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My Gas Generator Set-up

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Oldhippie, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I have been using two 3k generators that I back feed through outlets. One outlet is on one leg of the panel and one on another.
    Eventually I will set up a transfer switch.

    I recently ran a 220 line out to the garage for an arc welder I bought.

    MY QUESTION:
    If I use one generator and back feed through the 220 outlet I should energize both legs, Right?

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  2. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    #1 - If you are going to feed 240 to the house, the generator should have a 240/120 outlet. They are usually twist lock deals like so:

    [​IMG]

    #2 I'd recommend against just back feeding a regular outlet, as to do that you are giong to have to make a double male end, a.k.a. suicide cord. You might never forget to plug it in before starting the gen, but the one time you do forget will be the last. Better option is to get a dedicated generator inpout box so you can use a regular male to female cord.


    #3 For the same reason as above, if you are planning to backfeed the panel get an interlock breaker. Its cheap (under $100) insurance. All it takes is a moment of forgetfulness, accidentally leaving he main breaker on when you hook up the genny and you can kill a lineman.
    flyingcow likes this.
  3. bill3rail

    bill3rail Feeling the Heat

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    I figured I should bump this thread up to the top as it is that time of year to consider setting up the generators for house power.

    I am going to set up like Oldhippie has done here. All that I now need is some wire...
    It is safe and cheap. Without the suicide cord!

    Bill
  4. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot Burning Hunk

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    I have a 7000W portable generator that I connect to one of my panels via a socket on the outside of the house. It runs everything I need including the blower on the fireplace. It dawned on me however, at night, the blower was the only thing that needed power. The fridge and freezer were not being opened so they would be fine during the night without power. I started thinking about how to run my blower using my little Harbor Freight generator.

    Since the blower is wired into the panel I started to design a small transfer switch for a single circuit. During my research I came across exactly what I wanted at www.generator-switch.com. I went for convenience and ordered one. It was easy to install and doesn't cause any issues when using my big generator.

    The HF generator will run my blower for about 6 hours on 1 gallon of gas (2-stroke mix) while my big generator is rated to run about 8 hours at 50% load on 6 gallons. Now I just need a storm so I can save some gas. (Crazy? My wife thinks I am too.) The only reason I would have to run the larger unit at night is if the sump pump will be running. The HF unit is only 800W running.


    IMG_0979.jpg IMG_0978.jpg
    flyingcow likes this.
  5. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Who says your the village idiot?
    That's pretty cool
    I back feed the whole panel and only turn on what I need.
    Same thing, different approach.
    At least your way you no turning as much fuel as the big genie.
    flyingcow likes this.
  6. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    I will have a electrician come in soon and put a 3 way throw switch and outside plug. . But for now i have a 10 gauge cord that I plug form the 6400 watt generator to a plug beside my panel. I throw the main off first, shut down all circuits except for first floor lights. Fire up the generator and go back down in the basement and turn on just what i need at a minimum. Well water, wood boiler sub panel, a few lights etc. Keep all other two pole switches off. If i need to cook with electric range i would just run the the circuit for that. And chances are just use the stove top. I try to keep sensitive equipment,i.e desk top computer off. Not sure if anyone mentioned before the difference between clean electricity and dirty. My generator is just a basic unit.
  7. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot Burning Hunk

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    Good point about dirty vs. clean power. Unless you have an inverter generator, the power can be pretty dirty and do a number on sensitive electronics. I have my sensitive equipment connected to UPS units to keep them safe.
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Oddly, the really important and expensive stuff like computers and big TVs are protected by their universal power supplies that allow quite a range of voltage, hertz, and noise with ease. It's the oddball stuff like ceiling fans, refrigerators, and microwaves that are susceptible to damage if your power is really really dirty. Power quality has gotta be crap before it's bad enough to damage anything. Seems the inverter genset manufacturers make a bigger deal out of this than necessary.
    woodgeek likes this.
  9. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Note: My HF genny, like in the picture, can run my 1/3 hp Zoeller sump pump no problem. It 'labors' a little on the start, but has never popped the breaker. So I either run the sump OR my load-managed house (fridge, lights, etc). I have a battery backup on the sump, so seldom 'need' to run the sump during an outage..if I did, I would just buy a second HF genny.
  10. bill3rail

    bill3rail Feeling the Heat

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    I like the idea of a single circuit switch, but I did not know about it before I started my complete panel transfer switch. I see you only added the second one to save gas, but I do not think I will need to run it all night long, unless the pellet stove will stay on all night, which we rarely do.

    Bill

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