On Tue, 19 Nov 2013 18:47:36 -0500, Stormin Mormon wrote:
That's interesting. It must be the case, because that "romex?"
cable has four wires in it. (1) a bare ground, (2) a white
neutral, (3) a black power, and (4) a red wire, which, if it's
a 220V cable, would then be the second power.
It makes sense that the red is merely the second 220V hot
leg, as the only other red I've ever seen is a sometimes-hot
switched 120V wire to a lamp or three-way switch.
It was hard to tell from your pix but it looks like the red and black wire
go to a 240 volt breaker. One goes to one of the hot wires and the other
goes to the other so you have 240 volts across them, the white is the neutal
an the bare is the ground.
The red is the same as the black but colored differantly so you know which
On Tue, 19 Nov 2013 19:31:49 -0500, Ralph Mowery wrote:
You are correct. I followed the romex? from the hole in the wall to the
circuit breaker, and, that white romex appears to feed the 240V outlet
in the garage that you can see on the right side in this picture:
The funny thing is that there are *four* wires in that Romex? cable, but,
we already determined this style of socket only has *three* connections.
Working backward, that romex? appears to come up the bottom right
rectangular hole in the panel as shown here:
And, then, it seems to connect to the 30A 220V breaker at the bottom
left, top breaker:
I'm not sure *why* we would want to know which leg is black and which
leg is red but I have nothing against identifying which is which.
The only thing I don't understand is where the fourth wire goes in
that Romex? cable because we already ascertained there are only two
hots and a "grounded neutral" in the outlet on the wall.
It makes things easier to troubleshoot if things go wrong, and there are
certain applications where it is necessary to have specific color codes.
It is preferential, especially in commercial/industrial work, to have
everything color coded denoting phase/neutral/ground by color and by
labeling of each conductor as to which panel they originate from and to
which circuit breaker they are attached to or associated with.
Example: There are five panels labeled PNL 1, PNL 2...PNL 5. Two
panels have conduits that intersect in a 16x16x4 screw cover junction
box. To simplify what wires are what (let us say PNL 2 and PNL 4 have
3 wires each entering, among many others). There is a black a white and
a green from PNL 2, with the hot coming from circuit breaker 6. The black
and white wires would be labeled PNL2 6, or PNL2 CB6. Space on PNL2 6
is intentional. The green may be labeled only PNL2. Now, the wires from
panel 4 consist of three wires that are Blue, White and Green. As you may
suspect, the blue and white wires will be labeled PNL4 CB#. And the green
will be PNL4. The color is done to let you know what phase and type of
voltage and/or to distinguish each conductor from the other. The labeling
gives source location and termination point. It just makes things easier
when you have to go back in and start messing with things. It is not
allowed to use the wrong color of wire for a specific voltage source.
You should not see a blue wire in the power distribution of a residential
system. It happens and no one really gives a rip, but on principal this
is not supposed to happen. Black, red, white and green are what you should
see. Poly-phase systems are another discussion. That is where you will see
blue, brown, orange, yellow and purple. There are more colors, but that is
still another discussion.
On Tue, 19 Nov 2013 21:56:18 -0600, Nightcrawler® wrote:
I noticed the aforementioned diagram shows a red and black coming out
of the transformer:
Interestingly, I see a ground on both sides of the transformer.
I wonder which ground it was that I remember seeing going down every
third power pole?
This is done to keep good continuity between the earth grounds. They
perform a resistance check of the soil and determine the proper spacing
of grounding electrodes to keep the potential equalized, and also to
ground the neutral wire (if present) strung along with the power lines
to eliminate transient/induced voltages. How many of these poles have
transformers on them or other utility devices?
On Tue, 19 Nov 2013 22:35:27 -0600, Nightcrawler® wrote:
That makes sense.
I was going off of memory with "every third pole".
I remember, as a kid, wondering what 'all those wires' were.
Over time, I learned:
a) The three high wires were the three phases of power distribution.
b) The low thick cables were the telephone (and then later, cable).
c) The house only got two wires (now I know it's from the xformer).
d) The transformers got two of the hot wires (I had thought).
e) The ground was the return back to the power company (figuratively).
f) Every third pole had a ground to ensure the power company got it.
From the aforementioned diagram, I'm realizing "d" above is wrong:
Do I interpret the diagram correctly, that, of the three hot distribution
lines on the power poles (each 120 degrees out of phase with the other),
the transformer does NOT get two of those, but, it gets only one hot
out of the three on the pole?
I wasn't sure how they connect to the bars underneath.
So, this panel seems to mainly feed three other panels
with 100A service:
2. Rec room
3. Laundry room
Of the four baby breakers, two are 240V but only one is in
use; while the other two are 120V but again, only one is in
a. Garage 240V & well 240V
b. Unintelligible 120V
I wonder what 120V circuit is so important that it has its
own puny 30A breaker as the only 120V breaker in the entire
Does it feed the generator electronics perhaps?
(PS: I can test it in the morning.)
The breaker is sized to protect the conductor attached to it. In this
case a 10 gauge or larger wire. The wire is sized to provide the proper
ampacity to the device being powered. If you are powering a 25 amp device
you would feed that device with a 30 amp breaker as long as the device
does not have an inrush current that would trip the breaker. That is an
entirely different discussion. In essence, motors draw much more current
on start up than when running. This is a factor in selecting proper wiring/
On Tue, 19 Nov 2013 01:13:33 -0600, Nightcrawler® wrote:
I'm pretty sure the pool is not on the charger (it has three 1-3/4HP 240V pumps).
There is a man-sized blue tank which is the pressure tank with a bladder
inside, and another powerful motor pressurizing the system to something
like 80 psi; and, there are 10,000 gallons of water; so, it *could* be
that the well isn't running on the generator, but that the pressure
Thanks for pointing that out. I will check next time the power goes out.
Interesting idea. I didn't know they even existed. But, it makes sense.
Even a basic automotive trickle charger would work just fine to charge
I wonder if the weekly startup also preserves the life of the motor?
The generator fires itself up every Friday at the same time.
If scheduled it is as trader4 stated. It is a maintenance cycle.
Some stand alone units have their own A/C charger that switches
off of utility when the generator is running. It all depends on
how many bells and whistles are included with the package.
Generac is a reputable back-up power provider, and I would not
think that they would not provide such a provision. Though, some
people look at cost over functionality...until it is too late.
On Tue, 19 Nov 2013 20:33:09 -0600, Nightcrawler® wrote:
Actually, I've had to replace the battery, so, I had to read the
manual, and I'm positive it runs exactly one week after I hit
So, I'm positive it's a 7-day thing, to the hour.
It runs for 20 minutes, to the minute.
So, at least *this* generac is dumb.
On Tuesday, November 19, 2013 10:27:09 PM UTC-5, Danny D'Amico wrote:
That it runs once a week is not a sign of the generator
being dumb. I still bet that it runs once a week as a
self-diagnostic, not to charge the battery. For one thing,
how would it know that 20 mins is the correct amount of
time to charge it? It's also kind of inefficient to take
current out of a battery, just to charge it, when you don't
Nightcrawler raised the issue that some cheaper generators
might not keep the battery charged off of the utility AC.
That may be true, but I've seen typical home Generacs and
they do keep the battery charged off utility AC. They
also have a charging circuit that charges the battery
when the generator is running. But the once a week
cycle is to exercise the generator, keep the brushes from
oxidizing, verify that it runs OK, and if it doesn't
it sets a code, an alarm, etc so that you know the
gen is kaput before you need it.
What yours exactly does, none of us here know.
On Wed, 20 Nov 2013 06:04:17 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
TO lay this one to rest, I snapped a picture of the placard
on the generator next to the control panel:
SET EXERCISE TIME INSTRUCTIONS
Place Manual/Auto Off switch to "Off" position.
Place and hold "Set Exercise Time" switch to "On" postion for 5 seconds.
Wait 30 Seconds.
Place Manual/Auto/Off switch to the "auto" position.
Failure to wait 30 sec. may cause engine to start.
If engine does start, it will shut off automatically within 2 min.
Generator will now exercise every 7 days, at set time.
On Tue, 19 Nov 2013 05:15:22 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I was wrong, and I apologize.
I was shocked when I saw the white neutral wires, and the green
ground wires, and the bare copper ground wires, all going to the
exact same spot in the main circuit breaker box!
So, green/white/bare, are all the same connection, at the breaker.
This is so counter-intuitive, to me, that it took a while for it
to sink in. I apologize for being thick headed. I just never would
have thought all three are connected at the same spot!
On Tuesday, November 19, 2013 5:31:08 PM UTC-5, Danny D'Amico wrote:
Realize that even though they are connected together,
there is a difference. Current if flowing through the
neutral wires on your 120V circuits, throught the neutral
bar, and through the neutral to the transformer. Even
though the ground wires are tied to the neutral, there
should be no current flowing in the ground wires of the
house circuit, unless something is malfunctioning.
And there will be a little bit of current flowing from
the neutral/ground connection to your grounding electrode,
but most of the neutral current is flowing back to the
transformer on the neutral service cable.
So, while they are connected together, the current
flow is from white/neutrals to other white neutrals
on the other hot leg/phase, or on the neutral cable back to
On Tue, 19 Nov 2013 14:48:21 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
Actually, I think I'm pretty clear on the "functional" difference,
and, on the mechanical difference with respect to insulation and
That's actually why I had a problem with them all connecting
together. Sheesh. They're all "grounding" wires!
Yes. I can see the neutral bar is directly attached to the
inch-wide neutral strap which, itself, is the center tap of
the dedicated transformer for my house.
Yes. I do understand that. The ground wire doesn't "complete"
a circuit, unless something is wrong.
I think I understand that also. The current 'wants' to flow
back to the transformer over that big fat insulated striped
aluminum wire; but some will flow down the much thinner bare
copper wire to that grounding electrode driven into the
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