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Author Topic: Hurricane Florence generator victim  (Read 679 times)

Mike Sokol

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Re: Hurricane Florence generator victim
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2018, 06:22:28 am »

https://foxbaltimore.com/weather/hurricane- instories/hurricane-florence-claims-a-third-life

Note that here's the generator warning just issued by the NC Emergency Management department in response to this electrocution. Pretty lame that they don't mention anything about electrical hookups. They only warn everyone not to run your generator or charcoal grill near or inside of your house.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 06:33:20 am by Mike Sokol »
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Frank Koenig

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Re: Hurricane Florence generator victim
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2018, 11:58:56 am »

You can buy kits for most panels-I know for sure Square D- for about $50 that take maybe 30 minutes to install that interlock the main and usually the top right breaker.

These lockouts are interesting. Thanks for pointing them out. Does anyone know how they fly with various AHJs? --Frank
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Hurricane Florence generator victim
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2018, 04:47:21 pm »

Most of my installs were inspected/passed by State of Iowa inspectors-they pretty much go by the book".

Most, if not all, of these devices are UL listed.  I've used the Square D as well as the Milbank meter/main disconnect combo lockouts.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 04:50:54 pm by Stephen Swaffer »
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frank kayser

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Re: Hurricane Florence generator victim
« Reply #13 on: Yesterday at 09:14:32 pm »

I know this will sound like an incredibly dumb useless question...
With those panel lockouts, how does one tell when the power is restored?


My house was recently built in a community built nearly 50 years ago.  When they ran power and phone to the house, it is not on any of the same circuits within two blocks of the house.  Many, many times, either I am the only one on the block with power, or the only one without.  I can't just look out and see what the neighbor's power is doing.


Back in the days of DSL, everyone on the block could get it, but I was too far from the switch.  Another example of someone's interesting sense of humor...


I normally run my genny on extension cords through the house - a lousy solution, but I am "notified" when the power is back up.


Yes, a real transfer switch would solve that problem nicely.
frank
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Hurricane Florence generator victim
« Reply #14 on: Yesterday at 11:03:09 pm »

Agreed-and to borrow another member's favorite line-the ideal answer for your situation   "depends".

Last time I was without power it was an ice storm-the most important loads for me to power were my furnace and well pump-neither really conducive to plugging into a cord.

Testing to see if power is back on would be a manual test-backfed breaker off, main on, lights work or no?  Generator could be left running with no ill effects.

The interlocks are a lot less expensive than a true transfer switch. Its been 10 years since I really needed a genny-so the trade off for convenience is a personal preference.

I installed a 50 kw genny with 3 transfer switches to cover 3 buildings a couple years ago.  To my knowledge it has run for one 4 hour power outage-during mild spring weather.

To each his own-but if you can't justify the cost of a real transfer switch, for heaven's sake either use cords as you do or install an inexpensive interlock.
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Steve Swaffer

Mike Sokol

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Re: Hurricane Florence generator victim
« Reply #15 on: Today at 08:38:05 am »

I was planning to use this GenerLink meter/switch for my dad's generator, which would have provided automatic transfer to the generator when line power was lost, and initially my local AHJ said it would be approved. But when I ordered it from Home Depot I was notified by the parent company of my local power company that they were no longer approving it for use in their grid. Seemed like a really simple solution to use a 7kw Honda for my parent's rather modest power needs. 
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Mike Sokol
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Hurricane Florence generator victim
« Reply #16 on: Today at 01:15:12 pm »

A couple of quandries I see with this device:

1.  It uses a 4 wire cord and my understanding requires an unbonded generator.  I have never seen a 4 wire meter base-3 wires in, 3 wires out-neutral and ground bond at the panel.  If there were a fault in the neutral from the meter to the panel the potential exists for the frame of the genny to have a potential higher than ground.  A rather undesireable situation.  Not even sure how to address this issue.

2.  Lack of overcurrent protection in the device itself.  Yes, you are required to use a genny with a breaker and yes the cord will only work with the correct size genny.  Do you really think the guy that finds out his 6 kw genny won't run his AC and microwave at the same time is going to replace the Generlink when he buys a 10 kw genny?  He'll probably cut the cord end off and install one that fits.

