Author Topic: Power Outage.  (Read 29711 times)

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Offline CV67PAT

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2014, 09:16:21 PM »
How is electricity going to flow through a circuit that is disconnected.  The breaker was off so it can't go through.  I can test this by turning off the main and I will have no power, therefore no power flow, so it's not getting out of the house to go into electrical lines outside.  In the case that it was backfeeding DTE, it would trip the breaker on the generator instantly because it couldn't handle that kind of load.

But main OFF, no power is getting in or out, to or from the lines.

So NO people like me who have the main off are not killing linemen.
You obviously do not have a working knowledge of electrical distribution systems.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2014, 09:39:57 PM »
You obviously do not have a working knowledge of electrical distribution systems.

I would love to be enlightened as to how electricity is going to flow out of my house when it's disconnected.

I suppose if i pulled the main out of the box I'm still risking the life of a lineman too right?

Offline linux203

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #22 on: August 02, 2014, 09:48:18 PM »
I am not an electrician, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Safety point #1
Breakers are designed to cut power when the current flow across them exceeds the rating for a specified duration of time.  Transfer switches are designed to never allow the generator feed to connect to the utility feed.  Interlocks are designed to do the same.  You can't forget and do something wrong with a properly installed transfer switch/interlock.  "I thought the generator was unplugged" is like saying "I didn't think the gun was loaded."

Safety point #2
You also have one or two cables with two male ends.  If the plug falls out of the outlet you are back-feeding, the end is live.  The live ends of wires are supposed to be female to reduce shock hazard when connecting/disconnecting.  Properly wired generators have an outlet with a male end and the cable between the house and generator is a male-female extension cable.  There's a reason why it's called a "Suicide Cable"

Safety point #3
Most generators provide two NEMA 6-20R outlets. It looks like a normal outlet, but the neutral can be vertical or horizontal. These have breakers that cap the output at 20A.  Most people back-feed through outlets rated at 15A.  It is possible* for the outlet and a portion of the wiring in your wall to carry up to 20A, over wire rated at 15A.  20A over 15A wire produces heat.  Will it start a fire?  Probably not.  Could it? Yes.

*Certain conditions required, it's a lot to type out.

I would think you would treat a line as live unless proven otherwise? :shrug:
  Yes, but if the line energizes after you've checked it?

I suppose if i pulled the main out of the box I'm still risking the life of a lineman too right?
You can't remove the main from most load centers.  You'd also have a slight problem when utility power was restored.  Pull the meter... oh wait, DTE knows when you do that.
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Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one."  Luke 22:36

Offline CV67PAT

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2014, 10:00:02 PM »
You evidently had a very comfortable stay at the Holiday Inn Express, Daniel.

The breaker on the generator will only trip if there is a difference of potential that creates a sufficient load. If the generator is feeding an ungrounded conductor, the breaker will not trip. Even if the lineman is in series with the generator supplied voltage and a grounded  conductor, a grounding conductor, or ground.

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Offline Jeff

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #24 on: August 02, 2014, 10:23:19 PM »
I would still like to know how electricity is getting back to the lines with the main switch off?

If my generator is going to to produce 13,200 volts at a transformer, does that mean that my cell phone plugged into the wall, and I unplug the charger, does that mean that my phone battery is producing 110 volts at the 110 prongs at the transformer in my charger?  Because that's basically what you're saying.

If someone would love to paypal me the money I would gladly install those wonderful products.  Until then, common sense prevails and I know not to flip the main on in the house while the generator is running.


Offline gryphon

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #25 on: August 02, 2014, 10:27:44 PM »
I would love to be enlightened as to how electricity is going to flow out of my house when it's disconnected.
Quote
I would still like to know how electricity is getting back to the lines with the main switch off?

Reread the first line of Pat's post, Reply #17:

Are you sure about that? And Just how do you test that circuit breaker to ensure that all of the contacts are open?

Breakers can fail.  Switches can fail.  I have seen, and I don't doubt Pat has seen, or at least heard about, switches staying closed after the handle was thrown into the open (off) position.  That's why, after turning it off, you double check there is no voltage to the bottom of a breaker or switch before performing maintenance or repairs to the panel or equipment downstream.  Of course, in the case of a power outage, you can't do that.  In your case, Pat asked you how you are ensuring all the contacts in your breaker are really open?  You are "assuming" they are, just like people "assume" a gun is unloaded.

Offline Jeff

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2014, 10:43:57 PM »
Yes it can be checked with a resistance meter.  You can check a switch any time, anywhere.  Fluke 77 multimeter in OHMS to ensure it's open. 

Are we done here?

