Which brand of electrical panel?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by FrankPlumber, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    There is about a factor of 5 ratio for the cost of an automatic system vs a manual system that will be adequate for most people.

    I have a 5.5 kW diesel electric start that can be fueled from my #2 fuel oil tank. It cost $750. Add $80 for the interlock and the conduit and wiring that I did myself and I have less than $1000 in the system.

    In todays market it looks to me like the least expensive auto-start system is the Generac Guardian with propane power, starting at around $5000 for installed systems. If anyone wanted a true "whole house" system with automatic transfer switch installed by a dealer it would probably be a lot more.

    For the difference in cost I can stand a 5-minute delay while I start the generator and switch it over, for an outage that may occur twice a year.
  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Drive-by or fly-over or whatever, we got that here in northern InDiana a few months ago. As best I can tell, however, there is no camera or microphone.
  3. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,713
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Yup. I've got a 16kW with ATS, installed with 250Gal of propane for $8K. There are a few dirty secrets about these things that nobody tells you until you find them yourself. The most interesting is the fact that while there's a startup delay while the genset warms up, there's no shutdown delay whatsoever. So, when utility power comes back on, there's a huge phase shift and God knows what else when the transfer relay slams back to utility power. This does nasty things to some of my electronic gear and the A/C controller. Generac's answer: run it in manual mode, so Square D's interlock arrangement looks like a very attractive alternative for low-power generators. Also, according to my installer (now he tells me) any air-cooled genset is not going to provide clean AC (i.e., a sine wave), so clocks go nuts and all bets are off as far as electronics and computer-controlled stuff go. I'm going to pick up a Honda E2000i for that stuff.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2008
  4. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    I don't know how much they save, I only know that they spend $100 for me to turn it off to restore power to their A/C, W/H or whatever was turned off by the load controller.:)
  5. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    Bob 5.5 KW - NEVER MIND...I thought you had a generator...
  6. Nate R

    Nate R New Member

    Messages:
    472
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI

    What does he say is different about the water cooled gen set that would give you cleaner AC?

    Last I checked, the E2000i is air cooled. ;) I know it's an inverter type, just joking.
  7. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    Most small generators below 15 KW do not produce reliable "CLEAN" power, but are suitable for most residential applications, motors do not care nor do lights, if you start powering loads that rely on a TRUE 60 HZ sinewave then you can have issues.
  8. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,713
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Getting harder to find a home that doesn't depend on 60Hz sine waves in some fashion...
  9. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I don't understand your inquiry, unless you are trying to make some kind of personal insult about the size of my generator.

    My 5.5 kW diesel is hooked up so it serves any 120 Volt circuit in the house but not the 240 Volt circuits, so it will run everything except range, water heater, and dryer as long as I manage the load. If I have a long outage it takes about 3 minutes to hook the water heater up to 120 Volts, but the tankless coil in my boiler will provide as much hot water as I need.

    I can cook for the neighborhood, run my furnace and those of my near neighbors, and live for a month on 5.5 kW if I have to. My average usage for the month is about 1 kW.

    It will run my computers, A/C, countertop cooking appliances, and anything else that I need to live comfortably.

    I hope that you got a lot of satisfaction out of your lame attempt at insulting me. Maybe it will help you sleep better tonight. I had thought your were a professional of some kind.
  10. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    :eek: DANG!!

    Someone is pretty sensitive about their generator :rolleyes:

    It seemed like a good natured ribbing to me.

    We all know that size doesn't matter Bob. 5.5 is normal.;)
  11. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    Bob....lighten up....a little humor is good in every life. ALELEC got it..
  12. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,713
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Mine is 1.46 (average over 12 years or so), but the inrush and peak loads would kill a 5.5 kW generator. Even with the 16kW "whole house" generator, I have to manage the load among the big users -- water heater, A/C, well pump, dual oven, and dryer.

    My ex-girlfriends had it right -- bigger is better -- but there's a tradeoff when it comes to generators. The idle fuel consumption goes up to the point where just keeping a large (e.g., 20kW) unit running takes more fuel than the e200i at full load. Sounds to me like Bob's compromised well for what is, after all, an emergency resource.
  13. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    Well with all the electronics and computers in a home now, with the switching power supplies in them you would be hard pressed to find a sin wave on any of the power lines in a modern home.

    Rancher
  14. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    It has to be a sine wave, now it may be distorted, but the fundamental wave form is 60 HZ. The utility wave form I have seen in residential services is pretty clean.
  15. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,713
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I put a recording oscilloscope on my generator output -- the waveforms were posted on this site somewhere, but they may have been lost. There was obviously a 60Hz cycle, but the normal sinusoidal lobes were narrow and peaked. I wanted to do a FFT analysis on them but never found any software that worked at low frequencies, and ran out of time trying to roll my own. Anyway, motors and resistive loads worked OK, but solid-state equipment universally had problems, and digital clocks went nuts. Given the waveform, I was surprised that incandescent light bulbs looked normal.

    I put the same scope on the line with utility power, and there was no observable distortion or spurious noise, although I agree with Rancher that I should have expected to see some.

    Unfortunately, none of my friends have spectrum analyzers I can borrow :(. I'm moving with the wrong crowd, I guess.
  16. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    Mikey:

    I was hired by a generator manufacture to resolve an issue with their generator and the operation of an residential elevator. The elevator worked fine from a motor starting standpoint, generator was adequately sized to handle this load, the 2 HVAC units, well pump, refrigerators, misc lighting circuits, ect. BUT the elevator went wacky from a control standpoint over shooting floors, not recalling when connected to generator.


    I disconnected the controller and put it on utility let the elevator operate on generator and ran the elevator all over town with no issues. In the end what I did to resolve the interaction issue was install a double conversion online UPS, with a contactor and controls so if the elevator was called for while on generator the input power to the UPS would be interrupted, elevator controls where then on UPS isolated power and the elevator worked fine (I checked the UPS waveform prior to doing this install). When not in operation while on generator, the UPS would be on generator to avoid depleting the battery during long outages. Everyone was happy and I got paid, which is always good.
  17. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,713
    Location:
    Central Florida
    An interesting approach. What UPS did you use?
  18. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    Liebert has a small (can't rememeber if it was a 1 or 3 kva) true double conversion UPS.
  19. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    MN, USA
    I've looked at the breaker generator brackets and I plan on going that way in the future.

    Right now I have a 4Kw generator wired so that it supply's the same 120 volts to both phases. This disables all the 240 volt appliances like the hot watter heater and kitchen oven.

    I then have a 3Kw "continuous run" "sinewave output" Liebert UPS that I got used for $500
  20. Kiril

    Kiril New Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Which type of bus is going to give cleaner power, Copper vs. Aluminum? Reason being, trying to decided between a Homeline and QO, especially considering the QO breakers are about 3 times more expensive than the Homeline.
Similar Threads: brand electrical
Forum Title Date
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Light Bulb Exploded (Incandescent) Seeking Brand Recommendations Sep 4, 2013
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Smoke alarms: what brand should I buy? Mar 7, 2010
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Landscape LIghting Brands Jan 26, 2009
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog GFCI Brands Aug 18, 2007
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog "Best" Smoke Alarm Brand Jul 23, 2007

Share This Page