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Old 03-15-2017, 10:12 AM   #1
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Transfer Switch

Now that I am adding 240W of solar to the roof (though I know it will not be super effective) and carrying an 80W portable, all keeping my dual AGM 6Vs charged, I am considering a bigger (than my plug-in 200W) inverter sometime in the future. My wife has suggested she might like one (and we all know how I lost out on the oven debate) so it may likely happen.

If doing this it only seems to make sense to switch all the plugs. We do not have a microwave to worry about though. There are only two circuits of plugs, the exterior, 2 dinette and galley plug on one circuit, and the one at the door and the two by the bed on another. I kinda wish they were distributed better, but it is what it is.

What I am wondering about, is what is the best way to switch the plugs over fairly easily. I have a few thoughts I could use input on.
1. I understand Escape uses some kind of transfer switch, does anyone know what it is? Or, is their something else better? How many branch circuits does it hangle.
2. Seeing there are only two 15A circuits to consider, I was considering just using two 3-way light switches to transfer power to the circuits. Not as neat looking maybe, but should work fine. I may want to add another transferred circuit at some time, so would either have to tie it in to an existing switch or add another.
3. Given the chance to do something else, what other ideas are out their that could be incorporated?

In hind sight, if I knew I was going this way, I would definitely get the Escape installed setup currently offered at $950. It is going to likely cost me near that, along with a couple hours work thrown in.
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Old 03-15-2017, 11:02 AM   #2
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Seeing there are only two 15A circuits to consider, I was considering just using two 3-way light switches to transfer power to the circuits. Not as neat looking maybe, but should work fine. I may want to add another transferred circuit at some time, so would either have to tie it in to an existing switch or add another.
Jim: I saw this picture in another post by Ron in BC. I'm curious if this is similar in concept to what you explain above. Seems pretty simple. Maybe Ron can weigh in.
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Old 03-15-2017, 11:20 AM   #3
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Jim: I saw this picture in another post by Ron in BC. I'm curious if this is similar in concept to what you explain above. Seems pretty simple. Maybe Ron can weigh in.
I would like the switch more handy, but could easily put it on a dinette bench wall. It would seem that is just for one circuit though. I don't believe that MotoMaster inverter is true sine wave though. Where does the importance of TSW come to play, I believe it is mostly electronics, correct?

I am also wondering now, if I transferred to just the rear outlets if that would not be enough. I can't see needed one in the loft, and the one by the door would be mostly used for charging phones and the such, which can all be done with 12V.
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Old 03-15-2017, 11:31 AM   #4
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I think the easiest way is to wire the A/C panel directly to the transfer switch. These often have a separate output to the converter that only operates on shore power, and 2 inputs: one from the inverter and one from the main shore power plug. Just cut the shore power cord and wire the A/C panel side to the output on the switch and the plug side to the input. Then disconnect the converter from the A/C panel and wire it to the switch. Plug the inverter into the switch and you are done. This page has a diagram that helps to understand it:

30 amp Pre-wired Transfer Switch | Go Power!

The key is obviously to take the converter out of the A/C panel circuit so it doesn't charge from the inverter output.
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Old 03-15-2017, 11:35 AM   #5
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I would like the switch more handy, but could easily put it on a dinette bench wall. It would seem that is just for one circuit though. I don't believe that MotoMaster inverter is true sine wave though. Where does the importance of TSW come to play, I believe it is mostly electronics, correct?
Jim: I am no inverter expert, but yes true (pure) sine wave would be necessary for the health of sensitive electronics over time. This link has some pretty good practical info:
Best Inverter for an RV – Pure vs Modified and Watts

By the way, I saw in an older post that ETI was (and maybe still is?) using this automatic transfer switch:
30 amp Transfer Switch | Go Power!

This appears to be the same as skyfree just linked, just not pre-wired.
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Old 03-15-2017, 11:43 AM   #6
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I think the easiest way is to wire the A/C panel directly to the transfer switch. These often have a separate output to the converter that only operates on shore power, and 2 inputs: one from the inverter and one from the main shore power plug. Just cut the shore power cord and wire the A/C panel side to the output on the switch and the plug side to the input. Then disconnect the converter from the A/C panel and wire it to the switch. Plug the inverter into the switch and you are done. This page has a diagram that helps to understand it:

30 amp Pre-wired Transfer Switch | Go Power!

