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Old 08-25-2014, 08:07 AM   #43
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If you connect your generator to a house's electrical system, without pulling the main breakers, you will be likely be trying to power up your entire neighborhood. This attempt is going to be a very short one, as a load like that is going to pop a breaker immediately (on the gen. set or within the MH)?

With this in mind, my thought is it would take a pretty incredible chain of events to potentially endanger a lineman - whose first move when getting near a wire is to see if there is power on it.
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:22 AM   #44
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It depends on where the break is. If the break in the line is 3 blocks over, yes, you will damage your generator very quickly. If it is just outside your house, then you could cause problems for the lineman on the pole.

Remember, transformers work in both directions. That transformer will act as a step-up if powered from the secondary side. The lineman could be facing something much more significant than 120 or 240. And the generator may not be on when he checks, but come on at random times. Be nice to your lineman, who works to get your power on in the most severe conditions.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:32 AM   #45
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Why is everyone making it SO HARD. This is not rocket science.
1 Put an interlock in--- This is a switch to feed from either of two lines, public
power or your Gen. This is mechanical switch one or the other not both.
2 Install a plug in the line from the gen to the transfer switch like the one you
plug into at a camp ground.
3 Build or purchase an extention cord with the four prong(like the end on the MH plug
and on the other end like some MH's or boats use(again four prong).
4 Install a plugin port on the Gen side of the interlock switch.
5 If power is out throw interlock switch, plug extension from MH to house, shut down
all systems not needed in MH and house(this could include all 240 volt items) start
Gen.

Every home is different so power use is regulated by how much power your Gen can produce. On my setup because I have a natural gas home I can run most everything,
although not all at the same time.


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Old 08-25-2014, 09:58 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GA Navigator View Post

This is an interesting thread.

Last winter with ice in the forecast, I went and filled my propane, diesel, and water tanks and planned to stay warm and comfy in the motorhome. Fortunately we only lost power for about two hours.
My onan 10kw KDKAG does appear to generate 240V between legs. I haven't studied much on the wiring of it but did measure 240v one time in the breaker box while troubleshooting something else so I would think it's possible with my unit to power much of the house if I desired. I think the easier and safer solution would be to run an appropriately sized extension cord from an outside receptacle on the coach straight to any critical loads in the house like a refer/freezer. Then stay comfortable and worry-free while camping in the yard/driveway.


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You are absolutely right on about your generator producing 240 VAC plus the 12KW does the same.

Those require a different type 4 wire outlet on the side of the Generator if you were inclined to go that route. That's the proper way to do it and then using a 50 amp extension cord to a panel in the house.

Truthfully, I commend you for using some good common sense by using extension cords to power the critical stuff in your house.

Many here are turning this type of an emergency situation into a "rocket science" project. Those changes are better done during the construction phase yet also can be done post-construction with proper planning.

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Old 08-25-2014, 04:32 PM   #47
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[QUOTE=IMDSailor;2196231]I am not an electrician, nor do I have the correct words to describe what I'm trying to say, but I do know that Throwing the main breaker on the house panel will not prevent back feeding your local power grid.
You need a proper house Txfer switch wired into your house panel. Only the circuits that you would require to sustain basic house functions would be on this panel.
Any other method of "back feeding" power to your house is dangerous and could get a linemen killed down the road from your place.
I know this is a constant and huge concern for linemen after a storm.


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I would personally love a technical explanation of why throwing the main breaker in your house would not keep it from backfeeding the line. I am of the opinion this is dangerous because people either do not know or forget to throw the breaker. Once it is thrown to the off position it stops backfeeding from that panel. IF you have other sub panels wired straight to the meter it is obviously not going to stop them but if there is a reason whya thrown breaker will not stop backfeeding on the panel it is on please enlighten me.
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Old 08-25-2014, 05:29 PM   #48
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Google "lock out tag out" and you will see many horror stories where folks forgot to check or just flipped a switch.

