Safe and Economical

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  #1  
Old 08-21-05, 06:58 PM
Old man
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Safe and Economical

There is no other way than to ask, so here goes. I am on disability and a very limited income.
I want to be able to use my generator to power up any circuits in my house I chose. Everything I have looked at and asked about is cost prohibative for me.
Price ranges from $500.00 to $800.00 for a transfer switch and installation.
I want to keep it safe, but at the same time I need it to be economical.
Is there a solution?
I hate tripping over extension cords and dragging them around from room to room.
Any suggestions?
My gen. is 7500kw with a surge to 10,750kw and my house is fairly old as are most of the appliances, but it should run all but the range, at least one at a time. My service box is 200 amp.

Thanks for any info,
 

Last edited by Old man; 08-21-05 at 06:59 PM. Reason: add info
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  #2  
Old 08-21-05, 07:42 PM
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There is no good answer here. Connecting without a transfer switch is potentially deadly.

Realistically, how long do you expect to be without power at any given time? Could you live with an extension cord to the refrigerator and maybe a room A/C?

I guess if you were going to be without power for days or weeks, you could have an electrician come in and disconnect you from the Power Co. and tie the generator in. I don't know if this is legal; and I don't know if you can find an electrician during the emergency.
 
  #3  
Old 08-21-05, 08:51 PM
Old man
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The longest is about 4 1/2 days without electrical, and it does not happen very often, but usually at very inconvient times.
What bothers me is this is just a switch and they want an arm and a leg for them, actually 2 switches tied together. You can get a breaker for 15 to 20 bucks, but get 2 tied together so one is off when one is on and a small metal box it fits into and the price goes to 250 to 500 plus installation. There has to be a cheaper way, I consider this highway robbery. I do not want to be unsafe nor will I. I will continue to fight the extension cords. But it is understandable why people backfeed the box. No hard feelings, I am just frustrated.

Thanks for the info
 
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Old 08-22-05, 08:26 AM
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There isnt a cheap way around this, use the cords, maybe organize them a bit better. Get a couple heavy ones and a couple power strips.
 
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Old 08-22-05, 10:44 AM
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Try searching for a 'generator interlock kit'.

Square-D makes one for their panels
http://igor.chudov.com/tmp/interlock_kit.pdf

There is another company making them for a number of panels
http://www.interlockkit.com/

Also, if you look a bit harder, you can find items that are somewhat cheaper than $500
http://www.nooutage.com/single-circuit-switches.htm

-Jon
 
  #6  
Old 08-22-05, 11:58 AM
Old man
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Thank you very much for the links. Those seem to be cheaper than what I found. However I did find the Interlink Co., but was told by an electrician that was not the proper way to do it.
Is that an acceptable way?
Also ,if I do it that way, what size wire would I need to run from the gen. plug in point to the service box, about 40-50 feet?

Again thank you very much, this helps a lot.
 
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Old 08-22-05, 12:14 PM
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What sort of circuit breakers are already on the generator for supplying 240V? My hunch without additional information is that 8ga THHN/THWN conductors in conduit would be more than sufficient.

From looking at the 'interlock kit' site, the decision to okay their products or not is up to the local inspector. They claim that they do not _yet_ have a UL listing, but that the NEC does not require a _listed_ device for this particular use; instead it is required that the inspector approve the device.

I am not going to attempt to debate this point; I'm simply going to point you to the authority: ask your local electrical inspector.

-Jon
 
  #8  
Old 08-22-05, 05:14 PM
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It depends where you are, and how your genny is set up.

Where I am, all 3 current carrying poles have to be switched.
 
  #9  
Old 08-22-05, 06:41 PM
Old man
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I am in Indiana. I also was thinking all 3 wires should be switched, so I called Porter-Cable and ask them about making the neutral floating in the gen.
They stated that for stand alone use, the neutral should remain bonded at the gen. and the unit grounded.
They stated for home feed use, the 240 volt, 30 amp plug at the gen. was just fine the way it is set from the factory. Just no need to ground the unit as a whole and set it on concrete slab or some kind of platform off of the ground.
Seems to me this could make the frame of the gen. a bit of a safety factor, but they said no, not if neutral is not switched at all.

So, you think 8 ga. conductors thru conduit would suffice for a 40 to 50 foot run?
 
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Old 08-22-05, 08:16 PM
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I am quite certain that the advice you got from Porter-Cable is is wrong.

If the neutral is bonded to ground at the generator, and you only switch the two hot poles, then you will have neutral and ground bonded at two separate locations.

My understanding is that you can either have an un-switched neutral, in which case you must _not_ bond neutral to ground at the generator, _or_ you can have a switched neutral, in which case the generator is a 'separately derived system' and you _must_ bond neutral and ground at the generator.

I believe that 8ga conductors are acceptable, but you didn't answer about the breaker size in the gen-set. Voltage drop is not an issue with a run this short at this size.

-Jon
 
  #11  
Old 08-22-05, 08:36 PM
Old man
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I also am not certain about the info they gave me.
The circuit breakers on the gen. are marked only reset, and the book does not list the size of them. there are 5 total, to go with the outlets on the front panel.
They are 2 double recepticles GFCI for 120 volts [ 4 plug points] and 1 120 volt 3 prong twist lock recepticle, and then 1, 240 volt 30 amp, 4 prong twist lock recepticle, and a 12 volt outlet for charging a battery or starting a car.

I am aware that neutral should only be joined at one spot, that is why I called them to find out how to change to a floating neutral on the gen. but they said it is not hooked to the ground, only fastened to the housing of the gen. on the inside, and the way it is wired would cause no problems. I don' know.
 
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