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Coyote33
12-15-2008, 09:08 PM
OK, who has one?
How many watts?
What brand/model?
What do you like about it?
What do you dislike about it?
Gas? Propane? Diesel/kerosene?
Would you recommend for or against this one and why?
What are your suggestions?

I was thinking I'd pick up a small one for the house. The wife got sick of bailing and said "You know that generator you've been talking about? Get it!".

Anyhow, just wondering how big I need to go, and what is a good brand for bang for the buck. I mainly NEED one for the sump pump, water well pump, and maybe lights to brush teeth by. I might WANT one to also power the Becket oil burner for the furnace (steam, no circulator pump here). I prefer something a bit on the quiet side, but not outrageously so. I imagine extra large mufflers could be fitted to most anything, right?

Anyhow:
Honda
Homelite (saw a good one of these for $575 with Yamaha motor) at Home Depot
Pramac EG or HG 2800 or Storm5000 with Subaru motor at Home Depot
Honeywell Portable Generator — 5500 Watt, 11 HP, Gasoline, Model# HW5500 (http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200369637_200369637)
Generac GP Portable Generator — 3200 Watts, Model# 5724-0 (http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200369672_200369672)
All Power America Propane Powered Generator — 2800 Watt, Model# APG3535 (http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200359574_200359574)
Honeywell Portable Generator — 4000 Watt, 9 HP, Gasoline, Model# HW4000 (http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200369636_200369636)
Other?

Let's hear from the masses.

doobie
12-15-2008, 09:12 PM
Honda ES6500.
6500 watts, gasoline, love it since Friday AM. Going to convert it to propane and get a 200-500lb tank on my front lawn.

I've been noting some flickers when the fridge kicks in, possibly because I've been using lights for the first time instead of flash lights.

Geoff C
12-15-2008, 09:14 PM
I'd get something like this put in regardless of which generator you purchase. We have installed a bunch of them.

http://www.amazon.com/Reliance-Controls-Transfer-Switch-Kit/dp/B000BQN4T2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1229393571&sr=1-1

zzrider
12-15-2008, 09:18 PM
Homelite 5700 watt. Yamaha gas engine, 7gal gas tank. $599 at Home Despot.

I bought it spur-of-the-moment to get through this long term outage, because it was available, cheap, and I needed it, now.

I'm actually quite happy with it and I'm now glad that I DIDN'T spend more on a bigger whole-house genset like I had considered in the past. Seems to have plenty of power, is reasonably quiet, runs for a damn long time on a tank of gas (~12 hours), and cost less than my PC (which would be useless right now without it).

So far, the only thing I don't like about it is that it's not diesel, and it doesn't have a voltmeter or ammeter.

Now I just have to get a transfer switch and external plug wired to properly tie it into my house circuits, and we'll really be all set.

I know it won't last forever, but I'll take care of it and when it does eventually croak, I'll replace it with a somewhat more robust diesel genset of similar wattage.

Coyote33
12-15-2008, 09:26 PM
I wonder if we could do a group buy on these. If only we bought a container or a couple pallets of these, we'd be rich.

Thinking ahead, could always do this with sump pumps, leaf blowers, air conditioners, or other high-demand items.

EddieCoyle
12-15-2008, 09:29 PM
I wonder if we could do a group buy on these. If only we bought a container or a couple pallets of these, we'd be rich.

Thinking ahead, could always do this with sump pumps, leaf blowers, air conditioners, or other high-demand items.

As long as your wife's letting you buy one, why don't you join up as a green member and participate in the developing group buy?

RKG
12-15-2008, 10:00 PM
Some cautions about generators:

1) These are not DIY installs. Attempting to apply a standby genset to an installed circuit system in a house without doing it right invites lethal threats to both the occupants of the house and third-parties (i.e., occupants of other houses on the same side of the transformer and utility workers trying to restore power). I am not a fan of those circuit-by-circuit transfers (such as the one in the Amazon link); you really need a "critical circuits" panel that can function as a sub-panel under utility power and a main panel under genset; the transfer switch, in addition to switching the hot legs and the neutral, must also make the bond under genset and lift it under utility. Spending the cost of a qualified electrician is money well spent.

2) All liquid or vapor-fueled gensets emit large quantities of CO. Installs must take this into account.

3) A vapor-fueled (propane) generator requires some fairly large bottles, not simply to provide enough fuel, but to maintain vapor pressure in the cold.

4) In many, if not most, towns, gas pressure in street gas systems is inadequate to sustain even small (10-15 KW) gensets. These usually require 12-14" WC; in most towns, you'll be lucky to see 6"WC. In some towns, the gas company can increase pressure by swapping out the regulator; in many, low pressure is inherent in the system and cannot be ameliorated by any practical means.

5) Liquid-fueled gensets present a whole host of fuel management issues. It is hard (and can be dangerous) to store a useable amount of fuel, and if you do, it will likely become stale before it is used (and, in the case of diesel, is likely to gel if stored in the cold).

6) Gensets should be sized on the basis of the starting loads of critical circuits. For most folks, critical circuits are the heating plant, refrigerators and freezers, sump pumps, and (for those on well water) potable water pumps. Forget about powering lights (LED flashlights will give you all the light you need for the duration, on a handful of batteries), TVs and the like. An outdoor propane grill can supply your cooking needs.

7) Small gensets are not designed for continuous duty, and most will not handle even sustained duty at more than 50% rated capacity. The good news is that you can cycle the genset on and off to handle house heating and refrigeration chores, which are themselves cyclical.

8) A genset must always be isolated from load when started and then isolated from load before being shut down.

9) A genset must be wired with its own earth ground.

terraformer
12-15-2008, 10:16 PM
I'd get something like this put in regardless of which generator you purchase. We have installed a bunch of them.

http://www.amazon.com/Reliance-Controls-Transfer-Switch-Kit/dp/B000BQN4T2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1229393571&sr=1-1

They have automatic ones for $600 that are far safer and can serve the whole house. These require someone to have a clue. The auto ones don't and are safer for everyone involved as a result.

EddieCoyle
12-15-2008, 10:17 PM
They have automatic ones for $600 that are far safer and can serve the whole house. These require someone to have a clue. The auto ones don't and are safer for everyone involved as a result.

We own guns. We have a clue.

drgrant
12-15-2008, 10:22 PM
They have automatic ones for $600 that are far safer and can serve the whole house. These require someone to have a clue. The auto ones don't and are safer for everyone involved as a result.

I don't see what's "unsafe" about a manual transfer switch as long as it's installed and wired competently. "Unsafe" is ghetto wiring an appliance through your existing panel without any regard to other problems you could cause. These switches, when installed correctly, are explicitly designed to isolate circuits- they don't take a PHD or rocket science to actually use. [grin]

-Mike

clinotus
12-15-2008, 10:24 PM
Some cautions about generators...

Very informative post!

Bruce for NH State Rep
12-15-2008, 10:26 PM
I've got a 5,000-watt Coleman Powermate (transfer switch in basement is only rated for 5K watts, anyway) and it rocks.

In 30 minutes or so, it will be going into its 100th hour of non-stop use.

Will run all night easily on a tank of gas. The transfer switch in the basement ties into the circuits for the microwave, furnace, well pump, refrigerator, and hot water heater.

Extension cords run the filtration system and the circulatory pump, the blower for the wood burning insert, small kitchen appliances, laptops, rechargeable lantern, tabletop lamps, Christmas tree lights, etc. (just not all at the same time).

Best investment ever.

Bruce for NH State Rep
12-15-2008, 10:38 PM
Here's my high-tech setup:

That's the side door on my attached garage. Easy and quick refueling, even in slippers.

http://home.comcast.net/~massbackwards/generator.jpg

Bruce for NH State Rep
12-15-2008, 10:39 PM
One more tip: CHECK YOUR OIL!

terraformer
12-15-2008, 10:44 PM
I don't see what's "unsafe" about a manual transfer switch as long as it's installed and wired competently. "Unsafe" is ghetto wiring an appliance through your existing panel without any regard to other problems you could cause. These switches, when installed correctly, are explicitly designed to isolate circuits- they don't take a PHD or rocket science to actually use. [grin]

-Mike

I meant to install. Yes, flipping a switch is not difficult, but ensuring the circuit is isolated and getting it installed right is. The stuff at that link is easy enough to install that Joe The Homeowner [wink] would attempt it. If you go with a whole house transfer switch, you are ensuring two things, A) it is installed by an electrician and B) that there are no circuits paired beyond the switch. Hence why the DPU here in MA has mandated certain standards for inter-connects which is effectively what generators are when you think about it from the wiring perspective, except with a generator, you open one circuit before you close the other. With a true interconnect, you actually want the energy to go out the other direction if there is a surplus so you want both circuits closed at the same time.

tele_mark
12-16-2008, 06:29 AM
We own guns. We have a clue.


I'd be careful with a blanket statement like that. See "Po-fesh'nul Foo-tay", and Westfield MG Shoot.

Palladin
12-16-2008, 08:10 AM
mine:

http://www.eaton.com/EatonCom/Markets/Electrical/Products/ResidentialProducts/GeneratorsandPowerTransferSwitches/StandbyGenerators/index.htm

doobie
12-16-2008, 09:11 AM
One more tip: CHECK YOUR OIL!

Do you have to check that it is good or just that you have oil? I've been checking that I have oil....

Also, I have my generator directly hooked into my breaker, but I ensure I throw the main breaker before turning the circuit and turning on the generator....someone told me this is bad because the neutral will float to 120v since it usually just passes through in the main panel? If this is the case what is the best thing to do, just remove the neutral as it comes into the panel?

kiver
12-16-2008, 09:19 AM
Not quite a generator question then again it is. I have natural gas piped in however need electricity to fire up the boiler. Can I get away with just a back up battery rather then a generator?? Water is also gas heated as is stove....I know I am up shits creek if there is a gas line problem, but more then likely I will be installing pellet stoves in the near future.

doobie
12-16-2008, 09:29 AM
Not quite a generator question then again it is. I have natural gas piped in however need electricity to fire up the boiler. Can I get away with just a back up battery rather then a generator?? Water is also gas heated as is stove....I know I am up shits creek if there is a gas line problem, but more then likely I will be installing pellet stoves in the near future.

The question is how long will the battery last. In theory if it takes 12 volts or you have an inverter you can run it. Likely the boiler doesn't need a lot of power to start, but the pumps to move the water might.

Bruce for NH State Rep
12-16-2008, 09:36 AM
Do you have to check that it is good or just that you have oil? I've been checking that I have oil....

Also, I have my generator directly hooked into my breaker, but I ensure I throw the main breaker before turning the circuit and turning on the generator....someone told me this is bad because the neutral will float to 120v since it usually just passes through in the main panel? If this is the case what is the best thing to do, just remove the neutral as it comes into the panel?

Best idea is to check the manual for oil replacement info.

I tend to err on the side of caution, so I check the oil level every day, and will probably change the oil altogether if the outage lasts another two days or more.

As for the question about throwing the main breaker, it depends how your system is wired.

One other note: Watch out for leaves and yard debris blowing around the generator. I went out last night and a tarp had blown across the yard and was resting against the generator.

appraiser
12-16-2008, 10:24 AM
I have a Honda inverter, will give me 1600 watts, enough to run heat/ fridge/ a few lights/ TV, It burns 3 gallons of fuel/day, and because it is an inverter it is voltage and frequency stable which means it won't fry your electronics.

A generator is not consumer electronic friendly.

appraiser
12-16-2008, 10:30 AM
Honda 1600 watt inverter, 55 pounds fueled, portable, voltage and freq. stable for safe use with home electronics ( a generator can fry a 2000 dollar tv in a second)

Runs my heat. fridge lights, no 220 for the well though.

tele_mark
12-16-2008, 10:42 AM
Coleman 1850 "MegaPulse" -- 5 gallons per 24 hours, plenty of power for the fridge, sump, heat/hot water, and a light or two, pulse charging the cell and scanner batteries.

Pilgrim
12-16-2008, 10:44 AM
I've got a 5,000-watt Coleman Powermate (transfer switch in basement is only rated for 5K watts, anyway) and it rocks.

Will run all night easily on a tank of gas. The transfer switch in the basement ties into the circuits for the microwave, furnace, well pump, refrigerator, and hot water heater.

Best investment ever.

Same setup I have. I wish it was a bit bigger cuz the lights dim a second when the well kicks on.

I have an electric stove so that can't be run by it but with a gas grill and a wood stove, ...plus two more fireplaces if necessary....I'm all set.

calsdad
12-16-2008, 11:12 AM
Drove up to Maine and bought a Honda EU2000i on Saturday. It's got an inverter built in - so it is electronics friendly. I was able to power the circulator pump on the boiler, the refrigerator, and turn on a few lights/and or watch the TV and DVD. Just had to be careful about what we tried to run at any one time.

As soon as I can get around to it I will install a transfer switch.

jdubois
12-16-2008, 11:13 AM
All this generator talk has me wondering, where the heck are the residential fuel cells they've been promising us for a few years now?

calsdad
12-16-2008, 11:18 AM
All this generator talk has me wondering, where the heck are the residential fuel cells they've been promising us for a few years now?

I remember reading something about those over the summer - I think it was Honda that had come out with one - but it was still prett darn expensive and was not worth it economically vs. using regular piped in NG or fuel oil.

PaulD
12-16-2008, 11:23 AM
Some cautions about generators:

1) These are not DIY installs. Attempting to apply a standby genset to an installed circuit system in a house without doing it right invites lethal threats to both the occupants of the house and third-parties (i.e., occupants of other houses on the same side of the transformer and utility workers trying to restore power). I am not a fan of those circuit-by-circuit transfers (such as the one in the Amazon link); you really need a "critical circuits" panel that can function as a sub-panel under utility power and a main panel under genset; the transfer switch, in addition to switching the hot legs and the neutral, must also make the bond under genset and lift it under utility. Spending the cost of a qualified electrician is money well spent.


So I take it you're against backfeeding the house even if the main breaker is off/open? If so, what are the other dangers?

clinotus
12-16-2008, 11:33 AM
All this generator talk has me wondering, where the heck are the residential fuel cells they've been promising us for a few years now?

Pages 202 through 213. (http://books.google.com/books?id=FLNCovxKl7IC&printsec=frontcover#PPA213,M1)

News Shooter
12-16-2008, 11:36 AM
Drove up to Maine and bought a Honda EU2000i on Saturday. It's got an inverter built in - so it is electronics friendly. I was able to power the circulator pump on the boiler, the refrigerator, and turn on a few lights/and or watch the TV and DVD. Just had to be careful about what we tried to run at any one time.

As soon as I can get around to it I will install a transfer switch.

PM sent

center442
12-16-2008, 11:46 AM
So I take it you're against backfeeding the house even if the main breaker is off/open? If so, what are the other dangers?

That was my question also. I have a "welder's plug" (installed by an electrician) connected to my main panel. When I need to run the generator I do the following:

1) Make sure the main breaker is off; usually flip it several times to make sure it isn't stuck and just appears off.

2) Attach generator to earth ground

3) Start generator and let it stabilize

4) Use heavy cable (made by electrician) to connect output of generator to welder's plug.

This allows me to backfeed any circuits in my house that I deem in need of power.

I have seen this type of setup several times at people's homes. I always make damn sure the generator is off and disconnected before I flip the main to go back on the grid.

Is there any danger in doing it this way, other then if I would be stupid enough to flip the main back on before disconnecting the generator?

When the electrician was working on the panel I asked him about (hypothetically) doing this. He chuckled and basically said "It's illegal as hell, but safe as long as you're not stupid. Also a lot cheaper."

zzrider
12-16-2008, 11:46 AM
Inverter generators are nice because they can be more efficient - the engine only has to run as fast as is needed to cover the load. A regular generator has to run at a constant speed to maintain voltage, regardless of load.

But that doesn't mean conventional non-inverter generators are necessarily bad for electronics. If they have decent automatic voltage regulators, there is no problem.

I've been running 3 computers, a TV, and the DirectTV receiver off our non-inverter generator for two days straight now with no problem.

zzrider
12-16-2008, 11:51 AM
That was my question also. I have a "welder's plug" (installed by an electrician) connected to my main panel. When I need to run the generator I do the following: (snip)


so are you feeding in 220v from the generator then?

We're still without the oil burner and running water because I'm not at all comfortable with feeding my panel directly like this; we're just using the generator directly to run certain things outside of the house wiring. I need a transfer switch...

terraformer
12-16-2008, 11:51 AM
Is there any danger in doing it this way, other then if I would be stupid enough to flip the main back on before disconnecting the generator?

When the electrician was working on the panel I asked him about (hypothetically) doing this. He chuckled and basically said "It's illegal as hell, but safe as long as you're not stupid. Also a lot cheaper."

Let's say you never screw up, never get it wrong. Than no, it is not an issue. But why force yourself to be perfect when a perfectly good solution is to get a solid switch which if thrown one way opens one circuit, closes the other and vice-versa. This way you can never be stupid. This way it is never a risk. Right now you are at risk, especially in a high stress situation, of doing it wrong.

drgrant
12-16-2008, 11:54 AM
I've also heard that circuit breakers are not infalliable WRT providing true isolation from the mains. Given this I would -never- "backfeed" a circuit. There are likely other problems aside from the "electrocuting the lineman" thing.

A real transfer switch is cheap insurance. They even make transfer switches that just have ONE switch- eg, it goes between the mains and your entire breaker panel, if you want to have the option of running the whole panel.

-Mike

center442
12-16-2008, 11:55 AM
so are you feeding in 220v from the generator then?