Properly interlocked system helps to prevent accidents.
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:26 PM   #49
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Here's what I did and it's as safe as it gets

Let me begin by saying I have an interlock generator feed installed by an electrician with the proper permits and inspections by the town. This is run by a 10,000 watt generator. I also wanted the RV option because of the 75 gallons of gas always available. If you have ever been without the ability to get fuel for a week due to widespread power outage, you would understand.
So I installed a 30A receptacle off of the 30A side of the RV generator, before the transfer switch. I can then plug a heavy duty cord, 8 ga. that runs to the house. At the house is another heavy cord, 8 ga. that plugs into the RV cord and at the other end is a 4 plug receptacle.
Here is where life gets simple. My emergency items, oil fired heat and 110V well have been converted to plugs and receptacles rather than hard wired. All other items, pellet stove and refrigerators and freezer have plugs. Power goes out, fire up RV and plug cord in and everything important is alive and well. Only thing we can't run is the dryer.
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:06 PM   #50
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Quote:

I would personally love a technical explanation of why throwing the main breaker in your house would not keep it from back-feeding the line. But if there is a reason why a thrown breaker will not stop back-feeding on the panel it is on please enlighten me.
Count me on on this question also!

I was told I was TOTALLY wrong when making the same statement to first throw the main disconnect breaker in the main panel. I don't know what an "expert" will come up with BUT from actual experience every time I throw that breaker I have no power coming into the house.

So if I have no more power coming INTO the house then it is common sense that there will be no power Back-Feeding into the transformer and power lines.

How about one of the "experts" here enlighten us.


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Originally Posted by TimLoon View Post

So I installed a 30A receptacle off of the 30A side of the RV generator, before the transfer switch. I can then plug a heavy duty cord, 8 ga. that runs to the house. At the house is another heavy cord, 8 ga. that plugs into the RV cord and at the other end is a 4 plug receptacle.
Here is where life gets simple. My emergency items, oil fired heat and 110V well have been converted to plugs and receptacles rather than hard wired. All other items, pellet stove and refrigerators and freezer have plugs. Power goes out, fire up RV and plug cord in and everything important is alive and well. Only thing we can't run is the dryer.
Well, here is a guy with simple common sense and did exactly what I suggested regarding installing a proper receptacle on the side of the generator and then using a proper extension cable with receptacles for the critical stuff in the house.

This is NOT rocket science like many here are leading people to believe.

Thanks for posting!

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Old 08-25-2014, 08:50 PM   #51
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Finally, the smoke is lifting, and common sense is being exposed...

I would just like to mention that a loss of power, especially one lasting for more than just a few hours, is a pretty rare occurrence where we live. This most recent outage was due to a particularly nasty front moving through, and lasted for 2.5 days, but that's the first time in maybe 5 years?

Point being, some of us may not be able to justify the expense or difficulty setting up the likes of auto switch over boxes, etc. Here, extension cords do make sense, but I'll maintain that somebody with an understanding of the systems involved can back feed with a degree of safety no more dangerous than tripping over extension cords or running them under doors that are then closed on them (especially metal doors?).

FWIW, -Al
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Old 08-26-2014, 04:10 AM   #52
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My understanding is that even though you have disconnected the mains your neutral is still connected in some configurations. Without a proper sub panel tx'fer switch you cannot disconnect the neutral. If power goes through the neutral no matter how little when it reaches a transformer it will step up. Normally transformers are step down. When you backfeed they become step up. This creates a dangerous condition down the line as each transformer subsequently steps up the power.
The only way to ensure the safety of everyone involved, with the exception of running individual extension cords, which come with their own set of potential problems, is to run your Genny through a tx'fer switch.
I have paraphrased my electrician, any errors are mine. But I think you get the idea.


