How to Know When Power Returns

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Eddie_T

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One problem with an emergency generator back feeding the electrical panel is knowing when power returns. With my main disconnect open I have no easy means to determine presence of incoming power. I purchased a no contact voltage tester but without removing the inner panel cover I can't get close enough to the incoming cables for the testor to work. My feed is underground and comes up to the meter via conduit but a couple of nights ago I got the idea that the meter might have a stay field around it that could be detected. Since it was both dark and cold I made a mental note to check out my idea at a more appropriate time. I tried it today and it works great just touching the probe to the meter glass.
 

kok328

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Awesome. I usually just keep an eye on the neighbors (lights, garage doors opening, etc...).
I also wait a while before coming off backup in case there are few blips after restoration.
 

Eddie_T

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I'll have to do a check and see if the electromagnetic field is adequate when my main disconnect is open. I didn't try it yet due to all the things I have to reset after a blip in power.
 

JoeD

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Just look out the window to your neighbours.
 

JoeD

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We have smart meters here. All you have to do is look at the meter to see if it is powered up.
 

Eddie_T

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Just look out the window to your neighbours.
I live in the hills and can barely see a couple of neighbors but they are not close. One is on a different feed so for a local outage may not be a valid indicator plus their lights maybe due to a generator, power station or lantern. Also no indicator in the day time.
We have smart meters here. All you have to do is look at the meter to see if it is powered up.
Smart meter may be a good tip, I'll take a look to see what it shows the next time I open my main disconnect. What does yours indicate with main open?

edit: I went out to take a look at my smart meter. Access for reading is poor and I bumped my head on a corner of the roof overhang trying to lean over from the deck to read it.

Good news though, the conduit is PVC and within easy reach I found a hot spot for the no contact tester, On a warmer day I will mark the hot spot so I can just step out the door and do an instant check with no contortions.
 
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Snoonyb

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Ours uses an ATS, Automatic Transfer Switch, which in simple terms, is an either, or system.
 
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