Yes. My Generac has an outlet that provides the full capacity of the generator to one 220V outlet. It was one of the reasons I bought that particular model rather than a cheaper one at a similar capacity.

zzrider
12-16-2008, 12:06 PM
Yes. My Generac has an outlet that provides the full capacity of the generator to one 220V outlet. It was one of the reasons I bought that particular model rather than a cheaper one at a similar capacity.

Yeah my Homelite has a 30a 220 output also, which is ultimately what I want tied in to the panel via a transfer switch


They even make transfer switches that just have ONE switch- eg, it goes between the mains and your entire breaker panel, if you want to have the option of running the whole panel.


See now I'd be happy with something like that; actually this is exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for. I'd have no issue with just shutting off all the breakers except for the few circuits I wanted, if I had a single full-panel transfer switch. Where would one find such a device?

Devo
12-16-2008, 12:06 PM
I am an electrician and work for the electric utility, please do your lineman a favor and get a transfer switch. To those of you worried about not opening off your main breaker, if you don't you're genset will fry trying to power up the entire neighborhood.

center442
12-16-2008, 12:23 PM
Let's say you never screw up, never get it wrong. Than no, it is not an issue. But why force yourself to be perfect when a perfectly good solution is to get a solid switch which if thrown one way opens one circuit, closes the other and vice-versa. This way you can never be stupid. This way it is never a risk. Right now you are at risk, especially in a high stress situation, of doing it wrong.

I hear you, terraformer. I currently have a sheet of directions, sealed in plastic, stapled next to the panel. The first two steps read:

1) Turn off main breaker on panel.
2) GO BACK AND MAKE SURE YOU DID #1.

I understand what you are saying about stress causing mistakes, and I agree.


I've also heard that circuit breakers are not infalliable WRT providing true isolation from the mains. Given this I would -never- "backfeed" a circuit. There are likely other problems aside from the "electrocuting the lineman" thing.

A real transfer switch is cheap insurance. They even make transfer switches that just have ONE switch- eg, it goes between the mains and your entire breaker panel, if you want to have the option of running the whole panel.

-Mike

drgrant, I plan on having the panel replaced/updated this summer. I like your idea of a simple transfer switch off the main. This would allow me to do what I am doing now and takes out the "stupid error" factor. I want to keep the flexibility of feeding the whole panel with the output from the generator. I can use the breakers in the existing panel if I need to cut circuits in and out. I haven't needed to do that yet. As long as I don't try to run the electric stove, clothes dryer, or air conditioner, the generator handles everything else pretty well.

As usual, NES proves to be quite educational, and not just about firearms!

+1 to both of you for the information. [grin]

Kaos116
12-16-2008, 12:23 PM
http://www.interlockkit.com/faq.htm

zzrider
12-16-2008, 12:36 PM
^^ Very informative, thanks Kaos!

See now I had never even heard of a "backfeed breaker". This seems to be exactly the sort of arrangement I was looking for.

dwarven1
12-16-2008, 12:37 PM
My cow-orker, who is still without power in Winchendon, found these generators (http://www.mainpowerconnect.com/product.asp_Q_brandID_E_29_A_catID_E_89_A_subCatID _E_81_A_Standby_aircooled_Generators_E_Standby_air cooled_Generators) on the web. Seem like good deals if you want that size generators.

P-14
12-16-2008, 12:41 PM
Here's my high-tech setup:

That's the side door on my attached garage. Easy and quick refueling, even in slippers.

You forgot to chain and padlock it to the fence! Without a leash, they tend to wander off........

center442
12-16-2008, 12:42 PM
http://www.interlockkit.com/faq.htm

Excellent! That looks like exactly what I'm looking for. If I understand it correctly it makes it physically impossible for the main and the generator feed to both be live at the same time. It should allow me the convenience of what I'm doing now with an added margin of safety.

I see that it is NEC approved; now I have to find out if it's approved for use in the PRM. [thinking]

tele_mark
12-16-2008, 01:28 PM
Amazon has lots of generators like this Blue MAx (http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Max-4-Stroke-Generator-GEN4000B/dp/B001IDZ7VU/ref=pd_bbs_sr_10?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1229452004&sr=8-10). The price seems too good to be true -- is it?

Or this one : 4000 Watts with 220 output, $350 (http://www.amazon.com/Eastern-Tools-Equipment-TG4000-Generator/dp/B000P9UOB6/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1229452004&sr=8-1)

Bruce for NH State Rep
12-16-2008, 01:49 PM
You forgot to chain and padlock it to the fence! Without a leash, they tend to wander off........

The dark gray thing crossing the threshold next to the light gray power cord is a cable lock that's looped through the frame and secured with a padlock inside the garage.

drgrant
12-16-2008, 02:40 PM
Amazon has lots of generators like this Blue MAx (http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Max-4-Stroke-Generator-GEN4000B/dp/B001IDZ7VU/ref=pd_bbs_sr_10?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1229452004&sr=8-10). The price seems too good to be true -- is it?

Or this one : 4000 Watts with 220 output, $350 (http://www.amazon.com/Eastern-Tools-Equipment-TG4000-Generator/dp/B000P9UOB6/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1229452004&sr=8-1)

Looks like chinese junk- probably puts out a square wave AC. [laugh]

If I was cheap I would probably buy one of those "screaming beast of borneo" contractors special jobs with the obnoxious side valve briggs motor on it before I looked at a $350 chinese genset.

The only chinese generator I like is Kipor... at least they mostly ripped off existing Honda designs. Buddy of mine picked up an IG2000 and it seems to work pretty well. Quiet, starts easy....

http://www.kipornorthamerica.com/

Edit: From the reasearch I've been doing though, Honda, Yamaha, and Onan seem to have the best
service/parts networks.... so if you're buying one for the long term, those brands may be better, although you will pay more for them up front, too.

-Mike

Bruce for NH State Rep
12-16-2008, 02:57 PM
Here's a Generac 5000W (http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/Generac-5622/p1858.html?source=froogle&utm_source=froogle&utm_medium=shop+portals#reviews) for $749. Not too bad a deal.

kevin9
12-16-2008, 03:02 PM
So I take it you're against backfeeding the house even if the main breaker is off/open? If so, what are the other dangers?You also got to be careful not to overload the outlets on the generator and house, and cable connecting them. Larger generators are not going to be able to feed all their output through a single 110V outlet, and your house plug and wiring won't likely be able to take it either. Back-feeding at 110V through 15A circuits and plugs only gives you a capacity of 1650W. Doing it through a dedicated 220V circuit is safer, although still not as safe as a transfer switch.

calsdad
12-16-2008, 03:13 PM
Yeah my Homelite has a 30a 220 output also, which is ultimately what I want tied in to the panel via a transfer switch



See now I'd be happy with something like that; actually this is exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for. I'd have no issue with just shutting off all the breakers except for the few circuits I wanted, if I had a single full-panel transfer switch. Where would one find such a device?

That's exactly what I would like to do - rather than using the transfer switches that only give you a limited amount of circuits. I would much rather have a "switch" that totally disconnects me from city power - then allows me to feed the entire existing panel from a generator.

I haven't seen anything that allows this type of setup though.

calsdad
12-16-2008, 03:17 PM
That's exactly what I would like to do - rather than using the transfer switches that only give you a limited amount of circuits. I would much rather have a "switch" that totally disconnects me from city power - then allows me to feed the entire existing panel from a generator.

I haven't seen anything that allows this type of setup though.

Maybe I can answer my own question - here is a place that has single circuit transfer switches with high capacity:

http://www.nooutage.com/SINGLESW.HTM

kiver
12-16-2008, 04:26 PM
The question is how long will the battery last. In theory if it takes 12 volts or you have an inverter you can run it. Likely the boiler doesn't need a lot of power to start, but the pumps to move the water might.

No pumps it is a one zone closed steam system. HMMM Thanks Doobie

zzrider
12-16-2008, 07:30 PM
The earlier discussion on backfeeding the panel gave me a thought...

I have an existing 220v 40a breaker in my panel right now that feeds the pool heater, which is obviously not being used now. I'm thinking I could just disconnect the heater and scavenge that breaker to backfeed the panel from the 220v output of my genny. Of course, I do realize that the main breaker needs to be off.

Anyone doing something similar? Good idea? Terrible idea?

calsdad
12-16-2008, 08:01 PM
The earlier discussion on backfeeding the panel gave me a thought...

I have an existing 220v 40a breaker in my panel right now that feeds the pool heater, which is obviously not being used now. I'm thinking I could just disconnect the heater and scavenge that breaker to backfeed the panel from the 220v output of my genny. Of course, I do realize that the main breaker needs to be off.

Anyone doing something similar? Good idea? Terrible idea?

I don't believe this is really the correct way to do it - but it should work.

To be perfectly safe you need to either have a transfer switch which definitively disconnects the utility power from your breaker panel before you supply power to it from the generator - or you need to physically remove the main breaker from the panel.

There was some discussion on one of these generator threads about how simply switching the main breaker is not a absolute guarantee that you are not somehow backfeeding into the utility circuit.

That being said......

When I got my generator home on Saturday - I found that I could not disconnect my main breaker from the panel, so I simply switched it off.

The Honda EU2000i that I bought only supplies 120v power - so I ran a double male ended extension cord from the generator to an outside outlet that I already have installed on the house. Then I fired up the generator. I found when I went inside that I was definitely getting power because the sump pump was working. The problem was that all the 120v things I wanted to run: the boiler circulator pump - and the refrigerator - were on circuits that were on the other leg in my breaker box. So to jump the 120v to both circuits I took the twist lock plug off my compressor power cord (220V) - cut about 3 inches off the end of said compressor cord - and stripped out one of the three wires and made a jumper wire that went back into the male twist lock connector to connect the two hots in the 220v plug - when I plugged this back into the main power drop for the compressor I had hooked both legs of the breaker box together and I now had 120v on all the circuits in the house.

We just had to be careful what we turned on at any one time. But I did not have to run cords or anything else to get power to all the appliances and lights we needed to run.

As soon as I can I will be installing a real transfer switch - even if I stay with the 2000 watt EU2000i - just to be safe. But what I really want is a single circuit transfer switch - so I can just cut the whole house off - and supply the entire house from the single generator - not just specific circuits.

kevin9
12-16-2008, 09:17 PM
I've got a 5.5KW Central Machine generator with an 11HP B&S gasoline motor. It can take a battery for push-button start, but it's easy to pull start. The generator is pretty simple with two 20A 110V outlets, two 220V outlets, all with push-button breakers, and no other gauges or controls. It does not have a low oil cut-off. I installed an outside connector and 6 switch transfer box (only 2 circuits are currently connected).

It's +20 years old. My dad bought it to be used in building their house in Maine. He used it for construction a couple of weeks a year for 10 years then essentially gave it to me ~7 years ago after we moved out to the sticks. This was the first time I used it for any length of time.

It's rather noisy and the gas tank is about 2 gallons so we were only able to run it for 3 hours at a stretch before it runs out of gas or the DW starts twitching from the noise. On the other hand it works as advertised, the price was right, and it is enough to keep us functional.

RKG
12-16-2008, 09:35 PM
So I take it you're against backfeeding the house even if the main breaker is off/open? If so, what are the other dangers?

If you mean feeding a critical circuits panel by some means that does not, by itself, isolate that panel from the utility connection, then yes this is both dangerous and a violation of the Code.

(About a year or so ago, an old double-toggle transfer switch failed to isolate at a local public school. Generator started and was running when the utility power came back. This actually spun a good sized diesel engine backwards for a couple of seconds before the whole thing exploded. Great fire, on which a civilian came within inches of putting a water-filled hose line before the first due backed him off.)

RKG
12-16-2008, 09:38 PM
That was my question also. I have a "welder's plug" (installed by an electrician) connected to my main panel. When I need to run the generator I do the following:

1) Make sure the main breaker is off; usually flip it several times to make sure it isn't stuck and just appears off.

2) Attach generator to earth ground

3) Start generator and let it stabilize

4) Use heavy cable (made by electrician) to connect output of generator to welder's plug.

This allows me to backfeed any circuits in my house that I deem in need of power.

I have seen this type of setup several times at people's homes. I always make damn sure the generator is off and disconnected before I flip the main to go back on the grid.

Is there any danger in doing it this way, other then if I would be stupid enough to flip the main back on before disconnecting the generator?

When the electrician was working on the panel I asked him about (hypothetically) doing this. He chuckled and basically said "It's illegal as hell, but safe as long as you're not stupid. Also a lot cheaper."


Any installation that depends on user action to isolate utility before connecting genset is both dangerous and a serious Code violation.

Considering the potentially huge (and possibly fatal) consequences of an unintended make-before-break (and the potentially huge liability you face), the cost of a real transfer switch, professionally installed, is small potatoes.

RKG
12-16-2008, 09:39 PM
Let's say you never screw up, never get it wrong. Than no, it is not an issue. But why force yourself to be perfect when a perfectly good solution is to get a solid switch which if thrown one way opens one circuit, closes the other and vice-versa. This way you can never be stupid. This way it is never a risk. Right now you are at risk, especially in a high stress situation, of doing it wrong.

Assuming he had one, the electrician that installed this for you should have his licensed pulled.

Jayvs
12-16-2008, 09:55 PM
http://www.interlockkit.com/intro2.htm

Why not use a kit like this. It interlocks the main with a breaker for use with a generator. It is ul listed and perfectly legal to use. This is also available locally from standard electric.

Jason

Coyote33
12-16-2008, 09:57 PM
Honda 1600 watt inverter, 55 pounds fueled, portable, voltage and freq. stable for safe use with home electronics ( a generator can fry a 2000 dollar tv in a second)...

I haven't heard of a single instance of this happening in this current outage so far...




Yeah my Homelite has a 30a 220 output also, which is ultimately what I want tied in to the panel via a transfer switch

See now I'd be happy with something like that; actually this is exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for. I'd have no issue with just shutting off all the breakers except for the few circuits I wanted, if I had a single full-panel transfer switch. Where would one find such a device?

Which Homelite? From Home Depot?

I am also interested in this same device for the same reason(s). Just plug into panel and individually choose which circuits go on.

Coyote33
12-16-2008, 10:04 PM
...

strangenh
12-16-2008, 10:22 PM
All this generator talk has me wondering, where the heck are the residential fuel cells they've been promising us for a few years now?

http://www.acumentrics.com/products-fuel-cell-home-energy.htm - about $50K [shocked]

http://www.whispergen.com/ - less expensive but not true fuel cell system.

zzrider
12-16-2008, 10:25 PM
Which Homelite? From Home Depot?

I am also interested in this same device for the same reason(s). Just plug into panel and individually choose which circuits go on.

Yes, Homelite 5700 from Home Despot. Been running nonstop for about 55 hours so far. My computers seem to be satisfied with the quality of its power.

RKG
12-16-2008, 10:28 PM
I've also heard that circuit breakers are not infalliable WRT providing true isolation from the mains. Given this I would -never- "backfeed" a circuit. There are likely other problems aside from the "electrocuting the lineman" thing.

A real transfer switch is cheap insurance. They even make transfer switches that just have ONE switch- eg, it goes between the mains and your entire breaker panel, if you want to have the option of running the whole panel.

-Mike

They do make such switches, but in most residential situations, the genset isn't capable of carrying the whole house load (particularly when you take into account motor starting loads), and so the more common way of doing this is as follows:

Utility leads from from meter to Main Panel main breaker.

Non-critical circuits are fed from the main panel.

About 30-60 amps taken from the main panel (via a DP breaker) to a the "Utility" side of a transfer switch (either manual or automatic), which is rated for about 125% of the value of the breaker on the main panel or the breaker on the genset, whichever is larger.

Generator is wired to the "Genset" side of transfer switch.

Common (output) side of transfer switch is wired to a "critical circuits" panel, with individual breakers for each critical circuit. Note that the neutral and ground are not bonded inside this panel (as it is functioning as a sub-panel when utility power is available).

Ground in the CC Panel is taken to the transfer switch, and wired to the bonding pole. This bonds the neutral and ground in the CC panel if, and only if, the transfer switch is on the "Genset" side (in which case the CC panel is now functioning as a main panel). If the transfer switch is "auto," additional wiring is taken to the genset to trigger the auto-crank cycle.

Since the transfer switch need only be rated for the capacity of the CC panel (say about 60A), it will be far less expensive than one sized for the whole house (usually 200A), which the genset couldn't carry anyhow. The last time I looked a good, manual BBM, hammer-fired 100A-rated transfer switch can be had for about $400.

On the question(s) re: lube oil:

Check your manual, but in the absence of different advice therein, a good rule of thumb is that oil and filter should be changed every 25 hours of testing run and every 100 hours of sustained run under load. It is always prudent to check oil level before starting any engine, but virtually all generator engines with pressurized lube oil systems will have a low-oil shut down switch, which will open ignition if pressure drops below the set point. (This is why you need extra cranking to start such engines; the LOC has to pump up before the ignition circuit is completed.) Note that smaller, "splash" lubed engines do not have LOCs, which is another reason why they should not be allowed to run unattended.

center442
12-16-2008, 10:47 PM
Any installation that depends on user action to isolate utility before connecting genset is both dangerous and a serious Code violation.

Considering the potentially huge (and possibly fatal) consequences of an unintended make-before-break (and the potentially huge liability you face), the cost of a real transfer switch, professionally installed, is small potatoes.


Assuming he had one, the electrician that installed this for you should have his licensed pulled.

I agree with everyone as to the transfer switch. It is on my short list of things to do. I plan on updating/replacing the panel soon anyway, so this will not add a huge cost to the work.

Actually, the electrician who installed the welding plug did so for just that purpose. I asked him a hypothetical question. At the time the work was done I didn't even own a generator. He was very clear that this would violate code. I have only had two occasions to use this setup, and I am extremely careful when I do, but I agree it is not the best solution. Reading this thread has convinced me that the transfer switch is the way to go.

