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DirecTV with a Generator

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by llupin, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. Nov 1, 2012 #21 of 369
    Rich

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    If you're gonna use a dryer receptacle to power your CB panel, you should shut off ALL the breakers, especially the main breaker before plugging the genny into your dryer receptacle. Then put a piece of electrical tape over the main breaker just to make sure you don't turn it on by mistake. The tape won't stop the CB from operating, but it will serve as a warning to not turn it on with the genny operating. Then turn on only the breakers you need after you get the panel juiced up with the genny.

    Rule of thumb, voltage times amperage = wattage. Don't exceed the capacity of the genny. Try to keep it running at 80% of it's rated wattage. All electrical devices should have nameplates on them that will tell you the amperage draw. Just add up all the amps of the devices you NEED and multiply that figure by 117 and you'll have a rough, but good, idea of how much wattage you're drawing from the genny.

    All that said, I'm finally giving up and I'm gonna buy a big genny with the transfer switch. I've been considering one for a while and I see them priced at ~ $6,000. Little enough to put out for peace of mind.

    Rich
     
  2. Nov 1, 2012 #22 of 369
    loudo

    loudo Well-Known Member

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    My SWM power injector is in the basement, had to run a cord down there last winter for just that, when we lost power.

    I am going to put in a whole house generator. The portable just doesn't get it when we loose power in the middle of the winter. Get it out, clean the pad, hook it up, then go out in the cold and sometimes dark and fill it with gas, every few hours.
     
  3. Nov 1, 2012 #23 of 369
    Kevin F

    Kevin F Hall Of Fame

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    I think you can get generators that run off your natural gas line these days.

    Kevin
     
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  4. Nov 1, 2012 #24 of 369
    trh

    trh This Space for Sale

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    Or even a buried or above ground tank if you don't have a gas line to your house. Very common in 'high-end' homes in FL.
     
  5. Nov 1, 2012 #25 of 369
    dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    Amazing :eek2:

    Do they at least kill the main breaker to the panel (to isolate from the grid) when they do that?
     
  6. Nov 1, 2012 #26 of 369
    loudo

    loudo Well-Known Member

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    We did have a whole home unit, when we lived in Florida. Got spoiled and hate the manual portable unit that we have now. Worse up here in Maine using a manual during a winter storm. We are out in the country here and would need to us LP. But I see that LP will give you more amperage than NG, for the same unit.

    Today's whole home generators have automatic switch over from utility to generator power. If your utility power is down for say 10 seconds, it will turn the generator on. There are also switches called smart switches that allow you to use a smaller generator to power your home. It just will not allow to many high amperage units to run at the same time. Example: Your electric stove will not turn on if your clothes dryer is running. It will wait for the dryer to shut off, then you can use the stove.
     
  7. Nov 1, 2012 #27 of 369
    onan38

    onan38 Legend

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    Here is the transfer switch i'm running in my setup. Best money i have ever spent,I don't have my A.C unit connected but i have a natural gas furnace and water heater also my electric stove isn't hooked up to it either.Took me around 2 hours to hook up hardest part was running the wire from the plug i mounted on back of my house.I got lucky and had a vent screen for my crawl space right there cut out the top right corner for the flexible conduit.Found a extra hole that lead right up to the electrical box inside.The hardest part is to balance the load between the breakers on the transfer switch but the instructions helped alot.Had a friend that is a electrician double check my work he found no problems.When the power goes out all my neighbors head to my house.
    I have a 1200sf ranch style house with every light on 2 plasma's w/t directv,fridge,furnace,ceiling fans going i pull 2500 watts it will shoot up to 3000 watts when fridge compressor or furnace motor runs i run a 5500 Generac generator.

    http://www.reliancecontrols.com/ProductDetail.aspx?51410C
     
  8. Nov 2, 2012 #28 of 369
    Rich

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    A decent electrician (you'd be amazed at how many aren't decent or even nearly competent) would do that first. It's pretty simple, really. Just a matter of shutting off ALL the breakers in the panel and unplugging the dryer and plugging in the generator. Then the genny backfeeds into the CB box. Then you start to turn on essential breakers. Never turn on the main breaker till you have juice to the house and have disconnected the genny and connected the dryer plug again. Then you can turn on the main breaker, with ALL the other breakers off. Then, turn the breakers on, one by one.

    Last time I had a problem with a backfed system, it took me over 3 hours to locate the problem (I was following another electrician who couldn't get it to work), 5 minutes to fix it. What he had done was put a female connector on the feed wire from the genny and didn't wire it up correctly. When I arrived, I was getting wild voltage readings all over the place. The electrician I was following had worked for me and I was of the impression that the guy knew what he was doing and didn't follow him around as much as I should have. My fault for trusting another electrician, I don't even trust myself and have to verify everything I do several times. Anyhow, I wired the female connector correctly and the house lit up. 3 hours wasted. I should have checked all the work he did, I should have known better than to trust someone else. He could have burned the house down.

