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Transfer switch MEP-803a

Buffalobwana

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Did the search and didn’t come up with anything that answers my questions.

Sure, I can do a manual plug in option. Shut off main and switch on only the breakers I need, but, I think I’ll do it right.

The electricians around here are asking if I can call the manufacturer and ask them which transfer switch to use. Anyone have luck with that?

Past that, I’m lost on where to get one.
 

WWRD99

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Transfer switch meaning turning off line power and going to generator power? I used a Ronks transfer switch...should be able to search my thread out with it in it.

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Scoobyshep

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It depends how big you want to go. Simplest is an interlock backfeed kit. Its completely manual and the easiest to setup

Next up is a double throw disconnect, this requires some reworking of your feeder and must be sized to match your main feed.

Then theres an automatic transfer switch, this has the same requirements as the disconnect, plus it needs some control wiring done. This is only if you plan on automating the gen set.

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robertsears1

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I would second the interlock option and that is also doing it right. Fellow down the road bought an 802 and installed it himself. It depends on many factors, but his panel is in the garage and most panel makers now have interlock kits.

Robert
 

212sparky

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I have manual transfer switch that feeds a panel with just my loads I want backed up.

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glcaines

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I have a Square D 400-Amp manual transfer switch for my MEP003A I found new on Ebay. I didn't pick loads to back up, it powers the whole house.
 

Coug

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I don't know your exact situation, so I can only give generalized advice for you. We don't know if you have a 100 amp breaker panel, 200 amp, 400 amp, etc. We don't know what types of loads you are trying to power, whether your house has all gas appliances, or everything electric. We don't know if you want your 10Kw steam shower to operate with the generator or steam sauna, or olympic size swimming pool, etc (I've either run across all this or heard about it from other generator techs about absurd loads on undersized generators)

The above was just to say we don't know if the 803A will safely and easily power everything on your electrical panel, or if it would be massively overloaded and therefore you will have to shed some of the loads in order to safely run on generator power.


So as others have stated, your options are

doing an interlock kit (I have one for my 802A, installed when I had my panel replaced due to it talking to me). What kit depends on what brand/model of panel you have, so I won't give an example. There are many out on the market, usually in the $100 range for just the interlock. You will still need an appropriate size of breaker (50 amp for an 803A), wiring, and an inlet box rated to 50 amp. If you can do it yourself you're looking a couple hundred total.


a sub panel with just the loads you want to power (will likely require an electrician to install and move the desired loads over) Downside of this is if you change your mind later on what loads you want powered, you'll need the electrician back to run new wires for them. Panels start in the $200 range and go up from there; the electrician might charge you anything from $500 to several thousand depending on your panel location and everything else. Unless your panel is in the garage you'll likely want to use an inlet box again for the power cable rather than having to leave a door open for the cable. (bonus is it has load meters on it so you can see roughly how much power you are using)

example: https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/Reliance-Controls-TRC1005A/p1122.html


getting a manual transfer switch installed before the breaker panel, which will require permits (mine was a self filed permit that had to be posted on the panel, I don't think it cost me anything), your utility company removing your power meter and then reinstalling when finished, and an electrician to do the work of the install. You will still need to go into your panel and select what loads need turned off if you have too much power draw.

example: https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/Reliance-Controls-TWB2005DR/p1125.html
more examples: https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/power/manual-transfer-switches.html?sort_value=&displaynum=0&spec_options_id[1044][]=50


An automatic transfer switch will be useless for this unless you plan to get an autostart type kit in the generator designed for a transfer switch, as most require a 12V DC circuit to actuate the transfer mechanism (but not all) and will cost more than any of the above options. My guess is the panel will be in the $400-1k range, and install will once again be minimum $500 up to several thousand.
The majority of automatic transfer switches on the market are dumb switches, meaning they get controlled entirely by the generator.



You mentioned not wanting to just have it as a plug in and then turning off breakers yourself as this isn't the "right way" as you put it. (though I assume you meant using a suicide cord and just flipping off the main breaker, which is highly dangerous and illegal in every jurisdiction I have ever heard of, because linemen have really been killed by people doing this) Thank you for wanting to do it correctly, because as I mentioned, electricity can kill when people try to cheap out.


