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Old 03-20-2019, 06:25 AM   #1
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Need to modify transfer box front plate for better attachment

On a recent trip, my Onan generator failed on me. In trying to diagnose the problem, I took a lot of things apart to reset circuit breakers and not status of switches and measure voltages. In trying to be able to see voltages on input and output pins of the transfer switch, I needed to remove the front face plate of the switch on this 2019 Cornerstone. However, this was a major task.... the damn thing would just NOT release. I was pretty mad and frustrated at this time of night and in this location for this system to fail, so maybe I was not using the most sensitive and delicate approach, but it seemed like it was locked on. Then maybe the top right released and then the bottom left, but the bottom right would not release no matter what I did. I was bending the plastic front cover at a serious angle and finally it released and came off, but then I realized that I had actually broker one of the metal brackets that holds that damn thing on. There are four of them, one in each corner and they are "designed" (I use that term loosely) to snap in and out..... well mine were really tight.

Anyhow, I have now broken at least one and maybe two of them off so they will no longer work. And I would rather design some new system so that maybe the front panel is held on with velcro straps or some tie. The only thing that panel does is keep fingers from toughing electrically "hot" contacts within, and to let you see 2 LEDS that tell you the system is operational, but nothing comes quickly to mind as a way to reattach that front panel more easily. Any ideas?

Gary
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Old 03-20-2019, 07:43 AM   #2
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Can you drill hole in cover where you could see the LED's without removing the cover?
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:46 AM   #3
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Unfortunately, I can't visualize the plate, but if it will work, what about four magnets held by JB Weld?
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:08 AM   #4
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There is usually a fire, or at least a heat, rating on electrical box's, but anything that holds the cover in place should be fine.
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:12 AM   #5
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Magnetic Catch
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Old 03-20-2019, 02:55 PM   #6
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Gary, if you canít fix it with duct tape..

..youíre not using enough duct tape!

Seriously though, how about using some hook and loop fastener to secure the failed corner. Run a piece long enough to wrap around the front and secure to the plate.

-Matt
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Old 03-21-2019, 12:54 AM   #7
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About three months ago I replaced mine and know how difficult getting the cover off and back on can be when you are in an awkward position. Wish I would have kept it now so you could have the cover. A new one is about $214.00 so if you don't mind having a backup (which you may need in the future!!) you could use the cover off of it. Read the reviews of the transfer switch and you will see they go out often.
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Old 03-21-2019, 07:09 AM   #8
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Some good suggestions... thank you.

As I have brewed about this for the past 24 hours, it occurs to me that the transfer switch front panel doesn't really need to have all 4 corners clamped down tight. I think that there is no real reason that the cover needs to be there at all, other than to protect someone who is in that compartment for some other reason from bumping into one of the 120 VAC legs coming into the coach by accident. It is there just to isolate the voltage terminals. And the latching mechanism is a really dumb arrangement of metal tabs that need to clamp together. What is standard is way, WAY over-engineered for what is needed. The suggestion for hook and loop would seem to be the way to do it at the factory so it would be easy on and off. Now, that would require drilling and anchoring the hook and loop sections. Duct tape would certainly do the trick but look a little nasty in the new basement (but certainly a tried and true option). I think that what I will do is bust off the bottom, almost impossible to separate and then re-engage snaps completely and leave only the top two snaps and let the top 2 corners hold the whole thing. Whoever designed those anchors must have had a strange sense of humor watching us owners try to get that face-plate off where mounted.

If I hadnt been so damn frustrated that I was sitting in the street, at 9 at night, beside the Cummins shop, 1200 miles from home, in an industrial area that seemed a little "iffy" at night for 90 minutes trying to diagnose why my generator had just failed while I was waiting for my appointment at the Cummins shop to get my Cummins overheating problems resolved in my 6th repair shop visit on one "vacation", I might have been a little more gentle in getting the face plate off in the first place..... ... , I think!!

Maybe not.....

Gary
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Old 03-21-2019, 07:27 AM   #9
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My two previous transfer switches just had two small screws that held the front panels on. I had the 19 panel off to wire the EMS but I don't remember anything difficult holding the front panel on.
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Old 03-21-2019, 08:21 AM   #10
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Gary,
I guess Iím confused. Like Chuck said my transfer switch cover is held on with a screw in the upper right and lower left corner. Once the 2 screws are removed the cover is still held in place with a clip in the upper left and lower right corners and a good tug in these areas removes the cover.
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Old 03-21-2019, 08:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C310 View Post
Gary,
I guess Iím confused. Like Chuck said my transfer switch cover is held on with a screw in the upper right and lower left corner. Once the 2 screws are removed the cover is still held in place with a clip in the upper left and lower right corners and a good tug in these areas removes the cover.
Steve
I am thinking the same way, if the clips got broken off, so what? add another screw, if needed, should fix the problem.
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Old 03-21-2019, 12:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt D View Post
...if you canít fix it with duct tape..

