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  1. #1
    Silver Member daybreak1998's Avatar
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    Default Generator Transfer switch connection choices

    Howdy,
    Generator transfer switch connection choices.
    For safety of yourself, family, equipment and utility workers, properly connect generators.
    Some methods can be do it yourself to a certain point. Electricians and your Utility will be involved as well.

    Laws vary from state to state, and from country to country. You obviously need to do your homework with what is required for where you live.

    Maybe one of the easiest methods would be a interlock kit. There are many manufacturers out there. Some times its even easier to build it in from the start. Existing work- you can see if your current electrical panel has a interlock kit available. The interlock plate slides into position to let your dual pole generator feed power the panel instead of the main service breaker. The interlock makes sure only one of them can be ON.
    example; 200amp outdoor meter/load center with interlock kit
    -2011-10-20_13-11-34_877-a-2011-10-20_13-11-57_45-a-2011-10-20_13-12-11_726-a

    Other methods are through a generator transfer panel.
    They are sold by different manufacturers and come in many sizes. To me, they are limiting by the number of spaces of what you could connect.
    -31410crk-jpg

    Other methods are through a behind the meter device.
    This works well for existing service. A special collar is placed behind your utility meter. Most times this can be installed in about 5 minutes. They are in a 30amp and a 50amp connection size. Generlink is usually sourced through your utility. You simply use your electrical panel circuit breakers for what you want running. (NOTE; to the size of your generator )You use a special cord connection at the bottom of the collar.
    (Through my local utility)
    -2011-11-05_16-59-13_202-a-2011-11-05_17-00-05_424-a-2011-11-05_17-02-32_196-a

    For larger connection and for larger amperage service
    PSP Products pdf brochure, electromn info pdf is a product which is similar to the Generlink product. A special collar is mounted behind the meter.
    Below is my central farm distribution with a TC-200M26W shows a continuous generator rating of 40KW and a peak of 48KW
    (Through my local utility)
    -2011-10-20_13-39-35_968-a-2011-10-20_13-39-51_654-a-2011-10-20_13-40-48_549-a-2011-10-20_13-41-54_608-a-2011-10-20_13-42-22_52-a
    Tiger Power 30KW
    -2011-10-20_13-58-27_48-a
    cord set (anderson 350amp connections)
    -2011-10-20_13-59-14_40-a

    Other methods are through a DPDT switch. (double pull double throw) manual type switch. They too range in manufacturers and amperage. They also come in a full automatic type transfer switch. A lot of times manufacturers add this into a larger generator purchase.
    There are of course many other ways to make a connection. Just do it correctly. Keep the linemen alive!
    Later Mike ~~~
    JD green here
    tractors and implements

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Code54's Avatar
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    Default Re: Generator Transfer switch connection choices

    Great info - thanks
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  3. #3
    Veteran Member scesnick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Generator Transfer switch connection choices

    I just installed a Pro Tran 6 ciruit transfer switch. It is paired with a 5550 B&G genset. Wifey was tired of the extension cords all over the house and she was really tired of not having running water since we are on a well.

    I wired this thing up in about 2 hours. FYI- I am a card carrying member of the Amish electricians union so if I can wire this thing up , anyone can.
    6 circuits seemed like more than enough if you pick and chose wisely. I now have a well pump on the 220v circuit, 1 fridge, 1 chest freezer, lights upstairs living room, hot water tank(wifey needs hot hot showers) and lights and the TV in the family room for the kids. we didn't power the bedrooms at all or the bathrooms or garage.

    The only complaint I have it that the 30 amp cord provided by the kit is a bit short. so, your gererator has to be sitting rather close to the house. Other than that, it is a wonderful step up from cords laying everywhere and we have running water.

    Father, GNCC racer, KTM rider, Bow hunter, Farm owner.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Generator Transfer switch connection choices

    Nice topic. The "ProTran" or "GenTran" method is often a good choice. As mentioned above, it installs quickly. It can be the least expensive method. It switches individual branch circuits, so that while you are powering some circuits with the generator, other circuits remain connected to your utility. This means that when the utility restores power, you know right away. Disadvantage of the GenTran style is you cannot power circuits from both a main panel and from a remote sub-panel. That's when you might choose one of the options that powers the whole house with the generator.

    Another note about the GenTran -- you can buy it as a kit, with a cord, or a la carte, and buy the cord separately. The kit might save you money, but its cord might not be long enough, as noted above.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Generator Transfer switch connection choices

    I feel like I have done a lot of studying on this topic, and I still have what seems like a basic question that I haven't got answered, so maybe somebody here can take a swing at it. All the transfer switches make you decide beforehand what circuits you want plugged in, which I don't particularly like. I don't understand why I can't just put a 200A DPDT break-before-make switch in between the meter and the main panel, and have the generator plug into that. Well, actually, I don't know for sure that I can't do that, but every time I go searching for options, I never see anything like that. Which is weird, because it sure seems to me like the simplest and easiest way to accomplish what I'm trying to accomplish. Which leads me to believe that there is a hitch in that plan that is not obvious to me, because I'm not an electrician. So maybe somebody here can tell me what the hitch is. Or point me to a nice 200A DPDT break-before-make switch that would do the trick.

  6. #6
    Silver Member Todd727's Avatar
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    Default Re: Generator Transfer switch connection choices

    You can do exactly that. I installed that exact setup at my dad's house. The switch is about $700.

