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Old 02-02-2011, 10:58 PM   #1
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Generator Questions


Hello,

Glad to find this place. I have 4 questions (5500W- 8500W Surge 30A gen)

1. I plan to hard wire it into the home, I found 2 options

option A: transfers switch with 6 to 10 circuits on it, this seems easy to wire in, not hard cost $300-$600. for the panel, but only 6 circuits.

option B: Interlock Kit, I called the local electric store and they carry these, they are about $150 with 50A breaker and meets IEC code. They use the current load box. the generator input is on the 50A breaker and a plate prevent the generator circuit from being powered if the MAIN is on, and keeps the MAIN from being power if the GEN is on. any circuit i want, just dont over load the gen.

example:
http://www.interlockkit.com/interlockselect2.html

is there any reason not to go with the interlock?

3..

Watt monitor, I want one and it seems like a very good idea instead of guessing or estimating the load on the generator right ?


4.
Generator enclosures, it seem they are eay to biuld and some places sell them for $800, but i know they buy the storage unit from lowes and an atic fan that moves some air (about 1600 CFM) then vent the enclosure for the air to escape. thats the easy part

But they all include an "over temp" switch that integrates with the "low oil shut off" built into the generator. If the enclosure reaches 200* the generator shutsdown: how can i make one of these? how does the low oil sensor work, does the circuit open from the low oil?

I, for one, think 200* is a little to high maybe 125*-150*

here is one place i found that does these kits, witch I'm sure i can get the pieces for much less
http://www.nooutage.com/powershelterkit.htm

I need the enclosure because the area is very bad about thinking your gen is out of gas only to find your gen has been stolen


open to other suggestions also thanks in advance !!!

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Old 02-03-2011, 01:11 AM   #2
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The interlock is my preferred method. You may simply turn off breakers to control load to gen.

A low oil sensor will simply open the ignition circuit on the gen when it detects no oil.


http://www.nooutage.com/powershelterkitii.htm it might be hard to build one or the $400

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Old 02-03-2011, 01:25 AM   #3
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5500 watts I would toss in the transfer switch. You can not run more then really 4 circuits on a 30amp generator. If you run the interlocking kit you run the risk of overloading the gen.

I ran a whole house generator at the rents house 20kw with a whole house transfer switch makes life real easy power goes out and the generator kicks on and off with the main power when needed.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proremodel View Post
You can not run more then really 4 circuits on a 30amp generator.
How can you say this? A circuit does not draw any power. You could have 500 "circuits" on a generator and have no load whatsoever.

I know someone who used to run a 3500 sq'ft house on a 4500W Honda with no problems at all. They just were conscious that they were on a generator.
This latest fad of thinking a 15-20kW genset is NEEDED is beyond me, but it makes me money.
I actually like it when the power goes out for a few hours. I don't even fire up a generator unless it looks long term. It gives my kids (and myself) a reality check.

I do agree that a whole house transfer is risky with such a small generator, but it IS the most convenient. One would just have to be very diligent in what is being run at the same time. I do like the idea that you can select any circuit in the house (within reason), you just have to turn circuits on and off as required.
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:41 AM   #5
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We run our 2400 square feet home on a 5000 watt generator, wired through a 12 circuit transfer switch, although I only have 8 of the circuits in use. This gives us power to the well, both bathrooms, the furnace, 2 refrigerators, a freezer, the kitchen counter, including the microwave, and sufficient lighting throughout the home. Now, it is jut the wife and me, and whether we are operating under the poco or generator, we turn off lights that we don't need, etc., and on initial startup, I generally wait 10-15 minutes between switching on the various major appliances, in order to not have all of the motors starting at once, but it is otherwise pretty seamless. We don't have A/C or the electric range on the generator, but we do have a couple of small fans and a propane grill. I agree with Speedy that a whole house generator can be iffy on a smaller generator, depending on how you were raised, but I also agree that a lot of people have overspent a lot of money for a lot of unnecessary backup power. You have done your homework, so now you simply need to look at your lifestyle, decide what is important to you, and go from there.
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Old 02-03-2011, 07:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proremodel
If you run the interlocking kit you run the risk of overloading the gen.
Why would an interlocking kit have a greater risk of overloading compared with a transfer switch?
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Old 02-03-2011, 07:22 AM   #7
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I have a 200 amp manual transfer switch between the electrical meter and the circuit breaker panel. I have 200 amp service.

If power goes out, I switch off circuit breakers for the big amp draw items. Connect the 7500 watt generator, then move the transfer switch from service to generator.

I have no watt meter or enclosure though both of those would be nice.

I do wish I had a diesel generator instead of gas.
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Why would an interlocking kit have a greater risk of overloading compared with a transfer switch?
In my opinion, all small generator/house setups require some electrical knowledge or training for their use.

the generator only has so much power output capability, and will not feed the entire house. the interlock basically allows the generator to back feed the main power distribution panel in an "all on" arangement. the generator will unsucessfully try, but the ouput voltage will drop when the load exceeds the gen out. it is impossible to know when this will happen since many loads are temporary in nature (furnace, refrig, washer/dryer) and, motors will draw more upon startup then when running.

so the limited and dedicated circuit connections, with load meter capability, is best, as in a transfer switch. just my opinion.
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Old 02-03-2011, 01:05 PM   #9
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We lived through Hurricane Andrew in Miami in 1992.

Since we had no commercial power, we lived with a 4400 watt gas generator for three months. We did not live in the city limits so we had a well and septic tank. Other than no air conditioning or hot water for three months in South Florida, we were able to have a functioning household.

Then generator was connected to the breaker panel with the Main commercial service switched off.
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Old 02-03-2011, 01:14 PM   #10
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i am not sure of the legality, but it is unsafe to backfeed directly to an electric panel. linemen have been killed (google generator backfeed accidents) because people turn main cb back on with generator stll connected. hence the transferswitch type devices, SPDT switches choosing one power source to the load. i do understand desparate measure for desparate times tho "we lived with a 4400 watt gas generator for three months".
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Old 02-03-2011, 01:50 PM   #11
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I completely understand what you are meaning TimPa. Considering the situation, our connection was the safest possible.

We had no powerlines. They were ripped from the poles and in a twisted pile on the ground.

We learned from that experience. That's why our generator is now connected through a transfer switch.
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:30 PM   #12
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Thanks for the input

I figured it as money for the circuits, with $300 i get 6 back up circuits, or with $150 I get to choose what circuits i want and still keep the IEC code and not endanger any lives.

The issue is this house wiring, organization wise is.... well jack up, the living room ceiling fan is on the same circuit as one of the 3 bedrooms acroos the house

I plan to back up the lights ( i use all CFL bulbs, that saves a ton of power! and we keep them off if not in the room)

Furniance (no idea what it needs its gas and only one a 15A breaker)
Fish tank 1, (80W for pump, 500W for heaters only on if needed, Lights 300W easy to turn off and on, only needed 4hours a day under Emergency conditions

Fishtank 2, 20W pump, 250W heater, 100W lights

TV and/or Computers (my pc is drawing 203 watts off my UPS as i type and that is with 2 monitors on)

looking at my power bill i draw about 1.666kw per hour at full load

its 19 right now i can stick stuff outside if the fridge gets warm LOL

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