Countrylife
I have a 22KW Guardian that is set to exercise on Sunday at 2 pm. These last 2 weeks it has run at (about) 2 pm on Saturday and again on Sunday at 2 pm. This last time on Saturday it ran for a few minutes and shut off, then about 15 minutes later it started again, ran for a few minutes and shut off. The transfer switch did flip from power line to generator. The utility never dropped off completely. I was thinking something was set wrong on the generator or it wasn't working as it should. But, it appears that the incoming power line may not be at full voltage. I'm at the end of the power line, my next door neighbor is on a different circuit from the power company.

I am suspecting that the Saturday runs are due to a voltage sag in the incoming power but want to verify that. Is there some way to monitor the line (without asking the power company to install a recorder)?
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murphy
Plug one of these into an outlet to get an instantaneous voltage reading.

[url]https://www.amazon.com/P3-P4400-Electricity-Usage-Monitor/dp/B00009MDBU/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1529922016&sr=1-1&keywords=killawatt[/url]
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78buckshot
Countrylife, the factory has programmed the control to sense incoming voltage, if it drops to 60% - 65% of 240VAC then the generator will respond and transfer will take place. when incoming voltage rises to 75% of 240 then the generator will respond and re-transfer back to the utility. This can continue if the utility voltage is fluctuating within those parameters. Do you know if you have a "Brownout kit" installed in the transfer switch?, if so it can be adjusted for a little less sensitivity
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Countrylife
I'm sure I do not have a "Brownout kit", but don't know for sure. How do I determine that and is it something I have to have an electrician install or can I install it? (Note: I've done residential wiring, but not commercial)

Is there a way to delay it switching back to utility power for a few minutes so it doesn't stop and restart for each sag?
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BrianMartin
The start up delay can be set anywhere from 2 seconds to 25 minutes.. You could just set it for 10 or even 25 minutes and likely avoid 90% of these brown out situations if the utility source corrects itself fairly quickly. The owners manual should have the menu map to find this setting.
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SouthLake
if there is a sag in the utility power, why would it be coming at the same time every day for the last few weeks? do utility companies schedule something that triggers anomalies such as these?

the last house i lived in, i had a sensitive voltage correcting UPS that kicked on at nearly the exact same time every week for a second or two, for years (it wasnt a self test).
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Birken Vogt
They switch some capacitor banks and/or step voltage regulators in and out on a schedule per day.

A couple of weeks ago my neighborhood power was dropping to 210-220 volts mid day through afternoon. I was about to call and complain but it stopped doing it on its own.

The only way I knew about it too was my UPS started beeping. Everything seemed fine until I noticed a fan running slow. I set the UPS to trip at a lower voltage since the computer runs fine on the 105 volts.
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Peddler
The utility company may be just responding to the peak load for AC around 2:00 PM which can drop voltage. Or of course it could be totally coincidental and there was an unusual event that happened that time of day.
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MacL
check the fuse clips in the transfer switch. Sometimes they get stretched and make intermittent contact.

If the fuse is loose, turn off the generator and turn off the utility power, and use needle nose pliers to squeeze the clips together. While the fuses are out, make sure the end of the fuse is tight and doesn't move, if so, replace the fuse.
State your problem, not your diagnosis.
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Birken Vogt
I was not clear in my previous post that this happened most every day for several weeks. Then it went away on its own. Utility voltage used to be rock steady 250 here and now it seems a pretty steady 238 once they fixed whatever was doing that.
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skutflut
You screen name implies you're in a rural area, which often increases the chances for voltage variations due to tree contacts, power line length, and a bunch of other factors. There could also be routine maintenance on lines, or substations going on involving switching of your supply to another sub station or adding load to your substation from somewhere else.

Phone the utility and ask them what was happening at those times. Most utilities know when things are going wrong, or when routine switching, which can cause voltage fluctuations, is happening. Somebody else mentioned changing the startup delay on your generator.

