Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

The Buster PiX10Hub is here! Created by the Community, for the Community.:)% #:)

Pages: [1] 2 3

Author Topic: Backup generators  (Read 12570 times)

bkenobi

  • PI Expert
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Helpful Post Rating: 20
  • Posts: 1865
Backup generators
« on: September 18, 2012, 02:50:49 PM »

I had an old Honda 5kW generator that I was going to use last year but had an incompatible plug type.  I just sold it off since it wasn't reliable enough (20+ years old, so...).  I am looking to buy a new one and trying to nail down requirements.  I know there have been topics about generators, but I'm not clear about the compatibility with them and X10.  Noam's question was basically the same as mine, but I didn't get the answer out of it (even if it was in there).

http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=22527.0

Basically, I have some lights that are X10 controlled.  If I lose power and use a generator, I don't care about using X10.  What I do care about is that the switches will manually turn on the lights if they are commanded on from the switch.  Also, do the switches turn on/off spontaneously during generator usage? 

I have 2 200A panels in my house.  One of these is set up with a large industrial transfer switch to change from street power to generator.  I'm not planning on changing anything around (no auto transfer switch desired...we don't lose power that often).  I'm really just trying to make sure I won't damage things by using the wrong kind of generated power.  If there's something I should look for in a generator, now's a good time to know about it while I'm looking for a new generator!

dave w

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 137
  • Posts: 6089
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2012, 03:42:20 PM »

What I do care about is that the switches will manually turn on the lights if they are commanded on from the switch.  Also, do the switches turn on/off spontaneously during generator usage? 

I have 2 200A panels in my house.  One of these is set up with a large industrial transfer switch to change from street power to generator.  I'm not planning on changing anything around (no auto transfer switch desired...we don't lose power that often).  I'm really just trying to make sure I won't damage things by using the wrong kind of generated power.  If there's something I should look for in a generator, now's a good time to know about it while I'm looking for a new generator!
Yes switches should work when controlled locally at the switch. But mileage may very. If generator output is dirty or unstable then who knows?

May or may not work remote control. I have used X10 on a 10kW Onan and X10 remote control worked fine. If the output of the generator is clean, X10 remote control should also work. Regardless they should work locally. "Will they turn on spontaneously on generator?" They should be stable, but if your generator is undersized and you flip on a big load (HVAC) causing the generator output to momentarily drop very low, then, yes you could have lights going off or coming on when the generator burps.
Logged
"This aftershave makes me look fat"

Tuicemen

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 271
  • Posts: 10070
  • I don't work for X10, I use it successfuly!
    • Tuicemen Forum
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2012, 05:52:23 PM »

Most new backup generators  generate a pure sine wave (clean power) Look to make sure it is out putting a pure sine wave not modified simulated or square wave. these will dammage your X10 modules.
I also have a back up generator as I'm totaly off grid (on Solar) at the cottage.
I haven't had modules turn on while it is running but I have had some fail to turn off using a remote.
 >!
Logged
Please Read Topic:
General Forum Etiquette
Before you post!

Find extra info @ My forum

bkenobi

  • PI Expert
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Helpful Post Rating: 20
  • Posts: 1865
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2012, 11:51:40 AM »

Thanks for the feedback.  I'm probably going to get another generator of a similar or slightly larger size (between 5kW and 7000kW probably).  I'm hoping to find one with the reduced RPM mode to increase fuel efficiency (so longer run per tank) and drop the noise level if I turn on a single light.

pomonabill221

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 13
  • Posts: 239
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2012, 02:46:42 PM »

Thanks for the feedback.  I'm probably going to get another generator of a similar or slightly larger size (between 5kW and 7000kW probably).  I'm hoping to find one with the reduced RPM mode to increase fuel efficiency (so longer run per tank) and drop the noise level if I turn on a single light.
WOW... 7000Kw!!!! (that's 7 MEGAwatt)  I THINK you meant 7Kw?
Logged

bkenobi

  • PI Expert
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Helpful Post Rating: 20
  • Posts: 1865
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2012, 03:18:49 PM »

Muhahaha...  I need it to complete my plan

Dan Lawrence

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 68
  • Posts: 3991
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2012, 05:38:59 PM »

I loved Pinky and the Brain!!!!  Brain NEVER got a plan to work, either his work blew up on him or Pinky screwed up something.  Cartoon mania at it's best!!!   Now, back to our X10 problems.
Logged
I don't SELL this stuff... BUT I sure do ENJOY using it!!!

bkenobi

  • PI Expert
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Helpful Post Rating: 20
  • Posts: 1865
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2012, 01:27:19 PM »

I'm looking very seriously at the 7000W unit Harbor Freight sells.  It's a Predator brand, but it's purportedly a Honda clone engine.  I don't know much about the generator side, but from what I've read/seen online, it looks like a good unit.  I'm just wondering how I would ever know about the quality of the power it generates without an oscilloscope?  I am considering adding a power conditioner for my stereo stuff just in case, but that may be overkill since I'm running all of that stuff through a computer UPS anyway.  Those are supposed to detect dirty power and switch over to battery if that's detected.

