electronic controls on generator power

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stillchillin
stillchillin Registered Users Posts: 55 ✭✭✭
I have a problem with my boilers Honeywell electronic aquastat while running my Honda 6.5KW generator. The control locks out on a Err4 (boiler power problem) I believe the power is not clean enough for it. Every appliance in the house has a board and they all function fine. Can anyone suggest a UPS type device for the whole house. I could change the boiler control to an analog type but because Of the other appliances I would like to see if I can clean up my power. Thanks
18- 235 W Kyocera panel, 12- 4-KS-25PS Rolls 1350 Ah, Magnum MS4448PAE, ME RC50, ME AGS, Outback FM 80, Generac 8KW LP generator, 6.5 Honda Portable generator

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  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    Several things to think about:

    Voltage
    Frequency
    Neutral Bonding

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • stillchillin
    stillchillin Registered Users Posts: 55 ✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    OK, Voltage is 125V my bonding is all good as is my grounding (i think) one ground for both AC and DC equipment the cable from the generator is 4 wire, I have not grounded the generator itself. I have no way to check frequency. I have tried swaping L1&L2 at the control with no difference. They call out L1 & L2 on the control not L1 & N . Anymore thoughts. Thanks
    18- 235 W Kyocera panel, 12- 4-KS-25PS Rolls 1350 Ah, Magnum MS4448PAE, ME RC50, ME AGS, Outback FM 80, Generac 8KW LP generator, 6.5 Honda Portable generator
  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    I have a thought: they shouldn't call it L1 and L2 is it isn't 240 VAC. ;) But that is semantics.

    Most likely it is the frequency it doesn't like. Since the 6500 isn't an inverter-gen the frequency is RPM dependent and tends to be a bit high with no/low load. Some circuits are just too picky about this.

    I don't know what the furnace controls' power demand is, but could you run it off the Magnum inverter? Or is this problem occurring when you try to use the generator to supplant the inverter for charging & power? Do you know anyone who has an inverter-gen you could try? Putting in a UPS unit seems a bit expensive at this point (unless the power demands of the furnace are low).
  • stillchillin
    stillchillin Registered Users Posts: 55 ✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    I agree with the L1 L2 comment. Yes my problem occurs when I use the generator to charge, I have extra power because the magnum will only let 3 KWH go through to charge so the rest is left over and wasted if I dont utilize it But with the boiler not able to run on the generaator things like the DW or taking a hot shower are out of the question. I thank you for your help.
    18- 235 W Kyocera panel, 12- 4-KS-25PS Rolls 1350 Ah, Magnum MS4448PAE, ME RC50, ME AGS, Outback FM 80, Generac 8KW LP generator, 6.5 Honda Portable generator
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    Either of these will give you good frequency readings... A Kill-a-Watt meter or many DMMs (digital multi-meters)--I like this Sears DC/AC current clamp meter for inexpensive debugging.
    • 1 minute error / 60 minutes = 60 seconds / 3,600 seconds = 0.0167 = 1.7% error
    Anything that is out by more plus or minus 1-2% may cause "sensitive" devices to fail (just a guess).

    You could plug in an AC clock (that times from the AC Mains) and run it for a few minutes or an hour, and compare to your watch:


    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • stillchillin
    stillchillin Registered Users Posts: 55 ✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    I will try Honeywells tech line tomorrow maybe they can shed some light on the problem. Thanks
    18- 235 W Kyocera panel, 12- 4-KS-25PS Rolls 1350 Ah, Magnum MS4448PAE, ME RC50, ME AGS, Outback FM 80, Generac 8KW LP generator, 6.5 Honda Portable generator
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    Frequency is usually a matter of RPM. If you are showing a ~125vac I would guess that the genny might be running a touch too fast, giving you maybe ~62hz. Try either loading the genny more, or buy a kill-a-watt or a clamp on to check the Freq. (Sort of a must have for any off grid/genny system IMHO)

    Tony
  • Blackcherry04
    Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    I am not telling you what you should do, but I'll tell you what I would do. I'd take a 12V tap off any 3 of your batteries and get a Morning Star sure sine 300 watt inverter ( if that's enough, is it 120 V ?? ) and power and run the controller off it. You have a huge system and are really limiting what you can do with your generator, as I'v said before. You really need another charging source, Like a big charger. I do like your plan, to use as much as you can.

    There plenty of UPS's that would do it, but you might have the same issue with Pass-Through power.

    I know , no here likes Taps on a Battery bank. Old News. I am a Boater, what can I say.
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    never tap one battery in a series string as it will put the string out of balance and shorten the life of the batteries.

    as was mentioned many generators with no appreciable load on them will run a tad fast causing higher voltages and a bit faster frequency. when a good load is applied it slows down a tad bring the frequency more in line and the voltage drops a bit too. it is also possible that too many harmonics are being generated too throwing off the controller. hard to say what all it will take to clear the problem as it could just be a matter of slowing it down or loading the generator or filtering the output a bit which i won't go into if you aren't already familiar with those methods. beyond that another controller or a good inverter/generator could clear this up.
  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    Makes me think we should be putting freq. meters on various "fixed RPM" gens and take some readings to see how much fluctuation there is. Anybody want to go first? I only have inverter-gens right now.
  • waynefromnscanada
    waynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power
    niel wrote: »
    never tap one battery in a series string as it will put the string out of balance and shorten the life of the batteries.

    Exactly. One part of the string will end up chronically undercharged, while the rest of the string will be likewise overcharged, and the longer the battery bank is used this way, the further the condition of the individual batteries will diverge. Definitely not good.
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    I'll go next week, but it depends on how cold it is. I've been away, and the larger gennies have been below freezing for a couple of months now!

    Tony

    Ps welcome back Marc,
  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power
    icarus wrote: »
    I'll go next week, but it depends on how cold it is. I've been away, and the larger gennies have been below freezing for a couple of months now!

    Tony

    Ps welcome back Marc,

    Give 'em a shot of ether; they'll fire. :p

    It's good to be "back at work" again (as opposed to being at work). :D
    But I'll have to return and finish that job sometime. :cry:
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    Yea, easy for you to say,,,, you try cranking the Lister Diesel by hand at -20! Often times I can't even drain the oil. Even the old Onan gas gets pretty stiff with 30w oil in it. My Mitsubishi 2900 better fire,, I got work to do!

    I keep the EUs inside during the winter, under the bench, so they are always warm! (except when I first get home after being away for a month or two!)

    Tony
  • Blackcherry04
    Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    As I said, no one should do it but me, All my banks are tapped, but I am a Boater and I like to use what I have, not what I'd like to have. You know, I never had the issues with Imbalanced batteries, Guess I am one of the lucky ones.
  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
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    Re: electronic controls on generator power

    Well I used to run a salamander at the JD diesels (under canvas) to get them to go in the -20F temps years ago. Glad I don't have to do that anymore. Sometimes getting the gas engines to start around here in Winter can be trouble. Usually if they'll crank they fire.