I will do so. [grin]

RKG
12-16-2008, 10:51 PM
http://www.interlockkit.com/faq.htm

Interlocks are not as good as double-throw switches, because separate switches are used for the line and genset disconnect. If the interlock fails, you could end up with a backfeed and the potential for fireworks.

A double throw switch eliminates this risk. E.g., Square D series DTU.

Jasper
12-16-2008, 10:53 PM
If you mean feeding a critical circuits panel by some means that does not, by itself, isolate that panel from the utility connection, then yes this is both dangerous and a violation of the Code.

(About a year or so ago, an old double-toggle transfer switch failed to isolate at a local public school. Generator started and was running when the utility power came back. This actually spun a good sized diesel engine backwards for a couple of seconds before the whole thing exploded. Great fire, on which a civilian came within inches of putting a water-filled hose line before the first due backed him off.)

i remember that story! we got a good laugh at work.

FWIW, this man speaks the truth (also an electrician)

if you want to run your whole house? fine. it can be done. a 20kW kohler would *usually* do the job nicely. the genny alone is roughly $4500, the transfer switch is another $600, plus a 20circuit/100amp panel (i prefer Murray over the SquareD QO crap they try to sell you with it)

couple hundred dollars for the concrete pad....about $1500 in materials/labor to install it, and probably another $500 or so in labor (time) to trace out the existing circuitry in the house to isolate the stuff you NEED on a generator. (note, you dont NEED your plasma and computer on a generator...we're talking fridge, heat, a couple of centrally located lighting circuits, water (if needed), and septic (if needed)

generator = back up, not replacement.

RKG
12-16-2008, 10:54 PM
Maybe I can answer my own question - here is a place that has single circuit transfer switches with high capacity:

http://www.nooutage.com/SINGLESW.HTM

That's an interlock. I'm not sure interlocks are code compliant in Massachusetts, and they are no where near as safe as DT switches.

RKG
12-16-2008, 10:54 PM
The earlier discussion on backfeeding the panel gave me a thought...

I have an existing 220v 40a breaker in my panel right now that feeds the pool heater, which is obviously not being used now. I'm thinking I could just disconnect the heater and scavenge that breaker to backfeed the panel from the 220v output of my genny. Of course, I do realize that the main breaker needs to be off.

Anyone doing something similar? Good idea? Terrible idea?

Terrible idea.

Dangerous idea.

Violation of the electrical code.

skuter
12-16-2008, 10:58 PM
Honda EM6500SX 6500 watts (gas powered) . Runs well pump so we get water, heating circulators (we have outdoor wood boiler), freezer & refrigerator, electric oven & stove top, Plasma TV, 3 computers and any lights we want. Running non-stop since Friday Dec. 12. Still no street power.

Connect through 30 amp connection with outside plug. Wired directly to main electric panel Reliance TTV2003D with manual lockout. Any circuit in the house can be on the generator.

http://www.reliancecontrols.com/ProductDetail.aspx?TTV2003D

This setup has been a godsend. Still don't know when we will get street power.

Jasper
12-16-2008, 10:59 PM
Interlocks are not as good as double-throw switches, because separate switches are used for the line and genset disconnect. If the interlock fails, you could end up with a backfeed and the potential for fireworks.

A double throw switch eliminates this risk. E.g., Square D series DTU.

also, agreed. interlock = bandaid on a bullet wound


i do disagree with the Reliance 6/8/10 circuit manual transfer switches though.

you CAN isolate the neutrals, but its technically not *required*. personally, i don't unless the situation requires a GFCI/AFCI. then again, i typically avoid them. (we do *mostly* 20kW+ sized Kohler's with Kohler ATS's)

if i were to put a genny in my own house, it'd be a Kohler with their ATS

PaulD
12-16-2008, 11:19 PM
Check your manual, but in the absence of different advice therein, a good rule of thumb is that oil and filter should be changed every 25 hours of testing run and every 100 hours of sustained run under load. It is always prudent to check oil level before starting any engine, but virtually all generator engines with pressurized lube oil systems will have a low-oil shut down switch, which will open ignition if pressure drops below the set point. (This is why you need extra cranking to start such engines; the LOC has to pump up before the ignition circuit is completed.) Note that smaller, "splash" lubed engines do not have LOCs, which is another reason why they should not be allowed to run unattended.

Your last statement about splash lubed engines is not correct. Some of them certainly do. In fact, I've even seen it on older (like at least 10 years) generators with Briggs engines.

Here's a newer example: http://www.powermate.com/generators/product_detail.php?model=PM0435005

RKG
12-17-2008, 06:41 AM
I have never seen a splash lubed small engine with a LOC, and, lacking any input about oil "pressure," I can't imagine how they would work. That said, I suppose anything is possible.

pdm
12-17-2008, 09:22 AM
i remember that story! we got a good laugh at work.

FWIW, this man speaks the truth (also an electrician)

if you want to run your whole house? fine. it can be done. a 20kW kohler would *usually* do the job nicely. the genny alone is roughly $4500, the transfer switch is another $600, plus a 20circuit/100amp panel (i prefer Murray over the SquareD QO crap they try to sell you with it)

couple hundred dollars for the concrete pad....about $1500 in materials/labor to install it, and probably another $500 or so in labor (time) to trace out the existing circuitry in the house to isolate the stuff you NEED on a generator. (note, you dont NEED your plasma and computer on a generator...we're talking fridge, heat, a couple of centrally located lighting circuits, water (if needed), and septic (if needed)

generator = back up, not replacement.

Some of the Kohlers I've been looking at come with an automatic transfer switch. The 12kwH one that I like has a 12 circuit panel and a polymer pad that doesn't require poured concrete. Pretty slick, actually. Of course, for that "savings" you'll incur the cost of putting in a propane tank and all the gas fittings.

PaulD
12-17-2008, 09:29 AM
I have never seen a splash lubed small engine with a LOC, and, lacking any input about oil "pressure," I can't imagine how they would work. That said, I suppose anything is possible.

Now you have. This is the engine that powers the generator I linked to previously. It says it's "splash type" lubrication and it doesn't have a spin on oil filter (something every pressure lube engine I've seen has).

http://www.vietgen.com/uploads/catalogs/EX30-10HP.pdf?VGid=4824942c04d2df6b9cacd2096dbe1671

zzrider
12-17-2008, 12:20 PM
Terrible idea.

Dangerous idea.

Violation of the electrical code.

Advice taken. I did go as far as buying a 4-prong genny plug but thinking hard about it now, I'm not going to do it. Practically everyone I know is backfeeding their panel through some jury-rig like this, but I'm just not comfortable with it. We're warm, we can cook & heat water, and we have lights, phone, TV, and computers. I guess we can live without running water and the oil burner.

But the first thing I'm going to do when this is over is contract an electrician to install a proper generator transfer switch.

massgun
12-17-2008, 12:36 PM
This is a repeat of the post I just put in the Members forum for the benefit of any non-members interested in generators.

I bought a Honda EM5000SXK1 back in 1999 from these folks: http://www.mayberrys.com/honda/generator/html/maingenerator.htm
At the time, I couldn't find these generators anywhere in Mass. These folks had it in stock and sent it motor freight (I had to pick it up at the terminal). I also got a GenTran transfer switch with 8 circuits, all for $2453.00. I saved over $400.00, plus no sales tax, (aside from the fact I couldn't find one anywhere local) and I had it in 3 or 4 days.

I had an electrician wire up the transfer switch and picked the 8 circuits I wanted to feed. I fire it up and run under load several times a year as instructed. It is a little noisy, but has plenty of power for my needs.

Since many of you seem to be interested in the Honda EU2000i, I just called them and was told they have them in stock, shipped, insured, to your door for $899.00. If you want/need a generator now, check these folks out, I highly recommend them. I did ask about a quantity discount and was told the number would have to be pretty high (over 50) before they would consider lowering the price.

Chris
12-17-2008, 12:59 PM
Now you have. This is the engine that powers the generator I linked to previously. It says it's "splash type" lubrication and it doesn't have a spin on oil filter (something every pressure lube engine I've seen has).

http://www.vietgen.com/uploads/catalogs/EX30-10HP.pdf?VGid=4824942c04d2df6b9cacd2096dbe1671

Neither my Generator or my scooter have a traditional oil filter filter. The Generator has a low oil circuit. And I know the scooter has a pressure oil system.

doobie
12-17-2008, 01:09 PM
Honda EM6500SX 6500 watts (gas powered) . Runs well pump so we get water, heating circulators (we have outdoor wood boiler), freezer & refrigerator, electric oven & stove top, Plasma TV, 3 computers and any lights we want. Running non-stop since Friday Dec. 12. Still no street power.

Connect through 30 amp connection with outside plug. Wired directly to main electric panel Reliance TTV2003D with manual lockout. Any circuit in the house can be on the generator.

http://www.reliancecontrols.com/ProductDetail.aspx?TTV2003D

This setup has been a godsend. Still don't know when we will get street power.

That panel will allow you to put 200amp house power into it...and a 30-125amp generator input and can power the whole house (obviously on generator as much as the generator can supply).

What was the cost of it and did you find it somewhere or online?

MetroWest
12-17-2008, 01:33 PM
This is a repeat of the post I just put in the Members forum for the benefit of any non-members interested in generators.

I bought a Honda EM5000SXK1 back in 1999 from these folks: http://www.mayberrys.com/honda/generator/html/maingenerator.htm
At the time, I couldn't find these generators anywhere in Mass. These folks had it in stock and sent it motor freight (I had to pick it up at the terminal). I also got a GenTran transfer switch with 8 circuits, all for $2453.00. I saved over $400.00, plus no sales tax, (aside from the fact I couldn't find one anywhere local) and I had it in 3 or 4 days.

I had an electrician wire up the transfer switch and picked the 8 circuits I wanted to feed. I fire it up and run under load several times a year as instructed. It is a little noisy, but has plenty of power for my needs.

Since many of you seem to be interested in the Honda EU2000i, I just called them and was told they have them in stock, shipped, insured, to your door for $899.00. If you want/need a generator now, check these folks out, I highly recommend them. I did ask about a quantity discount and was told the number would have to be pretty high (over 50) before they would consider lowering the price.

I just ordered a Eu2000i, it's $879 shipped - tell them you saw the add in QST magazine. They also gave me a quote of $3,312 for a Eu6500i.

matt
12-17-2008, 06:49 PM
Assuming he had one, the electrician that installed this for you should have his licensed pulled.

This is all I'm going to say about this:

From the mass electric web site: https://www.nationalgridus.com/masselectric/storm/safety_generators-1.asp


Key Safety Guidelines
Please review these safety tips before installing or using a generator:


Have a licensed or qualified electrician install a transfer switch for your generator. The wiring installation should be done according to local codes and the National Electrical Code. A transfer switch is a relatively inexpensive device that will prevent an improper connection during an outage. If connected improperly, a generator can be destroyed when power is restored—this could endanger anyone who is nearby.
If you do not have a transfer switch, make sure your home or office electrical wiring is disconnected from our power lines before you operate your generator. This requires that the main circuit breaker in your electric service panel box is in the OFF position or, in older electric service panel boxes, that the main fuse block is removed. This prevents your generator's electricity from going back into the power lines in the street, which could endanger line crews and your neighbors.
Never install a generator inside a house or building. Operating a generator indoors—even with a door or window open—is never safe due to the risk of fire from fuel leaks or spills. Another danger is engine exhaust, containing carbon monoxide, which is potentially deadly and could build up to hazardous levels in a home.
If your generator is located in a garage or outside building, check to be sure it is properly ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Never plug a generator directly into a wall outlet.
If you have questions about the safe operation of your electric generator, contact a licensed or qualified electrician


Mass Electric considers this an acceptable practice.

skuter
12-17-2008, 07:08 PM
That panel will allow you to put 200amp house power into it...and a 30-125amp generator input and can power the whole house (obviously on generator as much as the generator can supply).

What was the cost of it and did you find it somewhere or online?

Three years ago I had to have my panel and service entrance replaced because water was "wicking" into the circuit breakers from the meter box. Homeowner's insurance paid for the panel and service replacement. The electrician I selected (from Sterling) recommended this panel and I paid additional funds to add the generator hookup. Boy am I now glad I did!

All I can say is this setup works great as I can select at any time which house circuits I want to put on my generator. In effect it can power my whole house but I need to be selective what appliances or room lights I actually turn on.

jdubois
12-17-2008, 07:14 PM
Mass Electric considers this an acceptable practice.

Hmm, that's not how I read that. Their first bullet is "Have a licensed or qualified electrician install a transfer switch for your generator." It was not "you might want to" but "do it." Their second bullet is for those people who don't follow their advice in the first bullet, as a "well, if you're going to do it wrong, please at least don't kill our people."

RKG
12-17-2008, 07:27 PM
This is all I'm going to say about this:

From the mass electric web site: https://www.nationalgridus.com/masselectric/storm/safety_generators-1.asp



Mass Electric considers this an acceptable practice.

I seriously doubt that Mass. Electric considers cross-wiring a genset to an installed electric system without a transfer switch to be acceptable, since doing so is a flat violation of Article 702, which I believe to be the law in Massachusetts.

It is more likely that, recognizing some DIYers might ignore the law, Mass Electric elected to stress a point that might reduce the risk of the code violation. This is not the same as sanctioning a code violation.

RKG
12-17-2008, 07:30 PM
Three years ago I had to have my panel and service entrance replaced because water was "wicking" into the circuit breakers from the meter box. Homeowner's insurance paid for the panel and service replacement. The electrician I selected (from Sterling) recommended this panel and I paid additional funds to add the generator hookup. Boy am I now glad I did!

All I can say is this setup works great as I can select at any time which house circuits I want to put on my generator. In effect it can power my whole house but I need to be selective what appliances or room lights I actually turn on.

This is the wrong season of the year to keep coming across as The Grinch, but applying an alternative power source to your house system that is inadequate to carry the full load of the system is both potentially dangerous and, I'm afraid, another violation of the Code.

dwarven1
12-17-2008, 07:39 PM
This is the wrong season of the year to keep coming across as The Grinch, but applying an alternative power source to your house system that is inadequate to carry the full load of the system is both potentially dangerous and, I'm afraid, another violation of the Code.

OK already... we got the idea in your first thirty posts on the subject. Enough already.

PaulD
12-17-2008, 09:09 PM
Hmm, that's not how I read that. Their first bullet is "Have a licensed or qualified electrician install a transfer switch for your generator." It was not "you might want to" but "do it." Their second bullet is for those people who don't follow their advice in the first bullet, as a "well, if you're going to do it wrong, please at least don't kill our people."

I've read a lot of logic flows, pseudo code and similar in my life. I read that as them saying "do it this way if you have to" and therefore an acceptable, if less than ideal practice as far as Mass Electric is concerned.

I understand it's not code but building code is set by the state, not Mass Electric.

PaulD
12-17-2008, 09:12 PM
This is the wrong season of the year to keep coming across as The Grinch, but applying an alternative power source to your house system that is inadequate to carry the full load of the system is both potentially dangerous and, I'm afraid, another violation of the Code.

So instead of harping on it being dangerous, tell us exactly how it is dangerous. He's insured the electricity won't feed back into the street which is your first concern. What's the next concern?

Jasper
12-17-2008, 09:27 PM
I seriously doubt that Mass. Electric considers cross-wiring a genset to an installed electric system without a transfer switch to be acceptable, since doing so is a flat violation of Article 702, which I believe to be the law in Massachusetts.

It is more likely that, recognizing some DIYers might ignore the law, Mass Electric elected to stress a point that might reduce the risk of the code violation. This is not the same as sanctioning a code violation.

only issue is that the NEC is national. it isn't "MA law". Mass does have their own set of amendments, but even those aren't "LAW".


the code (for the most part) is open to interpretation, and the AHJ(authority having jurisdiction, IE onsite engineer or electrical inspector) has the final say on what passes and what doesn't.

secondly, in an emergency situation, if it was backfeed a panel through a 40A breaker and shut down the main, or freeze while i wait for a transfer switch to be special ordered for me, you bet your ass i'd backfeed it. is it an acceptable long term solution? absolutely not....but if done correctly, it will get you by until something more permanent can be done.



This is the wrong season of the year to keep coming across as The Grinch, but applying an alternative power source to your house system that is inadequate to carry the full load of the system is both potentially dangerous and, I'm afraid, another violation of the Code.


no it isnt? i've worked in half a dozen building that had MASSIVE generator setups. they could (if running both simultaneously) actually create enough power to run their electric meter backwards....and at that point, the power company legally has to pay you for the power you're sending back into the grid. i dont expect to ever see it in a residential scenario, but it's possible, and quite legal.


and the "full load of the system" is 100% of what you've got turned on at the time being. if you only have a 30A draw on your panel for emergency stuff (boiler/couple lights/well pump/septic), and you feed it with an 8kW standby generator, you're WELL within acceptable limits. should you be running the hottub while playing your PS3 on your 65" plasma? no. either way, assuming you backfed your panel with #10awg wire, and backwired to a 30A breaker, you're STILL protecting the wiring from being overpowered.

