you find the answer to that

    Your lack of regard for the NEC /ESA codes which regulate electrical installations and lack of concern for electrical workers is disheartening.
  4. ResOps

    ResOps New Member

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    Wet1 there is something extremely wrong with this besides being an issue of NEC regs - my point is if your smart enough to do this (which is an illegal connection) then your smart enough to do it correctly! There is a reason this is not legal.
    And if a generator died as soon as connected there would be no fatalities because of them. Do a search , theres quite few of them. My Honda will run until it finally trips the breaker on it - and that takes a while

    The whole question I can't understand is why not do it the approved 'legal' way? Oh it does cost a little more! Is that the issue?
  5. wilbilt

    wilbilt New Member

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    The problem as I see it with backfeeding a panel without an interlock device is the human brain.

    Sure, one can be careful about the proper procedure, shutting off mains before connecting anything, etc., etc.

    But it is possible to forget things, especially under times of stress. It would be very simple for me to backfeed my panel, and it would make life easier when using the generator, but I would rather be safe than sorry.
  6. ResOps

    ResOps New Member

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    You Sir hit the nail on the head ~
  7. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    I do a lot of things pertinent to my own field that I would never advise a layperson to do. The responsibility is just too great, the likelihood of someone misreading too high, and consequences too dire.
    If someone is willing and able to go ferret out information on their own and learn how to do something that's fine. But feeding it to them in a condensed version knowing full well that they are likely to screw it up somehow is something I find irresponsible.
    Why do it at all?
    Why not just say "consult an electrician" and let it go?

    Heck in this world they could hold both you and the website you posted on responsible.
  8. mralias

    mralias Minister of Fire

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    If you really want some interesting reading on hooking up a home generator take a look at this web page. linky poo It would be real helpful if one or two of the electrician's that post on this board give their opinion on this site as I would appreciate it. I particularly found the part on neutral and ground bonding issue. Found out that my Troybilt is one of those that bounds the neutral and ground to the same place on the generator and of course it also happens in my breaker box. So.......I did have to make a modification to the generator to make sure the flow is as it should be.

    As far as the interlock switch goes....my opinion is to get a sub-panel, (Connecticut Electric 30 Amp, 10 Circuit Manual Transfer Switch Kit) that is made for a generator switch over. Cost about $300 for 10 circuit to do it the right way.

    Lastly, I store my generator in one of those small poly sheds, Suncast 4 1/2 x 3 ft. Garden Shed, Horizontal, that you can get at sears. I put it right next to the house and run the 6/3 supply line through the side of the shed using some flex conduit and fittings. When I run it, I open it all up and when done it will lock down nicely. Big chain into big rod into the ground to make sure it does not get stolen.
  9. ResOps

    ResOps New Member

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    good link alias,
    I recommended that site to a few friends. I see Lances install is there under ANOTHER DANGEROUS INSTALLATION lol
    Oh and if you browse the forum I did make mention of unbonding generators for use with home circuits a few days ago. But that's another whole big issue
  10. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    Here is a copy of a post I made a short while ago on the DIY board. It reinforces the important comments about safety, UL listed hardware and the NEC others have made on this board/thread.

    "Here we go! Safety for yourself and others has to be your primary concern when working with electricity. Your secondary concern has to be not to cause property damage (fire, appliance damage from electrcal surges and appliance damage from too little voltage) to your property and that of others. The word appliance in this case refers to any device run by electricity. Your tertiary concern is how to get electricity safely to the various appliances in your house so you can enjoy the comforts of life during a power outage. If you do not know exactly what you are doing and the probable consequences of your actions please do not “experiment” to see what happens. You could and probably will be “shocked” at the consequences of your screw up. You are working with 100 to 200 amps of current. When misused, this can be very destructive to property and fatal. If you do screw up be prepared for a civil case of financial liability and the possibility that your insurance company might deny your claim.

    Do not, under any circumstances make up an extension cord with a male connector on each end. This is inviting big trouble. The only safe and legal way to connect a generator to your main panel is through a properly connected Transfer Switch listed by Underwriter’s Labratory (UL) and installed according to the National Electrical Code (NEC). I am not a licensed electrician but I have done lots of wiring over the years and have installed at least two transfer switches and inlet boxes. If you know what you are doing and you understand electricty this work is not difficult but you must know what you are doing and it must be done right. The consequences of screwing up are just too severe.

