Home generators

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by beachcaster, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. beachcaster

    beachcaster Read Only Funster

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    News in the papers today say prepare for blackouts at home in the future.
    Those of us with a motorhome in the drive with a couple of fully charged batteries and a solar panel and plenty of gas may well be able to seek sanctuary
    for a few hours/days with all mod cons.heating/cooking/tv etc.

    But I would think we might have a few generator experts here.....so what are the options for a generator that would keep the home going..something for a domestic house. ( if thats not asking too much ) certainly keeping the freezers going..providing lights and enough for a tv and basic comfort.

    We cook with gas.......so that wouldnt be a prob......given Im not an expert at electrics ....what are your thoughts ?

    barry:Smile:
     
  2. Larrynwin

    Larrynwin Funster

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    We have a 2.2kw 4 stroke genny cost around £120 from Makro.
    In the event of a power cut , switch off main breaker and feed genny into 13a socket, enough power to run some lights , heating pump and fridge freezers etc. :thumb:we had a cut during last years Christmas holiday and were the only house in the street with our lights on :BigGrin:
     
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  3. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    STAND BY - INCOMING.


    As always with this thread.
     
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  4. beachcaster

    beachcaster Read Only Funster

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    Do I take it that its a debatable thing to do ?

    barry
     
  5. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    In the way described it's so dangerous no-one in their right mind would do it.

    Basically it means a mains lead with a plug at each end. Quite lethal.

    Then it relies on turning the right switch off. If the mains came on and the main breaker had not been turned off there would be a quite a bang.

    If the mains is off due to cable faults there are other safety issues.

    A safe option, is an extension lead with multi socket, just unplug from mains and plug into generator.

    Papajohn is the resident expert, ask him.
     
  6. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Living where we do we get quite a few power cuts. The genny is a godsend. One particularly long blackout lasted about 30 hours we just moved into the van (it was an RV) All the comforts of home, heat, light,TV, internet. In fact why do we own houses:BigGrin:
     
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  7. WillH

    WillH Funster

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    Years ago we used to suffer power cuts all the time, to the point that I purchased two very large generators for my workplace. All we did at home was go into the caravan, now motorhome. I can't honestly remember when we last had a power cut though.

    Rgds
    Bill
     
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  8. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    theres nothing wrong with having a backup generator, just never connect it to a household ring main or fuseboard. if you do any injuries and fatalities will be your fault. potential easily for a manslaughter case

    i am not going to lecture on how to connect a generator into a supply correctly but will just say that the circuit breakers in a modern domestic circuit would not protect you if you just plug into a socket. never start a generator with load attached or it will cause expensive damage. [HI]never ever put a bare plug at either end of a flex[/HI]

    simple answer as already pointed out is to run an extension lead from the generator and plug appliances into that. not exceeding the maximum current of the cable used or the generator
     
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  9. tonyidle

    tonyidle Funster

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    It IS dangerous if a mistake is made: It is not dangerous if care is taken and it is the only simple way to ensure that CH pump & boiler would continue to work.

    As suggested there are two aspects to this method that could present a danger: the most obvious is that with the generator running its output (mains voltage) is presented on the pins of the plug that you use to connect it to a convenient socket. Notices attached to the plug & genny would be sufficient to remind you not to insert, or remove, the plug until the genny is stopped; the second is the possibility you fail to disconnect the incoming mains supply at the main breaker and it comes back on with the genny still connected & running. This is an unlikely scenario because if you don't disconnect the incoming mains (which isn't there at the moment anyway) your generator will attempt to power any other houses, street lights, etc, that are on the same supply. The genny will warn you of this by grumbling somewhat. Again a reminder could be attached to the genny to switch off the main breaker before starting.

    I have some experience of this as during the '70s miners strikes I was a member of a team of engineers attempting to keep telephone exchanges running when the power cuts were occurring. The method we had to use was exactly that described.

    In short if care is taken at the time of connection it is a viable procedure.
     
