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Old 04-08-2019, 02:49 PM   #1
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Baffled by transfer switch/inverter issue?

I've been living in my motorhome (97 Gulfstream Sun Voyager diesel) while rehabbing my cottage.

Recently, when on occasion shore power has gone off in the coach (due to being hooked up to a 15 amp circuit- easy to overload and pop the breaker) it has been taking several minutes to actually power back up.

My neighbor thought this meant a transfer switch problem and helped me install a new one.

Seemed straightforward enough, but now, although shore power is detected at the transfer switch it is not going past the switch into the coach.

When the contactor is pushed down manually, power transfers across but still does not energize the coach

When I start the gennie, power is detected from the gennie, the contactor pulls down and transfer switch opens normally; power goes past the switch but does not power the coach either.

I assume AC power is first going to the inverter; is the inverter bad? The inverter has not been charging the batteries either.

Is the brand new transfer switch bad?
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Old 04-08-2019, 03:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneyBadger View Post
I've been living in my motorhome (97 Gulfstream Sun Voyager diesel) while rehabbing my cottage.

Recently, when on occasion shore power has gone off in the coach (due to being hooked up to a 15 amp circuit- easy to overload and pop the breaker) it has been taking several minutes to actually power back up.

My neighbor thought this meant a transfer switch problem and helped me install a new one.

Seemed straightforward enough, but now, although shore power is detected at the transfer switch it is not going past the switch into the coach.

Even weirder, when I start the gennie, power is detected from the gennie, the transfer switch opens normally and power goes past the switch but does not power the coach.

I assume AC power is first going to the inverter; is the inverter bad? The inverter has not been charging the batteries either.

If your coach is a 30 amp system, I had a similar problem. Much to my dismay, my (2002 XC Chassis)Fleetwood Expedition 2003 model, was OEM as a 30 amp system. After dealing with a number of similar electrical issues like you seem to be having, I discovered that Fleetwood didn't actually have a single transfer switch in my coach, but two underrated 15 anp transfer switches tied in a wonky parallel arrangement.



So you might have a second transfer switch that is the bad actor. On my original system the first transfer switch isolated the shoreline from a 30 amp line off the genset, and the second transfer switch isolated the same shoreline from a 20 amp line off of the genset. So the genset was able to produce 50 amps of power to the coach, but the breaker panel was only rated for 30 amps.



With one bad transfer switch, the 30 amp side, I got no power to the breaker panel at all. The second transfer switch would not activate if there was either of the two following conditions: no power to the primary transfer switch, or more than 20 amps of load on the primary transfer switch. Nutty arrangement huh?


What they were trying to prevent in the logic, is a condition of continual load greater than 30 amps - because the genset can actually produce 6000 watts (50 amps) to the coach whereas the shoreline and the breaker panel is only rated for 3600 watts (30 amps).


It was like an electrical shell game. Use this appliance but its use will prevent using this other appliance at the same time. Run one airconditioner and have the fan of the second running at the same time, but it was impossible to run both AC compressors at the same time. Run the hot water heater but you can't use the microwave. Use the microwave but it kicks off one of the AC compressors.



I didn't like this logic so I had a professional electrician gut the whole thing and install a marine grade 50 amp (12,000 watt) electrical system.



To me, it sounds like you have a second transfer switch in there somewhere that's preventing the power from reaching the breaker panel. I would chase the main power wire back to the shoreline. I would also check to see how many circuits are coming from your genset. If you have a 7.5K genny with a two pole main breaker, see where both those poles go to. See if they go to a small breaker panel close to the genset where its divided into two separate circuits. Chase both of those circuits and you'll find that second transfer switch on one leg.



Hope this helps
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Old 04-08-2019, 03:45 PM   #3
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The original transfer switch is 50 amps, so I don't think a second transfer switch is the culprit, but thank you.

The shore power comes into the coach about a foot from the transfer switch, which is under the bed. The wire then appears to go to the inverter then come back to the breaker box.

Why 120 volts isn't pulling down the contactor on the shore side when it does on the gennie side, is one mystery, and the other is why that 120 volts isn't energizing the coach is the other.
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Old 04-08-2019, 05:17 PM   #4
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There are two round circuit breaker hidden on your inverter...push to reset. The inverter also has a transfer switch but it’s normally the tripped breakers stopping the 120V.
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Old 04-08-2019, 05:34 PM   #5
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Seems like there should be two transfer switches one for the generator and one for the shore power. My 50 amp has two.
The transfer switch built into my inverter went out instantly and would not supply the breaker panel that converts all the 12 V lights and outlets. With a lot of research and the help of some good friends on this site, I was able to use jumper wires to go from the main panel to the inverted panel disconnecting the inverter altogether.
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Old 04-08-2019, 06:55 PM   #6
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The original transfer switch is 50 amps, so I don't think a second transfer switch is the culprit, but thank you.

The shore power comes into the coach about a foot from the transfer switch, which is under the bed. The wire then appears to go to the inverter then come back to the breaker box.

Why 120 volts isn't pulling down the contactor on the shore side when it does on the gennie side, is one mystery, and the other is why that 120 volts isn't energizing the coach is the other.

So your system is actually a 50 amp system?
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Old 04-08-2019, 06:58 PM   #7
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So his second transfer switch is actually inside the inverter?
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Old 04-08-2019, 07:19 PM   #8
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Really sounds confusing the way it's been put.

Inverter = Device that changes 12 Volt DC to 120 Volt AC to power some (not all) devices in an RV
Converter = Device that converts 120 Volt AC to 12 Volt DC to charge the RV batteries

Transfer switch = large relay(s) that ONLY operates when the generator runs. It's wired so that the relay contacts that are normally CLOSED when you plug into shore power route the power into the house. It doesn't operate when you plug into shore power because there are already closed contacts routing power into the house. When the generator runs, it powers the transfer switches coil(s) which CLOSES the transfer switch, which then routes 120 VAC from the generator to the house.

This means the COM contacts go to the house, NC contacts go to shore power, and NO contacts go to the generator...and there are jumpers from the NO contacts to the transfer switch relay coil. That's it.

So, the transfer switch sounds like it's operating normally. It's NOT suppose to operate when you plug into shore power, but ONLY when the generator is running and is actually supplying 120 VAC. That is decided by the generator's circuitry.

If you're not getting power after installing a new transfer switch, it's wired wrong. In fact, I don't see any way your old one indicates it was bad either, based on your postings.
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Old 04-08-2019, 11:31 PM   #9
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Really sounds confusing the way it's been put.

Inverter = Device that changes 12 Volt DC to 120 Volt AC to power some (not all) devices in an RV
Converter = Device that converts 120 Volt AC to 12 Volt DC to charge the RV batteries

Transfer switch = large relay(s) that ONLY operates when the generator runs. It's wired so that the relay contacts that are normally CLOSED when you plug into shore power route the power into the house. It doesn't operate when you plug into shore power because there are already closed contacts routing power into the house. When the generator runs, it powers the transfer switches coil(s) which CLOSES the transfer switch, which then routes 120 VAC from the generator to the house.

This means the COM contacts go to the house, NC contacts go to shore power, and NO contacts go to the generator...and there are jumpers from the NO contacts to the transfer switch relay coil. That's it.

So, the transfer switch sounds like it's operating normally. It's NOT suppose to operate when you plug into shore power, but ONLY when the generator is running and is actually supplying 120 VAC. That is decided by the generator's circuitry.

If you're not getting power after installing a new transfer switch, it's wired wrong. In fact, I don't see any way your old one indicates it was bad either, based on your postings.

Pretty sure its not "wired wrong", and I'm positive the shore power side contactor of the transfer switch is not pulling down when 120 VAC shore power is applied. You can stand there and watch that. Without the contactor down, no voltage will cross the switch; that is the default setting. Push the contactor down manually and voltage crosses to the load side.
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Old 04-08-2019, 11:32 PM   #10
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So your system is actually a 50 amp system?
Yes, 50 amp.
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Old 04-09-2019, 04:09 AM   #11
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Pretty sure its not "wired wrong", and I'm positive the shore power side contactor of the transfer switch is not pulling down when 120 VAC shore power is applied. You can stand there and watch that. Without the contactor down, no voltage will cross the switch; that is the default setting. Push the contactor down manually and voltage crosses to the load side.
Well, either it's wired wrong or the transfer switch is bad off the shelf.
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Old 04-09-2019, 10:41 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by HoneyBadger View Post
I've been living in my motorhome (97 Gulfstream Sun Voyager diesel) while rehabbing my cottage.

Recently, when on occasion shore power has gone off in the coach (due to being hooked up to a 15 amp circuit- easy to overload and pop the breaker) it has been taking several minutes to actually power back up.

My neighbor thought this meant a transfer switch problem and helped me install a new one.

Seemed straightforward enough, but now, although shore power is detected at the transfer switch it is not going past the switch into the coach.

When the contactor is pushed down manually, power transfers across but still does not energize the coach

When I start the gennie, power is detected from the gennie, the contactor pulls down and transfer switch opens normally; power goes past the switch but does not power the coach either.

I assume AC power is first going to the inverter; is the inverter bad? The inverter has not been charging the batteries either.

Is the brand new transfer switch bad?
I had a similar problem on a couple occasions in my 1988 HR RV. No power to coach when either plugged into shore power or running generator. While checking things out I happened to slam shut one one the lower cabinet doors below closet where some circuit brakers where located and the power came back on. After further investigation I noticed what looked like a grey electrical box mounted why in the back which was hard to see by just looking into the cabinet. Didn't know it was back there until I got down on my hands and knees with a flashlight. The next time it happened I took a screwdriver and tapped the box and power once again returned. It sounded like a spring controlled switch was getting hung up and a little tap was all it needed to engage.
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Old 04-09-2019, 11:04 AM   #13
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It sounds to me like you have two problems, one being the transfer switch does not pass power from shore and the other being no power goes to the coach from either shore or generator.


From your OP, I was not entirely convinced your transfer switch was the problem but there are details missing. What did you mean by taking a long time to power up? Did you mean time to pass power through the transfer switch or time to actually get power at your outlets? Two different things, given that now you get no power through to the coach.


Can you tell us the make and model of your old TS as well as the the new one? Did your old one have any kind of surge protection/circuit protection? Does the new one?


Again, I see a second problem with power not getting to the coach outlets. Have you tested for power at the inverter and after the inverter? If you are getting power to the inverter but not after, there is the next place to look. Certainly, when on the generator, you should be getting power out but that isn't happening. Check all circuits from the inverter. It may be the culprit in all of this.
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Old 04-09-2019, 03:53 PM   #14
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Manual for my ATS includes following troubleshooting.

1.Turn off generator and disconnect from shore tie
2.Remove cover from Transfer switch (ATS)
3.Start generator, wait 30-45 seconds for generator to take the load, relay should energize. If not, go to step #4--- If relay energizes but generator does not provide power to RV use voltmeter, check for power from generator to ATS Then check for 120 volts at N.O. (normally open) terminal of the relay. If 120 is present there you have problem you have wiring problem between the ATS and RV. ... IF no voltage is present at the N.O. contacts, the unit needs to be replaced.
4. With generator running use insulated screwdriver to push down center arm of relay until arm makes contact with N.O. contacts. If AC power is now present at RV the circuit board in the ATS is bad. and must be replaced.

Manual here, you may find your model online: http://www.progressivedyn.com/pdfs/110538A-English.pdf
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