Master thread for disasters and generators.

turbodog

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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.

Sorry, I was a little confusing. I sort of crossed up floating neutral and double insulated in the same paragraph.

In a modern polarized plug (narrow side and wide side) in a structure, the neutral (wide side) is at zero volts (earthed in electrical parlance). This is due to it actually being grounded via a ground rod.

In a generator, there may be 120v between hot and neutral, but neutral may NOT be at zero volts relative to the earth/ground/your skin.

Given that some things connect the neutral and the frame/casing/etc of the appliance/tool/etc to neutral... that means you can get a shock. It also means the casing is not at zero volts (relative to earth/ground/your skin) to 'absorb' any short circuits.
 

orbital

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Westinghouse iGen2200 can be found for $319 shipped free.

Good candidate for a two unit parallel setup for under $700, that includes a parallel cable.
(several parellel cable options that'll connnect the two units)
 

slamfire12

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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.
Can confirm - I had been watching this model for awhile so when it showed up in stock I jumped on it. It was just delivered last week and on the frame it panel it now notes "CO Alert".

Not quite related, but I did call Duromax to inquire on how to 'float the neutral' on this unit and was informed it is not able to be floated. I'm not sure I buy this but haven't opened it up or found a wiring diagram for it. Anyone have any experience on this unit (xp9000ih)?
 

idleprocess

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Not quite related, but I did call Duromax to inquire on how to 'float the neutral' on this unit and was informed it is not able to be floated.
I'm going to speculate that Duromax doesn't want anyone operating the generator ungrounded out of slight liability concerns more than anything else, but that otherwise it will run fine with that ground connection unmade.
 

junkman

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My EU2000i is from 2001 and still going strong. Tons of camping trips. A few winter storms. Pressed in to 24/7 service for a week at a time during Sandy and Irene.
Change the oil every 50 hrs of use.
Drain the tank and fuel bowl completely after use.
I own a spare timing belt, gear and valve kit JIC.

A few years ago I got a Champion Duel fuel so the Honda doesn't get much use but its there in case the Champion dies. I like the propane because there is no more dealing with rotating fuel and draining the fuel bowls. We have ethanol in the fuel here now and its a massive pain to deal with on things that sit. I have about 3 days worth of propane for that. If things go longer then I can start drawing fuel from my cars and trucks for the honda. If everything is topped off I have about 32 days of run time with the fuel sipping Honda :crackup:

My power needs are very light. I am in new england I can live with out AC. My oil boiler (heat/hot water) takes just a few amps. The well is a 120volt jet pump in the basement. I have a chest freezer and a fridge.

I took a 100' 12 gauge extension cord and spliced in duplex receptacles at the needed spots. I put plugs on the boiler and well pump. When the power goes out I just uncoil the 1 extension cord and plug it in to everything. As long as everything doesn't try starting at the exact same time the Honda/Champ have no problems powering everything I need.

This is not my cord but the same basic idea of what I built:
1.jpg
 
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electrolyte

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Scout24,
I love that idea, that will work perfectly for standard double hung windows, but not so well for mine.

View attachment 17360

However, I took a look at mine in the day-light, and can see that it will close pretty tightly on a wire. I think I can just pick up a length of 1/4 inch - 1/2 inch weather-stripping. It should be super easy to apply, and remove later without making a mess.

Thanks for the suggestion!
:clap:Neop
 

electrolyte

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This morning I took my grandson to Hapkido martial arts, and I had an hour to kill. So I went to Walmart, and picked up a 10 foot roll of 3/4 by 1/2 inch foam weather stripping. That should work well to keep the mosquitos out, and perhaps the heat in/cold out during the winter too.

Once again Scout, thanks for a great suggestion.

View attachment 17424

Scout24,
I love that idea, that will work perfectly for standard double hung windows, but not so well for mine.

View attachment 17360

However, I took a look at mine in the day-light, and can see that it will close pretty tightly on a wire. I think I can just pick up a length of 1/4 inch - 1/2 inch weather-stripping. It should be super easy to apply, and remove later without making a mess.

