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Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/12/2017 9:18 PM

My portable home generator was plugged into the local utility line after a storm knocked out our power. The generator was not in operation, at the time power was restored. AC current fed directly into my alternator on my portable home generator. Now it won't generate electricity. I have replaced the rectifier. I have replaced the circut breaker. What else might be the most likely problem? Stator wiring "looks" clean. Unburnt. What other parts might I test? Or replace? Thank you .

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#1

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/12/2017 9:39 PM

Your generator should be on a failsafe switch that bypasses the generator connection when connected to the grid....

What is the generator brand and model number? You need the wiring schematic, and a multitester....my guess is open circuit...

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/12/2017 9:53 PM

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/12/2017 10:01 PM

Briggs & Stratton Elite series. Power compny pulled our meters while working on the problem. Replaced them when finished. Power was out for 10 days after the Derachio blew lines downall over Ohio. Turned power on 4 days early!!

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#8
In reply to #3

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 7:12 AM

<...Turned power on 4 days early!...> That would certainly clear unauthorised connected generators off their network...

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#12
In reply to #8

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 8:19 AM

Yes, but it was not connected to their Network. It was isolated by removal of the meter from the fuse panel.

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#18
In reply to #12

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 11:23 AM

That's not isolating it. Isolating it would make it impossible to connect the generator to the power lines, a switch that either connects your house to the generator or your house to the power lines.

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#90
In reply to #18

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/18/2017 8:21 AM

Just shut the main breaker off...that would have isolated the generator from the utility, regardless of what the utility was doing by unplugging meters.

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#98
In reply to #90

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/18/2017 8:01 PM

Once they reinstalled the meter they would likely turn the breaker back on. It is mandated that the breaker should be "tagged off" to prevent this. Maybe your breaker, and his, is remote to the meter. This is not the case in Oz. The main breaker is next to the meter.

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#32
In reply to #12

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/14/2017 2:51 AM

You are still missing a VERY important point, the meter REMOVAL AND REPLACEMENT WAS IN THEIR HANDS. Not yours. Surely that tells you something...

You neglected to have the proper switch installed (correctly of course) WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INSTALLED "DOWNSTREAM" OF THE METER, making it immaterial as to whether the meter was in or out, or if outside power was being supplied or not!!

You could barely have done anything worse than you actually did! Losing a Generator is basically F***ALL!!

Count your blessings and your fairy Godmother!!

If I had done what you did, I would NEVER GO ON A PUBLIC WEBSITE AND TELL EVERYONE ABOUT IT!!!!

You could still end up being SEVERELY prosecuted if someone from that supply company EVER reads this blog!! DUUHHH!

Or if someone here, draws their attention to this blog.........even years from today!!

Tread carefully from now on if I were you!!

Think about it carefully.......

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#54
In reply to #32

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/14/2017 10:04 PM

Gute fee is generally give up by most after 12 yrs of age here.

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#61
In reply to #54

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/15/2017 3:13 AM

LOL!

Good one!!

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#31
In reply to #8

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/14/2017 2:38 AM

LOL!!!

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#30
In reply to #3

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/14/2017 2:36 AM

Turned power on 4 days early!!

And thats a problem?

If you had installed everything correctly, it should have generated (pun intended!), no problems at all!

Connecting anything to the mains needs to be done properly and that also means safely, count yourself lucky that nobody was hurt and your house wasn't burnt down!!

Your insurance, assuming you have one, would have had plenty of (for them) very good reasons to stop covering you!!!

Possibly losing a generator is a minor, unimportant effect.

Furthermore, where in the circuit was the rectifier, surely its all AC where you are? Was the rectifier actually defective? Did you observe the direction of the old one when replacing it? (assuming for a moment that it was stopping the generator from running!)

Does the prime mover work as it should do? (You have not told us!)

Up to now, other than demonstrating your lack of knowledge on the subject, you have given us very little useful infos....

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/12/2017 10:13 PM
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#5

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 5:19 AM

It's damned lucky you didn't kill one of the power line workers.

They would not be expecting the downstream lines to be live, but your little generator has the ability to give them a fatal shock from miles away.

Why do you think they have anti islanding regulations in place?

You MUST have a set up that prevents the generator feeding back into the grid during an outage.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 6:49 AM

Hardly.

No properly trained lineman ever works on a downed and assumed dead line without first having properly isolated and earth bonded (short circuited it) it in one or more places within visual line of sight of where they are working.

They know people are on private generators when their systems are down and they know automatic transfer switch systems and even manual ones fail so they take the necessary precautions to prevent back feeding to where they are working every time without exception.

If you were a lineman would you ever work on de energized line without having confirmed it was actually powered down and secured so that it could not be re energized while you were working on it?

Do you think your coworkers would let you? or your crew boss?

