Nobody loves blackouts. On some days blackouts are short and brief. On other days, it extends for a period of time. Whether short or long, blackouts come with undesired consequences for home owners and business owners. This explains why many people spend on backup generator.

Backup generators have transfer switch equipment and they come in different types and forms. A transfer switch could either be manual or automatic and your choice depends on area of application. We will be discussing the classification of transfer switch equipment as well as the pros and cons of each of them.

Types of transfer switch equipment

  1. Open-transition transfer devices: This type is also known as a “break-before-make” transfer switch. It opens a power source before disrupting links to a second source. They are commonly used and can be seen in a wide range of applications.
  2. Fast closed-transition transfer devices: The operating principle of a fast closed-transition device is similar to that of an open-transition transfer device. However, the two power sources become parallel for a moment. The connection gets broken when the two sources are available. Its transfer switching action is a “make-before-break” type.
  3. Sub-cycle transfer devices: In this type, the new source is opened and closed very quickly such that the interruption does not affect load devices. They are usually more expensive than the rest and may require protection from a fuse.
  4. Soft closed-transition transfer devices: This is also similar to an open-transition transfer switch. However, they synchronize the two power sources leading to lower load interruption.

Automatic transfer switches

This one has the ability to switch power automatically when an outage occurs. It does not need to be actuated by an operator before it switches power. It is available in different style and forms. Its current rating can range from  50A to 400A. On the flip side, it is quite expensive.

Manual transfer switches

This type is commonly seen in stationary generators. Here an operator has to push the switch for power to be restored. Installation and design of manual transfer switches are not as costly as automatic transfer switches.

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