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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I bought my first back up generator from TSC in 2005 as they marked it way down ($499 as I recall) to get it off the floor I guess, it's a 15hp Generac of 7,500 running watts - 13,500 surge watts. I used it a good solid week in 2012 when the Great Derecho cleaned out the gutters and some ridge tops here, but otherwise just a few times for a few hours total max. Couple years ago, I bought another smaller one of 3,200 running watts - 4,000 surge watts cheap on sale @ Northern … just as a light weight portable power source around the yard, some reserve capacity to access for the freezer or etc via drop cord if needed … it's never been started yet though as "things" happened and sidelined me.

This past week & weekend we visited her brother and his wife in Floyd county and they had two outages due to high winds, I heard that power was out here for a couple hours too.

Wife and I are just in mid '60s, and I know I have enough generator to keep us from freezing and keep the freezer going, refrigerator too, but a buddy has a enclosed Generac with automatic starts / stops & transfer switching for whole house, I estimate $4,000 all in …. but it's appealing. I'd run it off LPG and no more gasoline handling. Thing is, we just don't suffer outages as often as her brother.


Hmmmm, now that I write it out, maybe I just need to rearrange my transfer switching, to make it more easier to access, build an enclosure for mine, and stay with portable power? I have an idea for a foldup enclosure that would allow ventilation, weather protection, noise reduction, and be easily stored itself. My BIL just built his enclosure with 6 pallets, some siding scraps, and some old shingles …. it looked fine and it's out of sight between house & woods behind, but his isn't portable for storage.


Sometimes it just helps to write it out.
 

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I did a big write up on my AuxGen setup about 4 years ago.
I bought a 200 amp Transfer Panel, called PSO to pull the power meter.

Back pulled the OEM wires from the power meter to the inside Breaker Box.
Ran new wires from the breaker box to the top side of the Transfer Panel.

Installed a weather proof 4 pole connector on the bottom of the Transfer Panel and connected that to the bottom switch lugs in the Transfer Panel.

Then I found a 10KVA surge AuxGen on sale at Home Depot, 8KVA full load.

It is dual fuel, gasoline or Propane. I have never hooked it up to propane because that reduces the capacity by more than 20%.

Made up a jumper cable 30 feet long with the proper plugs at each end.
Don't matter which one you plug in to the genset, or the transfer panel, it all works correctly.

We have used it twice, once for about 20 minutes, and the 2nd time for about 10 hours during an ice storm.

.was it worth it? to my wife at the time, it was, she had lost a leg and very paranoid about keeping warm.

as the furnace is Natural Gas, all the genset had to do was keep the HVAC blower motor running, which takes 8.5 amps on high, 3.5 amps on low ( constantly runs on low ).

I need to get it out and exercise it.... I only use Real Gas, E0, not ethanol crap.
The manual says to shut off the fuel valve and let the engine run until the carbs run dry. Must work good, as it was two years in between starting it when my wife got really sick and was in the hospital a lot... I forgot to exercise it regularly.

Ought to do that tomorrow. :)

.the downside for mine, it will NOT start the HVAC compressor motor, so we won't have Air Conditioning on hot days if the power fails..... but, they never take more than 6 to 12 hours to get it back up anyway.

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A couple weeks ago I serviced a generator for a guy, it's huge. I don't know it's output but it has an 8 liter chevy big block on propane. You could park a goldwing in it's housing. Reminds me I need to service my 5KW portable.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Then I found a 10KVA surge AuxGen on sale at Home Depot, 8KVA full load.



as the furnace is Natural Gas, all the genset had to do was keep the HVAC blower motor running, which takes 8.5 amps on high, 3.5 amps on low ( constantly runs on low ).


.the downside for mine, it will NOT start the HVAC compressor motor, so we won't have Air Conditioning on hot days if the power fails..... but, they never take more than 6 to 12 hours to get it back up anyway.

