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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the simplest and least expensive manual transfer switch? There are at least 12 breakers that need to be powered so the smaller manual transfer switches with load centers are no good. Why wouldn’t a whole house switch, installed between the meter and existing load center be the way to go? I realize the heavy load items, like the dryer and stove could not be used while on generator power.

What options are there for powering up most (or all) of the house with the least expense and easiest installation. BTW the existing panel has no main breaker and is full.
 
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a 200 amp or 100 amp service rated manual transfer switch

they're a PITA to install because of the seperation of neutrals rule.. You have to then separate all grounds/neutrals in the main panel because it is no longer the first means of disconnect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good to know. Would it be much more work compared to rewiring 12 breakers to a transfer switch sub panel? Wouldn’t installing a separate isolated neutral buss in the main panel and then running properly sized neutral and ground wires from the transfer switch to the main panel satisfy the code or is it more involved than that?
 

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Good to know. Would it be much more work compared to rewiring 12 breakers to a transfer switch sub panel? Wouldn’t installing a separate isolated neutral buss in the main panel and then running properly sized neutral and ground wires from the transfer switch to the main panel satisfy the code or is it more involved than that?
I installed an sub-panel transfer switch (16 circuits) in my house, it's ok provides basic function, without too much inconvenience.

I helped to install this into my buddies house, which works pretty good.

http://www.interlockkit.com/
 
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Good to know. Would it be much more work compared to rewiring 12 breakers to a transfer switch sub panel? Wouldn’t installing a separate isolated neutral buss in the main panel and then running properly sized neutral and ground wires from the transfer switch to the main panel satisfy the code or is it more involved than that?
I can install a pre-wired transfer switch in about an hour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I didn’t consider “prewired” transfer switches. I guess a few wire nuts in the main panel and the job is done. I was thinking along the lines of removing all the wires from the main panel and putting them into the transfer panel. I guess its hard for me to shake the control panel wiring mentality where you don’t splice wires.

Thanks for the info guys!
 
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I can sell you a 16 position AUTOMATIC transfer switch for $250. It will be pre-wired with all the breakers. You will have to take the cover off it to operate it manually when you go to your generator.
 

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why not just back feed through a 220 line like say in your garage for instance:sonicjay:
just be sure to turn the main off so you don't feed the power lines
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The panel has no main breaker or disconnect. The top 12 slots cannot be isolated from the utility feed, which seems kind of odd. They have the 2 pole breakers for the well pump and other stuff which cannot be back fed (without pulling the meter out). There are two sub mains for the rest of the slots used for lighting and wall outlets.

Anyhow CC set me up so I can do it correctly and now my wife will be able to handle it if I’m not around. Thanks again CC :beerbang:
 

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Catch the wave
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The panel has no main breaker or disconnect. The top 12 slots cannot be isolated from the utility feed, which seems kind of odd. They have the 2 pole breakers for the well pump and other stuff which cannot be back fed (without pulling the meter out). There are two sub mains for the rest of the slots used for lighting and wall outlets.

Anyhow CC set me up so I can do it correctly and now my wife will be able to handle it if I’m not around. Thanks again CC :beerbang:
I can't help but wonder why you aren't replacing that main/load center and installing a proper main. :confused:


Yes, it's a pain, and time consuming but if you are methodical, take multiple high resolution photographs before (in case you get interrupted and want to refer to how it "was" ) it can be knocked out in an afternoon and fairly affordable.
 

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I helped to install this into my buddies house, which works pretty good.

http://www.interlockkit.com/
I need to do this same thing and haven't gotten to it. I have a Square D box and supposedly they sell their own interlock kit similar to this, the main breaker looks to have two threaded holes below it for the interlock to attach to...

Anyone else have opinions on the legality/quality of the interlockkits? looks pretty decent to me.

Also, anyone know a simple way/good site to try to find the actual Square D version? Saw on another forum where they mention that they can be a good bit cheaper than the interlockkit.
 

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U-Joints Fear Me
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I need to do this same thing and haven't gotten to it. I have a Square D box and supposedly they sell their own interlock kit similar to this, the main breaker looks to have two threaded holes below it for the interlock to attach to...

Anyone else have opinions on the legality/quality of the interlockkits? looks pretty decent to me.

Also, anyone know a simple way/good site to try to find the actual Square D version? Saw on another forum where they mention that they can be a good bit cheaper than the interlockkit.
Not really sure if its a matter of quality, as much as a safety/code thing. You are installing it to idiot proof turning both the utility main and the gen set main on at the same time. The code pretty much words it that you must have a break before make type of transfer, meaning that you must be able to be completely disconnected from both sources ("no matter how short of a period) before engaging the other. An auto transfer switch does this mechanically and just for a split second, but it does occur. Basically your just locking one 2 pole breaker out at a time.

Its a cheap way of doing things, and it also doesn't limit what you can put on the generator, causing a tripped generator breaker or tripped 2 pole breaker in the panel if overloaded. If you turn on everything at once and try and start the generator it will just trip. Not saying there is anything wrong with them, just works differently.
 

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Not really sure if its a matter of quality, as much as a safety/code thing.
That's what I meant by legality, if it's actually to code in MI and would satisfy the need to disconnect from the grid.

Since both the main and generator breaker are off at the same time, when following their instructions (which are attached in the box it appears), that disconnects both of them to meet code.

I realize it's not a mechanical transfer box, but it seems to be enough for any sane person to operate safely (need it for the wife ;)) while forcing the separation from the grid that I want to ensure any line workers' safety.

The big thing is that I like the complete flexibility in being able to run whatever circuits suit our needs (staying within the generator capacity of course).
 

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Not really sure if its a matter of quality, as much as a safety/code thing. You are installing it to idiot proof turning both the utility main and the gen set main on at the same time. The code pretty much words it that you must have a break before make type of transfer, meaning that you must be able to be completely disconnected from both sources ("no matter how short of a period) before engaging the other. An auto transfer switch does this mechanically and just for a split second, but it does occur. Basically your just locking one 2 pole breaker out at a time.

Its a cheap way of doing things, and it also doesn't limit what you can put on the generator, causing a tripped generator breaker or tripped 2 pole breaker in the panel if overloaded. If you turn on everything at once and try and start the generator it will just trip. Not saying there is anything wrong with them, just works differently.
The device forces a break before make, they claim to be standards compliant.

The kits are designed, manufactured, and tested by Wyle Labs r to meet the National Electrical Code and the National Fire Protection Code. Wyle Labs r is a nationally recognized testing laboratory that test to UL and other standards. Test results are available from Wyle Labs.
It is better than just back-feeding, which is dangerous and illegal.

I have also seen new "generator ready" panels that have this already built in, the only difference is the generator only feeds a portion of the panel.

http://www2.sea.siemens.com/News/Co...erator-Ready-Load-Center-is-Now-Available.htm
 

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Northwest Ohio Crawlers
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I am tapped out for circuits for the garage, so I am planning a new 200 amp main panel and a major rewire this summer At this time I wanted to also install some type of gen switch. My electric provider is Consumers Energy. I was talking to them about my plan (having the power cut and so on), and they informed me of a meter socket they sell for about $350 with a built in gen. switch and breakers. It really isn't that expensive compared to the main and add on switches I have priced. This will give me the ability to run any part of the house I need as compared to one of the add on style units. I found this doc. on their web site. My plan is to install the new socket outside and the new panel inside next to the old so it can be inspected and is ready to go. Then I will have Consumers move the power over to the new mast and start moving the circuits over. This will keep the time with no power in the house to a minimum. That's my plan anyways
 

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