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

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    • June 27, 2019 6:11 PM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      letting $1000 worth of food spoil

      Wow, I would love to raid your fridge.

      ____________________________________

      Shannon car Shops
      Home of the infamous leg lamp

      I.A.R.R.R. Member #12

      and King Butt Modeler

    • June 27, 2019 6:12 PM EDT
      • Shut Up Rooster
         
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      I've done something similar, but shorter distance, I use 2 cords to my 2 220v generator outlets, so the generator can be placed outside... I have the transfer panels inside for convenience, actually are right behind the main panel, so I did not even have to splice wires for the circuits cut over, disconnected the hot lead in the main panel, then pulled it through the other side of the wall into the conduit for the transfer panel, then one wire back from the transfer panel to the original breaker.

       

      I think that people need to understand that in So Cal, it is pretty darn rare to have a power interruption, so a higher level of integration, automation, and downright cost is not needed.

       

      Greg

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    • June 28, 2019 1:23 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
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      Forewarned is forearmed.  Just a hint of things too come.  From today's Orange County Register:

       

      WILDFIRES

      California’s utilities gain vast new powers after fires

      From the ashes of last year’s huge fires in Butte, Shasta, Lake and Los Angeles counties, this state’s utilities have suddenly acquired vast new powers to control and influence the lives of millions of Californians.

       

      The new reality is that no one living near a potential fire area — and that includes wide swaths of this state — now can be sure when the lights will go off and come back on. It’s all because California’s big utility companies have accepted blame for contributing to the start of several multibillion-dollar fires and want no part of anything similar in the future. So anytime they deem wind and weather sufficiently threatening, they’re shutting down power to prevent arcing and sparking on their lines, whether or not they’ve been maintained.

       

      This would be fine if standards existed for what constitutes fire danger from power lines, which helped start and spread fires from San Diego to Paradise, from Simi Valley to the Sierra Nevada in 2017 and 2018. There are no such standards.

       

      So when Pacific Gas & Electric Co. announced it would undertake the year’s first power shutdown in early June because of possible record-setting temperatures and high winds in Napa, Solano and Yolo counties, anyone without immediate access to newspapers and electronic media had no way to know their lights, TVs and appliances would go dead for an unpredictable time.

       

      That exercise, also affecting parts of Butte and Yuba counties, affected “only” about 21,000 electricity customers. No one knows how many had electric- powered oxygen supplies, CPAPs for sleep apnea or other medical devices. No one knows how many had independent power supplies, whether solar or from generators. But a lot of people and businesses were suddenly imperiled.

       

      PG& E figured fire risks outweighed all others. “The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility,” said one company vice president. Too bad PG& E hadn’t realized that before last year’s Paradise fire, or before the Wine County fires of 2017, both admittedly at least partly the products of corporate negligence.

       

      One thing for sure: Before this year’s just-opened fire season is over, PG& E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric (along with several municipal utilities) will be doing the same kind of thing to many, many more people, with the same kind of notice under the same whimsical standard.

       

      The lack of predictability here is the problem. Certain temperatures, wind directions and speeds must soon be written into firm standards for when deliberate power cutoffs can occur. Given sufficient notice via printed inserts in electricity bills, customers could know what to expect and when. Now they don’t. Which leaves some folks as vulnerable to power company judgments as they are to actual fires.

       

      It also puts great power in the hands of power companies that have repeatedly proven themselves irresponsible.

       

      The real question here is why state regulators,principally the Public Utilities Commission —

      now many months after the last big wave of fires — still have not yet developed firm guidelines for utilities to live by.

       

      This leaves many customers vulnerable to chancy, unreliable weather forecasts and the will of utility executives.

       

      Last fall, when PG& E staged its first modern-era fire-prevention power cutoff, one reader near Nevada City called the move “blatant terrorism,” which was exacerbated when winds in the area turned out never to exceed a paltry 7 mph. He called it a form of blackmail, designed to accustom consumers to accepting the will of the utility.

       

      The PUC already allows utilities to dun customers steadily for maintenance: they took in more than $6 billion in such funding over the last four decades without accounting for most of it. The new charges are for tree-cutting (often done against the will of tree owners) and other long-neglected fire prevention tactics.

       

      So far, it’s all random, chancy stuff. Utilities and the public need rules for the companies to live by, giving millions of Californians some ability to predict when their power will be turned off, just in case they can’t or don’t want to read or listen to the news 24 hours a day.

      This post was edited by Todd Brody at June 28, 2019 1:24 PM EDT
    • July 3, 2019 8:47 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
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      Just a matter of turning off the power and connecting 22 wires, some stucco and paint.

      The 1" conduit is tighter that a crab's azz at high tide.

       

    • July 5, 2019 1:58 PM EDT
      • Shut Up Rooster
         
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      That's a nice setup, with the relays transferring power, mine the switches route the power themselves, since it is manual, I can see yours could be automated.

       

      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
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    • July 5, 2019 3:16 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
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      No relays.  Just 10 manual SPDT/center off switches and 10 circuit breakers arranged with 5 on either leg of the 240 volts from the generator.

       

      Power gets to a circuit (e.g., fridge) from the existing box breaker to the spdt switch in the down position or from the generator, via the shown circuit breakers in the new panel in the up position, and you select which one you want with the switch.  Power then leaves the spdt to the intended load wire (e.g., fridge) that you removed from the original breaker and is now connected with a wire nut.  You can select one or the other, or neither but you cannot backfeed the grid with the generator.

       

      The neutral and ground are common to the grid and generator so you only have one 6 gauge white wire and a 12 gauge ground to the new panel.  Hey, it works for my trains using five different power supplies simultaneously and NEMA approves it.

