or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › A/V Control & Automation › Home Automation › "Power Restored" Whistle Device Needed
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

"Power Restored" Whistle Device Needed

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Folks,

I have a home generator that I can startup when power fails. I have it wired into a separate breaker switch in my panel. When the utility is down, I simply turn off the main breaker, start the generator, and then turn on my separate breaker switch. (I also do turn off all switches, and then turn them back on one by one so as to not kill the generator all at once with everything).

This is a highly effective setup, requiring me to be here for about 3-4 minutes at the most. Such are the costs of not having a transfer switch installed.

What I'm looking for is a device that I can either permanently install (or hook on when I'm on the generator) that will alert/buzz/whistle me when the utility power is restored, i.e. when I have a signal above the master switch. The reason is that I could conceivably continue to run on generator for hours not knowing utility power is once again available.

Any thoughts or links to devices you think might work? I've googled a bit, and have only come up with failure alert devices, which don't help me, since I know when the power goes off (security alarm sends notice).

Thanks!
post #2 of 17
Bruce,

What you want should fairly easy to accomplish but as you say, there does not seem to be an off the shelf commercial product that performs that precise function.

After reading your description of your transfer procedure, I am more concerned about how you have the transfer implemented. If the Commercial-Generator power breakers are not interlocked, you are not only violating code but potentially presenting a serious danger to power company employees.

Interlocking breaker boxes/transfer switches are not very costly so please fix that situation first!

If this comment is in error based on what you actually have installed, please disregard.

Back to your original question... In the situation you describe, a simple solution would be to wire some type of power horn to the commercial AC ONLY through a switch. Simply turn the switch on when you transfer to the generator. When the commercial AC is restored, the power horn will sound.

Good luck during the upcoming season!
post #3 of 17
Since you are hopefully turning off the Main breaker, what you really want to know is when the juice is live above the main breaker. In principal this is easy enough - just connect a 110 volt buzzer to one of the legs and then back to the neutral. Put a breaker on it as well as a switch that you use only when your power is down.

In reality, DON'T do the above because you could get fried while wiring it up. An electrician would need to have the meter pulled so the mains aren't hot to the panel when working on them.

An inductance coil won't work because the power might be hot, but there would be no current as the main breaker would be off.

Best answer is have a real transfer switch put in which senses the current on both sides and does what it's suppose to do. My transfer switch sends my home automation system indication on what state the system is in. This then triggers shutdown and boot up timed processes so the UPSs don't get overtaxed. My geothermal heating system is also triggered so that the geo unit doesn't kick in when on generator. Only the secondary propane furnace works while running on generator (to conserve the 15kv generator supply for other tasks).
post #4 of 17
I think it is unlikely that a county or municipality would allow a generator to be hooked into a house without some sort of transfer switch nowadays.

So I think you need to check your local codes first. While it may have been allowed when you first installed the generator, if probably isn't now. If you start changing the wiring around, you will probably be required to bring the system up to current code at the same time.

Personally I think an auto transfer switch is a small price to pay to have a generator. While you may know what you are doing, what about a time when you are not home and someone else decides they can flip the switches themselves. One wrong move and you could be sending high voltage down power lines and with that the risk of serious injury and death to the power company employees.

Spend the couple hundred buck and have one installed ASAP.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maddogmc View Post

Back to your original question... In the situation you describe, a simple solution would be to wire some type of power horn to the commercial AC ONLY through a switch. Simply turn the switch on when you transfer to the generator. When the commercial AC is restored, the power horn will sound.

Yep, this is what I want. I guess I was hoping that someone was familiar with an off the shelf device that does this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sic0048 View Post

Spend the couple hundred buck and have (an ATS) installed ASAP.

Money was never mentioned being an issue. I simply don't want an ATS.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Patterson View Post

Money was never mentioned being an issue. I simply don't want an ATS.

I can understand someone not wanting a ATS. My home is partially automatic and partially manual. Since I reside in a hurricane area, just as you do, I want my main house electrical system to come up automatically, protect freezers, refrigerators, etc. Since I have no need of AC if I am not present and the generator is only big enough to operate the bedroom system along with the rest of the house, my AC feed is manually operated.

For everyone's safety, please insure that you have a proper manual transfer system, not just a pair of independently operating breakers.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maddogmc View Post

I can understand someone not wanting a ATS. My home is partially automatic and partially manual. Since I reside in a hurricane area, just as you do, I want my main house electrical system to come up automatically, protect freezers, refrigerators, etc. Since I have no need of AC if I am not present and the generator is only big enough to operate the bedroom system along with the rest of the house, my AC feed is manually operated.

Very similar setup - thanks for understanding.

Moving past the multiple manual transfer comments, are there any other suggestions on how to alert utility power is back online?
post #8 of 17
your question has been answered numerous times. there is no legal way to do what you want to do.