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#11
In reply to #7

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 8:16 AM

For the 3rd time. While the unit was in operation it was isolated from the power supply lines. Only after the unit was shut off, did the power company reinstall the meter to the electrical panel. At that time the unit was not in operation or producing electricity. Read the thread.

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#16
In reply to #11

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 10:57 AM

My comment was not to you.

It was to post 5 regarding the comment about line workers getting electrocuted which is not a realistic concern.

I see the same tired old comment on every thread in every forum regarding backup power generator systems about the possibility of line workers getting electrocuted from a accidental or purposeful ill intended backfeed.

The reality is they have very specific countermeasures on their end in place before and during the time anyone works on any power line for any reason. No lineworker touches a downed or damaged inactive power line unless it's been isolated, secured and set up to stay dead.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 11:13 AM

Ok. Understood, thank you. It seems almost everyone who has replied has shifted the question of the thread to the safety of electrical lineman. And has not addressed the issue of the broken generator unit. Which is still in operable.

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#20
In reply to #17

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 12:26 PM

It's totally understandable. 'Safety Nazi' is right up there with the 'Grammar Nazi' and 'Legality Nazi' on poorly founded and often times way under qualified for their self imposed role type personalities to be found online.

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#39
In reply to #20

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/14/2017 4:07 AM

Good answer from me !

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#41
In reply to #17

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/14/2017 4:13 AM

Read my post I ignored the potentially catastrophic & unsafe circumstances of what you did & just gave you an answer to your op lol

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#87
In reply to #17

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/17/2017 9:46 PM

Someone else posted that your rotor may have been degaused. This can happen to automotive alternators that sit on the shelf too long and It just might be your problem.

You might try sparking it with a 12v battery. That is how you put some residual field into an automotive alternator so it will run again. I believe that you can do this between the neutral and one of the hot leads. Just tap the connection a couple of times and that should do it.

You do this with the generator off but the output switch on and spark the terminals of the output. I would connect the negative to the neutral and spark the positive to the hot lead.

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#88
In reply to #87

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/18/2017 6:29 AM

"Flash fielding" as you describe is done with DC generators, not AC alternators.

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#89
In reply to #88

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/18/2017 7:40 AM

Actually, depending upon the design of the Gennie, you might well need to "FLASH" a field, the exciter field is DC.

Did you forget/not know this?

You (and the OP) might take a look here:-

synchronous-generator-basics-simple-guide-to-rewire-your-head

....as I do believe the OPs problems may just be that as he replaced the rectifier and sadly, put it in backwards!

Or the residual magnetism is gone and it just needs a "flash" (in the needed "direction" of course, to "kick off" the voltage production!!

Otherwise the rectifier may still block exciter voltage generation!!!!!

Quoting from the above link:-

In almost all of these big box store gen sets, the radio shack 30 amp full wave bridge rectifier is more than adequate as a replacement if yours goes bad. The part has an AC input, and plus and minus for DC out to the brushes and onto the field.

IF you replace a bad rectifier and accidentally mix up the plus and minus output, the generator will not put out voltage unless you (flash) the field with a battery, so take time to note polarity and match it!

Certainly, its a possibility!!!

Do please note well the underlined sentences!! (Which by the way, only tell half a story (pun intended)......as he made need to do it twice, once in each direction, with a test after each flash, till it works....!!)

I hope this helps you all a bit further.......

The rest of the link provides some really interesting and practical ideas for anyone interested in a 120VAC only version I feel.....

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#92
In reply to #89

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/18/2017 8:52 AM

Read my original reply no 26 & the address in the reply gives him the details

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#48
In reply to #11

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/14/2017 9:10 AM

Understand your pain, normal here to digress everything. As previously stated, back to basic fault finding. A lot of codswallop is going on here.

1. Run the set and check for voltage.

2. Nothing there, then start tracing back, but by the time you have done all this effort, it was probably cheaper to buy a new gen set and work on fixing the older one as a past time and have a back up.

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#51
In reply to #11

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/14/2017 12:36 PM

I did read the original thread and it plainly states that you do not have PROPER isolation, therefore I do not wish to participate any further. - JHF

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#60
In reply to #51

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/15/2017 3:11 AM

GA

Fully understandable.

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#24
In reply to #7

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 10:34 PM

Really?

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#9
In reply to #5

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 8:08 AM

READ THE POST. THE GENERATOR WAS NOT IN OPERATION. IT WAS DISCONNECTED FROM THE UTILITY BY THE REMOVAL OF THE METER FROM THE SOCKET, BY THE POWER COMPANY.

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#13
In reply to #9

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 8:46 AM

It's f*&^%d. Get a new one.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 9:19 AM

Now THAT is on topic, and useful bit of information. Unlike the other replies. Problem solved. TY.

