FerFAL always on the money…
So you want to know how to back feed your home with a portable generator during a hurricane or other power outage.
Backfeeding is very dangerous. It is also a code violation. The recommend way is to use a transfer switch and or a licensed electrician.
But I know that most people will wait until a hurricane has already come and they are without power. So they’ll try and do it themselves. In hope that this page may help save someone’s life when they need the power and cannot get a licensed electrician, like a hurricane, I am posting this page. If you still choose to backfeed be sure to read What To Do When the Power Comes On.
If you are going to backfeed your home, you must be very carefully and follow the directions below. If you fail to follow them you can kill a line worker, kill yourself or blow up your generator. Again I’ll say, get a licensed electrician.
Step One, the most important step of all is to turn off the main breakers.
Step two, turn off the main breakers.
Step three, turn off the main breakers. Do you get the idea?
Step four, remember to plug the generator end in last. If the generator is running and you are using two male ends the house end plug is live!
Step one, The first thing you will need to know if you refuse to get a licensed electrician is how many amps of continuous power your generator is capable of producing. 1000 Watts at 120 volts = about 8.3 amps. You also need to know what each appliance or electrical item you plan on running uses. You do not want to overload the generator, you’ll burn it out or worse, ruin your appliances, so get a licensed electrician.
Step two , find your circuit breaker panel box. Turn off the main breakers. They are normally at the top and are marked “Main”. They are normally 100, 150 or 200 amp breakers with a connect bar connecting the two of them together. The main breaker looks like a 240 volt breaker, but slightly larger. If you cannot determine which breakers are the main breakers, do not continue. There is no second guessing. Get a licensed electrician.
Once the mains are off, turn off all the other breakers in the panel box. DO NOT START THE GENERATOR until all connections are complete. Never turn on the main breakers when the generator is connected to your house.
Step three , determine the location you are going to operate your generator at. It cannot be in a garage, under or near a window, nor in your home. It must be outside and far away enough so that the exhaust fumes cannot enter the home. Once you determine the location the generator will be used, you need to determine how far away the source of back feeding will be.
Step four , you must calculate the amount of amps or watts that you plan on using with the generator. You cannot exceed the units total continuous power. Every 1000 watts is about 8 amps.
(watts / volts= amps or 1000 watts/ 120 volts= 8.3 amps). You cannot put more than 15 amps on any leg of the generator. Each wall outlet on the generator is a leg, even though it as two plugs inlets. A wall outlet has two inlets, it looks just like an outlet receptacle in your home. Each 240 plug on the generator has two legs, two 120 volt lines. Appliances that are rated at 110 volts will draw more amps but less watts (1000 / 110 = 9 amps). Each 120 volt wall outlet will produce 15 amps. That is 30 amps that can be drawn from two wall outlets on a generator. The 30 Amp 240 will produce 15 amps on each leg of the 240 line, that’s another 30 amps.
Note: some generators have a 30 amp 125 volt plug. This is equal to the two wall outlets, but not equal to a 30 amp 240 volt outlet. You cannot run any 220 volt appliances with a generator that has a 30 amp 125 volt plug.
Step four , now you need to know how you will backfeed from the generator. The first thing you must do is determine the method you can use with your generator.
- Does your generator have one wall outlet, enough outlets to plug two extension cord in? Use method 1
- Does your generator produce less than 3000 watts of continuous power? Use method 1
- Does your generator have 2 wall outlets, enough to plug 4 extension cords in and no 240 volt plug and produce at least 3000 watts? Use method 4
- Does your generator have 2 wall outlets and a 30 amp 125 volt plug? Use method 5
- Does your generator have both a 240 volt plug and two wall outlets, and produces less than 7000 watts but more than 4000 watts of continuous power? Use method 2
- Does your generator have both, a 240 volt plug and two 120 wall outlets and produces 7000 watts or more of continuous power? Use method 3
Method 1: I suggest that you use extension cords to power up your refrigerator and a few lights. Forget about backfeeding. You must use the correct size wire in your extension cords, and they should be as short as possible. The longer the extension cord the greater the voltage drop. A 16 gauge line should not carry more than 9 amps. A 14 gauge extension cord should not carry more than 15 amps, and 12 gauge can carry up to 20 amps. Do not attempt to back feed using any of these extension cords. Do not over load the generator by powering up more than the unit can handle.
Method 2: If your generator cannot produce at least 7000 watts of continuous power, your unit cannot produce 60 amps or more. If you have a 240 volt plug you can use the following method and the amount of amps your unit can produce over 60 can be placed on extension cords; see method 1. If your unit is less than 7000 watts you can only use method 2. Purchase some 10/2 or gauge wire long enough to reach from the generator to your dryer outlet, or other 220/240 appliance outlet. Ten gauge wire can carry up to 30 amps on the Black wire and 30 amps on the White wire. Wire the 10 gauge wire to the 240 volt plug; placing the Black wire on the brass colored screw, the White wire to the Silver colored screw, the bare wire to the Green screw. You will also need to purchase a 240 plug that can be plugged into your dryer outlet, or other 220/240 appliance outlet. If you do not have a 220/240 outlet appliance you will need to wire the line directly to a 220/240 circuit breaker.
