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  #1  
Old November 10th, 2008, 10:28 AM
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Default Generator tie in?

I have a genrac generator as house power back up. Someone told me there could be a tie in to HS for indication of power status, etc. Know anything?
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  #2  
Old November 10th, 2008, 10:33 AM
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Sure, put a hardware device that can monitor whether the generator is running like a current sensor and tie this to a signaling device like a DS10A or any contact closure device that can send a signal to HomeSeer.
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  #3  
Old November 12th, 2008, 08:53 AM
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I put a relay inside the automatic transfer switch. The relay has a 120 volt coil. The coil is connected in parallel with the output from the generator so, when the generator is running, the relay is energized. I have the NO contacts of the relay connected to an Ocelot SECU-16 module.

I found that a relay with a time delay of about 10 seconds works best. This is because when my generator is starting up, a normal relay would cycle on and off two or three times before the generator got up to full speed. With a 10 second time delay, the relay doesn't close until 10 seconds after the coil in energized so it eliminates that problem.
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Old November 12th, 2008, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC View Post
I put a relay inside the automatic transfer switch. The relay has a 120 volt coil. The coil is connected in parallel with the output from the generator so, when the generator is running, the relay is energized. I have the NO contacts of the relay connected to an Ocelot SECU-16 module.

I found that a relay with a time delay of about 10 seconds works best. This is because when my generator is starting up, a normal relay would cycle on and off two or three times before the generator got up to full speed. With a 10 second time delay, the relay doesn't close until 10 seconds after the coil in energized so it eliminates that problem.
Hello DC,

I also have a Generac and would like to monitor it as well. I just want to make sure the weekly test takes place. Could you provide the vendor name and part number of the relay you used for your system?

Thanks,
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  #5  
Old November 12th, 2008, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
I also have a Generac and would like to monitor it as well. I just want to make sure the weekly test takes place. Could you provide the vendor name and part number of the relay you used for your system?
It's from Grainger but I will have to open up my transfer switch to get the exact vendor and part number.

The reason I installed it is mostly so I would know if the self-test fails. My generator self-test runs at 3:00 PM on Saturday. I have the following HS events that tell me if it ran successfully or not:

1. At 2:30 PM on Saturday a virtual device called "Generator Test" is set OFF.

2. Anytime the generator starts, "Generator Test" is set ON (regardless of whether it's a self-test or not) so, if the generator starts at 3:00 for the self-test, the virtual device is set ON.

3. At 3:30 PM on Saturday:
a. If "Generator Test" is ON, HS sends an email that the test was successful.
b. If "Generator Test" is OFF, HS sends an email that the test failed.
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  #6  
Old November 12th, 2008, 04:50 PM
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Sounds great... but my electrician says that the transfer switch would not record the self-test activity because it doesnt transfer anything... so no current passing through... True?
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Old November 13th, 2008, 01:03 AM
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Quote:
Sounds great... but my electrician says that the transfer switch would not record the self-test activity because it doesnt transfer anything... so no current passing through... True?
Not true, if you connect the relay to the right lugs in the transfer switch.

My transfer switch has the following lugs (I can't say for sure but it seems logical that all transfer switches would be similar).

A -- incoming power from utility company
B -- incoming power from generator
C -- outgoing to house breaker panel

When the utility company is supplying the power, lugs A are energized and the switch passes the power from A to C. This is the normal state.

When the generator is running (self test or power outage), lugs B are energized BUT if A are also energized, the switch does not transfer.

When the utility power fails, the generator starts (which energizes lugs B) and a few seconds later the switch activates which passes the power from B to C.

If you connect the relay coil to lugs B, it will be energized anytime the generator is running.

If you connect the relay to lugs A, it will be energized whenever the utility power is on.

If you connect the relay to lugs C, it will be energized all the time regardless of whether the utility company or the generator is supplying power (not very useful).

So, if you really want to get fancy, you could use two relays -- one connected to A and one connected to B. That way you could tell if you are on utility power (only the relay connected to A would be energized), if you are on generator power (only the B relay would be energized), or if the generator is doing a self-test (both relays energized).

I don't see how that would be all that useful though. I can assume we are on utility power unless the generator is running. I can assume utility power has failed if the generator is running and it's NOT 3:00 PM on Saturday.

Last edited by DC; November 13th, 2008 at 01:13 AM.
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  #8  
Old November 13th, 2008, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC View Post
Not true, if you connect the relay to the right lugs in the transfer switch.

My transfer switch has the following lugs (I can't say for sure but it seems logical that all transfer switches would be similar).

A -- incoming power from utility company
B -- incoming power from generator
C -- outgoing to house breaker panel

When the utility company is supplying the power, lugs A are energized and the switch passes the power from A to C. This is the normal state.

