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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Transfer switches

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awlknottedup

08-03-2013 13:49:09




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This forum has been a wealth of information as we go though this house build, thank you all. Now for the question at hand.

I am thinking of a generator transfer switch near the main panel. I am looking at units that put the switch between the panel and selected loads. I want to power the well pump, hot water heater and selected lighting and power circuits.

The two most interesting are the Generac and Reliance, both 10 circuit. The Generac uses normal circuit breakers to replace the breakers in the panel which are removed. A main switch is used to select mains power or the generator and individual loads can be switched on and off.

The Reliance unit places switches between the panel breakers and load to select generator or mains. The reliance is about $50 more.

Anyone have any experience with those units?

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Leroy

08-04-2013 19:51:05




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 13:49:09  
If I was to install a switch then it would switch everything over, not just part. If generator is not big enought to run everything then just unplug what you do not want but then if you do not have the cpabilities you will want to run something you had not planned on. I just have to use cords.



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alg

08-04-2013 09:31:32




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 13:49:09  
I purchased and installed a Reliance switch.Used it with a 8000 kw. generator .Worked great and was easy to hook up. I since had a whole house generator installed,much better, automatically switches the load and no more lugging gas cans.



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El Toro

08-04-2013 11:33:36




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to alg, 08-04-2013 09:31:32  

That's one of the reasons I had our generator installed was the gas cans. If anything happened to me there's no way my wife could lift 5 gallons of gasoline. We have all gas appliances and was easy for the plumber to install Wardflex piping to the generator and use natural gas. Hal

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wsmm

08-04-2013 09:05:16




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 13:49:09  
I have an 7000 watt, 8000 surge generator. We lose power from time to time. I put in the reliance transfer unit with 1 240 transfer switch and 4 120 volt units. I have a good potion of my house powered with it. Wife and I are quite happy with it. Necessaries are powered, power at most has been out for about 5 days, Minor inconvenience at the most. Would definitely recommend the unit.



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dr sportster

08-04-2013 08:35:08




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 13:49:09  
The breaker in the Generac is unique to that equipoment and very expensive if it needs to be replaced.



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buickanddeere

08-05-2013 17:35:12




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to dr sportster, 08-04-2013 08:35:08  
Last thing I would be worried about



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dr sportster

08-06-2013 14:27:49




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to buickanddeere, 08-05-2013 17:35:12  
Ya if your not paying for it. If you price out the job and have to change it out for inspection. Your job just lost 200 bucks profit.



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John T

08-04-2013 05:38:07




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 13:49:09  
While there are indeed more then one legimitate and perfectly code compliant methods, my preference as an engineer was to use the simpler method where the Transfer Switch selected EITHER the Utility to feed the homes exisitng Main Panel ORRRRRRRR the Genset fed the exisitng Main Panel.....Its so easy to switch ON ONLY the loads you wish to use and the others OFF when the genset is the selected source of power if it lacks capacity to power everything.

The Main Panel receives power FROM THE TRANSFER SWITCH (NOT the Utility as normal) ,,,,,,The Switch is wired to TWO possible sources, the Utility orrrrrrrrr the Genset. PIECE OF CAKE TO WIRE AND USE AND no rewiring or reconnecting some loads one place or another ALL LOADS ARE ALREADY FED FROM THE MAIN PANEL AND IN PLACE simply turn a few off as/if necessary.

ALSO you only need to use a TWO POLE TRANSFER SWITCH and you DO NOT have to switch the Neutrals PROVIDED the Genset isnt configured as a Seperately Derived Source!!!!!!!

Still there are cost considerations and convenience and other factors where another method may work best in ones own particular situation SO TAKE A LOOK AND SEE and consult local authority and utilitly and professional electricians and engineers!!!!!!!!!

Your money your situation your choice, we report now you decide

John T

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mazemeister

08-04-2013 15:49:55




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to John T, 08-04-2013 05:38:07  
True, you only NEED a two pole transfer switch, but my thinking is, it's better to switch the neutral also. I've heard of the utility workers switching a hot and a neutral on the pole and burning down houses!

any reason not to use a 3 pole, double throw switch before the panel and be done with it?



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John T

08-05-2013 06:01:14




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to mazemeister, 08-04-2013 15:49:55  
The Utility Neutral has a tie to mother earth ground at the pole and theres another tie to mother earth ground at the service entrance so thats not a hazard.

If the genset is NOT configured as a Sepreately Derived Source, the 2 pole xfer swith is cheaper. Sure you can use a 3 pole and switch the Neutrals if the genset is configured as a Seperate Derived Source, but its more typical to use a 2 pole around here at least..

John T

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buickanddeere

08-04-2013 18:19:15




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to mazemeister, 08-04-2013 15:49:55  
If the generator has a bonded neutral, the transfer switch should switch the neutral as well as the live lines. If the generator has a floating neutral , the transfer switch should not switch the neutral and only switch the lines. Running neutral current on the ground system will shock livestock . Cause problems with communication equipment as land line phones, cable TV communications , alarm systems etc.