Offline CV67PAT

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2014, 10:51:12 PM »
I have seen plenty of "brand new" equipment fail. Knife blades in swing jacks that didn't open all phases is a perfect example. Single phase of breakers that don't open or close.

In the real world we test circuits prior to working on them. We use tag out and lock out procedures to ensure that circuits don't become energized while working on them.

We never expect a jackass to energize them while we have our dick skinners holding conductors. But it happens. And that's when guys get burned. Or worse yet maimed or killed.

What Jeff is suggesting to do is criminal.

If you can afford the generator, you can afford the safety equipment to install it properly. It doesn't take thousands of dollars. A few hundred at most.

An attorney to defend you in a wrongful death suit, after your criminal case, is going to cost $7,500 just for the retainer for a case you will lose.
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Offline CV67PAT

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #28 on: August 02, 2014, 10:55:04 PM »
Yes it can be checked with a resistance meter.  You can check a switch any time, anywhere.  Fluke 77 multimeter in OHMS to ensure it's open. 

Are we done here?
A fluke meter is insufficient in measuring insulation resistance. The 9volt battery can't break down the resistance that a high resistance short will produce. Only a megohmmeter can do that. And if you can afford a megohmmeter, you can afford to do the job properly.

http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/products.htm?item=210400&ref=gbase&gclid=CL-ave-L9r8CFeg7MgodXWEAOA
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #29 on: August 02, 2014, 11:14:43 PM »
Next time I will call DTE, tell them I'm removing the meter so that I can "safely backfeed" the house so that I don't get 90 billion what if scenarios that I just can't possibly win because some people are hell bent on hypothetical scenarios in which eventually there is no answer.

A transfer switch can fail, I guess the only real safe way is to remove the meter and be done with it.  But I take it we aren't done here are we because I'm sure there is some other scenario that will cause another one of your eggs to drop.

Offline jgillmanjr

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2014, 11:16:28 PM »
What Jeff is suggesting to do is criminal.

Relying on the breaker to do its job, and then having it fail would be criminal? That's news to me.

Hell, if we operate under the premise that breakers fail back into a closed position on any sort of regular basis, then we might as well go back to using fuses.
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Offline CV67PAT

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2014, 11:22:24 PM »
Relying on the breaker to do its job, and then having it fail would be criminal? That's news to me.

Hell, if we operate under the premise that breakers fail back into a closed position on any sort of regular basis, then we might as well go back to using fuses.
They fail to open. And relying on the breaker isn't criminal. Killing a lineman because of backfeeding through an improperly wired generator is.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 11:27:33 PM by CV67PAT »
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Offline CV67PAT

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2014, 11:25:20 PM »
Next time I will call DTE, tell them I'm removing the meter so that I can "safely backfeed" the house so that I don't get 90 billion what if scenarios that I just can't possibly win because some people are hell bent on hypothetical scenarios in which eventually there is no answer.

A transfer switch can fail, I guess the only real safe way is to remove the meter and be done with it.  But I take it we aren't done here are we because I'm sure there is some other scenario that will cause another one of your eggs to drop.
And then how do you safely install the meter back into the energized service.
Ever see someone that has suffered 3rd degree burns from arch flash? I have. It's a very painful injury. And you can be blinded.
That is why all electrical distribution equipment is operated with a dead front enclosure.
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Offline jgillmanjr

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2014, 11:29:32 PM »
They fail to open.

Ok, same thing. In either case, you could get circuit that's still closed and a house that burns down in the event a current overage occurs that causes sufficient heating.
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Offline CV67PAT

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2014, 11:34:44 PM »
Ok, same thing. In either case, you could get circuit that's still closed and a house that burns down in the event a current overage occurs that causes sufficient heating.
That does happen. Federal Pacific (FPE) breakers were notorious for this. The fire at the Lionel Train factory in Chesterfield Twp was attributed to this. FPE is no longer in business.

But in this discussion we are talking about the manually opening of the breaker and not having all of the poles open. This is another common occurrence that happens when the unskilled do not properly grasp the tie handle of the breaker when throwing it.
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Offline CV67PAT

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #35 on: August 02, 2014, 11:42:56 PM »

WPMI-TV
A Georgia man died while working with a utility crew restoring electrical service to Flomaton following Hurricane Dennis.(FLOMATON, Ala.-AP) July 13 05

Police said 41-year-old Ronnie Allen Adams Junior, ofWinterville, Georgia, died yesterday afternoon.

Adams, who worked for Pike Electric, Incorporated, of MountAiry, North Carolina, was in a bucket truck working on power lines when he slumped over.

In a statement, Flomaton Police Chief Mike Lambert saysco-workers attempted to revive Adams with C-P-R. Adams wasairlifted to Jay Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5:44 p.m. Tuesday.

