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Old 09-22-2013, 11:59 PM   #81
soj
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

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Originally Posted by Teken View Post
This is one of the best back up generator threads on this forum thus far. Thank you so much for taking the time to show the steps, and the journey of the install.

Thanks for the kind words, I was hoping this would help others see what is involved, so they could decide if it was something they could do for themselves, or if they needed to hire an electrician.
With that in mind, I would like to mention that my setup is the most basic you can have with a automatic transfer switch. I did not need a load control module to manage multiple air conditioners, water heaters, well pump, etc. I avoided that by converting my heating system and water heater to gas. I don't have a well, and have only one air conditioner. If you have more loads than the generator can power at once, the NEC requires some type of load shedding. For the Kohler system, that adds about $500.00 and, of course, more wiring. The general consensus is that standby generator installation is best left to a pro electrician, and I agree. If you don't have any, or very limited experience with AC wiring, don't try this at home! I am NOT an electrician, but I have wired one house (complete), two shops (complete), and added several sub panels to existing buildings, (houses and shops), and I still needed the help of the GJ sparkies. And I learned a lot. Also, consider your skills with sizing and installing the gas pipe. This can be a DIY project, but don't get in over your head.


Can you show case the online App, along with the user interface for the system.

If you are talking about the OnCue software (Windows only), I did not get it. I did install a Cat 5e cable from the generator into the house so I could connect up later if I decide to. Right now my internet service is via cell modem, no cable or DSL available where I am. When we travel, we take the modem with us for on-the-road internet access, so the connection here would be lost. I am considering switching to satellite internet, and if we do, I will add the OnCue at that time, since the satellite service will be connected even when we are away.


I would like to know your feelings and impressions of the iOS / Andriod App and how well it functions in terms of use, awareness, and alert notifications.

I am not aware of any type of smartphone App for the Kohler system. If you know of one, please fill us in.

Any details about this area would be appreciated. As I have reconsidered going with the the brand you used, instead of the Generac. Only because I found the panel and cell / computer interface better suited and well thought out.


By panel interface are you talking about the control panel in the generator? Something I would like to point out here for anyone considering a Kohler 14 or 20KW unit. The 14 & 20 RESA have a different controller than the 14 & 20 RESAL. The RESA models are the generator packaged alone. The RESAL models are packaged with a transfer switch. The price of the switch/generator package is less than buying them separate, but you give up features in the controller and it's interface. The generator alone (RESA) has a RDC2 controller. The packaged units (RESAL) have the DC2 controller. The best way to compare the two is to download the spec. sheets for each. The RESAL is here. The RESA is here. Scroll down to the third page and see a picture of the control panel. The better controller has LEDs to show connection status, and a set of scroll and select buttons that the other one lacks. One example of a difference is setting the exercise time and frequency. On the RDC2 controller you select the hour, min., day, month and year with the scroll and select buttons. You can also select weekly or bi-weekly. On the DC2 controller you must start the generator with the exercise button at the day of the week and time you want the generator to exercise at in the future. You cannot change the frequency from weekly to bi-weekly. That must be done by a Kohler technician with a laptop and Kohler Site Tech software. AFAIK Site Tech software is only available to registered dealers. Both controllers loose memory of date and time when the battery is disconnected and the power to the battery charger is turned off. When the battery is reconnected, both prompt you to set the date and time, but the RDC2 also prompts for the exercise date and time. If it is not the day of the week and time you want to set for the exercise, you must wait to set the exercise time with the DC2. This is just one example, there are many more differences. The operator's manual has 21 1/2 pages on the RDC2, and only 4 1/2 pages on the DC2.

If you are considering a Kohler from Lowe's, HD or Northern Tool, AFAIK, they only offer the units packaged with a switch, and so you only get the lesser controller. I have seen both types at internet sellers. The dealer I bought from said he had never sold anything but separate generator and controller.


Teken . . .
Two more power outages today. First one for about 45 minutes, then on for about 20, and back off again for about 30. I get a robo call from the poco when power goes out, the second call said it was a limb or tree on the lines. No thunder storm, or wind here. So that is three times in two days. I guess I got it hooked up just in time. Luckily, there were no outages during the time I was installing.
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Old 10-20-2013, 08:32 AM   #82
CW in NH
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

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The dealer's service man came this morning, installed and connected the control cable, and started the generator. Everything went well.

jp
Any chance that you can snap a pic of the low voltage connection (control cable) in the ATS. Thats the one area of the installation manual that isn't too clear. Did he install lugs and attach to the same block as the internal wiring? I can see how that could work, but I didnt see a shield termination.

thanks in advance - CW

Last edited by CW in NH; 10-20-2013 at 08:34 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-22-2013, 01:16 PM   #83
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

soj - nice install! I like your attention to detail on the project and appreciate the explanations you added of all the steps.

