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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 677 central Maine
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2005-12-06          120490


Want to set up a 6500 watt min. Gen. and looking for ideas
as to what is the best fuel.
I don't like the idea of keeping alot of gasoline around or
getting into another fuel such as LP.
I have an oil fired baseboard hot water system with two 275 gal. tanks in the basement of #2 fuel oil.
Would it make sense to go diesel? How do I overcome the cold weather use as the #2 would gel.
Any comments would be welcome.
Thanks in advance.
Gasoline was hard to come by for several days during the last ice storm.

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
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2005-12-06          120493


Northern Tool sells a small 7200 watt PTO driven generator for $749.00 less the PTO driveline. You would also need to build something to set the unit on or have a trailer. They sell that too.

Northern also sells a 6500 Watt Diesel generator for $3,099.00.

As a 3rd possibility you could build your own and purchase a 10 HP diesel motor from Northern for about $2,000.00.

Some larger units are made to run off of natural gas or propane if you have that available. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2005-12-06          120498


It would be fairly simple to have a small tank of treated fuel on an enclosed diesel genset in the yard near the house, then have an automated top-up system to keep that tank filled from the inside tanks. They also have the battery to start the genset inside, warm & charged.

Several of my neighbours do it this way, once the genset has run for a few minutes and gets up to temperature, it keeps the onboard tank warm enough to run nearly anything.

One even went so far as to make up a round port on the enclosure, and buy a rubber exhaust hose like the garages have to vent your exhaust outside. When he needs to start the genset he puts the hose from the tailpipe of his pickup into the genset's shroud, after a short time the motor & fuel are all warmed up, then he uses booster cables to start the genset. I assume it would be a PITA if the power went out at 3am, but to each their own.

The only maintenance required is after it's been run, is to drain what's in the tank back into the indoor bulk tank, and refill the genset with treated diesel so it will start easliy next time.

Best of luck. ....

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
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2005-12-06          120517


I am also a fan of the PTO gen set. I have oil heat back up and the tank stays full. That is enough to run a couple of weeks 8-10 hours per day if needed. ....

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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
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2005-12-06          120522


I like the idea of the pto,don't need another engine to take care of. Did not know how much of a Gen. I could run off my 7500 Kubota.Haven't looked into it
very far. I was told by a friend I would have to run it pretty much wide open? Also my wife needing to start it up
if I wasn't home is a consideration. plugging in the cord and turning the key as opposed to taking off the blower etc.
Thanks for the imput. ....

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AnnBrush
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 462 Troy OH
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2005-12-06          120524


There are dozens of permutations of fuel and gen setups. The cost of each generated kilowatt is likley to get incremantally higher the fancier your system becomes (different fuel types stored inside or out, electric starting options etc) We all like to think that we are rugged and independent enough prepared to face an entire winter without any outside provided infrastructure (utility water roads etc) but in reality those winters dont happen to any but a very very few. And for the few where they do happen you can bet they are not talking about a 6500 watt generator set ups and debating fuel types. Get yourself a 6500 kW set and 50 gal of gas which you can use in the car next spring when you have not used it all up. Your generated kW cost will be as low as possible (still astronomical compared to bought power from the utility). I think of it this way - self generated power is the most expensive power I can buy - therefore buy the absolute least amount of it I can possibly do with. I have a portable 4000 kW set that I plug into the dryer outlet (bad me I dont have a transfer switch!) AFTER flipping the main. I can run the bare essentials - furnace, well pump and a few appliances by regulating which circuit breakers are turned off and on. And yes I am fully aware of the danger of not having a transfer switch. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2005-12-06          120531


Actually Ann, dangerous & (most likely) illegal you !!!

The cost of a transfer switch is nothing compared to what running a genset the way you are doing it COULD cost.

The life, or at the very least a badly burned or otherwise injured linesman......

At the very least find a way to break the neutral / ground bond to the grid.

PLEASE?

Best of luck. ....

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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
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2005-12-06          120533


Good advice Murf, that is a very selfish set-up!!
I have a friend who is a lineman and they have a keen
ear for generators running when they come into a neighborhood. ....

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bmlekki
Join Date: Oct 2003
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2005-12-06          120534


Hi Grinder, If your a motorhead / tincker, you may want to look into a Listeroid 6/1 Diesel engine, and a gen head. I have been having a blast putting it together and its going to outlast most of us as its a slow speed engine only running at 650 RPM. You can readup on it here, link below - http://www.utterpower.com/listeroi.htm.. Contact me if you want any more info on my setup. Brian ....


Link:   Listeroid Engines / Gen set

 
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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
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2005-12-06          120535


Thanks, I've heard of lister diesels for many years. Are they made in Germany?
I just got a new Buzz Box and not opposed to making
something up, I have an Electrician handy on a daily basis.
He put a new(to me) type of panel in one of my recent projects that reguired a generator set up. Instead of
the usual transfer switch panel, It had what looks like two main breakers in your usual 200 amp panel. You can only
use one at a time via a sliding locking mechanism.
When you loose power you shut the top one off and slide the lock and turn the one below it on. This is connected to your generator female plug,plug in your ample supply of genarator and your good to go. The whole panel is available
as long as you have supply.
Obviously I'm not an electrician but it seems a whole lot simpler and quite a lot cheaper. He has picked one up for my panel at home for around $60.00, He has not installed it yet. He is recommending the 6500 watt min. Elec stove, well pump at 150 ft.,etc.
....


Link:   

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bmlekki
Join Date: Oct 2003
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2005-12-07          120592


The one i bought was found new on ebay from a guy in maine. Imported from India. It weights about 850 lbs; all cast iron and has two 2' fly wheels to drive things.

The gen sets on that link seem awfull expensive.

I bought a 10KW gen head to be power by this engine. I should expect the engine to be able to out at least 5-6 KW's. If at some time I want i can always hook the 10kw gen head to the 30 hp deere... ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4284 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2005-12-07          120593


I have a question and perhaps hope to learn something about this issue that I may not have been aware of. If I flip the main 200 amp breaker to my circuit breaker box that feeds the entire house; is it possible for electric current from my generator to still back feed the outside electric grid? If so, can you expand and explain this in some detail? Thanks. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2005-12-07          120594


Grinder, I sure hope that sliding switch doo-dad also has a means of breaking the ground / neutral bond back out to the grid also.

If not you could be putting a linesman, or several of them, at serious risk when you spark up that genset.

In Canada that is an illegal situation.

A setup like that cost a neighbour of mine thousands when the electrical authority cut the lines to his house and made him upgrade his entire house to todays standards before they would reconnect him.

Best of luck. ....

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Murf
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2005-12-07          120595


Randy, the short answer....... HELL YES !!!

When you flip the main service breaker, you only disconnect two of the three wires between your house and the grid. The third leg, the neutral / ground leg is still hardwired into the grid.

If you energize that third leg, it and the earth itself can generate more than enough potential to fry somebody.

Search back through the threads here using the term "stray voltage" or just Google it.

Best of luck. ....

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Chief
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2005-12-07          120598


What if I pull the entire electric meter off of the meter base mount? Am I completely broken off from the outside grid? ....

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Murf
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2005-12-07          120607


Nope, that won't do it either, only the two "line" conductors go THROUGH the meter, the third conductor, the neutral / ground goes AROUND the meter.

You need a special load transfer type switch gear which simultaneously opens all three conductors.

It used to be done by putting in a second ground rod, and having a special swithc which isolated all three conductors (line 1, line 2 & neutral / ground) leaving BOTH sides of the switch grounded to earth still.

I'm not sure of the legalities down there about that. I suppose if you ask your local electrical authority they should be able to let you know the best way to do it.

Best of luck. ....

