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Old 10-15-2009, 10:55 AM   #1
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Standby generator on/off switch


I've got a standby generator with an automatic transfer switch, and I installed all of it myself. It works great---for example, the power was out for the past 2+ days and it worked exactly as it should. It's also done the job in previous shorter outages. However, the generator is noisy, so when the electricity is out, we like to turn it off at night (the only important thing that it would power at night is the refrigerator, and the fridge doesn't warm up too much overnight). The problem is that there is no easy way to turn the generator off. To get at the auto/off switch, which is labeled "D" in the attached figure, I need to remove the cover (4 screws) and cover plate (1 more screw). That's not a lot of fun, when it's raining, dark, and windy. Ideally, I'd like to have an on/off switch indoors, but I'd also want to be able to switch it on/off at the generator. So, I guess what I need is a 3-way switch. Does that sound like a reasonable approach here? Or does anybody have a better idea? Thanks.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:08 AM   #2
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Standby generator on/off switch


Check the diagram for the unit. You may need to take a picture of the diagram and post it. I tried to guess how to do it, but changed my mind.

Note: If the gen switch is in the open position when the unit is in automatic, you can run two wires to where ever you want and connect a single pole switch in parallel with the generator switch. Terminal to terminal.

Edit. Both "off" switches will need to connected in series, not parallel.


Last edited by J. V.; 10-16-2009 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:32 PM   #3
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Standby generator on/off switch


Where is the transfer switch? That is what is sending the run signal to the generator. There should be a set of contacts in there that you should be able to put a switch in series with and remove the "power fail" signal that starts the generator when in auto mode.

Post the info on the transfer switch. Drawings would be great.
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:57 PM   #4
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Standby generator on/off switch


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Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
Check the diagram for the unit. You may need to take a picture of the diagram and post it. I tried to guess how to do it, but changed my mind.

Note: If the gen switch is in the open position when the unit is in automatic, you can run two wires to where ever you want and connect a single pole switch in parallel with the generator switch. Terminal to terminal.
Thanks for the response. Here's the wiring diagram for the generator.
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:59 PM   #5
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Standby generator on/off switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Where is the transfer switch? That is what is sending the run signal to the generator. There should be a set of contacts in there that you should be able to put a switch in series with and remove the "power fail" signal that starts the generator when in auto mode.

Post the info on the transfer switch. Drawings would be great.
Thanks for the reply. Yes, it would be fine if something could be done at the transfer switch, but I don't see how that could work. In any case, here's the wiring diagram.
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:53 AM   #6
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Standby generator on/off switch


It's funny, one of my good friends has the same unit (B&S 7kW I assume) and has the exact same request.

JoeD, once the unit is running I can't think of a way to shut it off from the transfer panel. You can keep it from starting by interrupting the start circuit, but I don't think that is a maintained contact.

I was going to install a SP switch on the outside of the generator unit with a rubber boot on it. This can most likely be wired in series with the small fuse in the wiring panel, but I haven't researched it yet.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:32 AM   #7
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Standby generator on/off switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
It's funny, one of my good friends has the same unit (B&S 7kW I assume) and has the exact same request.

JoeD, once the unit is running I can't think of a way to shut it off from the transfer panel. You can keep it from starting by interrupting the start circuit, but I don't think that is a maintained contact.

I was going to install a SP switch on the outside of the generator unit with a rubber boot on it. This can most likely be wired in series with the small fuse in the wiring panel, but I haven't researched it yet.

There has to be some sort of "run" signal that goes to the genny to tell it the power is out. I can't tell from drawing provided where that is. It probably comes from the control board.
Can you post a drawing of how the interconnect the genny to the transfer switch.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:44 AM   #8
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Standby generator on/off switch


The genny does not care if the power is out, the transfer switch does. The transfer switch has a 240v sensing circuit (labeled 240v in the above image).

Actually, along with the "start" function there has to be a "run" circuit from the switch to the genny, how else would the switch turn the genny off?
I guess this should have been obvious to me. I have to dig into the wiring diagram some more.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:39 AM   #9
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Standby generator on/off switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
The genny does not care if the power is out, the transfer switch does. The transfer switch has a 240v sensing circuit (labeled 240v in the above image).

