Master thread for disasters and generators.

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orbital

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idleprocess, are you still looking into making your own UPS?
You mentioned something about it in another thread, but I may have been uninspiring on my reply.
Trickle chargers, solar controllers, battery maintainers all do basically the same thing
..some battery types just don't play nice with that.

As you well know, there are many ways to accomplish the end goal.
 

idleprocess

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idleprocess, are you still looking into making your own UPS?
You mentioned something about it in another thread, but I may have been uninspiring on my reply.
I've presently got quite the fleet of secondhand APC units that presently satisfice, handily buying me 30 minutes of uptime for WFH-critical loads to spool up the generators. About the only thing I'd like to change is swapping the UPS on the ONT for a 12V battery - assuming the 12VDC aux port is tolerant of 12V lead-acid / LFP voltage ranges - which should offer markedly more uptime than the UPS.
 

orbital

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Just a heads up for anyone on the fence with buying a generator.
If you're looking to have it in a semi enclosure (to protect it from the elements) more & more units are being made with CO sensors.

It's easy for manufactures to tack these onto units under the whole 'safety' reasons.
But if in a partial enclosure; they will shut off, then you go out to restart, they shut off again.
Over & over & over & over.........

I called on a generator just for clarification on something, the guy I talked to said he hears this all the time & it's a huge issue with warranties
ect----
He also feels that it may become a law to have them on all generators.

So if your on the fence, maybe get that generator now that still doesn't have a CO sensor tacked on.
Really, most generators are not placed where there is nothing within 20 feet in every direction.

This is not unlike all the ridiculous stuff added into cars now for 'safety reasons'
(all because people made bad decisions or were not paying attention)
 

turbodog

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Just a heads up for anyone on the fence with buying a generator.
If you're looking to have it in a semi enclosure (to protect it from the elements) more & more units are being made with CO sensors.

It's easy for manufactures to tack these onto units under the whole 'safety' reasons.
But if in a partial enclosure; they will shut off, then you go out to restart, they shut off again.
Over & over & over & over.........

I called on a generator just for clarification on something, the guy I talked to said he hears this all the time & it's a huge issue with warranties
ect----
He also feels that it may become a law to have them on all generators.

So if your on the fence, maybe get that generator now that still doesn't have a CO sensor tacked on.
Really, most generators are not placed where there is nothing within 20 feet in every direction.

This is not unlike all the ridiculous stuff added into cars now for 'safety reasons'
(all because people made bad decisions or were not paying attention)

It's a small inconvenience for 99.99% of users and saves the lives of the .01% that do stupid stuff. Every storm/etc we always see a dead family from CO.

I recently bought a honda 2800w inverter unit. It had the CO sensor. Was only a problem when the exhaust hit a wall 12" away and recirculated toward the unit. I turned it 90 degrees and was fine.

If I were to make an enclosure... I would add a fan inside it to push exhaust/heat away. I doubt there would be a problem then.
 

idleprocess

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If I were to make an enclosure... I would add a fan inside it to push exhaust/heat away. I doubt there would be a problem then.

That's been my thinking on the doghouse design I sketched out some time ago - positive pressure fans and exhaust vents, situated near the complimentary end of the generator(s).
 

Poppy

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None of mine have a CO sensor, but this is good information to know.

I used a plastic deck box without a floor for sound proofing (at least sound deadening) of my 10hp briggs powered 5500 watt coleman generator. I raised it 4 inches off of the ground for better air flow, and put a 8-10 inch exhaust fan in a side wall of the box. The fan was powered by the generator, whenever it was running. I added the fan to keep the gennie relatively cool. It may have been enough if there was a CO sensor, but I don't know. I suppose, one can put an exhaust extension, out through the wall of an enclosure.

I insulated the box with closed cell foam. Overall, it made a huge reduction in sound. Those engines are very noisy. I think that more of the noise comes from the side of the engine than from the exhaust.
 

KITROBASKIN

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How about grounding the generator? Do many people do that? I did it because there was a grounding terminal at the control/receptacle area. Our unit is pretty big (6000 watts?) and is used to charge our home batteries when it's cloudy for days. We typically discharge no less than 15% each day when it is sunny, which is most of the time here in New Mexico.
 

Poppy

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I grounded my 5K gennie to the copper water line. But you're right, when I use the portable, I don't ground it. I suppose that if there was an outage, especially due to rain, I should get a rod and hammer it into the ground.

I wonder how deep does it need to be to be effective?
 

orbital

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I factored in intake & exhaust fans for the semi enclosure.
..or at minimum, a strong exhaust w/ a mesh opening for fresh air

The unit I called on was the DuroMax XP9000iH,, it's now back in stock.
(although not entirely in the market for that honcho unit, but I noticed that the newest ones have a CO sensor)

called to ask if they possibly had the older ones without the CO sensor = nope.
Good luck getting an older one.

________________________

Imagine the hassle if you made a semi enclosure, built in strong pos/neg fans, had it all set up & the CO still kicked in over & over.
FuGxx&(^%*(^^^% DISSAPOINTMENTr

I'd prefer not to have the assumption either way.
 
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Poppy

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You might want to consider, what is your fuel storage capacity? It is a hungry beast.

During Sandy, I was without power for 3 1/2 days, others in my immediate area were without it for more than a week. I had topped off my vehicles because we had ample warning that Sandy was on the way. My Bronco had a 40 gallon tank, my windstar a 25 gallon tank, and my Crown Vic had a 19 gallon tank. I might have only had a 1 and 2 gallon portable tank that I used for the lawn mower, and snow blower.