The key is obviously to take the converter out of the A/C panel circuit so it doesn't charge from the inverter output.
Would this not then transfer the power to the fridge and A/C as well? I don't think I would want that. As well, how does the switching take place, as I see no physical switch? I would only want to switch on the inverter as needed. This brings to light another questions, do I need a switch ahead of the inverter to switch it on and off?

It would seem that just switching the two (and maybe just one) circuit would be simpler, but I might quite likely be missing something here.
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Old 03-15-2017, 12:23 PM   #7
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Would this not then transfer the power to the fridge and A/C as well? I don't think I would want that. As well, how does the switching take place, as I see no physical switch? I would only want to switch on the inverter as needed. This brings to light another questions, do I need a switch ahead of the inverter to switch it on and off?

It would seem that just switching the two (and maybe just one) circuit would be simpler, but I might quite likely be missing something here.
Jim: Yes, this would allow inverter power to anything 120V powered through the power center. I assume they think the user will use appropriate discretion on what to power. Maybe something like this would work? Still automatic, but only serves one circuit. Most inverters have an on/off switch so I don't think you would need to add one inline.

http://www.xantrex.com/power-products/default/inline-transfer-relay.aspx
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:00 PM   #8
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Well I know that Jim might want another location and I know that he sure wouldn't put labels on it.

I only put one circuit on the transfer switch, the one for the microwave. But, yes, putting the switch into the incoming circuit could power two house circuits. Might need a larger switch though.

Honestly, I don't know why everyone feels the need for a true sine wave inverter. I've been using MSW inverters since they first became reasonably affordable in the late 80's. I've powered things like VCR's with them and nothing I've ever used seemed unhappy with the output.

Does anyone have experience with a specific item that wouldn't run on a MSW inverter?

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Old 03-15-2017, 01:18 PM   #9
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Is there no such thing as a rotary transfer switch that would switch two or three circuits from two inputs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
Jim: Yes, this would allow inverter power to anything 120V powered through the power center. I assume they think the user will use appropriate discretion on what to power. Maybe something like this would work? Still automatic, but only serves one circuit. Most inverters have an on/off switch so I don't think you would need to add one inline.

Inline Transfer Relay
Just thinking here, but would an automatic transfer switch be more beneficial, or detrimental? I could see it if the inverter ran all the time that the shore power was down.

The cost of these type transfer switches is quite high too.

I was thinking of being able to switch the inverter off and on without accessing under the dinette bench, if possible.
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Well I know that Jim might want another location and I know that he sure wouldn't put labels on it.

I only put one circuit on the transfer switch, the one for the microwave. But, yes, putting the switch into the incoming circuit could power two house circuits. Might need a larger switch though.
You are right that I would prefer the switch in a more accessible position. Just trying for the ultimate setup for me. If it was not a simple on-off switch, and was something with two options, I would be willing to label it like you did yours. It is just simple on-off switches I don't care to label either as to what they are, or which way is up.
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:32 PM   #10
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Would this not then transfer the power to the fridge and A/C as well? I don't think I would want that. As well, how does the switching take place, as I see no physical switch? I would only want to switch on the inverter as needed. This brings to light another questions, do I need a switch ahead of the inverter to switch it on and off?

It would seem that just switching the two (and maybe just one) circuit would be simpler, but I might quite likely be missing something here.
Yes, but you can just put the fridge in Propane mode, and not use the A/C. The switching is automatic. When it detects shore power, it switches to it and cuts out the inverter, and powers the converter. Easy. Not sure, but you may be able to wire the A/C directly to the same outlet the converter will be wired to so it can't be used on battery. You would have to check the specs to see if it can handle that.

If you only need one outlet that can be done easily as well with either a manual switch (cheap but more trouble), just wiring one outlet of the 2 to the inverter (cheaper but only 1 plug at a time), use an inverter that has a built-in transfer switch for one outlet, or add another outlet next to the standard one that is wired directly to the inverter and nothing else which wouldn't work on shore power. The GoPower TS-30 is pretty cheap though, and that gives you power in every outlet.