    Here is one: Winco Generator Home Generators | Backup Generator | Whole House Generator | Home Standby Generators - Square D F Series 200 Amp Manual Transfer Switch

    More info from Schneider: http://static.schneider-electric.us/...HO0101R801.pdf

    Call your local electrical supply company. This isn't going to be a Home Depot/Lowes/Tractor Supply item.

    It's a simple hookup, but we did it while the house was being built. By using a 200 amp switch, he can run the whole house off of his PTO generator. Eventually, he can go with a built in generator, but it will always be manual switch over unless he wants to start with a different switch.
    Last edited by Todd727; 07-08-2012 at 03:01 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Generator Transfer switch connection choices

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuabardwell View Post
    I feel like I have done a lot of studying on this topic, and I still have what seems like a basic question that I haven't got answered, so maybe somebody here can take a swing at it. All the transfer switches make you decide beforehand what circuits you want plugged in, which I don't particularly like. I don't understand why I can't just put a 200A DPDT break-before-make switch in between the meter and the main panel, and have the generator plug into that. Well, actually, I don't know for sure that I can't do that, but every time I go searching for options, I never see anything like that. Which is weird, because it sure seems to me like the simplest and easiest way to accomplish what I'm trying to accomplish. Which leads me to believe that there is a hitch in that plan that is not obvious to me, because I'm not an electrician. So maybe somebody here can tell me what the hitch is. Or point me to a nice 200A DPDT break-before-make switch that would do the trick.

    You can do just like you said.

    Whole house generators are set up this way either with a manual transfer or automatic transfer. The downside is its not a diy setup. In most places it is required to have an electrician calculate your actual demand load for your house and the generator has to be sized to handle the load and be permanently mounted

    If you don't have to deal with codes and inspection in your area you can diy.
    Last edited by Steave; 07-08-2012 at 02:28 AM. Reason: Adding info
    I've got a cutting torch and a welder sooo YEAH it'll fit!!

  8. #8
    Silver Member daybreak1998's Avatar
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    Default Re: Generator Transfer switch connection choices

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuabardwell View Post
    I feel like I have done a lot of studying on this topic, and I still have what seems like a basic question that I haven't got answered, so maybe somebody here can take a swing at it. All the transfer switches make you decide beforehand what circuits you want plugged in, which I don't particularly like. I don't understand why I can't just put a 200A DPDT break-before-make switch in between the meter and the main panel, and have the generator plug into that. Well, actually, I don't know for sure that I can't do that, but every time I go searching for options, I never see anything like that. Which is weird, because it sure seems to me like the simplest and easiest way to accomplish what I'm trying to accomplish. Which leads me to believe that there is a hitch in that plan that is not obvious to me, because I'm not an electrician. So maybe somebody here can tell me what the hitch is. Or point me to a nice 200A DPDT break-before-make switch that would do the trick.
    Howdy,
    You can. In fact any large generator setup a lot of times includes a transfer switch. The only thing that you need to think about is the price. Plus a electrician $$$, plus permit $$$, plus utility pulling meter $$$, any extra's (conduit etc...) and then decide what generator, and how you will hook it up.

    The Large collar behind the meter is large enough for a continuous generator rating of 40KW and a peak of 48KW. The connection is with 2/0 cable with anderson 350amp modular plugs. Most other connections of size would be with a permanent connection. On a PTO generator, the connection is known as a full power outlet.

    And if you look at the pricing for 400amp transfer switch. $$$$$ its crazy prices.

    What's nice about the unit I got... no extra wiring for me. The one main meter (central farm distribution) feeds large house, barn, sheds, shop, well, so with this system, all is powered from here. The utility came out and pulled the meter, put the collar on, mounted the 2nd box with the brains and connections, put meter back, sealed it, billed me for unit spread out over 4 payments.

    If you look over the choices I have listed, if your main panel has a option for the interlock kit, that really is going to be the easiest and cheapest solution. The outdoor 3R meter combo is a Milbank Rural service panel with generator interlock kit. You would then supply a dual pole circuit breakers. If you click on the pictures, you get a larger image, and you see I used 30amp here. The largest I think would be 100amp. I know Square D panels have access to a generator interlock kit.
    Later Mike ~~~
    JD green here
    tractors and implements

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Generator Transfer switch connection choices

    Quote Originally Posted by Steave View Post
    You can do just like you said. Whole house generators are set up this way either with a manual transfer or automatic transfer. The downside is its not a diy setup. In most places it is required to have an electrician calculate your actual demand load for your house and the generator has to be sized to handle the load and be permanently mounted. If you don't have to deal with codes and inspection in your area you can diy.
    Hmm... so if codes are involved, it wouldn't be possible to hook up a portable generator and then only activate circuits as needed? But if I install an interlock setup with a backfeed breaker, then that's fine? What's the logic there?

  10. #10
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Generator Transfer switch connection choices

    Quote Originally Posted by Steave View Post
    You can do just like you said. Whole house generators are set up this way either with a manual transfer or automatic transfer. The downside is its not a diy setup. In most places it is required to have an electrician calculate your actual demand load for your house and the generator has to be sized to handle the load and be permanently mounted. If you don't have to deal with codes and inspection in your area you can diy.
    Hmm... so if codes are involved, it wouldn't be possible to hook up a portable generator and then only activate circuits as needed? But if I install an interlock setup with a backfeed breaker, then that's fine? What's the logic there?

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