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Generator "Back Feed" through GFI Outlet

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by [email protected], Nov 27, 2012.

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  1. Guest

    Hi,

    I am planning on getting a generator incase of a long term loss of
    power. So far that has never happened to me, but I want to be prepared.

    If such an event would occur, I would "open" the main breaker, then
    use the generator outside in back of my house to "back feed" through
    an outside GFI outlet. Note: I have no interest in whole house power, but
    power for the refrigerator and some low power devices.

    I was planning on replacing the GFI outlet with a "regular" outlet, but a
    friend told me he once used his generator and "back feed" through a GFI
    outlet without a problem.

    Does anyone know if "back feeding" through a GFI outlet is OK?

    Thank You in advance, John
     
  2. backfeeding into an outlet is never ok. don't do it.

    just run your fridge off a really good quality extension cord.
     
  3. N_Cook

    N_Cook Guest

    Assuming the power rating of the generator was just enough power for when
    the fridge is on, would such a generator be able to start with the fridge
    compressor load in line and on, when powered up? How much of power headroom
    required to overcome such an initial load, should the owner not be aware of
    this , and wait and not power on the fridge when the gen is up and going.
     
  4. mike

    mike Guest

    I found a good deal on a generator at a garage sale.
    I found another good deal on a DIY transfer switch at another garage sale.
    These were both impulse purchases with no opportunity to research.

    When I got around to setting it up, I discovered that the permit
    fees exceeded the cost of the hardware.
    There were other issues where the national electrical code seemed to
    specifically prohibit things that the inspector said would be ok.
    And since the electrical service doesn't meet current code, there's
    risk that messing around in the breaker box might require some
    other major COSTLY changes. Opinions vary.

    I don't think the project will ever happen.

    Extension cord sounds like the right option.
     
  5. bud--

    bud-- Guest

    Probably not for auto-transfer. The generator would have to supply the
    total connected load.

    The transfer switch below is more likely to be auto-transfer. It only
    runs selected loads which a properly sized generator can supply.
    A third approach is in Phil's post. You install a breaker in a top
    position in the service panel and backfeed it from the generator. A
    mechanical interlock on the door prevents the service disconnect and
    generator breaker being on at the same time. Phil gave a source for the
    interlocks. Some panel manufacturers also sell them.


    I agree with others that a "suicide cord" is a real bad idea. For an
    easy to disconnect connection a proper method is to use an "inlet" with
    appropriate ratings:
    http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/SectionDisplay.jsp?section=41854&minisite=10251
    The cord from the generator to the inlet is a normal extension cord with
    the appropriate rating and ends. With a transfer switch or interlock,
    the prongs of the inlet will never be live.
     
  6. mike

    mike Guest

    I bought one of those for a buck. And a new 5KW generator for $100.
    Were those "Can'tPassItUp" deals that I later regretted.
    I have some really nice cable that can easily handle the generator
    interconnect, but it doesn't have the proper markings, so wouldn't
    be strictly code compliant either.
    An additional $150 for a permit and iffy approvals killed my ambition.
    I asked about interlocks and was beat bloody in the newsgroups that
    those were NOT legal under any circumstances.
    Didn't really matter cuz...

    My box has 5 primary breakers each supporting a set of secondary breakers.
    Since there's no single disconnect, I have no way to get from one
    branch to another using an interlock.

    Next time we have a substantial power outage, I'll dump the whole lot
    on Craigslist.
     
  7. the compressor in a fridge isn't too bad. Being able to shut off the
    defrost cycle coils might help a big during a power outage though. They
    waste lots of power.
     
  8. sadly the only way to get a good extension cords these days is to make
    your own.

    goto the hardware store or electric supply and get some good rubber cord
    and some real plugs and make a receptable box.

    I'm terrified by the shit they sell as extension cords these days. The
    contact are always utter crap, the crips are usually corroded by the cheap
    plastic and they are going to burn up at more than a 3 amp load.

    If you're a contractor doing work an a cord burns up running a chop saw,
    no big deal.

    If you're asleep at home, that's different story.
     
  9. Guest

    Government asshole bullshit ends at the outlet. It is not that hard to setup a system that does not touch the electrical wiring in the house and just use cords. The transfer switch is built into an electric cord basically, they have absolutely no jurisdiction.

    I could do it, I could show you how to do it and I can do it reasonable in cost.

    Not one single permit required. You don't even have to take an outlet coveroff.