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Chief
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2005-12-07          120608


Thanks Murf! I wasn't aware of that. Guess I need to do a little more research on this. It would be interesting to discuss situations or scenario's in which electric power might be back fed from a generator to the main grid. If nothing else, it would make us all aware of things to look for and not to do. ....

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wr5evk8jj
Join Date: Feb 2005
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2005-12-07          120609


As always, this is just a great forum for learning things. Great thread; I have learned heaps just being a voyeur in this. I have planned for a generator in the future, but now I know much more about what to do and what not to do when it does happen. Thanks! ....

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AnnBrush
Join Date: Mar 2004
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2005-12-07          120611


The internal wiring of the generator determines the type of transfer switch needed.
1) Generator with neutral not bonded to ground (usually frame of the generator) = 2 pole transfer switch - hot lines are switched but neutral is to remain solidly connected with utility (unswitched).
2) Generator with neutral bonded to ground (usually frame of the generator) = 3 pole transfer switch - hot lines and neutral are switched in transfer switch. ....

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AnnBrush
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2005-12-07          120612


Forgot to provide the reference. ....


Link:   

Click Here


 
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grinder
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2005-12-07          120613


Murf,
I will ask for a better explanation from my electrician,
and try to repeat it here.
Ann brush, sorry about the selfish remark, our small town
had a tragic fire last Fri. night where a two year old boy
died of smoke inhalation.It was a 3 apt. bldg.
Lot's of articles in the paper everyday, and a lot of acusations flying. Smoke alarms?,known faulty wiring,?
I know I went home and checked all my smokes !
....

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grinder
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2005-12-07          120615


Murf
I just called him to ask, I want to make sure I'm doing it
right as you sound very familiar with it.
He did not give me a technical explanation,but said you are right it does not break the neutral(3rd leg)? He said none of them do? Even the new transfer throw switch next to the meter, nor do the automatic ones. He said( the one I spoke of in the panel) is approved by UL and meets the national code.
How can this be? We can still backfeed and zap someone?
Wish I understood it better, electrical moron. ....

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Murf
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2005-12-07          120618


Ann, with all due respect, I THINK you misread the statements & information.

"If you install a single phase TS, remember that the neutral to ground bond needs to be isolated just as a subpanel would be.

--------------------
Pierre Belarge
Instructor & Industry Advocate"

Notice the word "isolated" ? What he is saying is that if you do NOT have a three pole TS, you need to isolate the neutral to ground bond. In other words, with a single phase TS, you must mechanically break the neutral / ground bond, a neutral switching TS does it for you.

Grinder, the problem all arises from the old "go with what works for the biggest percentage" theory. In a purely electrical engineering manner of thinking, bonding the neutral to the ground (earth) is dumb. However, if they didn't they would still have problems, just different problems that's all.

The problem is a little too complex to put easily into crayon. Google search "stray voltage" or "transient voltage" and do a little reading, if you don't get a headache I guarantee you will at least sleep well tonite.

Best of luck. ....

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AnnBrush
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2005-12-07          120620


Murf, in my citation which you quoted:

"If you install a single phase TS, remember that the neutral to ground bond needs to be isolated just as a subpanel would be.
--------------------
Pierre Belarge
Instructor & Industry Advocate"

Pierre is refering to the neutral to ground bond INSIDE the generator - not as you suggest the neutral to ground bond at service entrance. He compares the neutral to ground bond INSIDE the generator as being similar to a neutral to ground bond in a sub panel.

So with all due respect your comment:
"Notice the word "isolated" ? What he is saying is that if you do NOT have a three pole TS, you need to isolate the neutral to ground bond. In other words, with a single phase TS, you must mechanically break the neutral / ground bond, a neutral switching TS does it for you."

where you mistakenly interpret the neutral to ground bond as that located at the service entrance is not correct.

There are 2 basic generator grounding wiring types:
1) Generator with floating neutral - neutral not bonded to ground at or inside the generator.
2) Generator with bonded neutral.

....

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AnnBrush
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2005-12-07          120621


Grinder and of course other interested readers:

Here is a very well written article that discusses this very issue and provides very comprehensive easy to understand wiring diagrams. They show when a transfer switch that switches neutral is needed and when one that does not (as Grinders electritian has indicated) it required.

....


Link:   

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ncrunch32
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2005-12-07          120622


Grinder, earlier this year I purchased the 18HP Honda 8000 watt portable generator from Northerntools. I'm very pleased with it with the exception that I have not been able to manually start it as backup (it starts fine using electric start). Cost me $1,900 I believe.

I liked the 6500 watt portable diesel but it didn't have enough watts to drive all the appliances my wife wanted to support. I would rather have 20 gallons of diesel hanging around rather than 20 gallons of gasoline.

I spent a lot of time considering more expensive options, but as AnnBrush suggests, you get into big money very quickly. If you use the propane standby units you need to purchase or rent propane tanks, use fuel on test cycles etc. Here you are talking $3,000+. If you go diesel standby you are talking $5,000-$10,000. ....

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grinder
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2005-12-08          120663


"crayon" goog one,fine tip marker might work.
So, is the double breaker in my square "D" panel OK or
am I going to hurt a lineman or burn down my house?
....

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AnnBrush
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2005-12-08          120665


Grinder - it depends on your generator. Look at the specific wiring for the generator you have (will buy). If it is floating neutral - use a double pole transfer switch (two hot lines) but leave neutral connected at the service entrance. If neutral is bonded to the frame at the generator use a transfer switch that disconnects the neutral. In my experience it is cheaper (much) to isolate the neutral to ground connection in the generator than is is to buy the transfer switch that switches neutral but you will have to reconnect it if you use the generator for anything else but powering the house. Print off the reference I posted above and identify what setup (8 different scenarios are provided) you have and apply the correct connections. Get an electritian to verify you have the correct set-up. ....

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Murf
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2005-12-08          120667


Ann, I must again disagree, you are co-mingling TWO DIFFERENT hazards and coming up with one answer.

What you are talking about is ground fault.

If you have a generator with no ground, and then open the ground neutral bond at the service entrance, you will have an electrified house with no ground at all! Further in fact, you will have disabled all the GFCI circuits, so now you have the very real possibility that someone is holding a defective electrical appliance in the bathroom, and reach out to turn on the water. Guess what? That person just became a path to ground via the water pipe!!!!

In this situation, yes, leaving the neutral / ground bond is mandatory, if only for the safety of people in the house. But it will potentially still be very dangerous somewhere else.

What I am talking about is Transient Voltage.

No matter what the ground system is in your generator, the neutral & ground wires are bonded together at the electrical service entrance to your house, if you then open the two load lines and power up a generator, you ARE creating a voltage potential in the neutral / ground line. PERIOD.

It does not matter where the ground / neutral bond is made, generator or panel, it is still there, and the genset will still create voltage potential somewhere down the grid.

Ann, can you explain to me why you say I am wrong in this?

Grinder, burn down the house, no, definitely not, a linesman, possibly could get a jolt, anything between "Oh sh#$" and fry, no way to tell until it happens. Some places allow the use of something called a "gang switch", basically a big handle which activates 3 separate switches simultaneously. Before this can be used however, it is critical that a second ground rod be installed so that the wiring in the house remains grounded after the neutral / ground bond is broken by the gang switch.

Best of luck. ....

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AnnBrush
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2005-12-08          120674


Murf and others still interested, I have to post a rebuttal to Murf's last post. This will be my last on this subject.

Read and understand the article I posted. There are situations (it depends on the wiring of the generator) where the transfer switch is required NOT to switch the neutral. In these cases the neutral remains connected to the utility. Not only is this safe it is required by code.

All this talk of backfeeding the utility (and presumably killing a lineman) is really not relevant here. Backfeeding is not possible even if neutral remains connected in the transfer switch (as is sometimes required) if the hot lines are switched (as required in all situations) and neutral is grounded at one location only (service entrance). As a minor asside on this issue I challenge any readers out there to demonstrate how a circuit could be completed that could injure or kill a lineman when the neutral line remains connected to the utility and connections are made according to code.

