need help understanding backup power switching options


Old 07-14-05, 10:32 AM
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need help understanding backup power switching options

Need some help sorting through a couple of options I'm told I have for a home backup electrical genset.

Seems there's two ways the genset is supplied/configured. One is with an auto transfer switch. The other is a 2 pole switch.

As best as I can figure out, what it really means is that with one of these (I think it's the 2 pole switch), my genset will feed in at the service meter. And, if I opt for the transfer switch, the genset will feed in at a sub-panel I'll have to have an electrician bring out of the main panel.

If I've got all that straight, what does it really matter to me which scheme I opt for?

Seems like with the 2 pole switch, the only thing different would be in the event of a power failure, I'd have to go out and switch the house from utility power over to the genset, whereas with feeding a sub-panel, the switching would take place automatically, and that would be about the only difference I'd see.

Probably need a little help here in clearing things up.
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Old 07-14-05, 02:06 PM
Speedy Petey's Avatar
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It's not two pole switch, it's double throw switch. Semantics, but important.

You are correct. Basically you are describing a manual transfer swtich and an automatic transfer swtich.
The difference....$$$$.

These types of switches are for larger gensets, like ~8-10kw and up.
It is highly frowned upon to use a smaller unit with a whole house tranfer switch.

In cases of smaller gensets a transfer panel is a better option. Like those offered by Gen-Tran or Reliant.

For larger units there is also the option of a main breaker interlock. These use a metal interlock to prevent a back feed breaker from being turned simultaneously with the main breaker.
Old 07-14-05, 07:23 PM
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Pete has good info.
Your choices need to be:
auto or manual
whole house or some circuits

These two answers will help direct the solution.
Old 07-15-05, 11:56 PM
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Thanks. Now I think I've got it. Good info.

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