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Old 06-23-2014, 06:10 PM   #1
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Automatic Transfer Switch Changeout

Installed a Progressive Dynamics 5100 ATS to replace the stock Parallax that has caused so many people problems. Decided I'd be proactive. Very straightforward process. As I removed the old ATS I was unhappily surprised to find that both the load and neutral wires had never been tightened down in the old ATS. I could easily slip both of them from their slots. Guess I've been lucky not to have an "issue" in the last couple of years. IF you are into preventative maintenance, and you're comfortable with electrical stuff, AND you have an ATS, you might check the security of all those connections.
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:52 PM   #2
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I found most of the retention screws loose in the last two Interstates that I have put solar on. Makes you wonder about the factory's quality control.


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Old 06-23-2014, 07:03 PM   #3
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Barry,

That's a good inspection tip. Might as well add the terminals on the circuit breaker box too. And maybe anything you can get to on the 12V power supply.

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Old 06-23-2014, 07:07 PM   #4
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Where is the ATS located?


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Old 06-23-2014, 07:16 PM   #5
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Where is the ATS located?


Gary
In most trailers, it is located near the breaker box/converter.
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:19 PM   #6
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For those mulling replacement, check into the 50 amp transfer switches. They are more heavy duty than the stock 30 amp switch, and as a plus they have a built in spare. IF it should fail, simply move the connections to the other half of the switch.
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:21 PM   #7
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The ATS was mounted on the rear of my electrical panel. In order to remove it I had to unscrew both the 120V and 12V side to get to the two screws. Not a big issue, as I had to get behind the 120V side anyway to connect the breaker to the new ATS, the neutral, and the ground wire to the buss bar. I mounted the new ATS in a much easier service location, and policed up some other stuff in that compartment. My WH is also in there and since I had closed that cabinet up when I ripped out the L seat, I added in a muffin fan with a thermostat that pulls the heat from that cabinet and exhausts it into the trailer. The WH gets pretty hot and with the electrical panel and converter in there I was concerned about overheating components.
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:37 PM   #8
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+1

Add me to the list of transfer switch issues. Rather than take to Airstream, I just bypassed the switch, disconnecting the front generator plug.

However, In the future I would like to install a manual switch. Suggestions or links would be appreciated...
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:49 AM   #9
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However, In the future I would like to install a manual switch. Suggestions or links would be appreciated...

It seems the most basic manual "switch" is to unplug the Airstream's power cable from the pedestal and plug it into the generator.

I'm not familiar with the issues with the model switch Airstream is using, but electrical devices do not get much simpler than these types of automatic transfer switches. It is basically a DPDT relay energized by line voltage.


Here is a manual one, but it likely has a similar DPDT relay inside the box. ..........





I assume Airstream's customers asked for an automatic transfer switch. I am probably missing something, but do not understand the utility of an automatic transfer switch on a travel trailer with portable generator. How do travel trailer owners typically use them?

Homes and bushiness use them to isolate the generator off the grid until the power fails.

Motorhome owners with built in generators can run their AC equipment while driving and may pull into a campground with its generator running (or on standby) so it makes sense to have the ATS isolate the generator from the campground's electric utility when the owner hooks up to the pedestal.

But these Airstream's with ATS do not have built-in generators..... do they?

I guess for someone living fulltime who needed backup power, the ATS would be convenient. Or if I needed a backup generator to keep critical A/C equipment going while in a campground with spotty power. But even then, wouldn't a portable generator need be kept running or have auto-start to ensure seamless back up?

I am just curious but what are the kind of situations where Airstreamer's utilize an ATS plus portable generator?
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Old 08-23-2014, 04:46 PM   #10
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Airstreams do not have built in generators, from my understanding the switch is so shore power and generator power are not added at the same time through the two available power inlets. Airstream essentially made it "dummy" proof so that only one works at a time, only it was done with a cheap part that regularly malfunctions not allowing power in to the switch panel at all from either input.

Mine is a 2012, which I understand was a problem year for this particular power transfer switch. Rather than airstream taking notice and replacing it on a regular service call, they leave it be for me to figure out when my power dies during the night,during the rain, and the next morning my battery completely drains while hooking up my weight distribution bars,me hike my suv is lifted off the ground and my tongue jack stops working...

Hence the reason I disconnected on of the ports, the front one and ran the orange power cable directly into the back of the electric panel. No more switch, no more problems. However, there may be those times that the front out is more convenient for plugging in that rather rewriting it again to switch the power to the front, I'd prefer to through a switch inside so that the power is switched to the front outlet.

I can see the benefit of the front power outlet, especially for those folks with trucks that can leave the generator locked in the bed and not have to lift it out each use. That's not my particular situation, I could live with just knowing the switch is not going to cause my Airstream to completely go dead on me, but since it's probably only a $20-$30 switch I'd rather hook it up under the bed in case, future resale, etc.

Has anyone done this?
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:54 PM   #11
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Shock Hazard

For those who are unfamiliar with the electrical circuitry of a "Transfer Switch" (manual or automatic) there is another important function it serves, Safety.
If someone were to by-pass or jumper around the transfer switch without disconnecting one of the two (2) Line Inputs, you would have exposed electrical components ( male terminals) at the shoreline connector that wasn't being used (i.e. Generator port).

I like the convenience of the automatic transfer switch as sometimes I will plug the shoreline cable into the "Remote Generator Power Input" if I'm parked in a campground where the power pedestal is in a less than desirable location.
Otherwise, with a manual transfer switch, I would need to "remember" to go inside and change the switch position.

Thank you for the tip to check tightness on all of the wire connections.
I'll add this to my maintenance schedule.

Cheers
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