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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Generator problem

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Bfullmer

07-25-2013 14:23:50




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Friend of mine lost power , hooked his portableer gen up to house , turned breaker on in house and erereit blew out the light bulbs.He is running a cable from gen to 220 plug on wall in garage.when you run gen it reads 220
On volt meter with no load on it, it has worked
Ok this way the last 9 years, is it a bad regulator in gen ??yes he turns off main breaker in house




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mkirsch

07-30-2013 07:52:15




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Bfullmer, 07-25-2013 14:23:50  
Unless the insurance guy comes for an inspection during a power outage, how's he gonna know that plug in the garage is for backfeeding the house?

Looks like where the welder plugs in to me.

That doesn't change the fact that it's risky in many ways, but wagging your finger in the guy's face and saying, "Just wait until your insurance man sees THAT!" is a worthless gesture.



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El Toro

07-28-2013 06:42:05




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Bfullmer, 07-25-2013 14:23:50  
He should get a master electrician that has wired generators. Hal



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Stick welding

07-26-2013 07:23:30




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Bfullmer, 07-25-2013 14:23:50  
What's he complaining about, he could have set his house on fire!



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Billy Shafer

07-26-2013 10:39:02




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Stick welding, 07-26-2013 07:23:30  
Yes he could have. Then the insurance man would have come out. Seen the plug say sorry. You are own your on.

I have been working with generators since 1968. I can"t tell you how many times I have seen. People trying to bypass the correct way to supply power. I have walked off more than one job. Because the customer wanted me to make do with what he had. Always tell them. I do it correctly or I don"t do it.

Saw one man burn down half his house trying the plug thing. Insurance agent called me out to the site. He arrived saw where the generator was plugged into. Told the owner sorry insurance canceled,improper generator installation.

Listen to us that know. Not Billy Bob down the street. Do a correct installation or forget it.

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Aaron Ford

07-26-2013 06:21:34




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Bfullmer, 07-25-2013 14:23:50  

Provided he is backfeeding a 220v receptacle, connecting the two hots on each line and the neutral to the neutral, then there should be no problems. I use a ground which serves to ground my generator frame through the house ground. It sounds like your friend has one of his phases connected to the neutral of the backfed receptacle. Remember that 220 is two 110 lines 180 degrees out of phase. The neutral exists to create a differential of 110v on either leg. Measured across the phases you will see 220v but either phase to ground will only show 110v. Check your wiring and I am sure you will find the issue. Oh and be sure to disconnect from incoming power as others have noted because while getting your generatr blown by the power coming on would be bad, it would be worse to injure a utility worker that wasn't using his personal grounds.

Aaron

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bison

07-28-2013 11:20:43




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Aaron Ford, 07-26-2013 06:21:34  
I side with Aaron.

I also run my gen set trough a welding plug in my shop to power the whole farm in a power outage,.. never had a problem.

My utility company's lineman said it was OK to do so but JUST MAKE SURE TO SWITCH THE MAIN BREAKER AT THE TRANSFORMER POLE OFF!!

For safety reasons it is better to use a transfer switch and i would but these things are expensive at $600+ and in my area only avalable trough a qualified electrician if he also gets to instal it.

It will be a cold day in h3ll before i fork over 2 grand(incl de switch) to get this switch installed.

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buickanddeere

07-29-2013 14:17:13




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to bison, 07-28-2013 11:20:43  
Hey Bison. Where is the neutral current flowing ?



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Billy Shafer

07-29-2013 10:27:42




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to bison, 07-28-2013 11:20:43  
Your lineman just set himself and his company up for a lawsuit.Anything goes wrong and the lawyers find out he said that. They will be all over him and his company.

600+ may be costly. But it is a lot cheaper than paying for the damages you cause. When you forget to throw the main. Also shutting off the main does not remove you from the grid.



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buickanddeere

07-29-2013 09:34:13




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to bison, 07-28-2013 11:20:43  
The type of cheapskate that cares for nothing or nobody except their own pocket book. And they can brag about being above the law.