Palladin
12-17-2008, 09:39 PM
only issue is that the NEC is national. it isn't "MA law". Mass does have their own set of amendments, but even those aren't "LAW".


the code (for the most part) is open to interpretation, and the AHJ(authority having jurisdiction, IE onsite engineer or electrical inspector) has the final say on what passes and what doesn't.

secondly, in an emergency situation, if it was backfeed a panel through a 40A breaker and shut down the main, or freeze while i wait for a transfer switch to be special ordered for me, you bet your ass i'd backfeed it. is it an acceptable long term solution? absolutely not....but if done correctly, it will get you by until something more permanent can be done.





no it isnt? i've worked in half a dozen building that had MASSIVE generator setups. they could (if running both simultaneously) actually create enough power to run their electric meter backwards....and at that point, the power company legally has to pay you for the power you're sending back into the grid. i dont expect to ever see it in a residential scenario, but it's possible, and quite legal.


and the "full load of the system" is 100% of what you've got turned on at the time being. if you only have a 30A draw on your panel for emergency stuff (boiler/couple lights/well pump/septic), and you feed it with an 8kW standby generator, you're WELL within acceptable limits. should you be running the hottub while playing your PS3 on your 65" plasma? no. either way, assuming you backfed your panel with #10awg wire, and backwired to a 30A breaker, you're STILL protecting the wiring from being overpowered.


+1 Well said.

one would be surprised what they can run on a well thought out standby system. This weekend my 10kw handled, 4 warm air furnaces, 3 fridges, one freezer, my washer and/or dishwasher ( I alternated), 3 powershot gas water heaters, two 40"+ tv's, a couple of dvd players, my microwave and numerous lights in three houses.

the highest load I recorded on the genset during this time was 28amps.
It's equipped with a 50amp breaker, which trips at 80%, or 40 amps.

Jasper
12-17-2008, 09:52 PM
+1 Well said.

one would be surprised what they can run on a well thought out standby system. This weekend my 10kw handled, 4 warm air furnaces, 3 fridges, one freezer, my washer and/or dishwasher ( I alternated), 3 powershot gas water heaters, two 40"+ tv's, a couple of dvd players, my microwave and numerous lights in three houses.

the highest load I recorded on the genset during this time was 28amps.
It's equipped with a 50amp breaker, which trips at 80%, or 40 amps.

a 50amp breaker better not trip @ 40amps! if it is, replace it! something's wrong.


the 80% rule is to circuit loading. if you have a device that draws 24amps, you put it on a 30amp circuit (a la, load that circuit to 80%, to prevent excess heat build up / nuissance trips / potential issues)

and the 80% rule is only for branch circuits. it DOESNT apply to motors. there are situations where i can size the overcurrent protection device (OPD) to 1100% of the full-load-amperage of the motor.

Palladin
12-17-2008, 10:13 PM
a 50amp breaker better not trip @ 40amps! if it is, replace it! something's wrong.


the 80% rule is to circuit loading. if you have a device that draws 24amps, you put it on a 30amp circuit (a la, load that circuit to 80%, to prevent excess heat build up / nuissance trips / potential issues)

and the 80% rule is only for branch circuits. it DOESNT apply to motors. there are situations where i can size the overcurrent protection device (OPD) to 1100% of the full-load-amperage of the motor.

but a genset isn't a motor, it's providing the power, not using it.
Motor breakers are sized for inrush current, not continuous load, hence the wire size is far smaller than the corresponding breaker. A 10hp 480v 3ph motor, fed with #12 wire, with a 45A MCP..

The 80% rule is for continuous load, defined as three hours or more, then the thermal element in the breaker trips. At 16 amps on a 20, 12 amps on a 15. The corresponding larger size breaker allows for inrush current during startup.

My 10kw genset, capable of 38.5 amps at full load, with PF taken into consideration, has a factory installed 50 amp breaker to conpensate for the 80% factor of continuous load.

terraformer
12-17-2008, 11:03 PM
no it isnt? i've worked in half a dozen building that had MASSIVE generator setups. they could (if running both simultaneously) actually create enough power to run their electric meter backwards....and at that point, the power company legally has to pay you for the power you're sending back into the grid. i dont expect to ever see it in a residential scenario, but it's possible, and quite legal.

Yeah, but you need an interconnect agreement and a net meter. I believe the net meter has a mechanism that it can be shut off, or shuts off in case of a utility outage so things like solar arrays (or any CHP/DG system) can feed the grid distributed in the day, but the owners can get back the benefits at night when they actually need the power, and the line crews remain safe.

Coyote33
12-18-2008, 07:24 AM
... Honda EU2000i,... quantity discount and was told the number would have to be pretty high (over 50) before they would consider lowering the price.

In general, Honda=good/better/best compared to most other things with engines. I imagine this is the case here. I might be interested, but am currently (pardon the pun) looking for something in the ~~$600 range, as that is where the Homelite 57xx comes in at over at Home Depot, and that has a Yamaha engine, which isn't shabby either. Keep us posted if you get a head count.

TheIglu
12-18-2008, 10:28 AM
secondly, in an emergency situation, if it was backfeed a panel through a 40A breaker and shut down the main, or freeze while i wait for a transfer switch to be special ordered for me, you bet your ass i'd backfeed it. is it an acceptable long term solution? absolutely not....but if done correctly, it will get you by until something more permanent can be done.



Finally, someone said it. THANK YOU.

clinotus
12-18-2008, 10:40 AM
I have to say that this is possibly one of the most informative threads I've seen in quite some time.

This may be more because I know nothing about electricity other than not to stick paper clips in outlets or touch live wires, but I've learned a lot. Its especially interesting to see our Electrian members discuss shop and give out advice, you guys aren't beating a dead horse, but likely saving the lives of linemen, your fellow posters, and familes from having their homes go up in flame from a bad decision made in an emergency.

Thanks guys!

PaulD
12-18-2008, 10:40 AM
Finally, someone said it. THANK YOU.

ALL CHILDREN WILL DIE IF YOU BACKFEED!

pdm
12-18-2008, 10:44 AM
ALL CHILDREN WILL DIE IF YOU BACKFEED!
"Every time you backfeed, God kills a kitten. Please, think of the kittens."

Tiktock
12-18-2008, 10:55 AM
Finally, someone said it. THANK YOU.

Agreed. After 7 days without power and being unable to source pretty much any part to do the work "right" and with a 12"+ snowstorm on the way within 24 hours that will likely delay power for more days, previously unacceptable options become more appealing.

FWIW, 6 houses on my street are running generators right now, 5 are backfeeding using a suicide cord into their dryer outlet with the main breaker off, and no kittens or workers have been dropping dead....yet.

Im not saying its not a bad option, but it is AN option that becomes more of an option as situations get proportionally bad. Until now, temps havent dropped low enough to really worry about pipes freezing, but weather now predicts about 5 days where it wont get above freezing....

calsdad
12-18-2008, 11:09 AM
Agreed. After 7 days without power and being unable to source pretty much any part to do the work "right" and with a 12"+ snowstorm on the way within 24 hours that will likely delay power for more days, previously unacceptable options become more appealing.

FWIW, 6 houses on my street are running generators right now, 5 are backfeeding using a suicide cord into their dryer outlet with the main breaker off, and no kittens or workers have been dropping dead....yet.

Im not saying its not a bad option, but it is AN option that becomes more of an option as situations get proportionally bad. Until now, temps havent dropped low enough to really worry about pipes freezing, but weather now predicts about 5 days where it wont get above freezing....


This may have been mentioned in one of the earlier responses and I missed it - but - a friend who setup one of these backfeed setups with a "suicide cord" (as did I) - later talked to one of the linemen in his area about doing this. The guy told him basically the same thing as has already been mentioned here a few times - it's not that great of an idea because of the potential backfeed problems, so we definitely don't encourage it. But - he said that the power Co. did have some understanding about why people do it - and he told the friend that in a case like this the safest way - at least in terms of not backfeeding the system - is to pull the meter. Then you can be sure you will not backfeed. Safety problems within your own house are then your own problem - at least you won't be zapping linemen in your neighborhood and killing kittens.

center442
12-18-2008, 12:00 PM
This may have been mentioned in one of the earlier responses and I missed it - but - a friend who setup one of these backfeed setups with a "suicide cord" (as did I) - later talked to one of the linemen in his area about doing this. The guy told him basically the same thing as has already been mentioned here a few times - it's not that great of an idea because of the potential backfeed problems, so we definitely don't encourage it. But - he said that the power Co. did have some understanding about why people do it - and he told the friend that in a case like this the safest way - at least in terms of not backfeeding the system - is to pull the meter. Then you can be sure you will not backfeed. Safety problems within your own house are then your own problem - at least you won't be zapping linemen in your neighborhood and killing kittens.

calsdad, I almost posted something like this but I didn't want people with more knowledge than I to think I was being a PITA. If push came to shove, and my family/pipes were freezing, I'd pull the damn meter and run the gen. Would I be an ass**** for not planning ahead and getting a proper transfer switch? Yes, I would be, no question. I plan on correcting that problem as soon as I have the money to do so. (refer back to my previous posts)

My original question was because some poster(s) said there were other dangers to backfeeding besides the obvious one to utility crews. So my question is:

If a home is isolated from the grid (main breaker, transfer switch, pulling the meter) and a generator is backfeeding, what are the other dangers? Do I need any other precautions besides a proper transfer switch? When I have the panel replaced and the transfer switch installed, do I have to do anything else?

A lot of the technical stuff is over my head. Like many people, I'm trying to balance convenience/safety with cost. I just want to be able to keep basic appliances going in an emergency. I consider water, heat, and refrigeration necessities; most everything else I can do without in the short term.

Except for lights in the reloading room...[wink]

BTW, thanks to everyone who weighed in with advice. I have learned a lot reading this thread. I just learned that the cord from my gen to the plug in my garage is called a "suicide cord!" [laugh]

drgrant
12-18-2008, 12:24 PM
ALL CHILDREN WILL DIE IF YOU BACKFEED!

[rofl]

TheIglu
12-18-2008, 12:34 PM
The three licensed electricians I work with told me this morning that backfeeding is fine. Not the ideal, safest or proper way to do it, but it WILL work safely if done properly.

That being said, if we can't trust the GP to handle a firearm safely, I wouldn't trust most people to do the same with a backfeed.

Chris
12-18-2008, 12:40 PM
If...

You are 100% isolated from the grid

You built the suicide cable properly

Your suicide cable is connected with twist lock connectors to prevent pull out

You connect the suicide cable before energizing it

You turn your entire panel off (ie. EVERY breaker is off) before starting anything.

You monitor your load so as not exceed the source

You switch circuits on and off in proper sequences EVERY time

You place the fear of god in everyone in the house NOT to use anything without asking (and are sure it will be obeyed)

You create a printed checklist that you always use and have another person read off with you to ensure compliance.

You verify twice before energizing anything

Then...

It should all work just fine.

Seriously, it all sounds easy, and for the most part it is. The trouble is that when it gets cold, dark, and you've been up long hours dealing with one crisis after another or just are not 100% on your game, it is very very easy to miss, skip, or forget a step.

As for what can happen: If you are lucky, you'll just let some of the magic smoke out and something will stop working. If you are unlucky you'll have the local fire dept telling you how dumb you were to attempt it. And if you are exceptionally unlucky, you'll be sized for silver bracelets and charged with some kind of manslaughter.

There is a whole process in industrial procedures using locks to ensure that bad things don't happen. The idea is that until the person responsible removes his lock from the device, it can't be activated. There are usually multiple places to put locks in these devices so that multiple situations can be easily applied.

Unfortunately, none of the proper parts exist in the average home to do this.

Grab a roll of wide tape and make yourself notes. When you shut off the main, tape it off and label it like "DO NOT TOUCH" or "REMOVE THIS LAST". Tape off all the circuits you don't ever want to have on so that the ones you do want to deal with are more obvious. Stick labels on those circuits and note if there is another circuit that can not be run with it. For example, I'd label my well pump as follows:

WELL PUMP - Activate FIRST as ONLY Load.

My boiler would have the label:

BOILER - Verify dehumidifier is OFF - Not with Fridge or Well.

I actually printed up a set of such labels and created a laminated sheet of specific tasks for each circuit I wanted to power with my old generator. The idea was that if I needed to fire it up, I'd take the 10 minutes to label the panel and then my wife and I would read off the laminated sheet to ensure that everything was right.

Now that I've found a Transfer Switch that won't cost a small fortune and major rewire to install (and I'm hoping EddieCoyle will post a review of his when he gets it) I'm going to scrap all the "paper protocol" and enjoy the ability to just switch stuff on and off as I need to. And, if I do overload, I'll just pop a breaker as the rest of the setup will be able to handle the load (as it should be designed)

center442
12-18-2008, 03:07 PM
If...

<Excellent protocol snipped>

Then...

It should all work just fine.

Seriously, it all sounds easy, and for the most part it is. The trouble is that when it gets cold, dark, and you've been up long hours dealing with one crisis after another or just are not 100% on your game, it is very very easy to miss, skip, or forget a step.

<More excellent comments snipped>



+1 to you Chris. As you and another poster suggested the danger is in the human factor. Hence my plan to install a proper transfer switch when I have the panel replaced.

I have a laminated set of numbered instructions stapled beside my panel that I follow religiously. The suicide cable was professionally made with a twist lock on both ends.

I have to confess to not following a couple of steps. I switch off the breakers for the central air, electric dryer and electric stove. I shut off the switches for the burner and hot water heater (oil-fired) on the advice of a burner technician to avoid surge damage. I turn them back on after the gen is running and stable.

I follow the same procedure with my well pump and lift station. Luckily for me, all of these devices are right in my garage where the service panel is, so it's easy to do.

I gather from your directions that I would be better off switching all the breakers in the panel off and then turning on the circuits that I want/need. Makes sense, since I can do all of these things right at the panel.

I don't fully understand the part about "monitoring the load so it doesn't exceed the source." If the load does exceed the source (gen) wouldn't it trip the breakers on the gen or in the panel? If so, I would have to remove part of the load and reset the breakers, correct? Is there a danger in this of which I am unaware?

I'm surprised at how much of the house the gen is able to handle. It's only a 5K Generac (6250 surge) but it pretty much does everything I need it to. You can hear it labor a second or two when the well pump or lift station cycle, but then everything goes back to normal.

A lot of this is like common sense in reloading; like only having one powder on the bench at a time. Hey, this is a gun forum! [smile]

Again, thanks for your tips.

Chris
12-18-2008, 04:16 PM
Fires can start when things are overloaded. Regardless how well you've done your work, the dryer plug for example wasn't designed as a feed point. The dryer had a larger startup load and then usually requires less to actually run. By connecting a generator you might not exceed the amperage of the circuit breaker, but a poor connection inside the plug or between the cable and the outlet could result in a hot spot forming that could cause trouble. Until you have run things for a while and know that it is sound, you need to check how various places are fairing. And keep in mind that the problem could be some Mickey Mouse wiring job in a wall somewhere that a previous owner or rodent caused.

Jasper
12-18-2008, 04:34 PM
but a genset isn't a motor, it's providing the power, not using it.
Motor breakers are sized for inrush current, not continuous load, hence the wire size is far smaller than the corresponding breaker. A 10hp 480v 3ph motor, fed with #12 wire, with a 45A MCP..

The 80% rule is for continuous load, defined as three hours or more, then the thermal element in the breaker trips. At 16 amps on a 20, 12 amps on a 15. The corresponding larger size breaker allows for inrush current during startup.

My 10kw genset, capable of 38.5 amps at full load, with PF taken into consideration, has a factory installed 50 amp breaker to conpensate for the 80% factor of continuous load.


fair enough.


FWIW though, you WOULD have no issues whatsoever running 40A breaker in that situation....but what you did makes sense if it's going to be a long-term setup. if you're using a 50A main though, at least tell me the associated wiring is at least #6awg?

Jasper
12-18-2008, 04:41 PM
The three licensed electricians I work with told me this morning that backfeeding is fine. Not the ideal, safest or proper way to do it, but it WILL work safely if done properly.

That being said, if we can't trust the GP to handle a firearm safely, I wouldn't trust most people to do the same with a backfeed.

+1.

backfeeds are FAR more common than you think (in just about any emergency situation, the power company backfeeds entire grids to restore power in a hurry while the repairs/updates are being done.

the big danger is not isolating each power source.


power from station #1 is coming down the wire

power from station #2 is coming down the other end of the wire




eventually, they meet. and kaboom. something liquefies/explodes. i watched my old boss almost get killed by a transformer that got backfed from an old 3phase/208v service that someone mickey moused somewhere along the line. he flipped the disconnect, which pulled in a contactor somewhere else, which re-fed those lines from another source.


the highvoltage coil literally disintegrated in a flash. we saw a bigass arc, and a fireball before we ever heard the boom. luckily for my old boss, the disconnect was on the other side of some switchgear, so he avoided the brunt of the arc flash (@ 208v, its about 20k degrees F for about 2feet out from the source). he just had temporary blindness (flash-burn....welders get it alot if they dont wear their goggles)

center442
12-18-2008, 05:02 PM
Fires can start when things are overloaded. Regardless how well you've done your work, the dryer plug for example wasn't designed as a feed point. The dryer had a larger startup load and then usually requires less to actually run. By connecting a generator you might not exceed the amperage of the circuit breaker, but a poor connection inside the plug or between the cable and the outlet could result in a hot spot forming that could cause trouble. Until you have run things for a while and know that it is sound, you need to check how various places are fairing. And keep in mind that the problem could be some Mickey Mouse wiring job in a wall somewhere that a previous owner or rodent caused.

I get your point. FWIW I'm feeding into a "welding plug" that was installed back about 1985. I didn't get a generator until 1990 or so. The plug is connected through a short piece of conduit and through a new breaker(s?) in the main panel.

I wouldn't know how to weld to save my life. My brother needed to do some welding back then and he wanted to use my driveway since he was in an apartment at the time. I think he used it twice. At the time I got the generator I thought this would be the best way to connect it. Now I know better. [grin]

BTW, I'm calling it a welding plug, but I don't know if that's the right terminology. It's a big 4 conductor twist lock plug; it even looks bigger than the 220 plugs for my range and clothes dryer. I remember it was pretty pricey at the time.

I continue to learn things on this forum. Thanks.

