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Old July 28th 05, 01:46 AM
Pop
 
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"John Grabowski" wrote in
message ...
I think that these interlock kits utilize the existing
main breaker and one
new 2 pole circuit breaker for the generator input.
The two pole generator
circuit breaker will need to be located just below
the main breaker in the
existing electrical panel. This insures that when
the panel main is closed
the genny main is open. Shutting off the panel main
will allow the genny
main to be turned on which in turn blocks the panel
main from being flipped
back on.



"rh455" wrote in
message
...

Excellent info John. I looked high and low and
couldn't find an
interlock kit on CH's website. It looks like just a
lockout plate and
decals in the kit. Isn't there two breakers in an
interlock kit? One
for the utility power and one for the genny? If I do
the interlock kit,
will I need another 30amp 240 breaker and wire it to
another plug box to
connect the generator to?


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The way mine works is, you remove the branch wire from
the breaker and connect to the box, which goes to the
Common of a dpdt switch. The NC of that switch goes to
the regular breaker, so normally everything works as
before. The NO goes to the generator. Flip the switch
and power come from the generator instead of the power
company.
Thus, there is no possible way to ever switch the
generator output to the power company wiring. Barring
severe damage, it's foolproof.
I have 12 ckts on mine; that's plenty to run
everything I might need in an emergency situation. Oh,
it's also got an overcurrent breaker in case too muich
power's drawn, as does the generator also. Nothing
but breakers, so it's a pretty simple design. There's
also a current meter for each leg of the incoming split
phase power so you can see how balanced the thing is on
your generator.
It's convenient for testing periodically too, since
you just flip on the switches you need to create your
load. It's not even necessary to touch the main
breaker. Transfer switches make lots of sense. The
more expensive ones will even start the generator for
you, and switch everything over, automatically. But I
ain't that rich & don't mind flipping a switch &
pushing a button to start the generator.

Pop



  #22   Report Post  
Old July 28th 05, 03:11 AM
rh455
 
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John, in doing some research I found that the biggest fear of most is
that the main breaker may fail while in the off position thus still
allowing power flow as if it were still on. I suppose that this cenario
is still possible with an interlock kit. Is this right?


Pop, I don't have either switch at the moment, but don't I have to do
both of the steps you listed regardless of which switch I get? With a
cutoff, I go outside, throw the cutoff and lock it down. Then connect
the generator and turn on the circuits that I want. With a transfer
switch, I have to turn the main switch on the transfer switch from
utility to generator, connect the generator and select the circuits
that I want to run. Did I miss something? Aren't I doing the same steps
regardless of what switch I choose?

Another problem I'm facing is that the breaker box in my house is in a
confined area, barely wider than the box itself. I won't have any place
in the immediate area to install the transfer switch. From all ads I've
seen, the harness is only about 2'. The wall that the breaker box backs
up to is the breakfast area, so Wifey won't be thrilled about that. Any
ideas?


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  #23   Report Post  
Old July 28th 05, 03:51 PM
Pop
 
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Comment inline :===

"rh455" wrote in
message ...

John, in doing some research I found that the biggest
fear of most is
that the main breaker may fail while in the off
position thus still
allowing power flow as if it were still on. I suppose
that this cenario
is still possible with an interlock kit. Is this
right?

=== Not addressed to me, but ... I have to wonder how
a mains breaker could "fail" while it's in the off
position. Some of them take a man and a boy just to
set them on.
What would be the "failure" mechanism they are
worried about? I can't see a Mains breaker either
turning ON spontaneously, or mechanically failing so it
can't be turned back on, being much of a worry.
The biggest "danger" in my opinion, is always that
the wrong person might discover the breaker and flip it
from ignorance, or a child playing in there, neither of
which should be easy to do. "Should" being the
operative word.

Pop, I don't have either switch at the moment, but
don't I have to do
both of the steps you listed regardless of which
switch I get?


=== I think that depends on your local codes, not my
descrip; please read on.

With a
cutoff, I go outside, throw the cutoff and lock it
down.

=== OK, that totally disconnects the entire house,
which is practical and totally acceptable. Now nothing
can go into the power lines as long as the switch was
the right type and design. So, I agree.

