Power Outage

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  #1  
Old 07-15-12, 04:39 PM
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Power Outage

I was cruisin' the DIY forum when everything went dark and my UPS started beeping. Yep. general power failure. I went out to the living room and sat down at 3:24 according to my atomic clock. Waited until 3:28 and decided to check if the television stations were going to give any info. (My television is on the UPS.) Nope, Comcrap was also down so it must have been a fairly widespread outage.

Went out to the garage and moved the junk from in front of the generator and moved it to the door. Raised the door manually and dragged the gennie over to the side of the house and connected up the gas hose (natural gas powered) and started up. Connected the electrical, came in and threw the transfer switch and came into the house to remember my desktop computer is not on the standby system so I got out the laptop and plugged it into the UPS and booted up. Checked the local TV station websites and also the power company's website but no mention of any outages so I came back to DIY.

Power back on at 4:07. Total time without power was 15 minutes and close to ten of those were in waiting to see if it was going to come back from the utility and moving the junk blocking me from getting the generator out of the garage. Not too bad considering I haven't tested the gennie in close to a year. Now I got to bring it back inside as it looks like it might rain.
 
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Old 07-15-12, 05:19 PM
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Didn't you know today is Test Your Genny day?
 
  #3  
Old 07-15-12, 05:46 PM
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BEEP! This is a test... This is only a test... BEEP!
 
  #4  
Old 07-15-12, 05:58 PM
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That's funny, Ray. I have been thinking lately of doing a test, just wanted to do it at my convenience, not when the power actually went out. At least it wasn't night or raining.
 
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Old 07-15-12, 06:16 PM
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Seems like portable generators would get a lot of use during foul weather? Why aren't they more weather resistant?
 
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Old 07-15-12, 06:34 PM
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Amazing as it seems, portable generators, at least of the size used for single family residential standby power, are not made for that purpose. They are primarily for use in the field (construction and such) where there is no utility power. Quite honestly, if you go by a very strict interpretation of the National Electrical Code there is no "approved" method of connecting a portable generator to a fixed residential distribution system.

I did buy a cheap tarp from Harbor Freight years ago that I was going to make an attachment to the house and then a frame from EMT conduit to provide a lean-to cover over the gennie but I've never gone beyond the stage of just thinking about doing it. Really, all I need to do is to cover the control panel as the rest of the unit is shrouded and it is doubtful the rain would bother it much.

I really need to make that video of connecting and running the thing that I promised a year ago. You guys would like it.
 
  #7  
Old 07-16-12, 06:12 AM
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As far as interpretations of the NEC go, the most important thing is that it must not be possible to have both the generator and the utility lines connected to the system at the same time regardless of which switch or lever you flip first. This is why you have transfer switches or interlocks, and these need to be of the right kind and installed correctly.

However, when there is a power failure and your generator is hauled out and connected with a patch cord or extension cord each time, I would just get it working.with minimal modification of equipment and no destructive modification of equipment, letting the subject of "neutral and ground bonding" to take a back seat.
 
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