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Author Topic: Hooking Up Generator To house for Emergency Power  (Read 5395 times)
Fred Mc
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« on: May 11, 2007, 01:15:11 PM »

Last year this board helped me in getting 220 V power from my generator.

Now I want to be able to hoop it up to my house for emergency use.(thats how I convinced my wife we need a generator).

I need to run a well that has a 220 v pump and also a few 110 v needs( fridge and freezer and 1 or 2 lites) The generator is 6500 W.

What kind of wiring would I needed to go from the bus to the house.

I was thinking that 10/2 might work as that gives me 2 hots and a ground but the guy at the borg said I need 3/10 with 2 hots, a neutral and ground.

I understand you need a special switch to prevent backfeed to the grid.

And, if I just wanted to hook up the water pump direct (220) can I  use 10/2.

Thanks

Fred Mc.
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H3Jim
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2007, 01:39:59 PM »

Part of the equation is the length of wire you wil be running. Longer means you should go the next larger wire size.  I concur, you definitely need 4 wire conductor.  Don't skimp on this wiring job, the codes are there for you and your families safety. 
« Last Edit: May 11, 2007, 04:29:11 PM by H3Jim » Logged

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FloridaCliff
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2007, 01:42:27 PM »

Fred,

A few questions first....

Where is the main disconnect for commercial power at?  By the meter outside, inside....etc

Where is the bus parked?  In a shop with power fed from the house, other, etc..

Cliff
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2007, 01:51:36 PM »

During Hurricane Katrina, my bus genset saved our freezer full of food and kept us cool at night and we had a tv to watch. 

My advice, use long extension cords and plug in the things you need. 

Every year, some power company employee somewhere is electrocuted because someone has incorrectly hooked up a generator to their house.  If you don't know how to do it properly, please get someone who does to do it.


NEWS STORY:
Worker Electrocuted In Flomaton By Live Power Line

FLOMATON, Ala. -- An electric lineman was killed just before 5 p.m. Tuesday when he came into contact with a live power line. It was energized by a generator that was hooked up improperly.

The man -- whose name has not been released -- was transported by LifeFlight to Jay hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The man worked for Pike Electric, Inc. in Mount Airy, North Carolina.

Alabama Power spokesman Bernie Fogarty says the company is "Deeply saddened and distressed by this tragic event."

Alabama authorities say they're looking for the person responsible for hooking up the generator.

NBC NEWS CHANNEL 13 (Birmingham, AL)
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2007, 02:08:19 PM »

During Hurricane Katrina, my bus genset saved our freezer full of food and kept us cool at night and we had a tv to watch. 

My advice, use long extension cords and plug in the things you need. 

Every year, some power company employee somewhere is electrocuted because someone has incorrectly hooked up a generator to their house.  If you don't know how to do it properly, please get someone who does to do it.


NEWS STORY:
Worker Electrocuted In Flomaton By Live Power Line

FLOMATON, Ala. -- An electric lineman was killed just before 5 p.m. Tuesday when he came into contact with a live power line. It was energized by a generator that was hooked up improperly.

The man -- whose name has not been released -- was transported by LifeFlight to Jay hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The man worked for Pike Electric, Inc. in Mount Airy, North Carolina.

Alabama Power spokesman Bernie Fogarty says the company is "Deeply saddened and distressed by this tragic event."

Alabama authorities say they're looking for the person responsible for hooking up the generator.

NBC NEWS CHANNEL 13 (Birmingham, AL)


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Tony LEE
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2007, 03:56:00 PM »

My view on DIY electrical work is that if you have to ask what to do, you shouldn't be doing it yourself.
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Don4107
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2007, 04:24:21 PM »

I would talk to the electrician that installs your transfer switch and the inspector that signs off on it.  They are the only ones I would listen to.  I wonder if the inspector will want the whole thing, generator and everything, hooked up before he signs off on it. 

As others said, the distance from genset to transfer switch must be taken into account when choosing wire size. 

Good luck
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2007, 04:51:12 PM »

Hello.

I support tonylee's way of thinking too.

Everyone can safely run a couple extension cords.

Get the right plugs for your 220v, and have the wire to your water pump changed from hard wired to connected with a plug and socket.

Cost benefit analysis might suggest the time and resources spent hard wiring a transfer switch and the associated switching might be spent better elsewhere for the time it might be in use.

And from whom will you get the right info in order to decide which of several strategies of execution that you want to follow? This topic might be much the same as asking how to build a bus conversion. Lots of "right ways", all different executions.

Good luck!