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#23
In reply to #9

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 9:38 PM

Point me again to the part in your original post that states that the meter had been removed, or that the generator was in any way isolated from the grid.

Your post clearly states that "My portable home generator was plugged into the local utility line after a storm knocked out our power."

The local utility line is the line from the grid up to the house connection. Nowhere in that post do you mention that it was connected only to your household and that the meter had been removed or the grid otherwise isolated.

The fact that it was not in operation at the time of reconnection of the mains in no way suggests that it had not previously been in operation and feeding back to the grid.

Tcmtech may consider this to be a non-event, but the fact remains that it is a very serious concern in the power industry and, being only human, linesmen can and do make mistakes.

Here is just one example of a lineman killed by a backfeeding generator. I am sure you can google plenty more lineman accidents as a result of simple mistakes being made.

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#28
In reply to #23

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/14/2017 12:01 AM

I did not supply the information that the generator was ONLY connected to my house panel, because I did not need anyone to give me advice on how to wire a breaker box. I also did not tell anyone my dog died. Why? It was NOT RELATIVE TO THE QUESTION.�� Think of it this way, if it makes you feel better. I didn't pay my electric bill. The power company came out and disconnected my power and took the meter out of the box. I hooked up a generator to my side of the wiring on the lower end of the box. I paid my bill and they came and reinstalled the meter. The generator was still connected to the lower end of the box, the side towards the house. When they plug the meter back in, current back fed into the generator which was inoperable at the time it was off it was not running it was not producing it was shut down. Do not post on this thread again or I will report you. I am not your personal punching bag, and if you want an argument start something with your wife or girlfriend. Not me. Snowflake.

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#34
In reply to #23

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/14/2017 3:06 AM

GA

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#82
In reply to #23

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/17/2017 12:18 PM

Post number 3

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#37
In reply to #5

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/14/2017 3:25 AM

Great answer, please elaborate why you think he was lucky: 'It's damned lucky you didn't kill one of the power line workers'.

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#6

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 5:35 AM

It would be best to replace the full monty and write it off as a lesson learned. Back-feeding utility supplies downstream of a fault is downright dangerous. Best not to admit it lest criminal proceedings for negligence occur.

Next time, isolate the premises from the supply before connecting an alternative source of power!

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#10
In reply to #6

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 8:12 AM

When I hooked up the generator, it WAS ISOLATED. The power company had removed my meter from the panel. There was no way to feed Downstream. And when they turn the power back on and replaced my meter, the unit was not in the operation but setting idle.

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#15
In reply to #10

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/13/2017 9:23 AM

Not operational - but connected. Auto (or manual) switchover was not functioning correctly.

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#43
In reply to #10

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/14/2017 5:05 AM

You have asserted very strongly several times that your generator was isolated. HOW? Removing the meter doesn't isolate it in my book. As you have said when they replaced the meter the power fed into your generator. How can it if it was truly isolated. Did you tag the lines where the meter connects so that they couldn't reconnect until YOU removed the tag? If that was the only isolation it wasn't adequate. your determined beligerance is prompting me to hope you cop a serious fine to help you learn. If YOU isolated the line with the geny in it then tell me how. Then tell how it got back fed from the main, bypassing YOUR isolation. Then i will tell you how to fix your geny. Jim

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/14/2017 7:02 AM

GA

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#91
In reply to #10

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/18/2017 8:28 AM

From your description of your situation, the utility removing the meter was not enough...you should have opened your main breaker...THAT would have provided the isolation that was required. The utility employee probably had no idea that your main breaker was not open. When he reenergized your house, your generator acted as a motor; hence, dead generator---

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#93
In reply to #91

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/18/2017 9:17 AM

As long as the beer holds out, the party never dies.

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#94
In reply to #91

Re: Portable home generator, fried.

04/18/2017 11:49 AM

Again, close but no cigar.

When he reenergized your house, your generator acted as a motor; hence, dead generator--

A single phase generator, has no "Start" winding and or "Start" capacitor, as most single phase motors must have.

So it would most likely have just sat there, not moving, but making some terrible sounds, till something "blew".....probably similar to the noise a 3 phase motor makes, if one phase is missing and it is started....

Also, large currents can flow as the motor/generator, is not turning and therefore it is developing no back EMF.....with a 3 phase motor on 2 phases, you expect probably 8 x normal phase current, or more.

With a "back fed" single phase alternator, I have no exact idea.....One would hope that there were still fuses/breakers in circuit, preventing fires....but the OP has not mentioned that as far as I remember....

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#19

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/13/2017 11:30 AM

I am going to spare you the criticism of how it was broken since it is obvious that you got plenty of that and is not what you are asking for.

It is possible that despite the winding looking okay that one of the winding is in fact open somewhere due to the power fed back into the generator. I can't speak to the generator head on the device but it is also possible it has a thermal fuse or something like that built into the coils.

