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Old 08-03-2015, 12:47 PM   #1
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Sticky Transfer Switch??

On my recent trip through the desert southwest my genset got much extended use (needed that AC !). In two cases, when switching to shore power for 50Amp service, my power management system indicated "no service" ... even after verifying the circuit breaker was "on" and the power lights on the plug were glowing for both legs. Also, in these cases my power management system did NOT indicate any problem (low voltage, etc) from the service. The funny thing was that in BOTH cases when I used the 30 Amp adapter cable, the power management system registered the presence of the 30 amp service, AND THEN when switching back to the 50 amp plug, my power management system immediately "saw" and reported the presence of the 50 amp service ... and used it without interruption for the duration of the overnight stay. My thought on this is that in these cases somehow the transfer switch is "sticking" and not correctly toggling over when the 50 amp service is present. Any thoughts or experience with this kind of symptom ... and recommendations for correcting it??? (BTW, gotta love the Cummins/Onan genset ... ran without complaint or problem for ~150 hours over ~2 1/2 weeks!)


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Old 08-03-2015, 08:38 PM   #2
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My transfer switch sticks once in a while too. When it does, a light tap with my hand usually makes it activate. An RV tech. once told me it can caused by connecting to 2 power sources at the same time.
To me it sounds like the contacts are sticking. When I get aroundtuit I'll remove the cover and clean things up, until then I'll continue to slap it awake. (gotta remove ALL power sources to clean contacts, that includes house batteries)

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Old 08-04-2015, 07:55 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Ray,IN View Post
My transfer switch sticks once in a while too. When it does, a light tap with my hand usually makes it activate. An RV tech. once told me it can caused by connecting to 2 power sources at the same time.
Interesting comment by the tech. I do know that there was one case during this trip where I connected to shore power and forgot to turn the generator off prior to doing so. Wonder what that does to the contacts physically to make them stick???? Unfortunately my switch is buried in the middle of the back of my large storage bay ... gotta crawl over a bunch of stuff to bang on it... Maybe a broom or brush handle??? Sounds like I need to put cleaning the contacts on my pre-winter cleanup list......

Thanks for the insight!
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Old 08-04-2015, 11:35 AM   #4
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Could be, but a more likely explanation is a loose or broken wire in the shore cord. Wiggling it around to swap adapters and outlets made the connection again.

Very rarely will an ATS "stick" in between shore and genset positions. It may not be impossible, but it's darned improbable that the contactor moves away from one position without reaching the other, and thus is delivering no power at all.

The ATS is designed to switch under load, but that's like saying the engine in your car is designed to run at 8000 RPMs. You can do it, but it increases wear & tear dramatically and the expected life decreases in proportion to the frequency you do that. So avoid switching from shore to genset (or vice versa) with a lot of power (amps) flowing. A few lights is one thing, only a few amps of load, but having the a/c or microwave running during thetransfer is an entirely different matter.
Gary Brinck
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Old 08-04-2015, 11:48 AM   #5
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just had the same experience, yea they were stuck, like arced together, I attributed it to turning off the genny with ac running, you will draw an arc when you do that. started turning off ac before unplugging or turning off gen, not worried about starting or plugging in under load, no problem since I stated doing it this way
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