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buickanddeere

07-26-2013 08:15:06




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Aaron Ford, 07-26-2013 06:21:34  
What phases? It's a single phase generator and plug. It's Line 1 and Line 2. What neutral on a 240V welder plug? There is line 1, Line 2 and ground.



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John T

07-26-2013 05:28:36




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Bfullmer, 07-25-2013 14:23:50  
Geeeeeeeee gang, I'm like Buick Man, dont know how many times we have to reinvent the wheel, theres just too many INCORRECT DEAD WRONG OPINIONS OUT THERE versus the electrical facts and safe proper methods. THATS ONLY MY PROFESSION ALBEIT RUSTY OPINION, NO WARRANTY

I have resolved myself to the fact THERES NO WAY REGARDLESS HOW HARD WE TRY to explain things in a few paragraphs that take volumes of books and years of training and experience AND THE BILLY BOBS OF THE WORLD ARE JUST NEVERRRRRRRRRR GONNA GET IT.. Although untrained and totally ignorant their way is right and by golly thats the ONLY way to do it regardless what professional and trained and experienced electricians and engineers and the stuffy NEC EXPERTS have to say GIVE ME A BREAK...

Okay, for the 100th time I will try to explain it: Sorry for the rant, I'm honestly trying to help and save a persons life here. THIS IS M Y OPINION and although I was trained and practiced AC Power Distribution an an electrical engineer much of my life I BEEN RETIRED TOO LONG AND AM RUSTY AS AN OLD NAIL grrrrrrrrrrrrr

MY OPINIONS

Iffffffff you have a genset that is configured for 120/240 volt Single Phase Three Wire

Iffffffffff its NOTTTTTTTTTTT configured as seperately derived system

Iffffffffffff you only use a two pole transfer switch (i.e. you do NOT switch the Neutral)

1) Any of the gennys internal Neutral to case/frame bond should be removed 2) You would run 4 wires (Hot L1, Hot L2, Neutral, Equipment Ground) to a transfer switch 3) At the transfer switch (could be elsewhere) the utility Neutral and the Gennys Neutral WOULD BE CONNECTED 4) The main panels Equipment Ground would run out and bond to the gennys case/frame

Okay Billy Bob, if you insist on the use of plugs and receptacels and cords thats your own choice and business DO AS YOU PLEASE but pleaseeeeeeee dont have open exposed male plugs that can be energized,,,,,,,,please do not backfeed the utility lines which could kill a lineman,,,,,,,,please use a proper disconnect means or a transfer switch

Do as you please its your home and your risk DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TAKE MY ADVICE OR DO AS I SUGGEST but you might want to consider the possibility that maybe just maybe a trained professional experienced electrician or an engineer or the panel of NEC experts or your local utility or inspection authority might just possibly might know more then anyone here (including myself) unkless they are trained professional experienced electricians or engineers.

So do as you please or do like someone here tells you but please for you or your familys life safety consider what the NEC suggests or what a professional suggests versus the untrained unprofessional Billy Bobs and Bubbas of the world might tell you.......

A frustrated but well meaning John T

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Billy . Bob

07-26-2013 12:14:54




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to John T, 07-26-2013 05:28:36  
K iffin' I brings a bucket of ground ina the house and stick the end of a 'stenchin cord innt I should be great right?

Billy, aka Brad



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John T

07-26-2013 15:15:51




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Billy . Bob, 07-26-2013 12:14:54  
If its good black dirt it should suffice, but NOT if its clay soil.

Have Bubba help you and suck down a few long necks before n after

John T



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JMOR

07-26-2013 12:32:47




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Billy . Bob, 07-26-2013 12:14:54  

Billy . Bob said: (quoted from post at 15:14:54 07/26/13) K iffin' I brings a bucket of ground ina the house and stick the end of a 'stenchin cord innt I should be great right?

Billy, aka Brad
You better ask the x-perts whether that will be "groundING", groundED", or "bonded", separately/commonly? derived, or whatever.! :wink:
This post was edited by JMOR at 12:36:21 07/26/13.

