Forum Sponsorsss


Forums General General Discussion
  • Topic: Run Trains and Charge Batteries During a Black Out? No Sweat!

    Back To Topics
    (0 rates)
    • June 25, 2019 8:56 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
      • Posts
        1,658
      • Thanks
        2
      • Thanked
        132

      Run Trains and Charge Batteries During a Black Out? No Sweat!

      With the power companies now turning off power to rural area during Santa Ana conditions, as well as the expected increase in brown outs due to high A/C use from global warming, I decided to wire my house to run on an emergency generator as well as the grid, and our solar power.

       

      I had considered a whole house battery to back up our solar panels, but Tesla wants $14K for a battery that will hold 13.5Kw-Hours.  Seems a bit much.

       

      I bought a 15kW start-up, (12kW continous), 50 amp at 240 vac Westingouse generator that uses a 717CC V-twin for $2,200 and an electrial panel that attaches to my existing panel that will allow me to switch 10 breakers between either the grid/solar or the generator.  The panel was $400.  I am making up a 60 foot, 6-gauge cable that will allow me to locate the gererator in my far garage with the exhaust sticking out the back door ($215 for materials vs >$350 for a ready made 50-foot cable that won't quite reach).

       

      Been to the market lately??? 

      In all I will have an investment of less than 25% of the cost of the battery.  But the real kicker is that at 12kW, the generator will put out as much power in 68 minutes as the batteries can store before it goes flat.  And, the battery will ONLY charge from the excess from the solar panels and we use more than we generate in solar energy.  I think that the battery should charge almost instantly from the grid as soon as power is restored, but Tesla told me that is not the case.  STUPID!

      This post was edited by Todd Brody at June 25, 2019 9:09 PM EDT
    • June 26, 2019 12:43 AM EDT
      • Missouri, It's like Floodsburg, man
         
      • Posts
        2,634
      • Thanks
        282
      • Thanked
        303

      I don't know enough about the wide world of electrical equipment to know what would be out there to make use of the generator's 5V DC output.

    • June 26, 2019 12:55 AM EDT
      • Be Nice or STFU
         
      • Posts
        9,059
      • Thanks
        226
      • Thanked
        799

      cell phones and small laptops, ipods, etc. Interesting it looks like a cigarette lighter cover, but perhaps it covers usb slots.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • June 26, 2019 1:47 AM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
      • Posts
        1,658
      • Thanks
        2
      • Thanked
        132

      This generator runs clean enough (<5%THD) to run electronic equipment, so a USB port makes sense in today's world.

       

       

      This post was edited by Todd Brody at June 26, 2019 1:49 AM EDT
    • June 26, 2019 7:54 AM EDT
      • Missouri, It's like Floodsburg, man
         
      • Posts
        2,634
      • Thanks
        282
      • Thanked
        303

      Todd Brody said:

      This generator runs clean enough (<5%THD) ...

       

       

       

      Also had to look up that!
      https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/technical-articles/the-importance-of-total-harmonic-distortion/

    • June 26, 2019 10:12 AM EDT
      • Spokane Valley, Washington St.
         
      • Posts
        5,476
      • Thanks
        287
      • Thanked
        229

      If you want to not worry about gasoline, convert it to LP gas. (Natural or propane)  My brother has a Genrack whole house Gen that was converted to propane.

    • June 26, 2019 2:32 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
      • Posts
        1,658
      • Thanks
        2
      • Thanked
        132

      I had considered propane and even natural gas.  But:

       

      Either produces less power = less watts.

       

      Propane is cleaner through the engine and can be stored longer, safer, but gasoline is easier to obtain and I don't need a bunch of propane bottles around (nor put in a tank).  With four cars and two old Corvettes (one with a vented tank) sitting in the garage, I don't think an additional gas tank is a big deal.

       

      Propane would require further expenditure (tanks, regularo, hoses, etc.) for something that may be used very rarely.