I had a couple of very minor suggestions, if you have any desire to work on this project again:

1. Have you fixed or replaced the cracked panels yet? I liked your idea about sealing the back side of the crack, but I'd recommend caulk instead of epoxy. I think epoxy is a little too brittle and might not bond well enough to the plastic to survive many hot/cold cycles. If you'd like to do a little repair work on the outside too, I've had good luck melting the edges of cracks with a soldering iron. It doesn't end up cosmetically perfect, but it's waterproof and strong.

2. Are you okay with the drip leg and the 57' equivalent length of the gas pipe? It sounds like your pressure readings are fine, so you're probably okay with it. If you'd like to get the pipe length under 50', I think there's a pretty easy way to do it. You could eliminate one of the elbows by moving the drip leg to the brick wall -- would that get you under the 50' length? If you locate the branch of the vertical tee at the same elevation as the gas inlet for the generator, you'd get rid of one elbow completely. The drip leg would be a little farther away from the inlet, but the chances of picking up sediment in that horizontal pipe run are probably pretty slim. As a side benefit, this change would also make the vertical pipe support shorter (not that it really matters much). My gas pipe is only about 8" above the ground between the foundation and the generator, and it makes it a lot easier to step over when blowing leaves. My liquid-tite conduit is actually right at ground level, so your setup is a little different.

Best of luck,
Rick
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:01 PM   #84
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Question Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

Great install of whole-house standby generator !!

Changes you made to LPG supply line on drip leg are excellent, along with supports and painted pipe. Electrical install also well thought out and clean. Seriously doubt any paid installer would have done it as nice as you have.

Curious if your shop gets electrical from house main panel so that shop also will have power from Kohler standby genset when PoCo (or in your case the fumbling fools collecting money in attempt to provide reliable power) has one of it's "short outage" situations??

Also curious if you've complained to the PUC (public utility commission) about these repeated outages that PoCo keeps having??
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Old 10-22-2013, 05:40 PM   #85
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

Awesome project. Good reference!
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:26 PM   #86
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

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Originally Posted by CW in NH View Post
Any chance that you can snap a pic of the low voltage connection (control cable) in the ATS. Thats the one area of the installation manual that isn't too clear. Did he install lugs and attach to the same block as the internal wiring? I can see how that could work, but I didnt see a shield termination.

thanks in advance - CW
I just got home and it is dark outside. I may have time to get a pic tomorrow.

Meanwhile, if you have a copy of the RXT transfer switch install manual, (available here) you can see a block diagram of the terminal block (P10), with terminals A, B, PWR and COM. These are on a plug on terminal block that can be removed from the circuit board. The terminal screws are really small and would be hard to make the connections with it mounted on the board. As you can see on page 19, the shields only connect to ground in the gen set, and are left unconnected in the ATS.

These connections are also shown in the gen set install manual, (TP-6803), page 19.

This may be clear as mud from my explanation, but hopefully the pics will help... tomorrow.
jp
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:10 PM   #87
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

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Originally Posted by RickP View Post
soj - nice install! I like your attention to detail on the project and appreciate the explanations you added of all the steps.

Thanks! I am glad this thread has been useful to several GJ users.

I had a couple of very minor suggestions, if you have any desire to work on this project again:

1. Have you fixed or replaced the cracked panels yet? I liked your idea about sealing the back side of the crack, but I'd recommend caulk instead of epoxy. I think epoxy is a little too brittle and might not bond well enough to the plastic to survive many hot/cold cycles. If you'd like to do a little repair work on the outside too, I've had good luck melting the edges of cracks with a soldering iron. It doesn't end up cosmetically perfect, but it's waterproof and strong.

I have done nothing to the cracks. Once I had the generator up and running, I moved on to other (waiting) projects. One reason I haven't put a priority on the crack repair is they are both in an area where any water entering would not get in the area where the generator or engine are. They are on the exhaust end of the set. I like your idea of caulk, and may use that instead of epoxy when the time comes. If I were to use epoxy, I would "rough up" the surface to give it some help in bonding to the smooth plastic. Thanks for the suggestion.

