which manual transfer switch for our generator ?

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  #1  
Old 04-14-11, 04:59 PM
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which manual transfer switch for our generator ?

Hi,
Back in 2005, 7 days into our 15 day stint with without power (Wilma) we picked up a 6200 running watt (9200 starting watt) Briggs and Stratton PowerBoss generator. Knock on wood we haven't needed it since. In the 'war zone' like world we were living we had an electrician set it up to run through the dryer outlet. We know now that this is not good practice (in our defense we did flip the main and padlocked the box) and are now investigating a manual transfer switch.

I know virtually nothing about electricty and would appreciate it if you could make me a little smarter so that I can have a good conversation with the electrician I'll have install the switch. I know that our little generator does not have enough ummph to power everything. We had rules; #1 coffee maker / washer at the same time, #2 water heater all by itself, #3 All 15A fuses / fridge / washer. I realize that we will have to follow similar rules with a transfer switch.

I was looking at something like this "NEW RELIANCE 31410CRK 7500 W POWER TRANSFER SWITCH KIT" which is available on ebay as well as homedepot for the same $350 or so. Is this a good choice ? It says it is a "10-circuit 30 Amp transfer switch". The water heater (the most important electrical component to us) is using a (double pull?) 30A fuse currently. We would never use the Range (60A), A/c (50A) and Dryer (30A). There is a fuse for the second floor sub-panel (60A) which my notes show we also were able to turn on during the storm.

We would set the new switch immediately adjacent to the current panel in the garage. The reliance website says it should take a qualified electrician about an hour to install. Is this a realistic estimate ? (We would be able to identify the purpose of each of the fuses in the box).

Thanks for any advice.
 
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  #2  
Old 04-14-11, 06:26 PM
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I have the same exact switch (except mine is made by GenTran, not Reliance, but it's the same switch). It is very easy to set up. However, the switches in it are only rated for 20A (and as such it has 12ga hookup wire). You will not be able to hook your water heater up to it.

You will need something like this:



This switch uses standard breakers so you can configure them any way you need, and it hooks up basically the same way as the other one. The only differences are that you will have to install a 60 or 100A double pole breaker in your panel, and that the transfer panels do not have an inlet, you have to run a remote inlet box to the outside of the house. TBH if I were you, given that you are in an electric house, I would use the 12.5kW (50A) panel. That would give you some flexibility if you decide to upgrade your generator at some point so you can run your A/C (that must be a huge unit if it's on a 50A breaker, they are usually on a 30A). The range also seems like it's on a breaker that's too big, usually they are on 40-50A breakers unless it is an induction cooktop with oven. Those are the only ones I've seen that use 60A.

In all actuality if you can turn a screw and twist on a wirenut, you can install these switches. You just have to be safe. If you are not comfortable working with electricity, turn the main off. And stay away from the top of your panel. Even with the main turned off, the terminals up top are always live!
 
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Old 04-14-11, 06:31 PM
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And stay away from the top of your panel.
Or sometimes the bottom depending on how the mains are connected.
 
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Old 04-14-11, 07:39 PM
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I am not a electrician but you would need a Q series switch that has two breakers for a 30A appliance such as your HWH.

Its the only switch they have for 1- 30A breaker. Otherwise you need to go the a panal link.

Q series

Q310A Pro/Tran Q Series | Product Details | Reliance Controls Corporation

Here is a product selector to help you.

Product Selector | Reliance Controls Corporation


There is this device also.

Generator InterLock Kit
Mike NJ
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 04-14-11 at 08:12 PM.
  #5  
Old 04-15-11, 07:20 AM
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Thank you all for your thoughts. I guess I didn't give as much info as I should have. By South Florida standards our house is a little old (1967 or so).

I took a couple photos but I don't see how I could post them... We have a panel of breakers (with no empty spaces left) in the garage BUT it does not have the 'main' breaker. That sits in another box on the outside of the house next to the meter. That panel has a single 150A breaker. It is this breaker that I toggle when using the generator (and which I padlock).

