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wiring question

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by higun, Oct 1, 2011.

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  1. higun

    higun Member

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    I'll soon be having an exterior power inlet installed for my generator.

    It looks like there is a choice between a manual transfer switch or an interlock device.

    Is one better than the other?
     
  2. skeeljc

    skeeljc Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    If you are using a portable generator a manual transfer switch would be the way to go.

    I installed a manual transfer switch between my main panel and a sub-panel. I moved the circuits that I wanted to run off of the generator to the sub-panel. The transfer switch selects the source of power fro the sub-panel. Either the main panel or the generator.

    When the power goes out I fire up the generator, connect the supply cord to the receptacle in my garage and go to the basement and throw the manual transfer switch.

    Jim Skeel
     
  3. Auctioneer

    Auctioneer Well-Known Member

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    What I did was to shut off the maim power line. I then flipped all the breakers. I will then plug in the gen in a 220 outlet. I will then start the gen. I will then start to cut on the breakers one at a time.
     
  4. twopipe

    twopipe Member

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    Auctioneer: phone your local utility and tell them that's what you do in a power outage. they'll love it !
     
  5. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    They both achieve the same result.

    First, they isolate your house's wiring from the power company wires, and then allow power input from your gen-set.

    What Auctioneer does will work, but he may run afoul of the power company if they catch him doing it. There is a real risk of 'back powering' the wires and that is NOT good for the service guy trying to repair the wires...

    An interlock device does it all in one motion, the manual transfer will involve throwing two switches - your call.

    I found some cheap interlocks - http://www.interlockkit.com/genelecmain01.htm - this might be the easiest way to go...
     
  6. skeeljc

    skeeljc Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    Auctioneer, In addition to being potentially dangerous how do you know when the power comes back on?

    Jim Skeel
     
  7. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    Don't use Auctioneer's method!!! There have been linemen severly injured and killed from backfed systems.
     
  8. Auctioneer

    Auctioneer Well-Known Member

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    Please reread my post. I said to cu off the main power. That means you go to your main switch box and turn the main power switch. What is so hard about that? Besides if you don't cut off the main switch and the power is turned back on your gen will be fried. As for when the power comes back on, watch next door or the house that doesn't have a gen. If their lights come back on the power is back on. Or have someone call you that is also on the same line. Simple.
     
  9. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    Auctioneer,

    Don't mean to rain on your parade, but I suggest you call your power company and ask their opinion of what you are doing.

    Yes - it will work, and if you are careful you will be fine, but they do not want to risk the life of one of their linesmen. Even though you are pumping only 110 or 220 into the system the same transformers that knock the high voltage lines (12 kVA and the like) down can also step it up in reverse - this could prove a fatal combination.

    In some areas the power company will cut off your power if they find you doing this - it violates your user agreement, in others it is simply illegal.
     
  10. dalog

    dalog Member

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    Just curious, IF Auctioneer cuts the Main Power how will his generator back feed the system?
     
  11. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    The "IF" is the same one that gets people shot by 'unloaded' guns.

    It only takes one screw-up, and like trying to get the bullet to go back into the barrel after the trigger is pulled, you can't make those electrons come back either.
     
  12. capvan

    capvan Active Member

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    My electrician installed a transfer switch for my generator. It's basically a set of breakers that switch the house circuits from the poles to generator. A double throw switch. No way the generator can backfeed the lines.

    I'm generally in favor of "do it yourself", but in cases like this, I call in the professionals. I also found out, the hard way, that a lot of homeowners insurance policies have policies that void out your insurance if it's proven that a non-licensed person does electrical work. Same for propane.

    cap
     
  13. kene

    kene TS Member

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    AMEN on having a licensed electrician install a breaker switch / sub-panel to eliminate ANY possibility of backfeed into the grid ... people can really get hurt if it is not done properly and used safely with no chance of an "aw sh*t" happening in the middle of the night when switching from one power source to the other. I am an electrical engr and -- while I understand the "theory" and how it "could be done" [auctioneer's approach] -- there is no way I would even try to do install one myself. call the licensed pro's, have it inspected and be safe ...
     
  14. Auctioneer

    Auctioneer Well-Known Member

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    Just to let you know I was told by an electrician to do what I just said. Second I'm working with what I have. Paychecks only go so far as we all know. Yes, I would like to have one of those automatic house gen that come on when needed. Thats about $6000.00 for me. As I said, I work with what I have.
     
  15. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    A manual transfer switch should not be costly. The panel from the generator should parallel your most important circuits, like the freezer, some lights, garage door, and of course the TV.

    HM
     
  16. Frank C

    Frank C Well-Known Member

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    Keep repeating it auctioneer but it will not make it right nor legal in most states ! If you are SO sure you are correct why not call the power company. Why the hell do you think they SELL transfer switches???
     
  17. John Galt

    John Galt TS Member

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    I'm no expert by any means, but I would be very nervious about the liability I faced by using any do-it-yourself methods especially knowing that my homeowners insurance wouldn't cover me.
     
  18. twopipe

    twopipe Member

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    Why do I need a transfer switch?

    A transfer switch is required by the National Electric Code for any connection of power to a home.


    A transfer switch is the only safe way to directly connect the generator to your home.

    A transfer switch isolates selected circuits your home from the power lines. This prevents back-feed, which occurs when power goes back down the utility lines.

    Back-feed can not only damage the generator, but has the potential to cause a fire.

    Even worse, back-feed could electrocute any technicians who are working on the lines - causing injury or even death.

    A transfer switch eliminates the risk of back-feed. It is the only safe way to connect your generator directly to your home.
     
  19. kene

    kene TS Member

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    really understand the concern about budget -- face that myself. however a manual transfer switch to a sub-panel should not be that costly but if it is for the time being a safer alternative would be a handful of extension cords to the critical things like refer, freezer, furnace, a couple lights, telephone / computer if needed, etc. really safer -- even tho a little less convenient -- than taking the remotest chance with backfeed problem and associated liability [could be big bucks ...]
     
  20. Bird30

    Bird30 TS Member

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    Use a ASCO switch. Handle up for power company. Handle down for the Generator it is that simple. If you don't know how to wire it, get a Electrician to do it.
     
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