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DirecTV with a Generator


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368 replies to this topic

#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?

Rich

#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.

Rich

#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.

#51 OFFLINE   bobcamp1

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:26 PM

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.


Even with the appropriate panel installed, there is potential for a serious issue if it is not done correctly. After all, the electrician is following a mental checklist of his own when he installs it. But as long as you turn off the main breaker before you do anything, that'll eliminate the most serious issue in backfeeding.

Is backfeeding against code? Sure. So are most of the Christmas lights I see people put up. You're not going to find an inspector in all of New Jersey right now to cite you with a backfeeding violation, and one that is temporary at that. Note that in most states it's against code to wire your furnace so it plugs into an outlet, even if the outlet is on its own dedicated circuit. There are several how-to's on the Internet on how to do this very thing so you can plug it directly into your portable generator. Yet I think over half the houses in the U.S. have their furnaces wired like that.

#52 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:40 PM

You don't have problems if you prepare everything ahead of time, research and know what you are doing, ...

Perhaps, but what if someone else ends up trying to undo it after you've done it?

And how else are you going to power your furnace?


Well, I've got a gas furnace that uses 110V for ignitor and blower. I put a regular 120V AC power plug on the wire that feeds the furnace, and an outlet from the AC mains which it stays plugged into. When I lose power, I simply run an extension cord in from the generator and plug in the furnace. Simple, easy, and safe.

#53 OFFLINE   dsw2112

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:51 PM

Perhaps, but what if someone else ends up trying to undo it after you've done it?


That's the part I'd worry about. Having two AC sources in parallel (mains & generator) isn't like running two DC sources in parallel. Something is gonna give...

While it's possible that an electrician can miswire a transfer switch; I'd think that would be hard to do (and easy to check.) Once installed, there's not much room for error with a transfer switch. On the other hand, the error potential exists each and every time for those that backfeed a panel. I'm not judging, but I just can't imagine doing that in my home (even if I'm the only one completing the process each time.)
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#54 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 10:09 PM

All it takes is one mistake and you can cause permanent damage. Backfeeding is NOT a good idea. If you did it, you would absolutely need to make sure your mains feed was OFF at any time the generator was connected. Transfer switches do this by making sure only one input can be on at the same time. No "oops" unless the transfer switch is broken.

I wired my house with additional separate wiring for the generator. NO connection to the main service. I crank up the generator and unplug stuff from the mains outlets to connect it to the generator powered outlets. Sometimes inconvenient but no chance for an oops.

And the few times the power fails and the power company comes around to check houses before restoring power I tell them that I am NOT backfed. They like that.

Your house, your responsibility ... but for me and my house, I will never backfeed.

#55 OFFLINE   palmgrower

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 09:20 AM

As a backfeeder for Frances & Jean and the two resulting fires and explosions in my neighborhoof after FPL (Florida Plunder & Loot) restored power to homes who didn't disconnect main when back feeding, we decided to do it right
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When Katrina & Wilma hit, we rolled out the Kubota 12kw surge 10KW continuous diesel generator on to the back porch, ran the 6 gauge 4 wire to the transfer switch and let'r rip.
Best investment we ever made.
Our DTV is on UPS backups which seem to clean up the electricity from the grid and the generator.
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#56 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 12:31 PM

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


OSHA makes their rules. If the rules laid forth by a manufacturer or the Navy (I guess) are more stringent than OSHA's rules, those are the rules OSHA goes by.

Rich

#57 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 12:34 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?


With a genny? What's special about a furnace? Serious question, I don't see any reason a genny can't be used to provide the power for a furnace.

Rich

#58 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 12:40 PM

Perhaps, but what if someone else ends up trying to undo it after you've done it?


That's hard. As I said earlier, you can't see electricity and you can't read the previous electrician's mind. That's why you're better off using the same electrician for connecting and disconnecting things such as backfed CB boxes.


Well, I've got a gas furnace that uses 110V for ignitor and blower. I put a regular 120V AC power plug on the wire that feeds the furnace, and an outlet from the AC mains which it stays plugged into. When I lose power, I simply run an extension cord in from the generator and plug in the furnace. Simple, easy, and safe.


Yeah, I didn't get that one either.

Rich

#59 OFFLINE   dsw2112

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 01:25 PM

OSHA makes their rules. If the rules laid forth by a manufacturer or the Navy (I guess) are more stringent than OSHA's rules, those are the rules OSHA goes by.

Rich


For clarity; my mention of "manning the watch" in addition to the standard tag out/lock out wasn't anything that was really official policy (at least not when I was in.) I had a Division officer that used E-nothings for furniture (when they pissed him off.) He'd make them get down on all fours and use them as a table; placing a picture, candy bowl, etc on their back. We'd also draw a chalk circle on the flight deck (for the guys that couldn't resist crossing in front of landing aircraft.) They were to stand inside the tiny circle to ensure they didn't kill themselves.

All of this is pretty far off topic so I apologize. There's many things we used to do (mostly to prevent stupid people from killing themselves or others) while at sea. Most of which would not be considered standard "policy" or be anything that would translate to OSHA.
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#60 OFFLINE   trh

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 09:57 PM

Especially since OSHA's authority doesn't extend to military/combat related equipment or operations.




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