Then connect
the generator and turn on the circuits that I want.

=== The generator is always connected. In my (and
most others I know of) case, the generator can be left
plugged in. The only caveat is that, by code here at
least, there must be a "quick disconnect" provided for
the generator. That's so the power company, police,
fire, etc. can quickly disconnect power if there is a
generator running. So I was told, anyway.
My generator isn't literally connected all the time
though, per sae. I often load it onto a trailer to
haul around for the occasional job where I need
poertable power. It's only an 8,000 watt generator
(surge, I forget the steady run wattage at the moment).
In the summer it's not connected since it's so seldom
needed. Soon's the winter weather comes though, I put
it in its little compartment, plug it in, fuel it etc,
and plug it in for the duration. So, I may or may not
have to plug it in. To use it, I just roll it out of
its little "house", push the start button, and let 'er
rip soon's it's warmed up a bit.
But, point is, if your setup were good enough, you'd
never even have to disconnect it. Its output isn't
connected to anything because of the transfer switch.

With a transfer
switch, I have to turn the main switch on the
transfer switch from
utility to generator,

=== No. There is no Mains switch other than the
breakers on the generator.

connect the generator and select the circuits
that I want to run.

=== Yes, you would have to do that. My transfer
switch has 8 ckts, one of which is a 220V pair for the
well pump (we're rural). The other 6 go for furnace,
fridge, two for lights, one for the bedroom outlets,
and the last one to the basement lighting. If I need
to run the pump periodically I have to be sure the
fridge and furnace aren't running, but that's an
acceptable situation for me since I can't afford a
bigger generator. It takes the pump about two minutes
or so to build up the pressure tank and then I turn it
off; that's plenty for occasional drinking water and a
couple of toilet flushes, plus it protects the water
heater.
It's only REAL intent is to keep the house from
freezing and lit up for saftey/protection. The rest is
just gravy so that we can stay here if the power goes
out for an extended period of time, which has happened
twice since we got it, the worst being in '98.

Did I miss something? Aren't I doing the same steps
regardless of what switch I choose?

=== Sort of, but no, not quite. I apologize for
breaking up your paras like that, but I thought it
might be easier than trying to dispute or agree to
things that might interact. I don't consider the
"number" of actions as important as I do the simplicity
and reliability of the actions to be taken.
eg, it doesn't matter whether the generator is
plugged in or not. My transfer switch has no mains
breaker; just "replacement" breakers to my breakre box
for the generator to use. The "switches" in the
transfer switch are actually individual breakers. You
cannot use them like you would alight switch, but they
are designed to be turned on and off without becoming
damaged as the breakers in your box might do.


Another problem I'm facing is that the breaker box in
my house is in a
confined area, barely wider than the box itself. I
won't have any place
in the immediate area to install the transfer switch.
From all ads I've
seen, the harness is only about 2'. The wall that the
breaker box backs
up to is the breakfast area, so Wifey won't be
thrilled about that. Any
ideas?

=== True, the harness is short and best installed next
to your breaker/fuse box. But, when you get into the
instructions, you'll find I think, instructions to
extend it, including the wire gage and current
capacities, wire lengths, etc. for extension.
So, that harness can be extended. My location isn't
as cramped as yours, but I still chose to add about 6
feet to the harness. I used a box with clampdowns to
splice the wires, and ran them up to the breaker box
thru another piece of metal conduit.
Actually, since the transfer switch wiring (in my
case at least) consists of stranded wire in that
harness, it's my opinion that they assume you'll extend
it. If you've ever worked with stranded wire that
size, you'll know what I mean g! I extended it with
appropriately sized solid wire.

I forget whether it's "emergen" (no quotes) or
something close to that, but try googling on that and
see if you don't come across a transfer switch web
site. If that doesn't work, come back and ask me for
the web site. I'd just give it now, but I'm disabled
and at the moment it would be sort of a hardship to get
out there to find it.
Aha! Found it:
http://www.nbmc.com/images/emergenistall.jpg
And the web site entry is at:
http://www.nbmc.com/emergen/index.html

They give a pretty good description that might help
with understanding what i'm talking about.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned: You also need to
earth your generator to the house earth connection. I
think that's shown on that page, too. Safety reasons,
obviously.