Stupid question - when I throw that breaker on the outside of the house there is no more power going to the panel in the garage, right ?

I liked the idea of the InterlockKit but when I called them the guy said they only have devices where the main breaker is in the box with the other breakers.

As I mentioned the panel in the garage is full of breakers (no room for another main there) and the panel on the outside (although quite large - perhaps 12X16) does not seem to expect anything but the single breaker it has today.

Given this new info does anyone have any new suggestions ?

Thanks again.
 
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Old 04-15-11, 07:46 AM
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I took a couple photos but I don't see how I could post them
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
  #7  
Old 04-15-11, 09:05 AM
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What is the amps coming out of your gen? It should say at the round plug in the gen.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 04-15-11, 10:02 AM
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I have a 6200 watt generator as well.... I used a Reliance 30216A for mine, was easy to install. It is only 6 circuits but that is all I need. The ten circuit you mention is fine except you won't be able to use 30 amp load for the tank, although they do make a single unit for furnaces that you could use if you want to add it...but you could only run that generator either or.....
The larger units like the Q series would have more capacity but your generator would drink the gas at higher usage. Those are meant for larger gens but you could use one if you wish,,,but take care not to overload your generator. You most likely have a 30 amp max rated outlet on yours like mine so you could not run much else when that tank is being ran. So far we have only used ours twice, but both times were recent. One schmuck stole the gorunding off a sub station and knocked power out for a night here and then we had storms roll in the next week and we lost for a day and a night....Did not miss hot water since it was a short time.
 
  #9  
Old 04-15-11, 01:41 PM
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Below please find 3 images; the outside panel, the panel in the garage and the panel on the side of the generator.

The bottom line however is that the 10 breaker Reliance transfer switch cannot handle the 30A breaker in the house panel, correct ?

Even today we have a timer on the water heater so that it only runs for 1 hour in the middle of the night (saves us a fortune). We would have no problem at all using the WH all by itself.

Thanks





 
  #10  
Old 04-15-11, 02:30 PM
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I think the best you can do is this.

Q306A Pro/Tran Q Series | Product Details | Reliance Controls Corporation

It has 1- 30a breaker for your HWH. The rest for other circuits

Also get this.

PB30 T/Power Accessory | Product Details | Reliance Controls Corporation

Then run 10/3 wire from that to the transfer switch.

Again I am not a electrician but installed this type set up in my home. We lost power for 5 hours Wednesday. We were the only one with power.


Should be about $400 if you DIY.


Mike NJ
 
  #11  
Old 04-15-11, 02:30 PM
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the 30410 will not do the tank. You would have to install a separate panel for that or, GE makes a breaker-loadcenter type unit as does Reliance that would work but more difficult to install. The reliance ready-made switches like the 30216 or 30410 have the cables prewired and marked so you just route them and install in the breaker circuits you want to take care of. You would have to run a separate feeder to the loadcenter type units, then run the wires from the circuits to it and that may be difficult. Those types are better installed when new contruction or a rewire situation, unless you have plenty of wire and room to move them over...GE TM860SCU is an item you can research to see. Has built in double throw main but is expensive. But again, you can install a separate Reliance 30 amp 240v single switch to take care of the tank and just switch off on them. I will have to do this eventually for my son's furnace and the man that installed it used a 240V rated Goodman unit and it can't run off a small generator panel like mine unless we rewire it, which I won't do (it is an outdoor combo unit, big as heck). I think a reliance CSR302R is what you would need. You will also need to decide how you are going to feed this, either a large extention cord, 10 guage, 4 conductor direct to the units, or, running romex to outside wall and installing 1 or two PB30 power inlets to connect outside. Take a look at the Reliance site and you will see there is a lot there to consider and use.
 