3. I also read where it falls into a "crack" in jurisdiction.  Meters are POCO devices and governed by NESC and their regs-meter bases and all homeowner devices are NEC.  Which is this??  Usually the customer is not allowed to have anything on the POCO side of the meter.
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frank kayser

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Re: Hurricane Florence generator victim
« Reply #17 on: Today at 02:09:02 pm »

Agreed-and to borrow another member's favorite line-the ideal answer for your situation   "depends".

Last time I was without power it was an ice storm-the most important loads for me to power were my furnace and well pump-neither really conducive to plugging into a cord.

Testing to see if power is back on would be a manual test-backfed breaker off, main on, lights work or no?  Generator could be left running with no ill effects.

The interlocks are a lot less expensive than a true transfer switch. Its been 10 years since I really needed a genny-so the trade off for convenience is a personal preference.

I installed a 50 kw genny with 3 transfer switches to cover 3 buildings a couple years ago.  To my knowledge it has run for one 4 hour power outage-during mild spring weather.

To each his own-but if you can't justify the cost of a real transfer switch, for heaven's sake either use cords as you do or install an inexpensive interlock.
The periodic switch-check you described is the only way that I saw too.  So it comes down which would be more of a PITA - running cords, probably in the dark, or switch/isolate the panel, flashlight in hand, and the periodic panel-check.  I can tell you which would be easier to clean up...


The problem with any of the solutions is which requires less "training" for someone else to safely operate the alternate power should I not be there, even to a lesser extent, a transfer switch.


frank



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Mike Sokol

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Re: Hurricane Florence generator victim
« Reply #18 on: Today at 03:17:27 pm »

The problem with any of the solutions is which requires less "training" for someone else to safely operate the alternate power should I not be there, even to a lesser extent, a transfer switch.

I'm sure that many (or even most) of us on this forum would be able to do a safe emergency tie-in of a generator in disaster mode, but we really don't want the liability if somethings goes wrong. And I would NEVER trust my 89 year old dad to do more than throw the lockout/breaker and start the generator. I tried to talk him into a more permanent solution with a pad mounted generator and big propane tank, but my 87 year old mom thinks those big tanks are potential bombs, and won't have one on her property, buried or not. So we got him a Honda EU7000is generator and I'll add a lockout/breaker to his service panel. I don't think he'll ever really need it, but he'll have fun starting up the generator every few months and running it for an hour to keep it ready.
« Last Edit: Today at 03:24:48 pm by Mike Sokol »
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Rob Spence

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Re: Hurricane Florence generator victim
« Reply #19 on: Today at 04:04:19 pm »

A couple of quandries I see with this device:

1.  It uses a 4 wire cord and my understanding requires an unbonded generator.  I have never seen a 4 wire meter base-3 wires in, 3 wires out-neutral and ground bond at the panel.  If there were a fault in the neutral from the meter to the panel the potential exists for the frame of the genny to have a potential higher than ground.  A rather undesireable situation.  Not even sure how to address this issue.

2.  Lack of overcurrent protection in the device itself.  Yes, you are required to use a genny with a breaker and yes the cord will only work with the correct size genny.  Do you really think the guy that finds out his 6 kw genny won't run his AC and microwave at the same time is going to replace the Generlink when he buys a 10 kw genny?  He'll probably cut the cord end off and install one that fits.

3. I also read where it falls into a "crack" in jurisdiction.  Meters are POCO devices and governed by NESC and their regs-meter bases and all homeowner devices are NEC.  Which is this??  Usually the customer is not allowed to have anything on the POCO side of the meter.

I donít see the issue on #3. The meter is POCO and the socket is customer. The wires from the socket to panel are customer and the wires to the pole are POCO (mostly... I paid for them and they run under my driveway).

#2 the generator has over current protection.

My transfer switch doesnít have over current protection. One input is protected by the generator main breaker and the other by a breaker in the upstream panel.

You cannot protect against people taking unlawful actions. Some actions (like changing a connector) are easier than others (replace a pad mounted 10kw generator with a 25kw).


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