Generac Running, But No Power in House

   / Generac Running, But No Power in House
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#41  
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drssg

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A whole house surge protector should really help. As unclean as the switch over may be, I am a little bit skeptical that the voltage would be extreme enough to kill your appliances. Generators by design don't much over 240 by design, unless they fail. I would put my money on the lightning storm for that.

On the whole house surge protector, I would try to make sure that you set up the wiring to be covered by both grid power and generator power. The general advice is to put the surge protector as close to the meter as possible, but that is likely to isolate it if the transfer switch for the generator kicks in, so you might want a second one at the generator. I would file it under cheap insurance.

If you are having power quality issues, there are ferrorresonant/autotransformers that can "smooth" the power, but they are pricey.

I saw someone who did the math for his power issue and built a homemade toroid for power smoothing;
View attachment 751261
That is a single conductor, so you need two for 240=2*120. But, no, I am not seriously suggesting that you make one.

All the best,

Peter

Based on what I've learned on this thread, I was expecting a surge protector to be installed on the circuit panel in my house and barn, and I thought that this approach would hopefully protect my appliances, regardless of whether the surge originated in the outside power line or the generator. Is that accurate?

I feel confident that most of my current issues (no pun intended) are from the recent lightning storm, because we saw the immediate result. I've now had two cases where an appliance failed immediately after a manual switchover to generator power, with no bad weather in the area.

I also think that my ethernet line between the house and barn is a major culprit, and I'm hoping that an ethernet surge protector on both ends will help. I've now had two cases where a storm has damaged the network switches on both ends of that line, a laptop connected to one switch, and a network camera connected to the other.

I have already replaced the inexpensive network switches again, but I'm holding off on the expensive items, until I have better protection.
 
   / Generac Running, But No Power in House #42  

ponytug

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You have had such issues with power that I would be inclined to add additional protection. So, I think that the ethernet surge protectors are a great idea, as is the whole home surge protector. I would be tempted to add two more surge suppressors; one on the barn panel, and one on the generator side of the transfer switch. Your generator has a voltage regulator, but it is a big coil of wire...

I don't know where you are, but if thunderstorms are a regular occurrence, I think that you can't have too much surge suppression in today's microelectronic world.

FWIW: There things like Ubiquiti Nanobeams for running ethernet out to outbuildings so you don't have the ethernet as an antenna issue. I might also double check that the ground system is up to snuff out at the barn. I know on my place, it wasn't.

Just out of curiosity is your neutral bonded to the ground (and ground rod) at your barn panel?

All the best,

Peter
 
   / Generac Running, But No Power in House
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#43  
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drssg

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You have had such issues with power that I would be inclined to add additional protection. So, I think that the ethernet surge protectors are a great idea, as is the whole home surge protector. I would be tempted to add two more surge suppressors; one on the barn panel, and one on the generator side of the transfer switch. Your generator has a voltage regulator, but it is a big coil of wire...

I don't know where you are, but if thunderstorms are a regular occurrence, I think that you can't have too much surge suppression in today's microelectronic world.

FWIW: There things like Ubiquiti Nanobeams for running ethernet out to outbuildings so you don't have the ethernet as an antenna issue. I might also double check that the ground system is up to snuff out at the barn. I know on my place, it wasn't.

Just out of curiosity is your neutral bonded to the ground (and ground rod) at your barn panel?

All the best,

Peter
I finally updated my profile to indicate that I'm in Ohio. We certainly have lightning storms, but I don't know how we compare to other areas of the country.

We do have a grounding rod at the barn panel, and I assume it is connected correctly. That would have been one of the few things subject to an inspection during the construction.

The ethernet line has been in place for almost twenty years now. I'm not dead set against wireless connectivity, but the hardwired line has generally been quite reliable, and I'm hoping to just protect it better.
 
   / Generac Running, But No Power in House
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drssg

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you need to have service tech simulate power outage. also, lightning may have damaged controller. if a controler is damaged, it may not be sending the 23 wire to ground, which is the signal to command the transfer switch to swap over.
Another generator guy was out today, and this was his diagnosis. He replaced the controller (in the generator), which is covered by a 7-year warranty, so no charge for today's work!

Surge protector work is a different crew, and I don't have a schedule for that yet.

Thank you again to everyone for all the shared experience on this thread.
 
   / Generac Running, But No Power in House #45  

Fxfymn413

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I have used whole house surge protectors for quite awhile now. The ones I installed several years ago required a dedicated breaker and mounted adjacent to the panel. When I restored a house a couple of years ago I discovered that the manufacturers now make a protector that goes in the panel in place of a double breaker.

In either case they have a green light that shows they have not been burned out by a surge.
 
   / Generac Running, But No Power in House #46  

ponytug

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On the whole house surge suppression, you want the breaker to the surge protector, or the breaker/surge suppressor unit as close as possible to wherever the meter feed in is (top/bottom/middle depending on your panel). For the ones that have a separate breaker, you want the wires from the breaker to the surge suppressor as short as possible.

Why? The surge suppressors all have a delay time before the voltage gets clamped. As voltage surges travel at 1/3-1/2 the speed of light, the surge travels at around 4"/nanosecond. That is why the fast clamping time (often <1ns) of MOVs is useful. Slower gas tubes have the advantage that they can absorb a great deal of energy. So the clamp time, plus the distance times two sets the minimum distance that the surge is likely to get to.

Finally, since during a lightning strike event, there is also a through the air electromagnetic pulse (EMP) component, it is prudent to have power strip type surge suppressors next to your electronics as well because the house wires will also act as antennas and funnel energy into your electronics.

Trivia: almost every part of the US has at least one lightning strike per square mile per year, except for the few miles along the Pacific coast.
lightning.jpg


All the best,

Peter
 
   / Generac Running, But No Power in House #47  

grsthegreat

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Another generator guy was out today, and this was his diagnosis. He replaced the controller (in the generator), which is covered by a 7-year warranty, so no charge for today's work!

Surge protector work is a different crew, and I don't have a schedule for that yet.

Thank you again to everyone for all the shared experience on this thread.
Thought it would be. Glad to hear it was fixed
 
 
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