I had ETI run a 12V drop to the cabinet above the fridge so I could just wire in a small inverter and directly plug into it, but I'm considering just doing the TS-30 + 1500W inverter to be done with it and not have to shuffle things around.
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:46 PM   #11
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ETI wires the Go Power xfer switch to a secondary box with 2 full size (4 half size) breaker slots. I recommend at least 2 circuits. (I have 4 so I can plug things in to any outlet - keeping in mind the total trailer limit of 30 amps.) 1 circuit is clearly enough when using the inverter (unless you have 2KW or better) but when on shore power I like running a coffee maker or microwave and maybe a space heater (up to 25 or so amps total) at the same time.

The fridge, converter and water heater (if electric option) should never be switched. So I definitely recommend against switching the entire electrical distribution panel.

Option using manual switch:
Manual transfer switch

Dated mods:
19' 110V Electrical mods
ETI no longer puts the fridge on the secondary panel, and I think they put 2 circuits in the secondary panel.
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Old 03-15-2017, 02:09 PM   #12
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We did not get the transfer switch and just got the one outlet. The inverter is turned on and off by a remote mounted on the bench.

Note: Label have been removed.
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File Type: jpg 20170221_180329.jpg (137.5 KB, 16 views)
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Old 03-15-2017, 02:10 PM   #13
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Yes, but you can just put the fridge in Propane mode, and not use the A/C. The switching is automatic. When it detects shore power, it switches to it and cuts out the inverter, and powers the converter. Easy. Not sure, but you may be able to wire the A/C directly to the same outlet the converter will be wired to so it can't be used on battery. You would have to check the specs to see if it can handle that.

If you only need one outlet that can be done easily as well with either a manual switch (cheap but more trouble), just wiring one outlet of the 2 to the inverter (cheaper but only 1 plug at a time), use an inverter that has a built-in transfer switch for one outlet, or add another outlet next to the standard one that is wired directly to the inverter and nothing else which wouldn't work on shore power. The GoPower TS-30 is pretty cheap though, and that gives you power in every outlet.

I had ETI run a 12V drop to the cabinet above the fridge so I could just wire in a small inverter and directly plug into it, but I'm considering just doing the TS-30 + 1500W inverter to be done with it and not have to shuffle things around.
My worry is that one of us might forget to put the fridge on propane and drain the batteries. It is not the price of the Go Power TS-30 that bothers me, while not cheap, it is not that bad.

Could one not instead feed the transfer switch from the AC panel on the converter instead of the power in before it, and then use a second small panel to house the two plug circuit breakers?
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Old 03-15-2017, 02:15 PM   #14
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ETI wires the Go Power xfer switch to a secondary box with 2 full size (4 half size) breaker slots. I recommend at least 2 circuits. (I have 4 so I can plug things in to any outlet - keeping in mind the total trailer limit of 30 amps.) 1 circuit is clearly enough when using the inverter (unless you have 2KW or better) but when on shore power I like running a coffee maker or microwave and maybe a space heater (up to 25 or so amps total) at the same time.

The fridge, converter and water heater (if electric option) should never be switched. So I definitely recommend against switching the entire electrical distribution panel.

Option using manual switch:
Manual transfer switch

Dated mods:
19' 110V Electrical mods
ETI no longer puts the fridge on the secondary panel, and I think they put 2 circuits in the secondary panel.
I wish I had read your post before posting my last one with regards to the secondary panel. Here I was thinking I was being original.

And thanks for those links, I had forgotten about them. I will peruse them later. I have to head out soon.
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Originally Posted by Kountrykamper View Post
We did not get the transfer switch and just got the one outlet. The inverter is turned on and off by a remote mounted on the bench.

Note: Label have been removed.
Ah yes, the remote shut off. That's what I need. Thanks for the reminder.

And good job on the label removal too.
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:15 PM   #15
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Could one not instead feed the transfer switch from the AC panel on the converter instead of the power in before it, and then use a second small panel to house the two plug circuit breakers?
I was thinking more about this myself and I figured out how ETI is likely doing it. Others seem to have confirmed as well. Unless the refrigerator is now wired separately, one of your outlet circuits is likely to still include it. On edit, I see that Doug indicates the fridge is now on a circuit from the power center not dedicated to plugs (maybe with the converter?, but not on an "outlet/plugs" circuit) so this is likely a non-issue.