The main point here is that the decision to switch the neutral in the transfer switch is dictated by how the generator is wired. It is over this point that Murf and I disagree, I worry that Murf's prominent and regarded stauts on this forum (and deservedly so!) will lead readers to conclude that the neutral must be switched in all situations in a transfer switch that switches utliity and generator power. His advice is correct but only in situatins where a bonded neutral generator is used. Grinder's electritian has indicated that in the cases he (she?) is familiar with the neutral remains connected and we can assume that this is safe and would pass inspection. It also implies that there are many floating neutral generator in use out there, mine being one of them.

If you have a floating neutral generator AND you switch the neutral in the transfer switch you have created the scenarios detailed in diagrams 7 and 8.

Quote (from the web link I posted above - BTW it's referencing the CEC or Canadian Electrical Code but the situation in the US is the same for point of this discussion):

"If we try to connect a generator with a floating neutral using a 3-pole transfer mechanism and switch the neutral conductor, Diagrams 7 and 8 show this circuit. In normal conditions (Diagram 7) the load is powered from the utility and the neutral is connected through the generator panel neutral and bonded in the service entrance panel. Everything looks okay.

But in stand-by power mode (Diagram 8) the load is fed from the generator and the generator neutral has been switched. Therefore the neutral bond has been removed from the system. This would be a violation of CEC Rule 10-106 that requires AC systems to be bonded to ground.

These Diagrams show that a 3-pole transfer mechanism switching Line 1, Line 2 and the neutral conductors would result in a circuit that does not comply with the rules of the CEC. In stand-by power mode, a circuit exists in which the system voltage from the generator could float on each phase. In the most extreme case 240Vac would appear on one phase and 0Vac on the second phase, potentially resulting in damage to any 120Vac equipment operated in the home."

End quote.

I cannot put is more straightforward than Schneider Electric has already done. It's a technical issue and hard to understand. It's also the reason that many 2 pole transfer switches are sold and used with confidence and saftey. ....

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Murf
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2005-12-08          120683


"All this talk of backfeeding the utility (and presumably killing a lineman) is really not relevant here. Backfeeding is not possible even if neutral remains connected in the transfer switch (as is sometimes required) if the hot lines are switched (as required in all situations) and neutral is grounded at one location only (service entrance)."

HORSE ........ APPLES!!!

If you take 4 metal rods and drive them in the ground in a wide circle, then measure between them you will see a voltage potential between, them, small, but measureable. Anytime you have multiple paths to earth you will have a measureable voltage potential between them, this is EMF induced, the further it is between two points, the more the potential, this is why the NEC requires so many ground rods in the grid. When you introduce an inductive source like a genset, then use the ground wire as a current carrying conductor, you just amplify the problem.

"As a minor asside on this issue I challenge any readers out there to demonstrate how a circuit could be completed that could injure or kill a lineman when the neutral line remains connected to the utility and connections are made according to code."

On March 8, 2005 a dog was electrocuted while lifting it's leg on a metal lamp-post in Maryland. The cause was stray voltage, after looking into the situation the utility offered the family $200k, they are demanding $740k., the matter is before the courts.

A lady was electrocuted while walking her dog in NYC when she stepped on a ConEd manhole cover. The cause was stray voltage, after looking into the situation ConEd discovered that this was a situation that affects 0.05% of it's manhole covers, in NYC that amounts to 130 manhole covers capable of killing a person.

"It's a technical issue and hard to understand."

Apparently it is.

Best of luck. ....

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kthompson
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2005-12-08          120686


A quick thought would seem that turning off the main breaker would make the power lines safe with a generator powering the circuits of the house.
The power company could not explain nor find why there is about 17 volts (the last I heard) between the ground wire and the ground rod at our Church. They said there was a voltage leak somewhere in the area feeding it.
....

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Murf
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2005-12-08          120691


"A quick thought would seem that turning off the main breaker would make the power lines safe with a generator powering the circuits of the house."

No, that's exactly my point, the neutral & ground are permanently bonded together, and even bypass your meter that way. As long as there is electricity in the house, you are creating a VOLTAGE POTENTIAL outside of your house in the grid as well unless you disconnect the ground wire between the grid and your house, leaving of course, the ground rod as part of your houses circuit.

"....there is about 17 volts (the last I heard) between the ground wire and the ground rod at our Church."

That's exactly the problem. You can have voltage potential in a supposedly 'dead' line.

Everybody seeems to forget one small detail, the ground & the neutral in your house are bonded together, and the neutral is a load carrying 'leg' of any circuit, therefore there is a (up to) 220 volt potential in your ground circuit.

Best of luck.

....

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091755
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2005-12-08          120701


Dec. 8, 2005
Grinder,
It sounds as if this is for a backup to your house in
power outages. I will attempt about any project EXCEPT
electrical stuff like this. I had a 7KW Generac installed
by a dealer and run it off of LP. I use LP for my heat
also, so it was an easy decision. You really need to know
your electrical stuff to do this or you can really cause
problems. I believe at the time (2 years ago), it was about
$3200 installed. I live in the 'boonies' and my elderly
father is now living with me, so it was well worth it.
Sometimes, it is not worth skimping to save a few bucks.
Let the experts do it.
doc ....

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jdcman
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2005-12-08          120709


Interesting discussion, however Iím having trouble sorting out the various positions that folks are taking Ö maybe it doesnít matter.

However it is a fact that in order for electrons to flow there needs to be a path. And sometimes humans are in the path and bad things happen.

Consider this, birds, squirrels and other little varmints climb power poles and sit on high voltage lines all the time. But as long as the impedance between them and the second conductor is high enough nothing bad happens. The key here is that the total circuit impedance between the animal sitting on the conductor at point A relative to a point B of the second conductor remain relatively high. If the magnitude of this impedance drops low enough such that a few maís were to cross the little buggers heart he may be toast.

So Murf, what exactly is your claim?

Are you claiming that there is a circuit path of consequence given the fact that one has disconnected the high side power but left a connection between the gnd/neut system of the house and generator? Or are you merely arguing that a potential exists between the house and the public feed, i.e., service transformer?

It would be helpful if you would provide a schematic to help illustrate your point. Something similar to the one in the link that Ann provided is adequate.


Dave
....

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AnnBrush
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2005-12-08          120716


Murf you certainly have an enormous amount of conviction here. I said I would not reply but I can't resist.

Murf, in the following quote:
"When you introduce an inductive source like a genset, then use the ground wire as a current carrying conductor, you just amplify the problem."

Using the web link I posted, would you be so kind as to indicate the number of the CODE COMPLIANT diagram in which, as you suggest, the ground wire is being used a current carrying conductor. I don't see which one that is?

And in this excerpt:
"No, that's exactly my point, the neutral & ground are permanently bonded together, and even bypass your meter that way. As long as there is electricity in the house, you are creating a VOLTAGE POTENTIAL outside of your house in the grid as well unless you disconnect the ground wire between the grid and your house, leaving of course, the ground rod as part of your houses circuit."

It would help me understand if you could simply illustrate the completed circuit that could electrify our "many times dead already" lineman. For example: Hot (L1) to load to neutral to lineman to neutral to powerstation to L1 = completed circuit = dead lineman or as the case may be dead linechick. Could you also indicate between which two specific entities this "VOLTAGE POTENTIAL outside of your house" exists. For examle: a 220V potential between utility neutral and utility L1. Please indicate which code compliant diagram (in the web link I posted) you think the generator would produce the voltage potential in the utility lines you keep refering to.

And in this quote:
"Everybody seeems to forget one small detail, the ground & the neutral in your house are bonded together, and the neutral is a load carrying 'leg' of any circuit, therefore there is a (up to) 220 volt potential in your ground circuit."

