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Home backup power generator recommendations

eastcoast_gsx

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Well how much current does it take to kill a person?
Where is said person? The genny wouldn't last a second with the main breaker on. The stars would have to align.

I would install a transfer switch, but I am just sayin'
 

01cbr

Well-known member
Where is said person? The genny wouldn't last a second with the main breaker on. The stars would have to align.

I would install a transfer switch, but I am just sayin'
said person is the hydro worker servicing the lines at the street.

While the power is still out your generator would be feeding power back out to the street.
 
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01cbr

Well-known member
Everything you assumed, you assumed in the worst way possible...

and btw, if me and my family are freezing due to a power outage, i'm sure to let them freeze to death because of legalities.
Everything I assumed?

How does back feeding the panel through a plug, using the main breaker as isolation from the grid magically turn into a proper isolation switch/ portable generator setup?

And if your family is freezing to death there are much safer ways to restore enough power to get the furnace going.
 

OliverK

Well-known member
Your main breaker does not isolate the neutral, which is why it can't be used as an isolation point.

The transformer works both ways. It steps the voltage down for each house in your neighborhood, but it will act as a step up transformer if backfed from the secondary ie your generator via your house.

A proper generator panel will switch out the neutral and completely isolate the circuits that you wish to power with your generator. There are kits that will also provide a male receptacle which you plug in with a properly rated ext cord.

DO NOT use a female receptacle and a cable with two male ends!
 

meester_jamie

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either this story is BS or your neighbor is an idiot.
Which plug are you going to backfeed from exactly? A standard 15A receptacle? There are reasons why this wont even work.
well,, the story isn't BS.. and his neighbor isn't an idiot... well..<sarcasm>unless you call someone who drives a car that doesn't have onstar and idiot... because.. anyone who would go on the hiway without onstar is risking their lives! </sarcasm>
There is some risk to using a regular extension cord,, modified to have both ends male... so you can plug one end to the generator,, and the other to a receptacle in the house..
YES,,, you have to know to turn OFF the main first ,, and any loads not required.. before plugging in...
Yes, you have to know not to touch the exposed male ends of the plugs... as they can become energized live from either supply
Yes,, it is more difficult to know when the power is restored in the area..
Yes.. you need to understand the loads you leave connected... for ex, the 20amp generator, thru a 15amp breaker to the buss,, to the 40amp breaker for the stove.... WELL YOU CANT RUN THE ENTIRE STOVE!!! but you can run the clock... or the surface light...

if you have a 240v generator outlet.. and a stove or dryer outlet.. you can make up a cord with 2 male ends.. one fits the gen.. one fits the dryer outlet..... now you can run one of the stove burners.. or the furnace,, or the freezer.. or the fridge,,, or the ___ and some CFL or LED or low wattage lighting

One of the big risks of portable generators,,, C.O. poisoning from the exhaust . Electric Flash from a short circuit,, Electric Shock from poor grounding at the generator... and FIRE from overloading the generator duty cycle...

I have seen the muffler radiate enough heat to cause the wood structure [garage wall] to catch fire after generator ran for 10hrs.... the "tail pipe" was thru the wall... the thimble didn't get hot... the muffler seemed far enough away from combustible ... but the room got hot enough to ignite after 10hrs.

some generators say they are good for less than 10 hrs duty cycle... because they just aren't cooled properly...

so.... an aug 2003 outage may be totally different from a jan 1998 on heat buildup...

oh,, and of course... this is what *I* might do... I don't recommend you do it..
you should get a dual fuel / propane / gasoline engine, with auto transfer switch ... inspected by AHJ
that allows your critical loads to have power, isolated from the grid,, and the grid items to be "on" at the same time,,


anytime you restore power to a load that has been off.. cold load pick up.. or hot... you risk overloading considerably... so find a way to shed the load,, and turn back on when appropriate. if possible ...

in extreme condition,, do what it takes to get r done! be careful !
 

