Hints and tips that some may not have heard of. #45: I See the Light

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Boys and Girls,
 
Downtown Churchill happens to suffer a disproportionate amount of blackouts and a generous amount of brownouts that has compelled me to invest in a DeWALT 7000W Generator.  
Consequently, if your household is not rigged out with a private generator, this may be of little interest to you.
 
When the electrons stop being delivered, I make a bee line to my switch board and flip the breaker to the “GEN(erator) SUPPLY” setting
and crank up the generator.  It will run the entire household, though I haven’t put the lift through it’s paces and I avoid the workshop… obviously during summer, the egg-nishna est verboten aussi tot (the gas heater is OK in winter)... I feel that I can abstain longer than those gremlins that try to rob me of my power.
 
Normally when the power comes back on, normal households light up and the interrupted appliances spring into action, scaring the bjesus out of all the animals in the house... and even the pets. 
The problem faced when I am running off my generator is, when does/did the power come back on as the circuitry has been switched?
The way around it is to go and open up the power box outside,
and if there are red lights, the power is back and I can switch off the generator and back to the normal supply.
We have had some lengthy outages and the number of outside trips started to become a tad cumbersome.

I got my sparkie to rig up a neon light switch direct to the outside circuit when he was doing some other qualified electrical work for me.  During an outage, I turn that neon light switch on… naturally it will be unlit,

but as soon as the power is returned, the switch lights up, 
 

signally the time for changeover reversal.   
The switch is in a convenient place 
that is easily seen, status identified and permit prompt action to be taken without having to continually check the outside power box.
 
 
 

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

55 Comments

Very nice setup and really like the lights.

A couple years ago.we had a Generac whole house 20 kW installed and love it.  We had a bad ice storm and blizzard ten years ago that knicked down power lines, broke poles, and shut things down for a week.  It was scary and after that we wanted the generator.
Generators are great.

Out typical blackouts are 1-2 hours, but lately we've had a few that ran 9+ hours. That's longer than what I consider something the frozen/refrigerated food can weather so I bought a dual fuel (gas/propane) unit and run extension cords.

The excellent LBD setup is where I'm headed, or maybe go fulll-in with something larger for whole house with an automatic transfer switch.
Most every central gas heater in a house needs electricity to run the blower.

Of course they've begun hinting at making them expensive(r) or banning them because of their lack of catalytic converters and CO2 sequestration. 
It's just going to be getting worse as grid stability yields to a greater percentage of intermittent sources (i.e. solar and wind) 
Generators are great for sure. If you're going to use them for sensitive electronics like TVs and phone charging, an inverter generator is a must. Regular ones will fry sensitive elctronics over time or not.

Darrel

It is an inverter type Foggy... that's why I settled for the 7000... larger inverters were just too many shekels wven if they had the Fe$tool badge on them.

Thanks for that very useful info that ignoramus me failed to convey.

Accept the point about the heater's blower, Splinter.   I actually haven't tried the heater out as I was too busy running around the house keeping warm by verbally resetting all my smart devices that all turned on with the restoration of power (bot ends)... It's just that my egg-nishna is 15KW which is just a tad more than 7, with the gas feature rated well below that (I think). 

Didn't consider the power rating of the egg' when I had it installed... with the cost or electrons nowdays (even with solar), it only gets turned on at >25°C.

I'm not that much generator savy and the hint is not as much in getting a generator, but rather what I do to check the reconnections with less hassle.  

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

Either way, anything that alleviates the job of dragging extension cords throughout the house is a winner 👍
Foghorn, an alternative, which may be better because it's on duty all the time, and gives you shut down time, in event of a power loss, is the battery back ups.  

A battery back up cleans the signal brought in and I've seen an instant improvement in computer performance when I ran one in some areas, crashes dropped to zero-ish.

Essentially, a good one will feed your electronics off a battery, the output which is converted to usable watts (amps x volts), so their output is smooth and steady.

They also isolate you sensitive equipment from surges.
Something to remember about generators is, if you were running your whole house on one, the monthly bill to operate it would be in the thousands. They are fuel eating critters and fuel, by design of agenda driven P'sOS, aren't cheap and will get worse.

One fellow I talked to said he tried the fully off grid thing with his big generator and it cost him nearly four k a month. That was about fifteen years ago.

For that reason, it might be a good idea to limit emergency generator size and plan on having to do a bit more footwork. 

The monkey wrench in this would be heat on a, for example 20 below day, if yours is electric. I was fortunate, I had both wood and gas heat (AND HOTWATER), so was unaffected by the grid crash on those accounts.

I lucked out and scored an 8 gauge, 100' cable from a garage sale (guy did a lot of welding), so can run the generator well away from the house and move the cable anywhere I like.

During a two week power outage, we kept the fridge and freezer charged. We had hot coffee. The Net was unaffected, so we were able to access it too (it, literally, was business as usual for customer emails, info shopping and so on). Too, at the time, I had a few thousand videos (I promised myself I could buy a video for each pack of smokes I didn't buy), so the kids were able to amuse themselves with a lot of movie and series choices.

This was all off a little 2.5 k Honda.

I will say, if I had it to do over, I'd bump that 2.5 to a 3, so it could run my airless, HVLP and more power hungry saws.  Meanwhile, the Honda started in a couple pulls, after sitting several years.
Im a fan of the battery backup UPSs'. Problem is the run time on battery is 1 hour and the power company strives to keep the outages going for 70 minutes.
Always replacing the batteries in the buggers!