Fortunately, I knew how to use the in tank fuel pump to pump fuel out of any of those three vehicles. But still... IIRC I got about 8 hours on a 5 gallon tank. So running continuously, that's 15 gallons in a 24 hour period. BTW... that calculates to 0.62 gallons an hour. The unit you are looking at burns 0.61 gallons an hour at 50% load. That's about the same. That's about 52 gallons of fuel used.
 

idleprocess

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You might want to consider, what is your fuel storage capacity? It is a hungry beast.
That's a major source of reluctance when I consider a 120/240V generator. Sure I might be able to modify my air conditioning unit so an inverter generator can start the thing. But the logistics would be challenging at the least - I can only stockpile so many jerry cans.

The Duromax model mentioned does have the advantage of being dual-fuel; propane is a bit safer to stockpile in volume than gasoline and you're not limited to 20lb tanks. But it's still a lot of capital for what amounts to a long-odds / normally short-duration event in my situation.
 

turbodog

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I grounded my 5K gennie to the copper water line. But you're right, when I use the portable, I don't ground it. I suppose that if there was an outage, especially due to rain, I should get a rod and hammer it into the ground.

I wonder how deep does it need to be to be effective?

All ground rods I have installed are like 6-8 feet long.

Make a small depression, pour cup of water in, insert rod, work up/down, add water as needed, and hit the target depth quicker than using a sledgehammer. No mushroomed/bent rod either.
 

Poppy

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turbodog... interesting. I can't imagine that working with my soil (and all the rocks) but until I try it, I guess I'll never know.

I see the HD has one with a high carbon steel core and tip that is electroplated with copper.
I can't imagine getting that 6-8 feet into the ground by my house.
 

idleprocess

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All ground rods I have installed are like 6-8 feet long.

Make a small depression, pour cup of water in, insert rod, work up/down, add water as needed, and hit the target depth quicker than using a sledgehammer. No mushroomed/bent rod either.

I guess that cheating and using a steel fencepost with a concrete footing isn't likely to be effective.
 

KITROBASKIN

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When recently purchasing a ground rod clamp at ACE Hardware, I asked an older worker there. He said he's used rebar to ground electric fence with success. For the house build, I used 3 copper coated 8 foot ground rods, but bedrock is about 6 inches or so below the surface. I placed them deep as possible horizontally where rainwater drains, including from the roof. We are so dry much of the year. Rooftop lightning rods are also connected to the solar-home system as well. I was careful not to loop any of the grounding circuits. One time lightning came in the house through the phone line. It was grounded to the same system but did something of an arc sound inside very briefly. No damage.
I am in no way knowledgeable, but asked others and read pertinent material in the mid '90s. Is a ground on a generator to prevent operator shock should something go wrong?
 

idleprocess

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LOL... I guess it might give you an electrified fence. Honestly, I have no idea.
Wood privacy fence with ... isolated .. posts (2x4 crossbeams). The prospect fenceposts probably have an 18"-24" footing. Post contact with the soil at the bottom is uncertain.

I am in no way knowledgeable, but asked others and read pertinent material in the mid '90s. Is a ground on a generator to prevent operator shock should something go wrong?
As far as I know, yes. And it sounds like you've got a good grasp of the concept. But I'm also not an electrician nor an electrical engineer.

As I understand it, electricity wants to flow from high potential to low potential. Normally this means flowing from the hot through the load to the neutral. As an emergency safety measure, structures include a literal earth ground in the case of certain faults, providing a path from the hot to what should be the lowest possible potential - ideally popping the breaker or blowing the fuse in the process before anything truly exciting happens.

An ungrounded generator lacks this earth ground, meaning that certain faults might result in you representing the lowest potential rather than the neutral relative to the hot. If you're connecting to a structure through a properly-installed inlet then you've got the structure's earth ground.
 

turbodog

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A generator has a floating neutral, which means that a double insulated appliance, if shorted to the casing, would result in a voltage being present where you could touch it. Grounding pulls the neutral voltage to earth.

Edit for clarity:

A generator has a floating neutral. Connecting the ground lug on the generator ties this neutral to earth/ground, which places it equivalent to a 'normal' electrical plug in a regular building.

Otherwise, there could exist a voltage difference between neutral and earth/ground. This could lead to a shock/death.
 
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Poppy

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A generator has a floating neutral, which means that a double insulated appliance, if shorted to the casing, would result in a voltage being present where you could touch it. Grounding pulls the neutral voltage to earth.
Please explain this with more words. I don't know what a double insulated appliance is. Or shorted to which casing, the generator, or the appliance.
 

idleprocess

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Please explain this with more words. I don't know what a double insulated appliance is. Or shorted to which casing, the generator, or the appliance.

How about some pictures?

Grounded appliance
AeqQV.gif

This is the general idea for any appliance with a 3-prong plug. Any short to the casing will go to ground - which should represent the lowest-potential path - as opposed to going through you. In a properly-wired situation the breaker on the hot (live wire) will pop - ideally before anything exciting happens.

Double-insulated appliance
double-insulation.gif

Any internal fault should have nowhere to go since the appliance is double-insulated, but for lack of an earth ground if the hot (live wire) shorts to the casing you may present a sufficiently low-potential path for current to travel along.

Regardless of the appliances plugged into it, an ungrounded generator is like the double-insulated appliance diagram and any fault that presents the hot (live wire) to the user will have nowhere to go but potentially through you.

If you're wiring the generator into a structure's electrical system using a 3- or 4- prong connector and the inlet (or outlet if you're going the somewhat hazardous suicide cord route) will have a ground that connects to the panel's earth ground. If you grab a generator out of the shed, fire it up, then plug an appliance into it, you're operating in double-insulated mode.
 
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