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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after my FIL had the engine rebuilt and he re did everything, I got word Saturday the only thing left to do to it is I need to buy a new battery...other then that she starts & runs like a top! Once someone comes down this way I should have it here.
Once it gets here, is there any tests I should run on it to ensure the output voltage is where its supposed to be etc? Is slapping a multimeter there to test it satisfactory? Any other methods to test the output? He tested it with a heat gun and a 100w drop light and all appears to be working well.
The Generator head was supposedly rebuilt approx 500 hours ago...I say supposedly, I KNOW it was rebuilt to a degree as I have the reciept showing it was, but all that was replaced were some Bearings, an AVR, and a few other things...Just want to make sure all is well before "relying" on it.
 

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Glad to here progress is being made. It's a good feeling when things work out. :thumbup1gif:
 

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As for testing, you've done the 1st step which is try some loads out. Multimeter is fine for measuring voltage. If this is a 240 genny, try loads on both sides and look at voltage on both the loaded and unloaded side.

Then there comes a point where you put your real load on it (your house?) and slowly turn stuff on which measuring voltage (both the 240 and both 120's). Take it up to the max load so you won't have to worry about it when it's in "real" use.

Back when I put in my whole house generator, I did this and got up to 170 amps of load. A little nerve racking, but, it's got to happen. I need to tear down and re-build my transfer switch since the mice were in there, then do the same test.

Personally, I have my "rule of 5's". Anything over 5 volts, 5 amps, 5 watts, or 5HP makes me nervous and needs extra care and testing.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Then there comes a point where you put your real load on it (your house?) and slowly turn stuff on which measuring voltage (both the 240 and both 120's). Take it up to the max load so you won't have to worry about it when it's in "real" use.
Pete, how does a person test the voltage "live" with it in production? In other words, if i hook this up to my house for testing, how can I also see the voltage and Hz? as I'm guessing Hz is very important too?

Piggybacking on Randy's idea this morning, I'd like to make a sheet like he did for his Breaker Panel, and color code the ones I want ON for the generator...In case of emergency all the leg work would be done.....these off, these on, start Gen...
 

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Google a "P4400 Kill A Watt" and you'll find a plug in device that measure frequency, volts and amps, and would have usage beyond this application. Amazon sells them, about $22. You could also look up a line voltage monitor on Amazon, there was a meter that was $14 that shows AC volts, you could wire it in at your breaker boxes or at the generator.

There are various voltage and frequency meters out there in surplus land if you want to build your own frequency and voltage display. Same deal on amp meter and shunts. My generator has meters for volts, amps, and RPM.

In general, if you're within +- 3 Hz you're OK. Some uP controlled devices might shut down if you're off by more than .5 Hz, but if they are that smart they can take care of themselves. Switching supplies typical could care less, and if you have devices with "old fashion" transformers in them, they won't overheat at 57 Hz. I'll bet the governor on the engine can keep things within 1 Hz.

On breaker boxes, I wired them so I was able to organize them in a way that made some sense (at least to me :mocking:). I just wrote on the panel cover (well, I had my wife write so it's readable). I do have all the lights in one sub panel, all the receptacles in another sub panel, and appliances and big stuff in other panels. In our old house I had a piece of red tape on the lights circuit that had the smoke detectors so that was an easy "find and shut down". Note that by having the lights segregated out onto their own panel, if something goes wrong I can hit a few main breakers on panels and turn off stuff but still be able to see to move around (and put the fire out).

Finally, as part of wiring the house, there is a panel before the transfer swtich for things I don't want on the generator such as the heat pump resistive electric backups, the generator block heater, and some other circuits. This is also where the tractor garage gets it's 100 amp sub panel feed. I also ran a lights and one outlet to the tractor garage from the generator panels so I'd at least be able to see and do some task if there is no power. Over info, sorry, I'm trying to make the thread have other good generator related ideas.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you very much Pete!

Heres the control panel on the gen...
If I read and interpret this correctly...#5 is the voltage the generator is producing (same as the line voltage you refer to?)...and if I try to draw TOO much and overload it, rather then an undervoltage situation the breaker at #6 would trip?

the Voltage Gauge (#5) on mine is not working...he just found that out when using it Saturday, so I will be ordering a new one shortly...
 

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yep, 5 is the built in AC voltmeter and 6 looks like a "standard" circuit breaker. The breaker, like any breaker, can probably take a few cycles of 150% over (roughly) and will trip if there is a long term too much draw. Most breakers have a "quick" trip for high currents (done magnetically), and a "slow" trip that is done via thermal means for when you draw 22 amps from a 20 amp breaker for minutes on end.

I'm probably going to get a Kill o Watt unit. At $22, it will save time compared to all the little doo dads I have that have to be inserted between a device and an outlet, and not having to use the multimeter probes into the outlet will be handy and safer. If you get one you can set the RPM for 60 Hz output. Well, any line frequency measuring device will do.

I have an old Heathkit voltage monitor up where I work so I can see what the 120 side is doing. On my next round with the home automation software, I'll be setting up for two 120V monitors so I can see all manners of over and under voltages as well as neutral issues.

Dave, all you need now is an outage. We've got an ice storm headed this way, one of my task for this afternoon is to check and run the generator. Just got in from cleaning, filling, and running the chain saws.

Pete
 

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When I installed my Generac, I used heaters and halogen floodlights to load it the best I could. By knowing the wattage of the light and heater it was easy to figure the amps. The directions wanted it "broken in" for one hour at no load, 1 hour at 25%, 1 hour at 50% and 1 hout at 75%, then change the oil.

My Fluke meter measures frequency, testing that was simple for me...

Dave, test that meter first...it may just be a loose wire since it was all apart.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you get one you can set the RPM for 60 Hz output. Well, any line frequency measuring device will do.

Well I cant adjust anything when it comes to RPM on this unit...from what I'm told you flick the breaker on and and she revs up automatically and makes power...

Dave, all you need now is an outage. We've got an ice storm headed this way, one of my task for this afternoon is to check and run the generator. Just got in from cleaning, filling, and running the chain saws.

Pete
Actually, I first need to find a ride for it to get it the 300 miles south to me down here from up home!
Yeah, They're announcing another snopocaplyse down there...mebbe here too...but just snow.
 
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