NorthStar Portable Generator

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Don McCombs
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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Don McCombs » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:39 pm

I too, have a Generac 16kw backup generator on an automatic transfer switch. We love it.
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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Indy4570 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:59 am

cub 3 wrote:Just had a 16kw generac whole house gen. Installed works GREAT, it wakes up every other Saturday runs for 5 min.an back to sleep. When the power goes out got tired hunting for gas,always kept four 5 gal. Cans on hand


I bought this onan with the plan to hook it up to my 1000 gal propane tank, I heard it run when I got it, (its LP) but its a 15kw 3 phase. you can pull like 12.4kw off it in single phase. I believe that will run all I have here. It is an air cooled inline 4 cylinder. I thought being air cooled was one less system I had to worry about. I have a buddy wanting to trade me a 15kw winpower genset, also 3phase with a continental 4 cly on it but I dont have the info on it to convert to single phase.
better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it...( YES this includes CUBS! )

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby staninlowerAL » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:22 am

Peter Person wrote:Backfeeding is a somewhat dangerous method of running a generator. At the very least if you choose to do this make sure your main breaker is off. Don't need to fry a lineman out doing his/her job.
Best setup is a transfer switch. Not difficult to install and not terribly expensive but most important - SAFE.

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Thanks,
Peter

Here's what's required for my area: Power Company Main Electric service (all conductors) goes through a 200A Double Throw Disconnect Switch then into the distribution panel for the various use points through one side of this disconnect switch. An aux. connection is wired into the other side. For my use I have a 50A plug connection since my generator has a max 50A output connection. This provides a positive total break for the Power Company main feed line since the Disconnect Switch cannot be fed from two points at the same time. Can also be used with a transfer switch as Peter showed.
DCP_0084.JPG

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:54 pm

cub 3 wrote:Just had a 16kw generac whole house gen. Installed works GREAT, it wakes up every other Saturday runs for 5 min.an back to sleep. When the power goes out got tired hunting for gas,always kept four 5 gal. Cans on hand
I wished for a setup like that for many years, especially when the power line dead ended just across the creek and our line only had a few people on it and very difficult to get to. A few years back they rebuilt the line and extended it up the hill to another highway where it now feeds several hundred families. Since I am only one span off the main line, power is restored out here much faster than it used to be. It has been several years since we had an outage that lasted more than just a few minutes,so an automatic set up has gotten pretty low on my priority list.
If you are not part of the solution,
you are part of the problem!!!

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Pompiere » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:26 pm

I work for an electric company and this is a frequent topic in the safety newsletters during storm season. Even with the main breaker open, there is a danger when back feeding, of putting voltage out through the neutral wire. The circuit breakers only open one side of the circuit, not the neutral. If there is a reversed polarity or a floating ground, a lethal voltage can be put out on the power line or down to your neighbor's house. A transfer switch isolates your house from the power lines so you can safely supply selected loads from your generator without feeding anything back up stream.

Also, there is a practical limit to how long of an extension cord you can use to supply loads from your generator. As the distance and load increases, you need to use a heavier cord to reduce the voltage drop between the generator and the load. Lights will just get dimmer, but motors can be damaged from low voltage. A motor will try to do the same work regardless of the voltage. Power is voltage times current. As the voltage drops, the current goes up. If the running current is higher than the motor rating, the windings will be damaged. A 12 or 14 gauge cord may be okay if you are 20 feet from the source, but at 200 feet, you will need a heavier gauge cord to run the same equipment and still have an acceptable voltage drop. A voltage drop of around 10% under load is considered acceptable.

I hope this helps keep everyone safe this winter.

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Eugene » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:49 pm

John *.?-!.* cub owner wrote:It has been several years since we had an outage that lasted more than just a few minutes,so an automatic set up has gotten pretty low on my priority list.
Same here. Previously researched putting in a propane powered back up unit. Couldn't justify the expense. And then, considering that I have 3 working generator sets, plus one being repaired. Extended power outage, 4 wheel drive to acrage, pick up gen set and 10 gallons of gasoline. That's what I did during the 18 hour electrical outage.
I have an excuse. CRS.

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Urbish » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:56 am

Pompiere wrote:I work for an electric company and this is a frequent topic in the safety newsletters during storm season. Even with the main breaker open, there is a danger when back feeding, of putting voltage out through the neutral wire. The circuit breakers only open one side of the circuit, not the neutral. If there is a reversed polarity or a floating ground, a lethal voltage can be put out on the power line or down to your neighbor's house. A transfer switch isolates your house from the power lines so you can safely supply selected loads from your generator without feeding anything back up stream.