2. Are you okay with the drip leg and the 57' equivalent length of the gas pipe? It sounds like your pressure readings are fine, so you're probably okay with it. If you'd like to get the pipe length under 50', I think there's a pretty easy way to do it. You could eliminate one of the elbows by moving the drip leg to the brick wall -- would that get you under the 50' length? If you locate the branch of the vertical tee at the same elevation as the gas inlet for the generator, you'd get rid of one elbow completely. The drip leg would be a little farther away from the inlet, but the chances of picking up sediment in that horizontal pipe run are probably pretty slim. As a side benefit, this change would also make the vertical pipe support shorter (not that it really matters much). My gas pipe is only about 8" above the ground between the foundation and the generator, and it makes it a lot easier to step over when blowing leaves. My liquid-tite conduit is actually right at ground level, so your setup is a little different.

I am satisfied with the gas supply in terms of volume and pressure. Your suggestion would eliminate an elbow and add to the effective length, but I think it is a matter of engineering specs. being on the safe side, and though I may be borderline, the actual results are OK. The last test I did was detailed in post #76. The only additional load I can put on the gas supply is the supplemental gas heat for the heat pump. Now that it is getting cooler, I may try that. The heating system is on a separate regulator, but on a branch of the same 10 PSI line from the tank. This heating system is only a few months old, so I will have to find out how to force the gas heat to come on in mild temps. I will post the results after I test.

As for the height of the pipe and conduit, it is too high to easily step over. My wife always has potted plants on the patio, so I intend to ensure she keeps a line of pots on that edge of the patio to discourage anyone (esp. me) from going through that opening between the gen and the house. Also, no trees in that area, so leaves are not a factor.


Best of luck,
Rick
Thanks for all your interest and suggestions.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:17 PM   #88
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

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Originally Posted by CNGsaves View Post
Great install of whole-house standby generator !!

Thanks, I appreciate the kind words.

Changes you made to LPG supply line on drip leg are excellent, along with supports and painted pipe. Electrical install also well thought out and clean. Seriously doubt any paid installer would have done it as nice as you have.

That is why I like to "Do It Myself". This is not meant as putting down electricians, plumbers, HVAC guys or any other pro servicemen. I understand they can not take the time to attend to little things that may not affect functionality, but just make the job look better. They have to "get 'er done" and move on to the next job to make a living. No one should fault them for that, they are up against lots of competition, and most do an excellent job in the time they can allow. Hats off to skilled tradesmen who do excellent work in a short time!

Curious if your shop gets electrical from house main panel so that shop also will have power from Kohler standby genset when PoCo (or in your case the fumbling fools collecting money in attempt to provide reliable power) has one of it's "short outage" situations??

No, the shop is on a separate meter. I am going to move my old portable generator, inlet box receptacle, and watt meter (along with a new interlock kit, it is a different brand main panel) to the shop. I don't consider anything I do in the shop as critical as what we do in the house, like staying warm, taking showers, cooking, etc. I would probably only use a generator at the shop on rare occasions. I don't think I would buy a generator just for the shop, but since I have one, and most of what I need to wire it in, might as well make use of it. And I can still use it as a portable when needed.

Also curious if you've complained to the PUC (public utility commission) about these repeated outages that PoCo keeps having??

Nah, never thought it would do any good.
Thanks for your interest and participation in this thread.
jp
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Last edited by soj; 12-11-2013 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:06 PM   #89
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

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Originally Posted by CW in NH View Post
Any chance that you can snap a pic of the low voltage connection (control cable) in the ATS. Thats the one area of the installation manual that isn't too clear. Did he install lugs and attach to the same block as the internal wiring? I can see how that could work, but I didnt see a shield termination.

thanks in advance - CW
OK, here are the connections in the ATS.



And this is the terminal block unplugged from the circuit board.



The black tape is covering up the shield, which he folded back on the cable cover.

This is the connection in the generator.



You can see the bare braided shields twisted together and connected to a ground terminal up above the terminal block for the other 4 wires. Terminals 3 & 4 are not used with an RXT type transfer switch.