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Won't start the AC huh? Mine would during the week I ran it, but I could hear it working hard. It was a hot June 29th 2012 … & into July, but we were happy just having fans at night. It "payed it's way" that week. It will run 10 hours on a 7gallon tank at half load … according to literature. My main built in heat is tied in with the fast recovery 65,000 btu/hr. LPG water heater, it pumps off the hottest water and pumps it through a coil in a loop back to water heater, so heat & water is effectively LPG. Only electric power draw is small circulating pump, fan, and controls for water heater.
A couple weeks ago I serviced a generator for a guy, it's huge. I don't know it's output but it has an 8 liter chevy big block on propane. You could park a goldwing in it's housing. Reminds me I need to service my 5KW portable.
I hope it was LPG? One would be running non stop keeping gasoline in that beast. I seen a PTO generator for tractors, wonder how it regulates RPM? Just curious as I don't have the tractor with PTO. :)

I've been looking at enclosures online, mostly DIY … & some ready built units. I am leaning towards drawing up plans for my own, big enough to house both year 'round and not have to go down through basement to set one up. I can set it up to be next to a deck I want to build, be a shorter run to transfer switch location by the breaker box too. The newest smaller one is still in the box still in my basement, the other is beside the trike in what we call "the trike room" (32'long x 8'wide) I built on part of the basement patio, but it's a narrow room to get it out from beside the trike when needed. As it is now, I have to get it out onto the open part of the patio. If I do build mine, I'll raise it up on a floor of concrete or pressure treated decking, I'd include exhaust pipe, bigger muffler too, and sound insulation and some strategic vents. If an engine died, etc, be easy to swap out the whole unit I think.
 

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I hope it was LPG? One would be running non stop keeping gasoline in that beast. I seen a PTO generator for tractors, wonder how it regulates RPM? Just curious as I don't have the tractor with PTO. :)
Propane is LPG. Tractors have governors, set the RPM by the tach and it stays there, just like the governor that keeps your genny at the right RPM. My tractor has a light that comes on when the PTO is at the standard 540 RPM.
 

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Extended outages are rare here in the City, my little 1000 watt gen will run some lights and entertainment though. The back room "Den" has it's own heat separate from the rest of the house, a thermocouple-style wall mounter space heater, doesn't use external electricity, so the back room will stay warm. If I needed to, I could probably patch the generator into the main furnace, it should run the blower but will probably struggle with the motor "start" windings, Once the blower is up and running could add some lights back to the load. Deep freeze should stay cold for days, shouldn't have to worry about that. Gen ought to run the fridge easy enough. We have the deep-cycle battery and 400 watt inverter for additional power if the Gen is busy with a heavy load.

Can do a lot with 1000 watts, just not all at once!
 

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1000 watts will just barely toast my bread :(
we have replaced all of the lights in our house with LEDs or the earlier curly cue types that are low power...

I balanced the loads so that both sides of the 240VAC are pretty much equal on the breaker box. Except for loosing the compressor on the Air Conditioning unit, we are pretty good to go...

Like someone already mentioned, the AuxGen can run almost 10 hours on a tank of gas, and I always have 2 or 3 cans of E0 in the shop.... use that for the lawn equipment.
 

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An automatic transfer switch and auxiliary load center is the way to go if you can afford the upgrade.
I live in the city where most of the power lines are buried, I think we have only lost power a hand full of times in 30 years. A couple of times for an extended period.
The way I did it was , I made up a power cable with the proper plug to fit the generator 220 output on one end and a 50 amp male (welder) plug on the other.
Now when power goes out, I open the main breaker in the main panel. This isolates the house from the grid power source and thus the generator from grid power when it is restored. I then open all non essential circuits, leaving only the furnace, refrigerator , some lighting and the breaker to my shop. I place the generator outside my shop and run the made-up power cable through a window in my shop to the welder receptacle. Plugging the outside end into the generator. This back feeds the main panel from the shop panel and supplies the selected circuits with generator power.
One caution is that the power(made up) cable must be adequately sized for the load and capability of the generator and since it has 2 male ends, it should never be handled with the generator running.

I helped a neighbor( when I lived in country) build a standby generator from a PTO generator, We used an industrial power unit. It was an old Buda flathead 4 cylinder with a manual 3speed (used 2nd gear) originally used on a gravel conveyor.
We added the PTO unit to the output of power unit and used a suitably sized Dodge coupling to connect the shafts.
Once everything was operable, we set the governor on the power unit to run the generator at the proper speed using a frequency meter to 60 Hz. This produced 230 volts at no load and 215 and rated load. Yes it was a Frankenstein but it was very effective, 15KW. Manual start/transfer, but what else do you have to do while waiting for power to come back on.