When the generator is running (self test or power outage), lugs B are energized BUT if A are also energized, the switch does not transfer.

When the utility power fails, the generator starts (which energizes lugs B) and a few seconds later the switch activates which passes the power from B to C.

If you connect the relay coil to lugs B, it will be energized anytime the generator is running.

If you connect the relay to lugs A, it will be energized whenever the utility power is on.

If you connect the relay to lugs C, it will be energized all the time regardless of whether the utility company or the generator is supplying power (not very useful).

So, if you really want to get fancy, you could use two relays -- one connected to A and one connected to B. That way you could tell if you are on utility power (only the relay connected to A would be energized), if you are on generator power (only the B relay would be energized), or if the generator is doing a self-test (both relays energized).

I don't see how that would be all that useful though. I can assume we are on utility power unless the generator is running. I can assume utility power has failed if the generator is running and it's NOT 3:00 PM on Saturday.
Correct
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  #9  
Old November 13th, 2008, 08:27 AM
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Terrific!!! Thanks so much. What kind of sensor do i need and how connect to HS?
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  #10  
Old November 13th, 2008, 06:04 PM
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you will need a relay that has a 120vac coil that would be activated by the generator output, you could then use a ds10a on the contacts of the relay, depending on which model transfer switch would depend on how you would install it
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  #11  
Old November 13th, 2008, 06:34 PM
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I have a Kohler and did a similar thing by just mounting a 120vac to 12 vac transformer at the generator output using one hot lead and the neutral. Guess I ould have used a 220 vac to 12vac relay but I already had this one. Fed that into one of the I/O input ports of an old Stargate. Set it up so when Homeseer recognizes the I/O has voltage, it emails me the time and date that it came on. Does the same thing when it goes off so I know when it stops.
Kohler has a relay board that will also tell you if it sees a fault and I will probably order that so I migh know ahead of time if there was an issue and it could be resolved.
All kind of neat stuff you can do with that type stuff.
Just curious, do y'all run yours every week? I was going to but have not decided why it needs to run that often. At work where we really depended on them, we only tested them once a month.
When we put it in I put a disconnect ahead of the ATS from the utility company so I just kill the utility company every now and then to make sure everything works as it should.
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  #12  
Old November 13th, 2008, 09:46 PM
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Yes, my self test runs once a week and I don't think I have any options (other than not run it at all). To set the time for the self test, at the day and time you want it to run each week, you manually toggle a switch that starts the test. After that it runs automatically every 168 hours (7 days).

But, even if I could run it once a month, I wouldn't want to. I want it to run every week. It's not just to make sure it will run but it's also good for the engine to get up to operating temperature and get the oil circulating once a week. It only runs for 20 minutes so it's not like it uses a lot of gas (natural gas).

Mine is a Kohler also and it has a relay board option for just this purpose. I was going to purchase one and have it installed but it was a couple hundred dollars and the service technician is the one who suggested I get a less expensive relay and connect it to the generator terminals. He told me not to tell his boss that it was his idea but I thought it was nice of him to suggest a way I could do the same thing at about 1/4 the cost.
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  #13  
Old November 14th, 2008, 12:00 PM
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Actually with your controller you could control when you wanted it to run by shorting out the run control wires when you wanted it and keeping them open when you didn't want it to run. Probably use the normally closed contacts to connect the run swith and keep the relay energizede except when you wanted it to run or you lost power then the relay would drop kicking it on. Hum, Think I'll look into doing that on mine.
As a point of interest one of the service men was saying that they could download some code and connect a laptop to the ATS to change the parameters of when it ran as well as other things.

I understand wanting gasoline generators to run every few weeks because of the gook left in the carbs when the gasoline evaporates but just don't see a simular problem with natural gas. But even with the synthetic oil I do think it needs to run ever so often just to keep it from getting to dry inside.
But hey, that what makes the world go around, different opinions and I like that because it makes up think about other things we might not have thought of on our own..
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  #14  
Old November 15th, 2008, 06:00 PM
chris-va chris-va is offline
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I was thrilled to find this post as I just finished the install on my Generac 20kw unit with 200amp load shedding transfer switch. I have been looking for ways to monitor it remotely as well.

I have thought of and like the idea of using relays to monitor utility and standby power sources. This should work easily to tell how the house is being powered. I do see a potential issue with the weekly exerciser however. When it exercises, the engine runs at a slower speed (called "whisper test" or something). As such, the output from the genset is lower than normal. It is about 40hz and about 160 volts (or 80 volts to neutral). I'm sure I could find a relay with a coil that will work for all of that voltage range, but it will defeat the purpose of monitoring exercise functions vs. standby power.