As for X10, I assume it would be ok.  The only problem with my setup I just realized yesterday is that I have my front lights primary switch in the basement and a Smarthome ToggleLinc (X10 version) at the front door.  If I lose power, I'd have to switch lights on from the basement.  One option would be to just leave those lights on for the duration of the outage.  Actually, I have my wood shed lights and kennel lights set up similarly.  Oh well, as long as they don't get damaged, it's not really a big deal.

dave w

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 137
  • Posts: 6089
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2012, 03:20:44 PM »

I'm just wondering how I would ever know about the quality of the power it generates without an oscilloscope? 
Even then, it would be hard to gage how loads may effect waveform and frequency.
My bet it it will work.
Logged
"This aftershave makes me look fat"

bkenobi

  • PI Expert
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Helpful Post Rating: 20
  • Posts: 1865
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2012, 02:27:50 PM »

I'm sure the power from the generator will be fine, but this has made me wonder just what my normal power looks like.  I know some of you have used an oscilloscope to view main power, but from the reading I've done today, everyone says DON'T DO IT...YOU WILL DIE! I don't have an oscilloscope, but I do have an old Ipaq and a couple older android phones.  I know there's software for both that will allow for the mic input's ADC to be used as a poor man's oscilloscope, but they are very limited.  Among other things, they only accept up to 2 or 5v.  I could even go Arduino, but the same limit is there.

Is there a simple way to do this without breaking things?  I'm just looking to see what the sine wave looks like so I could compare normal power, power from my PC UPS's, generator power, etc.  I'm only thinking of doing this once, so I'm not looking for a $$$$ solution.  If it's not feasible, I'm ok with that too.

pomonabill221

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 13
  • Posts: 239
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2012, 02:39:58 PM »

To monitor your power, just use a low voltage transformer (NOT a cell phone charger or SMPS as they are switching power supplies).
This will isolate you from line and give you a low voltage for your instrument, and should be somewhat representative of the waveform, although the transformer might "smooth" the waveform a little.
Just remember that the stated voltage from the transformer SHOULD be RMS, NOT peak.  Try measuring the output with a true rms dvm FIRST then multiply to get peak (rms x 1.414) so that you don't exceed the max input of your instrument.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2012, 02:41:47 PM by pomonabill221 »
Logged

bkenobi

  • PI Expert
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Helpful Post Rating: 20
  • Posts: 1865
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2012, 02:44:54 PM »

Something like this?

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102494&filterName=Type&filterValue=Transformers

Since it outputs 12.6V, I imagine I'd need to use a voltage divider to drop it down to the <2V range.

I also have a box of old wall warts.  If I find one that isn't switching (120VAC only), that should work too, right?
« Last Edit: November 03, 2012, 02:46:45 PM by bkenobi »
Logged

pomonabill221

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 13
  • Posts: 239
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2012, 02:53:41 PM »

Sure that would do fine, and then like you said, divide it down with a couple of resistors to get what you want.
HINT.... if you have a thrift store nearby, they usually have tons of wall warts for real cheap.  Just make sure they output AC and not DC, and are a transformer without any rectifier/cap (dc output).
Since the input impedance or your instrument is very high, a couple of high value resistors for the divider are all that you would need so that large power resistors would not be needed.  Even a 100k pot could be used and you can set the voltage you want.
Wire the transformer to the ends of the pot, the wiper and one end of the pot would connect to your instrument.  Measure the pot's wiper voltage FIRST and set it where you want, THEN connect your "scope" to the same points.
All you are interested in is the waveform, and the voltage is not critical (just keep it within the range of your scope).
Logged

bkenobi

  • PI Expert
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Helpful Post Rating: 20
  • Posts: 1865
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2012, 03:28:54 PM »

I just checked my misc box and found a 24vac transformer from the furnace i decommissioned last year. Looks like i just need to find a pot and my resistors. I probably even have a pigtail lying around so i can just plug the tester in.

Brian H

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 291
  • Posts: 12828
Re: Backup generators
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2012, 04:04:42 PM »

Low voltage transformer would be fine.
People who tried to use a few high value resistors directly across the AC are the ones that can kill you or make big sparks.

I use an XPCP X10Pro passive coupler. With one phase on the AC Line Input and the other isolated phase to my scope. If I am just interested in noise around the X10 power line frequency of 120KHz.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3
 

X10.com | About X10 | X10 Security Systems | Cameras| Package Deals
© Copyright 2014-2016 X10.com All rights reserved.