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Old 03-02-2013, 02:11 AM   #1
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Transfer switch question.


Hi all,

I'm going to purchase a 10 circuit manual transfer switch (Reliance Q310C) to power my service panel using a portable generator. I picked this particular transfer switch as it uses 10 standard 1" Cultler Hammer BR breakers that are user replaceable and configurable. My service panel is pretty simply set up. There are only 13 single pole circuits of either 15 or 20 amps for the entire house. No 240V circuits at all. Tonight, I pulled the front of the service panel off to survey the job. The only glitch is that I noticed one particular breaker has a red wire attached to it instead of black like all the others. Some research on my part turned up the fact that this breaker (20 amp) and the breaker directly above it (20 amp with black wire) are part of what I learned is a "multiwire branch circuit" that feeds a utility outlet in my laundry room, as well as an outlet in my kitchen. Both breakers share a single white neutral at the service panel. Further reading of a downloaded install manual for the Reliance Q310C produced this warning:

"If a selected circuit is part of a multiwire branch circuit, ensure the other branch circuit that shares the neutral is also connected to the transfer switch. The two circuits must be connected to opposing legs (phases) of the generator power and a handle tie must be installed on the switch handles so that both legs are transferred at the same time."

I understand the reason for this is so there is no risk of overloading the shared neutral. I understand how to physically wire the transfer switch into the service panel. I also understand that two adjacent positions (eg. A and B) on the transfer switch will represent the required opposite phases of the generator producing the emergency power (see attached photo link below).

So...just so I can get this straight in my head... I put the two breakers that represent the multiwire branch circuit from the service panel on the transfer switch in say, positions A and B. This will ensure that they are each on opposing legs of the generator. Then just physically tie them together with the handles Reliance provides? I will be doing this to the part of the transfer switch that is marked GEN-OFF-LINE right? That way you either have them both on or both off. Most important to me is to ask, if I have this all down correctly?...then after that, how exactly can a shared neutral be potentially dangerous if hooked up to the transfer switch improperly? Thanks!

Bob

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Last edited by Adster; 03-02-2013 at 02:47 AM.
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:40 AM   #2
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Transfer switch question.


You stated that the MWBC (Multi-Wire Branch Circuit) powers a outlet in the Kitchen, and a outlet in the laundry area. Are they right next to each other, or is the laundry area in the basement or garage?

Update with your location in your profile. Also how old is this place, because it is odd that you do not have a 240Vac for a dryer or Central A/C, etc.. Post a picture of the current panel with the dead front off, and the sticker if it is correct, showing what breakers are for what circuits.

Also, what generator are you planning on using with the Transfer panel, what circuits do you plan on powering during a outage?

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Old 03-02-2013, 03:16 AM   #3
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Transfer switch question.


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
You stated that the MWBC (Multi-Wire Branch Circuit) powers a outlet in the Kitchen, and a outlet in the laundry area. Are they right next to each other, or is the laundry area in the basement or garage?


Laundry area is in the basement right next to the room where the service panel is. The kitchen is directly above the laundry room on the first floor.

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Update with your location in your profile.
I will as soon as I figure this new forum out. I live in NY.

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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Also how old is this place, because it is odd that you do not have a 240Vac for a dryer or Central A/C, etc..
House was built in 1933. Dryer and Washer are 120VAC and coexist nicely on the same circuit. Service panel was upgraded from fuses to breakers and 200amp service in the 1970's. Initiated by my father in law. He used a local company that was pretty well respected. I wasn't married to his daughter yet and he's dead now, so that's all I can tell you.

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Also, what generator are you planning on using with the Transfer panel, what circuits do you plan on powering during a outage?
Generac XP 8000E (8000 running 10,000 surge). I plan wiring in circuits 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13. The multibranch circuit is 9 and 11. I will post a front panel shot soon so these numbers make sense.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:48 AM   #4
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Transfer switch question.




Breaker # are light blue
20 Amp = orange dots on the switches. All others 15 amps
All are single pole

1-Bedroom and dining room A/C outlets
2-Dishwasher
3-Bedroom and bathroom lights
4-Hall lights
5-Den, garage, guest bedroom lights
6-Laundry room lights
7-Refrigerator
8-Oil burner
9-Washer/Dryer
10-Basement/Kitchen lights/sump pump
11-Microwave oven outlet
12-Some kitchen and dining room lights
13-Living room A/C outlet
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:09 AM   #5
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Transfer switch question.