       

      There is a similar box made by Generac that cost $300 more, does not include the generator plug (that must be mounted in its own enclosure separately) that can be changed to automatic operation but it cost as much as the box ($700) to change it and it is only NEMA Type 1 for indoor use.  But we both know that automatic transfer is really not necessary in our situations.

      This post was edited by Todd Brody at July 5, 2019 3:35 PM EDT
    • July 5, 2019 3:50 PM EDT
      • Shut Up Rooster
         
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      Yep, got my transfer panels and generator after the 2000 scare and the transfer panels were $45 each since no one knew what they were in Home Depot!

       

      That row of components looked like relays, but I guess they are breakers, it looked like transparent plastic, thus the guess.

       

      Completely agree on the simpler, more cost effective "manual switchover", I have to remember to test run the generator every 6 months, and change out gasoline, although I use a stabilizer.

       

      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
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    • July 5, 2019 4:29 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
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      Just arrived and unboxed, with help of delivery man.  That's a heavy load!

       

      The master bedroom was added to the house and its main functions are on a separate panel next to the big garage where the generator will be kept.  I intend to tap into this panel and add an outdoor utility box so that I can plug these into the generator's 120 volt lines and provide power to the master bedroom's main circuits.  (Some of its wall plugs are on the old panel and included with the wireing for the generator panel so it won't be dark even if I don't.)

       

      In this case, I will use a 4pdt relay to power three circuits.  The relay has 15 amp contacts and I will double two of them up for the 20 amp circuit that runs the space heater/hair drier.  I don't see this as a problem because the relay won't be switching when the drier/heater is on, nor would the drier/heater be used in a blackout.  In this case the relay will power up with the generator and if no power is received, the relay will tap the existing breakers so the connect/disconnect will be automatic. 

       

      This post was edited by Todd Brody at July 5, 2019 4:38 PM EDT
    • July 12, 2019 5:32 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
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      All done!

       

      Panel came out very nice and a professional woudn't have done better.

      And the 60 foot cord runs way down there.

       

      The generator parks safely in the garage right next to the door for easy maneuvering.

      I made a ramp to get it over the door sill and a platform for the wheels to sit up on.

      And it parks with ~1/4 of itself, including the exhaust, electrical plugs, and grounding lug, out of the door.  I made a 6-gauge ground wire with a big alligator clip on the generator end and attached the other end to the copper stake that was driven into the ground for the solar panels.   BTW, the door is painted metal.

      A long way over to yonder.

      This post was edited by Todd Brody at July 12, 2019 5:36 PM EDT
    • July 12, 2019 9:33 PM EDT
      • Branchport, NY
         
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      Todd

      In our area, code says the generator can not be within 5 feet of a doorway or window.

      It is a good idea to keep it away from a door as the wind could blow the exhaust in the doorway.

      I would be surprised if code would allow any part of the generator to be in a doorway.

      Code or not - I would not do it. Dangerous thing to do!

      Tom

       

    • July 12, 2019 10:14 PM EDT
      • Saint Helena, CALIFORNIA
         
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      Same here in Napa County and I assume that it's also a state law.  Also I further assume that it is specific to hard-wired non-portable generators.  Though that is definitely appropriate for any internal combustion carbon monoxide generating (spewing) engine. 

    • July 13, 2019 6:33 AM EDT
      • Eastern Massachusetts
         
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      I have a garage separate from my house and keep my generator there.  When running I just keep the door open and I never run the generator all night.  Of course at night it hardly goes over 70 degrees here in New England and the generator is needed more in the winter due to snow storms and cars hitting utility poles thus knocking out power.

    • July 13, 2019 1:54 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
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      I don't think the exhaust is an issue.  Once the generator starts, the garage doors can be opened as the garage is one of the 10 chosen circuits.  Also, a fan can be placed in the garage next to the generator and plugged into the generator to blow any fumes out and cool the engine.  As I said, the door is metal.

       

      As for code..., I'll have to look into that, but as stated, this is not considered as a permanent setup and that doorway does not lead to an occupied area.  The initial intent was to leave it outside in an enclosure, in that corner (more than 5 feet from the door and nowhere near any windows), and that is still a viable option.  But enclosures present a whole nother kettle of fish to deal with including heat and ventilation.

       

      BTW, this generator meets CARB (California Air Resources Board) and EPA standards and even includes a special vapor canister as mandated by CARB for use in CA, so it is among the cleaner-burning models.

      This post was edited by Todd Brody at July 13, 2019 2:01 PM EDT
    • July 13, 2019 2:44 PM EDT
      • Branchport, NY
         
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      The code in our area does not care if it is a permanent or portable installation. Five feet clearance is a must. That generator looks like it is in a depressed area.

      That makes it harder to get the fumes away. It seems like a little inconvenience in having the generator further away is well worth someones life.

      It is your installation of course and it is your choice to do as you please. I wish you the very best.

      Tom

       

    • July 13, 2019 4:49 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
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      Tom, the door is for my far garage and the placement of the generator puts it over 50 feet from the house (60 foot cord).  I can't feasibly get it any further from the house and if it is not at the garage door, it would still be in the same area, just outside the door.  If the doorway location doesn't work out for any reason, I'll just make a ramp to wheel it out the door.  It is 350# going up/down the ramp.  I'm sure that my neighbors would prefer it inside as much as possible. 

       

      BTW, I checked County Code and find nothing on exterior placement for portable generators.  They can even be operated in a garage or enclosure if the garage is designed accordingly.  Also, there are no grounding restrictions as long as the load is plugged in through a cord to the generator's outlet (i.e., not hard wired).

      This post was edited by Todd Brody at July 13, 2019 4:54 PM EDT
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