What is a Manual Transfer Switch?
A manual transfer switch is a switch that must be operated manually to transfer power during a power outage from one power source, such as the mains, to another, such as a generator. To manually start the generator with this switch, an operator must turn a different lever or handle between the generator and the main power source.
How Does a Manual Transfer Switch Work?
The electrical circuits of homes are simply connected to the generator using a manual transfer switch. When there is a power outage, the operator turns on the backup power source, allowing any associated loads to turn ON through backup power. This switch can be used both inside and outside. Therefore, the number of circuits that can be manually connected is dependent on a generator’s output.
An electrical load is switched from the power supply source using a manual transfer switch. These switches come with handles and metallic routes that are joined in a way that allows them to connect to one another when the switch’s handle is moved manually. Below is a diagram illustrating how to connect this automated transfer switch.
In the circuit diagram shown above, we can see that the switch has eight connections altogether, four of which are positioned vertically and four of which are arranged horizontally. Therefore, these terminals need to be linked in parallel. Additionally, this switch has electrical earthing or grounding for electrical safety.
You can connect both of the power sources for the house wiring with the help of this switch connection. You must connect the main incoming terminal of the complete load of the house at the load terminal. Here, you can connect the generator to power source 2 and the energy output to power source 1.
In general, this switch can be connected to two distinct power sources and one load. This switch works by having the load disengage from one power source and connect to the other as soon as the handle position is changed. Both the primary and backup power sources are used in this instance.
The manual switch’s handle has three operating options: source 1, source 2, and off. The load will be isolated or disconnected from the power supply after the handle of this switch is turned to the off position. The load will connect to power source 1 and become disconnected from power source 2 once the switch handle in power source 1 is moved. The load will instead be connected to power source 2 and detached from power source 1 whenever the switch handle is moved to the source-2 position.
Why is MTS Panel Important?
Every nation requires a transfer switch (either manual or automatic) when installing a generator at a location with the main supply. There is a good reason why the law requires it. Transfer switches prevent:
- The generator coming into contact with the main power would almost probably cause it to burn out.
- It prevents the generator from back-feeding the mains when it fails, putting the lives of those who work for the electrical industry in jeopardy.
Both the manual and automatic switches carry out the same crucial transfer switch function, but the automatic transfer switch (ATS) panel completes the procedure automatically, saving time and shortening the duration of the power outage.
Manual Transfer Switch Vs. Automatic Transfer Switch
Manual Transfer Switch
- Manual transfer switches are quite practical and straightforward.
- An operator is needed to operate this switch because it operates manually.
- A generator does not always have a manual switch.
- The power flow in this switch must always be manually altered.
- To activate this switch, you need technical knowledge.
- While operating, greater effort is needed.
Automatic Transfer Switch
- Transfer switches with automatic backups are pricey.
- These switches run on autopilot.
- This switch is permanently connected to an electric generator, which means that in the event of a power outage, the generator will provide your building with an emergency backup supply.
- This switch’s automated power flow means that changing the power flow manually is not necessary.
- Technical expertise is not necessary for this transition.
- It doesn’t entail additional work.
What are the Advantages/Disadvantages of a Manual Transfer Panel?
- The design and installation of these switches are not expensive.
- These transfer switches are compact in size.
- There are no control cords necessary.
- High short-circuit withstand is possible with this switch.
- Braking and quick-make movements.
- Robust design.
- It operates in restricted environmental conditions.
- These switches are not allowed in situations where it is necessary to swiftly switch power sources, whether or not a person is present.
- The manual operation of these transfer switches.
- The generator needs to be manually started each time.
- Compared to an automatic transfer switch, connecting your temporary power source takes a lot of time.
Manual Transfer Switch Installation
In the event of a power loss, a manual transfer switch is installed next to the main service panel to replace the regular electrical service with power from a backup generator. Whereas automatic switches recognize a power outage and activate the backup generator before switching to the backup power stream, manual switches need a person to adjust the power source.
Here are the steps to install a manual transfer switch.
Your electrical service panel’s primary power breaker should be turned off. NOTE: The main breakers’ power-entry terminals will continue to be activated.
In the event of a power loss, identify the circuits in your home that must be used immediately. This often includes the heater, freezer, refrigerator, and at least one circuit for light or small appliances.
Match the circuit inlet on your pre-wired transfer switch with your critical circuits. As much as you can, try to balance the load on the transfer switch: Connect your freezer to the switch circuit that is the furthest to the right, for instance, if your refrigerator is on the circuit with the leftmost switch.
