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Old 02-21-2010, 11:38 AM   #1
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looking for a gizmo! portable generator use


Hi friend asked me to come take a look at his setup for supplying elelctricty during power outage. Just speaking with him he said if wasn't "tied in" or automatic. He has to start up generator after he disconnects main breaker at service panel. He is interested in being able to tell when elecric service is turned back on so he can turn off generator and go back on utility power. I said there is probably a better way to handle the this but there must be something simple that would show when power is restored to house LED at main? or something to show voltage at service panel before breaker?? Any suggestions?

thanks

Walt
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:48 AM   #2
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Intelligent Load Centers...
(Smart breaker panel)
http://www.squared.com/us/products/l...erFrameset.htm

More...
http://ecatalog.squared.com/pubs/Ele...1100HO0601.pdf
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:56 AM   #3
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Shutting off the Main breaker is an illegal setup
Unless he has a lockout breaker/setup installed
So the 1st thing he needs to do is install a legal generator setup
Breaker lockout:





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Old 02-21-2010, 12:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
but there must be something simple that would show when power is restored to house LED at main? Any suggestions?
Ayuh,... Look out the window,+ see if the neighbor's lights are back on....
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:37 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,... Look out the window,+ see if the neighbor's lights are back on....
That is basically what I do.

There is a county water tower across the street from me, it has a RED light on top that I can see out the front window. When it is on, I know power is back on
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:42 PM   #6
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If he installed a manual transfer switch that switches over to the generator only selected essential circuits, then when the power came back on one would know by the non-switched circuits coming back on.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:08 PM   #7
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I use one of those voltage detector pen that buzz and lean it up against the conduit containing the mains.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:55 AM   #8
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Thanks all, Velvetfoot that is exactly what I was thinking too. I just wondered if there was anything more "sophisticated"? How do you keep it from sensing the generator voltage? when you are trying to only sense the utility power??
I will check and see if he does have the lock out described. I don't thing so cause he didn't mention that there was anything stopping him from sending generator power through the panel and back throught the meter and causing harm to people working on lines.

We live in a heavily wooded community of roughly 60 home sites (5 acres or so each) with only 5 homes built or under construction. Most of these are weekend homes only two full time residents. we do not see anything except the moon and stars at night and that is why we all bought here. So only thing I could do is tell the neighbor to go out in the storm and see if the little light is on at the meter about 150 feet away from his house on a pole before it goes underground and into his house. Hoping for something better. Some how this all passed the electrical inspection ( not that this makes me feel any better, I did recently post a concern about them using 14g wire on 20A circuit breaker protected lighting circuits in my brand new construction but it appears it is "acceptable" down here??. But I will know more once I do get to see the setup in person.

thanks again for the suggestions and the quick response.

Walt
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:26 PM   #9
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That voltage detector has to be pretty close.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:31 AM   #10
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Followup: I'm using Reliance Controls' PowerBack now:
http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect....108/p4112.html
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:21 AM   #11
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I hope your friend is filthy rich. If he's caught, it's a FIFTEEN THOUSAND dollar fine!!!
(not to mention possible injury to a lineman.)

I got around this problem cheaply, WITHOUT buying a lockout, OR an expensive transfer switch!
I simply ran a string of outlets down the middle of the house that is NOT on the grid at all!
They are powered ONLY by the generator and are normally 'dead' except when the generator is running.
When the power goes out, (a couple of times a year out here in the styx) we just leave one overhead light on (in the living room, normally) and when the lights come back, we go turn off the generator and swap a few plugs. I spray-painted all of the outlet covers for this system Flo. Orange so we can tell the difference easily.

Hope this helps.

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Old 11-13-2010, 08:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walt1122 View Post
Thanks all, Velvetfoot that is exactly what I was thinking too. I just wondered if there was anything more "sophisticated"? How do you keep it from sensing the generator voltage? when you are trying to only sense the utility power??
I will check and see if he does have the lock out described. I don't thing so cause he didn't mention that there was anything stopping him from sending generator power through the panel and back throught the meter and causing harm to people working on lines or his neighbors.

We live in a heavily wooded community of roughly 60 home sites (5 acres or so each) with only 5 homes built or under construction. Most of these are weekend homes only two full time residents. we do not see anything except the moon and stars at night and that is why we all bought here. So only thing I could do is tell the neighbor to go out in the storm and see if the little light is on at the meter about 150 feet away from his house on a pole before it goes underground and into his house. Hoping for something better. Some how this all passed the electrical inspection ( not that this makes me feel any better, I did recently post a concern about them using 14g wire on 20A circuit breaker protected lighting circuits in my brand new construction but it appears it is "acceptable" down here??. But I will know more once I do get to see the setup in person.

thanks again for the suggestions and the quick response.

Walt
Where do you live?
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:15 AM   #13
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Cheap? You have to run the wire in the house, through the walls, etc. Then paint them orange? Then, what's powering all the hard-wired stuff, like furnace, water heater, water pump? I like the lock out for a hundred bucks.
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VelvetFoot View Post
Cheap? You have to run the wire in the house, through the walls, etc. Then paint them orange? Then, what's powering all the hard-wired stuff, like furnace, water heater, water pump? I like the lock out for a hundred bucks.

interlockkit.com is a ripoff, Square D, Siemens and GE all make interlock kits for their respective boxes, and.... they don't look nearly as stupid as the one scuba posted. and they are less than half the price, I paid 100 bucks for 2 interlocks from Square D and I've seen Siemens selling for 30 bucks
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:36 AM   #15
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I agree, but 50 bucks is a great deal. I think I paid about 80 bucks. Then again, everybody gets a better deal than I do.
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