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It not surprising that the UPS would switch with a momentary dip in voltage. Electric pumps have alot of startup demand and it can cause a momentary voltage dip which then cause the UPS to switch to battery momentarily. Better quality alternators will handle surge loads with less issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
if you have a good current meter or the oem manuals for the pump or the exact make and models of the pumps we can look up the specs.

yea the extra bladder tanks with good one way check valves are a real good easy up grade for a well system.
it is like a ups for the water system....
extra reserve water for when the pump power is off.....
i had thought about doing a network of tanks here for city water as well..
that way when the water is down i can shut off the main and work off the stored water.

quality clean water is one of the things you have to have for survival....
and needs its own section for sure.
Thanks, Paul.

The 2 sump pumps we are using are from Liberty, and the specs indicate 5.2 amps at full load. I don't know what the effluent pump is, unfortunately.

We do have one bladder tank inside with about 60 gallons, and it does keep us going for some time if we are careful. Hadn't considered additional tanks, though. Do they require any maintenance to deal with stagnation if the well pump is working fine for a long time?

Cheers,
Shaun
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I got thinking about the UPS issues a bit more, and realized that it was sharing an extension cord with one of the pumps, which quite likely contributed to the problem. I'm thinking that next time I'll try to have the two pumps share a heavy duty cord, and use a separate one for the UPS. Might make a difference.

Thanks, all.

Shaun
 

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I got thinking about the UPS issues a bit more, and realized that it was sharing an extension cord with one of the pumps, which quite likely contributed to the problem. I'm thinking that next time I'll try to have the two pumps share a heavy duty cord, and use a separate one for the UPS. Might make a difference.

Thanks, all.

Shaun
oops there ya go!
yea go ultra HD on any cords is a real good plan.
 

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Thanks, Paul.

The 2 sump pumps we are using are from Liberty, and the specs indicate 5.2 amps at full load. I don't know what the effluent pump is, unfortunately.

We do have one bladder tank inside with about 60 gallons, and it does keep us going for some time if we are careful. Hadn't considered additional tanks, though. Do they require any maintenance to deal with stagnation if the well pump is working fine for a long time?

Cheers,
Shaun
run the tanks after the water treatment then you never have to deal with water quality issues.
and make sure to have check valves on each inlet for each tank.
we set the bladder pressure to the 50-60 psi we need for the water system.
and run gauges in 3 places so we can see at a glance where we are on pressure.
pump
after the water treatment
and after the bladder tanks.
and a secondary pressure regulator after the bladder tanks as a safety for the house system.
 

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I got thinking about the UPS issues a bit more, and realized that it was sharing an extension cord with one of the pumps, which quite likely contributed to the problem. I'm thinking that next time I'll try to have the two pumps share a heavy duty cord, and use a separate one for the UPS. Might make a difference.

Thanks, all.

Shaun
Worth a shot. Never hurts to have a 12 gauge. Shotgun or extension cord.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Hi, folks,

Busy week with work, and I also have been down a rabbit-hole learning about larger inverter chargers (not inverter generators). Seriously considering going that route and tying the generator into the inverter to recharge batteries. Is anyone here doing this? I would appreciate the relative certainty of the inverter keeping the sump pumps going for several hours in case the generator doesn't start, or decides to grenade like mine recently did. :eek:

As an aside, there was a request some time ago to post a picture of the inside of the transfer switch. I finally got a moment to remove the front panel:

Circuit component Electrical wiring Hardware programmer Electronic engineering Computer hardware


There was also discussion around what gauge the wiring was. I looked for markings on it, but was not able to find any. Here is a closeup:

Electricity Electrical wiring Computer hardware Networking cables Cable


Can anyone tell what gauge the heavy wiring is?

Thanks, all. Have a great weekend!

Shaun
 

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looks like 6 gauge.
hard to tell with out an reference as the red wire insulation could be thick.

50amp... on the interlock panel...
so is this a sub panel and only supplies power to the
4 breakers?
one 15 amp
three 20 amp
looks to be room to expand on that part..
 

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Looks like 6awg hard to say though. I’m surprised with a 7000watt generator only 4 spaces were filled.

An inverter charger and battery bank is a very expensive solution for a sump pump. It obviously can be used for lots of other electrical needs as well. It’s neat how they can bypass the battery and supply grid or generator power when availible. But if the sump pump is the main or only concern a 12v battery backup pump kit is fairly inexpensive.