Thanks for the suggestion!
:clap:
 

electrolyte

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Neoprene pipe insulation of an appropriate size is easy to slip into many temporary weirdly-shaped gaps. You can keep it with its cut surfaces un-adhered to make them more compact and solid, stick them together for very compressible barrier in a big gap or cut the stuff with a knife for a single layer. It makes for a pretty flexible (in more than one sense) noodle for stuffing a variety of gaps. I used a swing open window for extension cords for Ida and the neoprene noodles worked great.
 

electrolyte

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FWIW, my Predator 7000/8750 kW has been running well. I've had it for several years in the New Orleans area. Before this year, I had several hours of use on it for short periods of power outages. Last fall, we had pretty extensive power outages, but my home stayed a lit island in a sea of darkness. My laboratory, however, was a different story. We have recently moved and did not have back up power yet. I hauled it over there and ran, at any one time, two cascade compressor ultra low freezers (of 3) and two single compressor (of 4) units. The former have, IIRC, two one HP compressors each. I rotated them between coolers so they were not cycling much or at all in between their individual turns to be powered. That went on for a day. At that point, a 6 kW diesel was added to the mix and the rotation stopped. I did a sloppy fuel consumption calculation in the former condition which indicated that the genset was about half loaded so I could have been more aggressive.

After Ida, I ran at home pretty continuously for over a week although I shut it off and threw blankets over my deep freeze and refrigerator for a couple of overnights (<24h) R&R in Ocean Springs MS. While at home, I ran the refrig and chest freezer, select mini split AC systems (7 indoor driven by 3 outdoor), microwave, induction hob, and other stuff selectively. I also ran an extension cord to the (elderly) next door neighbor's refrig. It was relatively comfortable camping. The mini splits VFDs have absolutely no start-up surge and good power factors so they are easy on gensets. No problems. I have to do a valve adjustment. I want to do some used oil analysis because the oil change recommendations in the manual are ambiguous. When I asked, they said that the 30h was to be followed and that seems very short.
 
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electrolyte

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Grounding portable gensets: Check out this OSHA document that summarizes the subject pretty well. "Grounding requirements for portable generators".

Be cautious, sometimes the documentation for portable gensets is wrong about the ground/neutral bonding state of the genset as shipped. If using only the plugs, the neutral and ground should be bonded. Ground rods are neither needed nor desirable. If you are hooking it to a building wiring, you should think of it as a subpanel/main panel situation. You should have ground/neutral bonding ONLY IN ONE PLACE. If you are using a transfer switch, the ground can be switched or not. If switched, you need the genset bonded and a proper set of ground rods. If not switched it should not be bonded. FWIW, If you got it wrong and are connected to the main panel, the only place where improper current can flow in ground conductor is in the cable between the genset and the main panel which is not too bad. This is, however, pretty easy to fix by removing any bonding connections in the genset.

The explanation lies largely in what happens if there a short to the generator chassis from the hot leads. If there is no bond at the genset, the breakers will not trip and there is larger shock hazard than if the neutral is bonded to the chassis (ground). If you have a short in a bonded genset and it is connected to a remote ground, there is a chance that the chassis will be at a higher potential than someone standing next to the genset.
 

KITROBASKIN

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Thanks to electrolyte for the link. From that fact sheet:

If the portable generator is providing electric power to a structure by connection via a transfer switch to a structure (home, office, shop, trailer, or similar) IT must be connected to a grounding electrode system, such as a driven ground rod. The transfer switch must be approved for the use and installed in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions by a qualified electrician.

Does that mean the frame of the generator must have its own grounding electrode system? In what way is the generator frame grounded through the plug/cord connecting to the home system? We have a stand-alone solar system that was approved by a state entity at the time of installation, but I wonder if that entity representative checked whether the generator was separately grounded...
 

electrolyte

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Thanks to electrolyte for the link. From that fact sheet:

If the portable generator is providing electric power to a structure by connection via a transfer switch to a structure (home, office, shop, trailer, or similar) IT must be connected to a grounding electrode system, such as a driven ground rod. The transfer switch must be approved for the use and installed in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions by a qualified electrician.

Does that mean the frame of the generator must have its own grounding electrode system? In what way is the generator frame grounded through the plug/cord connecting to the home system? We have a stand-alone solar system that was approved by a state entity at the time of installation, but I wonder if that entity representative checked whether the generator was separately grounded...
@KITROBASKIN, My read is that there are two ways employ a transfer switch. More common in the scale readers in this forum would likely be dealing with are transfer switches that switch hot, but not neutral conductor. (All the neutrals are always connected.) In this case, the genset is grounded at the same place the main service is grounded and the neutral and ground are not bonded at the genset, analogous to a sub panel. You do NOT want to be bonded at two different locations which can lead to undesirable voltage and current flow in the equipment ground conductor and anything connected to it. (That means getting a shock from touching the chassis of an appliance, for example.) (When voltage and current are higher than a typical push-about portable genset at a residence, the discussion gets more complicated so let's ignore that for the moment.)