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2007, 03:55:11 PM »

Fred, don't do this its against all the rules. My power meter servs as a disconnect switch and isolates my house from the grid. I take it off the side of the house. I have a 50 amp wall outlet that I use for the buzz box and an adapter cord that is against all the rules with a male connector to plug into the welder outlet and another male connector on the other end to plug into my genset. (2 male ends, very dangerous and very against code). This illegal and wrong setup allows me to power up my entire house in an emergency in just a couple of minutes. There may be a way to hard wire the welder outlet to a 50 amp circuit breaker that meets code. I almost prefer removing the meter to having a master switch that someone could turn on and send my power down the line. I'm sure this is not an approved way of hooking up your genset, so don't do it.
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2007, 05:39:41 PM »

Pulling the meter makes the power company charge you a $1000 fine for tampering with their security locks.

They don't think it's funny at all. They don't have a sense of humor...

If a fireman pulls it that's a different story but the power company has to re-install it and charge accordingly.

The best advice is buy a transfer panel and have an electrician install it. The panels run about $600
and will divide off the necessary items that will run on the generator.

Have it done by a professional and to code. You will be a little more poor but fairly safe that way.
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2007, 12:07:52 PM »

If it were me I'd give the man who works for the power company the answers to the questions he asked! Then I would very closely follow his advice as I am 100% certain that Florida Cliff would not steer any of us wrong!  FWIW BK  Grin
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Fred Mc
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2007, 02:40:15 PM »

Cliff.

By main power disconnect, if you are referring to the main panel it is a few feet from the meter(the meter is on an outside wall). It is located in the furnace room which is accessed through its own door to the outside.

The bus is normally parked in a carport remote from the house but will be moved close to the house in the event of emergency power. It is about 80-100 feet from the main panel.



Thanks

Fred Mc.
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FloridaCliff
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2007, 10:22:18 AM »

Fred,

Several ways to do this;

First and safest would be to put a manual two position transfer switch between your power meter and your main panel. 

On the transfer switch one input would be from the meter, the other from the generator.  You would simply switch to the generator when emergency power was needed.  This isolates the commercial power and your generator.  You would have to make up a power cable to the generator or an outside box that you could connect too.

Second, If your power meter feeds straight into a main breaker in your main panel.  You could add a breaker in that panel that was wired to connection point outside.  This breaker would act as the input for the generator to the panel.  When you wanted to run off the generator you would have to turn off the main in from the power company, then turn on the main input from the generator.  This set up is not fail safe as you could accidentally leave both feeds on and hurt someone else or yourself.   I know a lot of people who have used this exact setup.  Most of them painted the two breakers red and put a sign on the door that they can both never be on at the same time.

I did mine a third way.  I have a 50 amp plug were the bus is parked.  It is fed from a 100amp service in my shop that is fed from the house.  I turn off the main at my house panel(disconnects the commercial) I then have a short cable with a twist lock on one end and cam lock ends http://www.nationalsupplyonline.com/Cam_Lok_1015.html  on the other to go from the generator to the shop power.  This allows me not to use the dual male extension cord which is very dangerous.

Its nice to be able to use the coach power in the house after the hurricanes down here.  We raise our own beef and to loose 500-600lbs in the freezer would be a real mess.

Yeah, I know what the rest of you are thinking, power out at Cliff's equals Busnut BBQ time.  LOL   Grin

Just be safe.

Cliff
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Fred Mc
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2007, 08:37:56 PM »

Cliff, your setup is somewhat similar to NJT's setup except whereas you flip the main breaker he takes out the meter.And he uses a double male plug also.

I wasn't aware that you could actually put two main breakers in a box but just looked at mine(Sq. D) and it looks like a second would fit.
I'm sure this discussion will make some people set their hair on fire.

We live on a small farm and have a small house that we rented out. Wouldn't you know it but the renters decided to start a grow-op so we evicted them and decided to renovate including all new wiring. I had never seen a meter removed before and was surprised at how easy it is-like unplugging a large plug.

Anyway, thanks again for the info.

Fred Mc.
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FloridaCliff
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2007, 05:28:49 AM »

Fred wrote: And he uses a double male plug also.

Fred, 

I dont use the double male plug.  I use a female cam lock on the end that connects to my home electric.

They are a little pricey, but work great.  Also, order them color coded and you cannot put the wrong one in the wrong cam.(someone got smart)  This eliminates the live end with prongs on the double male.

I use them at work on back up generators to back up the back up generator. We love redundancy! LOL

Cliff
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1975 GMC  P8M4905A-1160    North Central Florida

"There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded."
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