In this comment between which two specific entities are you indicating the 220V potential exists. For example a 220v potential between ground and L1 or between neutral and L1.

Many thanks
....

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2005-12-09          120719


091755
Thanks for your concern, I plan on having my electrician
do it.
I was just looking for set up ideas, fuel types,etc.
But I think we may need a seance with Thomas Edison. ....

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kthompson
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2005-12-09          120720


There was a thead a few days ago about sub panel in a pole barn. I quickly found it got warm with my thoughts not agreed with by another. Hey, that is a benefit of discussion. In that thread the person that took me to task said the neutral and ground are never bonded if memory is correct. Here Murf says they are. (They are bonded here also.) There is something I think is being forgotten...code...currently codes for all of the U.S. and Canada may be the same but a few years ago even in the U.S or within a state the code would vary. Since my post yesterday I spoke to a person with our local electric coop. He said most people here do not use transfer switches. He also said it is possible to have back feed on neutral. I understood he said it should not happen but can.

My advice...run large extension cords to applicances you need to run and then there is no possible back feed. I realize that is not easy for hard wired such as a furnace. Put a plug on it and outlet with the twist lock type and it will work. I think you will find the cost much less than the trasnfer switch and it's installation. ....

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shortmagnum
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2005-12-09          120723


Grinder, Thomas Edison sunk all his money into DC current production which ended up being a mistake. If you want a seance with the expert, you'll want to conjure up Nikola Tesla and his partner Westinghouse for AC expertise. The feud between Tesla and Edison is interesting reading. Edison went so far as to call electrocution being "Westinghoused." (link below).
Dave ....


Link:   Tesla vs Edison

 
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Murf
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2005-12-09          120724


Ann, in every single one of the CODE COMPLIANT diagrams the neutral & ground are bonded at the main panel.

If in ANY of those diagrams, 1, 2, 5 & 6, and with the generator running, you put a meter between the neutral line outside the house, and the earth itself, you WILL measure a potential across those two points.

Further, if you were to run an extension cord out some distance from the house, and again measure between the neitral leg, and the earth, you might be surprised to see just how much potential voltage & current you would find.

"Using the web link I posted, would you be so kind as to indicate the number of the CODE COMPLIANT diagram in which, as you suggest, the ground wire is being used a current carrying conductor. "

Every one of them, the neutral wire in any house is a current carrying conductor, the AMOUNT of current is NORMALLY extremely low in the ground circuit though, since it takes the path of least resistance, the neutral leg.

Want proof, put on some heavy leathe gauntlets, top up your life insurance, disconnect the neutral wire from a 3 prong receptacle, then plug something in and see if you don't still have 120 volts and more than enough flow to power an appliance.

As was stated so well by jdcman "However it is a fact that in order for electrons to flow there needs to be a path. And sometimes humans are in the path and bad things happen."

The electricity takes the path of least resistance, but it does and will travel, if one path is the neutral leg of the grid, and a second path is a linesman or other unfortunate individual, "bad things happen.".

Ask any farmer with cattle, they are about 50 times more sensitive to voltage than humans, I've seen them stand in a circle around a water trough, not drinking, because of a few transient volts from a stock tank heater or some other source.

Best of luck.
....

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kthompson
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2005-12-09          120729


Murf,
"Want proof, put on some heavy leathe gauntlets, top up your life insurance, disconnect the neutral wire from a 3 prong receptacle, then plug something in and see if you don't still have 120 volts and more than enough flow to power an appliance."

If I followed this fully..one use rubber gloves that approved for such but...if you removed the neutral from a 110 circuit it should not power anything if the appliance has no defects in it. The neutral is required to complete the circuit. Now, there is still the 110 volts sitting on the power or hot leg which you did not disconnect. If anything were to complete a path the across that hot leg to a ground it will have current flow through it. A person could be the anything. For a 110 circuit to work there must be a "flow" path back and that is the neutral. This may be proving the point I think you are making on the danger of not having the neutral/ground disconnected back to power lines.

Along the line of voltage on the neutral/ground that can be dangerous. If you have voltage on your house ground, then the cabinet of your three plug machines may have that voltage. If so then if you are touching that cabinet and touch something with a different ground you may find you have current flowing. Before someone thinks this can not happen, I have seen this with a washing machine. From the cabinet to water line there was a voltage reading. This is also why washing machines use to come with ground wire that was to be connected between the washer cabinet and the water line. I don't know if they do now or not.

As long as the path can not be completed through you, you will not get hurt by touching a live circuit. Look at the birds sitting on the power line or the guys working on high voltage lines with them live. But if something completes a path through them (bird or person), it normally means death.

kt ....

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Murf
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2005-12-09          120739


KT, I think the part of the equation you missed was "3 prong receptacle", in this case the ground will act as the neutral because they are joined together.

The ground & neutral are joined together remember? A path is a path.

Take a volt meter, unplug a 220v. appliance and measure between L1 & L2 in the receptacle, 200 volts right?

Now measure between L1 & ground, and L2 & ground, it will read 110 volts in each case, because the neutral & ground are bonded together. Thus the ground will certainly act as the other conductor.

Best of luck. ....

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kthompson
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2005-12-09          120741


A quick point, there are three pong plugs that are 110 volt and also there are those that are 220 volts. I was/am assuming you are talking about 110 volts.

In our part of the world the neutral and ground are bonded together and yes current on one would be there on the other.

However, in a 110 volt applicance the ground should not serve to carry the current back to the breaker box and on to the meter and power lines, UNLESS there is a shortage in that appliance. That is the purpose of the ground. I fully agree the ground can and will complete the path but it is not suppose to be the path and is only there for a shortage.

If you disconnect the neutral wire on a 110 volt applicance circuit and it still operates, you need to disconnect that appliance and get it repaired. There is a shortage in it.

kt ....

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AnnBrush
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2005-12-09          120753


Lets look at this:

Quote from Murf
"If in ANY of those diagrams, 1, 2, 5 & 6, and with the generator running, you put a meter between the neutral line outside the house, and the earth itself, you WILL measure a potential across those two points."

Diagram 1 - generator not running - does not apply (as per your description "with the generator running").
Diagram 2 - no connection between utility neutral and generator neutral (neutral isolated in transfer switch) therefore no capacity to generate potential between utility neutral and anything (as a result of the generator).
Diagram 5 - generator not running - does not apply.
Diagram 6 - connection between utility neutral and generator neutral (neutral remains connected in transfer switch). No connection between generator neutral and ground other than that at the service entrance. No current flowing in utility neutral - current is however flowing on the house neutral up to the point it returns to the generator. You have to have current flowing to generate a potential (One of those pesky laws of electricity). The only potential that exists is between neutral (both utility and generator neutral) and hot line of generator. Therefore no potential between utility neutral and ground possible.

So in each scenario the only way to observe a potential between utility neutral and ground is if potential is being established by something outside of the generator circuit. As a result the generator cannot establish the scenario you keep refering to. Q.E.D.

Quote by Murf
"Further, if you were to run an extension cord out some distance from the house, and again measure between the neitral leg, and the earth, you might be surprised to see just how much potential voltage & current you would find."

In this scenario you have violated code by establishing a connection between house neutral and ground at some point in addition to that at the service entrance, this established a paralell neutral current in the earth or equipment ground circuits, that looked like this: Generator L1 to load to neutral and back to generator with a paralell current as follows: Generator L1 to load to neutral to house grounding rod to earth to extension cord neutral (as connected via your voltmeter) and back to generator. This is a paralell neutral current in the ground hence the code violation. This current would be extremely small (high impedance of earth) and would decrease the further you connected the extension cord from the house ground rod. In anycase it's a violation of code and therefore not under consideration in our discussion regarding the potential to electrocute a lineman with the use of a code compliant generator with neutral unswitched in the transfer switch.

