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Old 08-24-2009, 10:42 AM   #1
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off-grid wiring for generator power


i'm planning on running a separate grid in my home with normally 'dead' outlets run to each room for emergencies. we live in the sticks and can usually expect at least a couple of power outages a year. my plan is to wire the outlets near the ones in each room that are normally used. so when the power goes out, we just switch the plugs to generator grid. this will still need to be inspected, yes? (waiting for a return call from my elec. inspector)
i plan on adding a new ground just for this grid, so as not to have any type of contact with the POCO lines.
any other info i might need to take into account?

thanks!

DM

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Old 08-24-2009, 09:16 PM   #2
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off-grid wiring for generator power


Why not use a transfer switch - whole house or selected circuits? Seems like a lot of work to isstall duplicate circuits. And more work to re-plug things into them when the power fails (how about harder to get to outlets - like behind the refrigerator)?

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Old 08-24-2009, 10:34 PM   #3
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off-grid wiring for generator power


I put a generator interlock kit (by SquareD) in my SquareD panel.
It requires two breaker positions in the upper right hand corner.
It mechanically assures that you can't backfeed the mains.
I think it's really slick and for $100 you have the flexibility of feeding anything you want while staying safe and not potentially injuring any linemen or burning up your generator.
http://static.schneider-electric.us/...1100HO0701.pdf
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:43 PM   #4
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off-grid wiring for generator power


IMO it much easier to have a transfer switch hook up you can have either manual transfer switch mode or automatic transfer switch mode and the size of generator you choose but there are few guideline you may want to think about the size of generators.

If you just want basic one I know 5 KW generator can handle bare neccsery item like furance { some may not like generator power at all if old style type that is not a issue but with electronic controls it may affect it } couple lamps and fridge nothing more but if going little more than basic then you may want to go larger unit.

If you are on well pump system pay attetion to the HP rating on the well pump you will need to know the surge rating on the generator that will give you some fudge factor to get the motor start up { most motor will take up to 6X of running amp/watts }for couple seconds

There are so many diffrent way you can do it in safe legit way just holler we will steer ya in right way.

Merci,Marc
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:10 PM   #5
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off-grid wiring for generator power


I'd like to second the well pump comments. I measured the surge on mine at 29 amps! A 5kw generator wouldn't run it (I think it tripped at the pump ), and had to use a bigger one.
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:57 AM   #6
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off-grid wiring for generator power


i run an 8,000w generator, so the power consumption is not a concern. all i had heard was "get a transfer switch "
at a cost of hundreds of dollars. the wiring job seemed cheaper to me, since i have open walls anyway to finish up.
and i already have the outlets and boxes and wire.
the inspector returned my call..... said it was stupid, but not illegal at all, and i could do it if i want, and he did not need to inspect the work...(?) hmmmm....

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Old 08-25-2009, 07:05 AM   #7
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off-grid wiring for generator power


http://www.interlockkit.com/

These are $150. Depending on your panel, you may find one for less from the manufacturer. Then you'll have the option of running any circuit in your panel.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:09 AM   #8
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DM: I have over the eons also done things that were "stupid" -- but they worked and met my needs. I see no reason for not doing what you're suggesting if that's your bent. Your rationale seems valid to me.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wirenut1110 View Post
http://www.interlockkit.com/

These are $150. Depending on your panel, you may find one for less from the manufacturer. Then you'll have the option of running any circuit in your panel.
i was just looking at those... a lot less than the hundreds i was quoted before, but still... 150 bucks. it would be an EASIER way to go than mine though, therefore worth the look for me. i'll be moving the panel next summer, so it'd be a good time to add the interlok.
thanks for the links!

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Old 08-25-2009, 08:07 AM   #10
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The panel I have is actually the 200 amp model.
The install instructions are in the link below.
Quite easy, as long as you can make room for those breakers.
http://static.schneider-electric.us/...273-809-02.pdf
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:51 AM   #11
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If you want a dedicated electrical circuit for your generator then ground and neutral must be bonded at the generator and the generator must be connected to a ground rod. Check the owner's manual to see if neutral is bonded or "floating" (unbonded). To bond neutral to ground you can buy a plug that you wire yourself and wire the neutral prong to the ground prong and plug it into one of the generator's receptacles. That's what my owner's manual advises.

But I agree with the other posters that it is far better to connect to your home's electrical system. Otherwise, wall light switches for the bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen, and stairways won't work.

Keep in mind that if you connect to your home's electrical system then your generator's neutral must NOT be bonded to ground. That much I'm certain of. What I am not certain about is connecting the generator's ground lug to a ground rod. I don't think you should do so because ground is already provided at your service entrance.

The interlock kit is great. The only drawback is that you won't know when the utility restores power.

I like Reliance Control's transfer switches because you can keep some of your circuits connected to the power company while transferring up to 10 other circuits to the generator. But, as you say, they are expensive.

I've read about using a 3-way switch (Leviton 3033 for as low as $6.95) as a transfer switch for each individual circuit. Aside from trouble with the inspector I don't see what could be wrong with it.
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kreid View Post
The only drawback is that you won't know when the utility restores power.
this was a huge contributor to the 'pros' side of my list, for sure.
usually i just call my neighbor and he calls me back when it's on again.
if he can...if he's home... that sux...

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Old 08-25-2009, 11:47 AM   #13
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I put a non-contact voltage detecter 'pencil' near the incoming conduit and it beeps when there's juice.
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:16 PM   #14
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that's a good idea, but i'd have to have it out on the pole.... the same pole i climb to use the telephone.
*Oliver!* hang on... the wife's calling me.....

DM Douglas....

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