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Thread: How to Trouble shoot this???

  1. #1

    Default How to Trouble shoot this???

    Hi everyone - I have a decent size generator to use in case of outages and my house was hard wired and a 4 prong outlet under the panel and 10\4 cable w\ male fittings as well, that we plug in after the MAIN & A/C are thown in the panel .
    Why would only half of the house lights work and the other half would not light, when their breakers are on ? I did notice that when I tried my garage lights they came on VERY dim Could this be a loose wire on one of the breakers? What's the best way to isolate the problem in your opion?

    Thanks your help and suggestions,
    Carl
    Last edited by Carl Simmo; 09-25-2007 at 03:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    Considering the EXTREMELY dangerous and ILLEGAL backfeed setup you are using I doubt you'll get any replies other than to install a proper transfer switch or main-breaker-interlock.

    That would be my only comment.

  3. #3
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
    That would be my only comment.
    Mine to .

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member BrianJohn's Avatar
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    If improperly operated it is possible you may be backfeeding the utility, which can and has killed utility lineman in at least one case. Utilize the proper equipment for the job or sell the generator.

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member Mike Swearingen's Avatar
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    Please get a proper transfer switch or connection hub (see below), or don't use a generator at all. Turning off your main breaker does NOT isolate your electrical panel.
    http://www.dom.com/products/generators/hub.jsp
    Two out-of-state power company linemen helping our northeastern NC area restore power after Hurricane Isabel in 2003 were killed here due to this very type of improper hookup.
    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Swearingen; 09-25-2007 at 08:33 PM.

  6. #6
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    ditto.

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  7. #7

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    I echo the other's comments...I would also caution that you could be damaging many of your appliances with this.

  8. #8
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Simmo
    Why would only half of the house lights work and the other half would not light, when their breakers are on? I did notice that when I tried my garage lights they came on VERY dim Could this be a loose wire on one of the breakers?
    No, something else is keeping power from getting to half your breakers, and you would need an experienced and irresponsible electrician to get that straightened out. Like everyone else has said, there is absolutely nothing good or okay about backfeeding a system through a receptacle. I used to do that until someone explained these things to me, and now I am no longer willing to risk causing property damamge or death for anyone.

  9. #9
    General Contractor, Farmer HandyAndy's Avatar
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    take a look at this thread and the links that are posted in it,
    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15067

  10. #10
    G.C. 22+ years(in 3 states) Old Dog's Avatar
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    Default I'm wondering...

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Simmo
    Hi everyone - I have a decent size generator to use in case of outages and "my house was hard wired and a 4 prong outlet under the panel and 10\4 cable w\ male fittings as well, that we plug in after the MAIN & A/C are thown in the panel ."
    Carl,I'm assuming from your post that you bought the house with this hookup already there...It's obvious this wasn't inspected and I wonder what other potential dangerous work has been done.I would get an experienced electrician in to take a look see to make sure you don't have any other problems lurking about.
    BTW,you have been lucky no one has been killed with this setup...

    Quality is never an accident.It is always the result of intelligent effort. (John Ruskin)

  11. #11
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Swearingen
    Please get a proper transfer switch or connection hub (see below), or don't use a generator at all. Turning off your main breaker does NOT isolate your electrical panel.
    http://www.dom.com/products/generators/hub.jsp
    Two out-of-state power company linemen helping our northeastern NC area restore power after Hurricane Isabel in 2003 were killed here due to this very type of improper hookup.
    Mike

    Mike have you seen one of these installations?

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=leejosepho] and you would need an experienced and irresponsible electrician to get that straightened out QUOTE]

    Could he also hire a responsible electrician, or are the irresponsible ones more appropriate for this job?
    "Any American who is prepared to run for President should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
    Gore Vidal.

  13. #13
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    All good advice from the above posts.

    It also sounds like your using a 115 volt generator feeding a 230 volt panel.
    If I were a fortune teller, I would see nothing but doom and gloom from this install.

    bob...

  14. #14

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    I understand everyones comments and WILL have someone come out. To be perfectly honest, my neighbors have the same set-up . The generator has a 4 prong female connection on the front panel of the generator next to the 115v inserts, there is a 10-4 cable w\ male 4prong lockers on either side that connect the generator to metal box labeled 240v generator on the panel side. Now, on the breaker panel on the bottom there's a dedicated dual breaker labeled "generator",that goes to a conduit\ metal box underneath the panel. This also labeled "240v generator" w\ a 4 locking 4 prong for the cable.
    My question is how is this a danger for linemen if the MAIN and a couple others are thrown prior to plugging cable and starting generator? Is'nt the power isolated at that point?

  15. #15
    Sprinkler Guy Wet_Boots's Avatar
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    That linemen have died from the setup you have is all the explanation required. Don't jabber about it. Fix it.

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