In response to my queston which stated:
"Using the web link I posted, would you be so kind as to indicate the number of the CODE COMPLIANT diagram in which, as you suggest, the ground wire is being used a current carrying conductor."

You state:
"Every one of them, the neutral wire in any house is a current carrying conductor, the AMOUNT of current is NORMALLY extremely low in the ground circuit though, since it takes the path of least resistance, the neutral leg."

There is no code compliant diagram where the GROUND wire (green) is being used as the current carrying conductor. In addition you state that in the house current has the opportunity to flow through either the neutral (path of least resistance) or the ground circuit (albeit a small amount). This is clearly an instance of paralell current flow and would not be code compliant.

And here
"Want proof, put on some heavy leathe gauntlets, top up your life insurance, disconnect the neutral wire from a 3 prong receptacle, then plug something in and see if you don't still have 120 volts and more than enough flow to power an appliance."

In this instance you would need to meet two conditions to power the appliance. 1) the neutral would have to be disconnected from the recepticle (deliberatley as you stated) and, 2) there would have to be a connection between neutral and ground inside the appliance (a fault). In this case the current flow would be: L1 to load (appliance motor for example) to neutral to ground (while still in the applance) to ground pin of recepticle to service entrance ground where ground is bonded to neutral and from neutral back to L1 in the generator. This does not establish a current from utility neutral to ground through our lineman. Potential in the utility neutral is the same as ground as they are tied at the service entrance (ground rod) and at every utility pole.

And in this section:
"As was stated so well by jdcman "However it is a fact that in order for electrons to flow there needs to be a path. And sometimes humans are in the path and bad things happen."

The electricity takes the path of least resistance, but it does and will travel, if one path is the neutral leg of the grid, and a second path is a linesman or other unfortunate individual, "bad things happen.".


Ask any farmer with cattle, they are about 50 times more sensitive to voltage than humans, I've seen them stand in a circle around a water trough, not drinking, because of a few transient volts from a stock tank heater or some other source."

The conditions that you describe here are no more prevelant using a generator than they are when using power from the utility. You are describing a parallel current in the ground and the utility neutral. For example, current flowing from the customer's load back to the power station on the neutral wire has the opportunity to travel along the utility neutral and in addition at some point go down the utility pole (on the grounding wire) travel along in the earth and up the next pole to return to the utility neutral and back to the power station. The use of a code compliant generator generates no current flow in utility neutral (where would it be flowing to). It does however generate current flow in the house neutral up to the point where it returns to the generator (service entrance and transfer switch).

We can easily replicate our dead lineman scenario by using the following example. You accidently sever the grounding wire traveling down the utility pole while mowing (the edge of the mower deck cuts it in two). You grab the end of the severed copper wire that runs up the pole to reconnect it (remember this is connected to the utility neutral at the top of the pole). At this point you are solidly connected to the utility neutral (through the grounding wire) and to the ground (you are standing on it). In the dead lineman example everyone keeps talking about you would get fried at this point - but we all know that this does not happen - why? Because utility neutral is tied to ground at numerous locations and by design no potential difference (of any consequence) exists between utility neutral and ground. In the home however it's different - there is only ONE connection to ground (service entrance). The scenario describing the stray voltage on farms (with the cows) is occurs in most cases because the on-farm wiring has numerous connections between neutral and ground downstream of the service entrance (a code violation). The neutral to ground connection at the service entrance is the only one permitted.

Anyway I have about run out of power (bad pun I know), hope you are all (even Murf) convinced that a unswitched neutral in a transfer switch may be required by code (depends on the generator wiring) and as a result would be safe even for our dead lineman. ....

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steve4300
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2005-12-09          120768


Grinder Don't worry about the transfer panel you electrician install, I know the panel you are talking about . It is also one a few that Central Maine Power will accepted for approvel. The same is true for New Hampshire. I am liecensed in 3 states NH,Me,and Ma and install about 12 of these a year. No they don't switch the neutral but the uttillity companys along with the UL test this equipment. They just don't give thier aproval to equipment. And if they say to use this equipment then I use it. As for other Uttilitys or other states or countrys everyone needs to check thier local codes ....

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jdcman
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2005-12-10          120798


Itís clear that thereís a lot of mysticism in the minds of folks when it comes to electricity.

The point to keep in mind is that any source, be it a AC, DC, Pulse, RF or some Arab Gen requires an output port and a return port in order for the electrons to move.

As Ann has pointed out, disconnect the Generator at the high side or low side and itís out of the circuit. Think of your battery, both the positive lead and the gnd lead have to be connected in order for energy to be delivered.

Iím not a big code guy myself, but there is a subtle but important point that is being made, I think in sch 3 or 4. And that is, if the return for the gen is left connected to the main house circuit while the house is being powered by the public utility, the current path has the potential to be shared by the return path through the generator. In order for this to happen one would have to have the return path of the load connected to the generator while the high side is open. Why a system would be put together to allow this to happen is beyond me, but I guess itís certainly a possibility. Mind you, the potential problem is localized to the home.

At any rate I view codes as an attempt at protecting the masses from themselves. Itís a shame, but the reality is you need some standardization because of all the unscrupulous vendors trying to take advantage of folks.

For those that are interested hereís a poor mans way of dealing with the alternative power issue, albeit not automatic and definitely not preferred by the wife.

I live in the northwest among big trees where occasional big winds or snow storms knock out the power.

I have a 10K generator that I use to power some essential stuff like the well pump, pellet stove, frig and a few lights. I don't use a transfer switch but have chosen to treat the loads as appliances. For example, the well pump is on a breaker of itís own --- I simply break the connection between the pump and breaker, mount a 30 amp receptacle on the output side of the breaker and place a plug on the input side to the pump. (My access panel is in the garage Ö makes it easy to do).

I have separate outlets for the rest of the items. And yes itís a little work to go out and start the generator, move four or five plugs but it works and is safe.

In my situation installing an automatic transfer switch for this small of a generator is just not worth the effort and cost.

One of these days Iíll get around to putting in a large diesel or propane generator and automatic transfer switch system --- itíll make the wife happy.
....

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091755
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2005-12-10          120806


jdcman,
You have a very functional setup. A couple questions:
l. is this an automatic startup when power goes out?
2. if not, what do you do if you are not there?
I went with the 7KW, which would cover easily the stuff
you discussed and the transfer switch wasnt a big additional cost with the generac system. Plus it is
automatic. If I am gone(as I often am). It will automatically power up and keep my house from freezing or
keep my refrig and freezer going in the hot summer.
just a couple thoughts on my part
doc ....

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2005-12-10          120808


I just talked with a local electrician who said he had installed many transfer switches and they do not disconnect the neutral. He is licensed, and they were inspected for code. He is talking current and not years ago.

....

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Billy
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2005-12-10          120811


All this talk about back feeding with a generator got me to thinking.

If it is possible, then the same would be true for a resident? For instance, you want to work on the wiring of your house. You throw the main breaker. What's the difference? You could get zapped by the electric company?

I don't think it's possible, if your house is wired right and the main breaker is thrown, to electrocute a lineman Or vice versa.

From generator to breaker panel... You have neutral/ground to panel neutral/ground. L1 to L1 on panel. L2 to L2 on panel. When you throw the main, you disconnect both L1 and L2, which breaks the circuit to electric company? How the heck would/could it travel to the outside electric lines?

I'm thinking this all came about with people people forgetting to throw their
main breaker and zapping some poor unsuspecting soul. The electric companies come up with mandatory transfer switches to take care of human error. ....

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2005-12-10          120812


Billy, I agree. My brother in law is a licensed PE, puts up large commercial buildings and has built power plants for major corporations. He shuts the main off at the panel and back feeds his house with his generator. No transfer switch. He states it is safe providing you shut the main off. His word is good enough for me. ....