  #12  
Old 04-15-11, 02:44 PM
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Having the outside main circuit breaker makes this easy. I would just install a stand-alone double pole-double throw center off transfer switch adjacent to the main circuit breaker. You would then wire from the load side of the circuit breaker to the "utility" side of the transfer switch and from the "common" or "output" terminals of the transfer switch back to the main lugs of the inside panel where the original wiring from the main circuit breaker ran.

Then connect a weatherproof generator "inlet" to the "generator" side of the transfer switch and make up an interconnect cable from the inlet to the generator. During a power outage simply throw the transfer switch handle from the utility side to the generator side and then switch the individual circuit breakers in the inside panel as you do now. It gives you great flexibility (but also the great possibility of overloading the generator) at a fairly low cost and with minimal rewiring.

200 Amp Transfer Switch - Great Deals on 200 Amp Transfer Switches at Harbor Freight
You need the 200 ampere model because you have a 150 ampere service.
 
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Old 04-15-11, 03:24 PM
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Furd,

I just read your post (hastily) but I think my mind was almost the same place your's is.

Is what you are proposing close to (in my layman terms) a sub-panel with 2 switches which would toggle whether the main (from the pole) or the generator flow through to the current house panel ?

If so - the I was thinking the same thing with a twist. I liked that InterlockedKit idea brought up earlier. (I found this by the way)...
Electrical Solutions Industry News

>> scratch this
>>I wonder if I could come across a sub-panel which might accomdate their device ? I was also >>wondering if they were implying that these "feed-through panels" incorporated their >>mechanical lock in some way. I noticed these were 125amp so I figured I probably couldn't >>use these exact ones.
>>Generator InterLock Kit - Feed Through >>Panel Kits

Do you see anything wrong with this one ?
GenTran 200 AMP 12,500 Watt Outdoor SE-Rated Manual Transfer Switch: Details & Specs at NexTag

I guess there is no InterLockKit device needed because these types of transfer switches will not allow both switches to be thrown at the same time ??

Might look a little less ominous and hopefully I could put it inside next to the house panel and mount put the generator plug there as well.

The Reliance Q310A might have worked but I didn't like the idea of hardwiring the breakers much. This way we could pick and choose (keeping in mind load) as needed.

Thanks for your help !
 

Last edited by lhpdiver; 04-15-11 at 04:02 PM.
  #14  
Old 04-15-11, 04:06 PM
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Lawrosa,
Thanks for your ideas. (I'm from exit 165 on the Parkway - 30 years ago)
 
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Old 04-15-11, 04:11 PM
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I was 153. Paterson originally then Pompton Lakes. Now Howell.

I just cant leave NJ. I love the corruption and High taxes.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 04-15-11, 04:19 PM
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Is what you are proposing close to (in my layman terms) a sub-panel with 2 switches which would toggle whether the main (from the pole) or the generator flow through to the current house panel ?
It would be a single switch so no interlock needed. In one position power come from the geny and the other from the mains.
 
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Old 04-15-11, 04:48 PM
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As Ray stated, the switch that I linked to is a single switch with three positions, a center off with the up and down sides energized through the utility or generator. The Reliance you linked to is a variation on the Interlockkit in that it uses two circuit breakers with a mechanical interlock that prevents both circuit breakers from being "on" at the same time. The problem with the mechanical interlocks is that most of them are a part of the cover and some jurisdictions do not accept them as a positive means of ensuring that both breakers cannot be energized at the same time. This is because if the interlock is part of the panel front (cover) removing the front also removes the interlock.
 
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Old 04-15-11, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
I was 153. Paterson originally then Pompton Lakes. Now Howell.

I just cant leave NJ. I love the corruption and High taxes.

Mike NJ
You'll get out eventually.. I finally did last year when I moved to Kansas to take care of my mom (although from what I hear Christie is cleaning house - having every union in NJ pissed off at you is proof you're doing things right! ).

Born in Paterson, lived in West Milford till I was 10, then lived in Pequannock for the next 20 years... And I reeeeealy miss Taylor ham and good pizza! All they got is franchise pizza here and they don't know what the hell Taylor ham is!

