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Old 11-09-2019, 04:45 PM   #1
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Generator none resetting circuit breaker


I am in the process of installing a generator with an auto transfer switch. The local electrical codes require that I have a generator large enough to handle the load of all the large electrical appliances (e.g. range, hot water, heat pumps etc.). Which is forcing me to very large generator.

In the hopes of bringing the generator size down, I am looking for a circuit breaker (up to 40 amp) that requires power to be on and if it looses power requires a manual reset (effectively trips when it looses power). So when i loose power the generator would automatically kick in and only power essential appliances (e. g. heat pump).

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Old 11-09-2019, 04:58 PM   #2
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


The auto transfer switch will do all the work, but I don't know of anything that will pick and choose the circuits for you instantly. I would go ahead and purchase the generator that will do the complete job. The cost won't be that much more than a poorer performing unit.
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:02 PM   #3
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


Unfortunately the switch from home to commercial generators is significant. I would like to limit myself to a 22KW generator.
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:08 PM   #4
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


Look for "load shedding" breakers/controls or whatever. When I looked at this I found very little designed for residential use. Apparently it's considered an industrial concept.

But I feel your pain. I don't know about regulations, but I know the generator salesmen will try to sell you a unit that can power every single circuit in your house up to 100% of the breaker rating. Yeah, like you're ever going to do THAT!

I never get close to maxing out my 7.5KW whole-house generator. Of course, I'm smart enough not to run too many large loads concurrently. I understand that not everyone is, and I sort of get why the "lowest common denominator" approach is recommended.
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:21 PM   #5
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


Sounds to me like you are all electric and they are applying minimum habitability standards (means of cooking, hot water, and heating ).

If you move a couple of those to propane or show that you have alternative methods to supply those, Iím thinking it would let you down size the generator.

Discuss it with your AHJ.
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:36 PM   #6
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


We installed a 22k Generator and when the electricians tested it, they asked me to turn on everything in the house............stove, heat strips, well pump, everything. The only thing we didn't have was an electric water heater. He said we were using a pittance of the capacity of the generator.
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Old 11-09-2019, 06:00 PM   #7
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


Take a look at a Generac Smart Transfer Switch and their Smart Management Modules. The management modules allow you to set priorities for circuits and even lock out unnecessary circuits. Together, they can ensure that you don't overload the generator.


The management modules are rated for up to 50A resistive and 40A inductive loads.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:02 PM   #8
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


You can get a separate transfer panel that only contains the essential circuits that are within the load of the generator. You don't need to power the entire house or do you.
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:59 PM   #9
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


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You can get a separate transfer panel that only contains the essential circuits that are within the load of the generator. You don't need to power the entire house or do you.
My sister has one of those. I'm not a fan. She can only power up six circuits, which obviously include things like the refrigerator and well pump. It's a pain having most of the house dark and only those few circuits powered up.

I never know, day-to-day, which loads I might need to run on the generator. I might decide to finish the load of laundry in the dryer before I cook supper on the electric range, or it might be very hot and I decide I'd rather run the air conditioner and avoid running any other large loads.

To me, powering the whole panel is the only way to go. But I'd never buy a generator which could max out all the circuits. It'll just never happen.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:52 PM   #10
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


power loss relays were quite common around the seventys,
you simply feed your loads thru the NO contacts on two pole relay
one pole feeds the ac coil the other pole feeds the loads.
You reset the circuit with a momentry push button which feeds power to the coil. you push the button, the relay pulls in,
pole 1 now powers the coil, pole 2 the load.
If power fails because the coil no longer has power the relay drops out.
And stays out until someone manually resets the system by pressing the reset button.

All quite simple
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:00 PM   #11
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
My sister has one of those. I'm not a fan. She can only power up six circuits, which obviously include things like the refrigerator and well pump. It's a pain having most of the house dark and only those few circuits powered up.

I never know, day-to-day, which loads I might need to run on the generator. I might decide to finish the load of laundry in the dryer before I cook supper on the electric range, or it might be very hot and I decide I'd rather run the air conditioner and avoid running any other large loads.

To me, powering the whole panel is the only way to go. But I'd never buy a generator which could max out all the circuits. It'll just never happen.
My neighbour has whole house generator with a separate automatic transfer panel that has 24 circuits in it.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:17 AM   #12
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


Quote:
Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
power loss relays were quite common around the seventys, you simply feed your loads thru the NO contacts on two pole relay one pole feeds the ac coil the other pole feeds the loads.
Sounds similar to what we used to call "self-keeping relays." Not sure if that's the official term; I'm not an electrician. But the idea is, the coil is powered through a pair of NO contacts, so as long as there's power it'll stay energized. I never thought of this use, but it's a great idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
My neighbour has whole house generator with a separate automatic transfer panel that has 24 circuits in it.
That's more like it. The problem comes when someone then tries to sell you a generator to match the total capacity of all 24 circuits, as if they'd all be maxed out at once.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:43 AM   #13
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


I saw one where they put a sub panel right beside the main panel and everything they wanted to run on the generator went to the sub panel and only the main breaker of the sub was switched for the generator. When power is restored the rest of the house powers up.
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:06 PM   #14
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


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I saw one where they put a sub panel right beside the main panel and everything they wanted to run on the generator went to the sub panel and only the main breaker of the sub was switched for the generator. When power is restored the rest of the house powers up.
That is how the setup in my friends house works. Everything in the auto transfer sub panel switches over on power outage.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:33 PM   #15
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Re: Generator none resetting circuit breaker


I would check the local electrical code and verify that it mandates a specific size of generator as it really does not make any sense and does not conform to the NEC.

If you are doing it yourself and are not a licensed electrical contractor then you are already going against the local laws.

Problem with a larger generator is that it will burn a given amount of fuel with its internal combustion engine running regardless of the load. The manufacturers provide data on how much fuel is consumed per hour at low and high output.

The Genrac residential standby generators use engines from 426cc up to 999cc and the larger engine is going to require a lot more fuel per hour of operation. If using a propane tank fuel source this will also impact how large a tank is needed and how long it can run before the propane tank needs to be refilled.
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