Generator Transfer Switch - Panel Upgrade?

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Old 08-05-12, 02:55 PM
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Generator Transfer Switch - Panel Upgrade?

One thing always leads to 10 more with me...

Bought a generator some time ago and finally decided to make it available to use for the house during power failure. A requirement of mine was to be able to have a connection that would prevent the generator from ever being connected to the utility - so I bought a Reliance Electric TCA1006D Manual Transfer Panel. The panel is simply (2) 2-pole breakers mechanically interlocked. One breaker is 100 amp for connection to the utility, the other is a 60 amp for the generator. The buss is then intended to be connected to my home main panel.

Since this purchase, I have been looking at my existing service - a 1970's model fuse panel with a sub-panel breaker box installed for expansion. I just hate to leave the old fuse panel/sub panel in place and ADD ANOTHER panel to this mess.

Does anyone know of a breaker panel / breaker combination that I can purchase (need 30 spaces) that would also accommodate a (2) 2-pole breaker mechanical interlock for my utility/generator transfer?

If I can upgrade my current service, eliminate my current sub panel and provide for generator transfer all in one place, I would love to go that route. Also, I am definitely not interested in anything fancy like auto transfer - I am too cheep for that.
 
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Old 08-05-12, 07:18 PM
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Your best bet would probably be a square d panel with their factory interlock kit field
Installed. Reliance makes a panel with the interlock buit in but they are expen$ive and I'm not sure about the quality.

The square d panels are cheaper and the square d interlock kit is about 60 bucks.
For re
 
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Old 08-06-12, 06:58 PM
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Thank you for the recommendation - I will look into the square d panel options.
 
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Old 08-06-12, 07:05 PM
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Here are the part numbers for the Square D factory kits. They are simplle to install and are about 100 bucks cheaper (and better) than the Aftermarket kits.

http://members.rennlist.org/warren/SQDinterlockkit.pdf
 
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Old 08-06-12, 07:13 PM
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Wow, thank you very much for the help - much appreciated!
 
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Old 08-06-12, 08:39 PM
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You can also buy a panel already setup for a generator feed. I don't know the model numbers but Google will probably turn up results.
 
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Old 08-08-12, 06:49 PM
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I guess I just assumed what I wanted to do would be hard to find items. Low and behold, I visited my local Menards and found everything to do the job:

Siemens
100 A 30 space panel S3030B1100: $65
Interlock hardware for (2) 2-pole breakers ECSBPK01: $25

This will enable me to power the panel from the utility or generator, but never both at the same time.

I have also enjoyed reading all the great discussions on this site regarding removing the neutral/ground bond at the generator for this application. Thanks yall.
 
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Old 08-09-12, 05:51 AM
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If you are putting in a brand new "main" panel with an interlocked generator feed, you should have neutrals and ground kept separate (not bonded) in that panel and four wires (hot, hot, neutral, ground) coming in for the utility service.

You will want to route the service wires (may be just hot, hot, neutral) first to a main disconnect switch box where the fat ground wires (grounding electrode conductors are attached and ground and neutral are bonded, then hot, hot, neutral, ground from there to the new panel. The interlock in the panel will protect the utility wires regardless of how the separate disconnect switch upstream is set.

Another (actually better choice) when putting in a new "main" panel is to install a separate whole-house transfer switch just upstream of the panel. This transfer switch should have neutral switching (be a 3 pole switch). Neutral-ground bonding is up on the utility feed side of the transfer switch with the switch box (can; frame) itself also bonded to ground. There would then be no need for an interlock in the new panel itself. This way you don't have to worry about neutral-ground unbonding in the generator.

The whole-house transfer switch does not need to be automated.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 08-09-12 at 06:07 AM.
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Old 08-20-12, 02:28 PM
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justdoinit- for the panel you listed (S3030B1100), you will need to swap out the 100A main breaker in the top-center spot for a 100A Stab-mount breaker & mount it directly across from 30A breakers at the top of the panel, in order to use Siemens Interlock Kit ECSBPK01. Once you remove the main breaker from its top-center position, you must cover the hole. I used the original knock-out secured with aluminim foil tape on both sides. If you don't have the knock-out (it's unlikely you would) simple use the tape by itself. This was accepted by our local municipal inspector. Hope this helps.
 
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Old 08-22-12, 05:01 PM
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I have since ordered interlock kit: ECSBPK04

This interlock allows the use of the main breaker in the top center spot. I have not received it yet, so I can not say if or how it works. I am hopeful it does work, so that I can use the main breaker that cam with the panel.
 
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Old 09-14-12, 04:50 PM
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I have received the ECSBPK04 interlock kit which will interlock the main breaker with a two pole breaker in the top left position. Oddly enough the interlock prevents breakers in the top right position from turning on - the hardware blocks the breaker handles from moving far enough to the left to turn on. Not sure if I have violated some code thing or not, but I have ground about 1/16 of an inch off the interlock which now allows the top right breakers to turn on.

A new question: My generator is 5000 watts with a L14-20 twist lock plug. Does it matter if the breaker I am back feeding into is a two pole 30 amp, or should it be 20 amp? I am assuming it does not matter much, as the generator has its own breaker. Any feedback?
 
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