       

      None of the BIG models of "Emergency generators" are designed to run on propane so there would also be that expenditure

       

      Natural gas would require a professional to tap into the line = permanent fixture = permits = $$$.

       

      This generator runs for 16 hours on 1/4 load capacity on gasoline 

    • June 26, 2019 5:32 PM EDT
      • Be Nice or STFU
         
      • Posts
        9,059
      • Thanks
        226
      • Thanked
        799

      I plan to get a Generac at some point, would get the dual fuel one so the typical blackouts would run on propane, but switchable to gasoline in a real emergency.

       

      Right now I have a setup like Todd's with a bit more complex transfer panel, I have more individual circuits, and 4 power meters to see where the power is going, you can use all of 13,000 watts ... I have before... the last time we had a significant outage (the 2011 southwest outage - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Southwest_blackout ) I ran a 100' extension cord to my neighbor's to run his fridge, out power in Carlsbad was only out 9 hours, but other places in San Diego were 24 hours.

       

      Funny, my generator is more of a "work site" one, and probably a lot louder than Todds.  It was a hot summer day, and the only noise you could hear was my generator. A guy 6 houses away complained my generator was too noisy and keeping his kids awake since they had the windows open. He threatened to call the police... I said, hold on a minute, and got my cell phone and handed it to him... I said "here I want to hear you tell the police that with all the other issues they are dealing with, that there is an emergency generator running during an emergency that is too loud"..... he grumbled and stomped off..

       

      Several years later, he and his family were on vacation, and as I walked past the house, I noticed water flowing from the garage to a nearby planter. Apparently his neighbors had noticed but did nothing, I got the keys from his neighbor and got the garage open and shut off the water, his hot water heater had burst. In about another 10 minutes his home would have been flooded.

       

      So when they returned, the wife brought him over and she thanked me profusely, noting I had saved their house from several thousands of dollars of damage. He stood there and hung his head and looked pretty sheepish. She made him thank me too.

       

      Greg

       

       

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • June 26, 2019 6:33 PM EDT
      • Scottsdale, Arizona
         
      • Posts
        102
      • Thanks
        31
      • Thanked
        33

      Todd, do you know how long it take for the transfer switch to change from the utility company (SCE?) to the generator and how long does it take for the generator to come up to speed for full power?  Back in the day I was a Project Manager on Hospitals in SoCal.  Hospitals must have generators that come up to speed and change over (transfer switch) within 7 seconds.  On my projects we averaged 4 seconds.  So if you are the Doctor doing an operation think how long 7 seconds is if you have a scalpel in your hand and you are in a patient and it turns dark.  It seems short, but believe me Doctors have yelled at me that 4 seconds was too long.

      For your needs that is a great generator and even if it takes as long as 30 seconds to change over you will be happy.  You will also have many friends coming over to sit in your Air Conditioning (assuming you have AC).

    • June 26, 2019 7:18 PM EDT
      • Saint Helena, CALIFORNIA
         
      • Posts
        389
      • Thanks
        26
      • Thanked
        83

      Interesting thread.

       

      I have a small (7kw Cutler-Hammer/Eaton) natural gas powered stand-by generator that is used to run my basement sump pumps during utility outages and it is connected via an automatic transfer switch.  The ATS only has a 50 amp capacity and, besides the pumps, has sufficient capacity to power the refrigerator, some lights and wall sockets.  I'm on the valley floor and when the ground water level is high in the winter the pumps cycle on about every 5 minutes. It is about 12 years old and I am in the process of replacing it as it has reached the end of its usable service life.  The jury is still out on which brand to get as I am looking for reliability since if the basement floods my wine cellar, railroad and I will suffer greatly.

       

      I realize that this "hard wired" installation is more expensive than a portable one but it is all automatic and I don't have to do much of any kind of maintenance other than change the oil once a year and an occasional tune-up. 

