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Author Topic: Syncing small inverter generators  (Read 16803 times)

Fairmountvewe

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Syncing small inverter generators
« on: March 25, 2014, 03:46:49 PM »
Hi all.  Here's hoping that the electrical geniuses here can help me out.  I own a Yamaha EF2000is inverter generator.  It works great and fills a need here on the farm.  We are contemplating buying an older 5th wheel and one of the projects i am looking into is being able to supply power to it when we are not at a camp site.  To that end, I have seen that in the states, you can buy these suitcase style inverter generators that can be synced together (Honda and Yamaha both have that ability), but in Canada, I presume the CSA has not drank the kool-aid and we cannot get these sync-capable gen sets.  A quick check of the on-line schematic shows that the syncing ports are really just taps off the power outlets

http://www.wiringdiagrams21.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/YamahaEF2000iS1600WattInverterGeneratorWiringDiagram1.jpg  (number 6 is the syncing port)

so my question is....could I just make up a two headed 3 prong 15a plug that feeds a 3 prong 30a RV plug and be good to go?  Do these kind of inverter generators automatically do the "master/slave" thing and self sync/self load control (presuming of course that the two sets are hooked together electrically BEFORE they are started)?  It looks to me like this is exactly what happens, but then again, the referenced schematic may be missing a few components, and not be telling the whole story.  I cannot find a schematic for the big box of squirrels they call a control unit (number 15 on the schematic), or the sync cable, (but the on-line pictures don't show any kind of control box, just a cable attached to a plug) so I have no way of knowing what proprietary secrets are going on in there.  It almost seems too good to be true.  Any words of wisdom or advice are welcome before I go and let the magic smoke out of a couple of thousand dollars worth of generators.

Peter
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mike90045

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Re: Syncing small inverter generators
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2014, 11:07:49 PM »
Sure, it's only a $1800 generator !    I think the sync cable is a data cable, I would be very surprised if the inverter looked for and synced to a source.

Thob

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Re: Syncing small inverter generators
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2014, 02:25:17 AM »
I did a little digging with Google (VERY dangerous) and it appears that it can be done.  Here's a video that shows the real cable:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08Dvg0dCZgg

From other sources, it appears that the banana jacks are used to provide a safety mechanism for connection, as they are in parallel with the outlets.  Are the parallel connections shown on the diagram as either 6 or 8?

I was surprised, I would have thought it was a data cable like mike said.  You should be able to buy the shielded banana plugs and make your own cable, or if you like living dangerously, do it with two regular 3 prong plugs.  It's dangerous because if one side becomes unplugged, the exposed prongs will be hot from the other generator.
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Fairmountvewe

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Re: Syncing small inverter generators
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2014, 01:56:32 PM »
Thanks for the video.  It kind of confirms what I thought, but it still leaves a a nagging doubt.  Because the generators they sell in Canada don't have the shielded banana plugs on them, I can't just buy the cable and go.  I would have to Jerry-rig something together (the killer plug), and I still don't know if there is anything electrical my generator is missing (like an inline diode or fuse) compared to the American ones.  I honestly cannot see a huge corporation like Yamaha, or Honda making a generator specifically for the Canadian market (cause it is that kind of huge you know ;)), so I believe that I should be okay with just the killer plug version.

I wonder if it is the fact that these generators use an inverter to produce power that lets them sync and load share without all the "normal" syncing and load sharing equipment. Pretty sweet if that was the case, but like everything, it leads to more questions.  If these two will sync why not 3, or why not a 2000w with a 2400w, or why not a Yamaha with a Honda or Kipor?  the possibilities would be endless!

If anyone is so inclined, and happens to be doing an oil change on their Twin-Tech capable Yamaha EF2000is in the next little while and wouldn't mind taking a picture of the internal wiring at the 120v receptacle to confirm it is just a straight tap off to the Twin-Tech plugs, that would be great.  Same for anyone with a Canadian generator who has hooked them together successfully and not blown them apart, I would really appreciate hearing from you.  Thanks all, and have a great day.
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LowGear

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Re: Syncing small inverter generators
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2014, 02:23:01 PM »
So how about plugging them into a wall outlet with a double male ended cord? 

Three or four of them? 

Will they grid tie? 

Have a couple of them out in the garage and wait for a power outage. 

This may just be the greatest product of 2014. 

Casey

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Fairmountvewe

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Re: Syncing small inverter generators
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2014, 08:13:04 PM »
Casey - not sure if you are being humorous or condescending, so I will presume humorous.  They wouldn't grid tie, because the generators have to be electrically tied together before they are started.  No way to sync them to an outside source (unless you want to do the old two light bulb approach and that is something I personally am not about to do).  As far as sustainable, like I said in the first post, it fulfills a need here on the farm, and the chance to use two smaller generators for an occasional RV trip seems like a better idea than trying to drag the 12/2 along. I have sustainable covered.  I am trying for convenience now.
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LowGear

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Re: Syncing small inverter generators
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2014, 11:06:31 PM »
Aloha Fairmountvewe,

I am usually working at sarcastic humor. 