 

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I believe you are grid-tied? I'm off-grid, so I run solar/genny power thru a Magnum 4024 inverter/charger (solar via a midnite classic mppt) ... it takes care of charging our LiFePO4 battery bank; when not charging, then it feeds the house from the battery bank. The battery bank feeds the house for upwards of 24 hours or more, in between being topped off by solar, or charged by genny during non-solar times.

Is this what you are asking about?

It gets tricky if you are grid-tied, as all kinds of regulations come into play ... an electrician is almost certainly called for to sort through the wiring issues.

If grid-tied, you could get away with a inverter/charger and a battery bank, w/ no solar or mppt; when grid is on, the inverter/charger draws from that to top off the bank. when grid is down, inverter feeds the circuits, and genny is tied in at times to replenish the bank.

Hope this helps ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
looks like 6 gauge.
hard to tell with out an reference as the red wire insulation could be thick.

50amp... on the interlock panel...
so is this a sub panel and only supplies power to the
4 breakers?
one 15 amp
three 20 amp
looks to be room to expand on that part..
Thanks, Paul.

6 is what I thought, too, but I will have an electrician confirm. Looking at the tables it looks like it is rated for 60 amps in the 90 degree column, and that should be safe for the 50 amp transfer switch/subpanel.

As for circuits, yes, there are only the 4 on the panel, and I agree that this seems light. However, the main purpose of this installation was to keep the various pumps working, and I'm sure they were thinking about the overall surge draw. There are two 1/3 HP sump pumps, one 1 HP grinder, a few pot lights in the hall, and two outlets in the kitchen. From what I have found in various calculators here is a rough estimate of what I think the load will look like including what I want to add (fridge, freezer, well pump):

Font Rectangle Material property Parallel Number


Without those items, it looks like our current run load is 4840w, and surge is 7040w (assuming that all are running at the same time), which is likely why they stopped there. So, that's why I was wanting to determine if the wiring and transfer switch could support more if I were to get a bigger generator. This is also what sent me down the path of looking at inverters, as they have so much more surge capacity to accommodate these high inductive loads, and that would leave me the ability to add more things without exceeding the run capacity of the inverter.

Thanks again.

Shaun
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Looks like 6awg hard to say though. I’m surprised with a 7000watt generator only 4 spaces were filled.

An inverter charger and battery bank is a very expensive solution for a sump pump. It obviously can be used for lots of other electrical needs as well. It’s neat how they can bypass the battery and supply grid or generator power when availible. But if the sump pump is the main or only concern a 12v battery backup pump kit is fairly inexpensive.

Yes, you're right, it is an expensive option, and I don't take that lightly. However, I'm looking for peace of mind -- particularly if I am traveling. The thought of my wife trying to figure out what to do if the generator were not to start, or if it blew up, or if the starting battery were to die, etc., leaves me with a real sense of unease. Even worse, if we are both away, what then? Given that our outages are usually relatively short (<4 hours), having an immediate, battery backup that would last many hours (possibly days) is really appealing to me. Then, the generator would be relegated to a backup charging role, where surge load is not such an issue (or can be controlled). That said, I'm also thinking of retaining the ability to manually transfer the generator back to the transfer switch in the event that the inverter were to fail. Multi-layered redundancy tends to be part of my DNA after operating dispatch and data centers for decades. I can really identify with that old joke: "Yes, I know I'm being paranoid, but am I being paranoid enough??". ;)

Also, as you say, there are other potential benefits. For example, this path might allow me to start adding in some comforts, as well as the basic necessities, which would be really nice when the power goes out. Secondarily, although I don't have any immediate plans to do so, it would also provide the basis for adding solar to the mix. We'll see.

With regard to battery backup sump pumps, I actually have one of those here, but have not installed it due to practical issues. The sump pits are relatively narrow, and there just doesn't seem to be a good way to add the backup pump in without possibly getting in the way of the primary pump. Then, there are all the horror stories I have heard about 12V pump issues, including reduced capacity, unreliability, never-ending, piercing alarm tones, etc. Maybe these are not the issues that I worry they are, but they don't leave me with a real sense of confidence.

As always, thanks for your comments. They are always well-considered and helpful.

