Generator for emergency use

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Old 11-24-20, 01:09 PM
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Generator for emergency use

Just purchased a Honda generator to use during power outages and possibly light mig welding use.

Discussion came up if using the 20 or 30 amp generator outlet to power the home could it damage components in the circuit, the majority of the breakers in the panel are either 15 or 20 amps?
 

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11-27-20, 06:15 AM
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Has range type 50 amp male power cord that plugs into garage arc welder outlet during power outages.
This is illegal and can be very dangerous.

It will work if you are very careful and make sure the main breaker is off, but the fact there is a possibility of electrocution makes it very dangerous.

Installing a proper transfer switch with a generator inlet does not cost that much.
 
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Old 11-24-20, 03:44 PM
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You can plug in your generator and no current will flow until something in the house needs it. Turn on a 100 watt light and you generator will only send 100 watts down the wire. It's just like how you can plug a tiny 1 watt night light into your 5'000 watt generator and nothing is harmed. The light will only take what it can use.
 
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Old 11-24-20, 04:04 PM
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What a relief, went with the Honda 6500 watt generator primarily to use during power outages, which is becoming quite common in Ca., within next couple of day intend testing to determine if I can use the generator to power up my vintage MIG Lincoln 155 for light sheet metal welding: if so then it will be a bonus.

I appreciate the info, thank you !
 
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Old 11-24-20, 06:39 PM
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Good choice in generators.

Looks like it should power your welder ok.
Make sure nothing else is connected when using the welder.

You will have to run it off the L14-30R 120/240v receptacle.
Since that's a four prong receptacle..... you'll need an adapter cable to connect your welder.
L14-30P to Nema 6-50R........ Adapter cable.

 
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Old 11-24-20, 09:10 PM
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The adapter arrived yesterday, I have never used the Lincoln, or a mig welder for that matter, I swapped for an automotive part many years ago and because there is no 220 to my work area so this will be a first. After I confirm the generator will power the unit intend taking it to a weld supply shop and have them go thru it, looks in good condition.

I appreciate the info, looking forward to putting the Lincoln to use. Thank you!!.
 
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Old 11-25-20, 05:36 AM
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I've run my MIG off a Honda EU3000i so I'm sure yours won't have any trouble especially with it turned down for thin sheet metal. Sometimes it is easier for me to put the generator and welder in the tractor's bucket and carry it to the work instead of dragging the work to the shop.
 
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Old 11-25-20, 09:39 AM
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The metal work is on the upper level of the property whereas during power outages I would need to move the generator to the lower level which requires maneuvering around a number of obstacles. I am currently in the process of pouring a slab on the lower level to set the generator for the long term in the meantime I can run the house on 120 v during outages.

I appreciate the information, thank you!
 
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Old 11-25-20, 12:27 PM
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I can run the house on 120 v during outages
I'm curious as to how you plan to run the house during outages.
 
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Old 11-25-20, 03:46 PM
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Over the past 50 years the number of hours during power outages were limited to a few hours/year so I installed a designated 120/220 receptacle and during power outages turned off the main breaker to the house and plugged a designated cord from the generator to the receptacle. Now, due to Ca. utility mega $ settlements, " Public Safety Power Shutoffs" the number of hour and days of power outages has increased. Anyhow, once I establish the generators final resting place I intend having an electrician install as close to an automated system as possible.

 
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Old 11-25-20, 03:56 PM
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At the hunting cabin there is a three sided shed and a roof to protect the generator from the elements and more importantly block the sound. The walls are on the cabin side and the open side faces away. The walls are very heavily built to block the sound and the open side provides plenty of airflow for cooling. When there's a bunch of us there we'll keep the generator running about 18 hours a day and blocking the sound makes it much more enjoyable sitting on the porch tellin' lies.
 
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Old 11-25-20, 03:59 PM
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I need to build a small enclosure for my cabin generator.
 