I put some time into researching this, and most transfer switches I have found only switch the hot side (2-pole). Am I right in that to prevent the scenario you presented, I would need a 3-pole switch that breaks neutral as well?

Jim

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby staninlowerAL » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:25 am

Urbish wrote:
Pompiere wrote:I work for an electric company and this is a frequent topic in the safety newsletters during storm season. Even with the main breaker open, there is a danger when back feeding, of putting voltage out through the neutral wire. The circuit breakers only open one side of the circuit, not the neutral. If there is a reversed polarity or a floating ground, a lethal voltage can be put out on the power line or down to your neighbor's house. A transfer switch isolates your house from the power lines so you can safely supply selected loads from your generator without feeding anything back up stream.


I put some time into researching this, and most transfer switches I have found only switch the hot side (2-pole). Am I right in that to prevent the scenario you presented, I would need a 3-pole switch that breaks neutral as well?

Jim

Jim, that is exactly the way the double throw, disconnect switch works in the picture I posted. It's a knife blade type connector switch and ALL CONDUCTORS on the main power entrance to the distribution panel (including the neutral) are disconnected when the switch is placed in the AUX position. Prevents the scenario that Pompiere describes in his post. Mine is rated for 200A service and can be locked in the AUX feed position.

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Urbish » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:13 am

This post was originally intended to be a review and discussion of the Northern Tool house brand NorthStar Generator. Since it has attracted the attention of a number of electrically-minded folks, I figured I ought to share some of the electrical horrors that I have uncovered while replacing light fixtures, outlets, and diagnosing electrical gremlins at the 'new' house we bought last year (built in 1979); previously owned by a terribly misguided man.

double tap.JPG

Double taps in the main panel are A-OK. Plus not having any grounds connected to an exterior ground rod is a great feature.

20934030_10100771188858207_4919035234245240346_o.jpg

Why use the ground screw when you can just loosely wrap the gound wire around the switch body.

22141258_10100797120371247_1980333790654436849_n.jpg

Double taps at ceiling light fixtures are recommended. There's no need to wrap the wires the right direction around the screw nor is there any concern by having insufficient contact area between the screw head and the conductor.

22046583_10100797120406177_4942546405682153096_n.jpg

There's no need to cut the exposed conductors to the right length, limit the number of wires twisted together per wire nut, nor to properly attach the wire nuts. Just hang them in place so that half of them fall off when the fixture is removed from the box.

23674992_10100828226534247_4097783630430095837_o.jpg

Auxiliary lights in the basement can be added by hanging a two-prong outlet to light socket adapter from a bare piece of romex, suspended from a roofing nail driven into 1" blue foam board.

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Indy4570 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:09 pm

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

glad you fixed things before somebody smelled smoke.... :shock:


Indy
better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it...( YES this includes CUBS! )

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Peter Person » Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:42 pm

Urbish wrote:This post was originally intended to be a review and discussion of the Northern Tool house brand NorthStar Generator......


Jim,
The Honda GX engine is commercial grade, so you should be good there. Just keep the oil level correct and depending on usage, changed on a regular basis. Over the last 12 years that I've been involved with the local 4H Small Engine Club, there have been a few brand new looking generators donated to the club with blown engines. Owners never checked the oil level during extended power outages. Cheaper to buy a new generator than a replacement engine.

What do you know about the generator head? Brand, Maximum Wattage, fluctuation in power delivery, etc.

We had to have our oil furnace burner control replaced last year and the tech said they usually only fail due to a line surge or inconsistent power feed, i.e. from a generator. $400 to replace. It lasted 21 years and probably close to 50 days of generator power feed over that period, so I can't complain. Compressors on refrigerators and freezers don't like power fluctuation either.

I have a Coleman 4000 Watt (4,400 surge) with a Briggs 7 1/2 HP OHV Engine Generator hooked to a GenTran 6 circuit transfer switch. Furnace, Refrigerator, Well Pump (linked circuits to get 220), Kitchen outlet, some lighting. Distance from generator in the driveway to the transfer switch is about 50 feet.

Hope you don't have to use it much!

Peter
1957 Farmall Cub "Emory", Fast-Hitch, L-F194 Plow & Colter, L-38 Disc Harrow, Cub-54A Blade, Cub-22 Sickle Bar Mower, IH 100 Blade

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Eugene » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:21 pm

Eugene wrote:Picked up a Generac XT 8000-Running-Watt Portable Generator with Generac Engine in early spring 2017.
The main reason I purchased the Generac set was that I can get repair parts/repairs from the local hardware store, a Generac dealer.

