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Yamaha Generator problem

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8x56mn
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 167 Watkins Glen NY
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2007-08-10          144588


Guys I think I may have messed up my portable Yahmah generator. I tried to plug it into a house receptacle thinking I could back feed into the circuit when the power went out the other day. The motor kind of bogged down and now I can't get any AC power out of the receptacle. The reset does not seem to be popped. Could I have burned up a relay or something? Can these things be fixed.

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
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2007-08-10          144589


8x56mn,

I'm not at all familiar with your particular generator.


It's highly unlikely that you did any real damage to the thing. It sounds as though you had more draw on the house circuit than your generator was designed to handle. This would have tripped a circuit breaker or blown a fuse.

Have you checked all of the breakers and/or fuses?

If you have a manual for your generator, it should tell you where to find these safety overload devices.

What is the rated output of your generator?

If you have a model number, I might be able to help you identify and locate these safety devices.

Joel ....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
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2007-08-10          144590


8x56mn,

I'm assuming that you have a YAMAHA Generator. Is that correct? Is it possible that you misspelled it in your opening post?

If so, you can purchase owner's manuals for $15.00 for all Yamaha models.

You can get a service manual for $55.00

See link below ....


Link:   Yamaha Generators -- Parts and Accessories -- Manuals

 
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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2007-08-10          144591


First, off, although you don't say so, I would hope you flipped the main service breaker off before you tried to light up the generator.

If not, you were powering the entire grid, including any poor linesmen who may have been working on the lines at the time.

Such an overload should have, as Joel mentioned, blown a fuse or breaker on either the generator or the house's wiring before doing any damage.

If the breaker is popped it may not seem so, sometimes you have to completely flip it off, then back on before it will go on again. If this does not work the breaker may be defective and just not resetting itself.

Best of luck. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2007-08-10          144593


If this is a ground fault receptacle or circuit it may have a reset on the receptacle itself or on another receptacle in the circuit. Depending on code there and when the house was built your receptacles outside or near the outside probably are ground fault circuits.

Adding to Murf's concern, are you having power on the male end of a cord that could be unplugged while the generator is running making a live circuit easy for anyone like a child to get shocked or even killed on?

Hope you well. kt ....

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
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2007-08-10          144595


I'll just add to Murf. I hope you pulled the main breaker.

Many times there is a reset button on the small generators themselves seperate from the breakers. Check there for a small button and be prepared to push it really hard. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
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2007-08-10          144596


You may have blown one or more of the diodes in the doide pack which are normally easily accessible from the end of the generator opposite the engine. They're usually behind a smallish access door. My Generac-brand pack ran me $35. ....

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Yamaha Generator problem

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8x56mn
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 167 Watkins Glen NY
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2007-08-13          144643


Well I took the unit to the dealer to let him figure it out. Just to clarify, yes I did pull the house feed dissconnect. It has nothing to do with the house breakers as I can't get any power from the generator with somthing plugeed into it. I believe the breaker on the generator is reset. Anyway thanks for all the comments, will wait and see what the dealer has to say. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2007-08-13          144651


Well guess when it read
"out of the receptacle."
would have been good to ask which receptacle. Wish you well. kt
....

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8x56mn
Join Date: Aug 2006
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2007-08-17          144761


Well dealer just called and said he couldn't find anything wrong and output is fine. Just to clear up any confusion, the generqator only produces 110v. So now I have no idea what went wrong. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2007-08-17          144762


Well, let's start with the basics.

When you turned off the main service breakers, did you also shut off all but just the 110 volt circuits you wanted to power?

Secondly to that, are you sure the 110 cicuit you wanted to power is on the same leg of the main 220 as the generator was plugged into?

From the description thus far, my guess would be that no other breakers but the mains were flipped, this caused a HUGE overload on the genset causing the breaker on it to trip.

Best of luck. ....

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kthompson
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2007-08-17          144764


Murf is probably hitting the nail on the head.

IF you have not, find out the wattage of what you are wanting to run. On motors such as refregiators or freezers you need to use the starting wattage and NOT the running wattage. Be sure the total load is within your generator's ability or figure what items to remove to get there.

Trying to plug into your house circuit as you did, picks up a lot of items you may not think of. The lights by themself may exceed your generator. Some electric applicances and such use some power when off. Many items using small amounts can quickly add up. kt ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2007-08-17          144767


Generally speaking you won't find a generator any bigger than about 3KW that produces ONLY 110 volts. Above that (some smaller) produce both 110 & 220 volts.

In basic terms a generator of that size will run only one circuit at capacity.

If the circuit it is plugged into is not isolated from everything else, it will try to power everything on that leg of the 220 service, AND will give power to half of the 220 circuits in the house too.

A 220 motor such as those on a well pump won't last very long with 100 volts on one side and not the other.

Best of luck. ....

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8x56mn
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 167 Watkins Glen NY
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2007-08-20          144846


Yup you are correct, my bad, live and learn. Anyway things are back to normal and I'm looking into having a backup system installed at the house to cover any future outages ....