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JD Seller

07-25-2013 21:09:21




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Bfullmer, 07-25-2013 14:23:50  
You got the electric patrols all stirred up. LOL

First thing. He really should have a dedicated generator transfer setup. They are not that high of a price. It eliminates the possibility that he can back feed the service line. If he does accidentally back feed the incoming line he can "KILL" someone working on the line elsewhere. That is what has all the guys upset. I know you said he turned the main breaker off and all but they are not "happy" unless it is completely "fool" proof. So with the correct service transfer setup there is no way for him to back feed the incoming service.

Now for what more than likely happened to him on his lights. You should have 220 volts across the two "hot" then 110 between each "hot" and the neutral. The problem with running a generator on just a 220 plug in the house is you have ZERO ground. Most 220 volt plugs are just three terminal plugs. So you have two hots and a neutral, no ground prong.

Most generators set on rubber isolator mounts. So you have no ground. Some how he flipped the wrong set of breakers or has his cord wired wrong an ran 220 volts on the 110 volt circuits. He could have gotten a weird ground/neutral back feed and did it also.

So here is what he really needs to do:
1) Get the transfer setup installed. ASAP
2) Quit trying to use common 220 volt plugs.
3) HE needs to get the type of plug that has FOUR prongs. His generator is set up for that style, they all are. You then have; two prongs for the "hot", one for neutral, and one for ground. 4) He needs to GROUND THE generator. All of them have a ground terminal on them. He needs this to be hooked to an earth ground. When I used to have to use a portable generator at the house I set it close to where the main electric came into the house. I had a wire with a spring loaded clamp on it that was hooked to ground on the generator. The clamped went on the copper ground stake for the house.

IF he does this he will be safe and should not have any issues with blowing up things in the future.

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buickanddeere

07-26-2013 06:13:43




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to JD Seller, 07-25-2013 21:09:21  
JD. As everybody else has said. The bare exposed, uninsulated chassis ground is not supposed to carry neutral conductor current. Neutral current is supposed to be carried by the white insulated conductor. Electrical service ground rods are not supposed to carry neutral current either. That is why livestock receive shocks at water fountains.



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JD Seller

07-26-2013 08:08:05




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to buickanddeere, 07-26-2013 06:13:43  
B&D I did not say that the bare frame ground should care the neutral but I want the generator FRAME grounded. I have seen generators mess up inside and electrify the frame. You walk up and touch it and you get shocked.

He needs a four pin/prong plug and a transfer system to be really safe.

I also think the frame should be grounded too. I do mean an earth ground too not hooked to the internal house ground.

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buickanddeere

07-26-2013 08:25:07




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to JD Seller, 07-26-2013 08:08:05  
ok,just making certain. I had figured you were up to speed on the topic. Actually the house or utility service ground rod is a good place to ground the generator case. Of course now we get into portable generators, some with floating neutrals and some gen sets with bonded neutrals. My summer neighbour with a camper trailer used to have problems . He had a small gen set with a bonded neutral for light loads.And a large genset with a floating neutral for AC loads and cooking etc. GFI's would trip.

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John T

07-26-2013 08:52:21




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to buickanddeere, 07-26-2013 08:25:07  
Be careful Glen, when you speak of floating or bonded Neutrals YOU WILL LOOSE THEM I TELL YOU LOL I doubt lay people will ever grasp that concept..........Just saying

John T



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John T

07-26-2013 05:59:51




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to JD Seller, 07-25-2013 21:09:21  
JD, with all due respect heres a little more info that may help you and others who read this.... THIS IS MY BEST RECOLLECTION NO WARRANTY, CONSULT THE NEC

The problem is when lay people here say the word GROUND, that may have one or two or no tellin how many meanings to readers. Theres Earth Grounding of a Neutral for surge and lightning protection, and theres Life Safety Equipment Grounding via an Equipment GroundING Conductor being attached to a piece of equipment. They each serve a different purpose and cant really be susbstituted for each other.

In the event loads are fed using a cord and plug to onboard genny receptacles, there is no requirement for a GroundING Electrode.

In the event a genny is configured as a "Seperately Derived System" then a GroundING Electrode is required.