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2005-12-10          120814


Murf,
Do you know of a company that makes a disconnect that cuts both power legs and the neutral?


If you do not have to cut the neutral, then if all a disconnect cuts is the two power legs, what is the difference in using a disconnect switch and cutting off the main breaker?
kt ....

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2005-12-11          120845


"If you do not have to cut the neutral, then if all a disconnect cuts is the two power legs, what is the difference in using a disconnect switch and cutting off the main breaker?"

Electrically speaking there is none (provided your generator is of the type that would require a transfer switch that did not switch neutral) - unless you want to argue about the direction of electricity flow in the circuit used to connect the generator (like a welder or dryer plug) and the suitability of that setup. The reason that transfer switches are used is so that it is physically impossible to connect the generator to the utility supply (on the hot legs). Accidentally connecting generator L1 and L2 to utility L1 and L2 is extremely dangerous (as I am sure everybody is aware of by now). In addition to connecting the generator to the house supply, transfer switches mutually isolate the utility supply and vice versa when the utility supply is reconnected - they isolate the generator, accidential connection is made impossible. ....

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Murf
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2005-12-12          120899


This is getting stupid now, it's no longer debating, it's knee-jerk argueing, saying 'no' just for the sake of having something to say.

Ann, do you know how to read a schematic?

If the neutral and the ground are joined together how can you make a ludicrous statement like "Diagram 2 - no connection between utility neutral and generator neutral (neutral isolated in transfer switch) therefore no capacity to generate potential between utility neutral and anything (as a result of the generator)." All of a sudden they invented one-way wires?

As soon as you power your house you will have potential in both the neutral & ground wires, period.

"In this scenario you have violated code by establishing a connection between house neutral and ground at some point in addition to that at the service entrance..."

So it's illegal now to run an extension cord outside of your house and set down an appliance with a steel frame and a grounded case, like a battery charger for your vehicle?

Let's stay with reality here folks.

Billy, no not possible, without a generator (or some other second source) you would have no differential created.

The whole (potential) problem is in having a voltage potential in a supposedly "dead" circuit.

....

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DRankin
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2005-12-12          120902


Holy Smokes! My head is spinning.

Like Dirty Harry said, I know my limitations. I got a licensed electrician from a large and reputable company to SUPPLY and INSTALL a transfer switch for my gen-set. He told me not to run it unless it was hooked to a separate grounding rod.

I paid him $800 for his materials and labor and after this discussion it feels like I got away cheap.

If I had done the work and messed something up I wouldn't be able to hire a lawyer for that same $800 with a wrongful death suit staring me in the face.



....

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AnnBrush
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2005-12-12          120923


Thanks for identifying the error there - I misspoke (typed) in that bit of the response - it was however not material to my main point. However your comment is revealing for another reason:

"2 - no connection between utility neutral and generator neutral (neutral isolated in transfer switch) therefore no capacity to generate potential between utility neutral and anything (as a result of the generator)."

In diagram 2 Generator neutral and utility neutral are connected, but the connection is through the ground wire even though neutral is isolated in the transfer switch. So EVEN IF the neutral is disconnected in the transfer switch there is still a connection between the two (utility neutral and generator neutral) and this is code compliant. It still supports the position that isolating neutral in the transfer switch is dependent on the wiring in the generator.

"All of a sudden they invented one-way wires?"
These statements dont help the discussion - it's not clear what you mean by this.

"As soon as you power your house you will have potential in both the neutral & ground wires, period."
Please be specific tell us potential between what and what. As in potential between house neutral and utility L1.


The statement I made:
"In this scenario you have violated code by establishing a connection between house neutral and ground at some point in addition to that at the service entrance..."

And your question
"So it's illegal now to run an extension cord outside of your house and set down an appliance with a steel frame and a grounded case, like a battery charger for your vehicle?"

There are three wires in the extension cord. L1 (hot), neutral (also called the grounded conductor) and ground (also called the equipment grounding conductor). Neither L1 nor neutral are permitted to contact ground (including euipment frame and grounded cases) at the appliance or in the cord. This would be a fault current. In the residence neutral is bonded to ground at one point only (the service entrance).

Please be more specific:
"The whole (potential) problem is in having a voltage potential in a supposedly "dead" circuit."

Having a voltage between what and what - and how do you propose this potential is generated (sorry about the pun).

In any case - I beleive I have provided a comprehensive set of diagrams that illustrate when and when not the neutral needs to be isolated in the transfer switch. Anecdotal evidence contributed by members of the forum suggest that there are code compliant installations where electritians have installed transfer switches that do not switch neutral and since we can assume that these were inspected we know that the authorities are satisfied that these installations pose no additional risk to our linemen out there. While some of us may have installations where neutral is required to be switched in the transfer switch - others do not. My entire point was to illustrate that automatically installing a transfer switch that switches the neutral leg is neither code compliant or safe in EVERY situation. As is eloquently demonstrated by the set of 8 diagrams, it depends on the wiring setup inside the generator (Bonded Neutral vs floating neutral).

Happy generating ....

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Murf
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2005-12-12          120926


Please stop the "saying no for the sake of hearing myself speak" routine and read the thread, I've answered several times now.

Or better yet, stop reading, and do as I said, get a meter and try it for yourself.

BTW, do you know that in THEORY bumble bees cannot fly? ....

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AnnBrush
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2005-12-12          120934


I am sure Schneider Electric of Toronto Ontario consider their Application Note on Stand-By generator panels to be just some theory they have dreamed up.

Anyway I think this thread has outlived it's usefulness, I am satisfied that no linemen are going to be fried on my account and that's good enough for me. For those of you who are still unsure, well you figure it out - or better yet pay your electritian to do so for you. It might be fun to survey the forum members and find out who has what setup (switched vs. unswitched neutrals) and see what the common ground (sic.) is for each type. Good discussion, I am glad there are folk out there who are passionate about life and dont have to resort to shameless name calling and the like, they are a dime a dozen on other forums.
Cheers Ann ....

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loghouse
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2005-12-12          120940


I am by no means a professional electrician but I do most of my electrical work and then have it inspected.. When I got ready to install my transfer switch, I contacted my local electric co-op for information, they informed me they would gladly install the transfer switch for me at no charge, they said they prefer to do this because there are to many people who think they are electrical experts and end with a setup that has the potential to cause serious injury or death to one of their lineman...So maybe your best bet is to contact your local electrical company and ask them for advice ....

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grinder
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2005-12-13          120943


Loghouse
Good suggestion! ....

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Murf
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2005-12-13          120949


Ann, debating is NOT the same as insulting by any stretch of the definitions.

I would not insult ANY other person without very great provocation, and it would certainly be followed by regret on my part. I do not believe you are a stupid person, and would not stoop to baseless accusations merely for the sake of blowing off steam, I DO get steamed at times, but thankfully was blessed with a goodly share of patience to temper it.

We do agree then on one point at least, there is no place in a forum such as this for personal attacks.

If nothing else, I hope I can remain as my forefathers before me, a gentleman.

Best of luck. ....

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Carldarnell
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2005-12-18          121297


Murf, I have a question. If I run a generator with a transfer sw. that does not break the nuetral then it can backfeed the neutral and cause a shock. In reverse of that if I don't have a generator and I turn off my main disconnect and do not break the neutral then I can get shocked in my own home. Tell me how it can work one way and not the other. If so, why do I not get shocked when I turn off my breaker to work on my house wiring? ....

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Murf
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2005-12-19          121324


First of all, the term 'backfeed' is very misleading. "It can create an unsafe voltage potential in the neutral conductor." is a more appropriate way of saying it.

"In reverse of that if I don't have a generator and I turn off my main disconnect and do not break the neutral then I can get shocked in my own home." No, without a second source there is no possibility of a voltage potential being generated.

