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Old 02-13-2018, 11:16 AM   #1
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Buzzing transfer switch

Hey guys I have a 96 Bounder 34j with 11k miles and it has a PowerTek PDC-1001 distribution box. I have already read that the transfer switch is attached to the back of the box. When I am plugged into shore power I get a constant buzzing noise. For the next few months Iíll be full timing in the rig and I would like to fix this before I lose power all together and to get rid of the buzzing. I am hearing so many different things though. Some say transfer switch, some say relay, some say normal, some say itís a sure sign of going bad. I just want to replace it or whatever is bad and be done with it but I have no idea what I need. Can anyone help? Thanks!
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Old 02-13-2018, 12:25 PM   #2
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The transfer switch uses a solenoid to connect the proper points for power from shore cord or generator. AC has a 60 Hz signal, so it can buzz if anything is failing or not working properly. If the solenoid can't be quieted or replaced, you could eliminate the transfer switch and go back to the older way to select a power source, a large 30 or 50 amp plug and outlet to select which source of power you are using. The transfer switch's only advantage is it's automatic and prevents power from one source feeding into the other. The older set up of an outlet and plug worked silently but wasn't automatic.
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Old 02-13-2018, 12:36 PM   #3
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May want to Carefully check the cables for any heat. Then with everything off/disconnected check the cable lug tightness on your Xfer switch.

Newmar has a Recall out on the tightness of the cables lugs on their Xfer Switches and the potential for fire. Not sure if loose lugs/cables could also cause humming noise, but may be worth a check. I suppose any brand MH can have them come loose over time with road vibration and such.
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:51 PM   #4
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Thanks guys I definitely want to keep a transfer switch but mine is behind the distribution panel riveted to it so I think I would rather have an electrician come out and handle it. I wish I could figure out what switch I need and just replace it. Does anyone know which switch is needed for a PowerTek PDC-1001?
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:15 PM   #5
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A search on Google shows that PowerTek is now an IT company specializing in Govt. contracts, or one that makes performance clothing, another makes stump grinders and wood chippers, or one that sells hockey equipment. Couldn't find one that makes RV electrical equipment. I did find a used unit like yours for sale at a salvage yard.

I also remembered that most transfer switched default to shore power, so no buzzing should be heard on shore power, maybe the generator, but I suspect it's a latching solenoid so it shouldn't buzz then either.

Does your 'distribution' panel not only contain circuit breakers but also shut off power to one of the A/C units if only 30 amps are available? They might have relays that could buzz when faulty. Those relays are also probably replaceable if you get eyes on them to find their specifications.
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:27 PM   #6
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Normal for them to buzz unless it's one of the DC models. Some are louder than others. Should be on your annual list to open the panel after disconnecting all power and check the connections and look for burnt wiring.

Just replaced my Todd Engineering PS-250 with a Progressive Dynamics PD-52 and it buzzes. Nothing to worry about.
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:47 PM   #7
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If you remove cover from transfer switch you will see one or two contactors, I would say they are what's making the noise, you can clean contacts or replace them, I would replace both. Due to the age of your rig I would consider replacing with Progressive Dynamics transfer switch with built in phase protector, for a few dollars more they also have an option for transfer switch with "NO BUZZ" contactors, I forget the name of contactors. I installed one last year and they do not buzz or humm.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:02 PM   #8
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Here is one for sale. Might give them a call and maybe some one there could give you some advice on your problem.
https://colawrvsalvage.com/product/p...nter-for-sale/
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:23 AM   #9
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buzzing is vibration in the laminated cores of the solenoid. With power off and batteries disconnected, you can try mounting the switch on rubber mounts, put some of the material used to deaden stereo bass on the surfaces of the box, and tighten everything that needs tightening. But in the end, the cores are vibrating.

You can try coating the cores with an epoxy meant for electrical applications (e.g NOT JB Weld!) The manufacturers do this but it's very thin.
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:49 AM   #10
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Just to add some input, I have a 50 amp "Surge Guard model 40250" (3 years old) and it buzzes constantly when connected to shore power.
I've been told this is common with 60Hz components.
The manufacturer acknowledged there could be buzzing on some units and has since discontinued this model.
Other RV owners have suggested cleaning the contact points in the relay with emery paper.
I have also been told that "Progressive Industries" models do not buzz!
I get mixed signals on surrounding the box with sound deadening insulation, mainly from a safety perspective.
Short of replacing the unit and taking an $800 gamble on the same buzzing from a new unit, I plan to relocate the switch from under a drawer in the bedroom to the outside utility compartment.
I have seen this in similar Class A models and the switch still buzzes, but it can not be heard inside the coach.
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Old 02-14-2018, 03:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim.B1 View Post
I have also been told that "Progressive Industries" models do not buzz!
Mine did.It was mounted under the bed and drove me crazy. They were good enough to replace it but it buzzed just as bad.
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:19 PM   #12
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Not sure if wrapping the box is a good idea, very good chance it could get really hot in there.
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