You should be happy with your NorthStar generator set, Should provide many years of service.

I purchase thing that I can get serviced or parts for locally, mostly vehicles. Use to get my Chrysler vehicles serviced at the dealership 15 miles distance, one way. Took me a while to figure out that I was driving 90 mile for an oil change and vehicle safety inspection.
I have an excuse. CRS.

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Pompiere » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:18 pm

Urbish wrote:
Pompiere wrote:I work for an electric company and this is a frequent topic in the safety newsletters during storm season. Even with the main breaker open, there is a danger when back feeding, of putting voltage out through the neutral wire. The circuit breakers only open one side of the circuit, not the neutral. If there is a reversed polarity or a floating ground, a lethal voltage can be put out on the power line or down to your neighbor's house. A transfer switch isolates your house from the power lines so you can safely supply selected loads from your generator without feeding anything back up stream.


I put some time into researching this, and most transfer switches I have found only switch the hot side (2-pole). Am I right in that to prevent the scenario you presented, I would need a 3-pole switch that breaks neutral as well?

Jim


I shouldn't have assumed the transfer switches would open up the neutral. If the neutral is properly connected to ground and the generator is connected properly, there shouldn't be an issue with a two pole switch. The problems arise when the neutral is not connected to ground and a hot side is inadvertently connected to the neutral.

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Location: Manchester, MI

Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby Urbish » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:42 pm

Peter Person wrote:What do you know about the generator head? Brand, Maximum Wattage, fluctuation in power delivery, etc.


The generator head doesn't specify a brand. I think they are built specifically for Northern Tool. It is copper wound (not aluminum) and the unit as a whole advertises a maximum of 5% harmonic distortion under load (also indicated on the final test sheet specific to this very unit before it left the factory). It is 8000W max. The engine has a 3 year warranty through Honda and the balance of the generator has a 4 year warranty. That's not a lot, but this will only be used in the event of a power outage. So as long as I run it monthly, keep the oil full (and changed at regular intervals), and keep the fuel fresh, it should last a good long time.

I received it today, filled it with oil and a splash of gas for testing, and it started on the first pull. The idle control is nice as it drops right down to about 700 rpm when not under load. Not too loud either. Now to get a wheel kit (or maybe an oversized garden cart) and figure out how I want to connect it to the house.

Jim

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Re: NorthStar Portable Generator

Postby pickerandsinger » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:34 pm

Pompiere wrote:I work for an electric company and this is a frequent topic in the safety newsletters during storm season. Even with the main breaker open, there is a danger when back feeding, of putting voltage out through the neutral wire. The circuit breakers only open one side of the circuit, not the neutral. If there is a reversed polarity or a floating ground, a lethal voltage can be put out on the power line or down to your neighbor's house. A transfer switch isolates your house from the power lines so you can safely supply selected loads from your generator without feeding anything back up stream.

Also, there is a practical limit to how long of an extension cord you can use to supply loads from your generator. As the distance and load increases, you need to use a heavier cord to reduce the voltage drop between the generator and the load. Lights will just get dimmer, but motors can be damaged from low voltage. A motor will try to do the same work regardless of the voltage. Power is voltage times current. As the voltage drops, the current goes up. If the running current is higher than the motor rating, the windings will be damaged. A 12 or 14 gauge cord may be okay if you are 20 feet from the source, but at 200 feet, you will need a heavier gauge cord to run the same equipment and still have an acceptable voltage drop. A voltage drop of around 10% under load is considered acceptable.

I hope this helps keep everyone safe this winter.
As long as the subject is flying around , how about this....
YOU CAN TALK ABOUT YOUR HERO'S AND THE BRAVE MEN OF THE HOUR, BUT DONT FORGT THE LINEMEN OF YOUR LOCAL LIGHT AND POWER
FOR ITS A DANGEROUS GAME THEY PLAY AND THE ODDS ARE 10 TO 1, YOU'LL GET A SHOT OF HOT STUFF AND YOUR CLIMBING WILL BE DONE
WHEN YOU'VE HUNG YOU LAST TRANSFORMER, AND WALKED YOUR LAST PATROL, OL ST PETER WILL BE WAITING TO WELCOME YOUR TIRED SOUL
HE'LL SAY WELCOME UNTO HEAVEN MY BOY , YOUR A MAN OF STERLING WORTH, WELCOME UNTO HEAVEN, YOU'VE SPENT YOUR HELL ON EARTH..

THINK I'VE CLUM SUM ???? :lol: :lol:
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