    Get a couple 24V relays and a transformer, a roll of 12-3 WG UF Romex (has to be UF) and a few other things and you can tell the inspectors to go fuckoff.

    However you WILL have to completely understand how the thing works and all the safeties involved and never defeat them, otherwise your house insurancemight refuse to pay in the event of an ,,,,, event. One of the most important things is that the device(s) must not cause a fire or any other problemlike that.

    This is VERY important. The insurance can say whatever they want, but no matter what you do, I mean you could have a fucking meth lab in there, and ifit does not CAUSE the loss it is not grounds for denial of claim in any jurisdiction of which I am aware.

    Just like if you are drinkiing or don't have a license, they will tell you that any accident is your fault because you should not have been there evenif you get reareanded at a red light. That is another thing "they" tell you that is simply a fucking lie. Some are told that if you don't have car insurance you cannot collect if you get rearended. That is also bullmotherfuckingshit.

    Maybe it is different in othr countries, but in the US that is the way it is no matter what the lawyers say, even the ones in government. The COURTS say, and that is a bit different crowd. And the cops are not lawyers eityher, so do not forget that. Remember what YOU know if you get busted for something, not what they tell you.

    Enough on that. This is not tht hard to do. With a bunch of extension cordsgoing to a couple of boxes I can do this in a prefaectly acceptable fashion. I can make it comply with all major UL requirements. Not a big problem at all.

    J
     
  10. bud--

    bud-- Guest

    I have no idea what "the newsgroups" are.

    I have only looked at SquareD and Siemens. Both have panel cover
    interlocks. They are code compliant. Likely Phil's link is also allowed.
     
  11. JW

    JW Guest

    ObMadge: You're soaking in it.
     

  12. I was recently talking with a utility lineman who brought a TV in here
    for repair. We were discussing this very thing. I told him that I
    wouldn't want his job for any salary. He told me that back feeders who
    are not smart enough to kill the main are a constant problem. There
    was a case here a few years ago where a lineman was critically injured
    from a back fed secondary. I'm also told that if an electrocution
    should take place the AG might seek a manslaughter conviction. So
    "how" I asked do these poor guys protect themselves against these
    bozos?
    There are apparently a number of ways this is done. First, with
    utility power off on the primaries the guys ground the line, (phase)
    on each side of where they're working. This does two things. first it
    protects them against 240v induced into a pole pig's secondary and
    second, as long as Mr. Bozo's generator connects to house neutral at
    some point, which it would if he's using a suicide cord etc, it should
    trip out the breakers on the generator or smoke it. They also have
    inductive poles they can hold near a line that will light up and sing
    in the presence of primary voltage. I still wouldn't want the job.
    Lenny
     
  13. I had to check your newsgroup posting headers to double check
    that you weren't just another Google Grooper...
     
  14. N_Cook

    N_Cook Guest


    I was recently talking with a utility lineman who brought a TV in here
    for repair. We were discussing this very thing. I told him that I
    wouldn't want his job for any salary. He told me that back feeders who
    are not smart enough to kill the main are a constant problem. There
    was a case here a few years ago where a lineman was critically injured
    from a back fed secondary. I'm also told that if an electrocution
    should take place the AG might seek a manslaughter conviction. So
    "how" I asked do these poor guys protect themselves against these
    bozos?
    There are apparently a number of ways this is done. First, with
    utility power off on the primaries the guys ground the line, (phase)
    on each side of where they're working. This does two things. first it
    protects them against 240v induced into a pole pig's secondary and
    second, as long as Mr. Bozo's generator connects to house neutral at
    some point, which it would if he's using a suicide cord etc, it should
    trip out the breakers on the generator or smoke it. They also have
    inductive poles they can hold near a line that will light up and sing
    in the presence of primary voltage. I still wouldn't want the job.
    Lenny

    ++++

    I don't know about electricity supply but this is what they do on UK
    railways. At least like in our area with the third rail at ground level.
    When the ground crews have possession of a piece of track a shorting bar is
    clamped between the rails at either end of the possession. These bars are
    then tested regularly at Southampton University , that they will carry 5,000
    amps or whatever the rated figure is.
     
  15. bud--

    bud-- Guest

    Better would have been "no idea which of the newsgroups you are
    referring to".

    Panel cover interlocks have come up at least a couple times since Sandy
    on alt.home.repair and many times before that.

    I have watched this newsgroup for years - one of the more interesting
    (for my interests).
     
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