Background: Have a 5500 Watt Generac which I use during outages, via "main disconnect" fed through a 2P30A breaker which lets me pick and choose what loads I power. Works great, all done and paid for. I have a 100 feet tower behind my barn which is used for wifi (radio) and I let the local Volunteer fire Depts. put a transmitter there some time back. Total load for the tower varies from 300-500 watts. I don't charge them for electricity, and make sure it's powered during outages. I typically run the genset 12-14 hours per day and the tower has a 72 hour battery backup JIC. We used to have frequent outages, recently, it's alot better, in the last three years have had one 36 hour outage.
The Quandry. The local FD's decided they should do something for me since I power their transmitters, etc. (Not a big deal, I might need them sometime and my way of giving back) and unbeknown to me, put in for a grant and the Fed's just gave them a 12KW, Generac Propane unit which they called and said they wanted to give to me. I have a 500 gallon propane tank which we use for heating, cooking, etc. so no problem with fuel. The quandry is, It's just the genset, no switchgear, etc. As I'm sure you folks know, buy the transfer switch, breaker box, included with the genset or you're gonna pay a lot more. I haven't looked at the unit yet, but am led to believe it's just the genset. The beauty of these units is the auto start, transfer, auto exercise, etc. etc. which this probably doesn't have. If I put it by my house and use the existing wiring to feed the tower (200 feet underground cable) all would be fine. EXCEPT my house isn't wired for that, and by the time I buy the Generac Transfer switch, add cabling from genset to genset breaker box, cabling to my load center, etc. etc. probably gonna spend $800-1,000. While that would be very nice, what I have works and do I want to spend that much for the infrequent outage ignoring how convenient it would be? Alternately, could put the genset by the tower and just have it monitor the 120Volts there and start and stop and just feed the tower, letting them figure out a transfer switch. Removes the decision from me, however, during an outage while I'm dragging my genset out of the barn, connecting and fueling, would be perturbed looking at 12KW spinning, using only 500W. :-)
Looked briefly at those Reliance controls type 10 circuit manual transfer switches, less wiring and cost, put new genset by the house and use that to manually feed loads. Not as clean and convenient, but less costly to implement. Don't know anything about them, will research in the next couple of days. Would mean the lockout and double breaker genset feed would be unneeded.
Thought briefly about putting the genset by the tower and adding a #8
or 10 4/C to feed the house which would require renting a ditch witch and buying 200 feet of cable, etc. to use the lockout and "genfeed" breaker I already have. Also, that would be tricky as it would start on power failure at the tower, but would have to "rig" it so that it would only feed the cable to the house. I would then manually feed the tower through existing cabling. BUT prevent the genset from sensing power restoration and shutting down until I manually went there and shut it down. You can accomplish almost anything with relays and lockouts, but am a firm beliver in keeping things simple.
That's some of what's been bounching around since I got the call last night, when I actually get to sketching it out, probably see some other options or fallacies in what I just mentioned. I'm supposed to go look at the unit this week. They said they'd pay the propane company for piping, regulator, etc. wherever I decide to have it placed.
I'm sure there's a really slick, inexpensive, way to use this, but am very suspicious of using a "purpose built" item for another use.
Sorry for the length of this post,