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Question for standby generator owners
09-07-2008, 10:26 PM
Post: #11
Question for standby generator owners
Windwatcher Wrote:Ours has some sort of safety feature on it that protects the utility workers from that surge going back thru the line. That was one of the first things I asked about before we got it.

That's one of the functions of a properly installed, approved automatic transfer switch (ATS). It makes it virtually impossible for the generator to send power back thru the meter to the utility company power lines. Properly installed manual transfer switches do the same thing. If your generator switches on automatically when you lose power, you have an ATS. Otherwise, you probably have a manual transfer switch.
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09-10-2008, 08:47 AM
Post: #12
Question for standby generator owners
We had a whole house generator installed on our new house after Katrina. I live in Houma. Our generator runs on natural gas. When we got home from Arkansas, our house was up and running everything from the air conditioner to the refridgerator. It worked just fine. Our subdivision did not get power back for several days and we were fine. That was the best investment we ever made...

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09-18-2008, 10:19 AM
Post: #13
Question for standby generator owners
I don't have as big a unit as you but I had a 220 outlet put in outside which I plug the genny into. On mine I have to turn the main off then flip another breaker to power the house with the genny No power is back fed through the lines when the main is off.
I do have one question about you guys evacuating and leaving your genny running. What if you can't get back for more then a few days and it runs out of oil? Does it have some kind of external tank it can get oil from when it gets low? It would seem running continuously for an extended period of time it would run out.
Just curious.
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09-18-2008, 11:06 AM
Post: #14
Question for standby generator owners
ocala Wrote:I don't have as big a unit as you but I had a 220 outlet put in outside which I plug the genny into. On mine I have to turn the main off then flip another breaker to power the house with the genny No power is back fed through the lines when the main is off.
I do have one question about you guys evacuating and leaving your genny running. What if you can't get back for more then a few days and it runs out of oil? Does it have some kind of external tank it can get oil from when it gets low? It would seem running continuously for an extended period of time it would run out.
Just curious.

If a generator runs out of oil anytime before about 14days of continuous duty then it has a problem, it should not use oil like that.

a note on your breakers, if it is possible to have BOTH of the breakers that you mentioned flipped ON at the same time - then you have a serious hazard! Hopefully the unit you have will not let the generator breaker flip on until the main breaker is flipped off, otherwise you WILL backfeed the power grid which could hurt or kill someone else, get you in big trouble, and lastly damage your generator.

Crazy Dale
The nine scariest words in the english language: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." -Ronald Reagan
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09-18-2008, 12:35 PM
Post: #15
Question for standby generator owners
Sounds like he doesn't have a manual transfer switch since he has to turn the main disconnect off and flip another breaker. Manual transfer switches take one action to simultaneously remove you from the grid and provide power to the house from the generator.

I went to Home Depot yesterday to check into a manual transfer switch for my sister and her husband (they have a portable generator). When I asked the HD "generator guy" where the manual transfer switch, he said he didn't know what I was talking about. His other comment was "don't you have a main disconnect in your service panel?"

There are literally thousands of POCO linemen working around the clock in Houston and the surrounding areas to restore power. We can only hope that none of them are injured by someone backfeeding the grid.
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09-18-2008, 06:32 PM
Post: #16
Question for standby generator owners
SevereWxEnthusiast Wrote:If a generator runs out of oil anytime before about 14days of continuous duty then it has a problem, it should not use oil like that.

a note on your breakers, if it is possible to have BOTH of the breakers that you mentioned flipped ON at the same time - then you have a serious hazard! Hopefully the unit you have will not let the generator breaker flip on until the main breaker is flipped off, otherwise you WILL backfeed the power grid which could hurt or kill someone else, get you in big trouble, and lastly damage your generator.

A genny can run 14 consecutive days without running out of oil? Wow, consider me taken to school. Heck I run mine 8 hours and I'm stopping it to check that oil and it's practically brand new. Guess I don't need to do that.
Then again mine is just a portable 7.8 kilowat.
As for my breakers, yes it is possible to have both on at the same time but since I'm the one lugging it out of the shed and hooking it up I make damn sure that main is off first.
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09-18-2008, 07:21 PM
Post: #17
Question for standby generator owners
ocala Wrote:A genny can run 14 consecutive days without running out of oil? Wow, consider me taken to school. Heck I run mine 8 hours and I'm stopping it to check that oil and it's practically brand new. Guess I don't need to do that.
Then again mine is just a portable 7.8 kilowat.

I think he is talking about residential standby generators like the Guardian line. Mine has a 2.4L Mitsubishi 4 cylinder liquid-cooled engine in it, similar to an auto/truck engine. However, Guardian does say I should check the oil level every 24 hours. It will shut down if it senses low oil pressure.
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09-19-2008, 12:48 PM
Post: #18
Question for standby generator owners
ibroussard Wrote:I think he is talking about residential standby generators like the Guardian line. Mine has a 2.4L Mitsubishi 4 cylinder liquid-cooled engine in it, similar to an auto/truck engine. However, Guardian does say I should check the oil level every 24 hours. It will shut down if it senses low oil pressure.

That's a great feature to have. Just curious how it can tell while it's running that it's low on oil. It seems like it would have to be temperature related.
After Hurricanes Francis and Jeane in 2004 the local lawn mower shop said they had hundreds of genny's brought in because people let them run without checking the oil. I guess they were all portables.
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09-19-2008, 01:04 PM
Post: #19
Question for standby generator owners
I was running a 4KW Onan and I checked the oil every time I started it.
I changed oil and filter after the first day and only ran it about sixteen
hours per day to save on fuel, because after Rita, I went seventeen days
without power.

Only people with oversized egos believe that mankind has caused global warming.

Scientific Consensus is an Oxymoron
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09-19-2008, 04:28 PM
Post: #20
Question for standby generator owners
ocala Wrote:That's a great feature to have. Just curious how it can tell while it's running that it's low on oil. It seems like it would have to be temperature related.
After Hurricanes Francis and Jeane in 2004 the local lawn mower shop said they had hundreds of genny's brought in because people let them run without checking the oil. I guess they were all portables.

It senses low oil pressure, which would be the case if it were low on oil. It also senses high coolant temperature and will shut off when it does. One or both should occur before engine damage if the engine is seriously low on oil.

It's a pretty sophisticated generator. It also senses if it has tried to crank/start for more than seven seconds. If it has, it will stop trying, wait a few seconds, then try again up to two more times. It also senses low battery (it has its own battery charger), low coolant level, and engine overspeed. If any of the above reasons causes it to shut down or not to start, there are LED indicators that show exactly what the problem is.
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