The problem is potential between the neutral / ground conductor and true ground, the earth or some second source to ground.

Unless your house has a dirt floor you have no worrys.

Best of luck.

....

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kthompson
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2005-12-19          121326


Unless your house has a dirt floor.

Makes me think. Here concrete floors are popular due to high ground moisture. So, there could be a possible problem with bare damp concrete or tile floor, correct?
Also, when you have flooding (not anything like New Orleans) but say for your house only, any ideas?

Sort of on this line, something that concerns me greatly is small children with plugged in cords. Their fingers are small enough to have the plugged still making contract in the outlet and their finger making a bridge across the hot and neutral prong on the male plug. Not a good situation. If you have small children, be sure your outlets don't let the plugs slip out part of the way due to being worn or strain on cord.

Let's keep them safe also. With Christmas lights they are looking at cords at lot right now. ....

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Carldarnell
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2005-12-19          121327


How can the current from a power co. not backfeed the neutral if all I did was turn off the breaker? ....

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Murf
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2005-12-19          121329


It is not 'backfeed' per se, it is a potential in the neutral / ground conductors, without a second path it is an open circuit.

If you managed to get between the neutral in your house and true earth ground, yes the possibility exists. That is one of the reasons for GFCI circuits where that is possible, like around plumbing or outdoors.

Best of luck. ....

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Carldarnell
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2005-12-19          121331


We live in an underground home with concrete floors. Ok, I can understand that it can be unsafe to not break the neutral on incoming or outgoing electric power. I have an air compressor that when wired for 220v. at two other locations had about 30 volts on the air comp. it self. I could not run a ground from the comp. to the panel without poping the breaker. When I moved to my present location and wired it up I expected to find voltage on the comp. To my supprise I did not and then I grounded the comp. and it did not pop the breaker. The motor is a 220v single phase made in 1956. The only thing that I did different was to switch the wiring to reverse the motor because at my present location it ran backwards. I never have understood why switching the wires around allowed me to ground the comp. Should this be a new thread? ....

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Murf
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2005-12-19          121344


It sounds more likely that the problem was the wiring in your old place.

On an A/C motor it reversed directions when you moved it? That means the power supply was reversed also. That explains why you blew a breaker grounding it too, you would have been putting a live wire to ground.

Lucky all it did was blow a breaker ........


Best of luck.

....

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Carldarnell
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2005-12-19          121349


I don't think the wiring in any of the places this motor has been used (4 that I know of with 3 different owners) were faulty. The person that owned it before me took it to a motor shop and they told him it was meant to be wired with two leads and not grounded. That would be a neutral and a hot on 115 and two hots on 230 which is what the motor is rated at. The motor or pressure switch has no provision for a ground. To reverse the motor you switch leads 7 and 8 no matter if it is wired for 115 or 230. Apparently it has never had to have been reversed before as it was obviously hooked to the same two phases to run, at least the motor wiring appereared to have never been tampered with. I put a 120v 40w bulb between the comp. and ground so I could tell if it was hot to ground when I turned it on. It never shocked me and I do not believe the wiring in any of the places it was used was wrong. All the places were wired to code. I have posted a question on a motor forum to see if anyone knows why this motor acts the way it does. I have wondered about this for years and been watchful of it as well to avoid a shock. I do not like ungrounded motors, etc. and the thought that a generator could cause a hot lead on the power lines is unsettling. I have the intention of using a standby gen. at my home/shop and the local power co. will be involved with the installation when I do it. ....

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kthompson
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2005-12-19          121358


"I put a 120v 40w bulb between the comp. and ground so I could tell if it was hot to ground when I turned it on"

I could be totally confused in following all of this but have a few questions: Did you find voltage before you install this test light? If not it probably is coming through the test light. A meter is safer. You can also get small indicator lights that would allow much less wattage through than your 40 watt bulb.
Having very little three phase current experience, could that have been where you hit the motor running backwards?
Unless I am way off, even if a motor was not made for a ground wire, you should always be able to hook one to the motor frame and it not cause any breaker to trip. Now if you were hooking it to the 110 terminal on the motor itself I think you would find a problem and would trip breaker.
Please, do post here what you find for fact if you will.
....

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Carldarnell
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2005-12-19          121388


I did not ground it when I used it in Missouri but when I brought it here to Ky I decided to try to ground it and everytime I grounded it to the panel it poped the breaker. Remember that I did not have to reverse the motor direction at that time. The voltage from the motor case to ground was about 30v. So, far a safety warning I put a 120v 40w bulb between the case and the ground wire. I knew the bulb would not light up untill there was sufficient amperage to overcome the resistance of the bulb and then I had better not touch the motor as that would indicate an internal short that could be dangerous. No one but my son and I were ever around the comp. The reason I did not pursue it when I moved here is because it is now grounded. It has an internal protection and a circuit breaker. What I do not understand is why I could ground it when I reversed the motor. That has been puzzleing me since I hooked it up this year.
I have posted a question on eng-tips.com and also sent a question to A. O. Smith motor corp. I will post the replys here.
Just so everyone understands, When the motor is wired to run in one direction the motor housing is hot and cannot be grounded. When it is wired to run in the opposite direction the housing is not hot and can be grounded.
Now, from past experience with motors if a winding is shorted to the case then it shows up no matter what direction or voltage it is wired for. That is why I don't understand this motor and have been carefull with it.
Currently it is wired for 220v and is grounded. If anyone is interested it is an A. O. Smith 2hp 1ph 115/230v motor model# C1224N4AAA. It is a large heavy motor.
I may disconnect all the wires and check them to ground but, in it's current setup it is safe and I have no intention of replacing it. If it shorts out as wired it will kick the breaker and I will be forced to replace it or have it rewound. ....

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Murf
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2005-12-20          121412


I am NOT an Electrical Engineer, but do have a reasonable understanding of them.

In an AC motor direction is controlled by the way the fields are energized, which in turn controls the order in which fields are created and collapsed. By reversing the order, you reverse the direction the motor spins.

So far so good, now, there is a second way to reverse a motor, a very dangerous way, that is to reverse the connections, ie, swap the hot for the neutral, this will also reverse the direction in which the fields build and collapse.

This is why I said there may have been a wiring fault in the location it was in previously. The only two ways to reverse a motor are to change the wiring, or the polarity, if you didn't change anything but the location of the compressor then the other wiring HAD to be different, ie, reversed polarity. That is why you can now ground the case without tripping the breaker.

Best of luck. ....

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Carldarnell
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2005-12-20          121416


You cannot change the direction of rotation on a single phase AC motor by reversing the line connections. That is, going from white/white and black/black to white/black and black/white for 120v motor or swaping the blacks on a 220v motor. You cannot swap one of the two blacks for a white on a 220v motor because it would only get 120v and would burn up the motor and if you grounded the now loose black it would be a short and blow the breaker. Now, if it is a DC motor reversing the line will work.
To change the direction of rotation in a single phase AC motor you must change the connections of the windings internally according to the chart on the side of the motor. If you are using a 3 phase motor then to change rotation you just swap any two wires of the three line connections.
A single phase 120v motor is running on one phase of a three phase system. A single phase 220v motor is running on two phases of a three phase system. A three phase 220/440v motor is running on three phases of a three phase system.
All residential power systems today are 220v two phase systems. That is, you get two legs of the 3 phase grid. Most people don't know or understand that a 220v motor is running on two phases. I suspect that if you get leg one and two of a system at one location and then leg one and three at another then the motor that ran at the first location will run in reverse at the other location. I have no way to prove this but maybe the power company could tell me and maybe not. I just had an idea. I will take a single phase motor wired for 220v to my last employer and try this out as he has 3 phase in his machine shop and report back. That may explane why it switched direction from one place to another. Also, NO, the wiring was not faulty at any of the locations it was used. I do have experience wiring machine controls and home and business wiring. ....