In the event the genny IS NOT configured as a seperately derived system anddddddddd you use only a 2 pole Transfer Switch (talkin 120/240 volt single phase three wire NO NEUTRAL SWITCHING) ANY INTERNAL GENNY NEUTRAL TO CASE/FRAME BOND IS TO BE SEVERED

And the genny and utility Neutrals are wired together

And the homes Equipment GruondING conductor is ran out and attached to the gennys case/frame

Earth Grounding of the Neutral (genny or utility) via a GroundING Electrode (made or otherwise) IS NOT I REPEAT NOT the same as Safety Equipment GroundING. The Gennys Neutral (if a seperately derived system) or the utility Neutral (its also seperately derived) are earth grounded via/to a GroundING Electrode, while the gennys case/frame (when NOT a seperately derived system) is then attached to the Equipment GroundING Conductor.

Earth Ground of the Neutral (genny or utility) NOT SAME AS the equipment GroundING Conductor

I know I loose yall on this, but I still gotta try lol, sorry

John T

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Stan in Oly, WA

07-25-2013 23:18:59




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to JD Seller, 07-25-2013 21:09:21  
Unless his electrical panel has an entirely different configuration than those I have worked with in the past, turning off the main breaker would do nothing to disconnect the common ground and neutral bar in the panel from the ground cable of the service drop. Only disconnecting the utility company's ground cable at the lug in the panel, or pulling the meter, would do that. If I'm not mistaken, what he is doing absolutely has the potential of injuring or killing utility workers.

Stan

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matt p

07-25-2013 21:59:21




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to JD Seller, 07-25-2013 21:09:21  
thanks for explaning it so well I will print this off and keep for future reference



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Samuels68

07-25-2013 19:58:04




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Bfullmer, 07-25-2013 14:23:50  
I may sound like an a$$hol3, but I don't care. That is not a generator problem....that is an idiot problem. First off it is a NEC violation, second is is a major safety hazard to not only the user, but potentially to the linemen who have to work on the outage. The solution to the problem is to cut both ends off the cord used to plug in the generator! If your friend wants to connect a generator to his house, he needs to call a licensed electrician to install a proper transfer switch. Otherwise, sit in the dark and enjoy the fact that your house is not on fire and you aren't killing anyone!

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David G

07-25-2013 19:13:06




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Bfullmer, 07-25-2013 14:23:50  
John T might further clarify this, but I think that with 240V supplied and not having a defined neutral will create an uneven voltage divider for the 240V.

You can also KILL lineman if the system is not disconnected from the transformer.

It is a BAD BAD idea.



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Retired Farmer

07-25-2013 18:40:31




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Bfullmer, 07-25-2013 14:23:50  
I don't think you can convert a 220 volt generator down to 110 volts for the house.



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Billy Shafer

07-25-2013 17:11:06




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Bfullmer, 07-25-2013 14:23:50  
Your friend is an idiot for having that system in is house. Worked for 9 years and now he gets to see what happens. When things go wrong. Plus if his insurance company finds out about the plug. Guess what no insurance. If he can't afford a proper system. Get some cords and supply power to what he needs.Stay off of the house wiring.



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buickanddeere

07-25-2013 15:34:45




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Bfullmer, 07-25-2013 14:23:50  
http://www.reliancecontrols.com/ProductDetail.aspx?TWB2012DR



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buickanddeere

07-25-2013 15:19:39




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Bfullmer, 07-25-2013 14:23:50  
Your friend is a hazard to himself and others. Tell him to get off his wallet and install a proper transfer switch.why do you think electrical engineers, lines personal and electricians say a transfer switch is required? The ground prong is not the same thing as a neutral prong . The welder only has L1, L2 and ground, no neutral. Only three prongs on a welder plug. I don"t understand after the hundreds of times this topichas been discussed here that some people still don"t get it. That ground is ground and neutral is neutral.

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Scott 730

07-25-2013 15:06:08




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 Re: Generator problem in reply to Bfullmer, 07-25-2013 14:23:50  
:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:



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