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Billy
Join Date: Oct 1999
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2007-08-20          144850


Murf, help me understand this. I was under the assumption that on a 220v motor, breaking either L1 or L2 is the start and stop? In other words 110v on a 220v motor will do nothing. The motor motor won't even try to run. ....

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Yamaha Generator problem

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2007-08-20          144856


Billy, it depends on the wiring of the motor. Some of them will certainly TRY to run. ;)

Even if it is of the type you are referring to, there will still be quite a load on the one leg of the 220 that the generator is back-feeding.

There's a big difference between the motor doing nothing, and it have no effect. The motor won't turn, but it will sure create a heck of a load.

Best of luck.

....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2007-08-20          144857


Sure don't know much about how electric motors can vary with their internally wiring but I would have thought Billy correct.

Makes me wonder if amp meter was placed on one leg and the other broken if there is an amp draw? Unless it were to feed somewhere such as through the ground (of course not proper) then how does it have a power load or usage if one of the lines is broken? It has alway been my understanding electricty had to have a complete path. kt ....

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Billy
Join Date: Oct 1999
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2007-08-20          144858


Murf, I'm not the type to disagree ;) but I'm gonna have to disagree with you on this one. I have somewhere around 50 220v motors on my farm and everyone is wired so when one hot wire (L1 or L2) is broken the motor shuts off. That's the only way it will work since you don't "have" to have a ground or neutral with 220v. I've fixed way too many electrical problems where the only thing wrong was a break in one of the hot wires.
....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2007-08-20          144859


Billy,

I don't recommend switching just one leg of any 220vac motor. Whether or not there will be any current flow with one leg broken, the primary issue here is safety.

How would you safely go about repairing or replacing such a motor?

If the motor is hard-wired.......that is.....without a plug on the end of the cord........you will always have 110vac to the motor, even with the switch shut off.

Every 220vac motor should have a disconnect switch installed in the power line. When the disconnect switch is thrown to the off position, both hot legs are broken. If both legs aren't broken, a serious safety situation exists, in which electrocution is highly possible.

Since a motor is nothing more than a group of windings, current can flow through the motor, even if the motor isn't turning.

Joel ....

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JasonR
Join Date: Jan 2006
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2007-08-20          144861


Breaking one leg on a single phase motor will lead to no current or load on the connected leg - unless the motor has short to ground.

Breaking one leg on a 3 phase motor will cause the motor to single phase, drawing a lot of current with no motor movement.

- Jason ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2007-08-21          144869


Billy, you are right that the motor will stop if you disconnect EITHER of L1 or L2, however it is certainly not the right way to do it, nor is it safe since the 'other' leg is still 'hot' in the motor as Joel pointed out.

In some states switching a single side of 220 is not legal either. You should always use a DPDT switch and break both hots.

Best of luck.

....

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Billy
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2007-08-21          144872


Murf, What Joel pointed out is very true but each of my motors have their own breaker. I would never even think about working on one unless the breaker was off.

As far as the on/off switches go, I'll try to explain one type I use. Say a feed line. On the end of the feed line there's a control pan. In this control pan there's a paddle that operates a micro switch. When the feed gets low the paddle moves down straight and activates the micro switch. All the micro switch does is open or close L1 or L2 (according to which L you chose when wiring). The fans are a little harder to explain other than they all are wired into relays and the relays are controlled by a computer. Each fan has it's own relay. The relays break either L1 or L2 which shuts that fan off. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2007-08-21          144876


Billy, I understand how they work, I have a similar system in the milk parlour.

IMHO though, the micro switch should trip a DPDT magnetic switch, that way you have two levels of safety, first the micro switch can be only a low voltage trigger circuit, and secondly, the system is absolutely dead unless running.

Best of luck. ....

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Yamaha Generator problem

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Billy
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 975 Southeast Oklahoma
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2007-08-21          144878


Murf, I guess one can't be too safe but it can get overly costly. The way I look at it is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". By the way, the micro switches I use are rated at 10 Amps and 250 VAC.

Thanks for the discussion. ....

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AnnBrush
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2007-08-22          144913


If you use a 110V power source and energize one leg of a 220v circuit you have not "powered half of the circuit". A 220v single phase motor requires 220V potential difference between the two lines (L1 and L2) to complete it's circuit. Powering this with the "110v setup" as described produces 0 volts between L1 and L2. The voltage between one line and neutral is irrelevant to the motor. Here we need to draw the distinction between operation and safety issues. While prudent from a safety standpoint (Line to neutral voltage), 220v devices can draw no power from a single phase 110v supply when no connection to the second line is made (no circuit completed) - if they do you have a line to neutral or line to ground fault in the 220v device. ....

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kthompson
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2007-08-22          144916


I would guess this thread has become hijacked already but something I use to see (out of that work now) which many did not pay attention to is the proper wiring of a lamp or light fixture. The "live" part is the part of the center of the buld and not the outside base of the bulb. So simple but so often given no attention to. If wired backwards it is possible to touch 110 volts with some fixtures. Much like breaking just one leg of a 220 circuit. Stay safe. kt ....