    Just a warning: When you let your fingers do the walking thru the Yellow Pages for an electrician, you have no idea how competent he is. Better to get referrals from someone.

    Rich
     
  9. Nov 2, 2012 #29 of 369
    loudo

    loudo Well-Known Member

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    And make sure they are licensed and insured.
     
  10. Nov 2, 2012 #30 of 369
    Rich

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    Forgot about that. If any contractor is gonna burn your house down, it will probably be an electrician. The trucks usually have the license number on them, but you really have to check the insurance. I don't plan to install the big genny, but I'm gonna be leaning over the electrician's shoulder all the way.

    Rich
     
  11. Nov 2, 2012 #31 of 369
    Nick

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    Genny mfrs and/or retailers should have a list of approved electricians for your area. Ask.
     
  12. Nov 2, 2012 #32 of 369
    dsw2112

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    My grandfather was in the trades (a carpenter), and he would say "a good electrician is hard to find." :lol: I won't generalize, because I know there's some good ones out there; just haven't seen one myself :p

    Never thought about connecting a generator to the dryer outlet myself, but I know the extensive tag-out process we would perform in the Navy (to ensure engerized systems stay de-energized during maintenance.) I wouldn't trust a normal person to ensure that main breaker stays off during backfeed. Hell, they probably have enough on their mind if a storm is raging, power is off, kids are screaming, and they're trying to hookup/start a generator. Way too much potential for error there... Glad I don't work on the power grid :eek2:
     
  13. Nov 2, 2012 #33 of 369
    Rich

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    Yup, that's what I'll do or get a hold of my friend who has installed several of them and help him install it. Gonna take a while to get estimates and settle on what I want.

    Rich
     
  14. Nov 2, 2012 #34 of 369
    Rich

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    He sounds like a wise man. And correct.

    They finally got a lock-out tag-out system in place? We just did everything hot. Good for them. My ship participated in the first PM (preventive maintenance) system to be computerized. That was a huge undertaking.

    Agreed. You should see some of the DIY electrical work I've seen in houses. As for those guys who work on the grids, they're always at risk. But there's no other way to do what they have to do and they get deferments from regulating agencies so they can work hot.

    I'm fine with anything up to 600V, and I'm qualified to make 4160V (the next big jump from 600V) splices, but I've had some terrifying experiences with 4160 and avoided that at all costs.

    But, you're right, even just unplugging a dryer and plugging in a generator to backfeed the CB box can be an adventure for some folks.

    Rich
     
  15. Nov 2, 2012 #35 of 369
    Herdfan

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    Bought a 17KW Generac at HD during this past summer's Derecho. I has been used twice since then. Once for about 6 hours, and this time for 3 days. Cost was $3400 for the generator and another $600 or so for materials. Did the install myself. Really not that hard if you are comfortable working in panel boxes.

    It was somewhat nice to hear it running Tuesday morning. The school system called at 5:30 to let us know we were on a 2-hour delay. So I looked out and knew we were going to lose power when I saw about 3 inches of wet snow and the radar showed this was just the beginning. When the school called back at 7:00 to cancel for the day, I heard the generator running.
     
  16. Nov 2, 2012 #36 of 369
    Rich

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    Did you get an estimate of what it would cost to have it installed?

    Rich
     
  17. Nov 2, 2012 #37 of 369
    Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    No but my neighbor did. His was right around $7500 for the same generator.
     
  18. Nov 2, 2012 #38 of 369
    dsw2112

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    Yep, there's a pretty specific system in place now. For some systems a padlock gets applied and a person is designated to "man the watch."

    You're a better man than I. While I've worked on some high power avionics systems, us electronics guys tend not to splice wiring when energized :lol:

    That one still gets me. Is that against the newer NEC, or is it acceptable with the main breaker off?
     
  19. Nov 2, 2012 #39 of 369
    carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

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    I don't think it is ever acceptable to back feed the circuit breaker box, and is potentially very dangerous. Not saying that a lot of people don't do it, they do, and a great many have no problems. But the potential for a major screw up is there, and is all too easy to do.
     
  20. Nov 3, 2012 #40 of 369
    FussyBob

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    Watch these cheap China made generators as they produce what is called "dirty power" (high voltage spikes), due to loads swtiching in and out, such as, refridgerators, pumps, etc. You can fry you DVR's, TV's and other sensitive electronics (Cell phones, computers, etc.).

    The better Honda converter type generators have much better control over voltage spikes.

    Call the generator tech support and ask about this, most of the time they reply with good luck.
     

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