Any such thing as a meter socket A/B switch combo?

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-15-11, 10:07 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,463
Any such thing as a meter socket A/B switch combo?

I want to add a generator but I'd prefer to manually select which circuits to power from my main panel rather than adding a 2nd panel. My main panel is weird in that there are 2 main disconnects with the downstream breakers divided into groups. This makes it about impossible to install the A/B in the main panel.
There's no space above the main panel for an A/B switch, and not much to the sides either.
There's little space outside for a large meter lug due to the supply wiring being underground.

So circumstances dictate that the "best" solution would be a normal-size meter lug with built-in DPDT switch. A weatherproof breaker-protected inlet box would be mounted on the wall next to the meter lug for plugging in the generator.

I thought I had seen such a thing in the past but now all I can find is a ridiculously long meter lug/generator switch with enough dead space inside for a couple families of raccoons to move in. I think the big wasteful panel was chosen to justify the ludicrous price tag

So am I having a "senior moment" here in thinking I've seen such a combo meter pan?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-15-11, 10:11 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,356
Please post some pictures of your installation along with the approximate age of the equipment. I'm thinking that you have what is called a "split bus" panel but such would normally have more than two (but a limit of six) main breakers.

Also, what 240 volt appliances do you have such as clothes dryer, kitchen range water heater, etc.
 
  #3  
Old 09-15-11, 11:17 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,463
There are 6 labeled "Main" (I think). The 2 lowest are wired to the bus bars that feed the downstream breakers. The upper 4 are for 220V large loads like range & such. None of those would need to be run on generator power. On gen power the only big load I have is my well pump. Heat, water, range & dryer are all gas.

Panel & most wiring is vintage mid-70's.
 
  #4  
Old 09-15-11, 11:23 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,288
Also which power company are you with?
 
  #5  
Old 09-15-11, 06:45 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,056
You'd have to use a transfer switch rated to the max feed into your panel. It would be installed before the panel and would most likely need to be installed by an electrician.

One example:
Utility / Generator Transfer Switch, 100 Amp-TCA1006D at The Home Depot

On the other hand, your split-bus panel is quite old. Depending on it's condition and if you plan on any other upgrades, you may want to consider replacing the panel. By installing a new panel, you can install a back-fed breaker for the generator and an interlock for the panel. All in one nice convenient package.
 
  #6  
Old 09-16-11, 07:10 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,463
I would consider replacing the panel if the new one would have the proper mechanical interlocked main breakers.
 
  #7  
Old 09-16-11, 09:13 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,288
Siemens makes a main panel that comes preset from the factory with manual or auto transfer breakers installed. The upper section is line power only, the bottom section is switched line or generator. After you replace the existing main panel, you just wire an inlet for the generator to the bottom right generator main breaker and it's ready to go.

 
  #8  
Old 09-17-11, 07:05 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,463
That looks like it would be great as a plan B...but i would prefer the switch in the meter pan.
 
  #9  
Old 09-17-11, 07:18 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,212
Is this anything close to what you are looking for? It's from Milbank.

http://www.milbankmfg.com/Products/C...S5963-5966.pdf
 
  #10  
Old 09-18-11, 05:33 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 118
Here is one from Ronk:

Ronk Transfer Switches
 
  #11  
Old 09-18-11, 05:47 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,212
Originally Posted by Auger01 View Post
Here is one from Ronk:

Ronk Transfer Switches
Can't say that I ever heard of Ronk, where is there main distribution area?
 
  #12  
Old 09-20-11, 06:51 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,463
I need to measure to see if I have enough height to mount a 3-foot or taller box to my house. Any reason these are so ridiculously long? The switchgear itself only occupies a fraction of the space in the cabinet--the rest is waste.

Is there a code requirement for how far above grade this kind of box must be mounted when the utility power is coming up from underground encased in rigid conduit?
 
  #13  
Old 09-20-11, 09:31 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,288
The highest breaker handle cannot be more than 6'-6" above grade, and the center of the meter socket should be about 5' even from final grade. The bottom of the cabinet should be above typical snow line.

The size of the cabinet is to accommodate safe bending radius for the large conductors. Bending the wire too tight causes the insulation to fail where it is kinked.

I see you're in Michigan -- If you are in Consumers Power service area you will need to have your meter socket approved by the distribution department before you install a non-standard one. Please see pg 13 of this PDF for pre-approved transfer sockets: http://www.consumersenergy.com/uploa...er-Sockets.pdf
 
  #14  
Old 09-20-11, 07:45 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,212
Is there a code requirement for how far above grade this kind of box must be mounted when the utility power is coming up from underground encased in rigid conduit?
That wouldn't be a code requirement, but a utility company regulation and the regulations generally vary by company. In my area, an underground service can have the center of the meter between 2' and 5'-6" AFG.
 
  #15  
Old 09-21-11, 06:31 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,463
All things considered I think it makes the most sense to replace my main panel with a gen-compatible one. Those meter socket/transfer switch boxes are crazy expensive and I can't install it myself. My main panel is old anyways & I can do that work myself.

I'm familiar with the Square D panels and the interlock kits available for them and others but I know I've seen a different interlock on a main panel online not long ago. Instead of a blocking plate it used a toggle so moving the handle on one Main breaker switched the other at the same time. I can't recall if that was a DIY modification or a panel that came that way. Anyone familiar with it?

It does make sense to me to have Main breakers that face each other and connected by a linkage but I've never seen a panel that would permit this.
 
  #16  
Old 09-21-11, 09:58 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,288
All the manufacturers have generator capable panels, you just have to check at the distributor or get the catalog. The panels with toggles right across from each other max out at 100A from what I've seen. The higher current breakers are too large to fit across from each other. General Electric may have the style you are thinking of because they have some panels with 4-space main breakers, although I'm not familiar enough with their line to quote you a model number.

The way you describe it sounds a little off. The interlock should require that one breaker is completely off before the other one can be engaged. It should not be simultaneous. It should also allow both breakers to be off or tripped at the same time.
 
  #17  
Old 09-30-11, 09:18 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,463
Originally Posted by guy48065 View Post
... I know I've seen a different interlock on a main panel online not long ago. Instead of a blocking plate it used a toggle so moving the handle on one Main breaker switched the other at the same time.
Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
The panels with toggles right across from each other max out at 100A from what I've seen. The higher current breakers are too large to fit across from each other.
I was knocking about on eBay today and found an example of the linkage I attempted to describe. So the problem is the 200A breaker is too big to fit this type of interlock?



(sorry about the lag--hope the thread can be revived...)
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'