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Old 04-22-2013, 12:51 PM   #1
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New MEmeber questions about genny power while disconnected from Grid


Hi all from Chantry Ontario! (Just between Smith Falls and Brockville off of #29/County road #8).

Great Forum, I am spending a lot of time here just reading for interest and education, and I think I am at the point where I'll post my first question, after a little background.

The building needs a lot of work, re-framing, underpinning, new plumbing from well supply on, and some new electric.

EDIT FOR CLARITY : THERE IS NO POWER ON THIS PROPERTY UTILITY POWER IS NOT PRESENT

The poco service is underground and modern, however the meter is not present, and once the underpinning and re-framing are done I will have some re-wiring done to suit the new layout. The service is currently 200 amps, and I will have to have it re-inspected to get the meter put back in and service delivered. I am actually REDUCING the number of occupied circuits from the panel, as I am decommissioning the current 8 wall mounted 240 v heaters, and converting to wood stove/heat pump/gas heater backup.

The questions are mostly about my genny power for the water pump and tools, only until the final electrical is done, and PRIOR to re-connection of service ONLY. There will never be a backfeed present at any time after inspection/reconnection EVER. With that said....



1. I want to backfeed the panel using one existing 30 amp heater circuit cable and breaker out through a conduit through the exterior wall , an exterior 240 v disconnect switch, and a hard wired cable with a shore power plug into the 120/240 receptacle on the genny , to be able run power tools from any outlet inside. There is no double male cable involved, and a 240 rated disconnect switch immediately downstream from the genny. In my mind, this is a safe temporary application. Am I energising both buses in the panel in a safe manner, and am I safe from the genny to the outlets inside? My total draw at any one time will never be near 30 amps, tool startup draw and lights included.

2. Does this application, assuming I use it, require a ground at the genny? I would think no, because I'm going on the assumption that the entire system is grounded at the service entrance on the house side of the meter box. Its overgrown as heck there so in the interests of safety I should determine that a code ground rod exists there.What is my best test to test a proper ground of the house given that it was code about 8 years ago?? And failing that test, do I need a full 8' of ground rod just to to safely ground the genny?

3. I'm still a bit confused when I examine the panel , and I'm unclear on the way neutral bonding works. What are my chances of getting a real electrician to check or rethink my backfeed arrangement, knowing that it's only temporary? Will anybody touch this setup, or is it strictly forbidden in all cases and nobody would touch it?

Thanks for reading this far, I will try to be as clear as I can if there's any more info you need. Appreciate any help, and I welcome any easier/safer alternatives or warnings you can give.


Last edited by ChantryOntario; 04-23-2013 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:00 PM   #2
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New MEmeber questions about genny power while disconnected from Grid


I should have added that I want to hard wire the water pump into another 240v outside switchbox, with another cable out from that switch into a 2nd shore power plug for the genny, that way I physically have to disconnect one to plug in the other, THEN hit the right disconnect to provide power to the line, that way I'll never attempt to power both at the same time.... I hope that makes sense and is feasible.

Thanks

Cheers

Roly

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Old 04-22-2013, 04:18 PM   #3
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New MEmeber questions about genny power while disconnected from Grid


1. You need to rethink your plan.

It must not be possible to feed both generator power and utility power into the panel at the same time, using the completed wiring project, even if you tried hard to.

In order to accomplish this, there must be a physical interlock (lever, cam, slider) that prevents both the main breaker (connected to utility power) and the backfeed breaker (connected to the line fed by the generator) from both being on at the same time.

Alternatively (preferred) the utility power for the panel must connect to one side of a transfer switch and the generator feed must connect to the other side of the transfer switch and the middle (common) terminals of the transfer switch connected as the only panel power feed.

You cannot have the switch to connect or remove generator power in one place and a separate switch to connect or remove utility power in a different place. The same cable or wiring cannot be used to bring utility power outdoors for tools, pumps, etc. and also (at different times) bring generator power indoors for tools, appliances, etc.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-22-2013 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:54 PM   #4
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New MEmeber questions about genny power while disconnected from Grid


The authorities are very warry of any type of backfeeding !
You should try to avoid this at any cost.
Why dont you instal a proper transfer switch ?
Then they will be much happier !

As for the ground ?
What is the grounding situation of the genny.
Is it , or it's outputs bonded ?
If it's a single phase genny,
and none of it's bonded
then the ground will not do its job properly !
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Old 04-23-2013, 12:24 AM   #5
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New MEmeber questions about genny power while disconnected from Grid


Sorry if I wasn't clear in the first post..there is no utility power on the property at present, the backfeed setup was going to be only during the rebuild to run tools throughout the house without needing 200 foot extensions from the genny.