Two 120-volt circuit connections are necessary for double-pole (240-volt) circuits. Additionally, check to see if circuits with 15 and 20 amps are not misaligned. In case of a power outage, before you buy a backup generator. Typically, you’ll want to turn on your freezer, refrigerator, and possibly a few lights. To figure out how big your backup generator needs to be, add up the running wattage ratings of the appliances you’ll be using.
The main service panel’s bottom has a knockout that you can choose and remove. Make sure the knockout you select fits the connector on the flexible conduit coming from the transfer switch by being the proper size.
With care to preserve the insulation, feed the cables from the transfer switch into the knockout hole. You’ll see that each wire has a label that indicates which circuit it feeds in the switch box.
Whenever necessary, use a locknut and a bushing to secure the flexible conduit running from the switch box to the main service panel.
Place the transfer switch box on the wall so that the closest edge is roughly 18 inches from the main service panel’s center. Use the connectors that make sense for the sort of wall you have.
Disconnect the hot wire lead from the lug on the breaker and remove the breaker for the first important circuit from the main service panel box.
Find the red wire for the circuit in the switch box that corresponds to the one you disconnected. Reinstall the breaker after attaching the red wire to the one you just removed.
Find the black wire from the same transfer switch circuit, and using a yellow wire connector, twist it with the old feed wire. At the box’s edges, gently tuck the cables out of the way.
Repeat the technique on the following circuit.
Attach the red leads from the two transfer switch circuits to the double pole breaker if any of your important circuits are 240-volt circuits. The switches on the two circuits coming from the transfer switch should be near one another, and their handle ties should connect them.
Once all circuits are connected, join the white neutral wire from the transfer switch to a hole in the main service panel’s neutral bus bar.
Connect a free port on the grounding bar in your main service panel to the green ground wire coming from the transfer switch. The transfer switch installation ought to be finished at this point.
Replace the service panel box cover, and make sure to complete the switch box’s circuit map.
Make sure all of the switches on the transfer switch are in the Line setting before starting to test it. At the primary panel breakers, the power ought to still be off.
Tips for Safe Operation of a Manual Transfer Switch
These suggestions may seem like simple sense, but when you’re preoccupied with urgent business problems, mistakes happen, and carelessness is easy to manifest. Be sure to take the following actions before using your manual transfer switch during an outage to be sure you are fully prepared:
- Recognize the handbook. Exacting specifications, many of which vary from model to model, went into the construction of your particular transfer switch. Complete awareness and comprehension of the handbook are priorities in order to make sure you are aware of all the critical components of your system.
- Verify that your manual transfer switch is secure. Always check that the connections between your panel and the switch are present and working correctly before using. Never use your manual switch if there is obvious damage or anything unusual. To prevent any risks, have a licensed electrician regularly service your switch.
- Make sure your transfer switch fits your needs in a suitable manner. The amount of amperage required for your generator system to run safely and effectively directly relates to the “size” of the manual switch that your company requires. Make sure you get professional advice to make sure your transition is a good fit for your needs.
- Avoid humidity and wetness. Any exposure to moisture or dampness calls for a professional inspection. One of the main reasons for electrical fires is water-damaged cables. Have your panel relocated to a more suitable place if there is even the slightest chance that it will come into contact with liquids.
- Use your generator outside only. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of the general process used by generators. This can cause severe and significant health problems if used inside or in enclosed areas.
Manual transfer switches are essential pieces of equipment when it comes to using two power sources in any facility. Always buy quality transfer switches from ECSKSA and hire a professional to install them.
Check out our product pages for the best manual transfer switches in the market.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do generators need a manual transfer switch?
A transfer switch is usually necessary if your generator has a power output greater than 5,000 watts for safety and convenience. This is crucial to keep in mind because the amount of electricity being produced necessitates the installation of a regulator to prevent surges and back-feeding the grid.
2. What are the advantages of a manual transfer switch?
A manual transfer switch’s major benefit is that it is much less expensive to design, manufacture, and install than an automatic transfer switch. Additionally, compared to an automatic switch, it is quicker to fabricate, smaller, and easier to install.
3. What does it cost to install a manual transfer switch?
You can power your facility without the use of extension cords by using a transfer switch. The switch should cost between $500 and $1,500, not including installation, which often takes less than a day.
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