Is there another way to monitor and report this? Is there something available that could monitor voltage and interface with Homeseer that could trigger events based on a voltage range? Further, I would like to maybe monitor the load. I've seen current sensors that would do this, but not voltage.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks,
Chris

After re-reading these post, someone mentioned using the specific time of day and date to determine if the genset was exercising or running standby power. If the event occurs at the exact time that the exercise function is scheduled, then that must be what it is. Any other time, it is on standby power. So, that would work to differientate the functions. I just need to find a relay with a coil for voltage between 60 and 120 vac I guess. Thanks!

Last edited by chris-va; November 15th, 2008 at 06:13 PM.
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  #15  
Old November 16th, 2008, 03:42 PM
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DC, using a time delay relay is a great idea. With the transformer hook up I have, I noticed yesterday that I got several on and off emails when it was starting and several when it shut down. The last one of each bunch was the correct one "ON" at the end of he startup and the "OFF" at the end of the test.
For the time being a delay loop on Stargate should take care of it but a delay relay is probably and better long term solution.
Either that or the aux relay board that goes inside the generator to also show alerts. GM53102-KP1
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  #16  
Old November 17th, 2008, 11:14 PM
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When I built my house I Planned it with a natural gas fired standby generator and home automation in mind.

After a lot of research, I decided on a Briggs and Stratton Intelligen 15KW unit with a Eaton CH series automatic transfer switch. This generator is computer friendly.The CH series ATS has a set of micro switches that monitor the switch position for either normal utility or generator power.

I monitor the switch position with the Hawking
HRDS1 - Z-Wave Door Sensor to bring the generator status into HomeSeer. This sensor has screw terminals for use with dry contact switches.

I took the attached pictures before I ran the wiring to the Hawking sensor. You can see the micro switches on the right side of the transfer switch.

My Generator exercises once per week. If there is a fault, a remote LED that I have mounted in the garage flashes to indicate trouble. HomeSeer does not monitor the fault status. The LED is in view any time I pull into the garage.

John


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  #17  
Old November 18th, 2008, 12:11 PM
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Default remote wireless

i notice that Generac is coming out with a wireless remote... http://www.homepowersystems.net/stor...70&catid=19580
would this be something i could hook up to a relay and integrate with HS to give me an email alert when generator runs and performs self test?
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  #18  
Old November 20th, 2008, 08:23 AM
chris-va chris-va is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfs View Post
i notice that Generac is coming out with a wireless remote... http://www.homepowersystems.net/stor...70&catid=19580
would this be something i could hook up to a relay and integrate with HS to give me an email alert when generator runs and performs self test?
I just installed this on mine. I don't see any way it would help us get it into HS. There is a remote module that mounts to the outside of the genset that connects to the control panel. Then an inside wireless monitor that basically duplicates the outside panel and also adds a few features not found outside. But there is no output that I can find on the inside monitor. I don't even know what frequency it is using to transmit the data. Someone smarter than I (most likely anyone reading this) might could figure out a way to interpret the information and intercept it. I don't have any idea.

It is pretty neat in that you can remote start/stop/transfer the genset. It also allows you to monitor faults (it will flash the screen if a fault occurs), you can set the exercise date/time and even change whether it uses the low-speed exercise or a normal speed. I have not checked yet to see if the normal speed will actually transfer the load over during the exercise.

All in all, it seems worth the price to me. I'm just not sure I can use it to assist in automation/remote notification.

Chris
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Old November 20th, 2008, 10:10 AM
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Hey Chris... thanks! My installer said that remote unit wasnt ready yet -- something about testing or whatever... who knows... anyway, I found this
http://www.generatorverifier.com/ and i spoke to someone who has it and it has 4 relays that can trigger contacts for self-test, no-start, runaway and oil change so I could use this to trigger emails to me via HS.
http://www.generatorverifier.com/GSV...ion_manual.pdf

so i am getting that and i will wire it up and see! keep me posted.
George
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Old November 20th, 2008, 12:11 PM
chris-va chris-va is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfs View Post
Hey Chris... thanks! My installer said that remote unit wasnt ready yet -- something about testing or whatever... who knows... anyway, I found this
http://www.generatorverifier.com/ and i spoke to someone who has it and it has 4 relays that can trigger contacts for self-test, no-start, runaway and oil change so I could use this to trigger emails to me via HS.
http://www.generatorverifier.com/GSV...ion_manual.pdf

so i am getting that and i will wire it up and see! keep me posted.
George
George,

That is excellent! Thanks for the links and information. I am anxious to hear your results. I am researching this info right now.

When i ordered my genset back int September, the wireless monitor was on backorder until mid Oct. When Nov 1st came around, I called AP Electric (Where I ordered it all) and they said it was on backorder now until after the first of next year. A week later, it showed up! Might want to either check back with your people or call AP Electric. I have an email address for a customer service person if you would like that. Of course, you may not need or want one if this verifier works like we hope.

Thanks everyone else for the ideas also.
Chris
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