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DirecTV with a Generator


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#26 OFFLINE   loudo

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:19 PM

Amazing :eek2:

Do they at least kill the main breaker to the panel (to isolate from the grid) when they do that?

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.
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#27 OFFLINE   onan38

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:56 PM

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.

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#28 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 07:34 AM

Amazing :eek2:

Do they at least kill the main breaker to the panel (to isolate from the grid) when they do that?


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

#29 OFFLINE   loudo

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 07:41 AM

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

And make sure they are licensed and insured.
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#30 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 08:18 AM

And make sure they are licensed and insured.


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.

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#31 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 09:54 AM

Genny mfrs and/or retailers should have a list of approved electricians for your area. Ask.

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#32 OFFLINE   dsw2112

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 10:56 AM

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.


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:
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#33 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 11:11 AM

Genny mfrs and/or retailers should have a list of approved electricians for your area. Ask.


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

#34 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 11:24 AM

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


He sounds like a wise man. And correct.

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.)


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.

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:


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.

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#35 OFFLINE   Herdfan

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 03:12 PM

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.


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.

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#36 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 05:36 PM

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.


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

Rich

#37 OFFLINE   Herdfan

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 06:29 PM

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


No but my neighbor did. His was right around $7500 for the same generator.

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#38 OFFLINE   dsw2112

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 07:52 PM

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.


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."

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.


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:

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.


That one still gets me. Is that against the newer NEC, or is it acceptable with the main breaker off?
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#39 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 09:49 PM

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.

#40 OFFLINE   FussyBob

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 10:06 PM

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.

#41 OFFLINE   loudo

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 07:28 AM

I would recommend having any generator installed professionally. DIY is OK for some home project, but not for a generator install.

The best way to do it is go to a company that sells and installs generators. It may cost a few dollars more initially but will make your home a lot safer than you trying to figure out instructions for a DIY project.
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#42 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 10:46 AM

No but my neighbor did. His was right around $7500 for the same generator.


That's just for the installation or the complete price of genny and installation?

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#43 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:00 AM

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."


Huh. Even more stringent than OSHA regs. OSHA just demands a lock and documentation in some cases and just absolute control of the switch in others. That might have changed since '94 when I quit working.

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's not what I meant. Not hot splices. No way. Had a ball of green radiation (I was told that was what it was by an EE, take that for what that's worth) come down a fuse puller pole and chase me until I got behind a cinder block wall. Swear that damn thing was sentient, the way it came after me. Pulled the wrong fuse.

That one still gets me. Is that against the newer NEC, or is it acceptable with the main breaker off?


I have no idea, hate the thought of even opening a copy of the NEC. I wouldn't consider it dangerous if done by a qualified electrician, if you can find one.

I don't mean to cast aspersions on electricians as a whole, but I've run across some real beauties.

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#44 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:11 AM

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.


I agree. Wouldn't stop me from doing it if I had to. The thing that people don't get about electricity is you can't see it. When you're done and ready to energize, everything looks OK, then you hit the CB and BOOM! Simply put: we CAN'T make mistakes. The results of a faulty installation are too disastrous. A good electrician verifies and verifies every connection and all his work before hitting the on switch.

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#45 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:16 AM

I would recommend having any generator installed professionally. DIY is OK for some home project, but not for a generator install.

The best way to do it is go to a company that sells and installs generators. It may cost a few dollars more initially but will make your home a lot safer than you trying to figure out instructions for a DIY project.


I'm a firm believer in using mechanics (an electrician is a mechanic) to do jobs that they do every day rather than doing it myself, even tho I think I can do the job myself.

And then there's the insurance issue. If you don't get the job inspected and the house burns down because of that job, you might not get the house rebuilt. You'll surely have problems with your insurer if the cause is pinpointed at the work you did.

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#46 OFFLINE   dsw2112

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 08:23 PM

Huh. Even more stringent than OSHA regs. OSHA just demands a lock and documentation in some cases and just absolute control of the switch in others. That might have changed since '94 when I quit working.


While they're supposed to comply with OSHA, the military often has added "quirks" to throw at a problem. :lol:

Edited by dsw2112, 03 November 2012 - 08:29 PM.

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#47 OFFLINE   dsw2112

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 08:28 PM

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.


Agree as well. I'm just curious whether it's against code to backfeed as mentioned above (even if done by an electrician.) I would think a transfer switch, or some modification to the panel would be required (to ensure a lockout of the main breaker) when the generator is connected. A guy down the block is an electrician, so I'll have to ask the next time I see him. I'll bet dollars to donuts that he won't know the answer either though :P
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#48 OFFLINE   bobcamp1

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 08:31 PM

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.


You don't have problems if you prepare everything ahead of time, research and know what you are doing, and make a check list of things you have to do in order (and another check list of how to tear it down safely). You don't want to be making this list for the first time in the dark and bitter cold after you haven't slept for a few days.

I lose power maybe once every 5 years, so a professional hookup for me is just silly. And how else are you going to power your furnace?

#49 OFFLINE   dsw2112

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 08:49 PM

You don't have problems if you prepare everything ahead of time, research and know what you are doing, and make a check list of things you have to do in order (and another check list of how to tear it down safely). You don't want to be making this list for the first time in the dark and bitter cold after you haven't slept for a few days.

I lose power maybe once every 5 years, so a professional hookup for me is just silly. And how else are you going to power your furnace?


Our military has some of the best pilots in the world, and they have checklists for everything. There are times that even they miss things... No doubt most don't have problems backfeeding a panel, but the potential is there for a serious issue.
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#50 OFFLINE   bobcamp1

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:12 PM

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.


A decent and inexpensive generator maintains a pretty nice sine wave at 120 VAC (and that can be checked with a voltmeter and adjusted if needed) with hardly any voltage spikes. In some areas it might even be cleaner than the power from the electric company. Maybe there's some noise on the 5th and 7th harmonics, but the things you plug into it will generate more noise than the generator itself.

The main problem with a portable generator is that it struggles to maintain 60 Hz, especially if there's a sudden load put on it (i.e. sump pump kicks in). Fortunately, the generator is only temporarily off in frequency, and usually by just 3 Hz at the most. Also, most electronics don't care whether it's 50 Hz or 60 Hz or even if it's 120 VAC or 230 VAC. All they do is convert it to low voltage DC anyway. The biggest threat from using generators is for compressors (refrigerators and freezers). I'd recommend not plugging them in at all, but they are the entire reason you bought the generator in the first place. Just be careful not to undervoltage them and you'll be OK.




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