>> Meanwhile, back at the thread.. <<

I've said this before and I'll say it again here.. I'm not a fan of 'full load' manual transfer switches no matter how it's done. First, you get no indication when the power is back, and second it is way too easy to overload the generator, especially one that small. And then as Furd mentioned, there is the question of whether or not your AHJ would approve an "interlock" style switch at all.

You would be much better off using a 'selected circuit' switch, just as you were originally thinking. You would just have to use the ones suggested by myself or lawrosa because they can be used with a 30A circuit.
 
  #19  
Old 04-15-11, 06:00 PM
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Furd helped clear some of the cobwebs - the interlocked route won't fly here because it is defeated when you remove the faceplate. I had that conversation in 2005 but forgot it.

It really doesn't matter if we detect the exact moment the power comes back on.

As for selecting the breakers to enable - that's no big deal either. We make some coffee, turn most everything off and run the water heater for an hour, turn it off and turn on all the little outlets tv, fridge, computers etc).

I like the switch that Furd points me to (and there is a new one on craigslist for $150) but I'm not clear if it is for inside or outside and I worry that it would be too easy to throw that handle.

I miss 3 things about NJ; the closeness of the city, good pizza and the hotdogs from Hiram's or Callahan's in Fort Lee (if they are still there). Maybe a bag of White Castle burgers.
 
  #20  
Old 04-15-11, 06:34 PM
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A friend of mine went the route of the full size switch some years ago and has had no issues so far. He has a 8KW unit (actually a pull behind welder he bought with a 8KW generator). Cost him a bit for the switch and the 4 conductor wire he used but so far he has not burned up the generator. You would have to monitor the usage for sure. The Reliance units are available with watt meters, which can come in handy for balancing the load and seeing how much you are pulling. Balancing them is also important. Good luck!
 
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Old 04-15-11, 06:40 PM
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Furd helped clear some of the cobwebs - the interlocked route won't fly here because it is defeated when you remove the faceplate.
The interlinked circuit breakers keep the generator isolated from the utility at all times, even with the deadfront removed.

This one does that.

TWB2003DR Panel/Link | Product Details | Reliance Controls Corporation

but I'm not clear if it is for inside or outside and I worry that it would be too easy to throw that handle.
Whats that mean? You can put a lock on it if need be.

I personally like the seperate 6-10 switch. I have a 6 switch and have well pump, TV, All ceiling fans for B-Rooms (no AC), Heat, refridge, and several lights and outlets.

What more do you need. Its emergency power. Your not at the Hilton. Its either that or no power at all. Plus my gen will not be overloaded. I only have a 3750 watt with 4500 surge. Runs 10 hours @ 1/2 load.

( Rutts Hutt in Passiac. Libbys in Paterson ( Best hot dogs all the way) Hot Grill, Johnny and Hanges )


Mike NJ
 
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Old 04-15-11, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
The interlinked circuit breakers keep the generator isolated from the utility at all times, even with the deadfront removed.

This one does that.

TWB2003DR Panel/Link | Product Details | Reliance Controls Corporation



Whats that mean? You can put a lock on it if need be.

I personally like the seperate 6-10 switch. I have a 6 switch and have well pump, TV, All ceiling fans for B-Rooms (no AC), Heat, refridge, and several lights and outlets.

What more do you need. Its emergency power. Your not at the Hilton. Its either that or no power at all. Plus my gen will not be overloaded. I only have a 3750 watt with 4500 surge. Runs 10 hours @ 1/2 load.

( Rutts Hutt in Passiac. Libbys in Paterson ( Best hot dogs all the way) Hot Grill, Johnny and Hanges )


Mike NJ
No it doesn't. That interlock is attached to the deadfront on all of those. It is not attached to the breakers. I don't think there are any that aren't attached to the DF besides the true on/off/on or contactor type.