Palladin
12-18-2008, 05:42 PM
fair enough.


FWIW though, you WOULD have no issues whatsoever running 40A breaker in that situation....but what you did makes sense if it's going to be a long-term setup. if you're using a 50A main though, at least tell me the associated wiring is at least #6awg?

Jasper,

How long have you been licensed?

Coyote33
12-19-2008, 01:31 AM
Has anybody just snipped the line to their furnace and the female end on an extension cord and joined them for the express purpose of heating a house? We're talking emergency measures here obviously. Basically, this turns the furnace into just a big appliance. Anyone? Just supposin' is all.

clinotus
12-19-2008, 01:35 AM
Has anybody just snipped the line to their furnace and the female end on an extension cord and joined them for the express purpose of heating a house? We're talking emergency measures here obviously. Basically, this turns the furnace into just a big appliance. Anyone? Just supposin' is all.

Dibs on whatever remains of your material possessions.

tele_mark
12-19-2008, 04:32 AM
Dibs on whatever remains of your material possessions.

Why? What's the problem with that? That's exactly what I did in this outage, except I used the male end of the extension cord and plugged it into the junction box. The burner motor uses 7.5A and the circulator .77A. So, if the generator could feed the furnace through a transfer switch or through backfeeding, what's different about disconnecting the wires from the breaker box and wire nutting a 3 foot length of extension cord with a plug on it?

Chris
12-19-2008, 09:05 AM
It's all in the isolation and the mechanical stability of the connection. Regardless of HOW it is connected, if you get those two right, it works.

The trick is getting those two right in a jury-rig setting. If in doubt, use a LARGER diameter wire.

06LemansC6
12-19-2008, 09:30 AM
I'm a bit curious how many licensed electricians here would "jury-rig" their own house in an emergency situation.

Given my line of work I could say more about many (not all) "licensed electricians" but I won't go there.

Palladin
12-19-2008, 09:37 AM
I'm a bit curious how many licensed electricians here would "jury-rig" their own house in an emergency situation.

Given my line of work I could say more about many (not all) "licensed electricians" but I won't go there.

I do have a license, I also have a genset with an automatic transfer switch. [wink]

drgrant
12-19-2008, 10:22 AM
Has anybody just snipped the line to their furnace and the female end on an extension cord and joined them for the express purpose of heating a house? We're talking emergency measures here obviously. Basically, this turns the furnace into just a big appliance. Anyone? Just supposin' is all.

We did this with my friends FHA furnace. Would have worked, but the genset did not have enough power to start the blower portion. We capped off the hot and neutral coming in with wire nuts so that it didn't pose an imminent hazard; we also shut off the breaker going to the furnace so that even if the power came back on, there would be no hot circuit involved.

It's still ghetto wiring but it does work. Obviously not something you want to do long term. I'd rather do things like that, though, than backfeed a panel, if given a choice. It's probably still "rampant code violation", but it'd be a "risk" that I would be willing to take.


-Mike

PaulD
12-19-2008, 12:37 PM
Can I come in and say that this thread has totally gone to shit. It should be about generators in general, The constant talk from forum nazis about not backfeeding and "omg no you didnt do that! Thats not to code!" is so [b][color=red]*[/color][/b][b][color=red]*[/color][/b][b][color=red]*[/color][/b][b][color=red]*[/color][/b]ing annoying.

Honestly, Its been said and done- Stop lecturing people on proper code or the dangers of not quadruple checking there isnt a loose polar bear in your closet.

Let it die! Its worse than spelling nazis! (dont you dare go looking for spelling mistakes in my post!) [laugh]

Don't worry. Backfeeding kills polar bears also.

06LemansC6
12-19-2008, 12:39 PM
Don't worry. Backfeeding kills polar bears also.

I thought back-feeding is the main cause of poor spelling.

richc
12-19-2008, 12:43 PM
When we built our house the electrician asked if we wanted the "Christmas light special". I had no idea what that was, but essentially it put outlets on a single circuit in front of every window in the front and side of the house, along with two in the garage and one outside. We have a wall switch in the house (hidden in a closet actually) that can be used to turn them all on or off at once. So we can turn all Christmas lights on or off with a single switch... way cool idea. I think way back when it was an extra $400.

When it came time to wire in the transfer switch that circuit was great. A single circuit provided power to almost every room in the house.

Funny how some things work out by accident.

Rich

drgrant
12-19-2008, 01:00 PM
Don't worry. Backfeeding kills polar bears also.

Actually it's worse than that. I heard of one incident where a guy with a chinese genset backfed a grid and it caused the local zoo to catch on fire, and it killed all the animals inside it.

There are also rumors floating around that backfeeding the grid may cause
small black holes- you could potentially destroy the earth by backfeeding with a $250 chinese genset. [laugh]

-Mike

clinotus
12-19-2008, 01:16 PM
Can I come in and say that this thread has totally gone to shit. It should be about generators in general, The constant talk from forum nazis about not backfeeding and "omg no you didnt do that! Thats not to code!" is so [b][color=red]*[/color][/b][b][color=red]*[/color][/b][b][color=red]*[/color][/b][b][color=red]*[/color][/b]ing annoying.

Honestly, Its been said and done- Stop lecturing people on proper code or the dangers of not quadruple checking there isnt a loose polar bear in your closet.

Let it die! Just because of this thread I am going to unhook from the grid right now and backfeed like crazy! Can I Plug my furnace into my toaster? Guess we will find out!

Its worse than spelling nazis! (dont you dare go looking for spelling mistakes in my post!) [laugh]

The side talk has probably educated people more on the cautions and dangers beyond just picking out a generator, duct taping some Christmas wire to an empty breaker and calling it a day. It may wind up saving a life or two. Having all the info at your disposal never really hurt anyone. I say let the debate and detractors continue!

terraformer
12-19-2008, 01:33 PM
The side talk has probably educated people more on the cautions and dangers beyond just picking out a generator, duct taping some Christmas wire to an empty breaker and calling it a day. It may wind up saving a life or two. Having all the info at your disposal never really hurt anyone. I say let the debate and detractors continue!

Yes, exactly more information is always better than less information.

Coyote33
12-19-2008, 05:32 PM
We did this with my friends FHA furnace. Would have worked, but the genset did not have enough power to start the blower portion. We capped off the hot and neutral coming in with wire nuts so that it didn't pose an imminent hazard; we also shut off the breaker going to the furnace so that even if the power came back on, there would be no hot circuit involved.

It's still ghetto wiring but it does work. Obviously not something you want to do long term. I'd rather do things like that, though, than backfeed a panel, if given a choice. It's probably still "rampant code violation", but it'd be a "risk" that I would be willing to take.

Not sure what an FHA furnace is. Again, this is for emergency purposes, so we're talking about just totally disconnecting the furnace from everything else and running a direct connection to the generator with heavy duty extension cord for not very long distance. Again, we're talking about preventing pipes from freezing, not a long term type solution. My furnace is an oil burner (Beckett) and steam radiators.





Can I come in and say that this thread has totally gone to shit. It should be about generators in general, The constant talk from forum nazis about not backfeeding and "omg no you didnt do that! Thats not to code!" is so [b][color=red]*[/color][/b][b][color=red]*[/color][/b][b][color=red]*[/color][/b][b][color=red]*[/color][/b]ing annoying.

Honestly, Its been said and done- Stop lecturing people on proper code or the dangers of not quadruple checking there isnt a loose polar bear in your closet.

Let it die! Just because of this thread I am going to unhook from the grid right now and backfeed like crazy! Can I Plug my furnace into my toaster? Guess we will find out!

Its worse than spelling nazis! (dont you dare go looking for spelling mistakes in my post!) [laugh]

True. I was originally looking for a good generator at a decent price. What is out there, and what should be avoided? What's all this talk about inverters versus generators? Are they really "worth it"?

I just don't want to get caught up in the "get a generator no matter what" mentality, but would rather make a more planned purchase.





I thought back-feeding is the main cause of poor spelling.

No, quite the contrary. Spelling errors cause backfeeding.



New question: Would homeowner's insurance cover generator cost?

stixnstones
12-19-2008, 05:39 PM
FHA is forced hot air for heat, I think.

Great thread, guys. Very informative covering what to do and what not to do.

Some dumb questions:

1) what's a genset? a generator? or more?

2) it hasn't been mentioned, I don't think, but does anyone have a handle on the insurance ramifications of any setup? I'd assume that if you had an improper setup and something happend (fire, for instance) you'd be screwed if you didn't have a proper installation, permit pulled, etc.

3) can anyone recommend links or URLs for researching how to start installing a legal automated or manual cutover switch and generator for critical circuits?

Thanks again!

finally with power...

Palladin
12-19-2008, 05:49 PM
FHA is forced hot air for heat, I think.

Great thread, guys. Very informative covering what to do and what not to do.

Some dumb questions:

1) what's a genset? a generator? or more? Yes a generator

2) it hasn't been mentioned, I don't think, but does anyone have a handle on the insurance ramifications of any setup? I'd assume that if you had an improper setup and something happend (fire, for instance) you'd be screwed if you didn't have a proper installation, permit pulled, etc.If you burned your house down from illegally & improperly wiring it, even in an emergency, just to get heat...you'd be screwed

3) can anyone recommend links or URLs for researching how to start installing a legal automated or manual cutover switch and generator for critical circuits?Hire someone with a license.

Thanks again!

finally with power...


just MHO

stixnstones
12-19-2008, 05:57 PM
hire an electrician? I plan to ...

Someone has offered to install a "welding plug" and i've declined.

06LemansC6
12-19-2008, 06:35 PM
Here in NH a homeowner can perform electrical work on his/her own home. Here is where it gets a bit screwy.....Don't hold me to this, but I believe this applies provided you are not an electrician. In that case you must be a master electrician to perform your own work. See NH has straight forward gun laws, but are ass-backwards when it comes to other things.

There is a snowballs chance in hell of me hiring an electrician to work on my house. Provided I've done my homework, sized the circuit, used the proper gauge wire and ran it properly there isn't an issue. I deal with far more complex circuits in control panels. Don't get me wrong if you don't know square one about electricity you should hire someone that does. I have had many a conversation with "Master Electricians" and once they find that I know a thing or two they tend to back off a bit most tell me that they wouldn't blame me for not hiring someone. Mostly only licensed electricians will tell you ONLY a licensed electrician is capable. Usually the union electricians are the ones who REALLY push the issue about needing a licensed electrician. I'd better stop now before I go into a full blow rant.

matt
12-19-2008, 06:35 PM
The following errors occurred with your submission:
Coyote33 has exceeded their stored private messages quota and cannot accept further messages until they clear some space.

fyi: I've got some info for you.

hikerlt
12-19-2008, 07:15 PM
http://www.green-trust.org/generator/genny_install.htm

Turbocharged
12-19-2008, 10:58 PM
I have a Mitsubishi MGE 4800. 4.8kw, gas, auto throttle control, REALLY quiet. It increases the throttle as the load increases, so it stays really quite when not under heavy load and has a great muffler anyway. It has plenty of outputs, low oil alert, breakers, and is just really great. It's really easy to start and very reliable. I've gotten 17 hours on one tank (i think it's a 4 gallon IIRC). Through the night and into the day.
The only downside is the weight. It's decently heavy. 2 men han handle it easily, but it's not a 1 person job. What I'm trying to say is, it's heavyer than some; but the performance is well worth it.

Chris
01-09-2009, 10:34 AM
BTW, I'm calling it a welding plug, but I don't know if that's the right terminology. It's a big 4 conductor twist lock plug; it even looks bigger than the 220 plugs for my range and clothes dryer. I remember it was pretty pricey at the time.

There are three 'common' twist-lock style 240v outlets. 20, 30, and 50 amp. They are designed with different diameters and slightly different configurations so that you can't plug the wrong thing in.

My Miller MIG setup is a 120v so I don't need anything special, but when I had the electrician in doing the wiring for the new bedroom, I had him snake an 8-3 into the garage so that I could add some outlets. Right now I'm only using it as a 120v service, but in the future I have the capacity to upgrade my MIG to a 240v.

After using my MIG for a while now I doubt I'll be upgrading. Besides, I'd like to string another outlet off the circuit and I don't think it is looked upon too favorably to run a 120v leg out of a 240v setup. (^_^)

freedom2012
01-09-2009, 10:56 AM
I am having my electrician re-wire my entire house (100 year old house , has knob and tube--lucky it lasted this long), new 200 amp service and set it up for a generator complete with tranfer switches and everything necessary for safe operation of the generator to power heat, some lights and microwave oven.

I am considering a diesel generator since I have oil heat and could steal some heating oil from my tank in the event diesel was not readily available at the pump.

Can anyone recommend such a generator? It must be on wheels and I will have to roll it outside to the top of the driveway when I need it since I have nowhere to put it on the side or front of my house and the back yard is subject to flooding by the mighty Merrimack. (I can spit on my neighbors houses and the street from the windows).

I have found this but know nothing about this company:

http://www.emergencypower.com/Silent-Diesel-Generator-AGI6800SDE.html

Coyote33
01-10-2009, 11:22 AM
Saw some generators at Home Depot last night. They had a Husky 5500 for pretty short money. Also a Homelite 2000, which looked OK and fairly portable. At this stage, I'm wondering if I want a tiny, easy one for sump pump only, or a 2000-5500 one for sump pump, fridge and furnace.

They had an extension cord there which went from the curved 4 prong on one end to a 4 outlet Medusa head thing on the other end with 2 different color codes. This extension cord went for like $99! Zoinks, isn't that a bit expensive? For that money, I'd just buy 4 heavy duty ones and run to the outlets on the generator and have the usefulness of the cords for other things year 'round.

06LemansC6
01-10-2009, 12:12 PM
This extension cord went for like $99! Zoinks, isn't that a bit expensive? For that money, I'd just buy 4 heavy duty ones and run to the outlets on the generator and have the usefulness of the cords for other things year 'round.

10/4 weatherproof cable is pretty expensive. So $99 may be about right depending on how long it is. You could make one yourself with the right cable and connectors. I use Ralph Pill for most of the electrical stuff I need. 4 heavy duty cords will cost just as much, may get tangled etc. I'd recommend installing a transfer switch and using a single cable.

Good luck with your decision there Scooby-Doo. (Zoinks?)

PaulD
01-10-2009, 12:23 PM
Saw some generators at Home Depot last night. They had a Husky 5500 for pretty short money. Also a Homelite 2000, which looked OK and fairly portable. At this stage, I'm wondering if I want a tiny, easy one for sump pump only, or a 2000-5500 one for sump pump, fridge and furnace.

They had an extension cord there which went from the curved 4 prong on one end to a 4 outlet Medusa head thing on the other end with 2 different color codes. This extension cord went for like $99! Zoinks, isn't that a bit expensive? For that money, I'd just buy 4 heavy duty ones and run to the outlets on the generator and have the usefulness of the cords for other things year 'round.

Did the 5000W Husky have a Subaru engine? If so, that's a very good engine. Also, that generator comes with the cord you described though it's a 12g, not 10g.

Coyote33
01-10-2009, 12:24 PM
Did the 5000W Husky have a Subaru engine? If so, that's a very good engine. Also, that generator comes with the cord you described though it's a 12g, not 10g.


Yes, I'm pretty sure it was the Subaru motor.

Yeah, but 4 separate cords could prove more practical for the rest of the time, plus you can just run them into the house to each appliance instead of dealing with all the extra setup of transfer switch, etc.

massgun
01-10-2009, 01:44 PM
If you can afford it, I would go with a transfer switch. I have a GenTran 8 circuit manual transfer switch connecting the generator power to 8 selected circuits to keep the essentials running.

Len-2A Training
01-10-2009, 03:34 PM
I still know relatively little about generators, but have seen the following lately:

- PowerBoss 7000 (12000W startup) for ~$1050 at Costco's. It has a Honda engine (GX390 IIRC). [In store model]

- Cummins Onan P5450e, Portable Generator Includes Wheel Kit 5KW (5400W startup) for $800 delivered from Costco's. http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11325558&search=361841&Mo=0&cm_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search&lang=en-US&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&Sp=S&N=5000043&whse=BC&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=4000000&D=361841&Ntt=361841&No=0&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Nty=1&topnav=&s=1# [Only available via Internet order]

Now there has to be something substantially different here . . . why does a 5KW unit only have a startup of 5.4KW while a 7KW has a startup of 12KW??

PaulD
01-10-2009, 03:41 PM
I still know relatively little about generators, but have seen the following lately:

- PowerBoss 7000 (12000W startup) for ~$1050 at Costco's. It has a Honda engine (GX390 IIRC). [In store model]

- Cummins Onan P5450e, Portable Generator Includes Wheel Kit 5KW (5400W startup) for $800 delivered from Costco's. http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11325558&search=361841&Mo=0&cm_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search&lang=en-US&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&Sp=S&N=5000043&whse=BC&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=4000000&D=361841&Ntt=361841&No=0&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Nty=1&topnav=&s=1# [Only available via Internet order]

Now there has to be something substantially different here . . . why does a 5KW unit only have a startup of 5.4KW while a 7KW has a startup of 12KW??

I'm no electrical engineer but I don't think I buy the spec on that Costco generator. I did have a chance to physically inspect that one though and it seems pretty decent. The startup watts on the Husky from HD is 6250.

As for the Onan, I looked into that one also. I even called them and they couldn't tell me who makes the engine. So it's probably made in China. That's not necessarily bad but it's an unknown quantity.

Here are the specs on that Powerboss: http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/PowerBOSS-30220/p1056.html

eisenhow
01-10-2009, 06:13 PM
Saw some generators at Home Depot last night. They had a Husky 5500 for pretty short money. Also a Homelite 2000, which looked OK and fairly portable. At this stage, I'm wondering if I want a tiny, easy one for sump pump only, or a 2000-5500 one for sump pump, fridge and furnace.