I have mine set to 4 minutes which takes care of most of the sporadic startups. I am in a suburban area, served by overhead lines with lots of trees. We get those power blips during windy weather, which indicate that a tree branch has contacted a line, and the utility breaker has tripped and reclosed. Just a long enough outage to screw up the clocks, but not long enough to justify starting up the generator.
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DanS26
A few years ago I experienced voltage sags and spikes on a constant basis. Rural coop provider and at the end of a spur line.

I installed a home monitoring system and recorded the date and time of all voltages out of range. Took the data to the coop and complained in a measured and level headed way. Manager there thanked me and then compared to their records.

In short order the problem was fixed. Voltage is now rock solid at 123 to 124 volts day and night.

I think the difference was the ability to show the utility data that motivated them to fix the problem.
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Countrylife
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You screen name implies you're in a rural area, which often increases the chances for voltage variations due to tree contacts, power line length, and a bunch of other factors.


Yes, I am in a rural area. Also at the end of the power line, I think there is only one more house beyond mine, but do not know if it is a spur or a loop. I think I'm about 9 miles from the substation, but it may be more.

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I installed a home monitoring system and recorded the date and time of all voltages out of range.


Where do I get one of these monitoring systems?
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DanS26
Back in those days I used a TED5000 system. (ie The Energy Detective) I could download second, minute, daily and monthly voltage readings to an Excel spreadsheet which recorded high and low voltage readings. But I could only read the main circuit from the utility feed.

About 18 months ago I upgraded to a TED Pro system. I now read 26 circuits plus two solar circuits but unfortunately I lost the ability to download the high and low voltage readings. I can still see those readings in the internal graph feature for the last 48 hours.
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skutflut
Countrylife;52934 wrote:
Yes, I am in a rural area. Also at the end of the power line, I think there is only one more house beyond mine, but do not know if it is a spur or a loop. I think I'm about 9 miles from the substation, but it may be more.



Where do I get one of these monitoring systems?


If you are at the end of a rural line, most likely a radial feed from a main line running down a main road. Your utility should be able to confirms this as well with a quick look at the system schematic.

Did you contact them to advise them of the power problems yet? Check with neighbors on the same road as your are and see if they noticed any similar problems.

If the utility cannot attribute them to windy weather or line maintenance or some other known cause, ask them to send a trouble truck out and take a look at the supply components to your property, such as transformer secondary connections, primary hot line clamps, and connections in your meter base. If you are some distance from your neighbors, I would guess you have a transformer at the road serving just your home. Any problems with connections could cause what your are describing.

Other things that could contribute to your problem would be loose connections in your breaker panel, any loads which turn on and off frequently such as well pumps, AC units, or other motors that cause a momentary voltage sag (flicker of lights is a indicator). You also want to check the system ground to the utility system as well as the neutral connections.
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skutflut
SouthLake;52903 wrote:
if there is a sag in the utility power, why would it be coming at the same time every day for the last few weeks? do utility companies schedule something that triggers anomalies such as these?

the last house i lived in, i had a sensitive voltage correcting UPS that kicked on at nearly the exact same time every week for a second or two, for years (it wasnt a self test).


Utilities sometimes switch capacitor banks in and out at specific hours of the day or night, to increase efficiency on the lines and reduce reactive power caused by inductive loads. These schedules can change over different seasons or can be set to happen at any random time based on system loading and power factor as measured by their remote SCADA system RTUs. Capacitance offsets inductance in the lines to improve power factor which in an ideal world would be close to 100%, but can drop to below 90% depending on the type of loads connected to the power lines.

Capacitors are not used on all lines however, They utility I worked at for 16 years only installed their first sets of line mounted capacitors in the 4 years before I retired. This was mainly due to the increase in population and construction in the area, thereby increasing load on many substation feeders, and the fact that you can't just build another substation whenever you want to. Increasing efficiency allows them to add more load without having to add substations until they are really needed.
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