I bet an old 1100 or 1200 engine would make a good power unit , smooth and quiet. Just have to figure out a good speed control system. All portable generators run at 3600 rpm which is wide open for a single cylinder engine.
I think it takes 1.3 hp to make 1KW so most portable generator engines are maxed out to get 7.5kw . I wouldn't rely on "surge" ratings, they are propaganda to make it sound better than the other guys. If you are cutting it that thin, you need to upsize.
 

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yeah, that 10kw surge rating?
the breaker on my AuxGen trips so frickin fast, the engine never even sees the load if I turn on the HVAC compressor.

It handles everything else in the house w/o a whimper though.
I have a window A/C unit in the attached garage, even that don't phase the AuxGen.

In the Kitchen? the counter top convection oven can be used, or the Microwave, but not both.... they ended up on the same breaker from the panel..... an idiot wired this house 40+ years ago.

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
1000 watts will just barely toast my bread :(
we have replaced all of the lights in our house with LEDs or the earlier curly cue types that are low power...
We had some of those curly cue lights until we noted a smell and upon inspection, found it stuffed full of dead lady bugs, some cooked black. That was the end of those curly cue lights, got newer LEDs or even old school light bulbs.
An automatic transfer switch and auxiliary load center is the way to go if you can afford the upgrade.
I live in the city where most of the power lines are buried, I think we have only lost power a hand full of times in 30 years. A couple of times for an extended period.
The way I did it was , I made up a power cable with the proper plug to fit the generator 220 output on one end and a 50 amp male (welder) plug on the other.
Now when power goes out, I open the main breaker in the main panel. This isolates the house from the grid power source and thus the generator from grid power when it is restored. I then open all non essential circuits, leaving only the furnace, refrigerator , some lighting and the breaker to my shop. I place the generator outside my shop and run the made-up power cable through a window in my shop to the welder receptacle. Plugging the outside end into the generator. This back feeds the main panel from the shop panel and supplies the selected circuits with generator power.
One caution is that the power(made up) cable must be adequately sized for the load and capability of the generator and since it has 2 male ends, it should never be handled with the generator running.
There is now a thing called a GenerLink that has the inlet for a twist lock cable that simply get's inserted between the meter & the meter base by the utility (locks) and it's automatic. Comes with cable/cord to hook up generator. Comes in several versions, some with surge protection. Retains use of home service panel. Ain't cheap, but it is easy.


I've done exactly same thing, used a double male ended 50 amp range or welder pigtail to jump from Generator back to Welder outlet near basement door, AFTER THROWING MAIN TO OFF!
Using flashlight for light, … flip 220A main off, … flip 50A welder breaker off, … hook cable to outlets at both ends, … start Generator running, … flip 50A welder breaker back on … occasionally check dusk to dawn light on pole to see if utility power is back if night.
I'm not really 100% happy back feeding a breaker … and I want it simpler for wife, so something is gonna change soon. We don't get concerned until after a couple hours of no power anyway as BARC (our utility Co-Op) is pretty good getting it back on.

This has been & can remain a good, fun discussion. I've got some better idea as to what I want to do.

Thank You All.
 

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That generlink looks interesting but power companies don't like you messing with meters, around here they even give electricians a bad time if they break the seal.
They are pushing smart meters,that are digital, no one reading needed.
 

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That generlink looks interesting but power companies don't like you messing with meters, around here they even give electricians a bad time if they break the seal.
They are pushing smart meters,that are digital, no one reading needed.
Oh yeah!!!
That
PSO guy let me know in no uncertain terms, that when that meter needs to go back in, I am to call him.... Matter of fact, he took it with him. Just happened to think of that.

and then he went to the pole that feeds the house, and pulled the Fuse Link down. It is the same pole that has the Outdoor Night Light, and like just said, is my way of knowing that the lights are back on if we have an outage.
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A bad Ice Storm took down a lot of tree limbs a few years back, one fell across the incoming line from the power pole and laid my service down across the garage. Here an Electrician is putting it back up on the house





At the bottom of the Pix, you can see the Seal tight that I used to feed the 200A Transfer Panel. It is a manual with the handle on the right side. Up=PSO, Down=AuxGen, Center=Off

.the guy on the right is standing on top of my HVAC housing, a 4 ton unit.
I thought about trying to put that stuff back up myself, but at 74 y/o when it happened, decided that was not a smart move for me.