Cause of death was immediately determined to have been from an improperly wired generator that was backfeeding current to the line that Adams was repairing. An autopsy is planned by the Escambia County, Florida, Medical Examiners Office.

Flomaton police arrested Samuel Peters, a local handyman, and homeowner William Anderson, on charges of negligent homicide. Flomaton police and officials from Alabama Power Company are continuing to investige the incident.

Dennis made landfall Sunday between Pensacola and Navarre Beach. Flomaton was one of the inland cities damaged by the storm.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8565145/
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Offline jgillmanjr

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #36 on: August 02, 2014, 11:52:43 PM »
WPMI-TV
A Georgia man died while working with a utility crew restoring electrical service to Flomaton following Hurricane Dennis.(FLOMATON, Ala.-AP) July 13 05

Police said 41-year-old Ronnie Allen Adams Junior, ofWinterville, Georgia, died yesterday afternoon.

Adams, who worked for Pike Electric, Incorporated, of MountAiry, North Carolina, was in a bucket truck working on power lines when he slumped over.

In a statement, Flomaton Police Chief Mike Lambert saysco-workers attempted to revive Adams with C-P-R. Adams wasairlifted to Jay Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5:44 p.m. Tuesday.

Cause of death was immediately determined to have been from an improperly wired generator that was backfeeding current to the line that Adams was repairing. An autopsy is planned by the Escambia County, Florida, Medical Examiners Office.

Flomaton police arrested Samuel Peters, a local handyman, and homeowner William Anderson, on charges of negligent homicide. Flomaton police and officials from Alabama Power Company are continuing to investige the incident.

Dennis made landfall Sunday between Pensacola and Navarre Beach. Flomaton was one of the inland cities damaged by the storm.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8565145/

And was this because the guy didn't open the service disconnect, or because it failed to open due to "operator error" or some mechanical defect?
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Offline CV67PAT

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #37 on: August 03, 2014, 12:04:13 AM »
And was this because the guy didn't open the service disconnect, or because it failed to open due to "operator error" or some mechanical defect?
Doesn't matter. Wasn't wired in accordance with NFPA 70.
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Offline autosurgeon

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #38 on: August 03, 2014, 12:14:13 AM »
Here is the problem with blaming the breaker. The plates you can install to isolate the generator breaker and the main breaker rely on you guessed it the supposedly fail prone breaker.

Now I dont think these would be NEC approved if there was a large concern about breakers failing to open. Granted some breakers have been proven to be defective. But in general breakers from well known companies are reliable and safe.

I have installed manual transfer switches and am currently installing an automatic smart transfer switch a my parents home to operate their new 17000 kw ng standby generator. Based on how these work they a pretty much fail safe. But they have moving parts and could fail same as a breaker.

Really the issue with transfer switches is not the concern of backfeed due to malfunctioning main breakers its the concern of morons not following procedure and leaving the main on. I have read the files from a number of backfeed death investigations and in every case they found the main breaker fully in the on or energized position. This is a failure of the operator not the breaker.

So in essence the reason for transfer switches and interlock devices is to keep idiots from hurting or killing others and to allow said idiots to safely operate a generator attached to their home.
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Offline CV67PAT

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Re: Power Outage.
« Reply #39 on: August 03, 2014, 12:36:40 AM »
Here is the problem with blaming the breaker. The plates you can install to isolate the generator breaker and the main breaker rely on you guessed it the supposedly fail prone breaker.

Now I dont think these would be NEC approved if there was a large concern about breakers failing to open. Granted some breakers have been proven to be defective. But in general breakers from well known companies are reliable and safe.

I have installed manual transfer switches and am currently installing an automatic smart transfer switch a my parents home to operate their new 17000 kw ng standby generator. Based on how these work they a pretty much fail safe. But they have moving parts and could fail same as a breaker.

Really the issue with transfer switches is not the concern of backfeed due to malfunctioning main breakers its the concern of morons not following procedure and leaving the main on. I have read the files from a number of backfeed death investigations and in every case they found the main breaker fully in the on or energized position. This is a failure of the operator not the breaker.

So in essence the reason for transfer switches and interlock devices is to keep idiots from hurting or killing others and to allow said idiots to safely operate a generator attached to their home.

Hence the purpose of NFPA 70...

It is for the practical safeguard of life and property against the hazards arising from the use of electricity.

Wiring a generator to a service without a transfer switch (manual or automatic) is not the way to do it. Why... Because the propensity to kill someone exists. Why not just do it right and avoid that risk? If it is wired correctly and a failure occurs there is no criminal negligence.

Wire it wrong and a failure occurs, resulting in death, your life will be ruined.

Why take the chance for a lousy few hundred bucks?!?!?
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