I almost bought the Husky. The only problem is that it has a 20 Amp 120/240 plug rather than a 30 Amp 120/240 plug.

BlkHawk73
01-10-2009, 06:19 PM
We're likely gonna go with the Home Depot Gaurdian line. Either the 8000W or the 10000W model. Direct wire in and auto swith runing on propane and well be able to run pretty much the whole minus an appliance or two house if needed. Only really need it for the water and heat. The rest is a plus.

PaulD
01-10-2009, 08:11 PM
I almost bought the Husky. The only problem is that it has a 20 Amp 120/240 plug rather than a 30 Amp 120/240 plug.

If you want 30A, you need to get a bigger generator. 5000W/240V ≈ 20A.

eisenhow
01-10-2009, 08:17 PM
If you want 30A, you need to get a bigger generator. 5000W/240V ≈ 20A.

IIRC the Husky was 5kw or 5.5kw with a 6kw or 6.5kw peak. You can feed all that through a 20A plug. Lots of other generators in that class (5kw cont with higher peak) have 30A plugs.

Coyote33
01-11-2009, 11:33 AM
IIRC the Husky was 5kw or 5.5kw with a 6kw or 6.5kw peak. You can feed all that through a 20A plug. Lots of other generators in that class (5kw cont with higher peak) have 30A plugs.
Please translate, and what are you saying? In other words, do you think this is OK or not? What do others think of this "Husky" generator? Typically, I don't like the Husky line at Home Depot (their hand tools are cheap Chinese junque), but this does indeed have a nice Subaru motor and other specs seem OK.

PaulD
01-11-2009, 11:41 AM
Please translate, and what are you saying? In other words, do you think this is OK or not? What do others think of this "Husky" generator? Typically, I don't like the Husky line at Home Depot (their hand tools are cheap Chinese junque), but this does indeed have a nice Subaru motor and other specs seem OK.

Husky is just a brand name owned by HD and they slap it on any number of products. It's pretty similar to Craftsman at Sears. There isn't one factory owned by either store that produces these products. They're sourced from many OEMs.

So, the hand tools may not be great but the generator is, at least, a good value. It's actually exactly the same generator as a Coleman Powermate.

eisenhow
01-11-2009, 12:35 PM
Please translate, and what are you saying? In other words, do you think this is OK or not? What do others think of this "Husky" generator? Typically, I don't like the Husky line at Home Depot (their hand tools are cheap Chinese junque), but this does indeed have a nice Subaru motor and other specs seem OK.

From what I've heard it is a good generator. I asked (http://northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=695894&highlight=husky#post695894) about it recently and didn't get any feedback. IF you plan on hooking up a transfer switch (which I do) AND you have peak needs (like starting furnace fans, refrigerator, etc) that exceed 4800 watts (really half that if its 120V) then it wouldn't be good.

However if you you are sure your peak demands would be satisfied by the 20A plug 240V plug it's probably a good bargain. I may still end up getting one. I have to do some more calculating on my particular needs. It seems like a very good deal. The generacs and B&S in the same class seem to be ~$100-150 more at northerntool and there is a $100 delivery charge on top of that.

Coyote33
09-30-2009, 09:20 PM
I'm looking into a generator for the coming Winter.

I found these threads, and thought maybe a moderator could merge them together to make more sense and simplify searching for everybody:

Transfer switch for a Generator (http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=77834)


How much for a generator transfer switch? (http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=28426)

Need Generator Help - Lost Power again... (http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=51216)

Just ordered a generator (http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=50997)

Generator Installation & Wiring...Electrician Reference? (http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=50935)

Generator Fuel Types; Your opinions? (http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=77660)

EddieCoyle
09-30-2009, 09:59 PM
If you couldn't find what you were looking for in one of those threads, perhaps you could take this opportunity to ask a specific question.

Coyote33
09-30-2009, 10:04 PM
I'm still trying to decide whether to bother with the whole house option with hookups, etcetera, or to go with a simple small unit to run the sump pump and fridge off an extension cord. I know what I would like, but budget might dictate the latter. Anyhow, just trying to help after doing a search and finding all those similar threads.

Coyote33
01-12-2011, 01:31 AM
Bumping this one for the storm.

Coyote33
06-22-2011, 09:48 PM
Another bump for the tornado people and the kickoff of Summer hurricane season (June 1st).

Coyote33
08-29-2011, 08:40 PM
I never did spring for one. Now looking for maybe $99 one for the sump pump only. Would prefer a 5000-6000 Watt unit, but just out of the price range right now.

Coyote33
08-29-2011, 08:42 PM
Tis the season. Bump.

kiver
08-29-2011, 09:00 PM
keep an eye on craigslist now that the storm is over

goofycj7
08-29-2011, 09:14 PM
keep an eye on craigslist now that the storm is over

+1 Wait till November and keep an eye out. Odds are someone who picked one up as an impulse for this storm will be selling around Christmas when they need the money.

PaulD
08-29-2011, 09:23 PM
Tis the season. Bump.

I got power back this afternoon after > 24hrs. I ran the Husky/Subaru 5000W generator for a total of about 16 hours (shut it off at night) and it did very well. I hadn't ran it in 6 months and it started after 2 easy pulls.

Yeah, the Honda inverter generators are nice and all but considering how often I need a generator (every 2 years at the current rate), spending that much for that low a capacity doesn't make a lot of sense.

GM-GUY
08-29-2011, 09:40 PM
I'll add my info of my history of generators:

Homelite ~4000W 120/240V from the 1980's
5hp Gas
Ran my grandmothers fridge, 2 freezers, well pump, and furnace during the Ice Storm of 2008
1 Gallon fuel tank is a pain - can be upsized with a marine grade plastic fuel tank
Sold with house in 2009 after she passed at 92.5 yrs
frequency and voltage varied at the load above

Champion 3500/4000W 120/240V from 2008
6.5HP Gas
Ran my Freezer, Fridge, Furnace and small TV with Sat Box
Cabelas now sells this model with no 240V option - be careful
4 galllon fuel tank ran above for at least 10 hours
would not start my deep well pump
Still have it as a 'back-up' or for a relative when needed
Easy to adjust valves (done) - probably has 40 hours on it now
100lbs I can lift it without wheels and put where needed

Aurora Generator 6800SDE 2009 vintage
5500/6500W 120/240V iirc
Diesel would run all below but had its own engine
(sold to member on this site DEC 2010 iirc)
Solid machine with a bigger fuel tank and extended run time
Good machine - would have kept it but upgraded my lawn tractor so I could upgrade generator to below.



Northern Tool 7200/7800W 120V/240V
Northstar PTO 14HP req 540rpm - runs off my Kubota BX2360 Diesel Tractor
Set up on 3pt carry all hitch
I guess (haven't had to yet) I could run my
Deep Well 1hp pump, 2 chest freezers, 1 fridge, furnace, some lights, alarm systems, entertainment center, computer station
for 24 hours on 6 gallons of diesel.
I know the amperage/wattage is fine not sure about run time yet.
I prefer the PTO as I only have one engine to maintain, diesel keeps for 2 yrs depending on storage and is much more fuel efficient.
Only issue will be snow blowing as I have a front mount blower for the Kubota also.
I also need to run it once every 3 months (per the book) to keep the coils from having water settle deeply and corrosion ensuing.
When I do this I hookup electric space heaters( I have 4 @ 1500w each) to do a real load test.

kiver
08-29-2011, 09:46 PM
For generator storage do most keep the tank full with stabilizer or do you drain the tank

Mark from MA
08-29-2011, 09:54 PM
I keep the tank like half full with the expensive fuel and stabil and start it religiously every 3 months.....I've had it for years and never had an issue. It's a generac 5500 continous with 8500 surge, 10 horse B&S motor. I change the oil (use the good stuff) every year or two depending on use. Think it's like a 5 gallon tank...it'll run for 6 hours or so.....at least.

Runs a deep well pump, sump pump, fridge, plugs/lights in one room, furnace in the winter on a 6 circuit transfer. I put the plug/cord together that goes on the outside wall of the house, then ran a 30 amp cable to the box. I had the electrician wire it up when he changed my service over to 200.

I really don't see spending the money on a super high end generator...take care of it, it should run for limited usage and you cycle it on and off. Now if you use it for work or a good amount, let it run constantly, then its worth getting the honda...etc. I'm in the boonies and I use mine like once or twice a year at most....and mostly short times. Actually I like to take it out as soon as the power goes out....seems as soon as its set up and I'm pulling the starter rope the power comes on......

kiver
08-29-2011, 09:56 PM
I keep the tank like half full with the expensive fuel and stabil and start it religiously every 3 months.....I've had it for years and never had an issue. It's a generac 5500 continous with 8500 surge, 10 horse B&S motor. I change the oil (use the good stuff) every year or two depending on use.

Runs a deep well pump, sump pump, fridge, plugs/lights in one room, furnace in the winter on a 6 circuit transfer. I put the plug/cord together that goes on the outside wall of the house, then ran a 30 amp cable to the box. I had the electrician wire it up when he changed my service over to 200.

good to know as I have the same gen

Mark from MA
08-29-2011, 10:19 PM
Craigslist...

There's a few things I would not cheap out on....a generator, a high end backpack leaf blower and a good quality chainsaw. All three make life very nice when it comes to the shit weather and cleaning up the mess of crap we get around here.

mclina
08-30-2011, 07:36 AM
I have the Champion 3500/4000W model that I picked up at Tractor Supply for $299. I am on town water, so I don't have a well pump to worry about. My only REAL needs are the furnace and the refrigerator. I keep about 25 gallons of stabilized gas on hand, which I will rotate into my cars at least once a year.

I cut a junction box into the power conduit to my furnace, so that I can quickly shut the breaker, attach a pigtail to the furnace feed, and plug the furnace into an extension cord. This same feed does the power vent on my hot water heater as well. I can just roll my fridge out and plug that into an extension cord as well.

I have only had mine for a couple of months, and I have only run it for the 5 hour break-in period and then changed the oil. I have it filled with stabilized gas and start it up once a month for an hour or so. I haven't actually needed it yet.

For other power loads in my house I have the deep cycle battery from my camper, with a 500W inverter and a couple of USB charging ports set up. This would let me run my cable modem and router, charge our phones, etc... I have a cheap 45W solar setup to recharge this battery if there were ever a long enough outage to justify setting it up.

And I have a ton of LED flashlights, kerosene lanterns, camp stoves, etc...

My biggest concern had always been heat, since I don't have a fireplace or wood stove. I feel better knowing that I have the generator to keep the furnace going. My previous winter emergency plans all involved leaving the house.

FreeWillie
08-30-2011, 09:03 AM
Another good source

http://www.govliquidation.com/

bullseye
08-30-2011, 09:11 AM
If you couldn't find what you were looking for in one of those threads, perhaps you could take this opportunity to ask a specific question.
Gotta love it, just gotta love it! You da best EC.

cockpitbob
08-30-2011, 09:17 AM
Right now I've got a 4KW job and lots of extension cords. But I'm think I'm going to spring for the natural gas powered, whole house approach. I've got a big basement with a ton of stuff stored in it and 2 sump pumps keeping it dry. I want to be able to go for a 2 week vacation and not worry that my power went out and the basement became a swamp and the fridge a science experiment. Or, if we loose power for a week in the winter I want to know the pipes won't freeze. Someday when I sell the house I would get some of the $ back in increased house value.

bullseye
08-30-2011, 09:27 AM
I love the folks that will try to return a genset after using it for 8 hours or so with some BS excuse and then cop an attitude when told, NO. Then they will try to get what they paid for it, it's now a used item. Be patient and you will find all sorts of good deals in a month or so when all these folks find there is a bunch of them for sale, it will be a buyers market.
Get a 6K minimum, preferably closer to 10K. You want the genset to purr along and not have to go full tilt all the time. Also, I have a Honda 6500 and am only using minimal devices on it, fridge, freezer, a flat panel, a few lights and when needed, I plug in a microwave or clean out the garbage disposal. I am not on a switch so I run 12/3 cable and AC strips in the house for a temporary fix. Since I have an AV company, I have piles of cables, strips, quad boxes etc. to make it a safe temp fix.
If you want a hard wired switch and permanent outside genset, get a propane 20K Generac or Kohler power, you'll spend more on the Kohler, but they are the real deal that always fire up when needed. The 6500 I have is capable of supplying just about 27.5 amps/leg, but it rarely sees 60%-70%. My kids would be driving me crazy if I didn't have this, never mind the wife and her friggin hair dryer not being able to work.

Dirtypacman
08-30-2011, 09:30 AM
As my business uses Kohler generators - with automatic transfer switches I always recommend them.
I also recommend Honda generators as a very good product.

Sprocket
08-30-2011, 09:33 AM
I've seen the following done on new construction:

200A service
36 pole circuit breaker panel, sub feed to 6 pole 60A load center via disconnect switch
Load center has a second feed with twist lock plug

The gen plugs into the load center, throw disco switch to OFF position to isolate the power to the load center - also prevents back-feed into the grid.

Load center serves fridge, boiler (heat) and other critical receptacles

I plan to do something similar when the service gets updated here.

GomerPile
08-30-2011, 09:43 AM
If anyone is looking for a good all around generator I would look into the Honda EU2000i. I bought one last year and have been really impressed with it. At full throttle it makes about as much noise as my vacuum cleaner. On the eco-throttle setting its shockingly quiet....as in 15ft away you almost can't hear it. Its about the size of a small cooler and weighs just a bit more than a cooler full of ice/drinks.

I have some off-grid property and have used it for pumping water, running a chop saw for cutting kindling, charging batteries for power tools, and most importantly charging my deep cycle batteries in my solar system (built in 12V charger). At home it runs a fridge, freezer, and lights without any problem. Once a month I plug my washing machine into it and do a couple loads to keep the gas fresh.

The only thing it won't do is run my pump which is 220V. I'm shopping for a step up transformer to see if I can make that happen.

rep308
08-30-2011, 10:51 AM
Here is my el-cheapo solution:

Honda 2500 watt generator, $1400.

I ran a circuit completely separate, not connected, to the house system. I put an outlet by the fridge, the heating system, the washer and dryer and the main living room. I backfeed the generator to the separate circuit and plug in things one at a time as needed. Run the heat for a couple of hours, disconnect the heat and plug in the fridge for a couple of hours, unplug the fridge and do a load of laundry, ect.

Safe and cheap

TY43215
08-30-2011, 11:04 AM
I have a 6500W I bought from Northern tool on line. It is the North Star with the Honda engine. It lives year round in my 12' construction trailer with other gear and about 200' of 10gauge SJ extension cord. I use it on jobs when needed and it is available if my power goes out. I can rig my heat in about 10 minutes and just plug other stuff in as needed.

The exhaust is out the side door of the trailer as is the noise so if running it at home, I plug the neighbor on that side in too so she does not mind the noise [grin]

It uses a tank of gasoline in 10 hours so I know it will run all night in the winter.

I am also buying a power inverter for my work truck. Gasoline is gasoline so whether plugging into the truck or plugging into the generator, I am still burning it. The truck has a bigger fuel tank and may be a better option for me.

Lots of options for aux power. You just need to decide how much you want and how convenient you want it

cockpitbob
08-30-2011, 11:05 AM
In Maryland my brother's neighbors did a group by on automatic fixed generators + installation. They are all on natural gas and well water. 7 houses on his street did this for $3500/house. This was 8 years ago. He says the really annoying part is the noise from the generators reminding you that they have heat, lights, running water, a cold fridge and even if cable is down they are watching DVDs. He's pissed he didn't join the group buy because they are out of town and it takes forever to get power restored.

eric_07
08-30-2011, 11:32 AM
not much mention of powering hot water heaters in this thread (one in the last post, i saw)... is it standard practice to plug it in and keep it going as long as you have power to your water pump?

PaulD
08-30-2011, 12:10 PM
I love the folks that will try to return a genset after using it for 8 hours or so with some BS excuse and then cop an attitude when told, NO. Then they will try to get what they paid for it, it's now a used item. Be patient and you will find all sorts of good deals in a month or so when all these folks find there is a bunch of them for sale, it will be a buyers market.
Get a 6K minimum, preferably closer to 10K. You want the genset to purr along and not have to go full tilt all the time. Also, I have a Honda 6500 and am only using minimal devices on it, fridge, freezer, a flat panel, a few lights and when needed, I plug in a microwave or clean out the garbage disposal. I am not on a switch so I run 12/3 cable and AC strips in the house for a temporary fix. Since I have an AV company, I have piles of cables, strips, quad boxes etc. to make it a safe temp fix.
If you want a hard wired switch and permanent outside genset, get a propane 20K Generac or Kohler power, you'll spend more on the Kohler, but they are the real deal that always fire up when needed. The 6500 I have is capable of supplying just about 27.5 amps/leg, but it rarely sees 60%-70%. My kids would be driving me crazy if I didn't have this, never mind the wife and her friggin hair dryer not being able to work.

It's not hard to figure out how much power you actually need. There are plenty of online calculators and most appliances have labels that tell what the draw is.

A blanket recommendation of 10KW or 20KW is kind of silly.

PaulD
08-30-2011, 12:12 PM
not much mention of powering hot water heaters in this thread (one in the last post, i saw)... is it standard practice to plug it in and keep it going as long as you have power to your water pump?

What kind of hot water heater? A standard gas fired hot water heater with a pilot light and vented out a chimney needs no power to run. I have a power vent, gas hot water heater which needs power, but it's not a huge amount (the vent fan probably draws 200W but I'd need to verify that).