There are some situations in which you might want to have a ground electrode closer to (at) the genset since you want it close to powered equipment and perhaps to the fuel supply (nat gas pipe or LPG line). Among other considerations, a long ground conductor to the usual service ground electrode might get accidentally cut and also has a higher resistance than one closer to the the genset and xfer switch, in some peoples' views. The higher resistance can be a safety compromise.

If the neutral is switched, you must have a ground attached to the genset and the neutral and earth are bonded there since the bonding at the main service entrance is no longer available.

You may have, but do not need an earth ground at the genset if you do not switch the neutrals at the xfer switch. The advantage to the optional ground electrode to the genset frame would be lowered shock hazard if you have a fault from the hot conductors. The best earth ground is the shortest with the lowest resistance. If some equipment running on genset power has a hot to earth fault, it should trip the breaker, but it will not if the neutral is not tied to the earth in a low resistance manner. They must be bonded for the hot connection to broken by safety equipment.

The shock hazard comes in if someone's body becomes part of the lowest resistance connection from earth to neutral when a hot-earth conductor short is happening. Yes, that means that a second fault has to occur in a properly designed system. First, a fault from hot to earth, commonly called "ground", conductor. Second a relatively low resistance connection via human to the neutral. The first could be to a water pipe or some other metal connection to the soil under our feet, yes THAT earth. Now you have high voltage earth under your feet (relative to the generator). Second, maybe you touch the genset frame that is bonded to neutral and the earth under your feet. Unless you have a lousy earth, meaning green or bare conductor, connection from faulty equipment to the genset, (or an unbonded/floating genset) you should never get a shock because the breaker will have already tripped. If that has gone wrong, you could be saved by a good conventional earth connection at the genset because the breaker would have already been tripped that way or, at the very least, it should be a much better current path than your flesh and bone. Under these conditions, a ground rod at the genset could be helpful.

Hope that helps.
 

idleprocess

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More common in the scale readers in this forum would likely be dealing with are transfer switches that switch hot, but not neutral conductor. (All the neutrals are always connected.) In this case, the genset is grounded at the same place the main service is grounded and the neutral and ground are not bonded at the genset, analogous to a sub panel.
Two of the three common scenarios I know of where one would be connecting a portable generator to an inlet of some flavor utilize this sort of arrangement:
  • Transfer switches route individual circuit hot legs from the panels hot busbars to the generator inlet while the neutral/ground connection to the generator is made the instant the extension cord is connected
  • Interlock breakers switches the entirety of the panel's hot busbars from the main breaker to the interlock breaker in 2 discrete steps, otherwise the neutral/ground make the same as a transfer switch
In these situations the ground also remains connected to panel. There is however an important caveat - the ground must be connected to the extension cord, something that's not done by default with most parallel kits.

The third scenario I'm not certain about - namely the GenerLink devices that sits between the meter and the meter base, isolating the panel from the grid whenever the generator is running. Which poles get switched when is not known; I would expect ground to always be made however a quick glance at their website did not make this clear.
 

KITROBASKIN

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Gratefulness for the information; comprehension is simply not there, between these ears at least. Will work on it, maybe post photos of what we have and hopefully come up with a more informed question. The goal is to be safe for humans and the equipment.
 

turbodog

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Gratefulness for the information; comprehension is simply not there, between these ears at least. Will work on it, maybe post photos of what we have and hopefully come up with a more informed question. The goal is to be safe for humans and the equipment.

In the real world... I hear of many more genset deaths from CO poisoning than shock.

This is a guess... but I'd bet that most shocks are usually at the genset itself... it's running outside with water present. I know I've run some in some risky situations when younger and dumber.
 

idleprocess

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After running my generators a couple times now for testing and anti-atrophy usage I'm really satisfied with the setup. I'd like to thank all those that pointed me towards running two smaller generators in parallel - particularly @turbodog and @orbital. The feature set isn't as rich and there's a little more complexity with two units vs one, but the redundancy in the face of my modest critical power needs makes up for it.
 
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