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Get Powered Up! Certified Energy Manager Jeff Yago answers your alternative energy questions

Wondering about a great new energy-saving device
you found on the Internet? Then CLICK HERE!

Sorry. Jeff no longer answers questions online.
This will remain as a searchable
resource for all BHM website visitors.



Archive for the ‘Washing Machine’ Category

 

Wiring question

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Jeff,

You have a great website!

My wife and I have won two Emmys for sound on the show “24″ on Fox using sun power, hehe That’s a first I’m sure!

We have been off the grid for 13 years and just recently upgraded to a Xantrex 5500 watt inverter and a 25kw Guardian generator.

My question is can I take one leg of the 220v (120) to power my washer and propane dryer and one leg (120) to power my new inverter – charger?

Due to the writers strike in my biz I will have the time to tinker with the new gear.

Thanks again,

William Dotson

William:

First, my wife and I are 24 fanatics and have all of the past seasons on DVD. We also live almost off-grid in a solar home, air conditioning required here all summer and we use grid power for that. Most everything else is on solar since 1994.

If you just upgraded to a SW5548, I am sure you think you have died and gone to heaven, although if you had waited for the new Xantrex XW6048, it has 240VAC output and you would not need to split generator output.

You have a problem related to your generator that you need to consider. Not to bad-mouth any generator brand, but most of the generators like the brand and model you selected are designed for true “stand-by” service while still connected to the utility grid. Most are shorter life 3600 RPM, and most have a very complex diagnostics control package and battery charger circuit which operate 24 hours per day. This constant drain of electrical power is of no concern when they are connected to the utility grid, but this is a really big deal when battery-powered and no grid. Also, most high speed 3600 RPM generators are only designed to operate a few hours per year, and at most for only a power outage lasting 1 to 3 days. However, when used in an off-grid application, most dealers will void the warranty because they will have a very short lifespan when operated every few days throughout the year. If you have a large solar system and this generator will only be called upon to run a few hours each month during bad weather and no sun, then you should be OK, otherwise, expect lots of service calls and an engine over-haul every year or two. A good match for your inverter would be more like a 12 or 15 kW Kohler or other lower speed 1800 RPM generator, which are designed for this type service.

Now to your question. Yes, you can connect one leg of the generator to the inverter and the other to your washer and dryer without a problem, but here is the best way to do this. Install a standard 120/240 VAC circuit breaker panel. The “main” breaker should be 100 amp, which is less than the 104 amp rating (at 240 VAC)for this model generator. In this panel install a 60 amp single pole breaker to feed the 120 VAC inverter input. Then install other breakers to supply your large loads that will only operate when the generator is running like your washer and dryer. I assume your well pump is 120 VAC, otherwise, unless you add a 120/240 VAC transformer, any 240 VAC well pump will only operate when the generator is operating.

Final note – look at the buss bars in the circuit breaker panel. Your generator will be connected to the “L1″ and “L2″ buss bars, and the neutral buss bars, all near the top of this panel. This means connecting anything to only “L1″ and neutral, or “L2″ and neutral will provide 120 VAC, and anything connected to both “L1″ and “L2″ will provide 240 VAC from the generator. However, if you look and the buss bar arrangement, they alternate left and right down the panel, so for you to achieve the desired load balance on the generator, you need to make sure the circuit breaker supplying the inverter is attached to a different buss bar from the circuit breakers that will be connected to the other loads. This means you will either have them opposite each other left and right, or will need to “skip” a space as you go down the panel. Hope that makes sense.

Good luck.

Jeff Yago

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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