PDA

View Full Version : Home generator maintenance



mgnme
01-17-2014, 01:51 AM
I'm writing a story where there's a power outage in someone's house because of the storm. They have a powerful generator, the kind that can power all the important stuff in a house and which NORMALLY kicks in automatically, but it's switched off - it was turned off there was maintenance being done on it, and then there was a crime, so no one was able to turn it on right away.

Anyway. If maintenance is being done on a generator like that, is there any chance they'd switch it off/cut it off electrically using some switch or panel INSIDE the house, instead of a switch that's OUTSIDE the house where the physical generator is located?
It's very important that, when the owner is finally able to move enough that they can go turn it on again, it be something they can do inside the house instead of outside.

Thanks!

NeuroGlide
01-17-2014, 02:39 AM
If they're working on it, they probably disconnected the battery as a safety precaution.

jclarkdawe
01-17-2014, 03:20 AM
Easiest way is to have a switch in the house for when the generator is feeding the house. In other words, the generator is running, but a switch is set going into the electrical panel to prevent it from feeding the house. More likely to be on a generator, but you could wire it this way.

Again, usually on the generator, is a switch for on, off, and auto. No reason why you couldn't put this in the house, although I don't know why.

Problem is its easier for the generator manufacturer to hard wire any of these controls to the generator. However, if the homeowner (or previous homeowner) was elderly or handicapped, he might wire it inside the house to make life easier.

Question is why do you want a problem that is so easily solved?

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

ironmikezero
01-17-2014, 03:23 AM
This is usually covered in the local building code requirements. Determine the location and inquire with the appropriate authority regarding the code requirements.

Generally speaking there will be access switches in the home at the service panel, a grid back-feed safety device, a sensor array of some sort, restricted master switch at the unit, and a battery back-up. The generator can be fueled by diesel, petrol/gasoline, LP, natural gas, etc... Any local & licensed contractor can probably answer most of your questions.

Michael Davis
01-17-2014, 06:51 PM
If its portable unit, its off until you start it up. If its an automatic unit, it will have three mechanisms to shut off: A switch on the unit, a circuit breaker on unit, and a breaker inside house for the sensor electronics that detect power failure (run from house power)

jimmymc
01-17-2014, 08:13 PM
I assume you are writing fiction... so, make it fit the story. No one is going to dwell on the specifics of generator operation. There must be twenty different brands of home generator systems, each with a different control system or several configurations thereof.

Nit-picking does not a story write.

robjvargas
01-17-2014, 09:05 PM
Two words: Remote Control (http://www.taylorpower.com/Generator_Control_Panels.html).

rtilryarms
01-25-2014, 04:07 AM
I'm writing a story where there's a power outage in someone's house because of the storm. They have a powerful generator, the kind that can power all the important stuff in a house and which NORMALLY kicks in automatically, but it's switched off - it was turned off there was maintenance being done on it, and then there was a crime, so no one was able to turn it on right away.

Anyway. If maintenance is being done on a generator like that, is there any chance they'd switch it off/cut it off electrically using some switch or panel INSIDE the house, instead of a switch that's OUTSIDE the house where the physical generator is located?
It's very important that, when the owner is finally able to move enough that they can go turn it on again, it be something they can do inside the house instead of outside.

Thanks!



An interesting question.

I am a Master Electrician, I have installed at least a hundred generators from very small to 10 megawatts. Mostly large commercial and industrial.

Residential generators are generally packaged with a breaker onboard and when serviced, that is the breaker generally opened (turned off).

But you are looking for a situation requiring someone opening the breaker inside.

The originating breaker would go right to the ATS (automatic transfer switch) (you allude that it's automatic and not just manual) which would choose between normal power or generator power if it senses a loss of normal power.
Since the load is common between utility power if you turn off the breaker it will also turn off all loads served.

But

Certain transfer switches, ABB for one, do have a manual mode in which position loss of power would prevent starting of the generator and prohibit backup power. On ABB transfer switches all we do is push the Auto button. to go back to auto we press it again.

So a good way to accomplish your scene would be for the technician to place the transfer switch to manual, do the servicing, and for some reason could not get back in the house to place it back in auto. that would do it but I am sure a tech would leave a note or message.
In manual mode, the homeowner would not know the difference until a power outage.

Now, generally, technicians do not follow this procedure but it is in the operation and maintenance manual and old-time and union electricians and mechanics would follow the book.

If you want more detail or creative review of the chapter, let me know

rt