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  1. #1

    Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Fremer concluded a recent Analog Corner with a piece about how a newly installed Generac whole-house generator sucked the life out of his system. I did a "generator" search here and elsewhere and didn't find anyone making similar observations.

    Recently during a three-hour outage I discovered that my "whole-home" Generac generator does not power two sub-panels. One of these has all of my dedicated circuits, the other has a few essentials (such as furnace, hot water, cooktop, basement circuits (which happens to power my LV alarm transformer)) that should have been put on the main panel going to the generator's transfer switch. The simplest solution seems to be to install a second transfer switch (the dedicated circuit sub-panel goes to the other sub-panel, which goes to the service), but that will, per Fremer's findings, potentially expose the dedicated circuits to a s***-load of noise.

    There is room on the main panel to re-route the handful of essential circuits, but the electrician will have to cut through from the crawlspace to get back into the main panel.

    Anyone with a generator feel like having circuits on a transfer switch impacts audio performance? Note that Fremer is claiming that the problem is not related to when the generator is running -- simply putting a transfer switch into his electrical system caused an audible and serious loss of SQ when running on street power.

    Suggestions?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    My whole house back-up generator does not seem to impact the SQ of my system at all . I had read his comments recently and was a bit surprised.
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  3. #3

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Was your generator installed before or after you set up your audio?

    I think Fremer uses AQ power conditioners. I find it interesting that his SQ collapsed nonetheless.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    We have a Generac Series 22 kW whole house system and its been installed since 2014 and it doesn't impact my audio, video. Fremers deal, I bet would be the installation of his unit. Something is not installed right.
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  5. #5

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    But he consulted AQ's Garth Powell, who apparently indicated this is not an uncommon issue.
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  6. #6

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Certainly a First-World audiophile problem. Most people that have a need for a generator in their home will be happy if it keeps the lights on and the refrigerator working.

  7. #7
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    I wonder what pollution the generator injects into the wiring that a power conditioner or regenerator couldn't cure?

    I'm not that familiar with the generator system. I looked into some type of system at one point, they told me I'd have to choose what appliances I wanted to power because it couldn't do everything in the house. I wonder if Fremer's is somehow starving his system for power.

    It just seems one of those high end regenerators would fix the issue. The type that totally cleans and regenerates a constant voltage/frequency, maybe even one with the battery panels.
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  8. #8

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    I thought the knock against generators was the DC to AC conversion which puts noise on the house power. Ditto for solar panels. I have no first hand experience with this, I have just read owner complaints.
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  9. #9

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by nicoff View Post
    Certainly a First-World audiophile problem. Most people that have a need for a generator in their home will be happy if it keeps the lights on and the refrigerator working.
    I'm not concerned with running the stereo during outages. I want heat and hot water, which are currently on subpanel not connected to generator. The problem, per Fremer/Garth Powell, is that merely having a transfer switch (which is in-line even when pulling street power) in the loop can negatively impact SQ even if the generator is on standby. The heat and hot water circuits should have been on the main panel (which has generator backup) when the house was built. They were not. I'm trying to get a feel for whether I should avoid having the subpanel with the dedicated circuits connected by a new, second transfer switch to the generator.
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  10. #10

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Ironically, Fremer's current solution, after consulting with AQ, is to try out $15,000 worth of PSAudio regeneration ...

    I wonder what he tried to review between having the generator/transfer switch installed and getting his PSAudio conditioners...
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  11. #11

    Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    I thought the knock against generators was the DC to AC conversion which puts noise on the house power. Ditto for solar panels. I have no first hand experience with this, I have just read owner complaints.
    Electrical items in a typical household run on AC. That incluyes lightbulbs, appliances, Heat pumps, audio equipment, etc. Therefore most home generators deliver AC and there is no need for DC to AC conversion.

  12. #12
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    I thought the knock against generators was the DC to AC conversion which puts noise on the house power. Ditto for solar panels. I have no first hand experience with this, I have just read owner complaints.
    That's if a person buys a DC - AC generator.
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by pdub View Post
    Ironically, Fremer's current solution, after consulting with AQ, is to try out $15,000 worth of PSAudio regeneration ...

    I wonder what he tried to review between having the generator/transfer switch installed and getting his PSAudio conditioners...
    His first mistake, talking to someone in the audio business. Talk to a electrician or to Generac themselves. Heck they installed mine along with an electrician.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by pdub View Post
    Was your generator installed before or after you set up your audio?

    I think Fremer uses AQ power conditioners. I find it interesting that his SQ collapsed nonetheless.
    I have had some level of decent audio in my home since we moved in over 20 years ago. The automatic back-up generator was installed in 2014.

    On a couple of occasions I have even listened to music when normal power was out. Even under those circumstances I do not recall any adverse effects.
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    With a transfer switch there are additional wire connections and contacts in line.
    This is one possibility that could contribute to some difference in SQ.
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    We have a Generac 27kw whole house generator. It is connected to the main panel. The audio room up here is connected to a sub panel off the main one. I have never heard an issue when listening whether before or after the generator was installed and certainly have not heard a reduction in SQ when the generator is running. We have been without power here a couple of days a few times and I have listened to the system for hours with total enjoyment. I have no idea what is going on with MF. Maybe there is an issue with the unit, its installation or maybe he needs to take the AQ stuff out of the system and try other things. I am sure he would have plenty of companies supply him with stuff.

