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Electrical Transfer Switch Questions

An electrical device that is used to switch between two sources of power supply is called an electrical transfer switch. This kind of transfer usually happens when power supply is shifted from a primary supplier like a local electricity company to a secondary source of power supply such as a generator. When the secondary source is no longer needed, the switch enables the transfer of power back to the original source safely. Automatic transfer switches operate independent of human intervention in the case of a power surge or voltage change.

Listed below are a few questions answered by Experts on problems that are related to electrical transfer switches.

When installing a 400A manual electrical transfer switch after the utility company’s meter, since there is a direct that is 125 feet away from the house, does the individual need to install another electrical transfer switch before the installation.

If there is no disconnect in place now, it’s possible that you won’t need one as your meter should already act as a disconnect source.

I use a manual transfer switch when the electricity cuts off but it needs a L14-30 receptacle to plug into. Can I place a L5-30 plug on a 12-4 power cord that connects to a generator with a L5-30 receptacle to power the transfer switch? Also, the green and white wires have their own connection but can the red and black wires be placed in the same connect?

The L14-30 is a connector used for 4 wires while the L5-30 is a connector used for three wires. Make sure that you don’t use the red and black wires in the same terminal on a connector body since this would be a direct short on the two legs that give you 220 volts on the generator. What you can do is tape the green bit on the generator receptacle and connect the red, black and white wires to the 3 wire connector. Connect the white wire to the silver screw, black wire to one gold screw and red wire to the other gold screw. The generator wouldn’t have a ground but ensure that the transfer switch is connected to at least one of the ground wires on the branch circuit.

What kind of transfer switch can I hook up in the main breaker box?

First of all, you would need to determine what size amps you would require and if you need a manual or an automatic switch. A 200 amp automatic is usually over $1,000. A manual interlock that costs around $150 might suit your needs just as well.

Transfer switches can be automatic or manual and each has their own disadvantages. In the case of a manual transfer switch, it requires someone to flip it when the power goes off. If it’s a complex process or the person is busy, reconnecting the power can take time. In cases where an automatic transfer switch is used, the switch may not be able to monitor the situation correctly and will not, for example, be able to check the fuel in the generator. It may not also be able to switch from a generator to batteries when needed. If you have questions about what kinds of electrical transfer switches would suit your needs best, seek an Expert to answer your questions.

Ask an Electrician

Mike
Mike, Master Electrician
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 1425
Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
11762411
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