All options involve some type of switched device (ie, you cant wire a device PRIOR to the main breaker, that would violate code and be always on), and you cant wire a dedicated circuit for a horn with its own breaker (Main breaker on, all circuits off, except the one with the horn) because with main breaker on you are violating code if you are generating.

What you want is an ATS, that is the solution, that is the only legal solution since all others require wiring downstream of the main breaker which will always be off when generating. YOUR REASON/NEEDS is the EXACT reason ATS's were invented, why are you not understanding?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Patterson View Post

Very similar setup - thanks for understanding.

Moving past the multiple manual transfer comments, are there any other suggestions on how to alert utility power is back online?
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by longtimelurker View Post

your question has been answered numerous times.

As I was hoping, concepts have been presented, with various points of view eschewing the pros/cons. Almost a discussion here, eh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by longtimelurker View Post

What you want is an ATS, that is the solution, that is the only legal solution since all others require wiring downstream of the main breaker which will always be off when generating. YOUR REASON/NEEDS is the EXACT reason ATS's were invented, why are you not understanding?

Um, Lurker, I get it. More than you know. But, I've asked for ideas/products other than an ATS. Sorry if my query got your goat but if you have no other ideas, please stop lurking HERE and kindly move along. Thanks.
post #10 of 17
When I spoke with a lineman a few years back he said they had trouble with improperly connected generators after a big hurricane.

He said they started throwing chains across the [grid] de-energized lines before they worked on them. He said it solved the problem.

Good luck,
Tim
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Tim View Post

When I spoke with a lineman a few years back he said they had trouble with improperly connected generators after a big hurricane.

He said they started throwing chains across the [grid] de-energized lines before they worked on them. He said it solved the problem.

Good luck,
Tim

You're right. I saw them putting ground straps on the lines when doing work here in the New Orleans area after Katrina. I also heard stories of people making up "reverse" extension cords to run from portable generators to plug into wall outlets and power up part of a house. It amazes me that more people don't die from stupidity like that.
post #12 of 17
The "ATS" keeps coming up because that's what you are supposed to have. It is the law and I believe there is a fine for not having one. That said, I'm sure you are able to do it the correct way but, what if you're not home, the power goes off and one of the kids tries to energize the system incorrectly. The poor sap that's out side on a pole trying to restore everyone elses power is at risk. The people here are trying to convince you to do it the correct way for good reason. Don't try to convince them to tell you how to do it the wrong way.
How would you like to be that guy on the pole not knowing that your life is just one mistaken flip of a switch away? This is a accident waiting to happen and you will be held liable.

Chip
post #13 of 17
thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by stefuel View Post

The "ATS" keeps coming up because that's what you are supposed to have. It is the law and I believe there is a fine for not having one. That said, I'm sure you are able to do it the correct way but, what if you're not home, the power goes off and one of the kids tries to energize the system incorrectly. The poor sap that's out side on a pole trying to restore everyone elses power is at risk. The people here are trying to convince you to do it the correct way for good reason. Don't try to convince them to tell you how to do it the wrong way.
How would you like to be that guy on the pole not knowing that your life is just one mistaken flip of a switch away? This is a accident waiting to happen and you will be held liable.

Chip
post #14 of 17
I'm going to have to agree with the recommendation for a transfer switch. For $100 you can get a SquareD interlocking breaker.

Move the circuits you want onto the generator panel. Your "whistle" will be when you see the rest of your lights come on

Tim
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by stefuel View Post

The poor sap that's out side on a pole trying to restore everyone elses power is at risk.

My guess is that he doesn't give a rat's a** about the guy working on the lines. He knows how he wants it and the guy out there working on the line in the middle of a storm to get his power back on be damned.

Bruce,

Please enlighten us as to whatever reason you have for not wanting an ATS? Or why the people that write the NEC are too stupid to understand why one is not needed.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by herdfan View Post

My guess is that he doesn't give a rat's a** about the guy working on the lines. He knows how he wants it and the guy out there working on the line in the middle of a storm to get his power back on be damned.

Bruce,

Please enlighten us as to whatever reason you have for not wanting an ATS? Or why the people that write the NEC are too stupid to understand why one is not needed.

He doesn't seem to want to comment but he did say:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Patterson View Post

Um, Lurker, I get it. More than you know. But, I've asked for ideas/products other than an ATS.

So maybe his wife cheated on him with the guy that does the powerline repairs in his area and he's just waiting (or perhaps doesn't intend to wait and intends to help a neighborhood transformer fail) for his chance to flip the switch while the guys repairing it. Then flip the switch back off. The perfect crime.

I think I just came up with a plot for a new movie.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ View Post

Then flip the switch back off. The perfect crime.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Home Automation
AVS › AVS Forum › A/V Control & Automation › Home Automation › "Power Restored" Whistle Device Needed