I went out to the Youtube link (was that crappy work or what?) and it became intuitively obvious (the most dangerous kind of understanding) that the cables are power cables hence the higher amperage delivery.  It also looked and read to me like the cables use the safety banana connectors to keep people from doing exactly what I described which would flip these generators completely out of the UL Testing or Rating book.  I think a double ended male three pronged electrical cord might even be against the law or regulations but at best contrary to good judgement.  (OK!  I've got one but I don't claim to always exercise good judgement.)

You simultaneously start them up?  One has got to get up to speed before the other.  I can see how you would need to have the second (third or fifth) fully connected before you fire it up.  Are you sure they are not self syncing upon start-up?  If it'll sync to the first generator why not the grid?  At the very least you could plug them into a household circuit and utilized the house wiring for distribution.  Yes, you'd need to be breaker panel savoy or you'd be exercising that replacement warranty fairly regularly.  You folks that do use backup power system but don't have disconnect switches do still use the house wiring for distribution once you've turned off the main breaker and current sucking circuits don't you?  I thought they have dryer plugs with built-in 240 volt accessory plugs on them? 

Have I missed the whole train.  These are gasoline powered generators that feed an inverter that outputs fairly clean 120V AC aren't they?

Don't let the sarcasm throw you off.  It's just my Irish heritage.

Casey

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mike90045

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Re: Syncing small inverter generators
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2014, 11:51:46 PM »
Breaker panels with a transfer interlock, are manually operated, and you have to install some sliding blocker plates, so the generator cannot backfeed the grid:


Transfer switches are usually in their own box, and may be manual or automatic.

When you feed your house panel from either, YOU are now the power company, and if you turn on too many appliances, you BQ your own generator. (or appliances as the generator stalls and winds down through 50,  40, 30 Hz.)

Fairmountvewe

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Re: Syncing small inverter generators
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 04:14:41 AM »
Casey;

Sarcasm accepted.  I suppose you could run these to back feed a house, or grid tie with, or any number of things but that was not the direction I was going with this.  I am really wondering if it is the inverter function that allows these guys to apparently sync and AVR themselves.  If it is in fact a function of an inverter to allow that, then that opens a lot of doors for a lot of things. N'est pas?  It would allow us Canadians who don't have access to the TWIN-tech units to merrily go where our American (and I suppose European/Asian/whoever else) friends can already go, granted with potentially deadly connecting cables (hands up those among us who DON'T have at least one.....ya...I thought so...) but still able to go none the less.  It strikes me as pretty sad that the CSA (and I am only presuming it is them who are not letting the technology into the country) won't let us use this technology, but I am slowly coming to accept the fact that we live in one hell of a "politically correct, big brother knows best nanny state" so I suppose I should shrug my shoulders and do what I was going to do anyway.  I just thought it was pretty neat technology and I am trying to get my head around the hows and whys before I try something that may cause premature wallet emptyitis.  Maybe I should just wander down to NY state and buy a couple on my first RV trip and not worry about screwing with the one I have.  Safer, but not as much fun.

Mike.  Cool idea.  I didn't know they sold those commercially.  We have the same idea on some of the dual supply breaker cabinets at work to supply emergency power to equipment, but I always thought the sliders were just locally produced.
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LowGear

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Re: Syncing small inverter generators
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2014, 07:19:41 AM »
Oops.  Disclaimer needed.

I went back and watched some more videos.  They seem to series sync and not parallel.  So the 30 Amps in the ads is 240 and if you use two hair dryers they're on two different 120 circuits.  Pretty neat and obviously well beyond my understanding. 

I'm sticking with my banana plug assessment but just so you all know; I don't use a back-up generator and I'm surprisingly respectful of code.  And when mike90045 provides subtle hints I do pay attention.

Casey
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Fairmountvewe

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Re: Syncing small inverter generators
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 03:54:31 PM »
Watched a couple of videos with multiple Inverter generator hook-ups, and what I want to do seems plausible.  I understand about the two-headed male plug and safety issues, so I may have to butcher my panel and put in my own shielded connectors. I am not sure what series sync is, but the RV AC unit would be 240v, and because the RV plug is only 3 prong (hot, neutral and ground), meaning the hot from both generators is tied together, then the generators must be synced as far as phase angle and frequency goes.  I am thinking that I am going to have to tear the front panel off my little generator and have a closer look.  As I said earlier, it makes no economic sense at all that a company like Honda or Yamaha would spend the time and effort to make a small number of generators different for the Canadian market, so I am pretty sure the electronics are the same.  Now putting a decal over the missing Twin-tech holes - that I can see, and a couple of shielded banana plugs wouldn't be too hard to source, so I may have another project for my PHD (projects half done) list.  Thanks for all the input and Aloha (hope I am using that in the right context Casey :) ).

Peter
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, cooperate, solve equations, analyze a new problem, and pitch manure. Specialization is for insects.

LowGear

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Re: Syncing small inverter generators
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2014, 05:48:50 PM »
Aloha Peter,

Good sports are an endangered species - Mahalo.

Casey



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