    If you have a 400’ deep well pump you will probably need at least 20 amps@ 240 volts to start/run the pump. Then include the TV, computer, refrigerator, furnace, lights in the bathrooms, a kitchen outlet for coffee, kitchen lights, a bedroom light, etc. You can probably get by with a 5,000 watt generator; 6500 watts is better. Be certain you tell the dealer from whom you are buying the generator that it will be used for home backup power. Some generators must have a neutral/ground bond to meet OSHA requirements for job site electrical safety. That neutral/ground bond might have to be broken/disconnected for home backup power. Be certain to look into this feature on the generator you use.

    Go to the Gen-Tran web site for lots of wiring diagrams and info. Many public utility web sites also have wiring diagrams which conform to NEC and your local code requirements.

    Sorry about the lecture (it was intended to help and not offend) and the long post. I hope this information provides some help and direction about using a generator for home backup power.

    Best wishes and good health."

    For what it is worth, I am running a Honda EU6500is generator. It easily powers my 20A@240 volts well pump, television, computer, refrigerator, garage door openers, basement lights, lights and fans in bathrooms, furnace, outlets in kitchen (coffee), and other lights and outlets which are not too important. These unimportant lights and outlets are on the same circuits as the important appliances so they are also energized when running on generator power. I wouldn't try to run all these appliances at once with the 6500 watt generator but it fills my needs and comfort very nicely when used discretely.
  11. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    I fully understand where you're coming from, but I tend to agree with Cearbhaill:
    Would I suggest back feeding the house to anyone? Absolutely not... but if someone knows what they are doing, it can be done relatively safely.

    Anyway, I think we've beat this horse enough. We all know this can be dangerous and that it's generally accepted to be unsafe and bad practice. Let's move on...
  12. imacman

    imacman Guest

    I agree!!!! :roll:
  13. lass442

    lass442 New Member

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    http://members.rennlist.org/warren/badgen2.html I agree that it's time to move on. I just want to say this, though. I don't think that Lance1 is "profoundly stupid", but yet another homeowner who believes that he's doing it right, but knows that it's not quite legal. 'It's ok because nothing bad has happened so far, and I know what I'm doing.' 'If those guys did their job right, that guy wouldn't have gotten killed.' It's the mentality of "I know what I'm doing." If you did know what you're doing, you wouldn't have an issue bringing it up to code so that it's safe and legal. But whatever... you're doing it much safer than so many others out there, I'll give ya that much credit.
  14. Lance1

    Lance1 Member

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    The only difference between what I do and the code is the transfer switch box. This switch is code basically as an 'idiot proof' device. Personally, I follow strict procedures.

    A lineman is responsible for their own safety by following safety procedures, period.
  15. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    Doh! That statement ought to be enough to keep the newbs
    fired up for at least a couple more days. I got a front
    row/beer/popcorn. [​IMG]
  16. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    move over and make some room for me...
    Junior mint? ;-)
  17. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Yep, here we go again....... :roll:
  18. kast

    kast New Member

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    Nothing yet! ill keep checking back. :)
  19. ResOps

    ResOps New Member

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    Yes thats right - the only difference between being legal and illegal is the switch. I hope you never have a fire while your cost saving measure is in place because insurance isn't going to cover it
    And yes this thread has been beat up enough
  20. Lance1

    Lance1 Member

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    How would a fire start from the lack of an 'idiot proof' device?
  21. ResOps

    ResOps New Member

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    electrical is one of the top causes for house fires and one of the first things checked. Non-compliant wiring in a house could void a policy - look into it.
  22. Lance1

    Lance1 Member

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    That doesn't answer my question.
  23. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    And yet you continue to kick the horse... Can we please move on?
  24. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    If they missed a safety procedure, and you blatantly violate the code and another safety procedure is it still their fault? Because you are too cheap to spend the 300 bucks on a entire kit to wire the generator safely! So according to you someones life is worth (who is trying to restore your power) is worth less than 300 bucks. Because they have been up 10+ hours working in adverse weather conditions and due to fatigue miss a step. Or how about you forgot to hit the main and utility power is restored, and your generator turns into a stick of dynamite and your house burns down. But hey you still saved 300 bucks on that manual transfer panel!
  25. Lance1

    Lance1 Member

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    Aren't you being silly, one can play the "what if" game all day long. Safety is (should be) an electricians #1 concern. Safety procedures is the first thing done on a jobsite before work continues. Losing an unsafe electrician will save lives/property farther down the line.

    It's not a matter of saving some bucks, I don't need an idiot proof device to hook a generator while keeping the safety of others and myself a priority, others do, the reason for the code.
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