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candoarms
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2007-08-22          144918


KThompson,

I'm not sure that I would consider this thread as being hijacked, as the conversation is relevant to all things that could cause a problem with any generator setup.

I was called to do a repair on a dental chair, which had caught on fire in a dental office. I quickly identified the problem and repaired it.

The dentist had kicked the plug and broken the wires on the cord. He removed the plug, trimmed the broken cord, and then re-installed the plug.......INCORRECTLY. POOF! Flames shot out, which burned his chair and his carpet.

On any 110vac plug, there are three wires.....black, white, and green.

Black (Hot) always goes on the gold terminal in the plug, or on the narrow male spade.

White (Neutral) always goes on the silver terminal in the plug, or on the wider male spade.

Green (Ground) is installed on the green screw in the plug, or on the round male ground connector.

Any switch that is installed in a 110vac line, such as a lamp, should be installed in the BLACK line....or the hot wire.

Any switch installed in a 220vac circuit should always break both the L1 and L2 (both hot) lines.

And a word of caution for those who run back-up generators........

Any or all of your sensitive electronic devices may be destroyed by your generator, unless your generator has a quality voltage regulator installed on it.

Some generators do not have this.

Without this voltage regulator, a sharp voltage spike from your generator will fry your television, computer and alarm clocks, as well as anything else in your home that contains digital circuitry.....such as the microwave display panel, etc.

Even a large voltage spike will not harm your blower motor on your furnace, but it could easily take out the circuit board that controls it.

When you purchase a generator, spend the extra money to get yourself a quality machine that regulates the output to a very high degree.

Joel ....

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Billy
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2007-08-22          144922


Good post Joel but when you say "Any switch installed in a 220vac circuit should always break both the L1 and L2 (both hot) lines.", what could happen if you don't? ....

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candoarms
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2007-08-22          144923


Billy,

Nothing will happen......until somebody attempts to work on the motor, with the belief that the power is off.

Voltage Feedback is another possibility, which, under certain circumstances, occurs when a motor fails.

This is more of a safety issue than anything else, but it's also possible that if both lines aren't switched, the owner of the device could be in violation of the law.

Any resulting injury could be very costly, in either case.

Joel ....

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Billy
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2007-08-22          144925


Now we're getting somewhere!

1) Nothing will happen......until somebody attempts to work on the motor, with the belief that the power is off.

Regardless of any kind of switch/s or how sophisticated, one should always make sure the power is off. That would be the same as replacing something as simple as a light switch.

2) Voltage Feedback is another possibility, which, under certain circumstances, occurs when a motor fails.

Don't know where you're going with this? If the motor fails, it fails regardless of whether this switch is on or off. What if it failed when the switch was on? There should be a breaker in there somewhere.

3) This is more of a safety issue than anything else, but it's also possible that if both lines aren't switched, the owner of the device could be in violation of the law.

This I will have to research but I'm almost certain of the answer. There's literally millions of motors wired with a single L 220v switch. I'll have to get back with you on this one. ....

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candoarms
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2007-08-23          144960


Billy,

I would like to clear up some of the questions that have arisen under this topic.

Please understand that under normal conditions, most people would never notice a problem with any motor while it's hooked up to the utility power.

However, when operating a backup generator, it is highly important that we isolate all of the circuits and that we eliminate anything that we don't want to power.

In many cases, the power going to the garage, or workshop, comes from a single breaker located inside the home. All of the outlets and lights in the shop will then be powered from this single breaker.

If a person wants to have power in the shop, (to power a heat lamp, heated pet bowl, block heater, etc.) when the power is out, it is necessary have this electrical line powered by the backup generator.

If there is anything on that circuit that could draw current when it is not intended to operate, it could greatly affect the performance and operation of the backup generator.

By switching just one leg of any 220vac device, such as a table saw, drill press, or welder, it's possible that any or all of these devices could put a unintended load on the backup generator.

While this is not normally going to happen, the idea behind having a backup generator is to provide a sure source of power when the utility power is out. Eliminating any possible problems with the backup generator is highly desirable, due to the fact that you don't want to be troubleshooting the circuitry while the family is freezing their butts off, or are unable to use draw water from the well.

By breaking both legs on all 220vac devices, there is no possible way any leakage current in those devices would cause a problem.

The whole idea here is to create a situation in which you are POSITIVE that you'll be able to make your own power when the power goes out.

Troubleshooting a power draw problem at -40 degrees is no danged fun. Worse yet, is having to troubleshoot a power problem when the roof is gone, trees have fallen on your vehicle, and the cattle have gotten out of the fence. There are more important things to do than to spend time fixing something that never should have been a problem to begin with.

Joel ....

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Billy
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2007-08-23          144961


Joel, I'll agree with that. I'd even add that anyone that has a backup generator without a transfer switch should have a plan ahead of time and know what they'll be running. The bare necessities like a couple of lights, refrigerator, well pump and such. It doesn't take long for those watts to add up and bog the generator down. Of course it's dependent on the size of generator.

Thanks for the discussion
Billy ....

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