  17. #17

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    I have 400 amp service. The main panel with most, but not all, essential circuits is on transfer switch with the Generac. There is room on this main panel to reroute the essential circuits. Panel A, a 200 amp subpanel, currently houses the remaining essential circuits plus a few I would consider non-essential. Panel B, another 200 amp subpanel, is routed from Panel A and has the dedicated circuits.

    Since Panel A is the one that connects directly to the electric service, I think the purpose of the subpanel with the dedicated circuits was half-way defeated. As I understand it, this means noisy circuits on Panel A could be impacting the dedicated circuits on Panel B, since it is routed from Panel A.

    I'm wondering if the fix could be to add a second transfer switch to power Panel A during an outage and to re-route Panel B, with the dedicated circuits, directly to the service. My main goals are: functioning essential circuits during an outage and cleanest delivery of electricity to Panel B at all other times. Music during an outage is not a priority.
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  18. #18
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Bet you anything there is a ground loop now between the primary and secondary service. There should be no reason for the electronics in the transfer switch sensing module to mess with audio. If your that worried and want a generator, get a manual throwover instead of automatic. No electronics. You just have to get out of bed to turn it on.

  19. #19

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingrex View Post
    Bet you anything there is a ground loop now between the primary and secondary service. There should be no reason for the electronics in the transfer switch sensing module to mess with audio. If your that worried and want a generator, get a manual throwover instead of automatic. No electronics. You just have to get out of bed to turn it on.
    Can't tell if you're reacting to Fremer's actual issue or my potential issue.

    My dedicated audio circuits (Panel B) are not currently on the generator. I don't particularly want them on the generator -- I want the cleanest power. But the way the electrician routed the wiring when the house was built, the service comes in to the Main Panel (200amp; transfer switch to generator) and to Panel A (200 amp; currently no transfer switch but housing circuits like heat and hot water that should be receiving power during outage). Panel B (200 amp), with the dedicated circuits, routs from Panel A.

    Seems to be if I can rout Panel B directly to the service then the dedicated circuits will be receiving cleanest power (but no generated power, which is ok).
    Then I would have a second transfer switch installed to take care of Panel A.

    Possible?
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  20. #20
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    That would be unusual for the "Panel B' to be fed from "Panel A" in this manor. If that was the case "Panel B" would be on the generator. Is there a 200 amp breaker/disconnect in "Panel A" to control "Panel B"?

    Is the transfer switch a 400 amp switch?

    Normally the 200 amp panels would be fed from the main disconnect/meter housing.
    Are there 2/200 amp disconnects on the meter housing or is there one 400 amp?

    Kingrex has seen many more panels than I but, this sounds quite unusual.
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  21. #21

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingrex View Post
    You just have to get out of bed to turn it on.
    Actually have a Kohler with unreliable transfer switch at mountain house. Been running it manually for last 7-8 years. A few months ago a hurricane eye passed just west of us. Yes, power went out at 5-something AM, but even after being out of bed for hours I didn't venture outside to flip the switch on the Kohler until 9 -- didn't want to be nailed by a falling branch. Often if the weather is bad enough to lose power, may be a delay in getting to the generator ...

    Can manual switches be mounted inside? Say, at the panel?
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  22. #22

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by brad225 View Post
    That would be unusual for the "Panel B' to be fed from "Panel A" in this manor. If that was the case "Panel B" would be on the generator. Is there a 200 amp breaker/disconnect in "Panel A" to control "Panel B"?

    Is the transfer switch a 400 amp switch?

    Normally the 200 amp panels would be fed from the main disconnect/meter housing.
    Are there 2/200 amp disconnects on the meter housing or is there one 400 amp?

    Kingrex has seen many more panels than I but, this sounds quite unusual.
    I've tried to explain this 3 different ways now ... probably just making it more confusing ... never should have highlighted Fremer in the title?...

    The transfer switch is 200 amp and only goes to the main panel. Panels A and B are not connected to the generator, but there are essential circuits on Panel A like heat and hot water that should have been installed in the Main Panel but were not. There is a breaker in Panel A for Panel B. The Main Panel goes to the service by way of a transfer switch. Panel A goes directly to the service with no transfer switch. I would guess there are 2/200 amp disconnects in the meter housing. Neither Panel A or Panel B are halfway full, but they are both 200 amp panels.

    I've been told there are @25,000 decisions made during a custom build (this was in 2013). The generator was at the top of my electrical bulletin point list. The electrician read through a white paper from Shunyata and we discussed it. Yet ultimately the generator was an afterthought and the dedicated circuit panel was seemingly subjugated to a panel full of all kinds of noisy crap...
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  23. #23

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by pdub View Post
    I've tried to explain this 3 different ways now ... probably just making it more confusing ... never should have highlighted Fremer in the title?...

