Right, their comfort level will vary with the situation. In your case
they were dealing with secondary voltage only since it was just your
drop that was down, not primaries on the street. They also only had a
single residence in question, with a generator already running. They
asked and in the process reminded you about the main breaker and also
got some impression of your competence. And of course at 120/240V their
gloves provide plenty of protection even if there was a back feed.
Exactly so. I understood the foreman's question to me on two levels, and I
answered him on both levels as well:
"Is your main breaker open?" (Do you know what 'open' means?)
"Yes, it's off." (Yes, I know what you mean, and yes, it is.)
Yeah, those fellas have some major heavy-duty insulated gloves. :-)
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Ours (telco) are rated to 20kv, the local power utility's to 35kv.
And, yes... We test everything before touching it following a storm.
Still, with all the idiots out there, and the increasingly popularity of
generators, it's a pretty scary thought that someone would simply splice-up a
two-male-ended cord and plug 'er in without a thought to open the main breaker
or pull the meter.
You ASS/U/ME these folks understand what the implications of those facts
is. Ask puddin to explain the effect of the service transformer on the
output voltage of his suicide cord connected, back fed generator if any
sneak current path should exist between the inside wiring and the
service drop. I'll bet you a hundred in cash that if he does it's
because he learned if after reading my question.
Well we aren\'t no thin blue heroes and yet we aren\'t no blackguards to.
Why do you expect perfection? Such a thing doesn't exist, and can't.
There is no way to be 100% certain of not making a mistake.
They could have just tested the line, found it dead, and touched it.
THEN you start your generator...
I suppose your generator outputs 240V/30A. Forget to disconnect from
the power lines, and that is connected to the lower voltage side of a
transformer with a ratio of around 80:1. Those "dead" main lines are
now carrying 19.2KV/375mA (somewhat less since the transformer won't
be 100% efficient). That's more than enough to be fatal.
Was that supposed to be a sig? Where's the separator line?
On Fri, 22 Dec 2006 20:06:09 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Miller)
I didn't say that. I said that nothing can ever be done with 100%
reliability. That is, there is never a 100% guarantee that you will
remember to remove the meter EVERY time and that that meter will STAY
I considered doing that (connecting generator that way) once but never
did it because of the small risk of severe consequences.
A lineman died following hurricane Camile because the failure of a water
heater heating element cross connected the off peak wiring with the
regular wiring. Since the main breaker did not open the off peak meter
supply the service drop was back fed.
"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
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