Generator on or off?

I have a Generac generator to power the house during utility company outages.
I would like to know the state of the Generator: ON or OFF.
I would like to get an alert when this state changes.

I thought the easiest way would be to use the outlet on the Generac itself: it is powered only when the device is running.

I assume this requires some kind of polling of a device like a smart plug plugged into the Generac, which could generate (no pun intended) the required alert when the state of the device changes (online/offline).

Is there any easy solution to implement this??

There’s a number of devices that will monitor power usage directly off your breaker panel. You could put one on the lines coming from your power company, and another on the lines coming from the generator. Based on which one is showing “0” you’d know which source you’re running on.

The only problem there is I have to mess around with the transfer switch (which feeds the breaker panel from the appropriate source as required)…I would like to first try a simple solution that does not require an electrician!

Vibration sensor in a protected area?

You can definitely do this, it’s the same as a power outage alert but in reverse.

I’m tired now, but basically you just want to set up a notification for when a pocket socket plugged into that outlet comes on. You might have to plug-in nightlight into it so there is an actual power draw. It shouldn’t be too hard to find something appropriate.

The main questions are likely to be environmental: how far away is the generator and is it in a metal shed?

In my case there were 3 states we needed to monitor

  • mains on
  • generator on (and providing power)
  • no power (neither generator or mains)

In our case we had dry contacts on the transfer switch for the first two, and our alarm system understands when ‘no power’.

Newer transfer switches may have the dry contacts for the first two.

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This is easy peasy

Use contact sensors, with wire capability. I really like the Ecolink DWZWAVE2.5-ECO model. These will show “contact closed” if the wires are shorted together and “open” of they are open.

Then you can either find the appropriate alarm contacts on your Automatic Transfer Switch and or generator or you can make then yourself using relays. I use an ASCO 300G Automatic Transfer Switch with REX module that has those contacts native. Your Generac may or not have them.

If using relays, here’s how to do it…

On the utility side of your ATS use a 120 volt relay. wire it to the contact sensor “utility power available”

Do the same thing on the generator side of the ATS with a contact called “generator power available

Add a third relay on the load side of the ATS, call this “load power available.

If you want to get snazzy you can create a virtual switch called “house on generator power” use automations to set the state of that switch to be On IF both “generator power available” and “load power available” are CLOSED.

Here’s how I displayed the alarms using Actiontiles

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