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Old 11-25-20, 05:45 PM
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When I first moved to area on a long term basis and where there were occasional outages I used a small 1000 watt generator, turned off the main and connected a cord directly from the generator to the nearest 120 outlet, I was able to run refrigerator and a couple other small circuits then later moved to a small 220 V generator and found power outages were less stressful.
 
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Old 11-25-20, 06:05 PM
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That's called the "suicide" plug connecting method. Certainly one of the most dangerous.
 
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Old 11-26-20, 08:07 AM
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sitting on the porch tellin' lies.
You don't need power for that! But you might need power to keep the beer cold!
 
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Old 11-26-20, 09:50 PM
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Another way to float boat

Suburban New York home frequently looses power for days on end.

Have 7.5 kw alternator with natural gas adapter on wheeled cart (so is not covered by building codes). Has range type 50 amp male power cord that plugs into garage arc welder outlet during power outages.


When power goes off turn off main power panel breaker. Plug in alternator and start it.

In old days, when on alternator, looked for neighbors lights as sign that utility power had been restored. When neighbor's also got alternators had to find new way to learn when power was back.

Made module with piezo electric sounder fed with cell phone 100-250 volt power adapter wires with .5 amp fuses on each leg clipped to utility side of main panel 240 volt breaker.

When buzzer sounds, unplug it and alternator. Then turn ON main breaker till next time.
 
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Old 11-27-20, 06:15 AM
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Has range type 50 amp male power cord that plugs into garage arc welder outlet during power outages.
This is illegal and can be very dangerous.

It will work if you are very careful and make sure the main breaker is off, but the fact there is a possibility of electrocution makes it very dangerous.

Installing a proper transfer switch with a generator inlet does not cost that much.
 
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Old 11-27-20, 06:24 AM
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I've always wondered what would happen if you accidentally turned on the main breaker with the generator hooked up and the main power comes back on? Odds are the two powers would be out of phase. Would the power company drag the generator into it's phase or would it burn something up?
 
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Old 11-27-20, 11:15 AM
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Am very safety conscious with long experience. Neighbor's may not know which end of screwdriver to hold, but I do. Am not recommending anything, just describing how this DIYer does it.

Between main breaker on electric panel and generator slip rings output there are 3, 30 amp, 240 breakers, one a GFI

Generator is left unplugged until power failure. Then first step turn off main braker, start generator, plug in 50 amp, turn on breaker on generator.

Around here in NY suburbs 200 amp transfer switch would require new meter socket on 60 year old service for total cost of $2000 +. Then there would be new circuit with 75 feet of 10-3 for 30 amp generator feed.

 
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Old 11-27-20, 12:33 PM
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Doug,
You're not the problem. I'm not saying you're not safety conscious and very careful, it's those around you who may not be as careful or knowledgeable.

Let's do a possible (if very improbable) scenario.

You have a power outage and you go through your song and dance sequence to power up your home. Keep in mind, in situations like these, no matter how careful you are or what type of demeanor you have, or how healthy you think you are everybody is in high tension to some degree. Things are not normal. All of a sudden, you have a heart attack (as improbable as it may seem, it does happen). You're rushed to the hospital (if you're lucky) and maybe you're unconscious.

Now your wife, children, neighbor, relative or maybe the authorities are left with the power "situation". Are they as knowledgeable and careful as you and do they know how to "disarm" your set up? Are you absolutely sure beyond a doubt. And how will the guy that climbs that pole that feeds your house to fix a possible problem know about your set up?

You see, a transfer switch is 99.9 % foolproof. But your set up is only 50% foolproof. Because only you know for sure how to set and disarm your system.

I'm also from Western New York in a typical suburban neighborhood that has lots of power outages due to poor feeder lines (our neighborhood is all underground electric). That's why I installed a transfer switch for my generator. I have written out very detailed instructions on how to set up and disarm the system. But I can bet even money that my wife, even though I walked her through it on several occasions cannot operate the system. And most likely neither can some of my kids or neighbors. BUT, I'm 99.9% sure that if I'm incapacitated no one will get hurt or electrocuted if they try to handle the system.

