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Old 07-04-2017, 08:43 AM   #1
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Help switching sources

Hey everyone! I wanted to first thank everyone here for their time and efforts in sharing information to get people into their own conversion. I am not an electrician (as the rest of my post will illuminate), but I've been reading a ton and am getting a better handle on electrical systems.

My question is about manual source switching without breaking the bank. My vision is a 4PDT switch that I can select between shore and inverter power for my 120v system. This may be crazy talk, but I'm looking to run everything 120v (exception maybe water pump). Searching, I can't find a switch with a high enough rating, so I am probably barking up the wrong tree. Someone posted a picture somewhere with a lightswitch that seemed to be doing something similar to what I want, but I don't see those rated high enough either! I'll attach a simple diagram with what I'm trying to accomplish



Edit: looking a little further, I found some 4 pole double throw safety switches in an appropriate rating on ebay, those look like they'd do the trick? the price is right, anyway.
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:34 AM   #2
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A charger/inverter will do it automatically. It will charge batteries when plugged in to shore power or using generator.
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by somewhereinusa View Post
A charger/inverter will do it automatically. It will charge batteries when plugged in to shore power or using generator.
I agree, that may be the simplest method and might be what I ultimately go with. Money is just a limited resource and I want to do things inexpensively without killing myself. A separate converter/smart charger + inverter is substantially cheaper. Thanks for your response, though!
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:54 AM   #4
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I don't know your budget but here is a $187 automatic transfer switch: https://www.amazon.com/Go-Power-TS-5.../dp/B00153EYU8
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Old 07-04-2017, 12:43 PM   #5
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just spend the few extra bucks for an automatic switch over switch. will make things incredibly easier... the last two busses i converted, I found the auto switch at big discount...
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Old 07-04-2017, 01:27 PM   #6
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I agree that a transfer switch is the way to go. However; if 'breaking the bank' is a serious issues, you could accomplish the same with a "manual switch." That is, you install a socket and manually change the plug from one to the other as needed.

I'm happy with this 50 amp switch but there are lots of options.
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Old 07-04-2017, 03:12 PM   #7
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I agree that a transfer switch is the way to go. However; if 'breaking the bank' is a serious issues, you could accomplish the same with a "manual switch." That is, you install a socket and manually change the plug from one to the other as needed.
That's exactly what I've done. My three AC sources (shore, generator and inverter) each feed a 30A RV-style receptacle, and my AC breaker panel's pigtail lead with a 30A plug will plug into whichever one of them is supplying power. The inverter has a built-in 100A charger, so that plugs into either the shore or generator receptacles with a pigtail lead that's not long enough to reach the inverter's own AC receptacle. Simple, completely foolproof, absolutely nothing to go wrong, cheap (everything's available from Home Despot for a few bucks) - what's not to like?

Automatic transfer switches can fail in one of two ways - open (so nothing works), or closed (so more than input is connected simultaneously). The former is an inconvenience; the latter will at least destroy expensive generators or inverters, or even burn your bus. I think that Blue Sea has a manual rotary transfer switch that may avoid these potential issues, but anything made for boats won't be cheap!

John
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Old 07-04-2017, 06:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Iceni John View Post
That's exactly what I've done. My three AC sources (shore, generator and inverter) each feed a 30A RV-style receptacle, and my AC breaker panel's pigtail lead with a 30A plug will plug into whichever one of them is supplying power. The inverter has a built-in 100A charger, so that plugs into either the shore or generator receptacles with a pigtail lead that's not long enough to reach the inverter's own AC receptacle. Simple, completely foolproof, absolutely nothing to go wrong, cheap (everything's available from Home Despot for a few bucks) - what's not to like?

Automatic transfer switches can fail in one of two ways - open (so nothing works), or closed (so more than input is connected simultaneously). The former is an inconvenience; the latter will at least destroy expensive generators or inverters, or even burn your bus. I think that Blue Sea has a manual rotary transfer switch that may avoid these potential issues, but anything made for boats won't be cheap!

John
The last one I installed used a single DPDT relay and I can see how it could fail "open" but there is no way that I can imagine that it could connect two sources at the same time. May be that some use a pair of single throw relays that could do that but I have not (yet) encountered one.

I have only seen a couple that have failed and they failed stuck on a single source.

I don't think that reliability is a big issue when it comes to automatic transfer switches.

Just my $0.02

Edit: One of my (4) RV's uses the "receptacle" method of switching power sources and it is as reliable as you can get. It is a bit of a pain when I have to go outside in my jammers to move the plug so that I can make my morning coffee.

In my world, morning does NOT occur without coffee.......

Oxygen and coffee..... Required to sustain life....
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Old 07-04-2017, 08:13 PM   #9
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Still manual, but does anyone have experience with breaker interlocks? A 50amp 2 pole breaker is under $10 and simplifies wiring a little.
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:54 AM   #10
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Still manual, but does anyone have experience with breaker interlocks? A 50amp 2 pole breaker is under $10 and simplifies wiring a little.
I have not. I did look them up and the ones that I found cost as much or more than an auto transfer switch.
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