Although not the same take a look at my post on fixing an electric motor as it may give you some ideas of what to test and where to start. In that case the winding looked clean until I found that one spot where it failed. Use a meter to test the winding and it will tell you if they have failed or not.

Other than fixing it on the part level you would simply have to replace the generator, or if you can find it the generator head. At least you still have a working brigs motor and that has to be good for something.

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#33
In reply to #19

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 3:04 AM

Good post.

But he still has not told us 100% as to whether the prime mover is operational or not to my mind....

eg. Does the motor run (which I am only assuming at this time because that would be fairly obvious, you might think) and no voltage is generated or not!! Or why a rectifier might be damaged or even in circuit! Without a schematic, we are a bit lost it would seem....

If the generator was actually running (assuming single phase), then he has been really lucky, as it was obviously out of phase with the incoming supply. Huge currents would flow till something broke....

If it was not running, then it probably tried to run as a motor, but as no starting capacitor and/or starting winding (but then it would stall and "snarl" only till something "broke" the circuit!) drawing highly excessive amounts of amps, 8 x the normal generator supply current would probably be a minimum.....almost no limit!

I bet the meter "swung" rapidly for a second or two!! Wait till the next bill arrives?

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#40
In reply to #33

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 4:08 AM

he has actually stated the gen set was not operating at the time just had supply connected to it

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#52
In reply to #19

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 1:10 PM

GA as to the repair. If it is a simple alternator then there is something broken.

It could be the main windings (plugged in and not running and then energized by the utility), or the excitation system which is probably a rectifier and a regulator.

Run the generator and see if there is a field voltage / current.

The generator may have no residual magnetization left to self excite the field circuit. There may be a procedure to "flash" the excitation system to re-establish the residual magnetic field.

Too few details and no circuit diagram.

Take it to an authorized repair facility with the tools and know how - or buy a new one.

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#21

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/13/2017 5:54 PM

What you do next depends upon how lucky/handy you are. The parts breakout shows a long bolt that connects the rotor of the alternator to the crankshaft of the engine. This may (emphasis on "may") also be a shear bolt meant to snap or unscrew if the generator is backfed; the goal is to protect the engine from being forced to turn in the wrong direction if the generator becomes a motor, but you'll have to take the whole thing apart to find out.

If you're also electrically inclined, you can still buy parts for the generator like the circuit breaker and field diode for a reasonable price (against the cost of a new unit).

See here for more info.

Whatever you do, remember one thing, removing the meter is illegal, but this whole episode could have been prevented by simply opening the main breaker on your panel and backfeeding your breaker panel through the right sized breaker.

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/13/2017 6:08 PM

Thank you, I have already tried the circuit breaker and the brushes. Next I suppose I can try the field diode. Yes I know it is illegal to remove the electrical meter from the socket, however it was the electric company Who removed it. They told us the electricity will be out for another 10 days.

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#25

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/13/2017 10:40 PM

Just curious, how many phases in the generator and mains, also were the active and neutral lines hooked up right and did the generator have an independent earth line? You say the meter was removed but had the power people jumped the meter for testing for faults in the domestic (I assume it was domestic) wiring. some countries do more than frown on the use of generators.

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#27
In reply to #25

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/13/2017 11:47 PM

I just have a residential 200 amp service from the power company.

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#29
In reply to #25

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 12:05 AM

There was nothing wrong with the wiring or electrical lines and telephone poles on my property. High winds had taken down the power lines in several places around our County. And disrupted service too many people. Single phase.

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#26

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/13/2017 11:44 PM

At times when I have found nothing physicaly wrong with gen sets with no out put most of the time I have only needed to flash the exciter fields I have done this dozens of times when repairing them in the past. To save me typing use the link & have a read this could solve your problem

http://www.dieselduck.info/machine/03%20electricity/flashing_generator.htm

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#35
In reply to #26

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 3:08 AM

GA

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#38
In reply to #26

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 4:02 AM

Just a sub note as to why this will probably correct the problem as applying an AC back into the winding possibly negated the residual magnetism in the excitation fields required to start the excitation circuit working. Make sure the regulator is reconnected in the correct polarity & on an odd occasion I have accidentally flashed the winding in the incorrect polarity, that will not work so if it doesn't work first time round these are things you may have gotten wrong.

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#36

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 3:13 AM

Too bloody right. I fully agree with AGs reply 32 I have installed such change over switches with the proper authority. It is not a good idea to play with electricity. AC, DC or JC, you never see any of them but they are always ready to take you. Advice is rarely taken but always freely given and this is a good tip that I would like to pass on as it might save a life. When working on anything electrical pull the plug, place it in your pocket, disengage mouth clutch and engage brain.