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  10. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    as Brian said....very dangerous having an extension lead with a plug both ends.
    only takes a lapse of concentration and pull the plug in the house with the generator still running....but you would only do it once.

    you may need to check from time to time that the power has been restored and to do that you MUST unplug the generator....no good just turning it off, it will still go bang...before turning the main switch back on.

    there is a very safe way though

    make a lead with a hookup type PLUG on one end and a 3 pin plug on the other....this will plug into a 'hard to reach' house socket AFTER the fusebox MAIN SWITCH has been turned off.
    next use your hookup lead to connect the generator to the made up lead in the house.

    if its a hard to reach socket you will have to think about unplugging it....not just walk up and unplug.

    the hookup socket.....it has no visible pins, so if it is unplugged with the generator running you cant touch any live parts.

    the flying lead europlug in the wall socket does have exposed pins but as the main switch is turned off they cant be live....even if the mains supply is restored.
    great care should be taken regardless of how its done.

    bear in mind you may only have around 10amps to play with so also turn off the breakers for any heavy loads...cooker, shower etc...and dont try boiling a domestic kettle, it will overload the generator.

    in my case, all the above is immaterial as I have a hookup socket on the house socket circuit so I can simply plug in my hookup lead at both ends....after turning off the main switch of course.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
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  11. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Thanks for the info but its a bit complicated for me:Laughing:

    I just pass a 4 gang extension through the window. Router, TV and laptop powered and that will do. Fridge/Freezer if it going to be a long one.
     
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  12. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    definately the safest option Jim....but then you wander round the house by torchlight after dark.
    and as we all know, power cuts only happen at night :Laughing:
     
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  13. Larrynwin

    Larrynwin Funster

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    Provided the main breaker at the fuse box is off the link is broken and power back on cannot get through and if cable is plugged into 13a socket before plugging into genny then no problem.
    As is always the case care has to be taken !
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  14. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    We had a power cut a couple of weeks ago so we retired to the 'van to cook supper. After a couple of hours we saw the power come back on but by then we were warm and snug so we stayed in the van!
     
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  15. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    We never get power cuts down here.

    I think the Electric companies realise how vital the South East is to the country and target their resources so that we continue to subsidise everything north of Watford:thumb::BigGrin:
     
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  16. Ralph-n-Bev

    Ralph-n-Bev Funster

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    :thumb: SNAP
     
  17. ourcampersbeentrashed

    ourcampersbeentrashed Funster

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    The reality is that today's generation have forgotten how to manage in times of harsh circumstances.

    I remember powercuts when we were children, everyone managed. We had battery powered lights and candles. Dinner was cooked either over the coal fire or on the camping gas cookers.

    I believe there was a baby boom about 9 months later :Doh::Doh::Doh::Doh:

    Now we know why the government are working so hard to prevent the power cuts

    they wont be able to afford the child benefit etc in 9 months time :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:

    actuallly not as funny as it sounds :cry::cry::cry:
     
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  18. Gizmouk

    Gizmouk Funster

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    There's nothing to debate - it's dangerous, and could land the person in Court.
    To go to the basics:
    - The person is backfeeding their electrical installation downstream of any protective devices.
    - If the main isolator isn't opened, they'll also be backfeeding the local grid - that's illegal, pure and simple.
    There's no point in going into more details, as I've seen these kind of threads on numerous forums over the years. There's no telling folk, as they are "all" experts.

    I've supplied and installed a number of generator solutions, mainly to farms but have done a few homes. I always install either an auto-changeover, or two stage manual changeover.
     
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  19. Ralph-n-Bev

    Ralph-n-Bev Funster

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    As I'm the same age as you , my 50ths in January :Eek!: I too remember the 70s power cuts , I loved the novelty of it.

    Daft as it seems Ralph put the socket on so we could hook up the MH when it's at home , properly.
    I never thought to use it the other way. To put power into the house .
    But if you've got it , why not. Plus we never use our genny when camping . Relying on solar Trojan etc.
    So if we ever do have a power cut , we may as well use the genny to watch some tv and keep the fridges n freezers going. :thumb:
     
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  20. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
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