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Thread: Connecting backup generators to existing electrical installation

  1. #11
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Aaah. Gotcha.

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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by murdock View Post
    by the question i can only assume you are not qualified to do the installation but if you plan on doing anyway....do you have a 3 phase supply or single phase supply...are you installing a automatic changeover system or manual?
    are you feeding the entire electrical installation with the generator or only part....have you made provision for only partial if using a small generator...have you installed an earth spike...are plugs being fed from the generator on earth leakage...have you fitted barriers in the DB if only feeding part of the DB...have you clearly labelled the DB indicating which part of the DB will be fed by the generator...do you have a main switch in the DB if only part of the DB is supplied by the generator to isolate that part of the installation in case of accident leakage...have you done a loop impedance test and earth leakage test to verify if the earth leakage will trip in case of a fault while running on generator power...etc etc etc.
    This goes back a long way, Thanks for your reply.
    The supply is single Phaze. I would feed the entire electrical instalation. Manual change over. The DB has earth leakage and it does work on the generator.
    My main question is ,does the crossover/change over switch have to include the neutral and earth, I have had mixed answers on that point from people in the profession.
    Some say I dont have to switch the neutral and earth as well, some say I have to switch the neutral but dont have to do the earth.
    Kevin

  3. #13
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    You must switch both the live and neutral. No switching of the earth, earth bonds must be permanant connections.

    If you're not qualified I would urge you to seek professional help with this. Firstly mistakes could kill someone (most likely the next electrician on site) and secondly mistakes can be expensive when it comes to generator damage.

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    Dave A (10-Feb-10)

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    there is now a section 7:12 which covers generators and other alternative supplies...boy does it get interesting when you read it...what blows my mind are the variety of responses from people including generator suppliers and installers...

    this section covers this topic quite well...and if not read properly can be a bit misleading.

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    and just to put a spanner in the works....no matter what the code says...you have to abide by the local supply authourity requirements and i am told that in durban you have to use a 4 pole transfer switch as required by them (yet to get some formal document as i am sure you will understand why)

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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    The problem now arrises: how many Wholesalers stock a 4pole? It is not just the change-over that should be 4pole but if a closer look is taken it will be obvious that the "Main Switch" of any 3phase DB is also supposed to be 4pole. My 2 regular wholsale suppliers do not keep "slow moving" stock.

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    what you have to consider...who is gona go down when you install the incorrect equipment (if we ever actually get the policing of the industry going) i can assure you not the wholesaler...because he doesnt sign the COC to verify all the goods he sold you are sabs approved.

    this industry has too many loop holes and too few skilled enough people and not enough money in the budget to waste on trival things like the electrical industry...not enough people are killed from electrical problems to warrent money being wasted on policing the industry...or that how it looks to me looking from the outside.

    just think if they got smart and thought like the road traffic department thinks...they could make billions...train up people and send them out to bussiness and homes and fine people if their electrical installtion was not up to standard or if they cant produce a COC...if you dont wear a seat belt you get a fine...even though you are not endangering anyone elses lives you still get a huge fine....its aj oke but it must be one of the biggest money making rackets in SA...after hidden camers for speeding...cameras in the bush must actually print money...i dont know about making the road any safer...just bigger bonuses for the fat cats.

    just think they could make you put a code on you meter box which would verify that your house has a COC ...which the meter reader scans and then they could check it on the system and if your COC had expired or you dont have one the computer log it and another person in a different department would be asigned to go and investigate...creating employment....making electrical installtions safer and i could become a billionare for coming up with the idea...and then add appliance testing like hey do in the UK and create even more employment...create more opitunities for conferences to waste more of our tax money...create more task teams to waste even more of our tax money...the only catch is you need skilled people...not like washing street signs...the people would actually have to be able to switch on a pc.

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    if anyone can get hold of the electricity department bylaws in durban...please let me know...i have left numerous messages for sherwyn from customer services but he doesnt return his calls...and when you speak to customers services help line nobody has aclue what i am talking about...they dont know what methods and standards...and there fore cannot put me through to someone in that department...sad...and we wonder why our industry is in such a "shocking" state.

    after making that statement it cant be that bad...how often do you hear of buildings burning down and people getting electricuted...not that often...maybe our standards are just too high.

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    the municipality i work for requires the consumers to inform them if they intend to use a generator during a planned power outage! they also state that it must be installed by a qualified electrician! we have lost a contractor a few years back due a generator backfeeding on a 11kV line he was working on! i suppose every municipality might have different criteria but the basics should be the same! get a qualified person to do the installation and get a criteria from your municipality. if you dont come right at the bottom go to the top! phone the electrical engineer or his assistant!

  11. #20
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inusjvr View Post
    the municipality i work for requires the consumers to inform them if they intend to use a generator during a planned power outage! they also state that it must be installed by a qualified electrician! we have lost a contractor a few years back due a generator backfeeding on a 11kV line he was working on!
    I don't think there's enough awareness about how dangerous back-up generators are, not only for the user of the installation but also for the guys working on the upstream networks. I'm actually surprised there hasn't been a lot more fatalities.

    I think acombination of factors are to blame. Retailers and wholesalers alike are selling site generators as a domestic back-up solution to the end users. Many of these generators are completely unsuitable as domestic premises backup because of the way their windings are configured and they're often temporarily installed using a lead with a plug top on each side with little or no regard for interlocked isolation of the main Eskom supply or safe local earthing arrangements.

    Many qualified electricians are sadly lacking in this area as well, I've seen many installations that were done 'professionally' but have been unsafe or non-compliant.
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