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#42

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 4:52 AM

OK, maybe the supply and generator were completely disconnected from each other. Did you try to draw too much from, or maybe SC. the generator at any stage. Or possibly a diode shorted or went open circuit, or maybe the whole thing was in a confined space and simply overheated. Did it throw a bearing and cause the rotor to rub on the housing. You can try and come the raw prawn and claim that the power supply people burnt it out by turning the power on to early but I don't fancy your chances. A clear case of the mirror image of the old truism "if it isn't broken don't fix it" What I don't get is your statement that AC fed directly into my alternator. Where did this AC come from? Obviously not from the supply line as you say this was disconnected

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#45

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 7:29 AM

For a moment ignoring all the technical and safety circumstances leading to the problem. I would treat this as a simple case of a dud generator and take a few diagnostic steps to find out why.

Does the engine actually run. Is there a voltage at the outlet. Connect a load to see if any amps flow.

If not working, then instead of thinking in terms of connecting your generator to the mains, consider what might happen if you connect a mains power supply to your generator - but if I read your thread properly - you have not done this.

Therefore the fault with your generator could be purely coincidental, so back to basic fault-finding - something along the lines of suggestions already put forward by others

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#46

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 8:22 AM

I will go ahead and say what we all know. Depending on the specs of his genset, he either used a single pole 120V breaker or a double pole 240 break, and inserted it into his panel. (A double pole 240 Breaker will even work fine for a genset that only has 120V output, you can just jumper the hots. You would not have 240 v output, and you would need to open those breakers, but all 120V loads on both bars will be hot when

............................. you hardwire or extension cord an output of the genset, (generally an extension cord with the female end cut off, and connect to the neutral bar in the panel and the said breaker hot(s) above. If you have not opened the mains disco or 200A panel breaker (or pull the meter), when the power is re established your genset will most likely magically smoke. Also, TMC Tech is wrong, it is dangerous. Both Linemen, and neighboring service points have documented injuries from illegally connected gensets. I transfer switch, automatic or manual, is easy and safe, and not very expensive ($100 to $500) for most resi size units.

Incidentally, that is what happens when a solar PV system does not grid disco when the mains is down, UL 1703.

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 8:25 AM

GA

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#49

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 10:29 AM

My procedure for enabling and disabling my genset is as follows:

1. Turn off the House - Mains (Power company and Solar) and lock it out.

2. Turn off the genset output and run switches.

3. Connect the genset 240V output to the house feed-in.

4. Fill, prime and start the genset.

5. Turn on genset main switch.

To disconnect:

1. Turn off fuel to genset, wait until it dies.

2. Switch off genset output switch.

3. Disconnect house feed-in.

4. Turn mains back on on the house.

This procedure protects everybody and the genset!

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#53
In reply to #49

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 1:18 PM

As long as you make no mistakes that is safe - but still illegal in most jurisdictions.

It has to be a certified transfer switch either manual or automatic.

For the cost of a couple tanks of gas you can be both safe and legal.

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#55
In reply to #53

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 11:03 PM

True. But I don't need it that often. When I do, I follow this procedure. It's not perfect, but it is a good guideline for any emergency genset use.

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#56
In reply to #49

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 11:41 PM

I think turning off the fuel & allowing it to die while it is still connected to a load is a very bad thing to do, your better off turning off the output switch before you stop the genset because the surging & variation in voltage as the gen set starves for fuel & dies can be quite disastrous for many electronic items & not good for the gen set as it struggles to try to maintain the output. I have had several people forget to keep the fuel in their gen set full & destroy equipment plugged in as it stopped when the fuel run out. it Might not happen every time but believe me it can & will happen.

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#57
In reply to #56

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/15/2017 12:34 AM

Good point. I'll add it in to the procedures!

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#58
In reply to #57

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/15/2017 12:39 AM

1. Turn off the House - Mains (Power company and Solar) and lock it out.

2. Turn off the genset output and run switches.

3. Connect the genset 240V output to the house feed-in.

4. Fill, prime and start the genset.

5. Turn on genset main switch.

To disconnect:

1. Switch off genset output switch.

2. Turn off fuel to genset, wait until it dies.

3. Disconnect house feed-in.

4. Turn mains back on on the house.

I switched 1 & 2 of Disconnect to fix the procedure.

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#62
In reply to #49

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/15/2017 9:30 AM

Care to elaborate on #3? That is the crux of the OP's problem, and yours potentially. It would be highly unusual if the utility or your homebuilder conveniently left you a "Connect the genset 240V output to the house feed-in here" sticker, and installed the associated hardware.

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#63
In reply to #62

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/15/2017 11:14 AM

The feed in is a 240v twist-lock socket wired into a 50amp grounded sub-panel in the back yard. No, it is not "code", but it is much better than trying to wire something in during a storm in the dark, or running extension cords from outside to inside the house.