Generator only.

One load at a time.

I have one 120/240 plug out on the genny. I want to plug in, one at a time, my 240v water pump or my 240v backfeed system, to the genny . Each circuit runs from a shore power plug at the genny to a rated disconnect, then to the load. I want to plug in the circuit-specific 120/240v shore power plug into the genny , then hit the disconnect switch to energise the circuit.

I was hoping that one of the circuits could be a backfeed to the panel, through an existing dual pole breaker ,energising both buses/all of my outlets in the house, so I could run my tools, again one at a time through various outlets throughout the house. The house has about 24 outlets scattered throughout, surely there must be a safe way to feed them all by powering both panel buses and running a neutral . All I run off the backfeed is a skillsaw and 100 watts of fluorescent light, MAX...

I understand the concern, but I'm afraid it's misguided. I stated quite clearly in the opening post that I have an OFF GRID situation, there is no utility company feed to my house at this time. I don't intend to backfeed a grid-connected house, I never would, EVER.

I shall attempt to be more clear in future to save us this confusion. The apologies are mine for wasting your time.

Last edited by ChantryOntario; 04-23-2013 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:16 AM   #6
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New MEmeber questions about genny power while disconnected from Grid


As long as you have the main disconnect off and no meter present, you're fine to do what you're doing. Before you ever call for inspection and reconnect, that generator better be totally disconnected from the distro. However, now IS the perfect time to throw an ATS in the mix and then have it for future use. It will be a wonderful addition for any future owner as well.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:19 AM   #7
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New MEmeber questions about genny power while disconnected from Grid


No problem unplugging a pump from a house or boat dock receptacle and plugging it into the generator's receptacle.

But to plug in a house line into the generator, the other end of the house line where it connects to the house panel needs special treatment as I have described above. After (or before) plugging the house line plug into your generator you must go to the house panel and flip the transfer switch or interlock.

By the way, the house line that will be plugged into the generator either ends in a cord with a plug on it or ends in a wall mounted or post mounted male receptacle (inlet) to which you connect an extension cord to reach the generator. You may not have a line ending this way attached to a panel breaker for backfeeding unless you have the interlock or transfer switch so that the "main" or top feed to the panel can't be energized at the same time.

Now, you may hook up a feed cable (with male receptacle) to the main or top feed to the panel after removing the feed to the meter box, or connect the generator feed cable to the connections in the meter box (with no meter in it). You can plug this feed cable into your generator.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-23-2013 at 06:29 AM.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:41 AM   #8
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New MEmeber questions about genny power while disconnected from Grid


this KIT by Generac has everything you need to do it safely ..you can mix and match breakers they are sieman's, outside plug, and a cord.

Generac 6295 30 Amp Manual Transfer Switch




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Old 04-23-2013, 09:14 AM   #9
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New MEmeber questions about genny power while disconnected from Grid


AllanJ, I understand now I think, thank you. I might be best served by having the power from the genny to the panel run through a rated male plug in a rated pole mounted box, then wired through a transfer switch into the load legs in the meter box or directly through the top feed of the panel if I pull the load legs from the meter out of the panel.. This is a much better solution than what I had in mind. I could set it up so that after inspection, the POCO could just feed into one side of the transfer switch after the meter. Interesting option indeed, and probably smartest in the long run.

This method is more expensive, but funerals around here run about $10,000 and up so it's all relative.

DMX, I will find out the internal bonding arrangement of the genny, good point, I should know that. My concern was this; I believe there should only be one bond in the entire system, and that the bond to ground is still present in the panel. If my memory serves me correctly, there is the ability to bond or unbond the neutral built in to the genny. I 'd better find that out . Wouldn't it cause problems if both the genny and the house had bonded neutrals? This is my weakest area so far, so I may be misunderstanding.

64P, I hear you and after some thought, I totally agree... the best time to work a permanent transfer switch into the equation would be right now. I have noticed more and more people lately are building this capability into new homes , so it could be a valuable selling point to have this capability built into the house .

PHILLY, thanks for that, it looks like a great kit to do what Allan is talking about, even though I may have to save up another month (or two) to get it. Gonna price it out online right now.

Thanks for the patience, guys. I have a little trouble with the terminology sometimes but I'll pick it up as I go I hope.

Cheers

Roly

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