30A 120v emergency power transfer switch and panel setup

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The harrymanimus

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Hi,

I want *Emergency only* setup for my house to run off a LARGE li-thium ion device. This device provides a 30amp RV plug output (and 15amps outlets). 3600wh/3600watts/7200surge. The device is an Ecoflow Delta Pro (on kickstarter, not shipping yet) I want to run my furnace (gas/fan takes 600w), Fridge, Freezer, some lights, the microwave (which has an inverter to limit power). I'd like to hook this device to my house with a transfer switch.

I want to run as much 120v stuff as I can get away with, but the basics are fine. No 240v needed in emergency. I'm fine with manually unplugging all sorts of stuff to stay below threshold, flipping breakers off, etc.

I find people online that seem to be doing this with varying generator setups and switches for what I want for my house. Info below.

Guy using 4 circuit transfer switch, small generator... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydRveyXkf4M Not quite what I'm looking for, I'd have a 30amp device.

From the comments of that video, something more interesting:
"I have a little larger generator that has a 30A TT connector. The genset is a 3400W Dual Fuel Champion (propane/gas). The xfer panel is the Reliance Controls 120V Pro/Tran2 6-circuit unit. I had the electrician custom install a 50A TT connector on the xfer panel, as I have a 50A service on my fifth wheel camper and can use the same power cable. This set up allows me to run the six circuits I selected, which is the bulk of what I need; I am more that pleased! It's easy and convenient."

This sounds pretty close to what I want so I'd like to ask if people think I can get this same kind of setup. Can I get a Pro/Tran2 switch (or similar), and potentially this cable can do something for me?

Pro/Tran2 Switch: https://www.amazon.com/Reliance-Controls-306CRK-Circuit-Transfer/dp/B012DHO4A4
Transfer switch cable: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071ZNHG4B

240v box in back of house (pic, looks like I need a new box with main shutoff installed)
120v box in garage (pic) Ideally I'd like to install switch in garage, but realize that might not be the place to put it.

I'd like to know:
Best products to make it happen.
What I'd need to tell an electrician for install.
Can I future proof the setup and plug a 240v generator device? Delta Pro 2X (two battery boxes) will get you a 240v outlet. Kinda expensive for now though.

Thanks!
 

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Stuff

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Your main outside panel looks like it feeds a couple of sub panels plus some other significant 240 volt loads.

Have you identified the breakers for the loads you want? Are they all on the one panel? If so the transfer switch you pointed out should be fine mounted next to your panel.

The TT to L14-30 is a kludge and not UL listed but should work. That is a short adapter cable so you would need the inlet mounted close by, otherwise you will need a beefy extension cord. The inlet and transfer panel are 240v so future proofed already.
 

The harrymanimus

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My main panel I think has breakers to the following, Garage Panel, AC, Oven, Cook Top, Spa Panel (unused)

Questions:
  1. When using 120v 'generator', will I need to turn off all my 240v breakers on the main panel that do not connect to the garage 120v panel? If I don't do that, what will happen?
  2. Will this run ALL my 120v circuits in my house within the limits of the 'generator'? (I'll unplug most stuff in my house)
  3. Maybe a stupid question. Can I connect the switch thru my garage 120v panel? If I do it there would it still be future proof to 240v and back feed to the main panel devices? I really don't want to put box in the back of my house, the garage would be much better. I realize there are thru-wall setups, was hoping to avoid that.
 

wwhitney

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No, you will need to have a transfer switch installed, and certain circuits moved to be "behind" the transfer switch (meaning that the transfer switch is between those circuits and the grid). When the grid goes out, the transfer switch will either manually or automatically disconnect from the grid, and then connect to the alternate power source. Only those circuits behind the transfer switch will be powered.

Cheers, Wayne
 

The harrymanimus

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Ok, that sounds like the answer to #3 and my back feed question. So I'll be thinking about the thru-wall solution at the back of the house. Maybe I can put it inside a cabinet. If the cabinet has plumbing nearby, is that an issue? Other than being carful to not damage the plumbing?
 

wwhitney

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It covers all your questions:

1) No, the state of any circuit breakers on the grid side of the transfer won't matter when the grid is down and the transfer switch is set to manual; those circuits are connected to the unpowered grid, and have no connection to the generator.

2) No, only those circuits behind the transfer switch.

So the usual thing is to create a "backed up loads panel", moving all the circuits desired to be backed up to that new panel. Then the transfer switch is installed in / next to that panel. The location for the the backed up loads panel and transfer switch is dictated by minimizing the work required to move/extend circuits. The location of the inlet itself can be remote from the backed up panel and transfer switch.

To future proof this to allow you to expand your backup loads in the future, you could put in two backed up loads panels now. A "high priority" panel that will be only 120V loads to backed up now, and a "low priority" panel that would have additional loads to be backed up in the future, including 240V loads. Right now only the "high priority" panel would be behind the transfer switch.

Cheers, Wayne
 

WorthFlorida

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I finally found a simple explanation of loads when using a generator. The biggest problem when one wants to size a generator is they add up the watts ratings of the appliances and then do the math. It doesn't work when it comes to inductive or reactive loads. Essentially all AC motors in an household are reactive loads. Big box store generators and portable generators are not well regulated and heavy inductive loads such as a washing machine and larger window A/C units may not run at all. For portable generators refrigerators and fan motors on a gas furnace do work well but you may find that the refrigerator doesn't cool as readily than with line power. Modern HE refrigerators take far less power than older units of 20 year a ago. Fan motors in furnace are usually 1/4-1/3HP. Small circulator pumps are also low power in about the same HP range. These should do will.

Bottom line, installing bypass switches is the way to go and unless you install a whole house generator of 10-15 KWs such as what Kohler offers, you cannot power your whole home. As stated by others, the transfer switch is for essentials. Do allow one circuit of nearby outlets since it would be handy to plug in an extension cord.

https://www.generatorjoe.net/html/understandingloads.html

This link is for an installation manual for a very common transfer switch for residential homes. It has a power chart for most home appliances.
http://www.reliancecontrols.com/Documents/ProTran Instructions.pdf
 

Fitter30

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Ok, that sounds like the answer to #3 and my back feed question. So I'll be thinking about the thru-wall solution at the back of the house. Maybe I can put it inside a cabinet. If the cabinet has plumbing nearby, is that an issue? Other than being carful to not damage the plumbing?
water and electric what a good mix NOT. Need a outdoor transfer panel.
 
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