The genset is portable and sits in a shed out back. If I need it, I have a feed-in twist-lock cable that I run from the shed to the outside sub-panel socket. So, having everything OFF when connecting is very important. However, I always disconnect the house when the power fails, because I don't want any more angry magic pixies coming down the pipe from my neighbors and frying my electronics.

This setup is for emergencies, not regular use, so it is a temporary setup except for the socket on the sub-panel. I'm certain the authorities would not like it, but then there are many things they don't like. That said, the only dangerous part is the male-male feed-in cable. That is why every main power breaker is off for connection and disconnection. One end of that cable is one hell of a cattleprod if it's hot!

Most people I know do NOT have a permanent genset with cutoff-the-mains-and-cut-in-the-generator permanent switchgear. The switchgear and panels for such a setup cost more than the generator! And require lots of permits and such. And running long extension cords into the house during a storm is not a very safe option and it won't power the central heating system. And even a permanent switchgear setup has to have a male-male cable anyway if it is going to hook up to a portable genset.

What I did was cut off the female end of a twist-lock 240v four wire 50amp cable and put a male twist lock on it. I then took the female end, and permanently wired it up into the outside 50amp sub-panel that feeds the out buildings and the hot tub. I bring the cable over to it from the shed that houses the generator and connect up there once the house is disconnected from the power company and the solar.

The socket has a cap on it to keep it dry and clean, so it is in good shape when it comes time to use it, and it is a convenient connection for a welder or other machine that needs 240v in the yard.

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#66
In reply to #63

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/15/2017 8:42 PM

Instead of having a 'man killer' extension cord laying around the place you could use a lockable caravan type input flush mounted "plug". That way your extension cord still has a socket on the end. I say lockable. because the "plug" will become energised when the grid is also energised. If you can't buy such a beast ( i haven't looked ) you could put it in a small lockable box. Jim

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#67
In reply to #66

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/15/2017 9:07 PM

Now i looked and found this style. It is Australian but you should be able to find a local design that does the same thing.

P.S. i opened Google Chrome to write this as in Firefox i can't.

Jim

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#68
In reply to #67

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/16/2017 10:50 AM

That is what I wanted to do in the first place, but I couldn't find one locally. Also, the socket I have is useful on its own as a plug-in for other things.

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#69
In reply to #68

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/16/2017 11:38 AM

The BS and hypocrisy is pretty deep. I know most of you professionals and knowledge wonks know that what you are debating is illegal and dangerous. A person can't engage on here without an avalanche of negative input whenever someone wants to solve a code related issue without professional certification and experience. What gives, now?

Using a cheap portable genset as residential whole house backup without a mains transfer switch is a bad idea for broad list of reasons, and reducing loads is not a solution to the issue. When these gensets are in emergency use, fuel, connectivity, anxiety and temporary schematic design all conspire to increase risk of errors. It is not at all different than building a deck with 2 x 8's instead of 2 x 10's that are indicated in the span tables. The owner can attempt to control loads by limiting crowds, and attempt mitigate reduced safety factors by introducing higher construction quality. All good until it is not.

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#70
In reply to #69

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/16/2017 1:47 PM

Totally agree.

The OP has a broken Gen Set and wants to know how to fix it. That is followed with a list of code violations and little help.

That is the same as saying I have a dent in my car, how can I fix it - and be told the dent is there because of a collision and it was probably my fault and I am too ignorant to fix the dent.

To add insult to injury the thread goes on to how the "esoteric experts" justify their own code violations because they are the elite.

Sheesh!

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#71
In reply to #70

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/16/2017 3:58 PM

We have to remember that the OP has not demonstrated any understanding of anything here, either the problem causes or the way to do it properly in the future.......and he certainly, despite prompting, has not supplied enough data to allow someone here to help him fix his generator......

But he gets angry and rude for no reasons whatsoever.....

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#72
In reply to #69

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/16/2017 7:37 PM

If you think that either Deefbufger or i don't have certification or experience you are wrong. No bullshit or hypocrisy here. You are referring to SOME people on this site who repeatedly say "you obviously don't know what you are doing, pay an expert." or words to that effect. That is not my hobby horse. I try to make the OP think about what they are trying to do and work it out for themselves. If they can't, then it becomes obvious to themselves that they are in over their head. Most often the OP doesn't answer my probing questions so i guess they have given up and hired an expert. Desired outcome achieved. FYI when i lose power for extended periods i use a genny and extension cords for the fridge and a lamp only. No code violation, etc. Jim

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#73
In reply to #72

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/16/2017 8:13 PM

Thank's Jimrat. I'm not thumbing my nose at the codes. I'm using what I have to solve a temporary problem as safely as I can. I imagine the OP was doing the same thing, but missed something along the way and fried his genset. I offered up a confession of my "sins" in order to help him and others the next time a stop-gap solution was needed.

