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Old 05-03-2020, 06:26 PM   #1
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Conduit Questions (in- to on-wall, behind transfer switch panel)


I'm getting ready to install a transfer switch next to my main panel, but in order to install it I need to move some on-wall conduit out of the way.

Here's what the space looks like now, with the prior conduit positions shown:
Conduit Questions (in- to on-wall, behind transfer switch panel)-initial2.png

And here's what I want it to look like: The conduit will transition from on-wall to in-wall near the ceiling, go down the wall behind the transfer switch, then turn left in the existing junction box and head to the main panel.
Conduit Questions (in- to on-wall, behind transfer switch panel)-future.png


A few details:
1) The conduit holds two hot and one neutral #8 THHN for a heater in the garage.
2) The to-be-installed transfer switch is about 3.5" deep, leaving about 3" of clearance behind it before I hit the other side of the exterior wall
3) The coax cables you see will be routed into the space between the studs to the right, so they will be out of the way

Here are my two questions:
1) Can I, while being 2017 NEC code-compliant) route the conduit behind the transfer switch?
2) The image below is how the prior owner handled the on-wall to in-wall conduit transition -- Three of these metal boxes screwed together, with a face plate on the front. Is this is best way to do it? Other (better) suggestions?

Conduit Questions (in- to on-wall, behind transfer switch panel)-box.jpg
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Old 05-03-2020, 07:30 PM   #2
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Re: Conduit Questions (in- to on-wall, behind transfer switch panel)


Yeah, conduit behind the transfer switch is fine.

Instead of stacking three 1-1/2" deeps, I'd probably hit a real electrical supply house and find a way to do it with two boxes, at least one of which is deep. Also, it's common enough to simply bend the conduit up and "through the drywall" to a surface mount box, then just mud around the hole.

Remember with the Reliance type of transfer switch, you must keep conduit length <2' because of so many wires in the pipe. (you're only allowed 9 normally). If you go the subpanel route, that's a non-factor, in fact the #8 to the heater and the utility feed to the sub could share the same pipe. (have to be enlarged obviously).

You know, another option is to *not* bury the existing conduit at all, and surface mount the Reliance box or subpanel such that the blue conduit run transects the box (goes in the bottom comes out the top). Then you just lay the #8 (?) wires right through the panel.
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Old 05-03-2020, 07:56 PM   #3
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Don't go into the transfer switch with the heater circuit. First the transfer switch is not listed as a wire way and typically there isn't much space in them.
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:21 PM   #4
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Re: Conduit Questions (in- to on-wall, behind transfer switch panel)


Gak, well it would work on a subpanel. I really avoid those transfer switches.
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:24 PM   #5
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I agree with your opinion of the reliance transfer switch. But there are unfortunately tons of them out there.
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:26 PM   #6
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Re: Conduit Questions (in- to on-wall, behind transfer switch panel)


I would eliminate the conduit and jbox in the wall .run some 1" flex with the #8 wires needed down the wall into the pnl. install a j box on the conduit that's run on the wall and make your joints up.should leave enough room for the transfer switch.
But you will have a little drywall work


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Last edited by hlopez77; 05-03-2020 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 05-04-2020, 10:43 AM   #7
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Re: Conduit Questions (in- to on-wall, behind transfer switch panel)


Thanks everyone for the responses!

@seharper , @Oldmaster : Why the dislike of the Reliance transfer switches? Because they don't do neutral switching? Or because something like an interlock kit is easier/safer/better(?) than a transfer switch?
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Old 05-04-2020, 11:54 AM   #8
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In my opinion they are overpriced and there are much better alternatives at equal price levels. They accept a mish mash of circuit breakers and the ones I've seen did not have provisions for equipment grounding. I only know of 2 customers needing assistance from the company and they both expressed how poorly the customer service was. Very little wiring space beside breakers.
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Old 05-04-2020, 01:04 PM   #9
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Re: Conduit Questions (in- to on-wall, behind transfer switch panel)


Because they're cheap. And not in the good way. The build quality is not good IMO, and they don't age well. Reliance is a 2nd rate supplier, their stuff just doesn't compare to GE, Siemens, Eaton etc. And they don't have the economies of scale of the major panelboards.

They're not just overpriced, they're more like over 2x the cost of a subpanel solution made out of first rate stuff. Like that Siemens board I mentioned, $135 with 6 breakers giving 14 spare spaces (you could easily go bigger; spaces are cheap. So yeah have 30 circuits on the gen, that's fine if load is actually small.)

I don't care about switching neutral. (the Siemens doesn't). I care about not mishandling neutral like it was 1953, which breaks protection for MWBCs, GFCI, AFCI.

It also strikes me as stupid to have 2 breakers - the e.g. Murray/Siemens utility breaker and the Reliance chintzy pushbutton generator breaker, which doesn't have a competent magnetic+thermal trip curve. The thermal is permissive of short term slight overloads, e.g. lets you make coffee and toast at the same time. Real breakers also allow you to handle-tie MWBCs, and allow GFCI/AFCI. So I like the solution where you switch the whole subpanel and then use normal first rate breakers.

Don't get me wrong, those multi-switches have a purpose. They are designed to be a bolt-up "product in a box" that will work anywhere (in 1991) and doesn't require the salesman to know any technical information about your existing setup. So if your panel was FPE and you don't wanna touch it, OK. But you have a perfectly nice Siemens/Murray panel.

Actually given that, you might just see if you can get an interlock for your *main* panel. Siemens makes 2 other interlocks that might bolt right up, and there's an aftermarket too. Those interlocks are $50-100. Now you're throwing the whole panel over, and no need for the xfer switch at all.

I also like how a subpanel solution plays nice with the future. Get a bigger gen, swap a $15 breaker and change the supply wire, done. Add GFCI/AFCI, snap em in, done. Want more circuits on gen, loads of spaces available. Dump the gen and go Tesla PowerWall, actually that works really well.
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