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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Anybody do double-throw switches these days?

Author  [Modern View]
mkirsch

01-08-2014 07:53:17
65.199.189.6



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Back on the farm, we have a large double-throw switch out at the power pole.

I'd like to put something like that on my house, but it seems that "automatic transfer" switches are in fashion these days.

A double throw seems like it would be simpler. Only the main feed from the meter would need to be changed, not half the wiring in my house.

I don't need something *THAT* idiot proof, just something to safely disconnect me from the grid in a power outage so I can run my generator without having to play "musical extension cords."

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RodInNS

01-09-2014 06:37:59
216.118.158.123



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to mkirsch, 01-08-2014 07:53:17  
If you're doing anything... get a good double pole, double throw MANUAL transfer switch. We have had one on our main system for 35 years. It works perfectly... and there's not much to know about it. Up is for line power; down is for genset. Half way is fully disconnected....
We've also got one of those half assed panels in the house that allow a few circuits to operate. All that did was make a mess of the wiring and we still don't have anything useful running in the house. I could care less if the 2 freezers are running during a 5 hour power outage. I want water, heat and a stove that works along with lights. I can figure out what combination therof to turn on. So... I'd say that unless you intend to transfer the entire house you're just as well off doing nothing. An automatic switch wouldn't be a bad thing I suppose as long as the main is transferred... but I still prefer the manual throw switch.

Rod

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Charles (in GA)

01-08-2014 18:52:59
24.159.109.138



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to mkirsch, 01-08-2014 07:53:17  
If you don't have, or expect to have a 200 amp generator, then a 200 amp DPDT switch is a waste of money.

An interlock on the panel, allowing say a 30 amp breaker in the upper right, fed by the generator, and the main breaker, to be interlocked so both cannot be on at the same time, is doable for most situations.

The GenerLink does the same thing, powers the panel with up to 30 amp from a generator, but does it at the meter. This may be a better choice if you have a Main Lug panel, or you would have to add a main breaker conversion to use the interlock kits. Difference is cost GenerLock is pricey, and that the Power Company will have to approve and install it, as its their meter it is plugging in underneath.

Square D QO interlock is about $50+ on Ebay plus another $50 for a generator inlet box plus wire and installation.

Charles

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Dusty MI

01-09-2014 05:00:23
96.58.50.90



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to Charles (in GA), 01-08-2014 18:52:59  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

If you can set your panel main so the main breaker is beside the generator breaker, an interlock bracket is only about $15.

Dusty



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huntingreen2day

01-08-2014 18:36:12
75.131.120.19



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to mkirsch, 01-08-2014 07:53:17  
I have been trying to figure out a good way to do mine. I have (2) 200 amp Homeline panels. My meter is CT so I cannot put a switch in the meter. 400 amp transfer switch of any kind is expensive. The utility company and the load wires to my panel are made up in a 12 12 x 6 J box on my outside wall. It is an underground service and new service wires would have to be pulled if I did break down and spend the bucks for the 400 amp TS. I like the idea of the breaker lock but it does not disconnect the neutral. I once installed an outside disconnect made like this that replaced the meter base. It was made by SD. The locks seem to be pricey for what you get. I would need to install 2 of the locks and tie the gen power to both gen breakers in the panel.

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mazemeister

01-08-2014 15:41:33
69.127.90.15



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to mkirsch, 01-08-2014 07:53:17  
double throw switch should work just fine. they are pricey but there are deals out there on good used ones, especially if you have some time to wait for a deal to come along.



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massey333

01-08-2014 15:13:45
209.173.189.232



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to mkirsch, 01-08-2014 07:53:17  
A 200-200 manual will run about $500 up plus install.All the major Electric box co.make them.



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old

01-08-2014 10:28:34
209.86.226.30



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to mkirsch, 01-08-2014 07:53:17  
Do not know about your power company but the ones around here will install one for you. Ya you have to pay for it but either way you would have to pay some one to install it any how. Have a friend who had been on this site a few years ago that had one installed. I think he said it cost him around $200 for every thing



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showcrop

01-08-2014 09:28:35
75.67.231.80



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to mkirsch, 01-08-2014 07:53:17  
I have one. But like JGayman says, it's at the top of my breaker box. I don't need to go outdoors. and it is blessed by the utility co-op.



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Paul

01-08-2014 09:12:17
66.60.223.232



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to mkirsch, 01-08-2014 07:53:17  
Legally, you do need something -that- idiot proof.

I have no doubt you are smart enough.

Someday your wife or son or daughter might have to run it. Are they all above average mechanically?

Someday you will sell your place. With the next owner be above average?

Electrical stuff lasts longer than us, gets passed on to others.

And as we look around, there are a -lot- of idiots out there. Just takes your breath away sometimes seeing the depth of idiocy doesn't it? :)

The transfer box isn't for you.

You buy it for the lineman working on the lines, you buy it to keep your insurance rates down, you buy it so any idiot can keep the power running on your place.

Paul

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JML755

01-08-2014 08:44:48
97.78.165.195



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to mkirsch, 01-08-2014 07:53:17  
mkirsch,

I agree with David G. Put in a manual switch. It'll take a couple of hours to install it next to your main panel. The actual wiring took me maybe 15 minutes of that on a 6 circuit version. No messing with the main feed, you just disconnect the "hots" off each breaker you want on the switch, wire-nut them to a wire from the switch and put a wire from the switch to the breaker. Most of the time was putting up a board for the switch, punching a hole in the outside wall and feeding a cord through for the generator connection outside the house.