Knob Creek
08-30-2011, 12:20 PM
If anyone is looking for a good all around generator I would look into the Honda EU2000i. I bought one last year and have been really impressed with it. At full throttle it makes about as much noise as my vacuum cleaner. On the eco-throttle setting its shockingly quiet....as in 15ft away you almost can't hear it. Its about the size of a small cooler and weighs just a bit more than a cooler full of ice/drinks.

I have some off-grid property and have used it for pumping water, running a chop saw for cutting kindling, charging batteries for power tools, and most importantly charging my deep cycle batteries in my solar system (built in 12V charger). At home it runs a fridge, freezer, and lights without any problem. Once a month I plug my washing machine into it and do a couple loads to keep the gas fresh.

The only thing it won't do is run my pump which is 220V. I'm shopping for a step up transformer to see if I can make that happen.

+1 for one of these. I've had one for about three years now. Handy to work out back of my property for electric chainsaw and other tools. I cut into the wire for my furnace fan and inserted a male and female plug so if I lose power I can just run an extension to that and get heat again. Sunday it powered a fridge, freezer, TV, cablebox a couple lights with no problem. You can also wire two of them together.

Gary brings up a good point with the #10 wire/ Don't buy a generator and scrimp on the extension cord size wire.

drgrant
08-30-2011, 12:32 PM
Anyone know how much a typical oil burning furnace draws for wattage, say, with 1 circulator?

-Mike

GM-GUY
08-30-2011, 01:13 PM
My Becket FHW with two circs and 5 zones (valves) draws 11-12 amps at start up and runs at 4-5 amps.

You need a generator capable of 1500W surge and running at 600W. Better to go bigger so your running at 60-70% load PLUS add some extra for a light or two.

Some 2000W running/2500W surge units can be had very cheap - just make sure it's a reliable name and you'll have no problems.

PaulD
08-30-2011, 01:16 PM
Anyone know how much a typical oil burning furnace draws for wattage, say, with 1 circulator?

-Mike

Try this: http://www.hondapowerequipment.com/products/generators/wattagecalculator.aspx

NHAtHeart
08-30-2011, 01:23 PM
I run a 5kw Mep-002a milsurp diesel, it's a beast, will do about 7kw around sea level, handles surges to 15kw and uses about 1/2 gallon/hr. Also does 120/240/208-3phase, it's loud when you stand beside it but in the house it isn't bad, sucks to be my neighbors.

cockpitbob
08-30-2011, 01:25 PM
Buy a big enough generator.
From the Brownells gun smithing catalog: quote by John Ruskin
"It is unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money...that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do."

It would suck for the generator's breaker to kick-out every time the sump pump and fridge tried to run at the same time.

Chris
08-30-2011, 01:30 PM
A friend who makes a living in the "alternative" energy business recommends buying for an 80% load and try to keep a minimum 50% load while running. Otherwise best to turn it off and wait until you can provide the load. Anything less is a waste.

Billsail
08-30-2011, 02:45 PM
I'm about ready to change the oil again in my 389cc Honda powered, 8750 watt Northstar generator. Do any of you use the synthetic stuff, or do you use conventional oil? The manual says to use conventional, but not specifically. Pros or cons? It's natural gas powered, if that makes a difference.

Thanks

GM-GUY
08-30-2011, 03:29 PM
The synthetic meets (exceeds greatly usually) the conventional requirements. I use synthetic in all my engines/gear boxes/greases after appropriate break-in on engines.

Reasons:
The oil flows better when cold - take 10W30 conv and 10W30 synthetic and put some in dixie cups - place in freezer overnight - pour the next day
The oil does not break down as fast as conv - especially generators that sit for extended periods.
Better fuel economy - less resistance = longer run time

Those are the biggies

Chris
08-30-2011, 05:09 PM
Synthetics usually have higher cost additives like corrosion inhibitors that help a lot for storage.

I use Amsoil.

eric_07
08-30-2011, 05:13 PM
What kind of hot water heater? A standard gas fired hot water heater with a pilot light and vented out a chimney needs no power to run. I have a power vent, gas hot water heater which needs power, but it's not a huge amount (the vent fan probably draws 200W but I'd need to verify that).

Thinking of my parents. No gas appliances, all electric.

Coyote33
08-30-2011, 09:15 PM
Speaking of loudness, weather, and hookups, would it be OK to have a generator set up in my garage, which is detached from the house? I think the most expensive part would be running the line back to the panel, but otherwise, it would make a lot of sense to just make a frame or even pour some cement and mount it permanently out there, with the exhaust going out through the back wall, away from the house and towards the trees. Anyone run with a setup like that?

GomerPile
08-30-2011, 09:37 PM
I have seen a setup using a large metal job box next to a cabin. The box is attached to the ground via 4 cement footings. The bolts into the footings can only accessed from inside the box. there is a "flapper" cut on the side near the generator exhaust pipe it gets propped open when in use. There is an AC fan on one end to keep some air moving. PVC conduit comes in from the bottom and wired to the fuse panel (off grid, no xfer switch needed). When locked the only way you are getting in to the box is with cutting tools. There is no way you are going to pull it out of the ground either.

The primary motivation for this setup was to prevent theft by scumbags and death by CO.


Speaking of loudness, weather, and hookups, would it be OK to have a generator set up in my garage, which is detached from the house? I think the most expensive part would be running the line back to the panel, but otherwise, it would make a lot of sense to just make a frame or even pour some cement and mount it permanently out there, with the exhaust going out through the back wall, away from the house and towards the trees. Anyone run with a setup like that?

Billsail
08-31-2011, 09:46 AM
Synthetics usually have higher cost additives like corrosion inhibitors that help a lot for storage.

I use Amsoil.

What retailers carry Amsoil?

Coyote33
08-31-2011, 08:46 PM
Just thought of a plus to my steam heating system: no electric circulator pumps!

Mark from MA
08-31-2011, 09:27 PM
Speaking of loudness, weather, and hookups, would it be OK to have a generator set up in my garage, which is detached from the house? I think the most expensive part would be running the line back to the panel, but otherwise, it would make a lot of sense to just make a frame or even pour some cement and mount it permanently out there, with the exhaust going out through the back wall, away from the house and towards the trees. Anyone run with a setup like that?

Shouldn't be a problem....keep the flammables away from the exhaust obviously, and I wouldn't stand out there drinking bourbon while it's running. I'm sure some fire codes would frown upon it for some damn reason. They tell you to keep it ten feet away from a building, but I run mine on my porch all the time with no issues.

Coyote33
08-31-2011, 10:43 PM
...But the first thing I'm going to do when this is over is contract an electrician to install a proper generator transfer switch.

How did it turn out?



From what I've heard it is a good generator. I asked (http://northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=695894&highlight=husky#post695894) about it recently and didn't get any feedback. IF you plan on hooking up a transfer switch (which I do) AND you have peak needs (like starting furnace fans, refrigerator, etc) that exceed 4800 watts (really half that if its 120V) then it wouldn't be good.

However if you you are sure your peak demands would be satisfied by the 20A plug 240V plug it's probably a good bargain. ...

I have a steam furnace, so no blowers, just the motor for the boiler itself. Anybody know what that takes? I may end up getting a wood fireplace insert, so would only need a little power for the fan on that to keep warm in the winter if I head down that route. In that case, I can stick with the small generator, and alternate the extension cord from fan to sump pump to fridge. The only sucky part would be no well water, so I'd have to fill the 6 gallon camping jug ahead of a storm, which isn't so tough.

GM-GUY
08-31-2011, 10:51 PM
Klems in Spencer MA, their are others, you could try the Amsoil website. Look for a dealer list or become a preferred customer for $20 yr, that will save you big time if you do your own oil changes and use it in all your stuff.

Maxspeed
09-01-2011, 10:09 PM
I am thinking of upgrading my gen and installing a transfer switch. I was wondering what people thought of the Generac gens. I have never heard of them before I read about them hear. Should I buy one ot theirs or a Honda? I'm thinking a 6500 watt unit.

PaulD
09-01-2011, 10:16 PM
I am thinking of upgrading my gen and installing a transfer switch. I was wondering what people thought of the Generac gens. I have never heard of them before I read about them hear. Should I buy one ot theirs or a Honda? I'm thinking a 6500 watt unit.

The Generacs I've seen say something like "Generac 4 cycle NNNcc engine" in the specs. In other words, the engine was made in China. Personally, I'd buy one with an engine from a known good manufacturer. Honda, Subaru, Kohler or even B&S.

Maxspeed
09-01-2011, 10:20 PM
I am leaning toward the Honda EU6500iS. I will wait a few months to call an electrician since I'm sure they are getting lots of calls for a transfer swtich installation and probably have raised their prices a bit.

pdm
09-01-2011, 11:55 PM
I am leaning toward the Honda EU6500iS. I will wait a few months to call an electrician since I'm sure they are getting lots of calls for a transfer swtich installation and probably have raised their prices a bit.

That's the genny I have. It's awesome. Heck, you can even get a remote starter for it.

Jasper
09-02-2011, 12:04 AM
Right now I've got a 4KW job and lots of extension cords. But I'm think I'm going to spring for the natural gas powered, whole house approach. I've got a big basement with a ton of stuff stored in it and 2 sump pumps keeping it dry. I want to be able to go for a 2 week vacation and not worry that my power went out and the basement became a swamp and the fridge a science experiment. Or, if we loose power for a week in the winter I want to know the pipes won't freeze. Someday when I sell the house I would get some of the $ back in increased house value.

They're not terribly difficult to install, just make sure you check with your fire dept. some towns want generators a certain number of feet away from the house. if you want to quote out a whole-house system, shoot me a PM. I'd be happy to come by and check it out.


I am leaning toward the Honda EU6500iS. I will wait a few months to call an electrician since I'm sure they are getting lots of calls for a transfer swtich installation and probably have raised their prices a bit.

nope. price hasnt changed. it's still $750-$50k, depending on exactly what you want to run (obviously the $50k figure is for a VERY large whole-house setup...did a 60kW on a house in cambridge last year....just the genset was $39k)

teh 6circuit/10circuit manual transfer panels are quite inexpensive, but most generators are quite limited in what they can handle as far as loads. if you're gonna go portable, get the honda. its a fantastic genset.

kiver
09-02-2011, 07:05 AM
The Generacs I've seen say something like "Generac 4 cycle NNNcc engine" in the specs. In other words, the engine was made in China. Personally, I'd buy one with an engine from a known good manufacturer. Honda, Subaru, Kohler or even B&S.


Frequently Asked questions

Where is the engine made?
The engines used on the Generac XP and XG Series of portables are manufactured at our Generac Power Systems, Inc. factory in Whitewater, WI. Generac engines are industrial grade engines designed to provide the ultra-quiet, longer-lasting performance required of portable generators. Generac OHVI® industrial engines run three to five times longer than SV/OHV lawnmower style engines. They also run 30-50 degrees cooler, are 5% more fuel-efficient and reduce oil consumption by 25%.

PaulD may be right about the GP line, but having a China made generator prior to the Generac, the Generac seems to be of much higher quality. I put oil i it put gas in it put the wheels on it and she started up first pull

Maxspeed
09-02-2011, 07:43 AM
Thanks for the info Jasper, I didnt mean all have raised prices but I'm sure some have. When I had gas installed to my pool heater the first quote I received was $3,000 and the 2nd $1200. I was hoping to have power to 4 bedrooms, one bathroom family room and kitchen. My house is powered by gas so I think I may need to have some power to my heater. I haven't really done any research other than just some quick net recon.

Thanks PDM could you PM me where you got it and and what the sticker price was? I have only seen it on the Honda website and have not been to any retail locations.

pdm
09-02-2011, 07:49 AM
It was a couple of $k, and we got it at Boston Lawnmower in Westborough (http://bostonlawnmower.com/gen09.htm). Sorry I can't really remember the final price tag. Probably don't want to, either. [wink]

Maxspeed
09-02-2011, 08:08 AM
Thanks, the Honda website has a list of $4,500ish.

Billsail
09-02-2011, 08:39 AM
Thanks, the Honda website has a list of $4,500ish.

Check out the Honda powered North Star generators on the Northern Tools website. Whatever you get, I highly recommend electric start.

Jasper
09-02-2011, 03:23 PM
Thanks for the info Jasper, I didnt mean all have raised prices but I'm sure some have. When I had gas installed to my pool heater the first quote I received was $3,000 and the 2nd $1200. I was hoping to have power to 4 bedrooms, one bathroom family room and kitchen. My house is powered by gas so I think I may need to have some power to my heater. I haven't really done any research other than just some quick net recon.

Thanks PDM could you PM me where you got it and and what the sticker price was? I have only seen it on the Honda website and have not been to any retail locations.

a portable might work for that, assuming you dont have any electric appliances...it'd have to be a BIG portable though.

if the Honda is $4500, well, I'll be honest, you're well into the $$$ territory of an automatic standby generator at that point...and the standby setup adds $$$ to the value of your house (a portable doesnt)

radioman
09-02-2011, 03:40 PM
Check out the Honda powered North Star generators on the Northern Tools website. Whatever you get, I highly recommend electric start.

I have a North Star 13K. 2500 bucks, electric start. This gen will give 85 amps at 120v and 43 at 220v. This is enough to power my whole house just as long as I don't turn everything on at once. I can run my electric dryer, electric stove/oven, well pump, even my 300amp welder. I just have to be mindful not to turn to many of these on at once. The engine is a 18hp Honda. It will consume about 1gal an hour at 60% load. I use this unit sparingly because of fuel consumption. I have a smaller Honda 3000 that I use when I don't need the big appliances. Highly recommend North Star!!

Finalygotabeltfed
09-02-2011, 04:52 PM
The Generacs I've seen say something like "Generac 4 cycle NNNcc engine" in the specs. In other words, the engine was made in China. Personally, I'd buy one with an engine from a known good manufacturer. Honda, Subaru, Kohler or even B&S.

My Generac has an 11hp Briggs&Straton engine, its circa 1997. It works like a champ but ther are two things I don't like about it, its loud and the pull start mechanisms on ALL Briggs engines really, really suck. I'm going to make a few trips to the dump and see if antything with an electric starter shows up to be salvaged.

Billsail
09-02-2011, 05:42 PM
My Generac has an 11hp Briggs&Straton engine, its circa 1997. It works like a champ but ther are two things I don't like about it, its loud and the pull start mechanisms on ALL Briggs engines really, really suck. I'm going to make a few trips to the dump and see if antything with an electric starter shows up to be salvaged.

I was fed up with a hard starting generator (from a box store, big mistake) and decided I would simply install a starter motor, as the bolt holes and plate covering the opening access to the flywheel were all there. Easy right? Not so! In cost saving measures to insure the price point demanded by the box store, they installed flywheels with NO TEETH!! MUCH cheaper to manufacture. Not so good for consumer alterations. Beware!

Finalygotabeltfed
09-02-2011, 06:28 PM
I was fed up with a hard starting generator (from a box store, big mistake) and decided I would simply install a starter motor, as the bolt holes and plate covering the opening access to the flywheel were all there. Easy right? Not so! In cost saving measures to insure the price point demanded by the box store, they installed flywheels with NO TEETH!! MUCH cheaper to manufacture. Not so good for consumer alterations. Beware!

Yes, I'm aware of that. The flywheel would have to be changed.

Billsail
09-02-2011, 06:33 PM
Yes, I'm aware of that. The flywheel would have to be changed.

If you're not going to tear down the whole engine yourself for the alteration, the repair shops will quote you a price that will equal the cost of a new genset. Just buy a new one.

Coyote33
09-02-2011, 09:02 PM
Anyone have a one-lung motor powering a generator?

How about alternative power such as water wheel or wind?

Just wondering.

PaulD
09-02-2011, 09:11 PM
PaulD may be right about the GP line, but having a China made generator prior to the Generac, the Generac seems to be of much higher quality. I put oil i it put gas in it put the wheels on it and she started up first pull

I stand at least partially corrected, though I was generalizing about generators that don't have a branded engine on them. Those engines will generally be made in China but it's good to know that Generac is making their own.

Lignum Vitea
09-03-2011, 07:19 AM
How about alternative power such as water wheel or wind?
Just wondering.

I looked into micro-hydro power, the brook that runs out back is seasonal most years.

http://www.microhydropower.com/

whatluck
09-03-2011, 10:57 AM
I've been doing some research on building my own inverter type generator. Anyone have any experience with this? I was thinking 3hp motor, GM alternator, battery, inverter.

http://theepicenter.com/tow02077.html

I was going to make my own pulse width modulator inverter from TL494 and a bunch of really really big transistors.

Thoughts?

Maxspeed
09-03-2011, 09:49 PM
I have an electric oven, microwave and toaster oven. Also washer and dryer. I know I cant run them all at the same time. I really have no place to put a standby gen. My house has a fenced in back yard and the fence meets the house in the middle of it's side. On one side (inside the fence) I have 2 AC units, a pool heater and filter. The back of the house has a stamped concrete pool deck that runs from corner to corner. And on the garage side we have a walk thru door. That is where I was thinking of keeping the portbale gen, just outside of that door but inside of the fence.

Jasper
09-03-2011, 09:55 PM
honestly, an electric oven alone is (as a rule) too much for a portable generator (same with electric dryers). if thats the case, go portable, and stick to basic lights, fridge, and heat.

Maxspeed
09-03-2011, 09:59 PM
I was hoping for power to 4 berdrooms, one bath, the kitchen (lights, fridge, plugs, toaster over/microwave) and family room as well as furnace fan. Having power to the washer dryer would be nice and could cut out usage to other things during theior operation, but isnt necessary. I wouldn't expect a port gen to be able to power all at once.