HTH,

Pop


  #24   Report Post  
Old July 28th 05, 05:39 PM
Member TPVFD
 
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rh455 wrote:
John, in doing some research I found that the biggest fear of most is
that the main breaker may fail while in the off position thus still
allowing power flow as if it were still on. I suppose that this cenario
is still possible with an interlock kit. Is this right?


Pop, I don't have either switch at the moment, but don't I have to do
both of the steps you listed regardless of which switch I get? With a
cutoff, I go outside, throw the cutoff and lock it down. Then connect
the generator and turn on the circuits that I want. With a transfer
switch, I have to turn the main switch on the transfer switch from
utility to generator, connect the generator and select the circuits
that I want to run. Did I miss something? Aren't I doing the same steps
regardless of what switch I choose?

Another problem I'm facing is that the breaker box in my house is in a
confined area, barely wider than the box itself. I won't have any place
in the immediate area to install the transfer switch. From all ads I've
seen, the harness is only about 2'. The wall that the breaker box backs
up to is the breakfast area, so Wifey won't be thrilled about that. Any
ideas?


That is a straw man put forward in an attempt to answer those who say
that they would never forget to open the main first. I don't see a
failure of a main breaker in the closed position as at all likely. What
I do see as likely is that the user will be tired, stressed out, drunk,
or elsewhere. If the user is elsewhere then their no it all teenage
child, fed up with no power wife, or ever so helpful neighbor will
attempt to use a system were a single mistake in two separate operations
will cause injury of death. With the interlock kit and a fixed male
inlet there is no way to make a deadly mistake with a suicide cord or a
back feed to the outside utility lines. In forty years of electric work
I have never seen a main breaker fail closed. I have however seen more
than a dozen of them fail open or unable to reset after opening on
repeated overloads.

To overcome your limited space you can mount a SquareD rain tight, feed
through panel out doors between the meter and the point of entry of the
service conductors. That panel will contain the interlock kit. It will
also provide you an outdoor source for air conditioning, well pump,
outbuildings, jacuzzi, or any other outside load. The flanged inlet;
such as the one shown at
http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/catalog/default.php?cPath=21_27;
can be mounted right at the feed through panel. That will put your
generator operation all in one place.

If your home has any form of dual metering such as for off peak use of
AC or heating then you need to have the installation checked by an
electrician experienced in emergency power installations to eliminate
any possible sneak current paths between the two meters via equipment
served by both.

You won't have to select the circuits as long as you don't turn on too
much load there will be no problem.
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
for general use." Thomas Alva Edison
  #25   Report Post  
Old July 28th 05, 06:12 PM
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Pop wrote:
I can't take this anymore; gotta speak up.

A Transfer Switch, properly installed, automatically
disconnects the wired ckts from the mains, meter,
incoming power, whatever you want to call it, all in
ONE motion, and gives thos ckts to the generator ONLY.

A cutoff switch, though functional enough, is ANOTHER
added action in order to isolate the generator from the
power coming in. First you have to throw the cutoff
switch, then hook up your generator - at LEAST two
steps, easily forgotten/mixed up in an emergency.
With a transfer switch, you can monitor the power
being used with the meter, how much is on which leg,
and even control what can or can't run.
With a cutoff switch, after you get the generator
hooked up and running, then you have to be sure you
turn off several breakers, or go around and make sure
"extra" things aren't running.
With a transfer switch, using it assures you
disconnected from the incoming power by virtue of its
design. A cutoff switch just disconnects the whole
house and that's all.
With a transfer switch, you can still know when
power comes back. Not so with a cutoff switch.

Some codes still require a cutoff switch regardless of
whether you use a transfer switch or not, because they
predate transfer switches for residences.
Yes, I have a transfer switch. Yes, I used it
during the Ice Storm on '98, for 5 days, in fact. No,
I'm not required to have a cutoff switch. My
installation was inspected and passed with flying
colors.
Best to check on local codes.

Just my two cents

Pop


"rh455" wrote in
message ...

