Home Power Production
Anything you read here is for educational purposes only. Remember... this stuff is dangerous and could kill you or somebody else.
Insert 5/2006, Bob thought there were a few people out there that needed more than the statement above, so here's Bob's email
Please update this site and let people know that for one back feeding a meter is very illegal without the proper equipment and also letting the electric company know that you have an alternative source of generation so if there is an outage they know to cut the power being back fed so no one is electrocuted. IF you back feed your meter and it gets to the transformer it will step it up to the normal primary voltage 7,200 or whatever voltage the grid is set up at. I am a lineman and this is not just a safety hazard, it is deadly to back feed a meter without the proper equipment.
From reading your site, you seem pretty knowledgeable about electricity, but keep in mind that many many other people aren't. A very high number of people think that 110/220 is all that runs through a power line.
I just wanted to let you know that a few things on your site alarmed me.
So you want to do something with that new generator set? maybe set up a room in the house that can be fed with the generator when the power goes out? Before you do anything... remember this, that big ole transformer out on the pole works both ways, it's a step down coming into your house and it's a step up leaving.
With that said, make sure you isolate your household from the grid before you try and power anything!
I've seen people pull their power meters to accomplish this, other people wire in transfer circuits that automatically isolate the load from the commercial power with a double pole double throw switch. Our rec room backs up to the garage, the plug ins, and overhead lights in both the kitchen and rec room are all on the same breaker. I went to the wall between the rec room and garage and removed the wall outlet assembly. I got a piece of 12/3 wire and pig tailed onto the outlet and used this source to power a new outlet on the other side of the same wall "in the garage". There's a special box, called an "old work box" that can be mounted in a wall anywhere without being nailed up against a stud, easy to do. With this accomplished, I made up an adapter with back to back male plug ins.
When the power goes out, I go to the power box and OPEN the circuit breaker marked for the rec room. Next I place the generator next to the garage where it can annoy the neighbors the least. I run an extension cord into the garage and plug it into the adapter and then into the wall outlet that feeds the rec room. We watch TV, run the coffee maker, the microwave, and enjoy the outage. This worked quite well for me, it's probably not legal, and probably less safe than it should be. I've noticed that the transfer switches designed for this sort of thing are becoming reasonable, big hardware stores usually have them in stock, not to mention electrical supply houses.
Remember reading that little ad in the back of magazines..... How to make your power meter run backwards. For the most part it's true and can be legal. Following is basically how one accomplishes this. I have one of those fancy new meters, don't know if we can spin it backwards, maybe I'll try someday?..... Here's how it works....
But first a warning.... let's say you have two cars heading towards each other at 60 miles an hour, when they hit, there's a big bang and lots of damage. The same cars moving at the same speed in the same direction can touch with little or no damage. So it is with electricity.
You fire up your generator and try to "co-phase" it with the commercial power, you throw the breaker and bang, the breaker blows or you get smoke. Your generator has to be "in step" with the commercial power to accomplish this.
If you were to take two 115 volt light bulbs and put them in series across one leg of your generator and one leg of the commercial power, you would have a way of telling when they were "in phase" with one another. you would simply change the speed of the generator until the lights blinked slower and slower. Once you got things adjusted where the light went completely out for a second or more at a time you could "co-phase" the two. You would throw the generator breaker when the light is out.
Once you've accomplished this, your generator is LOCKED in step with the commercial power generators. The next step is to raise the throttle of your generator to force the KWHs to flow out of the generator and into the grid, If your power meter is the type that can run backwards, you will see it happen as you slowly increase the speed. If you have a consumer type generator, you probably can't adjust the voltage, this is also important.
Some people view the power grid as a battery, you run your generator when you want and spin the meter backwards. Then you use the power from the grid to power your home spinning the meter forward to where it was when you started.
When you attempt to co-phase a synchronous generators with the grid, there's things that are nice to have, An amp meter is a big one.
Know that it can be done, but don't do it unless you study a good deal more, and understand the danger you pose to others, especially those working on the line. there are legal interfaces you can buy, remember, this page is to share these things can be done, it's not a manual on how to do it..
There is a book written just for DIYers on the topic! Here's where you go to get your answers!
Comments regarding content are always welcome, send me an email.