I KNOW the MM-cable is dangerous. I don't like it either but I REALLY don't like male ends that are hot all the time, and I couldn't find a lockable 240v twist lock back-feed box. The cable is temporary and it leaves the connection female and usable when the power is from the power company, And IT IS up to code when the cable is NOT connected!

Gensets on houses are dangerous to linemen. Hell, solar systems like mine are dangerous to linemen. The point is to make it as safe as possible and still solve the problem.

My generator is 4KW and plenty for my house with the exception of using the electric dryer. I have no problems with my cabling, and I can hook up in minutes even in the rain and the dark without killing myself, provided I follow my procedures!

Turn off all the mains first! The OP failed there. Removal of the meter was not enough. I turn off my mains the moment the power fails regardless of whether I'm using the generator or not. I had the power fail this last winter, come back, and then fail again and fry my big Sony stereo stack! (I have a Bose Wave now).

Disconnection of the house is the most important thing you can do in a power outage whether you do anything else or not.

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#75
In reply to #72

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/16/2017 9:15 PM

Jimrat You have the best idea out of all the posts on here so far run an extension lead from the genset & plug the appliances into it directly without interfering with the house wiring.

using a M/M lead & back feeding into the house as some people have suggested is illegal & even just having a lead made like that around is extremely dangerous.

The people that say that they turn the main switch off when they use it this is not safe either.

If the meter has been unplugged & the supply authority comes round to plug your meter back in the next thing they will do is turn on your main switch & circuit breakers.

Being a Tradesman electrician myself I will never tell a non qualified person on how to do electrical work that I am unable to view the work as it is being done & inspect the finished work prior to connection.

Here in Australia there are rules / regulations that make me liable for any harm that comes of them doing the work from my instructions even if they don't correctly follow my instructions, I also risk loosing my license.

Here in Aust it is illegal for any unqualified person to do any work on a 240/415v electrical installation.

These regulations also apply to installations not connected to the supply authority grid as well. Installations operated from a private supply of a genset or solar panels & inverter are bound by all the same regulations as installations connected to the supply authority grid

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#78
In reply to #75

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/17/2017 3:55 AM

Your post:-

Jimrat You have the best idea out of all the posts on here so far run an extension lead from the genset & plug the appliances into it directly without interfering with the house wiring.

Is simply perfectly true as well as being simple common sense. Also great for anyone who is an electrical "Dummy", or even people like myself, getting old, who make stuff for the family, who are also not trained electricians or similar, that might possibly get used after I am gone......

But what neither of you have mentioned (or anyone else for that matter), is that many people (me for instance!) only have a small emergency generator, that cannot supply a modern house's electrical load fully, so the method you and Jimrat mentioned, is the one I have (seldom needed here) used.

We just need a few lights (most are LED anyway nowadays!) scattered around after dark, my Pellets burner (around 100W) if its winter and the central heating pump/electronics (Gas central heating).

Total load probably around 500W (or close) as my Gennie is only 900W continuous rated.....but partly due to its Sine wave not being that perfect, I run long cables (the Gennie is not the quietest around as its 2 stroke anyway, end of garden!) to try and make the sine wave a little better, and I attach as little modern electronics as possible. No TV for example.....for the few hours here not a problem....

But I am living in a country where the mains fails very rarely, so I see no reason to make bigger concessions.....but always "Safety First!"

Mainly, being quite portable, we use the Gennie when camping off grid, or simply to make a winter outdoor party a little "lighter" in the long dark evenings....serving "Gluhwein" for example!!

It was a cheap unit I bought some 20 years ago in the UK, I "tuned" up the frequency as it was off when new, now it is simply a useful tool that starts immediately after months of inactivity.....I believe I paid around 100 UK pounds for it!!!

Probably less than 150 hours total, though I have never noted that exactly......

I bet I am not alone here either, with others here probably having similar cheap units and usages....it is simply basically what I envisioned when i saw how cheap they had got years ago!!

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#77
In reply to #72

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/17/2017 3:10 AM

GA

Simple common sense?

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#76
In reply to #63

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/16/2017 9:19 PM

I want to clarify something here in this discussion. When my genset is plugged in, my system is not code. Presumably, my situation at the time is an "emergency" and temporary! My temporary situation is dire need and not subject to code situations. Code is for normal times. Everyday, long term times. Safe and long term usage.

When the genset is disconnected, my house system is up to code.

When the system IS connected, it is usually for 72hrs or less. I live downtown and power comes back fast. I have lived in a rural community and been the last stop on the list for PG&E! That was when and where we used a single extension cord and moved a generator around from house to house running "never-opened-refriderators". A week or so to get power back. (there are OPs on this forum that have weeks between power available, and it is these people who suffer from the answers of Code Nazis!).

