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Old 07-15-2006, 07:36 AM   #1
Rivet Master
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2004 30' Classic
Field and Stream , PA & MT
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 819
Remote Generator Transfer Switch Question

We’re spending the summer in our trailer and are now just north of Yellowstone Park. For the past couple nights, I had smelled something strange when I first went to bed but couldn’t figure out what it was. After I was in bed awhile, the smell went away.

Yesterday afternoon, all of our electric service went out. In doing some checking, with the help of a couple of friendly neighbors who know more than me about electric matters, we found that part of the Model ATS Automatic Line Generator (transfer) Switch in our trailer had burned, so I was not getting any shoreline power though to the circuit breaker box and into the trailer. We’re probably lucky the entire trailer didn’t burn up.

Our 2004 30’ Classic has a remote generator hookup in front of the trailer, which was one of the factory options when we ordered our trailer. This hookup includes this automatic transfer switch to prevent a power overload if a generator is started while the trailer is plugged into 30 amp service. It is located beneath the twin bed that I sleep in, right inside the trailer where the 110v shoreline power cord comes in, and that’s obviously what I had been smelling.

In looking at the transfer switch it appears that only the right side has burned. That portion appears to include a reset switch, and it is pretty well charred. The rest of the switch box is still intact.

Since we are staying in an area that doesn’t have ready or close access to RV service, I began thinking what we could do until our problem can get repaired, and found that I could still get power into our trailer by hooking up an extra 30 amp power cord that I carry with us to the remote generator outlet located in front of our trailer, plugging this directly in to the RV park’s 30 amp service as we normally had done. Apparently, whatever burned in the transfer switch had not affected this.

On Monday morning, I intend to telephone the factory technical service reps to discuss this issue, including how and when we can get it fixed. My question for now is does anyone see any potential issues in the interim with continuing to use our remote generator hookup for our shoreline power source? (Of course we’re not planning to also hookup our trailer’s normal 110v power cord at the same time since that doesn’t provide any electric service.)

I was also wondering whether anyone else has experienced problems with their transfer switch. I don’t suppose there are a large number of Airstream trailer’s that have remote generator hookups installed, especially the older ones, but maybe more motor homes have them.

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Old 07-15-2006, 08:32 AM   #2
Rivet Master
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Vintage Kin Owner
Naples , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,430
Rest Easy


What you are doing is 'fooling' the transfer switch into thinking that you are powering the trailer on generator power. The sensors in the relay that control the switching function don't care where the power is coming from.

Their only function is to flip the relay contacts one way or the other so that you can never have both power sources entering the breaker box simultaneously. If the gen section of the ATS is still functioning, then you are fine having the 30 amp entering the trailer from the gen input. I would keep an eye on the ATS anyway, since there was an obvious flaw in the switch that caused it to burn out.
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