      This post was edited by Mark Hadler at June 26, 2019 7:18 PM EDT
    • June 26, 2019 7:42 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
      • Posts
        1,658
      • Thanks
        2
      • Thanked
        132

      It will take me longer than that.  I intend to keep it in my garage, so must wheel it to the doorway (350#) to run the exhaust (maybe in the dark by flashlight), then roll out and plug in a 60' cable to the generator and house (~60#), flip the 10 switches to off, fire up the generator (they even provide a remote start key fob good to over 100 yards), and flip the 10 switches to generator.  Probably several minutes at best.  Maybe I'll make a shed for it if this proves too troublesome.  With a shed, you can have other problems (e.g. overheating due to inadequate air flow.)

       

      I looked at Generac but they are reported as being quite noisy for what they are, and their 26,250/17,500W is too much power for a 50 amp box (rated to 12,500 watts continuous) and close to twice the cost, so was out.  Their 22,500/15,000 watt unit is not certified for use in CA by the CARB, puts out more watts than the panel can take, and is another $500 over what I paid.  BION, this very CARB issue comes into play for most all generators now.  Their 12,500/10,000w is $100 cheaper but only puts out 12,500/10,000 watts (Westinghouse does 15,000/12,000w), so does not achieve 50 amps (42 amp rating) and has a considerably smaller single cylinder engine.  Also, it is not CARB compliant.   BTW, the V-twins may not be measureably quieter, but their pitch is less objectional.

       

      The comparable 15/12kw CAT (also a V-twin but smaller than the Westinghouse) costs $200 more ($300 more for CARB certification) and while not necessarily reported, the CARB version puts out less power accordingly (1kw less for start and run).  The big Wen (13,000/11,000w) uses the same engine as the CAT and is ~$700 cheaper.  This one carries the CARB and EPA certifications.  Cat support can be good or bad depending on the CAT dealer.  Wen support is ???

       

      The major issue with generators is reliably.  Most come out of just two Chinese factories and while they may offer a 2 or 3 year warrentee, you can't find anyone to service them under warrentee and it does you no good.  For the Westinghouse, I went to their website and found three authorized service facilities within 25 miles.

      This post was edited by Todd Brody at June 26, 2019 11:13 PM EDT
    • June 26, 2019 8:10 PM EDT
      • Be Nice or STFU
         
      • Posts
        9,059
      • Thanks
        226
      • Thanked
        799

      I think Colin assumed you have an automatic transfer switch, but I think yours is manual transfer switch like mine... automated ones are more expensive by a lot

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • June 26, 2019 8:16 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
      • Posts
        1,658
      • Thanks
        2
      • Thanked
        132

      No, a 50 amp automated transfer switch is not that expensive anymore because they are now used extensively by RVs.  I could have gone this route but would need the automatic transfer switch and seperate subpanel to house the breakers (more space and $$$).  Reliance did a nice job of designing the R510A for situations like this and at $400, it is hard to beat.  A whole house auto transfer switch to carry 200 amps would be quite costly.

       

      Anyway, how automatic can it really be if I still need to set-up the generator/cord?

       

      BTW, for those who may have a stigma about such things, this system runs a "common ground" meaning that it shares the neutral and ground with the grid current, even when run simultaneously.  Some generators with very sensitive GFI circuitry may not be able to use something like this.  The Westinghouse wPro12000 (as opposed to the wGen12000 that I purchased) has a full panel GFCI so may have been a problem (plus it costs $200 more).

       

      https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/stories/1021-How-to-Avoid-Tripping-a-Generator-With-a-Bonded-Neutral.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwr8zoBRA0EiwANmvpYCUvu7ggNPw76dP_spfmp5Iv3sML7zZ3Wjzf3-CX-tq7EynhgEIObRoC578QAvD_BwE

       

      This post was edited by Todd Brody at June 26, 2019 8:43 PM EDT
    • June 27, 2019 12:00 AM EDT
      • Saint Helena, CALIFORNIA
         
      • Posts
        389
      • Thanks
        26
      • Thanked
        83

      My current one starts within 5 seconds after the power is off and will continue to run 20 minutes after it comes back on as it assumes that there may be additional fluctuations or outages.