I say use your art and your heart and not just your code book when being a CR4 guru!

I only go off-code during emergency power loss. I try to do it as close to code as possible, because the code represents my safe usage, IF I can achieve it in the moment!

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#64
In reply to #62

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/15/2017 5:37 PM

They come standard issue with the utility meter and mains service here free of charge for setting up a new service with the local utility company or when requesting a service capacity upgrade for an older place.

This is what they installed at my place when I started thing from scratch here around 2000.

Ronk 200 amp 2-way input switch with meter.

My brother got the 100 amp one put in at his place to replace the old system he had about 15 years ago when the original mains box went bad. Free upgrade by the utility company as well.

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#65
In reply to #64

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/15/2017 6:08 PM

Nice. We're on PG&E in northern Cali. No free rides here!

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#50

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/14/2017 10:43 AM

Generators use a residual field in the rotor to start up the magnetic field used to generate power. It could be that by hooking up AC to the generator, they degaussed the residual field, so there is nothing to initiate power generation.

You may need to flash your rotor to establish a residual field to start up power generation.

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#74
In reply to #50

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/16/2017 8:30 PM

GA from me as this answer is germain to the OP's problem.

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#59

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/15/2017 12:39 AM

The most interesting thing about electrical devices, motors, switches etc is that even brand new ones can fail suddenly without warning.

You've said that the electrical hook-up was not faulty.

So it's like planes, those that have and those that are about to.

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#79

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/17/2017 6:20 AM

You have had lots of replies.

Have you got your genset working?

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#81
In reply to #79

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/17/2017 7:06 AM

Yes it's amazing 80 replies & less than 10% actually addressing his OP & being constructive in helping him resolve the problem with his gen set. any wonder he stopped replying to peoples posts I'm actually amazed he replied as much as he did.

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#80

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/17/2017 6:41 AM

79 posts.

It's still f*&^%$d.

So it still wants replacing.

<yawn>

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#85
In reply to #80

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/17/2017 1:17 PM

LOL!!

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#83

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/17/2017 12:28 PM

How old is the unit? I also have one with a plastic fuel tank. It cracked at three of the mounting bolts. What about yours? When it quits raining, I'll get mine and ohm out both the 120 and 220 outlet jacks. I'm thinking the "hot" and "return" wide and narrow are tied together.

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#84

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/17/2017 1:12 PM

As I suspected the hot and neutral pins on the 120 outlets are all connected. <5 ohms.

Same with the 220 outlet. The "key" and the pin immediately CCW of the key are tied together.

Hope this helps

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#86
In reply to #84

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/17/2017 1:38 PM

You posted:-

As I suspected the hot and neutral pins on the 120 outlets are all connected. <5 ohms.

Would that not possibly be the resistance value of say half of a generator field winding for example?

Sounds about correct for that. Remember, the DC resistance will possibly be a lot lower than the AC impedance....while running for example.

With US 240VAC, the neutral is connected to a central point of the 240VAC field winding(s).

Therefore you have from a single phase generator, two hot (Hot to Hot being 240VAC) and a central neutral, that needs also to be grounded.

Either Hot to Neutral giving 120VAC.

Ground although linked to Neutral at the generator, is to be run from that point on a separate cable to the frame of devices needing a safety ground.......so usually a cable with 3 wires would supply many domestic electrical items.

Double insulated devices "NEED" only the hot and the neutral to work safely.

I am assuming here that no 240VAC devices will be supplied by the Generator, but of course that is still easy to do if required, provided enough output is available.

Thats all from memory, but I believe it to be correct for the USA.

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#95

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/18/2017 12:42 PM

94 replies.

It's still f*&^%$£d.

It still wants replacing.

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#96
In reply to #95

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/18/2017 2:49 PM

I certainly believe that it could still be something as simple as a reversed rectifier, or that the exciter field needs flashing, or both!!

But you are right, if he really knew what to do from the advice already given, it would already be running!!

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#97
In reply to #96

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/18/2017 6:32 PM

Awfully presumptious of you old chap. Perchance he grew weary of the garbage input and withdrew from the Boys Club and its cluttered chitchat. Sensible fellow indeed Humbolt. Most droll indeed. C'est la vie!

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#99
In reply to #97

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/19/2017 5:53 AM

I found the chitchat quite interesting - and appreciate the effort made by others - so being critical of them for trying to help - without telling us what the garbage is - or offering your own technical input to fix the dud genset - does not help much.

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#100
In reply to #99

Re: Portable Home Generator, Fried.

04/19/2017 6:44 AM

My best guess was its the OP himself........who else could even be bothered?

It will also not get the Gennie fixed either!!!

Pointless post?

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