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Old 02-02-2019, 03:18 PM   #1
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A test of our Sunstar as backup generator.

When we built this house in the early 90s,I prewired for RV power to the pad, and backup house power from the pad. Over the last 25 years, we have used it as backup several time with our previous Suncruiser's 6.2kW generator



A month or so ago, I modified the wiring and connection to suit the smaller 4kW generator in the Sunstar, but never had a need to try it or test it.


Until today...


A car took out a 12kV line about a mile from here. So, Connect the house to the moho, start the generator, throw the manual transfer switch, and we have power.


Fish the cell router out of the moho, hook it up in place of the cable modem, and we have Internet.



Woohoo!
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Old 02-02-2019, 04:14 PM   #2
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Genius!
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:11 PM   #3
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Thanks! Still on the generator, with no ETA for restoration. With all the storms last night, I infer that they are waiting for a big enough truck to be freed up from another outage.


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Old 02-03-2019, 05:14 PM   #4
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Well, that went on way longer than I expected. Mains AC was not restored for 16 hours, and Internet for 27 hours. The generator ran until the AC came on at 3:15 AM and I secured it. I used a clamp on ammeter to keep an eye on the power draw.
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Old 02-04-2019, 04:06 PM   #5
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What are you able to run in your house with the 4kw? This is really interesting!
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Old 02-04-2019, 04:34 PM   #6
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I tend to go my own way when it comes to this. First of all, we have natural gas heating, cooking, dryer, and water heaters. So there are no high current loads.


Commonly, you would set up a sub-panel for selected circuits to run off the generator. I would rather be able to run what I want to, and intelligently manage the loads myself.


Originally, we used the 6.2kW generator in our old Suncruiser, which had a 20 and a 30 amp breaker. I fed each one to one side of the normal 240 transfer switch.


I should also point out that the only 240 VAC equipment we have are the pumps for the hot tub. So, I can't run the tub off the generator.


For this, I just run both legs of the switch off the same 30 amp outlet from the generator.


Ti answer your question, we had lights, TV and satellite, 3 computers, etc. The generator never bogged down, and we really never knew we were off-grid. Almost all of our lights are LED, with a few fluorescents left.



However, we also didn't run the microwave or any space heaters. The furnace, however, ran once. We could have run the microwave, I think, with no problem.


At no time did our consumption exceed 10 or 11 amps,
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:11 AM   #7
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That is super cool. Thanks for the added insight. I'm gonna do some noodling on this. What a great way of using our rigs when not on the road!
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:48 AM   #8
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You are welcome. Now that I have told you the correct way to do it, with a transfer switch, I will tell you how NOT to do it, before you think of it yourself.


People have made a cable with 2 male ends on it, one to plug into the generator outlet on the motorhome, one to plug into an outlet in the house, thus back feeding the house.


This is dangerous on a couple of levels. This type of cord is called, variously, a deadman cable, a widowmaker, or a suicide cable because it can kill you or someone else. Don't do it. Ever.


If the cable is plugged into the hot running generator outlet, the prongs on the other end are live, easily shocking someone if its not plugged into another outlet.



If someone uses the cable thinking it is a standard extension cord, same problem, especially when they notice the other end has a male plug on it and touches the prongs.


If the cord as "successfully" employed, but the main breaker to the house is not shut off, the AC lines from the house to the street and beyond are energized, presenting a lethal danger to anyone working on the lines to repair them, or even someone in a nearby house.


There is only one way to do this safely and correctly, and many ways to do it lethally wrong.
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLOweather View Post
You are welcome. Now that I have told you the correct way to do it, with a transfer switch, I will tell you how NOT to do it, before you think of it yourself.


People have made a cable with 2 male ends on it, one to plug into the generator outlet on the motorhome, one to plug into an outlet in the house, thus back feeding the house.


This is dangerous on a couple of levels. This type of cord is called, variously, a deadman cable, a widowmaker, or a suicide cable because it can kill you or someone else. Don't do it. Ever.


If the cable is plugged into the hot running generator outlet, the prongs on the other end are live, easily shocking someone if its not plugged into another outlet.



If someone uses the cable thinking it is a standard extension cord, same problem, especially when they notice the other end has a male plug on it and touches the prongs.


If the cord as "successfully" employed, but the main breaker to the house is not shut off, the AC lines from the house to the street and beyond are energized, presenting a lethal danger to anyone working on the lines to repair them, or even someone in a nearby house.


There is only one way to do this safely and correctly, and many ways to do it lethally wrong.
It's definitely something I'd bring my electrician buddy in on for the set up. There isn't much that scares me more than electricity.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:42 PM   #10
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Please be careful if your reading this post thinking ..

It was mentioned earlier but I want to really make sure this hits home.

Please be careful if youíre reading this post thinking you can just reverse power a house from a generator. Itís incredibly dangerous if not done with the proper equipment.

Itís a great idea if done right. Do your research, hire someone trained and double check the work.
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