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MarkB_MI

08-03-2013 23:29:10




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 13:49:09  
Electric water heater? The first thing I would do would be to replace that heater with gas or propane. It's going to use up almost all your generator capacity.

10 circuits? Each 240 circuit takes up two circuit breaker slots. So well and water heater use two each; central air would take another two. If you already have separate main disconnect and main lug panels, replacing the main disconnect with a transfer switch as suggested by B&D is the simplest and best way to go.

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buickanddeere

08-03-2013 20:04:38




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 13:49:09  
Just switch the entire panel. These people proud of their generator running four or six essential breakers are daft. And for the love of $50 measly dollars, you have to be kidding.



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showcrop

08-03-2013 18:23:02




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 13:49:09  
The type you describe is good but recognize that after the first power outage you will have the electrician back installing a second one to include the things that you didn't realize that you needed. I really like the type that I have, that consists of an additional breaker to switch the generator power, and a sliding lockout that makes it impossible to have both street and generator on at the same time. I can run every circuit that I have including electric dryer. I just have to be judicious about it.

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Dusty MI

08-04-2013 05:56:16




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to showcrop, 08-03-2013 18:23:02  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

You can go here and see the type that Showcrop is talking about.

http://www.interlockkit.com/

And or do a search for breaker interlock generator transfer switch.

Most panel manufactures now have them for their panels for much less. Available through most big box stores.

Dusty



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buickanddeere

08-05-2013 17:37:58




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to Dusty MI, 08-04-2013 05:56:16  
The inter-lock retro fit is acceptable IF properly installed.



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notjustair

08-03-2013 17:11:49




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 13:49:09  
I have a 19K Onan unit. It is out by the shed in its own building. I have to start it manually (diesel) but the transfer switch setup does the whole farm. I haven't ever overloaded it. I got a new HVAC unit and they told me to flip the breaker on it. It has a DC blower and if I run it on generator power it voids the 10 year warranty. I just use about 4 space heaters.

Not sure on the brands, but I had a Generac RV unit. It was a pain. Leaked oil after just a few hours. Support for them is limited as well. I would avoid one of those if it were me.

Check your water heater and furnace to see if they will run OK on generator power.

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BILLY Shafer

08-05-2013 17:02:11




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to notjustair, 08-03-2013 17:11:49  
If it can"t run on generator power. Because of the DC blower. How does it run on line power which would be the same as generator power



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El Toro

08-03-2013 16:33:28




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 13:49:09  

I have the Kohler generator. It has 16 circuits
and one of the circuits feeds 120 volts to the generator to keep the battery charged. It's regulated at 2amps. It's programmed to run for 20 minutes every week. When hurricane Sandy hit the East coast last Oct we lost power for 26 hours
and the generator started automatically. I stopped it every 8 hours to check the oil level. My neighbors were calling to see why I had lights.
Hal

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SteveMT

08-03-2013 16:18:19




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 13:49:09  
I have the reliance with 6 circuits. Use two for water pump. The other four cover freezer, refrigerator, kitchen lighting, and furnace. Just enough to cover emergencies. Have outside plug for my 8000 watt generator. Have not needed to use it yet. It was fairly easy to wire.



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old

08-03-2013 15:26:19




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 13:49:09  
In this area the power company installs those and it is set up whole house or nothing. That way you use only what you want and the guys with the power company stay safe also. If you want to limit it more just turn off the breakers in the house that you do not want to have one



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JMS/.MN

08-03-2013 17:11:21




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to old, 08-03-2013 15:26:19  
Same thing here- REA put in the transfer switch and local electrician put in the bottom box where I plug in the alternator cord. REA will disconnect anyone without an approved transfer switch. I have a 25/45KW pto unit......D17 or larger can run it fine, but when we had the dairy, alt couldn"t run everything at once. Didn"t need to either.



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Sparktrician

08-03-2013 15:04:33




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 13:49:09  
If you are talking manual transfer switches.....get a 200A one, and switch the whole dang panel! Then....you can use whatever you want. That is how my house is setup. It is outside, next to the meter. There is a conduit ran from the transfer switch to the shop, where I can plug my generator welder in. WORKS GREAT! You can use a smaller generator just to run lights/tv/etc. Then if your wife needs to cook, laundry/whatever....use a bigger one. That is what I do.

I can get a 200A manual service rated transfer switch for $500.00 last I checked. The best way to go! If your service is bigger....they make bigger switches also.

Or are you wanting a autostart up deal?

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awlknottedup

08-03-2013 16:16:00




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to Sparktrician, 08-03-2013 15:04:33  
Manual start. I have to drag the generator from the shop to the house, hook it up, then start it. I have a 20KW generator with auto start and an automatic transfer switch but the control board is fried and I cannot find either a schematic or get someone to repair it.



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BILLY Shafer

08-06-2013 05:18:33




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 Re: Transfer switches in reply to awlknottedup, 08-03-2013 16:16:00  
Give Flight Systems a call. They rebuild control boards for just about everyone. I have used them for years. Better warranty than OEM and a better board.Plus real people that know what they are talking about.To talk to if you need help.



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