    ...
    You are right. Highlighting somebody else's problem has diverted others from helping you find a solution to YOUR issues.

  24. #24

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by nicoff View Post
    You are right. Highlighting somebody else's problem has diverted others from helping you find a solution to YOUR issues.
    I was just trying to be sure I didn't replicate whatever audio collapse he experienced, since I recently discovered my own issues. Amazing to live in a place for 7 years and only now discover that the generator doesn't run all the essentials. Been pretty lucky with the outages.
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  25. #25
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    Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    I would think MF’s situation is unusual, no matter what Garth has encountered.

    I too have a 20kW Generac whole house generator for about 10 years now.

    I am now using my 2nd transfer switch as we converted from 200 amp service to 400 amp service with our home addition 2 years ago.

    My audio nervosa made me worry I too would muck up my SQ by messing with electrical feed. It was wasted worry. There has been no audio penalty for having a transfer switch.

    My first switch was a generac, my current switch is a Canton (IIRC).

    My media room, including it’s dedicated lines, is feed with a 125 amp subpanel off the transfer switch along with 200 amp main panel and another 75 amp panel running the pool.

    I too am using Audioquest Niagara to distribute power to my system, I use a 7000 and a 5000.





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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    If your trying to resolve an audio system branch circuit integration issue with a generator back up residential service, the resolution is simple. Move the circuits to the correct panels. This may require junction boxes to extend short wires.

    If you still have ground issues, I would need to address each instance on a case by case basis. I don't believe the generator is the issue. Maybe. But I would look at ensure the rest of the foundation power system is correct first.

  27. #27
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Generator Grounding and Bonding Essentials | Electrical Contractor Magazine


    Read this. Here is your potential ground issues.

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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by pdub View Post
    Can't tell if you're reacting to Fremer's actual issue or my potential issue.

    My dedicated audio circuits (Panel B) are not currently on the generator. I don't particularly want them on the generator -- I want the cleanest power. But the way the electrician routed the wiring when the house was built, the service comes in to the Main Panel (200amp; transfer switch to generator) and to Panel A (200 amp; currently no transfer switch but housing circuits like heat and hot water that should be receiving power during outage). Panel B (200 amp), with the dedicated circuits, routs from Panel A.

    Seems to be if I can rout Panel B directly to the service then the dedicated circuits will be receiving cleanest power (but no generated power, which is ok).
    Then I would have a second transfer switch installed to take care of Panel A.

    Possible?
    Agree, its like he's telling you how to handle a GEN problem. ITS Michael Fremer of Analog Planet
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    All I'm saying is reroute the power to the subpanels any way you want. Just be careful how the transfer switch is set up. That's where your trouble lies.

  30. #30
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingrex View Post
    All I'm saying is reroute the power to the subpanels any way you want. Just be careful how the transfer switch is set up. That's where your trouble lies.
    Hey send Michael Fremer of Analog Planet an email to let him know. AS nobody here is going to contact him. All I'm saying we on here don't have a problem.
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  31. #31

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by CPP View Post
    Hey send Michael Fremer of Analog Planet an email to let him know. AS nobody here is going to contact him. All I'm saying we on here don't have a problem.
    No, my question was how to fix an existing oversight in my 7 year old generator set-up to get generator power to a sub panel with essential circuits like heat/hot water while avoiding what befell Fremer when he installed a generator. I think I’ve got a clearer picture now. Thanks everyone.

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  32. #32
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by pdub View Post
    No, my question was how to fix an existing oversight in my 7 year old generator set-up to get generator power to a sub panel with essential circuits like heat/hot water while avoiding what befell Fremer when he installed a generator. I think I’ve got a clearer picture now. Thanks everyone.

    Parker
    OH sorry , understand now. Hope it works out for ya.
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  33. #33

    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    I read Fremer's article as well and got a big in my stomach as I had just ordered a big Kohler backup generator!

    Given that we all (mostly all) believe that power cords, outlets, dedicated lines, etc make a sonic difference, it stands to reason that adding an electrical panel or transfer switch to the chain could do the same, so I don't doubt what he's hearing. It could also be an anomaly or incorrect hookup.

    That said, I don't see the harm in isolating your audio circuits ahead of the transfer switch which is what I plan to do. As some others already stated, I don't care about having audio during a power outage.

    To pdub, I think you've got the right idea to just re-arrange the panels to suit your needs.

  34. #34
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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    I have a whole house generator also, but no need for audio at that level if we’re living off a generator for an extended period of time.


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    Re: Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

    Quote Originally Posted by Hounddog View Post
    I have a whole house generator also, but no need for audio at that level if we’re living off a generator for an extended period of time.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

    You really nailed it. I live at the beach and we got our whole house generator to support or home during long outages as a results of a, you guessed it Hurricanes. And listening to music is the not a top priority, we need news, power in general and like I said, having some critical music session, well is not on my mind. Like Hurricane Mathew, we were out for 4 days after being allowed back into our area. We arrived and the generator was running. You see this and go , I sure hope !
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Fremer's Generac problem--whole-house generators and SQ

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