The pipe to the right is the incoming PSO service.
The pipe to the left is Hot 240VAC to my shop building, no breaker!!!
what kind of idiot does that?

We discussed revamping it, but the cost was more than I could afford.
And no parts on hand to do the job at the time. Oh well....
 

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A bad Ice Storm took down a lot of tree limbs a few years back, one fell across the incoming line from the power pole and laid my service down across the garage. Here an Electrician is putting it back up on the house





At the bottom of the Pix, you can see the Seal tight that I used to feed the 200A Transfer Panel. It is a manual with the handle on the right side. Up=PSO, Down=AuxGen, Center=Off

.the guy on the right is standing on top of my HVAC housing, a 4 ton unit.
I thought about trying to put that stuff back up myself, but at 74 y/o when it happened, decided that was not a smart move for me.

The pipe to the right is the incoming PSO service.
The pipe to the left is Hot 240VAC to my shop building, no breaker!!!
what kind of idiot does that?

We discussed revamping it, but the cost was more than I could afford.
And no parts on hand to do the job at the time. Oh well....
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
That generlink looks interesting but power companies don't like you messing with meters, around here they even give electricians a bad time if they break the seal.
They are pushing smart meters,that are digital, no one reading needed.
Mine is "Bath - Alleghany - Rural electric - Co-operative" (BARC) … headquartered about 15 bird miles west of me … they are super to work with … and YES, they'd have to do the addition if I bought a GenerLink thing … if they approved of it that is. Years ago we read the meter, now they read them remotely somehow, no one actually reads mine.

When I built the house … they brought me a meter base but I mounted it & ran wires, then they came back and inspected to the service box inside and then they transferred the meter from the temp pole mount to the house and ran the underground cable from pole to it.

Right now, I get my power (wire) , telephone, TV, & internet (fibre optic) from them.
 

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Thats the way they work around here. When added on my shop I wanted to change to a 200amp service, they said the wire from the transformer werent big enough. I called BS on them, I had already snuck a look. They wanted to know how I knew, I wouldnt say. They wanted to start a pissing match. Just used the range breaker to feed the shop panel.

Its worse than dealing with BMV
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The pipe to the right is the incoming PSO service.
The pipe to the left is Hot 240VAC to my shop building, no breaker!!!
what kind of idiot does that?

We discussed revamping it, but the cost was more than I could afford.
And no parts on hand to do the job at the time. Oh well....
Is there a panel in the shop with breakers? I can see them being OK with service from pole to meter base, then a secure underground branch line to a second breaker box in a shop. Would have needed a breaker leaving your house or main breaker box, but this never enters your dwelling does it.
I guess what I'm thinking is it's no less safe than that main feed coming down my pole and traveling underground to emerge under my meter base where it gets counted, then it goes on into basement to breaker box.
 

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Is there a panel in the shop with breakers? I can see them being OK with service from pole to meter base, then a secure underground branch line to a second breaker box in a shop. Would have needed a breaker leaving your house or main breaker box, but this never enters your dwelling does it.
I guess what I'm thinking is it's no less safe than that main feed coming down my pole and traveling underground to emerge under my meter base where it gets counted, then it goes on into basement to breaker box.
I meant to include that there is a breaker box inside the shop.
But it is a Piece of Crap, no main breaker to turn off the panel.
every single breaker is Unobtanium and plugs directly into the Line side it is on.

I needed a 30A breaker to add a new service for my RV receptacle that I had just installed. That was a nervous job because the entrance is only 1 inch above the 240VAC lines from the meter box.

The breakers have not been made in 40+ years, I had to find some off of eBay.

What I need to do, is to remove the shop's entrance cable off the Meter Box, and move it over the 200A Transfer Panel off the center throw switch.

that way, during a power outage, I could still have lights in the shop from the Emergency Generator.... or, just leave the Transfer Panel in the OFF position when I need to do electrical work in the shop.
 

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power companies don't like you messing with meters, around here they even give electricians a bad time if they break the seal.
That's a no no anywhere, nobody but the power co is allowed to pull a meter.
 
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