The 6 circuits I chose give me power on all the critical items (fridge, furnace, etc) plus a light circuit and outlet in each room of the house.
After I throw the switch to "generator" on the 6 circuits, I leave a light on in the hallway (not on the generator circuits) so I know when the power kicks back on.

Since I'm only going to be in this house for a couple more years, I didn't bother with an auto system. THAT will be on my next house.

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buickanddeere

01-08-2014 15:59:00
209.240.119.130



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to JML755, 01-08-2014 08:44:48  

JML755 said: (quoted from post at 12:44:48 01/08/14) mkirsch,

I agree with David G. Put in a manual switch. It'll take a couple of hours to install it next to your main panel. The actual wiring took me maybe 15 minutes of that on a 6 circuit version. No messing with the main feed, you just disconnect the "hots" off each breaker you want on the switch, wire-nut them to a wire from the switch and put a wire from the switch to the breaker. Most of the time was putting up a board for the switch, punching a hole in the outside wall and feeding a cord through for the generator connection outside the house.

The 6 circuits I chose give me power on all the critical items (fridge, furnace, etc) plus a light circuit and outlet in each room of the house.
After I throw the switch to "generator" on the 6 circuits, I leave a light on in the hallway (not on the generator circuits) so I know when the power kicks back on.

Since I'm only going to be in this house for a couple more years, I didn't bother with an auto system. THAT will be on my next house.


Never seen such a waste of time to cobble on four or six circuits out of 20+ in the panel. Lights draw very little power but are handy and there is less tripping in the dark. Just switch the entire panel with a Generlink, or main breaker/generator inter-lock safety slide.
http://www.reliancecontrols.com/ProductDetail.aspx?TWB2012DR
This post was edited by buickanddeere at 16:01:44 01/08/14.

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IH2444

01-08-2014 16:14:36
98.67.145.187



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to buickanddeere, 01-08-2014 15:59:00  
Umm then you have to turn off the water heater breaker,etc.

And the wife would be running the vacuum.

Now if you have a 200 amp generator that would be fine.



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jgayman

01-08-2014 17:38:46
67.234.140.49



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to IH2444, 01-08-2014 16:14:36  
>Umm then you have to turn off the water heater >breaker,etc.
>
>And the wife would be running the vacuum.
>
>Now if you have a 200 amp generator that would >be fine.

This is true. But is it very easy. I run my whole house from a 6500W Honda Inverter. I have about 30 circuits and I put little orange stick-on dots next to the breakers that get turned off when running from emergency power. It is basically the hot water heater and central air. Everyone understands the drill.

And... in a true extended emergency, if I find myself needing more hot water I **can** run the hot water heater from the generator if I turn off a bunch of the other breakers until the water gets hot. I tested it last summer. The water heater showed 5500 watts on the generator's wattmeter.

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David G

01-08-2014 08:22:06
204.29.138.33



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to mkirsch, 01-08-2014 07:53:17  
What you are suggesting is not a good idea.

Put a manual transfer switch in. It is not worth killing someone over.



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mkirsch

01-08-2014 11:51:24
65.199.189.6



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to David G, 01-08-2014 08:22:06  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

I *AM* suggesting a MANUAL TRANSFER SWITCH.

They're known as a double-throw switch.

Street power connected to one side.

House breaker panel connected to the middle.

Generator cord connected to other side.

You can select either generator or street power input, but never both at the same time. The one at the farm has worked fine for 40 years.

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Cliff(VA)

01-08-2014 08:18:47
173.15.198.137



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to mkirsch, 01-08-2014 07:53:17  
Manual tranfer switches are still available. The fancier automatic switches with a separate breaker panel are used to isolate the critical circuits (freezer,well pump, gas furnace, etc.) from the non-critical circuits (dishwasher, clothes dryer, electric baseboards, etc.). That way you do not have to go around and shut off everything before you crank up your generator. Nor can the wife or kids turn on something that will overload your generator.

Since the transfer switches with the circuit boxes handle less total current than the "master switch" type, they can actually be cost competitive with a 200A double throw master switch.

HTH

Cliff(VA)

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jgayman

01-08-2014 08:17:17
67.234.140.49



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to mkirsch, 01-08-2014 07:53:17  
There are numerous ways to do a SAFE simple whole-house generator hookup.

I have an interlock kit installed in my main panel. I flip the main and generator breaker (which are mechanically interlocked) and the whole house is switched over to the generator.

http://www.interlockkit.com/

There is also a device you can have connected to your meter base. The only "automatic" aspect is that is automatically switches when you plug the generator in.

http://www.generlink.com/about_generlink.cfm

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RMinVa

01-08-2014 08:35:02
67.142.166.21



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to jgayman, 01-08-2014 08:17:17  
Just installed one Christmas eve for my son. Simple and easy to install for $56 and free shipping from generlink. Moved several breakers,connected wires and drilled 3 holes and was done.
Got the generator receptacle on the outside wall. Just plug generator in, switch main breaker off and 30 amp generator breaker in the service on and powering what he needs to run.



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Butch(OH)

01-08-2014 08:08:49
66.192.33.38



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 Re: Anybody do double-throw switches these days? in reply to mkirsch, 01-08-2014 07:53:17  
ya, they are still around, have not checked recently but always used to be on Ebay both new and used. I am not a fan of the panel you speak of either. Another route if you have room in the panel is to use the top breaker slot for generator feed and install the UL approved interlock kit so the main and breaker cannot both be on at the same time. This is what I have. It is a code legal, cheap, and safe alternative to the DTS.

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