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Author Topic: Generator along side shore power  (Read 1296 times)

Lee Douglas

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Generator along side shore power
« on: May 17, 2024, 12:08:50 AM »

I not exactly sure how to navigate this, but someone here always seems to have good advise, if not the outright answer.  I have an event coming up where a single 15A outlet is provided, but I'd like to bring a bit more low end than is probably a good idea for one circuit.  I do have a generator that theoretically could provide the addition power needed, but I'm not sure how to use them both together safely and hopefully without any bad sounds.  In the past we've just rented whisper watt that could cover the whole show, but that's not in the budget this time.  My gut tells me just don't do it.  My brain wants to know why.  Thanks for any advise!
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2024, 12:54:56 PM »

I not exactly sure how to navigate this, but someone here always seems to have good advise, if not the outright answer.  I have an event coming up where a single 15A outlet is provided, but I'd like to bring a bit more low end than is probably a good idea for one circuit.  I do have a generator that theoretically could provide the addition power needed, but I'm not sure how to use them both together safely and hopefully without any bad sounds.  In the past we've just rented whisper watt that could cover the whole show, but that's not in the budget this time.  My gut tells me just don't do it.  My brain wants to know why.  Thanks for any advise!

The tricky part is the outlet has grounds and neutrals separated-the genny may or may not have banded ground/neutral.  From a safety standpoint, tie the grounds together and you "should" be fine.  As long as equipment is modern, other than ill advised potentially short surge devices, the neutral shouldn't be connected to anything that matters anyway.
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Steve Swaffer

Brian Jojade

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Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2024, 01:37:19 PM »

Like Sephen said, chances are you'll be just fine, especially if all AC grounds are bonded.  However, if your outlet that you get to use is a GFCI outlet, that may cause you some major troubles.

Personally though, I'd just deal with the single circuit and not mess with adding a generator to the equation.  Pulling power from separate, random locations isn't something I do anymore.  Either there's proper power, or I'll pass on the event.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2024, 02:13:03 PM »

Like Sephen said, chances are you'll be just fine, especially if all AC grounds are bonded.  However, if your outlet that you get to use is a GFCI outlet, that may cause you some major troubles.

Personally though, I'd just deal with the single circuit and not mess with adding a generator to the equation.  Pulling power from separate, random locations isn't something I do anymore.  Either there's proper power, or I'll pass on the event.
Or just use the genny.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2024, 02:25:22 PM »

Or just use the genny.

If going on generator power, the client should pay for it AND it should be properly sized for the event.
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2024, 07:29:58 PM »

Or just use the genny.

This right here.  A single 15A circuit is definitely NOT worth the hassle of mixing power sources, and is only good for work lights for load-in/out. 
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2024, 07:56:59 PM »

Did you mention the possible power issue to anyone?  If so did they say something like "that's what everyone uses"!
Are they expecting this to be a bigger type of show all on their one 15 amp outlet?

Steve-White

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Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2024, 11:45:16 PM »

Or just use the genny.

This right here.  A single 15A circuit is definitely NOT worth the hassle of mixing power sources, and is only good for work lights for load-in/out.

Bingo.  Just run the whole sumbich on generator and be done with it.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2024, 02:15:16 PM by Steve-White »
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Mike Monte

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Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2024, 04:07:06 PM »

The tricky part is the outlet has grounds and neutrals separated-the genny may or may not have banded ground/neutral.  From a safety standpoint, tie the grounds together and you "should" be fine.  As long as equipment is modern, other than ill advised potentially short surge devices, the neutral shouldn't be connected to anything that matters anyway.

Several years ago I provided the rig/lights for a stage at an outdoor festival ....... the client supplied a generator.
All of my power amps (XS4300/K2/IT6000) worked except for one (an XTI4000 kept going into fault mode).  That amp was handling the low drivers in my 4-way rig.
I ran a cord to a hardwired outlet 100' away for the XTI amp and did the gig.  No issues at all mixing the power sources.

Your mileage may vary.


 
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doug johnson2

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Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2024, 09:17:15 AM »

While I would recommend to just run off one source as well, would a "Poor Man's Distro" be a solution for bonding things in this situation?
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2024, 09:56:04 AM »

It's all good until there is a failure of insulation, neutral bonding, or earthing.

Will there be voltage to our devices?  Yes.  Is it safe?  You'll have to watch Marathon Man...
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Steve-White

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Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2024, 02:40:26 PM »

It's all good until there is a failure of insulation, neutral bonding, or earthing.

Will there be voltage to our devices?  Yes.  Is it safe?  You'll have to watch Marathon Man...

Exactly why I wouldn't do it.  If house supplied power is insufficient, then bring in a power source that is.

Mix and Match with electricity is a bad idea.

I may consider lights on the house line and sound on the generator - but, first choice is to run it all off of a generator and not touch the house supplied power.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2024, 03:22:54 PM »

Exactly why I wouldn't do it.  If house supplied power is insufficient, then bring in a power source that is.

Mix and Match with electricity is a bad idea.

I may consider lights on the house line and sound on the generator - but, first choice is to run it all off of a generator and not touch the house supplied power.
"Pardon me, neighbor, might I borrow a barrel of megawatts?" 8)

I've been venue electrician for a televised, scripted form of athletic entertainment where the arena and live audience is part of the set and dressing, but the real product is the TeeVee stuff.  Redundant generator sets that power all tour needs, with 1200 amps 208 3ph from venue to the transfer switch.  Somewhere in between was the biggest damn "UPS" battery bank I've seen that wasn't bolted down.  In winter this has to be in conditioned space, and I recall a bigger-than-usual fork truck brought it to move it.

But yeah, shore power was the 3rd choice... I guess grid electrons ain't good enough for some folks!
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2024, 03:45:19 PM »

Yeah, on the big boy shows, bringing your own power to a venue is common. That way you KNOW what you're dealing with. House power is the emergency backup instead of the other way around.
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Brian Jojade

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Generator along side shore power
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2024, 03:45:19 PM »


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