I should also add that in this scenario the converter can stay powered from the WFCO power center directly and would not be connected to the transfer switch as shown.
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Old 03-15-2017, 04:42 PM   #16
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I was thinking more about this myself and I figured out how ETI is likely doing it. Others seem to have confirmed as well. Unless the refrigerator is now wired separately, one of your outlet circuits is likely to still include it. On edit, I see that Doug indicates the fridge is now on a circuit from the power center not dedicated to plugs (maybe with the converter?, but not on an "outlet/plugs" circuit) so this is likely a non-issue.

I should also add that in this scenario the converter can stay powered from the WFCO power center directly and would not be connected to the transfer switch as shown.
That is pretty much what I was thinking too. And here I thought I had a unique idea.

Any thoughts or ideas on a real small breaker box that with two slots (and could use 4 skinny breakers). Probably not much smaller than this.
https://www.amazon.ca/Square-Schneid...ds=load+center
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Old 03-15-2017, 04:43 PM   #17
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Have yet to install them, but I'm getting a 1000W inverter, remote on/off switch for it, and a single circuit 15A auto transfer switch. Will just do the one circuit that does the outlets in the loft and by the door, also one on the front of the drivers side dinette bench (also has the switch for the HW heater).

I also didn't want to mess with the fridge so I passed on putting the whole trailer on a transfer switch.

FWIW, some folks mount a female receptacle (20 or 30A?) on the exterior of the trailer by the regular male 30 AC amp input. Wire the inverter output to the female plug, then connect the 2 together with the standard cord to power the whole trailer from an inverter.
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Old 03-15-2017, 05:20 PM   #18
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Have yet to install them, but I'm getting a 1000W inverter, remote on/off switch for it, and a single circuit 15A auto transfer switch. Will just do the one circuit that does the outlets in the loft and by the door, also one on the front of the drivers side dinette bench (also has the switch for the HW heater).

I also didn't want to mess with the fridge so I passed on putting the whole trailer on a transfer switch.

FWIW, some folks mount a female receptacle (20 or 30A?) on the exterior of the trailer by the regular male 30 AC amp input. Wire the inverter output to the female plug, then connect the 2 together with the standard cord to power the whole trailer from an inverter.
Why just the front ones, Bob? I was thinking just the opposite if i only o one. Probably will do both, no panic yet, just information gathering for now.
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Old 03-15-2017, 05:42 PM   #19
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...
Any thoughts or ideas on a real small breaker box that with two slots (and could use 4 skinny breakers). Probably not much smaller than this.
https://www.amazon.ca/Square-Schneid...ds=load+center
My thought is that burying a sub-panel inside a cabinet so the breakers can't be seen, checked, or reset without lifting a dinette seat is not good. To me, this is the only undesirable aspect of Escape's design.

The fix is a panel which would be suitable to mount in the face of the cabinet, unlike the typical surface-mounted small sub-panel found in building centres. This arrangement for 12 V DC fuse panels is readily available in RV product lines, but the RV AC panels typically seem to be integrated with the converter in a power centre. For 120 V AC breakers so far I've only found the Blue Sea Systems panels (with a back cover)... and they require the use of specific (more expensive and not commonly available) breakers, not the used in houses. Mounted in the cabinet face, I don't know how small it needs to be.
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Old 03-15-2017, 06:22 PM   #20
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Why just the front ones, Bob? I was thinking just the opposite if i only o one. Probably will do both, no panic yet, just information gathering for now.

The main purpose is for the electric blanket in the winter, takes a long time to warm up the latex with just your bodies. Other then that it's just assorted battery chargers, which I do one the step or on the little shelf by the door, which if I recall correctly happens to have an AC outlet that's on the same breaker under it. And the infrequent TV. The only spots missing it are outside and at the kitchen counter.

In reality, we do just fine without an inverter but I do find the little 400 watt'ers fan to be noisy when I use it inside. I miss getting into a warm bed when we have no hookups. Just conveniences, like a lot of the benefits of a trailer.

I did order a Magnum 1000 watt inverter, says it puts out 1000w as opposed to the Xantrex's 900w, might get lucky and it'll run the MW or Deb's hairdryer on medium (750w).
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