Actually, along with the "start" function there has to be a "run" circuit from the switch to the genny, how else would the switch turn the genny off?
I guess this should have been obvious to me. I have to dig into the wiring diagram some more.
I'm not an electrician (and I don't even play one on TV...), but my understanding is that it is the generator that senses when power goes out and turns itself on---and similarly it senses when power is restored and turns itself off. If you look at the attached image, point "B" is described as follows: "240 Volt Utility — Use to hook up the 240V utility leads from the transfer switch to the generator." That is, it is directly connected to the utility line and (I assume) this is how the generator senses when the power goes off. The transfer switch, on the other hand, simply serves to feed the power from the generator into the house, while making sure that power does not back feed into the utility line.

Of course, I could be wrong, but that's the way I understood it when I was installing it.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:45 AM   #10
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Standby generator on/off switch


Sounds possible. It can be confirmed by pulling that plug off. The generator should start.
If that's true then my idea would not work since you would need to apply 240 volts to shut the genny off. I was hoping for some sort of contact that closes (or opens) to tell the genny to run. Then you could put a switch in series.

What is the make and model of the transfer switch? I would like to try and find a manual on line for it.
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Last edited by joed; 10-16-2009 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 10-16-2009, 11:27 AM   #11
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Standby generator on/off switch


I am sorry I cannot read the diagram you posted. It's a combination of my eyesight and the drawing size.
Speedy and Joed. Look at the switch labeled auto/off. If that switch will shut off the generator, does it not make sense that you could basically extend this switch? I am not an expert on generators by any means, but am very familiar with basic control functions.

OP, Please see if you can post the drawing in another format that will allow me to make it larger, so I can read/see it.
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Old 10-16-2009, 11:49 AM   #12
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Standby generator on/off switch


You want to retrofit the generator with a switch system that replaces the auto-off switch. This may consist of a 3 way switch system or even a switch loop. No other wiring needs to be touched. You may wish to wait until the warranty expires since you will likely void the warranty when you disassemble the generator to do this project. It may be hard to find a 3 way switch that fits in the space the original switch was in and you may have to install an external switch box to hold the 3 way switch at the generator.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 10-16-2009 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 10-16-2009, 03:22 PM   #13
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Standby generator on/off switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Sounds possible. It can be confirmed by pulling that plug off. The generator should start.
If that's true then my idea would not work since you would need to apply 240 volts to shut the genny off. I was hoping for some sort of contact that closes (or opens) to tell the genny to run. Then you could put a switch in series.

What is the make and model of the transfer switch? I would like to try and find a manual on line for it.
According to the generator manual, the “240V Utility” leads deliver power to the generator’s circuit board, optional battery warmer and oil warmer. This power also charges the battery. When power on these leads is lost, the generator will start."

The transfer switch is Briggs and Stratton model "01918" and, assuming that I can put a URL in here, the manual can be found at:
http://www.briggsandstratton.com/pdf...m-Domestic.pdf
If that didn't work, just Google "01918_0_om-Domestic.pdf".
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Old 10-16-2009, 03:33 PM   #14
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Standby generator on/off switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
You want to retrofit the generator with a switch system that replaces the auto-off switch. This may consist of a 3 way switch system or even a switch loop. No other wiring needs to be touched. You may wish to wait until the warranty expires since you will likely void the warranty when you disassemble the generator to do this project. It may be hard to find a 3 way switch that fits in the space the original switch was in and you may have to install an external switch box to hold the 3 way switch at the generator.
Thanks for the info. What do you mean by a "switch loop"?

Also, I voided the warranty when I installed it myself, but I saved almost as much money as the unit cost, so I figured it was worth the risk. Btw, B&S replaced the circuit board in the generator---which was bad out of the box---in spite of the fact that it was not discovered until after the install. It was kinda nice that they didn't quibble over that.
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Old 10-16-2009, 03:46 PM   #15
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Standby generator on/off switch


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I am sorry I cannot read the diagram you posted. It's a combination of my eyesight and the drawing size.
Speedy and Joed. Look at the switch labeled auto/off. If that switch will shut off the generator, does it not make sense that you could basically extend this switch? I am not an expert on generators by any means, but am very familiar with basic control functions.

OP, Please see if you can post the drawing in another format that will allow me to make it larger, so I can read/see it.
You can get the generator manual here:
http://www.cs.sjsu.edu/~stamp/brown/040298_0esfw.pdf
The diagram above appears on page 29 (according to my pdf reader).

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