Cheers,
Shaun
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 · (Edited)
I believe you are grid-tied? I'm off-grid, so I run solar/genny power thru a Magnum 4024 inverter/charger (solar via a midnite classic mppt) ... it takes care of charging our LiFePO4 battery bank; when not charging, then it feeds the house from the battery bank. The battery bank feeds the house for upwards of 24 hours or more, in between being topped off by solar, or charged by genny during non-solar times.

Is this what you are asking about?

It gets tricky if you are grid-tied, as all kinds of regulations come into play ... an electrician is almost certainly called for to sort through the wiring issues.

If grid-tied, you could get away with a inverter/charger and a battery bank, w/ no solar or mppt; when grid is on, the inverter/charger draws from that to top off the bank. when grid is down, inverter feeds the circuits, and genny is tied in at times to replenish the bank.

Hope this helps ...
Yes, we are grid-tied, so I am really looking more for practical backup power than extended off-grid capability. That said, having the option to add solar in the future is somewhat appealing. I still need to do a bunch of research to see if it makes sense, though, particularly as we are in a heavily-forested area, which limits the amount of direct sunlight we get.

Having an electrician look into this is definitely part of the plan, regardless. I'm certainly familiar with the concepts, design, etc., but the actual mechanics of electrical work are not my strength (low-voltage is another story, though). I find the electrical component to be interesting, and will follow closely, but I know better than to trust myself with this portion of the project.

Yes, I'm thinking of operating just as you describe, and am researching what might work best. Do you know of a good forum for input on inverter chargers, etc.? From my limited research, it looks like companies like Outback and Magnum are the established (and expensive) players (made in USA), followed by the likes of Victron (designed in the Netherlands, built in China), then a whole lot of made-in-China brands, some of which are getting to be really good, while others aren't. I'm trying to find the right balance for my situation, and am currently thinking that Victron might be a good choice, with its variable-charge "generator assist" function. Another option that might fit would be an Aimes product, like this:


Still lots to learn, though, and I have a list of about a dozen questions that I am tracking down answers for. This forum has been very helpful, and it would be nice to find an equivalent related to that side of emergency power.

Thanks again.

Shaun
 

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Thanks, Paul.

6 is what I thought, too, but I will have an electrician confirm. Looking at the tables it looks like it is rated for 60 amps in the 90 degree column, and that should be safe for the 50 amp transfer switch/subpanel.

As for circuits, yes, there are only the 4 on the panel, and I agree that this seems light. However, the main purpose of this installation was to keep the various pumps working, and I'm sure they were thinking about the overall surge draw. There are two 1/3 HP sump pumps, one 1 HP grinder, a few pot lights in the hall, and two outlets in the kitchen. From what I have found in various calculators here is a rough estimate of what I think the load will look like including what I want to add (fridge, freezer, well pump):

View attachment 10851

Without those items, it looks like our current run load is 4840w, and surge is 7040w (assuming that all are running at the same time), which is likely why they stopped there. So, that's why I was wanting to determine if the wiring and transfer switch could support more if I were to get a bigger generator. This is also what sent me down the path of looking at inverters, as they have so much more surge capacity to accommodate these high inductive loads, and that would leave me the ability to add more things without exceeding the run capacity of the inverter.

Thanks again.

Shaun
you might look at upgrade on the system in the future to load shed....
or voting...
that way you could get more out the of the gen set...
maybe use ups units for lights that would charge the batteries when you extra power available.
same for tv, internet and more...
 

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This forum is great for equipment advice (solar, inverters, batteries, etc.), off-grid, grid-tied, or anything else:

https : //diysolarforum.com
 

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With regard to battery backup sump pumps, I actually have one of those here, but have not installed it due to practical issues. The sump pits are relatively narrow, and there just doesn't seem to be a good way to add the backup pump in without possibly getting in the way of the primary pump. Then, there are all the horror stories I have heard about 12V pump issues, including reduced capacity, unreliability, never-ending, piercing alarm tones, etc. Maybe these are not the issues that I worry they are, but they don't leave me with a real sense of confidence.
I have no idea what kind of water table you are dealing or how critical the pumps are for wet weather. Yeah battery backup units are low GPH but for most situations, are the difference between a wet or dry basement.