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AnnBrush
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2005-12-20          121432


You can not change direction of a single phase ac motor just by switching hot and neutral. The great majority of single phase motors are induction type motors. For most of these switching the leads for the start windings will reverse rotation. These are usually red and black, or they may be numbered 5 and 8. ....

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Murf
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2005-12-20          121433


I was thinking three phase, and that is what I was referring to, now that I re-read it I see it was a single phase motor, sorry for any confusion. ....

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jdcman
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2005-12-20          121452


Carldarnell,

Consider yourself one fortunate soul ---

I tried to look up your serial # on the Smith motor but with no luck --- it's pretty old.

As you stated, in order to change the shaft rotational direction of an AC motor the field connection of the stator windings relative to the armature must be interchanged.

Having said that, I guess it is possible that older motors could have one side of the stator or armature tied to the frame. In that case it still should be possible to maintain the frame as the return while changing the rotational direction provided these operational details were understood.

With modern commercial motors there is no connection to the frame by design, (at least that Iím aware of).

Personally I'd get rid of the motor --- motors are pretty cheap these days. I personally wouldn't want a device with the frame tied to either the "hot" or "return" legs.

Secondly there is no "two" phase system in use in the US, (sin and cos with a phase shift of 90 deg).

Public power is either a 3 phase system, (120 deg) or a single phase transformer driven from one leg of the 3 phase system relative to the system neutral. The output of the transformer is typically 220 with a center tap --- but it is still single phase. Of course the output taps on either side of the center tap are 180 deg out of phase relative to each other --- think of your wall-wart.

I do hope your rethink your plan to use that motor. Just not worth the risk of potential injury in my opinion.

jdcman
....

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kthompson
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2005-12-21          121458


I agree with jd's concern of the safety of using any motor (any electric anything for that mater with voltage where it can be touched) with voltage on the frame. Regardless of how safe a person is and how aware all it takes is one slip or stumble...it could be you, your child or someone who just stopped to say hello. ....

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Carldarnell
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2005-12-21          121491


Generators and transfer switches. I talked to the lineman that works my area and hooked up my home and shop and instructed me how he wanted the meter base and disconnects. 400 amp service with 200anp in house and 200amp in shop with a 200amp disconnect on each branch. I asked about using a circuit breaker type disconnect as mentioned in an earlier post and he did not like the idea but if it meets code he would have to accept it. I have not asked if it meets code but I will probably use a standard transfer switch if and when I set up a stand by gen. As to breaking the neutral, he said at one time Ky Utilities wanted to do that but it never happened. He said they ground every pole and neutral at that pole. For it to cause a voltage feedback most or all of the grounds would have to break and the lineman would have to grab the open ends of a neutral line that has voltage on it. He said it would only happen if the lineman DID NOT FOLLOW CORRECT PROCEDURES. ....

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Murf
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2005-12-21          121492


I think this whole matter has been a little over-blown.

It is a safety issue, yes, but it's one of those odds game thing. It's a one in several millions type thing, but it IS a risk.

I prefer my odds at one in zero, I don't take unnecessary risks, period.

As a very old friend of the family, and lifelong hunting partner said to me one year when we spotted a bear ambling down the trail towards us "It's one black bear in ten thousand that will attack a human, and that is ONE bear, and I don't care what number he is.".

Best of luck. ....

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Carldarnell
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2005-12-21          121494


That Damn compressor motor. I went to an A. O. Smith authorized repair shop and told him my problem. He checked with the factory for my motor and they have no info on it. I asked if I should bring it in to test. He asked is it running and I said yes. He asked is it grounded and I said yes. He said if it runs, makes no noise and is grounded it has no problem. When I got home I disconnected the ground and checked with a VOM. It read 14.7v. I reversed the rotation and checked the potential to ground and it read 21.7v. I touched the ground wire to the comp. during both readings and it did not kick the breaker. I wired it for the right direction and checked the ground and it showed a potential of 1.5v. What happened to the 14.7 I got the first time? Who knows and I don't care. Hooked up the ground and taped the leads and covered everything up. It runs, it's grounded, so what's the problem. It sure as hell won't shock anyone and it sure as hell runs. If it ever shorts out and blows the breaker I will have it rewired. ....

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2005-12-21          121496


Carl,
To me it seems as if your ground is doing it's job.

To Murf, is Barrelpoint where you are posting the rest of the bear story? Some of us want to know if the bear ate either of you, don't leave us in suspense! PS: How does that 1 in 10,000 bear know that he/she is it? Makes one wonder. I wonder who counted those 10,000 bears to come up with that. Guess that stopped with 10,000 huh?
kt

....

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Carldarnell
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 91 Taylorsville Ky
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2005-12-21          121500


Yes, but what really has me puzzled yet is where did the short go that would not let me groung it before. Like I said if it shows up now it blows the breaker and goes to the rewind shop. Also, I missunderstood the lineman when he explained earlier this year about single phase, two phase, three phase. He told me today that the 220v comes from a center tap transformer like an earlier post said. He said that two and three phase is available in residential if I can justify a need and they approve it. But it costs a lot more. Sorry, my mistake, I just misunderstood what he had told me when I inquired about a new service here last year. ....

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shortmagnum
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 848 Wisconsin
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2005-12-22          121534


Bear stories? Did somebody mention bear stories?

Two friends were going on a backpacking trip in Glacier NP which is known for grizzly sightings. As they made their last preparations at the parking lot one of them put on hiking boots, the other running shoes. The hiking boot guy said, "Do you think you can outrun a grizzly with those things?" His friend said, "No, I just have to outrun YOU!" ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2005-12-22          121536


Short,
I just wonder if the guy with the running shoes was Murf..he was telling about his friend and the bear..have we heard from the friend?

Okay, all just kidding Murf. But Enquiring Minds want to know. ....

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Carldarnell
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 91 Taylorsville Ky
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2005-12-22          121539


You will have to Bear with us while we determine if the bear was bearing down on the hikers for a meal to bearly sustain itself. Now, if the runners could bearly bear to stand up to the bear then they may be able to bear the encounter with the bear and have a bear story to tell their barely believing grandchildren. I don't think Murf had a dog in that bear fight, or was it a bear in that dog fight. What ever. ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2005-12-22          121545


I heard the same story, but a with the Alaska twist.

One hiker puts on a 22 revolver and the other says "You can't stop a bear with that thing."

Same punch line......... ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2005-12-22          121546


Reading some of these makes me wonder if this could be learning the reason us slow, sweet, chubby guys are always asked to join in hikes? Makes you rethink your friends.
....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4284 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2005-12-22          121547


I like to think of it more along the lines of being "caloricly challenged" which in turn is the leading cause of excessive "table muscle" development. ;O) ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2005-12-22          121548


It concerns me with some of the recent post on this thread and another that with the first of winter some are not getting enough time in fresh air. BOY WHAT TALL TALES. If they don't hit a funny bone it is just buried too deep under table muscles.
As least my lungs are getting good exercise.
....

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shelley33
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 3 China
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2017-09-15          197088


I purchased a 13,750kw Propane Generator from Central Maine Diesel a few years ago.

20 HP Honda engine, Italian generator head.
Paid about $2300 plus shipping via Paradise Freight which was a few hundred.
I see the price is just a bit higher now... But the one I want most is Cummins which i saw

from a website.

Recently it blew a capacitor. Central Maine sent me 2 for the price of one even though it

is out of warranty. $39 total for two.

I looked at generators on island but a similar Honda at Quality electric was close to $6000

and it wasn't even a 13750kw. More like 8 or 9000kw if I remember right.....

They have many generators at great prices but this is the one I settled for.

Quiet, no smell, propane lasts forever........
....


Link:   

Click Here


 
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