The manual interlock with power inlet is an approved and legal method of feeding generator power into a house. It's also the least expensive and simplest solution that doesn't require the generator to be permanently installed (not sure if it is a requirement where you are at, but many places if a generator is hardwired to a house it ends up requiring a lot more work/permits than just having it fed in through a cable you can unplug.)
Downside is unless you are near someone else on the same power grid, you have no way of knowing the power is back on unless you switch the power back to utility to check.

After that the manual transfer switch is the easiest/cheapest method of doing this. Requires additional work and contacting the utility company and permitting, but is the simplest solution.
Downside is the same as the interlock kit.

The sub panel route has more up front cost/complexity, but if you are worried about loads you need to shed before powering the house, then this is the best solution.
Nice thing is, depending on what circuits are transferred over or not, you usually have something plugged in or lights or whatnot that will stay on the utility feed and when they come on you know power has been restored.

Auto transfer switch, if set up to function, will only require you to start and shut off the generator. When power comes back it should return to utility automatically, so you just let the generator cool down for 5 minutes then go shut down.
 
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Coug

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One other option out there is the GenerLink transfer switch. It installs in the meter's socket (done by the utility company) and will allow whole house transfer.

The downside to this system is they have a 30 amp (7200 watts, though they claim it's good for 8500) and a 40 amp (they say max of 10kw) setup. The 803 will push 50 amps (12kw) or slightly more when fully loaded (the military likes to derate equipment)

Upside is no modification to any panels or wiring or anything like that. A true plug and play solution.
It also has a light on it (and some models may have bluetooth if you specifically request it when ordering according to their website) that lets you see if utility is there.

Downside is the utility company has to be the ones to install it, and it isn't approved yet in all jurisdictions, so you would need to check.
You will still have to do any load shedding manually in your breaker panel if necessary.
only good for 10kw or less operating load.

 

Buffalobwana

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One other option out there is the GenerLink transfer switch. It installs in the meter's socket (done by the utility company) and will allow whole house transfer.
Thanks for all your info. Lots of options to chew on there. Some stuff I didn’t know existed too.

The breaker selection will be manual. In Summer, AC is priority. The rest is just a bonus. The AC has a 25 amp breaker, but I wonder how much it actually pulls after startup??? Water heater is electric 25 amp (grrr!!) Which doesn’t leave me much. I guess I’ll see after I get it installed. What the actual load is.

Electrician came yesterday and said a Generac Auto transfer switch will work. Should have enough spaces to put summer and winter priority breakers in it. Heater and stove is gas, so that will not pull much. And I’ll have more options to add to the load in the winter.

One of my biggest concerns is keeping the city happy. I even have to get a permit just to pour a concrete pad for the generator.
 

Scoobyshep

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Thanks for all your info. Lots of options to chew on there. Some stuff I didn’t know existed too.

The breaker selection will be manual. In Summer, AC is priority. The rest is just a bonus. The AC has a 25 amp breaker, but I wonder how much it actually pulls after startup??? Water heater is electric 25 amp (grrr!!) Which doesn’t leave me much. I guess I’ll see after I get it installed. What the actual load is.

Electrician came yesterday and said a Generac Auto transfer switch will work. Should have enough spaces to put summer and winter priority breakers in it. Heater and stove is gas, so that will not pull much. And I’ll have more options to add to the load in the winter.

One of my biggest concerns is keeping the city happy. I even have to get a permit just to pour a concrete pad for the generator.
This is where load management comes in to play. turn off the water heater and run the ac. when you need hot water, shut off the ac and turn on the water heater.

ac usually runs fairly low amperage, but the inrush on startup is what will get you
 

nextalcupfan

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Thanks for all your info. Lots of options to chew on there. Some stuff I didn’t know existed too.

The breaker selection will be manual. In Summer, AC is priority. The rest is just a bonus. The AC has a 25 amp breaker, but I wonder how much it actually pulls after startup??? Water heater is electric 25 amp (grrr!!) Which doesn’t leave me much. I guess I’ll see after I get it installed. What the actual load is.

Electrician came yesterday and said a Generac Auto transfer switch will work. Should have enough spaces to put summer and winter priority breakers in it. Heater and stove is gas, so that will not pull much. And I’ll have more options to add to the load in the winter.

One of my biggest concerns is keeping the city happy. I even have to get a permit just to pour a concrete pad for the generator.
2.5-3ton AC's are typically 16-19 amps.
Your outside unit will have a sticker telling you the running load and inrush, if you can't decipher it post it here and we can tell you.
(Inrush on my 3ton is 77A)

My transfer switch is a Generac 200A ATS hooked up to a raspberry Pi4 that monitors Mainline Power and will start and switch my 803a automatically.
 