Note: the Black wire will be circuit A and the White will be circuit B.
If you generator produces 5000 watts or more and has a 240 volt plug you can use this method plus method 1 up to the limit of your unit. A 5000 watt unit can produces about 42 amps. Do not attempt to run more items than your generator can handle.
Method 3: If your generator has at least 7000 watts of continuous power than you can use method 2 plus method 1. You unit produces at least 58 to 60 amps. Do not attempt to back feed using more than one method. Use a single method to back feed and power up other items using extension cords directly from the generator.
Method 4:You must remember that if you backfeed through an extension cord the total length of the line is the house wiring plus the length of the extension cord. The longer the line the more the voltage drop. Do not attempt to back feed using more than one method. Use the shortest extension cords possible.
Purchase two 12 gauge extensions cords no longer than needed. The first extension cord will need to be long enough to reach from the generator to the closest wall outlet in your home. The second extension cord length will be determined when we located Circuit A and Circuit B. Also purchase two male ends to be attached to these extension cords. Cut off the female ends and install a new male end to the cord you cut. You now have a cord with two male ends. The Black wire gets wired to the Brass colored screw, the White wire goes to the Silver screw and the Green wire goes to the Green screw. You will not be able to run any appliances that are 240 volt with this method.
Method 5:If you have a 30 amps 125 volt plug you can use either method 4 or the following, but not both. You can also use method 1 for appliances or lights if your generator produces more than 4000 watts. Do not exceed the units total wattage. This method will NOT make 220 power.
You will need to purchase 10/3 wire, long enough to reach from the generator to a 240 volt plug. You will also need to purchase a 220/240 plug that can be plugged into your dryer outlet, or other 220/240 appliance outlet. If you do not have a 220/240 outlet appliance you will need to wire the line directly to a 220/240 circuit breaker.
To wire 220 plug (the dryer), wire the Black wire to the Brass colored screw in the plug. The White goes to the Silver screw, the Green wire to the Green screw and the bare wire to the Black or ground screw. This will put 15 amps on each leg. To wire the 3 prong 125 Plug (generator plug), wire the Black and White wire to the Brass colored screw, the Green wire to the Green Screw and the Bare to the Ground. Click on the below image to enlarge.
Once you have determined which method you will be using, and plan on using extension cords to backfeed, you need to know how. You cannot not backfeed using both method 3 and method two, you will blow up the generator. With no cords plugged into the generator, and ALL circuit breakers of, INCLUDING THE MAINS, turn off or unplug all appliances, TVs, computers, lights and anything else that is electric. Place one extension cord into the 120 volt wall outlet that you plan on using to back feed your home and the other end into the generator’s 120 volt outlet. Start the generator let it warm up. Turn on all the single 15 or 20 amp circuit breakers. Do not urn on any 240 volt breakers(double breakers), or the main breaker. With a lamp or test light, go around the house plugging the lamp into each outlet, until you find all the outlet that works.
As you find ALL the outlets that work, write a list of the ones that work. This will be circuit A, label the list circuit A. The outlets that do not work will be labeled Circuit B.
Turn off the generator and than unplug the extension cord from both ends. Remember to turn off the generator before unplugging the extension cord you made! Now you will need an extension cord with the two male ends long enough to reach from the generator to the closest outlet that did not work, our Circuit B.
You are now ready to using your generator during a power outage or hurricane.
- Turn off the Main circuit breakers
- Turn off all circuit breakers
- Make sure the Main breakers are Off
- Plug one cord into Circuit A from one of the wall outlets on the generator.
- Plug the second cord into the other wall outlet on the generator and into Circuit B.
- Turn off or unplug all appliances that the generator cannot support
- Start the generator, let it warm up
- Turn on one single 15 or 20 amp circuit breaker at a time. Wait about 5 seconds before turning on the next breaker.
- If you back fed with 240 volts and have a 240 volt appliance to run turn it on last.
What To Do When the Power Comes On
When you are sure the power is available from the power company, you need to turn off the generator first. Unplug the extension cords from both the generator and house. Unplug any backfeed line you used. Now double check that all lines as disconnected form the house and generator. Now triple check the lines, are you sure they are disconnected?
Ok, they are disconnected. Turn off all breakers, than turn on the Main breakers and than turn the rest of the curcuit breakers back on on at a time. Allow several seconds between each breaker turn on.
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“Would it all be a waste?“
What if SHTF Never Happens?
“What if you prep and nothing ever happens? Would it all be a waste?”
My Answer to that question is “Not at all”
Preparedness is wise. Tough times happen all the time.
For example, If you change jobs, many times they hold your paycheck for a payroll cycle or two.
Missing a regular paycheck or two, is not a life threatening situation, but it’s nice to know that you have food, avoiding that grocery expense, until the money starts flowing again.
That’s just one example of how prepping has helped my family out already. I dipped into our food stash when times were tough. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it sure made a big difference.
Being a prepper, reintroduced my family to outdoor activities, like hiking and camping. We’re getting exercise, learning about nature and just having fun.