I hope this answers your questions, if you have any more, let me know.
jp
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Old 10-25-2013, 02:11 AM   #90
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

I noticed someone asked about the cracked panels. I'll say this again, if you call KOHLER or the local dealer and be nice, but stern, they will likely send you a new panel with few questions asked. Just play the card that you thought their unit was better then GENERAC, which is a below the belt strike and they will bend over backwards to see that you are happy. In fact, they might even have a dealer replace the panels for you.
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:40 PM   #91
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

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OK, here are the connections in the ATS.



And this is the terminal block unplugged from the circuit board.



The black tape is covering up the shield, which he folded back on the cable cover.

This is the connection in the generator.



You can see the bare braided shields twisted together and connected to a ground terminal up above the terminal block for the other 4 wires. Terminals 3 & 4 are not used with an RXT type transfer switch.

I hope this answers your questions, if you have any more, let me know.
jp
Thank JP - thats a bit weird. Here are 2 pics of my ATS bone stock. I already have a harness running from that TB to another lugset





I think that I can just add lugs to the low voltage wires and go under the screw terminals in the 2nd pic. But I'll verify with the "certified installer".
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:08 PM   #92
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

CW, looks like you have a Load Control Module already mounted in your ATS, although the LCM designed for use with 14 & 20 RESA generators is in a separate enclosure. What model ATS do you have? The installation manual, for the 14 & 20 RESA gen sets, on pages 19-24 shows multiple ways to wire the ATS and a LCM. Basicly series or parallel.

Your terminal block appears to be different than mine. Mine has two sets of screws/terminals on one block, it looks like yours only has one, so it is unclear how you would make the connections for series wiring, which would use the least amount of wire. If you have someone with experience to ask, do so. Let us know what you find out, the answer could help others. I think you have a totally different ATS than mine.
jp
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:07 AM   #93
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

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CW, looks like you have a Load Control Module already mounted in your ATS, although the LCM designed for use with 14 & 20 RESA generators is in a separate enclosure. What model ATS do you have? The installation manual, for the 14 & 20 RESA gen sets, on pages 19-24 shows multiple ways to wire the ATS and a LCM. Basicly series or parallel.

Your terminal block appears to be different than mine. Mine has two sets of screws/terminals on one block, it looks like yours only has one, so it is unclear how you would make the connections for series wiring, which would use the least amount of wire. If you have someone with experience to ask, do so. Let us know what you find out, the answer could help others. I think you have a totally different ATS than mine.
jp
Its the 200A, SE, RXT, it came with the 20RESAL. I'll do some more digging. Either way I'll have the Kohler guy confirm. When its all set-up, I'll post pics of the job.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:57 PM   #94
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That communication setup appears to be 422 4 wire. I assume you only landed the shield on one end? If you did land both, take 1 end off and wrap it up under the tape.
I have been following this install since you first posted about it and I'd like to do something very much the same here only using NG instead of propane. The only issue for me is that I'd have to place it near the back of my yard near my shed so I have to up the wire size by at least 1 or 2 to account for the distance (not that far - maybe 75-100' from panel). Awesome job!!
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:14 AM   #95
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

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That communication setup appears to be 422 4 wire. I assume you only landed the shield on one end? If you did land both, take 1 end off and wrap it up under the tape.
I have been following this install since you first posted about it and I'd like to do something very much the same here only using NG instead of propane. The only issue for me is that I'd have to place it near the back of my yard near my shed so I have to up the wire size by at least 1 or 2 to account for the distance (not that far - maybe 75-100' from panel). Awesome job!!
Yes, the shield is only connected in the gen set, the other end is folded back and taped.

Good luck with your install. I hope you post the install here on GJ. The more examples, the better.
jp
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:59 AM   #96
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

Thanks Soj to have taking time for us , it's realy appreciated , and Great instalation too !!
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Old 11-10-2013, 01:18 AM   #97
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Thanks Soj to have taking time for us , it's realy appreciated , and Great instalation too !!
Thanks for the kind words, now I am hoping others will post their installs, either in this thread, or by starting their own.

If any of you guys do start your own standby install thread, please post a reference to it here, it will make them all easier to find. We all know search doesn't always find everything we are looking for.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:44 AM   #98
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UPDATE: OnCue software and internet connection added.

When I installed the generator I only had a cell modem for internet service. When we travel we took the modem with us for on-the-road internet, so there was no advantage to installing the Kohler OnCue remote monitoring system... the generator would be disconnected during the only time we would possibly need to be connected. Besides, I couldn't see what the advantage was to connect to the generator remotely anyway.

