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Author Topic: Generators  (Read 2530 times)

sheerline

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Generators
« on: July 07, 2009, 02:14:37 PM »

Does anyone out there know what the legalities and or requirements for hooking up a standby generator to you domestic dwelling are? I know it is not sufficient just to turn off the power at the main switch and hook the generator into your domestic distribution board.
 Before anyone jumps on me, I might point out that I removed the bus bars from within the box which connect to the main switch so there was no chance that it could feed back down the grid should anyone ever throw the main switch whilst the generator was running. Using this method, my home was totally isolated from the grid, so do you think there is any legislation which says I can't do it?
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catengineman

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Re: Generators
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2009, 02:27:55 PM »

Good point there keep me informed on what you find out :-)) I just may join you on your idea.

R,
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warship1

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Re: Generators
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2009, 02:55:04 PM »

Hi mate

There are many different regulations that you would have to have to adhere to, things like earthing arrangements of the house and the fact that you have altered the distribution system by removing the busbars. Im afraid you would have to contact the utility supplier and your local council as they covern the Part P which includes unauthorised people altering the distrbution circuit within the home which as you have already said done. A word of advise though be very careful how you move forward with this as they like giving pretty heafty fines for any alteration without permission.

stu
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sheerline

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Re: Generators
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2009, 03:18:59 PM »

Thanks for that Stu, I imagined it would be something which would breach some kind of regulation somewhere. The logic I had applied was that as I was no longer connected to the grid, I was at liberty to do as i wished with my own property.

 The electricity supply here can be a bit unreliable at times and there have been occasions in the past where we had been without it for a couple of days... no joke in the winter.  I have taken the precaution of installing a woodburner for emergency heat and bottled gas for cooking so am not reliant on a single energy source. Fitting the 2.5kW generator was a real lifesaver as everything with the exception of the 2kW kettle could be run quite happily. Inductive loads like fridge motors, flourescent lamps and motorised equipment in the workshop would cause a momentary dip if they all kicked in at the same time but otherwise the house ran normally. I did make a point of ensuring all the earthing arrangements were as belt and races as humanly possible  as I linked the generator earth up to the domestic disribution unit and earthed the generator with a deep set copper pipe in wet soil to a depth of two feet using heavy earth cable
One word of warning, running the computer under these conditions, I blew the power supply unit on mine and I believe it was the back emf from inductive the loads which spiked it. It didn't cost much to fix it but it was ruddy inconvenient to say the least and I was probably lucky to get away with just the power supply blowing up.
Going on what you have said' it sounds like I will have to resort to a multiple socket unit and simply plug certain appliances directly to the generator rather than feed the house ring main.
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6705russell

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Re: Generators
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2009, 03:26:44 PM »

Hi Chris,

Hooking a generator up to your property should be no problem at all, if you have an Automatic Change-over Panel in the installation you will get no back feeds whatsoever and when the power is restored it will change back onto raw mains itself.....  if you need any more info on installation or cost then send me an e-mail by all means.

Cheers

Russ
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sheerline

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Re: Generators
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2009, 03:55:56 PM »

Hi Russ, why didn't i think of you first when this question cropped up up??? I would definately be interested to find out more so will  give you a tinkle on the ivories at some point.  :-))
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OMK

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Re: Generators
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2009, 04:07:38 PM »

Chris, if you contact your utility supplier they will install the appropriate changeover/isolator for you. Around this way, on all new dwellings, the SWEB boys have taken to installing 100A double-pole isolators immediately after the meter. In effect the customer is in charge of the isolator and is free to whatever do he/she wants from the meter onwards (adhering to the 17th Regulations, of course).
Any electrical store will have the appropriate changeover switch if you wish to install your own, but, as far as I know, your utility company will do the work and supply the relevent gear for free. Leastways, a pal of mine did the same as you a couple years ago and they didn't charge him a penny, mumbled something about it being the customer's prerogative. It's likely that their policy may have changed since then, but maybe worth a try?
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sheerline

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Re: Generators
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2009, 04:13:15 PM »

Free!!! You used that word twice in your post mate.... I like like that! I bet they charge 500-00 to deliver and install it though. :((
(Always the eternal pessimist me)
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6705russell

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Re: Generators
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2009, 04:20:54 PM »

I really wouldnt of thought that an automatic change-over would be installed for free and avaliable from electrical stores, isolators maybe but definately not Auto panels....
With this kind of set up the generator would start within 30 seconds and re-supply the installation until power was resumed or it ran out of diesel, as soon as power comes back on it will revert instantaneously.

Having an isolater fitted after the meter (depending on which utilities you are covered by) just means you dont have to call them back if you need the supply isolating again for any reason.

Russ

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OMK

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Re: Generators
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2009, 04:32:33 PM »

500.00 delivery? Apparently not. Seems it's pretty standard gear these days. Chances are they'll have it in their vans anyway.

So now that you've removed the busses from the box, how are you looping all your neutrals, etc.?
One dodge I used to use when I needed 240ac on a new dwelling that hadn't yet been hooked to the grid was to shove 240 from the portable generator direct into a 13A outlet. Totally against all the rules, but saves a lot of messing around at the box when you only need a temp' supply.


I just hit the Post button then spotted the message from Russell....

Sorry, bud, I didn't mean to imply an automatic changeover. I was meaning a manual one. Auto is surely the way to go, but I don't think the utility company's generosity stretches that far. A manual version, depending on the type of dwelling, would either be in a MEM-type metal-clad enclosure, or, more usually, and ABS enclosure. You've probably seen them yourself already. Approx. 10" square box, handle on the front which makes a hefty 'clunk!' when it's turned 90-degrees.
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malcolmfrary

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Re: Generators
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2009, 04:53:22 PM »

In our buildings the size of sheds, the standby power consisted of a Honda generator that plugged into a dedicated socket (female plug, male socket) fed via a changeover switch that ensured that the generator never saw the mains, and the male socket never saw power.
The larger buildings all had a diesel alternator and an automatic control box about the size of a double wardrobe.  Many years ago.
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Colin H

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Re: Generators
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2009, 05:17:46 PM »

New Regulations came in in 2005 that prevent a none qualified person doing most electrical work unless they involve the local building control dept.