If I am not mistaken, looks like some of that wiring may be Aluminum, but could be tinned Copper, due to being rubber with clothe covering jacket. As for the MWBC, especially for the Kitchen, they are better meant to be used in that same space, than split between the Kitchen & Laundry. Especially if you have two gfci outlets on that circuit, they could in theory wreck havoc on each other, causing nuisance trips, if one senses a problem say in the kitchen, which can cause the laundry to trip, and vice versa.

Getting back to the basics, find out a load calculation of what all you want running. How many lights in the place, what essentials (ie Sump pump, Kitchen, Living Room, bedroom, bath, basement lights). As for the Oil Burner & A/C, what is the info on the plates for amps and/or watts and volts for those items? You could get by with some creative use of the a/c's during the summer, by only using one, then say when you go to bed, use the other, shut off the Living room.

The Load calc will help to find out how much room you have, before you put too much load on the genset.
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:10 AM   #6
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Transfer switch question.


If I am not mistaken, looks like some of that wiring may be Aluminum, but could be tinned Copper, due to being rubber with clothe covering jacket. As for the MWBC, especially for the Kitchen, they are better meant to be used in that same space, than split between the Kitchen & Laundry. Especially if you have two gfci outlets on that circuit, they could in theory wreck havoc on each other, causing nuisance trips, if one senses a problem say in the kitchen, which can cause the laundry to trip, and vice versa.

Getting back to the basics, find out a load calculation of what all you want running. How many lights in the place, what essentials (ie Sump pump, Kitchen, Living Room, bedroom, bath, basement lights). As for the Oil Burner & A/C, what is the info on the plates for amps and/or watts and volts for those items? You could get by with some creative use of the a/c's during the summer, by only using one, then say when you go to bed, use the other, shut off the Living room.

The Load calc will help to find out how much room you have, before you put too much load on the genset.
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Ren: Now listen, Cadet. I've got a job for you. See this button? Ren: Don't touch it! It's the History Eraser button, you fool! Stimpy: So what'll happen? Ren: That's just it. We don't know. Maybe something bad, maybe something good. I guess we'll never know, 'cause you're going to guard it. You won't touch it, will you?
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:22 AM   #7
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Transfer switch question.


No not a shred of aluminum in those wires. All copper. No GFI outlets either. Were old school here. Actually did all the load balancing work already...just was wondering about my 2 questions in my opening post regarding if linking of A and B in the transfer switch selector is correct and some history on shared neutrals.
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:32 AM   #8
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Transfer switch question.


For post #7, we are going to have to wait until later today for one of the others to chime in, that have done transfer switches, and would be better to let you know, how to go about this part.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:16 AM   #9
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Transfer switch question.


Yes. A and B are opposite legs. So are C to D, E to F, G to H, and I to J.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:36 AM   #10
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Transfer switch question.


You would could install a handle tie on the circuit breakers at positions a&b or intall a 2 pole breaker. The relaince handle tie is connect to the corresponding section in GEN- OFF-Line section.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:58 AM   #11
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Transfer switch question.


Even in 1933 the kitchen would have had TWO 20A small appliance circuits.
Those were probably #9 and #11. The Laundry should have it's own 20A circuit.

Fix that. Separate the laundry from the upstairs kitchen... put it on it's own circuit.
THEN see if the SA circuits are still a MWBC. I doubt they are.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:08 AM   #12
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Transfer switch question.


Why are people over reacting?

Put the existing MWBC on opposite phases in the transfer panel and be done with it.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:11 AM   #13
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Transfer switch question.


To be honest, with the size of the panel and the number of breakers in the panel, I'd be tempted to eliminate the Reliance panel all together if I could find an approved interlock kit.
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:48 AM   #14
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Transfer switch question.


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Why are people over reacting?

Put the existing MWBC on opposite phases in the transfer panel and be done with it.
That's exactly what the manufacturers instructions say to do. My only area of fuzziness that I need clarification on is the handle tie. It goes on the Gen-Off-Line upper section of the transfer switch...right?
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:10 AM   #15
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Transfer switch question.


I answered that in my first post.
You would could install a handle tie on the circuit breakers at positions a&b or intall a 2 pole breaker. The relaince handle tie is connect to the corresponding section in GEN- OFF-Line section.

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