..youíre not using enough duct tape!
Love it Matt, although I've upgraded from duct tape to Gorilla tape!
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Old 03-21-2019, 01:50 PM   #13
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Gary, it’s possible the transfer switch cover plate on your 2019 CS is different than the one on our 2018 CS. On the assumption they’re the same or very similar, below are some photos that may be helpful.

The first photo shows the front of my transfer switch cover plate with the plate removed from the transfer switch. If you look around the perimeter of the plate, you’ll see an empty hole at the upper right and another empty hole at the lower left. When the cover plate is installed on the transfer switch those holes are filled by Phillips head machine screws. This view also shows four rivets located around the perimeter of the cover plate – center right, lower right, center left, and upper left. Those rivets attach spring clips to the back side of the cover plate.

The second photo shows the back side of the cover plate. With the plate turned over, the empty screw holes are now at the upper left and lower right, and you can see the four spring clips which are held in place by the rivets mentioned above.

An issue with this design is that when the cover plate is installed on the transfer switch, the two Phillips head screws look virtually identical to the four rivets. Unless you have good light, good eyes, and look closely, it’s easy to conclude there are six rivets holding six spring clips. Once you reach that conclusion, it’s logical to assume the only way to get the cover plate off is to yank on it ‘til the cows come home.

Reading your description of your attempt to remove your cover plate, it sounds like that may be what happened to you; i.e., that you didn’t realize there were two Phillips head screws that needed to be removed before attempting to separate the cover plate from the transfer switch. With the two screws removed, my cover plate comes off relatively easily. It takes a bit of persuasion, but nothing like you described.

In any case, I fully agree with you that the cover plate in drastically over-engineered for its intended purpose. Four spring clips (one at each corner of the plate) or four screws (one at each corner of the plate) would have done the job quite adequately. Mixing spring clips and screws has no practical purpose that I can discern.

Regarding where you go from here, I’d contact Southwire/SurgeGuard and ask for a new cover plate. They might be kind enough to send you one at no cost, but even if they want to charge you it shouldn’t be an outrageous number. Let us know what you learn if you decide to contact them.

One post script to my comments above. If you look at the two photos, you’ll see that in addition to the two screws holes and the four rivets I described, there are two other empty holes in the cover plate. In the first photo, those two holes are between and slightly inboard from the center right and lower right rivets. In the second photo with the cover plate flipped over, those two holes are between the middle left and lower left spring clips. I have no idea what those holes are for, but my guess is the manufacturer uses the same cover plate on several different transfer switches and the two mystery holes serve some purpose on some of the other transfer switches. Or not…
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Old 03-21-2019, 03:32 PM   #14
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Hmmmmmmmmmmm...................................... ....................

I think I may have been more frustrated that night in trying to figure out why my Onan was producing no power on a VERY cold night in the middle of an industrial Tucson neighborhood with the coach in need of charging the house batteries after the coach had been in the shop all day....... and had to go back into the shop the next day......

I was holding my cell phone between my shoulder and my ear talking to Les on the phone at After Hours Entegra Customer Service and he said, "Well remove the cover of the transfer switch and lets measure the voltage across all the connections" and I gave a quick look at the front and saw a bunch of what looked like silver rivets, and said "Hows it come off?" and was told, you just pull it off. So I grabbed on to it and it just would not come off. I might have been uttering some words my mother might have not liked at the time.... First the top left came loose and then the top right came loose, but it was a really hard pull...... then the bottom right and finally the bottom left would just not come off.

Now I understand with Larry's evenhanded and non-accusatory guidance..... the top right and bottom left were not rivets after all..... they were screws!!!! .. .. not rivets. That might have been the problem. I measured the voltages and we came to the conclusion that the genny was bad or the circuit breaker had faulted and I needed to find some other way to make it through the night. I just tossed the switch front into the compartment, decided to be careful working around there with a screwdriver or a wrench until I got it back on, and that's the way it has sat for 1,200 miles home. I didn't look at it again until a couple days ago when I posted this new thread..... and it still made no sense. It would not snap back on. Damn!

I now see that the metal jackets in the plastic tabs that the screws threaded into came out along with the screws in the uppper right and lower left still "in" the now "liberated" metal jackets. Hadn't noticed that before, but it still would not snap back on any more.... ... ..

I understand it all now ....... I'm embarrassed ...... I wish I could say as Emily Latella used to say "Never Mind!!!" It was not a fun trip!!!!

thanks for all the help and new understanding

gary
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