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Ideas on monitoring voltage presence?

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  • Ideas on monitoring voltage presence?

    Hi all,

    I have a new Kohler 12kw backup generator that feeds two buildings (house and detached garage with two separate meters) using two transfer switches. It works fine, but it’s at a remote site and I’d like to know when the property is running on backup power rather than utility power. The transfer switches power the entire panel of both buildings, so a simple monitor like a plugin Digi-Logger won’t work as it just tells me that power is on. That’s helpful, but it can’t distinguish between generator power and utility power.

    To accomplish this, I’m thinking that maybe I could just monitor the incoming AC line from the generator and also the utility power, using sensors that fits around the incoming hot lead, then connecting those to dry contact sensors (maybe z-wave) that would tell Homeseer that the sensor was on/off. Has anyone tried this, and would you be willing to share ideas, parts required, etc? Thanks in advance for any help, experience, ideas. I don’t need to monitor anything other than on/off status for this application, so no need for more complexity than just that, for now.
    Madcodger

    This would be a lot easier if I knew what I was doing...

  • #2
    Madcodger,
    I have a 12 volt pc running Hs3 and also have an Ocelot on this system. I run a 12 power supply to run this pc plus other peripherals. I have a homebrew supply board that has 5v , 9v and 12volts. If the power supply quits, power is passed on to the system through a samlex battery backup. So if the power fails the battery takes over.
    On the back of the 12 supply I run a resistor voltage divider sending a 5 volt line to my Ocelot secu16 input. If the power supply fails the voltage drops out to the secu16 and I then know I'm on battery backup.

    Stuart

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    • #3
      The auto transfer switch is typically an electromagnet. Put a reed switch (e.g door window sensor) to detect the solenoid position.

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      • #4
        Have you verified if the transfer switch or the generator has some sort of mechanism to indicate it is running? Kohler also sells systems for monitoring the generator status. These systems can also have wireless backup. If the power is out in your area you might not have Internet to send any notification.

        Knowing what model of generator and transfer switch might be helpful as that would allow us to look at specifics about the product.

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        • #5
          I don't see why a home energy meter with the split sensors wouldn't work. Another thought, does the backup generator have LED indicators which specify if the genset is running and / or the transfer switch is set to utility power or genset power? If so, would a HS-FS100-L Z-Wave Indicator Light Sensor work?

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          • #6
            Excellent ideas, and much appreciated. The reed switch might be the easiest to try as I have some extra door/window sensors that should work. I have several HS-FS100 devices in use on this property as well, set up as leak detectors. Really like that device, and can easily set up a couple of additional ones as light sensors. May order a couple of split rings as well just to try that. I find having a reliable dry contact sensor is the biggest challenge there as the MIMO seems to be the most reliable, but it requires electricity. I have one set up now with a Digi Logger, plugged into a UPS (along with all the other internet-enabling equipment) to make sure the transfer switch kicked in (lots of belt and suspenders here).

            Really appreciate the ideas, and if others have more I’m all ears and will report back. Thanks!
            Madcodger

            This would be a lot easier if I knew what I was doing...

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            • #7
              I have had good luck with CR Magnetics as a current relay for a low power dry contact

              https://www.crmagnetics.com/Assets/P...0%20Series.pdf
              Last edited by will40; November 9th, 2019, 06:30 PM. Reason: spell check

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              • #8
                Originally posted by will40 View Post
                I have had good luck with CR Magnetics as a current relay for a low power dry contact

                https://www.crmagnetics.com/Assets/P...0%20Series.pdf
                Thank you!
                Madcodger

                This would be a lot easier if I knew what I was doing...

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