SunnY S

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Your main breaker does not isolate the neutral, which is why it can't be used as an isolation point.

A proper generator panel will switch out the neutral...
Not true.


Typical transfer switch wiring diagram.....
 
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01cbr

Well-known member
well,, the story isn't BS.. and his neighbor isn't an idiot... well..<sarcasm>unless you call someone who drives a car that doesn't have onstar and idiot... because.. anyone who would go on the hiway without onstar is risking their lives! </sarcasm>
There is some risk to using a regular extension cord,, modified to have both ends male... so you can plug one end to the generator,, and the other to a receptacle in the house..
YES,,, you have to know to turn OFF the main first ,, and any loads not required.. before plugging in...
Yes, you have to know not to touch the exposed male ends of the plugs... as they can become energized live from either supply
Yes,, it is more difficult to know when the power is restored in the area..
Yes.. you need to understand the loads you leave connected... for ex, the 20amp generator, thru a 15amp breaker to the buss,, to the 40amp breaker for the stove.... WELL YOU CANT RUN THE ENTIRE STOVE!!! but you can run the clock... or the surface light...

if you have a 240v generator outlet.. and a stove or dryer outlet.. you can make up a cord with 2 male ends.. one fits the gen.. one fits the dryer outlet..... now you can run one of the stove burners.. or the furnace,, or the freezer.. or the fridge,,, or the ___ and some CFL or LED or low wattage lighting

!
Back feeding through a single 15A circuit will only liven up half you panel.....now you have to rearrange breakers?

A cord with two male ends? Seriously? There are safer ways. We back feed panels all the time....no cords with two male ends.

Like I said, idiots.
 

01cbr

Well-known member
Not true.


Typical transfer switch wiring diagram.....

Yes designed so the load can only be fed with a single feed at one time.

Why does code require it to be soon fool proof......well some posts in this thread are prime examples.
 

meester_jamie

Well-known member
Site Supporter
DO NOT use a female receptacle and a cable with two male ends!
I hear you,, very good recommendation ! but like everything in life,, there can be exceptions imho

Your main breaker does not isolate the neutral, which is why it can't be used as an isolation point.

A proper generator panel will switch out the neutral and completely isolate the circuits that you wish to power with your generator.
Um,, educate me on the purpose of isolating the neutral at the generator panel... never seen that before,, always the circuit wire rerouted,, bonding, and neutral conductors remain untouched..
but I do see this warning all the time
WARNING: Your generator must be properly grounded and the neutral un-bonded at the generator. Please refer to the generator manual for grounding instructions.
 

meester_jamie

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Back feeding through a single 15A circuit will only liven up half you panel.....now you have to rearrange breakers?
ok,,, lol,, now get creative,, and make the cord have 3 male ends.. so you can plug into a kitchen split...

A cord with two male ends? Seriously? There are safer ways. We back feed panels all the time....no cords with two male ends.
Like I said, idiots.
yah,, yah,, "We back feed panels all the time" doesn't always work in a situation like Jan 1998... with 1.5 million homes without power.. and 5000 electricians doing it the right way,, takes weeks to get your power on temporary... so ... to be comfortable.. I might try the male to male jumper ..
but really,,,
much better to have a place that can run without power than to have a situation ....
 

unL33T

Well-known member
If it were me I'd just get something small and a few extension cords to connect the fridge and a couple of lights for the 1-2 times a year the power goes out. Use a small camp stove or the BBQ for cooking.
 

K1200RS

Well-known member
I plan on running mine with kid power.





I hadn't considered that option. Kind of expensive I think and replacement parts would not be easy to come by. And in the early days, fluid changes can be kind of messy. What's the break in period? End of adolescence?

Thanks to all for the recommendations.

In summary, I need to consider what my power requirements are (load shedding), I have to have a transfer switch and it must be sized to what the essential load will require. As to fuel, I had not considered propane. I need to check for any zoning restrictions (for west end Toronto). I am leaning towards diesel though.