Prepping has also led me to learn and become more self sufficient. I’m raising food (getting better every year), trying to buy meat and eggs from local farmers and trying to be healthier!
Prepping has lead me to learn skills that are almost forgotten in this day and age. I’ve learned dutch oven cooking, farming, basket weaving (kinda), depression era recipes, etc.
In essence we are relearning and passing on the soon-to-be-lost skills, from the old days. This is all valuable knowledge, that we are cataloging! We’re all preserving heritage, if you will.
Hopefully we’ll pass these skills to our children and they will be able to provide for themselves and pass on these same skills.
What if SHTF Never Happens? If the S never HTF, will all this prepping have been a waste.
“Not at all”
Found this article over at AllOutdoor.com. Very interesting and some good info for after TEOTWAWKI
As of the writing of this article, AR-15 rifle and accessories shoppers are starting to see a little relief in the market. Everything from ammo to charging handles are starting to trickle in, but it often still seems the part you need to complete your AR lower is out of stock. In my case, my naked stripped Anderson Manufacturing Lower receiver had sat far too long in the Liberty Safe waiting for me to find all the right parts to get it into action. Instead of chasing parts, I decided to place an order for a lower parts kit with Barnes Precision and patiently wait. But then I had an idea: could I salvage enough equivalent parts from a hardware store to get a minimally featured AR lower up and running? What parts would I absolutely need, and what could be omitted?
Optional AR parts
Because the AR platform has parts that require other parts that require other parts, the idea was to pair down the AR function list for the lower to what was really required to feed and cycle rounds. This means the bolt latch could be omitted, and that alone translates into four less parts (latch, bolt latch detent, spring, and pin) that I need to scrounge for during a time of desolate parts availability. Same goes for the safety selector. By going to an old “the trigger is the safety” design, I drop three more parts plus the need to have a grip and grip screw to hold in the detent required for the safety selector switch.
With that, I even nixed the grip because I didn’t have one, but the right machine screw and a dowel rod would have worked for a makeshift grip. The recoil of even the .223 round is so minimal that you can take the full recoil at the shoulder via the buttstock and the back of the receiver gives you enough grip to pull the trigger effectively.
Obviously the trigger group is required, and I had a complete JP Rifles trigger unit to drop in. You do need two .245” takedown pins, which I have found damn near freaking impossible to find. In this case, two modified ¼”x2” Clevis pins and spring pins from the hardware store worked for a sum total of $3.
The Clevis pints are the perfect diameter, and the only thing that keeps them from fitting is the deformation caused by the holes in the pin. A little minor file-work and a spin in the drill with some very fine sandpaper makes them drop-in replacements for the front and rear takedown pins. I also chopped mine and cut them down to the right length with my Proxxon Mini-Lathe, but that’s optional extra credit type work and not required.
Although duct taping a magazine in place would have certainly worked, I took a bit more elegant approach that required only a touch of fabrication. I used a 3/16”x1.5” bolt with two nuts to hold a latch I made from 1/8” aluminum scrap I had in the shop. You could screw it down as a permanent fixed magazine, or loosen it up and add a 1.25”Lx1/4”w wide spring to provide full functional capabilities that work just like the real deal. I was actually pretty proud of this little part when I was done, as it worked perfectly on both the .22LR Black Dog and .223 Troy mags tested.
Although all the above omissions will still support .223 round cycling, I decided to go one step further with a .22LR ATI upper which does not even require a buffer tube, buffer, spring, castle nut, and stock. Instead, I found a wood Charbroil grill handle (dowel rod) in my shop that I was able to thread into the receiver and attach a broken Mako buttstock with two wood screws.
It’s a testament to the AR design that after 300-rounds downrange of .22LR and I did not have one issue aside from a few issues with the ATI upper I have come to expect. Even after a swapping out the dowel rod stock for a real buffer tube assembly, I had no issues at all, with the exception that the bolt does not hold back after the last shot, a little hot gas pops out of the bolt latch void, and you need to be darn sure that “safe” means properly clearing the weapon. Amazingly, only a couple of bucks of hardware parts can put an AR into commission as a reliable and operable AR, but it will not win any beauty awards. In the end you only have to have a complete buffer tube and trigger assembly to make an AR work with only parts from the hardware store.
This was a fun experiment that demonstrated how versatile, durable, and field serviceable the AR-15 can be. With the exception of the cost of the JP Trigger, buffer assembly, and broken Mako buttstock, the lower parts cost from the hardware store was less than $5 to deliver a .223-capable AR. If you can find a dedicated .22LR upper or a drop in .22LR conversion kit, a complete buffer tube assembly is not even needed.
The kicker to this entire story was that I found my AR lower parts kit shipment on my front doorstep the day after I tested this hacked together AR. I guess I didn’t have to wait that long after all.
This experiment was for my personally use and education. Obviously this is for informational purposes only and is not recommended by… well anyone. An AR-15 is designed to operate with the proper parts with the safety and other properly specced parts attached. Use this information strictly at your own risk.
original article: How to build an AR-15 without a parts kit | AllOutdoor.com