I am not sure if this applies to none main fed installations but the gas regs apply to all installations whether mains or bottle fed.

You might find out more at www.odpm.gov.uk/electricalsafety thats if the link is still working.

Colin H.
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DickyD

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Re: Generators
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2009, 06:33:40 PM »

What you need to do is get Emphysema which will necessitate you getting an oxygen concentrator.

Then arrange for a power cut and the Electric company will gallop round and supply and connect a generator free of charge.

Has happened to me on many occasion  :-))
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polaris

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Re: Generators
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2009, 07:33:50 PM »


Dear All,

Not long ago, a generator changeover switch was added to the spec. of a property being built by the Co..

Supply changeover switches can be bought from Edmondsons Electrical, City Electrics, or Link, and cost a couple of hundred or so for the proper thing.

Only a qualified/certified domestic supply electrician can fit such a beastie. If a private individual was to fit such a thing and it should go wrong (& many other 'heavy' appliances), there is no insurance cover.

Automatic changeover switches (connected to the mains supply), are frowned upon these days, since, if they go wrong, they have the potential to fry some poor engineer working on the lines - leading to rather unpleasant consequences all round.

Sorry for the 'downer', but hope of use.

Regards, Bernard
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sheerline

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Re: Generators
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2009, 07:38:12 PM »

Firstly...I did this wiring and hooking up thing in 2004! %)
Seriously though chaps, the busbar removal and generator hook up was simply a temporary emergency  measure carried out on the day of power loss and was replaced immediately power was restored to the village. My main reason for going to these lengths was to simply isolate my dwelling from the grid network as a safety measure since somewhere along the line, some poor electrician would be at risk if I inadvertantly started pumping volts down the wires.
I certainly wouldn't need an auto panel capable of firing up a standby machine, mine has a pull cord, so any simple auto cutoff device would do the job. I did think of making up a mains operated latching relay unit which would drop out when mains power was removed but it was something I never really got round too yet... and now, may never do as it appears they  already exist over the counter. Thanks men!
Russ, I will seek your advice further at some point.
PMK, I did it too...once, a  really nasty dangerous double ended plug lead stuffed into a socket and the other end plugged into the 'jenny'. I turned off the mains switch and fired up the 'jenny'....house lit up like a christmas tree and everything worked just fine.....my advice to everyone.. NEVER EVER DO THIS!!
It really is bluddy dangerous and you can wind up very crispy and a wrong colour if you don't know what you're about!! %%
 
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SteamboatPhil

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Re: Generators
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2009, 08:59:49 PM »

One other point to remember is that depending on your generator, it may be the case that you will have to bond the earth and neutral together, then bond to an earth ground and cross bond to the house. You would have to check the geny, modern ones have this done already.   :-))

I have a change over in my house that when changed over to geny power it feeds a second board which only feeds the lighting and some socket outlets, so the geny never gets over loaded. Mind you since I installed it (panic not chaps I have the piece's of paper) we have stopped getting as many power cuts......doh  {:-{
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sheerline

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Re: Generators
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2009, 09:42:29 PM »

They have also been working on the lines around here lately. You see, if I go ahead and spend some loot, you can guarantee we won't have another power cut...ever! Story of my life that is!!
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Colin H

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Re: Generators
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2009, 09:57:24 PM »

This may be a rather simplistic view but a length of 2.5mm twin & earth as a trailing lead with socket outlets at the required points and then plug that into the generator.

5 minutes to set up and as cheap as chips.

Colin H.
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sheerline

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Re: Generators
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2009, 11:03:36 PM »

Tried that, it's a pain in the a-se to do in the dark!! ok2
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Bartapuss

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Re: Generators
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2009, 11:32:47 PM »

Sheerline, you really need to speak to a qualified electrician on this, some form of manual change over switch is needed to flip the consumer unit (fuse box) from incoming mains to a heavy duty industrial wall mounted male recptical to take a female socket like what is used on a caravan set up. Being manual you'll also need to fit some form of low wattage lamp or a neon to let you know when the mains is back on.
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sheerline

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Re: Generators
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2009, 07:47:19 AM »

Bart, I have got a qualified bloke now who is going to look at it at some stage. We are doing a lot of work on the house right now and it seems a good time to make inroads into this, this is why I raised the topic. He assures me it's no big deal and can easily be arranged as we are having all the wiring pulled around. We have had a new disribution board fitted, it is a world away from the older one which I fiddled with and physically impossible to manipulate in the same way. Times have certainly moved on and so have the regulations regarding electrical wiring so my tinkering days appear to be over.
Looks like the world will be a safer place after all! %) 
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Proteus

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Re: Generators
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2009, 09:20:37 AM »

saw this a few years ago , well one similar at a show they looked ok but may not give you long enough , but would give you the time to change over manually with lights etc also look on the  http://www.homebuilding.co.uk/


http://www.powersystemswarehouse.co.uk/index.php?display=productdetails&cat=21&prod=21&id=44

Proteus
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polaris

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Re: Generators
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2009, 07:09:17 PM »


Dear Proteus,

That Powersystems product looks interesting. I am going to write to them to ask whether it still requires a mains changeover switch or whether it has one built in - which it probably does... but if so it will be auto. and I am not sure how the Regs. stand with some elec. utility suppliers.

Thankyou for letting us know.

Regards, Bernard
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