Our standby generators automatically start when a switch in the automatic transfer switch closes and the gen stops when that switch opens. Usually we bury 2 16ga wires along with two 120/240v hot and ground wires from the ATS to the generator that are used only when the generator runs during a power outage. But often the 120/240v and ground wire are already buried for a previous non-automatic tractor PTO generator. So now we need to trench and bury another two 16ga wires often several hundred feet in length.
Is there or could a 12 vdc transmitter device be designed that could send a radio signal down any of the three #4 to #000ga generator supply wires that would trigger a receiver and switch to start the generator and when the main line power was restored would open the same switch to stop the generator when the ATS micro switch opens?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Power Line Telecommunications (PLT) for SCADA is a common method. But I do not have any product recommendations. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2020 at 22:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Schneider may have some solution. se.com/ww/en/product-category/4100-power-monitoring-and-control \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2020 at 22:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is power line carrier equipment that may be more suitable if all that is needed to be transmitted is something like a single contact closure or a few pieces of discrete information. \$\endgroup\$
    – user80875
    Feb 7, 2020 at 23:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't know of any product to help you. But this is a good example of why everyone should bury 2 inch conduit (at least) when they run their PTO generator wires in the first place so all they have to do is pull two new wires for the ATS. \$\endgroup\$
    – mkeith
    Feb 8, 2020 at 0:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mkeith - Questions involving buried conduit and power are common at DIY, but I don't think that particular SE would have any idea how to answer the original question of how to send data over the same power lines he has buried. \$\endgroup\$
    – Hitek
    Feb 8, 2020 at 3:21

1 Answer 1


Transmitters can be capacitively coupled to a power transmission line, but this may not even be necessary in your case. In the short distances you are stating, a completely wireless solution should suffice, given there is a power source at the remote generator.

However, it seems to me in my initial thoughts, that a load sensing circuit could be installed at the generator end that, along with a relay, could serve your purposes without having to install some over-complicated wireless system. That, however, would require a separate question, like "How can I engage a remote generator using only the supply wires that are currently installed"...


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