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Old 08-26-2014, 05:00 AM   #53
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Sent from my iPhone using iRV2 - RV Forum[/QUOT

I would personally love a technical explanation of why throwing the main breaker in your house would not keep it from backfeeding the line. I am of the opinion this is dangerous because people either do not know or forget to throw the breaker. Once it is thrown to the off position it stops backfeeding from that panel. IF you have other sub panels wired straight to the meter it is obviously not going to stop them but if there is a reason whya thrown breaker will not stop backfeeding on the panel it is on please enlighten me.[/QUOTE]

The reason this could happen is because the contacts within the breaker may stick on one side or possibly both sides and not open the circuit. You cannot physically see what is happening within the breaker and if you don't check to make sure nothing is feeding thru it with a volt meter you would never know, hence mister lineman is now in jeapordy. How many here have actually taken the time to take the cover off of your panel before or after turning off your main breaker and taken a reading to make sure there is NO back feed thru the main breaker???? There is one other misconception here regarding a back feed. It doesn't necessarily only happen thru one of the two hot legs feeding your panel. Depending on an issue within your wiring (a faulty breaker lets say) you could possibly back feed thru the neutral conductor. These interlocks they sell are nice but are not fool proof. They're in essence making you turn one breaker off before you can turn on the other for the generator side of things. The only way to totally be in the the clear is with a manual 3 pole double throw transfer switch which is now breaking both hot feeds and the neutral conductor. I install these between the meter and the house panel on any portable generator setup I install. They are not cheap but give me peace of mind.

I have always given any apprentice working with me a little advice to remember in regards to defining electricity. " Respect it at all times, it's a HAZARD you cannot see. "
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Old 08-26-2014, 06:53 AM   #54
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Regarding the neutral, if you look at how your panel is wired, it goes directly to a ground rod that's been driven into the ground outside your house. I doubt seriously if that is going to cause an issue to a lineman. When he's dealing with issues out on the lines, he's going to be expecting that line is grounded. No change from normal for him there?

Regarding a set of main breaker points not opening when the breaker is opened? Oh please... have you ever seen that happen first hand? Even if that were possible, and it did happen, when you connected your gen set to that leg, we're back to the scenario where the gen set is trying to power the neighborhood - which will pop the breaker immediately.
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Old 08-26-2014, 07:25 AM   #55
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Almost all panel manufacturers offer a interlock for their main breaker panels. GE, Siemens, Square D if they don't they have an interconnect for two double pole breakers that can be mounted in a sub panel. This is NOT rocket science.
For those that don't know what an Interconnect does. It is a mechanical device that prevents one breaker from closing before the other opens.
The ones that connected the main to a breaker in the panel, the main has to be disconnected(opened) before you can close the breaker coming from your gen source.
A male receptacle is one that is a male(think plug) that is recessed into the cover. You then use what would normally be the female end of a drop cord insert it into the male receptacle. No danger from a double male cord.
I think for most applications you would be looking at a female twist lock on the cord and the corresponding nema code male receptacle for your house.
Size the breaker and the plug to the wire size.


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Old 08-26-2014, 07:47 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GA Navigator View Post
This is an interesting thread.
Last winter with ice in the forecast, I went and filled my propane, diesel, and water tanks and planned to stay warm and comfy in the motorhome. Fortunately we only lost power for about two hours.
My onan 10kw KDKAG does appear to generate 240V between legs. I haven't studied much on the wiring of it but did measure 240v one time in the breaker box while troubleshooting something else so I would think it's possible with my unit to power much of the house if I desired. I think the easier and safer solution would be to run an appropriately sized extension cord from an outside receptacle on the coach straight to any critical loads in the house like a refer/freezer. Then stay comfortable and worry-free while camping in the yard/driveway.


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Since one would want the furnace to protect the plumbing as well as the refers and freezers the house could be as comfortable. The issue would be electric stoves, hot water heaters, microwave or any other similar high power devices. Avoid them and run a few circuits off the MH with extension cords or live in the RV with the house powered anyway, If I had to do it by the second day I'd have enough of the house on generator power to be comfortable if not content using a few extension cords and some plugs to bring up individual circuits. Disconnect circuit feeds at the breaker panel, add a male power plug to the circuit side and plug into an extension cord to the MH. No reason not to combine several circuits that way. There is a lot of unused capacity built into a modern house. Especially true if one uses gas for the stove and hot water.
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