The battery backup pumps usually have a much smaller footprint then typical sump Pumps. Also they usually get installed higher in the pit supported by the PVC discharge pipe and clear of the primary pump. If the amount of water entering the pit overwhelms the primary pump the battery pump joins the fun.

Im all for an elaborate battery bank inverter system, but if you already own a battery backup setup, might as well put it to good use. Just saying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Thanks for the great suggestions, gentlemen! I'll keep you posted on progress.

Cheers,
Shaun
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 · (Edited)
you might look at upgrade on the system in the future to load shed....
or voting...
that way you could get more out the of the gen set...
maybe use ups units for lights that would charge the batteries when you extra power available.
same for tv, internet and more...
Hi, Paul.

Well, your last suggestion is (sort of) what I have decided to do. After a great deal of research, much of it on diysolarforum.com (thanks 50ShadesOfDirt), I decided to go for an all-in-one off-grid power system that essentially operates like a big UPS (used in combination with the generator). I know that this part of my solution isn't directly relevant to the generator forum, but I promised to keep everyone posted on what I am doing, and generator still plays a really important part. So, here is a brief description:

The unit that I am going with is a 48v 6000w all-in-one inverter/charger/solar controller that has 18000w surge capability (good for the pumps!), and a lot of other features. Although I will initially use it as a big, grid-supported UPS, the integrated solar controllers will make it easy to add that option should I decide that I want to. Here is the unit:


These are available in a number of different sizes, including a 12,000w setup with 36,000 surge capability, but I think the 6000w should be good for what I want to do.

With this setup, I will be restructuring my sub panel to bring additional comforts (lights, outlets, etc.) into the mix, and the generator will normally be relegated to a backup charging role. Basically, the unit monitors battery pack voltage, and triggers a dry contact when the batteries hit a programmable low threshold. When the batteries return to a programmable high threshold, the dry contact releases and the generator stops. That takes care of the generator start/stop, and my intent is then to simply connect the generator to a separate charger attached to the battery pack. Although the Growatt unit has its own charger that it will use when grid power returns, it sees generator and grid power as essentially the same thing if the generator is connected to it. This means that it will simply pass (dirty) generator power through to the loads, and the generator will then be exposed to the heavy surge loads of the pumps, in addition to the battery recharging load. By simply adding a separate fast charger to run on generator only, all of this is avoided.

This should be a very functional system, with many hours of standby power before any generator intervention is needed, and many of our power outages will likely be resolved before we ever get to the point of needed to run the generator all all. Also, the generator can simply be run for as long as necessary to recharge the batteries, and then will shut off. When it runs, it will have a very stable charging load, and will not be subjected to any crazy variable loads.

The one concern I have is that much depends on the Growatt unit itself, and if that fails, we're back to square one. So, in addition to all of this, I will be installing a manual transfer switch that will allow me to connect the generator directly to the sub panel, thereby bypassing the Growatt system entirely, and allowing the critical loads to run directly from the generator, if necessary.

Hope all that makes sense, and please forgive me for posting non-power equipment info to this forum, but I thought people might be interested in other backup power options that are out there. For me, a blended solution that is completely automatic in the initial stages, is really appealing. Anyway, now back to figuring out my generator stuff (which I'll post separately).

Thanks again for the great advice, everyone!

Cheers,
Shaun
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
I have no idea what kind of water table you are dealing or how critical the pumps are for wet weather. Yeah battery backup units are low GPH but for most situations, are the difference between a wet or dry basement.

The battery backup pumps usually have a much smaller footprint then typical sump Pumps. Also they usually get installed higher in the pit supported by the PVC discharge pipe and clear of the primary pump. If the amount of water entering the pit overwhelms the primary pump the battery pump joins the fun.

Im all for an elaborate battery bank inverter system, but if you already own a battery backup setup, might as well put it to good use. Just saying.
You're absolutely right, of course. I do already have one of these, and taking a look at it more closely, it should be possible to install it in one of my sump pits. That will provide a final layer of protection should all else fail, and I'm always a fan of that. Looking at my power plan, I'm at 5 layers now, as follows:

1. Grid
2. All-in-One inverter/battery bank
3. On-Demand generator charging of battery bank
4. Inverter bypass via manual transfer switch to allow direct generator support of critical loads
5. Battery-Operated backup sump pump

I think that should do it. o_O:D

Thanks again.

Shaun
 
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