I wouldn't be energizing the entire house, only
select circuits to get
by. I'm debating the options of transfer switch or a
master cutoff
switch which would cut power off before the meter.
I'd know for certain
that the utility power is off before I could
backfeed. I'm not committed
to either option at the moment, I'm researching
before I decide. My
power comes out of the ground up to about 5' to the
meter. The power
exits the meter from behind(into the wall) and into a
perpendicular
interior wall about 5' to the breaker box. The
breaker box is confined
in a narrow spot.(Not much room for a transfer
switch). My neighbor's
house has a meter with a master cutoff box next to it
with a lever on
it. The power exits the cutoff switch from behind to
his breaker box.
To me, that's a positive way to cutoff power from the
pole. I have
nothing between the meter and the breaker box but the
main breaker. I'm
not opposed to a transfer switch, it's just that it
would be difficult
in my situation.

C & M Wrote:

Knowing nothing I'll add my two pence from that
standpoint. I
consulted
with a licensed and well experienced electrician.
He installed a
transfer
switch wich was $500 and his labor, another $400 as
I recall and it
works on
the alloted circuits as proven by a two day outage
last year. It seems
to
me that when you choose to energize the entire house
on a small
generator
you could overload it accidentally. And, as I said,
since I don't
know
anything about electricity I assume that this could
cause a
catastrophic
accident. No ones life is worth a savings of any
amount of money.

"

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[/color]

Pop
What you are calling a transfer switch is a transfer panel that contains
a number of transfer switches. I don't make that distinction to split
hairs but rather to point out that a transfer switch is simpler to
operate and provides more flexibility in which loads you can run. A
transfer panel offers better control but less flexibility in load
selection.

Each of the switches in a transfer panel is a transfer switch that
controls a single load or circuit. One advantage of that arrangement is
that you can transfer the selected loads and still leave some load
connected to the utility to indicate the return of public power.
Another advantage is that you greatly limit the likelihood of
overloading the generator to the point were it's Over Current Protective
Device opens and darkens the whole house again.

A double throw switch, or a pair of single throw switches that are
interlocked, which controls the entire supply to the home allows you to
run any load in the home up to the limit of the generators capacity.
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just fad. It is much too dangerous
for general use." Thomas Alva Edison


  #26   Report Post  
Old July 28th 05, 09:25 PM
Pop
 
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....
Pop
What you are calling a transfer switch is a transfer
panel that contains a number of transfer switches.
I don't make that distinction to split hairs but
rather to point out that a transfer switch is simpler
to operate and provides more flexibility in which
loads you can run. A transfer panel offers better
control but less flexibility in load selection.

=== Your comments are correct of course, but what a
person sees when he approaches mine is "Transfer
Switch" on the label. In many parlance it's common to
call a "box" of something by the singular form; thus I
suppose a "box" of transfer switches is "a" transfer
switch.
Google for "tansfer switch" and you won't get the
individual 3-position (or 2 position) switches, you'll
get a bunch of sites calling a "box" of transfer
switches a transfer switch, singular. It just makes
sense and is logical.
I have a feeling we're on opposite sides of the
high\low voltage equation?

One can go as far as they wish with definitions, but
it's generally best to go with what is "common" or
"perceived" usages. If someone asks you what a
transfer switch is, you're probably going to continue
describing dtdt, dptt, tptt and so on, but it would
have served no purpose to the post, IMO. But I
would describe it as a box with a set of switches to
isolate your generator from the mains lines. Which is
by far more accurate than trying to describe one of the
internal switches, in view of the current usage.

So, I'm at a loss as to just what the heck you are
trying to communicate in your post. Were you adding
to, subtracting from, or otherwise trying to
correct/revise something I said? You did address it
specifically to me, so it has to be my post your are
referring to.
If so, come out and say it. I'm not aware that I
gave any bad advice to the posters, so if there's
something wrong, be specific.

I don't bite :-)

Pop



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Old July 29th 05, 02:03 AM
rh455
 
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Pop
What he means is, a transfer switch panel and a master transfer switch
are similar, but the "panel" transfers power to the circuits from the
generator/utility. A transfer "switch" is one large switch in the main
line that transfers power to the whole breaker box from the
generator/utility instead of individual circuits. That's the point. You
can get a transfer panel to power selected circuits or a general switch
to backfeed the whole board which in my case is much more convienent
for me.


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