Backfeed generator through dryer outlet?

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Oh, gee. Don't get started askign for specifics. Usenet is for wild ass statements completely lackig in truth.
Since you asked, Myrtle Bingle was using her suicide cord in a power cut in Arkansas in 1956. She neglected to turn off the mains, and killed David Petersen, who was working on the line outside her house.
Myrtle was a darky, and she was promptly arrested and tried. Spent the rest of her life in prison. Died last year.
Remember, now, this is Usenet. You can't believe everything you read.
--

Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Here are two Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) reports on the deaths of outside wiremen do to generator back feeds. <http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/in-house/full9002.html <http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/in-house/full9005.html
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Tom Horne

Well we aren\'t no thin blue heroes and yet we aren\'t no blackguards to.
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replying to Stormin Mormon, Gary Kane wrote:
Check the house grounding.
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I'm surprised nobody's mentioned being sure to have (2) hot leads and neutral, so you can power 117v circuits.
I've done this sort of thing many times over the years, but via single 117v 15a or 20a branch circuit. Main opened first, ditto all breakers (which are accurately labelled as to which load). Of course circuit is chosen so as to power selected "phase" which luckily has covered the necessary loads. Then one breaker at a time on, and maybe rotated as necessary. (Refrigerator does not need power 100% of time, nor does furnace blower. Yada, yada.)
At a friend's house, opening main breaker one time, caused it to fail to close forever more. Which sped up replacement.
HTH, J
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I was working on a trailer with a friend of mine. He want and "turned off the mains" and then we found a couple sockets hot.
Turns out, he'd turned off the breaker for the dryer, thinking it was the mains. I turned off the rest of the breakers.
How easy it is to make mistakes like that....
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Christopher A. Young
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Of course. 4 wire 240V is 4 wire 240V, and breakers don't care which terminals are the innie and which are the outie ;-)
We were installing a new main panel, and just when we wanted to transfer the feed, the local power company went on strike. Out of necessity (because so much had been transferred to the new panel), we ended up temporarily backfeeding the new main panel thru its dryer circuit from the old main's dryer circuit. [The new main didn't have a meter installed nor the main feed of course.]
During the great ice storm, a friend and I helped a muncipality out by doing inspections of generator installations. One of them (installed by a professional electrician) wired the generator directly into the panel's backplane (they were lucky, they just got their power back, and all we did was remove the backfeed and reestablish the real feed). The main breaker was wired open.
During the same ice storm, we spliced a 100Kw generator directly into a main panel (after physically disconnecting the line feed). [This was at the municipal works garage, and became a base for emergency crews, road clearance, and included the army's food/fuel distribution center.]
In an emergency, you gotta do what you gotta do. However, if you do have to do this, you have to do whatever you can to make it safe (ie: wire or padlock or physically disconnect the main). Secondly, if you are preparing for an emergency _before_ the emergency takes place, do it right. Installing outlets and obtaining a suicide cord is not right.
[Theoretically, an illegal backfeed can earn you a $6000 fine here. Worse if you hurt someone.]
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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All I can say is that here in SE Florida since Hurricane Wilma this week, with 6 million people out of power, with my neighborhood as a sample, there must be about 1 million backfed generators hooked up and running. It is not just commonplace; it is the norm.
One neighbor had a (gypsy) electrician install a 4-wire twist-lock socket in his garage specifically for backfeeding through a suicide cord.
Just stand in the electrical aisle of Home Depot for 5 minutes. You will see a steady stream of people buying wire and plugs and asking how to make a backfeed connection.
The same thing happened on a slightly smaller but still massive scale last year after Hurricanes Jeanne and Frances. I don't recall any reports of utility workers or users being harmed by the practice. There were certainly more people poisoned by carbon monoxide from generators than hurt or killed by electrocution from backfeeding or other misuse.
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Do you know what a step-down transformer does? It converts 7200 volts to 240 & 120 volts. Do you know what happens when you backfeed 240 volts through it? It puts 7200 volts back into the line. Do you know how little current it takes to kill you at such a voltage? Very little. Your limited knowledge and limited reasoning power are forming dangerous conclusions. Stop doing that. Someone may get killed because of what you are saying.
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I'm not an electrician but here's my 2 cents. You can't ever let your generator feed back down the power lines. The main breaker must be off and must stay off. It doesn't matter if your generator can't possibly power the whole neighborhood or the whole grid..If people hook up generators to their house wireing, even for a few seconds, without isolating the house from the line,.sooner or later, somewhere, the right set of conditions will exist to electrocute a lineman. You can't take that chance. The main breaker must be off. There must be no chance that anyone will turn the main breaker back on before the generator connection is removed. I can see a lot of ways for this to go wrong.
I don't see where there's risk of back feeding through the neutral line any more than there would be if you have a proper generator transfer switch. Does a transfer switch isolate the neutral?
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JOHN D wrote:

I've not seen any transfer switches that switch or isolate the neutral and I've seen many transfer switches.
Pete C.
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Then you haven't lived long enough, or inspected enough installations..... Having a Transfer Switch that doesn't switch the Neutral is applicable in the NEC, and legal in some situations. However, and this is a BIG However, if the System Ground should become faulty or the Netural resistance to ground start to rise due to corrosion or other problems, then out of Ballance Backfeeding on a 120/240Vac Single Phase system can happen. Nothing mechanical stays the same forever, and forever is a very long time. Shit Happens, and folks that don't understand that are doomed to live the results, for when the wrong "Shit Happens" in their world....... Some folks choose to only switch the Hot Legs, but the better way to do it is to switch both Hot and Neutral, and only keep the Ground continious.....
Me
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Me wrote:

The last time I looked at "real" transfer switches from the major brands through about 600A, virtually all were solid neutral units. You could of course use a three pole (a.k.a. three phase) unit to switch the neutral in a 120/240V application, but you'd likely have to special order it to get the single phase monitor and control electronics. All of the little "Gen-Trans" and similar consumer level units I've seen are solid neutral as well.
I'm pretty sure that it's unlikely you'll see a transfer switch that switches the neutral as well outside of a fairly large industrial / commercial application.
Pete C.
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wrote:

Your point sounds valid, and I certainly believe "ship happens" (given enough time shit will always happen), but can you cite a specific make and model transfer switch for a residential application that switches the neutral? John
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JOHN D wrote:

yes, http://www.green-trust.org/wiki/index.php?title=Automatic_Transfer_Switch
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Steve Spence
Dir., Green Trust, http://www.green-trust.org
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wrote:

Square D makes them in various sizes. Most folks just get a 3Phase Transfer Switch and use the third set of contacts for the Neutral. Two Hots and a Neutral, all switched.......
Me
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Me wrote:

Here's another one for you -
Federal Pioneer (Canadian division) GP3P60-20 60 Amp, 1 Phase, 3 Wire
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LOL! If nothing else, this set of threads has presented an excellent who's who for the plonk list! I haven't seen this much silliness since, well, ever, actually!
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<silliness snipped; only serious stuff left in tact>
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Pete C. wrote:

My transfer switch switches both hots and neutral.
http://www.green-trust.org/wiki/index.php?title=Automatic_Transfer_Switch
--
Steve Spence
Dir., Green Trust, http://www.green-trust.org
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On Mon, 31 Oct 2005 15:16:56 -0500, Steve Spence

My transfer switch is bigger than your transfer switch.
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Steve Spence wrote:

The picture is a bit small, but it sure looks like a pair of 2 pole contactors. I can't tell if they have auxiliary contacts installed for electrical interlock. It looks rather like the auto transfer switches I've seen on RVs. If they are indeed 2 pole contactors then you're either running 120V only or have a solid neutral.
I built a small transfer switch myself with a pair of contactors with auxiliary contacts installed to allow for electrical interlock of the contactors coils. When a contactor is energized the NC aux contacts open the circuit to the coil of the other contactor preventing it from being energized. Three possible states, one contactor on, the other contactor on or both contactors off.
Pete C.
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