It would also be useful to have a set up with an "exercise" mode that would run the gen set at least once a month.

Thanks again for sharing your insights, knowledge, and opinions. This forum is never dull.
 

OliverK

Well-known member
I hear you,, very good recommendation ! but like everything in life,, there can be exceptions imho



Um,, educate me on the purpose of isolating the neutral at the generator panel... never seen that before,, always the circuit wire rerouted,, bonding, and neutral conductors remain untouched..
but I do see this warning all the time
WARNING: Your generator must be properly grounded and the neutral un-bonded at the generator. Please refer to the generator manual for grounding instructions.
There's never exceptions when it comes to electrical safety.

For a full explanation on proper connections, this link is about as comprehensive as it gets:

http://members.rennlist.org/warren/Gen_Panels_Appl_Note_EN.pdf

Edit: my personal preference is propane. Doesn't go bad, readily available, and not messy. You can also run a line to your grill. :)

Ymmv
 
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chiller

Well-known member
Site Supporter
I have a EU1000 that I use for track days. I will be powering my fridge and charging batteries with it while the power is out. Maybe run a small fan if it gets too hot. if its winter then I will still run the fan but I'll just blow the fan at gas fireplace :p
 

nobbie48

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I have a EU1000 that I use for track days. I will be powering my fridge and charging batteries with it while the power is out. Maybe run a small fan if it gets too hot. if its winter then I will still run the fan but I'll just blow the fan at gas fireplace :p
The EU 1000 won't have enough guts to kick over a compressive load such as a fridge. It won't run toaster ovens, hotplates, etc either. Good for a few lights and electronics.

My EU 2000 wouldn't run my fridge so I ran a 2500 standard noise maker.
 

chiller

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The EU 1000 won't have enough guts to kick over a compressive load such as a fridge. It won't run toaster ovens, hotplates, etc either. Good for a few lights and electronics.

My EU 2000 wouldn't run my fridge so I ran a 2500 standard noise maker.
interesting I've actually used an electric hot plate on it before... one of those cheapy coil electric ones from walmart

the 2000 doesn't run the fridge either eh ?
 

eastcoast_gsx

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Site Supporter
While the power is still out your generator would be feeding power back out to the street.
A small genny (Eu2000 13.5amp) would only do this for a split second if the main was turned on while power was out on the street.

A proper setup may survive for a while depending on what came on at your neighbors house. 4-5 fridges and 4-5 AC units would make short work of your genny breaker.
 

01cbr

Well-known member
A small genny (Eu2000 13.5amp) would only do this for a split second if the main was turned on while power was out on the street.

A proper setup may survive for a while depending on what came on at your neighbors house. 4-5 fridges and 4-5 AC units would make short work of your genny breaker.
Closer to a full second or more, if its operating properly.
Thats all it takes to kill someone.

But ya the breaker tripping before you turn anything on is the first clue your an idiot.


Heres a video for those who think a breaker will save you when you become the path to ground.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aC55C_34_A
 
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nobbie48

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interesting I've actually used an electric hot plate on it before... one of those cheapy coil electric ones from walmart

the 2000 doesn't run the fridge either eh ?
If you get really small appliances the 1000 might work. There are trailer sized tea kettles, coffee makers and if you get a 2 burner hotplate the smaller one would work. It's all in the wattage for resistance type devices. I ran a toaster oven on the 1000 by using a variac but that gets a bit complex although it worked very well with a form of porportional control.

Inductive devices (Motors) vary depending on the inrush which was killing the 2000 for the fridge. Once the fridge was running on the 2500 watt genny it only drew 3.5 amps, even the 1000 would have handled it but not the compression load.

Freezers draw even less IIRC. Put the bodies in them.

Stick an amprobe on the 2000 and try your fridge. Mine is 25 years old and yours may differ. It would be good to know.

The next size up is 3000 watts and it starts getting heavy.
 

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