40 caliber
09-03-2011, 10:12 PM
My 2 cents : I bought a portable $699 Briggs and stratton at BJs in Nashua. I live in Hollis. I have lost power 5 -6 times since I got it 2 years ago. It is still going strong. I have 5500/8500 KW. It runs the well pump, the furnace , 2 refrigerators. the basement 30 inch CRT TV, lights and my wireless for internet. I dont use it with my LCD but people say I can. I figure if I blow a 10 year old CRT I wont care.

I thought a lot/researched a lot on the northstar , the Honda etc.. I can buy 5 of these B&S generators before I pay for one Honda. Maybe it won't last as long as the honda but it has done the job every time for the last 2 years. I spent the extra $4K on other things for the house. You make the call.

Len-2A Training
09-03-2011, 11:07 PM
Check out these two pictures I took today at Costco's in Nashua.


http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/Costco_Gen_1.jpg


http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/Costco_Gen_2.jpg

n1oty
09-04-2011, 07:53 AM
I've been doing some research on building my own inverter type generator. Anyone have any experience with this? I was thinking 3hp motor, GM alternator, battery, inverter.

http://theepicenter.com/tow02077.html

I was going to make my own pulse width modulator inverter from TL494 and a bunch of really really big transistors.

Thoughts?

The only real drawback to a project like this is capacity. For every 100 amps of output from an automotive alternator, you will ultimately realize approximately 10 amps at 120 volts VAC or approximately 5 amps at 240 VAC. Granted, the battery bank would give you brief periods where you could draw a bit of extra current, but that will be of little value in a long term power outage.

Mark from MA
09-04-2011, 08:03 AM
My 2 cents : I bought a portable $699 Briggs and stratton at BJs in Nashua. I live in Hollis. I have lost power 5 -6 times since I got it 2 years ago. It is still going strong. I have 5500/8500 KW. It runs the well pump, the furnace , 2 refrigerators. the basement 30 inch CRT TV, lights and my wireless for internet. I dont use it with my LCD but people say I can. I figure if I blow a 10 year old CRT I wont care.

I thought a lot/researched a lot on the northstar , the Honda etc.. I can buy 5 of these B&S generators before I pay for one Honda. Maybe it won't last as long as the honda but it has done the job every time for the last 2 years. I spent the extra $4K on other things for the house. You make the call.

THis is my thinkng as well...if the BS dies, just go buy a new one. So instead of spending a ton on that Honda, I put the difference in the money aside and it's been collecting interest for ten years...since I've had no issues at all with the BS. But if I ever do, the money's there.

BTW...I had no problems using mine with my LCD tv or computers....

Mark from MA
09-04-2011, 08:13 AM
I was hoping for power to 4 berdrooms, one bath, the kitchen (lights, fridge, plugs, toaster over/microwave) and family room as well as furnace fan. Having power to the washer dryer would be nice and could cut out usage to other things during theior operation, but isnt necessary. I wouldn't expect a port gen to be able to power all at once.

Unless your getting a 12000 watt or more generator...forget the dryer and microwave/toaster. But if you don't have a well pump, microwave may be OK with like an 8500 watt.

Cooking is pretty easy with gas campstove or gas grill........so I wouldn't even worry about cooking......just make sure you have gas or gas bottles on hand. Those little camp stove gas bottles go a long way......I've boiled deer skulls while making european mounts...and they last 6 hours full out on a camp stove....I'd imagine one would last almost a week with normal cooking usage.

Maxspeed
09-04-2011, 08:26 AM
I don't have a well pump, but I do have a gas grill that is right outside my slider and is tied into the house gas.

PaulD
09-04-2011, 09:15 AM
Unless your getting a 12000 watt or more generator...forget the dryer and microwave/toaster. But if you don't have a well pump, microwave may be OK with like an 8500 watt.

How much do you think a microwave or toaster actually draws? Both are fine on a 15A circuit so even a much smaller generator will easily run either.

People really need to figure out how to calculate electrical draw before they say what size generator someone needs.

Maxspeed
09-04-2011, 09:19 AM
I was thinking of bringing in an electrician to set up the house with my needs then buy a gen to fit them, rather than buy the gen then call someone to hook it up and tell me I can't power my kids bedrooms because the gen is too small.

Coyote33
09-04-2011, 10:50 AM
My thoughts are generators are for essentials. Lights, dryer, oven/stove, microwave/dishwasher can all go to the wayside. I just want the sump pump, well pump, and furnace. The living room with lights and TV would be OK as a central point and news source. The rest of the house can go to candles and flashlights. I need to figure out how much juice my well needs, as I think that is the deciding factor. My neighbor has a 5000 watt generator, and his well seems to work OK.

NHAtHeart
09-04-2011, 11:45 AM
My thoughts are generators are for essentials. Lights, dryer, oven/stove, microwave/dishwasher can all go to the wayside. I just want the sump pump, well pump, and furnace. The living room with lights and TV would be OK as a central point and news source. The rest of the house can go to candles and flashlights. I need to figure out how much juice my well needs, as I think that is the deciding factor. My neighbor has a 5000 watt generator, and his well seems to work OK.

Do you have a dug well or a drilled well? If it's drilled do you know the depth? What size breaker is the well pump on in your panel(probably like a 2 pole 20a)? If you get these answers I'd bet people on this forum could find you the hp of the pump and what kind of juice it would take to run it. Or if you have a jet pump in the basement like I have you could just look at the info stamped on the pump.

calsdad
09-04-2011, 01:26 PM
How much do you think a microwave or toaster actually draws? Both are fine on a 15A circuit so even a much smaller generator will easily run either.

People really need to figure out how to calculate electrical draw before they say what size generator someone needs.


I can run the wife's hair dryer and the microwave on my Honda EU2000i. Nothing much of anything else will run while they are on - and when they start up there is drop when the generator kicks in to full speed - but they DO run.

For the longest time she would say " we don't need a generator ". Now when the power goes off she asks: " are you going to get the generator going?". I've been planting the seed for a bigger one. She doesn't object outright. It's pretty much the same process as the whole thing about getting guns when the SO objects.

PaulD
09-04-2011, 07:55 PM
I can run the wife's hair dryer and the microwave on my Honda EU2000i. Nothing much of anything else will run while they are on - and when they start up there is drop when the generator kicks in to full speed - but they DO run.

For the longest time she would say " we don't need a generator ". Now when the power goes off she asks: " are you going to get the generator going?". I've been planting the seed for a bigger one. She doesn't object outright. It's pretty much the same process as the whole thing about getting guns when the SO objects.

Those are the reasons I went cheap and, relatively, big instead of small and expensive. I get the advantage of the inverter style, but one that would run everything is big $$$$.

Coyote33
09-04-2011, 08:03 PM
Do you have a dug well or a drilled well? If it's drilled do you know the depth? What size breaker is the well pump on in your panel(probably like a 2 pole 20a)? If you get these answers I'd bet people on this forum could find you the hp of the pump and what kind of juice it would take to run it. Or if you have a jet pump in the basement like I have you could just look at the info stamped on the pump.

I'm pretty sure it is 307 feet down. It is on a double breaker, and they are 20 amps; just as you guessed.



... Honda EU2000i. ... when the power goes off she asks: " are you going to get the generator going?". I've been planting the seed for a bigger one. She doesn't object outright ...

Dibs when you upgrade.

ScottS
09-04-2011, 08:48 PM
My thoughts are generators are for essentials. Lights, dryer, oven/stove, microwave/dishwasher can all go to the wayside. I just want the sump pump, well pump, and furnace. The living room with lights and TV would be OK as a central point and news source. The rest of the house can go to candles and flashlights. I need to figure out how much juice my well needs, as I think that is the deciding factor. My neighbor has a 5000 watt generator, and his well seems to work OK.

I go the other way. I want minimum disruption with normal life, although I keep the oven off, as well as the dryer. Beyond that, I want to be able to "bring up" whatever I or the family needs.

My generator is rated at 8500W continuous, and I feel pretty secure I can power the house (sans oven and dryer) without sweating who's turning on what.

NHAtHeart
09-04-2011, 09:12 PM
I'm pretty sure it is 307 feet down. It is on a double breaker, and they are 20 amps; just as you guessed.




Dibs when you upgrade.


I am not a well guy but from what I've found it looks like probably a 1hp submersible at 300ft at 240v (two pole) pulls around 9.8amps. This works out to be approx 2400watts running (from what I can tell) I believe it's add 50% for startup draw so you'd need at least 2400w running 3600w surge (to just barely cut it).

Again, not an expert but thought that might help a bit others might be able to add more info.

Coyote33
09-04-2011, 10:02 PM
So, even something like one of these should cut it?

Powerhorse Portable Generator — 4000 Surge Watts, 3100 Rated Watts (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200419023_200419023)

FREE SHIPPING — Generac GP Portable Generator — 3750 Surge Watts, 3250 Rated Watts, Model# 5982 (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200369672_200369672)

Champion Power Equipment Wireless Remote Start Generator — 4000 Surge Watts, 3500 Rated Watts, Electric Start, Wheel Kit, Model# 45612 (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200458019_200458019)

Again, I have no problem turning off other circuits to run the pump, then the pump off to run everything else.

dwarven1
09-05-2011, 02:40 PM
I do have a gas grill that is right outside my slider and is tied into the house gas.

And are you going to be cooking during a hurricane or an ice storm on that grill? (this is what ran into last weekend. I'd taken the grill into the garage so I didn't have to worry about it blowing around in the hurricane. Otherwise it lives on the deck year round.)

Maxspeed
09-05-2011, 02:56 PM
IM had taken mine in as well but it was back on the deck by 4pm that day. My point was that if we lost power for a few days after the storm we would still be able to cook on it.

Palladin
09-05-2011, 07:36 PM
10kw genset, auto xfer sw in 3000sq ft house, runs 90% of it, including the wall oven.

appraiser
09-05-2011, 07:43 PM
I go the other way. I want minimum disruption with normal life, although I keep the oven off, as well as the dryer. Beyond that, I want to be able to "bring up" whatever I or the family needs.

My generator is rated at 8500W continuous, and I feel pretty secure I can power the house (sans oven and dryer) without sweating who's turning on what.


When you start working with generators, you will have to figure out load balance on the 2 legs (120 volts per side) and you need to figure out what has to be on on one leg to balance the other.

It is real nice to be able to run your whole house, but when the SHTF, how are you going to keep a 10 HP motor fueled?

That thing has to spin at 3600 rpm's all the time to make 60 cycle AC power.

My back up power consists of a small inverter and a 5KW generator, and by running the inverter 90% of the time I can go 30 days on the fuel I have on site. Backup power should run the basics and you need enough fuel to run at least 2 weeks on hand before you start siphoning gas tanks.

Coyote33
09-05-2011, 08:09 PM
Is there any reason at all to consider propane for a generator? The only propane I have is the gas grill tank and spare. Do these last an abnormally lot longer than a tank of gasoline? I am guessing these are better for people with a huge tank or piped in gas, right?

appraiser
09-05-2011, 08:13 PM
From what I have seen, you need a huge propane tank in order to keep enough pressure in the system to run. Gasoline can be sourced from lots of places in a bind, propane is going to be a bitch to find.

Maxspeed
09-05-2011, 08:52 PM
I'm starting to lean toward a stationary Nat Gas gen.

ScottS
09-05-2011, 09:56 PM
When you start working with generators, you will have to figure out load balance on the 2 legs (120 volts per side) and you need to figure out what has to be on on one leg to balance the other.

It is real nice to be able to run your whole house, but when the SHTF, how are you going to keep a 10 HP motor fueled?

That thing has to spin at 3600 rpm's all the time to make 60 cycle AC power.

My back up power consists of a small inverter and a 5KW generator, and by running the inverter 90% of the time I can go 30 days on the fuel I have on site. Backup power should run the basics and you need enough fuel to run at least 2 weeks on hand before you start siphoning gas tanks.

Thanks for the tip, but I know all about load balancing. Well, maybe not "all about" it, but this is not my first generator.

I'm not looking to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse or terrorist EMP burst. The ice storm of '08 is closer, and between the generous tank on the generator and fuel onsite, I can run for almost a week before I need to sweat fuel, which was never even a consideration then.

Bob J
09-06-2011, 08:44 AM
not worry that my power went out and the basement became a swamp and the fridge a science experiment

A science experiment! LOL! [rofl]

BigDaddyAl
09-07-2011, 09:41 AM
Does anyone have experience or know about ETQ brand generators? I got my Costco circular yesterday and from 9/15 - 10/9 they have this model for $649.99 delivered after $200 off:

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Productgroup.aspx?Prodid=11603110


The ETQ TG72B12 has a power output of 8250 watt surge and 7250 watts of continuous power. The ETQ TG72B12 is powered by an ETQ 14 HP, 420 cc, 4 Stroke, air cooled heavy duty engine and with a fuel efficiency of 11 hours at half load. This is accomplished with the 6.42 gallon fuel tank. The battery is included with the TG72B12, which gives you two options of recoil start and electric start on this unit.

The ETQ TG72B12 comes with ETQ Sine Power® this features allows the electricity produce from the unit to be almost as clean as the electricity produced by your home wall sockets. This allows sensitive electronics to be run on the TG72B12.

The ETQ TG72B12 has a heavy duty 1” rolled tube steel design with double bar top frame protection and run flat wheel kit with easy to pull down fold handle. Power outlets included are (2) 120V 20 Amp duplex outlets, (1) 120/240V 30 Amp L14-30R twist lock-outlet, and (1) 120V 30 Amp L5-30R twist-lock outlet.

Features:

Output: 7250 Watts continuous/ 8250 Watts max
Engine: ETQ 420cc 14HP 4-stroke Single Cylinder Air-Cooled OHV Engine
Starter: Easy pull recoil start and hassle free push button electric start with battery included
Outlets: (2) 120V duplex, (1) 120/240V L14-30R twist lock and (1) 120V L5-30R twist lock
Fuel tank: 6.42 gallon fuel tank
Oil level: .9 liters
Decibel sound rating: 70db
Runtime: 6.6 hrs at 100% load and 10.5 hrs at 50% load
Frame: 1’” rolled steel tubing
Wheel kit: Run flat wheels and handle bar included.
Some assembly required
Additional features: ETQ Sine Power®, Low decibel muffler, low oil protection shut off warning, fuel gauge, and automatic voltage regulator (included)
Includes: Funnel and convenience start up tools
Dimensions: 32.68” L x 22.05” W x 23.62” H
Weight: 210 lbs
TG72B12 is not available for California residents
TG72B12CA is available for California residents only

ETA: It has decent reviews on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/TG72K12-4-Cycle-Portable-Generator-Electric/dp/B0016L35F4)

Billsail
09-07-2011, 10:17 AM
Does anyone have experience or know about ETQ brand generators? I got my Costco circular yesterday and from 9/15 - 10/9 they have this model for $649.99 delivered after $200 off:

ETA: It has decent reviews on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/TG72K12-4-Cycle-Portable-Generator-Electric/dp/B0016L35F4)

Read the one and two star reviews in addition to the four and five star!!!. IMHO, made in China, not so glowing reviews=Fail!

mannydog
09-07-2011, 10:45 AM
I just ordered an 8,750/7,000 watt tri-fuel generator with Honda GX 390 engine and propane regulator from Central Maine Deisel. I haven't read every post in this thread so I'm not sure if this outfit has been mentioned already. It's a little over $1,700.00, delivered. They told me a month or so for delivery.

http://www.generatorsales.com/order/03369_alt.asp?page=H03369

Billsail
09-07-2011, 11:31 AM
I just ordered an 8,750/7,000 watt tri-fuel generator with Honda GX 390 engine and propane regulator from Central Maine Deisel. I haven't read every post in this thread so I'm not sure if this outfit has been mentioned already. It's a little over $1,700.00, delivered. They told me a month or so for delivery.

http://www.generatorsales.com/order/03369_alt.asp?page=H03369

That looks like a great deal. Honda engine plus free shipping. That is very similar to the Northstar model that I have, but mine was about $500 more. The only complaint I would have, is the steel fuel tank on yours. I prefer plastic. I drained my tank completely, ran it until the carb ran dry, and then drained the bowl on the carb. I don't want any leftover, bad gas anywhere. I don't plan on ever using it with gasoline, but still can if I have to. There will be a litte leftover gas in the tank, from the factory test run. Also you'll notice the propane tank shown on the website is not a 20lb tank. Possibly a 40lb. These larger tanks are reqired to run that size engine. I believe a 40lb tank holds about 9.5 gals of propane. Check to be sure, and use this to figure your needs. All in all, it looks like you made a very wise choice.

JimB
09-14-2011, 07:45 AM
i'm looking into a nat gas stationary generator. i thought about a portable

gas unit, (maybe) 8-10k, but these guys use a lot of fuel, seems i would

need a lot of it to keep it running...they would work fine in a if we lost

power for a day or less, but if its that bad may not be able to get

fuel. my thoughts, any comments

GM-GUY
09-14-2011, 10:07 AM
If you are plumbed with gas to the house or want to spend $200/yr or more for the big tank 'maint fee' a delivery company will charge you it would be fine.

I didn't mention this earlier, but it is an important note:

DIESEL FUEL = HOME HEATING OIL


If you don't have gas right now, go with a diesel (they even have stationary models with belly tanks) - easy to service and a mobile unit is easy to add fuel to by adding a drain valve on you basement fuel tank.

PaulD
09-14-2011, 10:37 AM
And are you going to be cooking during a hurricane or an ice storm on that grill? (this is what ran into last weekend. I'd taken the grill into the garage so I didn't have to worry about it blowing around in the hurricane. Otherwise it lives on the deck year round.)

Hurricanes don't last long enough that you wouldn't survive until it's possible to pull the grill outside for cooking. As for ice storms, I cook on my grill in the middle of the winter quite often.