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Old 03-15-2017, 09:12 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, 10:02 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
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, 10:20 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, 10:31 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, 10:35 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, 10:43 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, 11:23 AM   #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, 12:00 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, 12:18 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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
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, 12:32 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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