I can deal with going through long outages (up to maybe a day), just run the generator to the freezer/fridge every few hours to cool things back down and of course for coffee in the am.
USPs are a great options for those odd quick dropouts to maintain the office for short periods.  To cover the generic household can be an issue.
With the current power philosophy and climate change (I'm only referring to our recent occasional/unpredictable glitches not the global ideology), the blackouts/brownouts are only going to increase and extend in duration.
My 7K inverter can tackle all my needs short of the workshop and house-hold climate control.  Those I can tolerate.

By having the gen wired into my circuit, I don't have to worry about individual appliances... I do turn off the circuit breaker in the workshop (2bsure, 2bsure), however, I need to extension cord to the fridge down there.  Not that the loss of power is the issue, It's the bloody cleanup the next day after the defrosting. 

Maybe a review of a in-line generator wouldn't go astray.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

USPs can be a great saver for the home office, especially if your business depends on it, but I've discovered it can be an issue when it comes to the general household... at least that's the case according to downtown Churchill expertise.

Unfortunately with the current power usage and climate change (I'm not referring to those occasional/unpredictable extremes like storms etc, and not the global "climate change" ideology), blackouts/brownouts are becoming more frequent and lasting much longer.  

I've found that my wired in 7K gen, can accommodate my daily needs without having to concentrate (and supply power) to individual appliances.  I trip the workshop breaker (2bsure, 2bsure)... though I have to provide extension power to the shop fridge...  not that the temperature for 1 or 2 days is an issue, it's the bloody cleanup after it defrosts. Hmm, maybe a better fridge?  
The household climate control is also a no-no during the outage as is the spa... but they are luxuries than can easily be tolerated for a short period... and none of that affect the temperature of casks of red.

Maybe a review of a home gen might not go astray.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

LBD it appears to me that your little red light wired to the utility is the solution to your irritation in having to run out to the outside power box. The only other option would be an automatic transfer switch, however it would only be "automatic" when switching back to utility, due to the 7 kW Dewalt not having automatic cranking & start, and the Dewalt would keep running anyway & need to be shutdown. In my humble opinion, your current setup is correct for your situation, thus avoiding the cost of an ATS and only operating it half the time.
UPS units are for short term use, like keeping sensitive electronics up during the time from utility drop until generator comes up & the ATS goes to generator. Batteries are not real efficient in storing power and require regular maintenance. 
It appears you've got the best solution for your needs already.
Thanks Oldie... The setup is just pure convenience combined with lazyness.  Fortunately the sparkie, also a friend was already working on the circuitry, so it was a simple fix to get cheap and satisfactory results.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

On generators, I like the sliding bar which makes it impossible to both have the gen on and the main breaker on.

SIDE NOTES:  When I mentioned UPS's, I did mention their best suited to giving you time to shut down. HOWEVER, if on is inclined, the battery can be tapped for adding, in parallel, additional batteries, like you'd have in your camp trailer, to give you more run time.

One of the neatest "generators" I've seen took a lesson from grand father and coo coo clocks:  A small railway track was made on a hill of a property.  On it was placed a cart filled with rocks or concrete (back up carts could be  used too).

When power was on, the cart(s) was/were pulled to the top of the hill and parked there. When power was out, each cart was freed, one after the other. They would move down the hill slowly. VERY SLOWLY. As they moved, they turned a flywheel and generated power.

Geared properly, it could take on a week to get down the hill.  They could be pulled back up via a motor, when the power was on, or a horse could pull them up using a block-and-tackle.

 Kelly
....
One of the neatest "generators" I've seen took a lesson from grand father and coo coo clocks:  A small railway track was made on a hill of a property.  On it was placed a cart filled with rocks or concrete (back up carts could be  used too).

When power was on, the cart(s) was/were pulled to the top of the hill and parked there. When power was out, each cart was freed, one after the other. They would move down the hill slowly. VERY SLOWLY. As they moved, they turned a flywheel and generated power.

Geared properly, it could take on a week to get down the hill.  They could be pulled back up via a motor, when the power was on, or a horse could pull them up using a block-and-tackle.

Neat story and inovation Kelly.  Unfortunately the distance between my inside circuit board and outside power board... I'd be swimming in,

if the power was out for a while.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

Aw, so you're saying we need to figure out how to tie methane into the deal [underground, of course, so Gretta doesn't catch "wind" of the schemes]?
Or use very small ponies.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

In relation to UPS run time you can always up the battery capacity.


My hat  I wear when skypeing the Ant Man

BTW



Zip along to about 3:00 if you are not interested in 500MPH tennis balls


Regards Rob

I've had a talk with sparkies about UPS with zero outage.  It'd cost a small fortune (for me with all my NAS systems, yes systems) for zero outage.  The minimal outage the generator provides justifies the shekel savings towards my next Fe$tool purchase.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

NAS?
what the hell are you running Heathwood power station MkII

Regards Rob


 RobsCastle
 commented about 1 hour ago
new
NAS?
what the hell are you running Heathwood power station MkII

NASssss!

You forget I'm an ex-mainframer... and a growing boy needs room for a few XXX.


If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD