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Old 10-17-2014, 10:20 PM   #1
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Generator Transfer Switch?

Hello all,

Still a newbie here, but finding some very useful help here.

I have a 1992 Fleetwood Pace Arrow, Model 37J, (37 foot).

I'm in the process of upgrading the electrical service from 30 amp to 50 amp.

The new electrical panel, (a Parallex 5355), has a new built in converter as a part of it, so that's one concern I don't have.

However in a conversation I had with someone, I was told that I would also need to upgrade/change the generator transfer switch as well.

I've already been 'scouting around' in back of the existing panel that I'll be removing.

I'm trying to make as many decisions about things as possible, before I unplug from the pole and pull the existing panel out.

That would be, 'the part of no return', lol...

Anyway, in that scouting around, I'm not seeing anything that 'might be' a generator transfer switch.

Basically I'm seeing the main electrical panel, the DC fuse area, then a separate power converter.

So I'm wondering where the generator transfer switch might be?

I must admit, I have not looked anywhere around the generator itself as of yet. I wouldn't know what it would even look like.

So can anyone tell me where this generator transfer switch might be, and what it might look like?

Then 'maybe' a recommendation of a good brand, model number, and the best place to get one.

Thanks!
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Old 10-17-2014, 10:33 PM   #2
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One simple question based on age it is likely you don't have a transfer switch. In the shore cord area is there a outlet that you can plug the shore cord into? If yes and most older coaches had them then you have no transfer switch. Many of the older coaches had 2 A/C units and a generator but used a 30 amp shore cord so you had to run the generator to use the second air. Some used a switch in the unit so you could choose front or rear A/C but to run both you had to put the switch in front mode and run the generator. The other common setup used by Fleetwood back then was they mounted a 30 amp transfer switch on the back of the breaker box. In which case if you have that setup it will be a 4in cube roughly on the back of the breaker panel.
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Old 10-17-2014, 10:34 PM   #3
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This is a typical transfer switch
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Old 10-18-2014, 01:30 AM   #4
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1mainiac is right about the transfer switch being behind the electrical panel. Pace was the top top of the line in gas motorhomes during this period and never had a manual plug.
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Old 10-18-2014, 01:50 AM   #5
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> One simple question based on age it is likely you don't have a transfer switch. In the shore cord area is there a outlet that you can plug the shore cord into? If yes and most older coaches had them then you have no transfer switch.

Actually the 30 amp cord, (that plugs into the pole) came out of a typical little storage compartment, and terminated into a metal single gang electrical box.

From that box the 'individual' wires, (stripped out of the heavy cable), where run in black wire loom, (the exact same as you would find under the hood of an automobile).

Then up over the fresh water tank, and from there, 'who knows', but it eventually ends up in the back of the breaker box.


>Many of the older coaches had 2 A/C units and a generator but used a 30 amp shore cord so you had to run the generator to use the second air. Some used a switch in the unit so you could choose front or rear A/C but to run both you had to put the switch in front mode and run the generator.


Yep, that's exactly what I have. There is a switch in an overhead cabinet above the couch that has you choose between the front or rear air conditioner.

They're on a 20 amp breaker, the main is only 30 amp, so obviously you couldn't run both.

I never knew, and no one ever told me, that if I ran the grnerator, I could run both units.

But there is no switch that allow you to choose both. It's either the front or rear. So I don't understand that part.

If the switch is put in the front position, and the generator is started, would the rear automatically turn on?

Just curious about that now... when I put the new 50 amp panel in, I'll be able to run both normally, without the generator.


>The other common setup used by Fleetwood back then was they mounted a 30 amp transfer switch on the back of the breaker box. In which case if you have that setup it will be a 4in cube roughly on the back of the breaker panel.

Taking a peek back there with a flashlight and mirror, I didn't notice such a box back there. Hopefully when I actually pull the old panel out, I won't find one back there.

I see someone posted a picture of one, so at least I'll know what I'm looking for.

Though I'm wondering what the generator will do, 'if' I ever go off shore power, turn on thr generator, and I start drawing more than 30 amps?

Are there some kind of limit switches on generators that would only allow me to run 30 amps, even though I'll have a 50 amp panel?

Thanks again!
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Old 10-18-2014, 01:59 AM   #6
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> One simple question based on age it is likely you don't have a transfer switch. In the shore cord area is there a outlet that you can plug the shore cord into? If yes and most older coaches had them then you have no transfer switch.

Actually the 30 amp cord, (that plugs into the pole) came out of a typical little storage compartment, and terminated into a metal single gang electrical box.

From that box the 'individual' wires, (stripped out of the heavy cable), where run in black wire loom, (the exact same as you would find under the hood of an automobile).

Then up over the fresh water tank, and from there, 'who knows', but it eventually ends up in the back of the breaker box.


>Many of the older coaches had 2 A/C units and a generator but used a 30 amp shore cord so you had to run the generator to use the second air. Some used a switch in the unit so you could choose front or rear A/C but to run both you had to put the switch in front mode and run the generator.


Yep, that's exactly what I have. There is a switch in an overhead cabinet above the couch that has you choose between the front or rear air conditioner.

They're on a 20 amp breaker, the main is only 30 amp, so obviously you couldn't run both.

I never knew, and no one ever told me, that if I ran the grnerator, I could run both units.

But there is no switch that allow you to choose both. It's either the front or rear. So I don't understand that part.

If the switch is put in the front position, and the generator is started, would the rear automatically turn on?

Just curious about that now... when I put the new 50 amp panel in, I'll be able to run both normally, without the generator.


>The other common setup used by Fleetwood back then was they mounted a 30 amp transfer switch on the back of the breaker box. In which case if you have that setup it will be a 4in cube roughly on the back of the breaker panel.

Taking a peek back there with a flashlight and mirror, I didn't notice such a box back there. Hopefully when I actually pull the old panel out, I won't find one back there.

I see someone posted a picture of one, so at least I'll know what I'm looking for.

Though I'm wondering what the generator will do, 'if' I ever go off shore power, turn on thr generator, and I start drawing more than 30 amps?

Are there some kind of limit switches on generators that would only allow me to run 30 amps, even though I'll have a 50 amp panel?

Thanks again!
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Old 10-18-2014, 03:56 AM   #7
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I find it easier to follow questions & answers when the signature is included at the end of each individual post. To add your signature, scroll up the left side near the top of the page & click on USER CP & scroll down to SIGNATURE and add the description of your motorhome. Then click on the box SHOW YOUR SIGNATURE.

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Old 10-18-2014, 05:57 AM   #8
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Tip: I did a lot of electrical work as a job and found when I was changing something out I took pictures of everything before I started. It saves you a lot of saying 'I wonder where this wire went'. I have taken pictures of all of my panels, wiring, switches, etc. I can go to the computer and see them in nice quality pictures. I used my phone at work a lot for that.
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Old 10-18-2014, 08:29 AM   #9
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>This is a typical transfer switch

Thanks! I haven't seen one of these yet, but now I know what to look for.
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Old 10-18-2014, 09:19 AM   #10
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>Tip: I did a lot of electrical work as a job and found when I was changing something out I took pictures of everything before I started. It saves you a lot of saying 'I wonder where this wire went'. I have taken pictures of all of my panels, wiring, switches, etc. I can go to the computer and see them in nice quality pictures. I used my phone at work a lot for that.


Thanks for the tip!

I 'stocked up' on wire number tags too, lol...

But for sure I'll take some pictures as well. I already have pictures of the outside of the panel.

In the beginning it will be easy, just 'everything' in here, is only on 4 breakers.

The new panel has a capacity of 6 breaker slots. I got all 'minis', or doubles, which will actually give me 12 breakers so I can split everything up very nicely.

I'll for sure be spending a lot of time tracing out all the wires!

Fortunately, it kind-of looks like most everything was 'home run' back to the panel, just from the amount of wires, (romex), back there.

(Naturally I'll be doing this part while 'unplugged'!)

I have a little tone generator and tracer that I'll be using to identify wires. I actually had to make one part of that, so I won't have to open up every outlet in there.

It's basically an AC plug, with a few inches of of wire leads coming out of it, then terminated with alligator clips on it.

I can plug that into an outlet, connect my tone generator to it, then use my tracer to identify the wire back at the panel.

For the AC light sockets, I have an adapter for those, and for everything else, such as the roof fans, or anything else I can't get to easily, I'll begin at the panel and go in reverse.

Clip my tone generator on any wires left not identified yet, and use my tracer to go around the coach and find where those wires go.

Wish I knew how to attach a picture here...

The fitst thing I'm going to have to do, which I'm not looking forward to doing, is trimming the wood, around where the new panel is going.

It's a bit larger in size, so I have to make a larger opening for it. That's going to involve running a 'long' extension cord to a 15 amp outlet on the pole, then back to the coach, so I can power my jig saw to trim that wood out.

It's overcast and dark outside, so the extension cord back to the coach could be used for some extra lighting anyway.

But for sure I'll snap some pictures too, just in case I might be able to help the next person taking on such a project.
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Old 10-18-2014, 09:32 AM   #11
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Okay, I'm confused about that part...

And for some reason this 'thread', (I guess it's called), got messed up a bit. Probably something I no doubt did...

But most of my replies aren't right under those who had written to me, like I guess it should be. And it looks like one got posted twice.

Maybe a nice moderator can fix all of this???
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Old 10-18-2014, 09:43 AM   #12
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PM sent call me when your in the unit.
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Old 10-18-2014, 11:46 AM   #13
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Your replies are in time of arrival sequence, so if somebody else replies while you are typing, their reply will show ahead of yours. The duplicate is something you did on your own, probably hit "send' twice on your browser.
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Old 10-18-2014, 11:55 AM   #14
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Chances are your rear a/c has its own "private" power wire to the generator, so that it can receive power without going through the main 30A feed that supplies the rest of the coach and front a/c. Some coaches have a switch that allows you to select whether the front or rear a/c receives power from the 30A main, but usually the only way to get both a/c to operate is to use the generator and let the front stay on the main feed. There are other possible ways to wire things, though, and your 92 may differ from the 96 I had with that set-up.

You need a transfer switch that can handle 4 wires rather than the 3 used with 30A shore power. Wire both the shore cord and the generator to the transfer switch. You will also need to change the rear a/c power source to the second 120v circuit you get via the 50A shore cord (or generator) and transfer switch. Change the load center (or add a second one) to use two 120v inputs instead of the one you now have, and move/add circuits to the second 120v side to balance the load. Otherwise you haven't accomplished much of anything.

If your goal is solely to run the rear a/c from shore power, there are easier ways to do that. I won't go into that alternative unless that's what you want.
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