(Never been to Libby's or J&H, but LOVE Hot Grill and I haven't had a Rutt's Ripper in too long! D*mn you now I really want one!! Also love sliders from White Manna in Hackensack!!)
 
  #23  
Old 04-15-11, 09:40 PM
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Did you read the manual? This is what it says.

The interlinked circuit breakers keep the generator isolated from the utility at all times, even with the deadfront removed.
TWB2003DR Panel/Link | Product Details | Reliance Controls Corporation

That means what it says I would say.

All and all it will be cheaper and easier to go with the transfer switch that has the one 30amp breaker. He the OP can do it for probably $400.

But alot of homeowners want to power the whole panel for some reason. The next best thing for the OP would be that big power grid switch Furd suggested.

If he can figure a way to change his main 150 breaker to lock somehow he can probably piggyback some breakers in his panel. ( add double breakers to make room for feed breakers for the gen)


Yeah, even when I moved to central Jersey they dont know what a north Jersey hot dog all the way is.
I try to explain to people but they just think its chile on it. Its that speacial onion sauce and deep fried dog that does it. Ummm!!!!

I used to have to ship taylor ham to my friends in FL, and CA. When they first moved there they asked for a taylor ham egg cheese with salt, pepper, ketchup and they looked at him like he had two heads. Its hard to believe many states dont know what taylor ham is. I guess its actually pork roll and taylor ham is a NJ brand of pork roll.

Mike NJ
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 04-15-11 at 09:55 PM.
  #24  
Old 04-15-11, 09:57 PM
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Ok, then they must have something else underneath. Because if you look at the picture, the interlock mechanism is attached to the deadfront. They don't show an exploded view, so it's hard to say.. But w/e, it doesn't change the fact that I don't like them..

I've been thinking of asking my sister to fedex me some, cause she lives in Toms River.. And true they don't know what Taylor ham is pretty much outside NJ (Taylor is THE brand in NJ), but outside the NY/NJ/PA tristate they don't even know what pork roll is! And you nailed it, ATW is all about the onion sauce!! (Oh, and salt pepper ketchup is one word not three: saltpeppaketchup, or simply "SPK".. )
 
  #25  
Old 04-24-11, 07:46 AM
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The best deal I have seen on a "Service Entrance" rated DPDT manual transfer switch is the Cutler Hammer 200 amp outdoor switch at harbor freight. It is normally 399.00, but they are running a 20% off sale right now which at 320.00 would make it an absolute BARGAIN. It is big and heavy, but with the OP's panel setup, its a good option, since the interlock kits wont work with that setup. Add one of the midwest power's power inlets, which can be found on ebay for cheap, and the op would be set.

Speaking of interlock kits, I AM a big fan of those things. I realize that is not the popular view around here, but IMO they are inexpensive, easy to install and they offer the homeowner the maximum felxibility in choosing what loads are to be powered. Some would argue that they can be defeated by removing the front of the panel. While that may be true, how many electrical devices maintain thier UL listing and meet code when they are halfway dissassembled? Is that a normal mode of operation for the panel? That is like saying my car is not safe because it wont stop when brake pads are removed. Rant off.

Whith that being said, they wont work with the OP's setup and something like the DPDT mentioned above would be a great option in that case.
 
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Old 04-25-11, 02:06 PM
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I think a better analogy would be "it's like saying your car is not safe because it won't stop when the doors are removed". But that's besides the point. The point is they are NOT acceptable by some codes for that very reason, and as such anyone considering one should check with their AHJ to make sure they are not wasting their money.

Even then, that isn't my issue with them. My problem with them or any other manual full-load transfer method, as I explained earlier, is that you get absolutely no indication of when the power is back on. So you could be unnecessarily running on backup and wasting gas for potentially long periods of time, especially when there are no obvious signs directly around you, like street lights or lights in the neighbor's houses (and even then, your neighbor could have a backup generator, and the street lights could be on a different circuit).
 
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