I finally got fed up with the slow, unreliable cell modem and had an Exede satellite internet dish installed last month. (BTW, I get great speed from this service.) Since I now have a full time, always on internet connection, I reconsidered using OnCue. I still couldn't justify the cost. The MSRP on the Kohler website is $262.00, Lowe's, HD and Amazon sell it for $249.00. Then something happened with the generator to make me reconsider, yet again. A few weeks ago bad weather was in the forecast. I thought it would be a good idea to check the oil in the generator motor before any possible ice storm arrived. When I raised the hood, a bright red blinking LED greeted me, where normally there are a couple of steady green LEDs. The display read, "Main Power Overload... Shutdown" I checked the troubleshooting chart, and the only option was to call the dealer for service. Since it is still under warranty, that is what I did. When the serviceman arrived, he said the generator had to be under load, powering the house, for that fault code to be set. That made sense... for there to be an overload, there first had to be a load. But we had not had a power outage since the last time the generator had run a self test (once a week, on Mon. morning). At least, not one that we knew about. But the serviceman was able to scroll through the event log and see that the generator had started up during the night, at about 2AM, run for about 15-20 minutes and shutdown with the overload fault. So we had been asleep and never knew we had a power outage. Apparently the power had come back on soon enough after the generator shutdown that the house never got cold, so we woke up the next morning with no clue anything had happened. Had I not decided to check the oil I would not have known anything was wrong until the generator failed to start when needed. I might would have noticed that it failed to start for the next self test, but maybe not. I could have not been at home, or been in the shop, where I would not hear it running.

So, what have I learned? Without OnCue up and running, the generator is unable to notify you of a problem. That blinking red fault light is not visible until you raise the hood. An exterior light would be a great design change. With OnCue running I would have gotten an e-mail or text of the fault condition. I decided to check for the latest OnCue prices, with the best price still $250.00... until Google turned up Fire Mountain Solar, in Washington state. They had it on sale for $99.00, $75.00 with generator purchase. I called to make sure the deal was good and legit. They assured me it was the same package I would receive from any other dealer, which is no software (it must be downloaded from Kohler), a manual, an inline connector for the CAT5 cable and a sticker with an activation code. I placed the order.

The software install was simple, I put in my serial number, password (created at the control panel in the generator) and the activation code. It connected after a few seconds. I entered a couple of e-mail addresses for event notices. I then clicked the "Start Exercise" button to run the same self test it does every Monday. It ran for 20 minuets and sent me two e-mails, one for start up and one at shutdown. I still don't see much value in being able to remote start or monitor the generator, but the e-mail notifications are the real value in OnCue. I would have known the next morning about the middle of the night fault.

Which brings us back to that fault code, and a fault, or flaw in the Kohler install instructions. The dealer's serviceman could not find anything wrong with the generator. He ran it under load while he was here and we made sure the heat pump was on, along with other major loads at the same time. Then he checked the settings in the controller, and one field was Fuel Type, and it was set to Nat. Gas. He changed it to LP Gas, and it also changed the power output from 12KW to 14KW. So possibly the different power rating could explain the overload fault, but he wasn't sure. This serviceman was the same guy who did the initial start-up check to activate the warranty. He did say he forgot about needing to change the Fuel Type setting. I can understand why, it is not on the start-up checklist, and is nowhere in the install manual. The install manual tells how to convert from Nat. Gas to LP, which consists of moving the gas hose from the port labeled NAT, to the port labeled LP, and unplugging a wire connector. Both of which I did during the install. And he asked me at the time if I had done the conversion. And when he was hooking up the control cable, I asked him to check the hose connection and verify I had unplugged the correct wires. The owner's manual shows other controller settings where this Fuel Type choice is made, but it skips over Fuel Type. Bottom line, a flaw in the install manual and in the owner's manual.
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:08 PM   #99
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Default Re: Installing a standby generator with ATS

Very nice post - from looking at other posts I have come across wondering about the venting the secondary regulator next to your generator away from the generator itself (by adding pvc pipe to meet discharge distance limits which are not that great but look further than what you have in your install)

This post talks about it and has a photo of an example but I have seen it elsewhere as well:
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r269...Vent-Distances

My understanding is of LP being a heavier than air gas it pools and spreads and if it meets an ignition source ignites. Not as quick to dissipate as NG which is lighter than air.
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