       

      For what it's worth Generac makes a 7.5KW generator with a 50 amp ATS.  Various sites are none too complimentary regarding Genrac's reliability, service and warranty, but they do sell a lot of them. 

      This post was edited by Mark Hadler at June 27, 2019 12:01 AM EDT
    • June 27, 2019 12:22 AM EDT
      • Scottsdale, Arizona
         
      • Posts
        102
      • Thanks
        31
      • Thanked
        33

      Yes I assumed that it had an automatic transfer switch.  That is all I am accustom to.  Even my Motorhome had one.

       

      So when the power goes out you have to run out to the garage, find the cord, plug it in and start the generator?

    • June 27, 2019 12:59 AM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
      • Posts
        1,658
      • Thanks
        2
      • Thanked
        132

      Mark Hadler said:

      My current one starts within 5 seconds after the power is off and will continue to run 20 minutes after it comes back on as it assumes that there may be additional fluctuations or outages.

       

      For what it's worth Generac makes a 7.5KW generator with a 50 amp ATS.  Various sites are none too complimentary regarding Genrac's reliability, service and warranty, but they do sell a lot of them. 

       

      Many generators have the 50 amp plug, but that does not mean that they produce 50 amps of current.  It takes at least 12kW.

       

      7.5kW/240v = 31.25 amps per leg at 240vac or 62.5 amps at 120 vac

       

      12,000 watts /240 v = 50 amps per leg at 240vac or 100 amps at 120 vac

    • June 27, 2019 1:08 AM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
      • Posts
        1,658
      • Thanks
        2
      • Thanked
        132

      Colin Criswell said:

      Yes I assumed that it had an automatic transfer switch.  That is all I am accustom to.  Even my Motorhome had one.

       

      So when the power goes out you have to run out to the garage, find the cord, plug it in and start the generator?

       

      In the rare occurance of an outage, yes.  But certainly better than letting $1000 worth of food spoil and sitting in the dark without TV or internet or the ability to plug in a portable A/C unit in the heat of the day.  I will also have full use of the kitchen (microwave, toaster oven, and gas stove and oven that are electronically ignited) and can even turn on the garage lights and open the garage doors to leave for stuff without dealing with the release cord.  (Central A/C is on dual 40 amp breakers so is beyond the capacity of the box even though the generator could handle one of the two.)  BTW, the generator to house cord probably weighs about 60# so I'll probably leave it in place but tucked back out of the way.  Should be easy to locate.

      This post was edited by Todd Brody at June 27, 2019 1:37 PM EDT
    • June 27, 2019 2:58 AM EDT

      •  
      • Posts
        5,084
      • Thanks
        630
      • Thanked
        324

      I've often thought about getting a generator setup, since we've had many outages here over the years. But we've pretty much used up all the space we have available to us, so I don't know where we could put a generator. And all the homes are so close together here, I'm sure it would be way too noisy.

       

       

    • June 27, 2019 10:11 AM EDT
      • Saint Helena, CALIFORNIA
         
      • Posts
        389
      • Thanks
        26
      • Thanked
        83

      My circuits are all 120 vac and max out at about 35 amps if everything is on at the same time.

       

      To address the noise issues I just let my neighbors run extension cords to the generator during outages.  

    • June 27, 2019 5:04 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
      • Posts
        1,658
      • Thanks
        2
      • Thanked
        132

      I made this up today.  It's 60'3" of 4 conductor, 6 gauge with the requisite 50-amp plug on either end.  I don't think it will be a problem locating it, even in the dark.

      This post was edited by Todd Brody at June 27, 2019 5:06 PM EDT
Forums General General Discussion

    Icon Legend

  • Topic has replies
    Hot topic
    Topic unread
    Topic doesn't have any replies
    Closed topic
    BBCode  is enabled
    HTML  is enabled

Add Reputation

Do you want to add reputation for this user by this post?

or cancel

Ads by Google