OT - Emergency Gen Circuit

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I know this is OT for this group. But I also know there are several here who are resourceful enough to have done something similar.
We own a 5000/6260 Watt generator that is used for temporary emergency service during electrical outages. In our area (SE Kansas). Outages related to thunderstorms and ice storms are fairly common. Outages can last from a couple of hours to more than a day.
Being a lot Irish, I really don't want to spring for the full $600 - $1,000+ plus for a full up transfer switch installation. A am also opposed to the old Dryer Plug approach. Remembering to isolate the house with main breakers might work now; but as our brains age it looks like a good way to kill a lineman. Here are needs and a proposed approach:
Main Needs are: 1) Sump Pump main control circuit (basement) 2) Backup Sump Pump battery charger circuit (basement) 3) Furnace (central heat NOT air conditioning - basement) 4) Freezer (basement) 5) Refrigerator (main floor)
These five items are well within normal and surge capacity of the generator so I should have some capacity to run a few lamps.
Planned Approach:
1) Install a standard four prong female generator connection box so that 10/4 wire passes directly through the sill plate of the house. This will be done outside, or just inside of the garage door. (In either case the generator will, of course, be located well away from the house).
2) The 10/4 wire, from the box, will enter the basement and be routed down to about four feet above the floor via conduit.
3) At the bottom of the wire/conduit I will install a fourplex box and split the circuit into two 120v circuits with a standard two-plug receptacle on each. This will serve items 1) through 4) above via direct connection or extension cords. The longest cord run will be 15-20'
This circuit will be "dumb" and will not be hooked to the main house circuit.
When needed, we will move the generator outside of the garage and use a standard 4-blade, 30 amp, 30' generator cord to connect the generator to the dumb circuit which will serve basement needs. The fridge and lights will be served by a couple of the four standard 120v circuits on the generator.
Anyone else done something similar - or better? I do want to keep cost down and keep it safe. But it is a solution that MIGHT get used once every year or so.
Thanks RonB
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Looks like you plan to use a "suicide cord" for you generator hookup.
Most of this is a complete no-no and not to be done or given advise about. (you may find some electrician do-it-yourself idiot electrician that will say they do it too)
Get yourself a generator switch over panel. mount it next to your main panel, swing the critical circuits over to it, tie in your main panel to one side and you can flip any circuit you want over the the gen side.
Get a cord with a male plug for the generator, with a protective cap and build a little hut or milk-box in the wall, to protect it from the element with a lock.
You will spend more on your generator lead-in system than the panel, anyway.
BTW: do **NOT** use the "electrocute a Lineman" BS as an excuse. Lineman are not that stupid and it never happens if they aren't drunk.
This will only cost you some money once, a little effort, it will be done right and you will not regret it, sleeping soundly.
-------------------------
"RonB" wrote in message
I know this is OT for this group. But I also know there are several here who are resourceful enough to have done something similar.
We own a 5000/6260 Watt generator that is used for temporary emergency service during electrical outages. In our area (SE Kansas). Outages related to thunderstorms and ice storms are fairly common. Outages can last from a couple of hours to more than a day.
Being a lot Irish, I really don't want to spring for the full $600 - $1,000+ plus for a full up transfer switch installation. A am also opposed to the old Dryer Plug approach. Remembering to isolate the house with main breakers might work now; but as our brains age it looks like a good way to kill a lineman. Here are needs and a proposed approach:
Main Needs are: 1) Sump Pump main control circuit (basement) 2) Backup Sump Pump battery charger circuit (basement) 3) Furnace (central heat NOT air conditioning - basement) 4) Freezer (basement) 5) Refrigerator (main floor)
These five items are well within normal and surge capacity of the generator so I should have some capacity to run a few lamps.
Planned Approach:
1) Install a standard four prong female generator connection box so that 10/4 wire passes directly through the sill plate of the house. This will be done outside, or just inside of the garage door. (In either case the generator will, of course, be located well away from the house).
2) The 10/4 wire, from the box, will enter the basement and be routed down to about four feet above the floor via conduit.
3) At the bottom of the wire/conduit I will install a fourplex box and split the circuit into two 120v circuits with a standard two-plug receptacle on each. This will serve items 1) through 4) above via direct connection or extension cords. The longest cord run will be 15-20'
This circuit will be "dumb" and will not be hooked to the main house circuit.
When needed, we will move the generator outside of the garage and use a standard 4-blade, 30 amp, 30' generator cord to connect the generator to the dumb circuit which will serve basement needs. The fridge and lights will be served by a couple of the four standard 120v circuits on the generator.
Anyone else done something similar - or better? I do want to keep cost down and keep it safe. But it is a solution that MIGHT get used once every year or so.
Thanks RonB
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wrote:

I would suggest a Gen-Tran 6 circuit switch. It wires into the main switch box and has double throw switches to select mains or generator for each circuit. You can't get the switching wrong.
For a 30 amp unit, expect to spend about $300. If you're OK doing mains wiring, it's a simple installation. (I live in a county that allows a homeowner to do their own constrction/electrical/etc work, it just has to pass inspection.)
John
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http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202495852/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Search?keyword=generator+panel&langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053&productId0153952&R0153952
-------------------------------
wrote in message For a 30 amp unit, expect to spend about $300. If you're OK doing mains wiring, it's a simple installation. (I live in a county that allows a homeowner to do their own constrction/electrical/etc work, it just has to pass inspection.)
John
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wrote:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Generator-Transfer-Switch-Manual-Gen-Tran-6755LR-/230610200752?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35b17068b0
http://cgi.ebay.com/GenTran-3028-8-Circuit-30-Amp-Transfer-Switch-Up-/260766126778?pt=BI_Generators&hash=item3cb6df52ba
http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-GENTRAN-3028-8-CIRCUIT-AMP-TRANSFER-SWITCH-7500-WAT-/380332082873?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item588d8f06b9
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Thought I sent this before but it did not go through. 2nd try. I am putting in a generator that will run on propane for fuel. Remote start. Will add outlet next to existing outlets for refrigerator, freezer, and heating system. Easy switch over. Just move the plugs from one outlet to another. WW
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So in essence you are putting a partial duplicate electrical system that will only be fed from your aux. generator. No cross-connects at all. Sounds reasonable to me. Of course I'm just a retired firefighter, not an electrician.
I have a couple of systems. First is a small generator that will run a couple of extension cords into the house for lighting purposes on a temporary basis. Second is the Dryer Plug approach. I have placed a "cockpit check list" in a place where I cannot lose it and I periodically review it. When hooking up my larger generator to the dryer plug I refer to the checklist and go item by item with second person (wife) verifying each step. Electrical outages in my area of the country are quite rare and seldom more than a few minutes. Flashlights and fresh batteries are located in each bathroom, the kitchen, nightstands, and the garage.

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When I was an Electric Utility worker. We also answered calls for partial outages in homes. On one, the dining room would blow screw fuses. (very old home about 1900) I removed the light fixture and found the incoming wires all connected together. Customer had just had room painted and the painter removed and reinstalled the fixture. When ever on a call to homes that had screw fuses I always removed ALL fuses and checked for pennies under fuses that defeated the operation of a fuse. BINGO this time it had a INDIAN HEAD penny. Customer lucky they never had a short on that circuit. How long that penny was there, who knows. WW
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"Anyone else done something similar - or better? I do want to keep cost down and keep it safe. But it is a solution that MIGHT get used once every year or so."
You either need a backup generator system or you don't.
If you need one, you don't need a jury-rigged system that could prove dangerous - even life-threatening.
The transfer switch solution has been around for years. It was designed to do just what you need - by professionals who, faced with the same contingencies and requirements, came up with a safe, reliable and simple to use solution "NEW GENTRAN 3028 8-CIRCUIT AMP TRANSFER SWITCH 7500 WATTS $229" or similar.
When you're done, you will have a safe, simple system you can be proud of and it will be a selling point should you decide to move - instead of a liability.
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On Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:51:42 -0700 (PDT), Hoosierpopi

We typically have only a few minutes of power outage a year as most of the wiring is underground, but high winds can bring down trees along the aerial wiring section (about 3/4 mile) that goes from the neighborhood entrance to the substation.
Last summer we had some 60-70mph winds that took down a number of trees along the aerial route and power was out 16 hours. This was in July, so I had the small generator (1850 watts) running to keep the fridge and freezer cool.
My setup has a 4 circuit Gen-Tran switch (furnace, fridge, one wall of the kitchen, one not yet used). If I need more power than the small generator can handle (such as furnace + fridge + microwave oven) I connect the 5000 watt generator.
John
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"Hoosierpopi" wrote:

Amen brother. --------------------------------------

--------------------------------------- Amen brother. ---------------------------------------

the same contingencies and requirements, came up with a safe, reliable and simple to use solution "NEW GENTRAN 3028 8-CIRCUIT AMP TRANSFER SWITCH 7500 WATTS $229" or similar. ------------------------------------- Amen brother. -------------------------------------

of a liability. ------------------------------------ Amen brother.
Over my 40+ year career in various phases of the electrical industry, I lost track of the number of times I was asked "to put holy water" on some scheme to bypass the cost of a transfer switch and isolated distribution panel.
My answer was always the same.
"If your solution will pass a local code inspection, you should have no problem."
Electrical distribution systems are a poor place to be a day late and a $ short.
Lew
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"Hoosierpopi" wrote You either need a backup generator system or you don't.
If you need one, you don't need a jury-rigged system that could prove dangerous - even life-threatening.
******************************
You got to be kidding. You mean you can't plug an adapter into a plug, connect a cord, turn off the main breaker, and start a generator, reliably? You should not be trusted with a wood shop, if you can't. There are many more ways to threaten your life using power tools.
Gang, don't listen to this load of horse crap, unless you have so much money laying around that you want to waste it buying transfer systems you don't need.
Also, everyone, it could be that we have been trolled. Hoosier _poopie_ is a close, but better name for the poster.
-- Jim in NC
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How often do you plug in a suicide cord?
The OP explained this but you didn't listen.
---------------------
"Morgans" wrote in message
You got to be kidding. You mean you can't plug an adapter into a plug, connect a cord, turn off the main breaker, and start a generator, reliably? You should not be trusted with a wood shop, if you can't. There are many more ways to threaten your life using power tools.
Gang, don't listen to this load of horse crap, unless you have so much money laying around that you want to waste it buying transfer systems you don't need.
Also, everyone, it could be that we have been trolled. Hoosier _poopie_ is a close, but better name for the poster.
--------------------- "Hoosierpopi" wrote You either need a backup generator system or you don't.
If you need one, you don't need a jury-rigged system that could prove dangerous - even life-threatening.
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says...

If one forgets the main breaker the life one costs may not be one's own.
This issue isn't danger to yourself, it's danger to the guy fixing the power line that he expects to be cold.

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J. Clarke wrote:

You make a good point, but I would expect the power-line worker to take extraordinary precautions when working on lines that may be hot.*
Look, he's up on a pole with the combined noise of 50 generators roaring at him.
Hello! That's what we in the pet grooming business call "A Clue!"
------------------- * Good idea/Invention time: How about a linesman's glove that has one of those live circuit detectors? If about to put his (gloved) hand on a wire, a light would flash and a teeny speaker would go "tweedle-tweedle-tweedle, murder-kill-dead, tweedle-tweedle-tweedle..."
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On 4/26/11 12:20 PM, HeyBub wrote:

a floating neutral at my house several years ago, they came and fixed it with live wires.
--
Froz...


The system will be down for 10 days for preventive maintenance.
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@gm.nospam.ail.com says...

Yep, they can and do work with live wires, but it helps if they know that they're live.
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People that understand line work in English speaking North America understand the definitions.
There is no "I wonder if it is alive?"
There is only two definitions ie."alive" and "dead".
When it is equipotentially grounded and all known feeds are locked out and tagged under a documented safetyl ogging system it is "dead" Any other condition is "alive"
The "fry a lineman" is just BS from those having no knowledge of electrical lines practices.
-----------------------
"J. Clarke" wrote in message
Yep, they can and do work with live wires, but it helps if they know that they're live.
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"J. Clarke" wrote
If one forgets the main breaker the life one costs may not be one's own.
This issue isn't danger to yourself, it's danger to the guy fixing the power line that he expects to be cold.
*********************** My WHOLE POINT is that it isn't hard to forget to turn off a main breaker and connect a cord correctly and it isn't hard to do the whole thing safely. It isn't.
It is a whole lot easier than running power tools around your fingers, safely.
Come on, people. Some of you are sounding too much like the lawyers that have make our society put warning stickers on drive shafts, and stuff like warnings on burners saying that they are hot. DUH! ! !
-- Jim in NC
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On 4/26/11 1:58 PM, Morgans wrote:

have a home inspection, or live there till you die or go senile. (which may happen on the same day).
--
Froz...


The system will be down for 10 days for preventive maintenance.
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