That's why what your doing is illegal. That's also why transfer switched or interlock systems are made. And that's why if you have a fire or mishap that is in any way connect to your setup, most likely your insurance will not cover damages or possible death benefits.

I'm not auguring with you, just stating facts.
 
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Old 11-27-20, 05:48 PM
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Am not into wild scenarios or afterlife.

Home had major damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Generator powered for 2 weeks. Town put red notice No Occupancy on front door. When police told us to leave said no.

During reconstruction Town inspectors were here repeatedly. Big portable 1968 Kohler 4 cylinder generator on wheel cart was never commented on. No code issues. Home given new Certificate of Occupancy.

Am survivor, not planner. If I die in home with generator running, wife decision what to do.
 
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Old 11-27-20, 07:10 PM
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Am not into wild scenarios
Wild scenarios?

My old man although old, felt perfect, went to get mail, came back into house lied down and died.
My son, 40 years old, good health, no problems, no warnings, blood clot in brain, paralyzed on right side.

It can't happen to you, until it does.

How about if you're not home and family needs generator due to prolonged outage? Are you absolutely sure they can properly hook it up?

I'm not arguing with you. But a mistake only has to happen once.

Several years back I was going to jump my daughter-in-law's car. Hooked up one side of car and handed her the other set of battery cables and said do not touch them together. She immediately touched them together. And she does not know why?

S*it happens when you least expected it. And in your case you're dealing with 12 volts. Just say'n.
 
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Old 11-28-20, 03:49 PM
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Pilot Dane: I've always wondered what would happen if you accidentally turned on the main breaker with the generator hooked up and the main power comes back on?
My assumption is that one the 3 sets of 30 amp breakers between generator slip rings and main panel breaker would pop for whatever reason. One is GFI and they are especially sensitive.

Do not plan to test assumption. Use "worst case design". Am believer in "Murphy's Law" but hope never to experience real answer.
Murphy's law is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong". Wikipedia
 

Last edited by doughess; 11-28-20 at 05:11 PM.
  #23  
Old 11-29-20, 06:06 AM
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Around here in NY suburbs 200 amp transfer switch would require new meter socket
You don't need 200A transfer switch. You just need a interlock at the main breaker panel and new circuit for generator inlet.
Or, you also could install a transfer switch that you can switch select individual circuits instead of whole main panel.
Material cost probably will be $300 to $400.

If you have power outage often, I'd say it is definitely worth it to install a transfer switch. One day you could forget a step and have a terrible consequences. Even airplane pilots who go through check lists makes a mistake once in a while.

I've always wondered what would happen if you accidentally turned on the main breaker with the generator hooked up and the main power comes back on?
Even before the main power comes on you will end up feeding power back to the transformer and feed the grid. You may end up overloading the generator and trip the breaker. However, in the worst case scenario, you electrocute the lineman trying to fix the power outage with high voltage.
It actually does happen and for that reason line man are trained to ground the line they are working on even when they tested it dead.

When the power comes back on, generator could explode. With GFCI, chances are probably lower, but I'm sure something still could get fried.

 
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Old 11-30-20, 08:19 PM
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DH's generator is connected to outside world through Ground Fault Interrupter / breakers. It opens if current in either leg exceeds 30 amps, or current difference in legs is greater than .020 amps.

Current of around .030 amperes through the human body is potentially sufficient to cause cardiac arrestor serious harm if it persists for more th an a small fraction of a second. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Residual-current_device
GFI's reduces some, but not all risks. GFI's are good idea for most generators which is why DH uses them. Even with transfer switch or interlock, it helps to protect humans in home and outside.
 

Last edited by doughess; 11-30-20 at 09:19 PM.
 

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