Coug

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Thanks for all your info. Lots of options to chew on there. Some stuff I didn’t know existed too.

The breaker selection will be manual. In Summer, AC is priority. The rest is just a bonus. The AC has a 25 amp breaker, but I wonder how much it actually pulls after startup??? Water heater is electric 25 amp (grrr!!) Which doesn’t leave me much. I guess I’ll see after I get it installed. What the actual load is.

Electrician came yesterday and said a Generac Auto transfer switch will work. Should have enough spaces to put summer and winter priority breakers in it. Heater and stove is gas, so that will not pull much. And I’ll have more options to add to the load in the winter.

One of my biggest concerns is keeping the city happy. I even have to get a permit just to pour a concrete pad for the generator.
Okay, so from your description, it sounds like you are going to have a sub panel installed? Or there is one model of full panel with a small section that is transferred that the electrician might be talking about instead.

Did he give you information as to which generac auto transfer switch he would like to install? Just wondering so I can give you an unbiased opinion about how well it will work.

Not to say their recommendation won't work, but I've come across too many installs where the electricians used whatever panels they had lying around rather than what was actually best for the job.

I'm a Generac tech, and Generac uses dumb transfer switches. They can mostly still be transferred manually, depending on model. A couple use a rotary type switch to push breakers, and can be transferred manually pretty easily. The rotary portion doesn't interfere with the transfer when in it's neutral position.
the rest involve putting a small metal rod into a hole behind a slot in the panel cover when you need to transfer. Some of them require you to unbolt the front of the panel before getting to the manual transfer override.

So while it will still work, unless you are doing the upgrade later on the an auto start mechanism for the generator my personal opinion is it's a little bit of a waste.
 

Buffalobwana

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Okay, so from your description, it sounds like you are going to have a sub panel installed? Or there is one model of full panel with a small section that is transferred that the electrician might be talking about instead.

Did he give you information as to which generac auto transfer switch he would like to install? Just wondering so I can give you an unbiased opinion about how well it will work.

Not to say their recommendation won't work, but I've come across too many installs where the electricians used whatever panels they had lying around rather than what was actually best for the job.

I'm a Generac tech, and Generac uses dumb transfer switches. They can mostly still be transferred manually, depending on model. A couple use a rotary type switch to push breakers, and can be transferred manually pretty easily. The rotary portion doesn't interfere with the transfer when in it's neutral position.
the rest involve putting a small metal rod into a hole behind a slot in the panel cover when you need to transfer. Some of them require you to unbolt the front of the panel before getting to the manual transfer override.

So while it will still work, unless you are doing the upgrade later on the an auto start mechanism for the generator my personal opinion is it's a little bit of a waste.
It’s the Generac 9855. I think he just googled 50 amp transfer switch.
 

Buffalobwana

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My transfer switch is a Generac 200A ATS hooked up to a raspberry Pi4 that monitors Mainline Power and will start and switch my 803a automatically.
Don’t tell me that! Now I have to dive into the world of raspberry Pi. I have resisted this for years!
 

Buffalobwana

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I got a bid for $2300 plus the cost of the transfer switch. The run is about 70’ (includes slop, jic) in 3/4”emt

I buy the switch
I pour the slab
I set the generator

I’m no electrician, but $2300 to run wire and install switch seems high. Am I off?
 

WWRD99

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I got a bid for $2300 plus the cost of the transfer switch. The run is about 70’ (includes slop, jic) in 3/4”emt

I buy the switch
I pour the slab
I set the generator

I’m no electrician, but $2300 to run wire and install switch seems high. Am I off?
I buried all the wire, mounted my switch so all that was left was hooking up the wires to the switch and genset...paid 850...but I had everything done...was there about 4 hours...was 2 guys.

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Light in the Dark

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Is 6/4 the correct size for a 70’ run? Do I need a ground and neutral?
You will want to run a 3+1 properly sized wire. Two hots, Neutral, and appropriately sized Ground. As this is going to your panel, you will tie to the home ground, not a discrete one at the machine (so no ground rod either). You would only drive a ground and keep the grounding bar (vertical item bonding the N and G lugs on your machine) intact if you were running it as a freestanding power unit in a field lets say.
 
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