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Frequently Asked Questions
AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCHES

GENERAL ATS QUESTIONS

ATS LOAD MANAGEMENT QUESTIONS
ATS TROUBLESHOOTING QUESTIONS


GENERAL ATS QUESTIONS

1. What is a generator transfer switch and why do I need one?
A generator transfer switch is a safety device installed near your load center or electrical meter that connects power from your generator to your home during a power outage and is the key to safe and convenient operation of generators for backup power. Required by law by the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70), a transfer switch isolates generator power from the utility during a power outage, and eliminates the risk of back feeding generator power onto the electrical utility lines which can cause injury or death to utility workers and property damage. Also, using a transfer switch with your generator eliminates the need to run temporary extension cords through doors and windows during a power outage. Back To Top

2. What safety standards or codes does a transfer switch need to meet?
It all depends if the transfer switch simply transfers power to and from an alternate power source or is combined with additional electrical equipment, such as a panelboard (load center). Article 702 of the National Electrical Code (NEC – NFPA70E) requires Optional Standby Systems (systems that supply on-site generated power to selected loads) to use transfer equipment suitable for the intended use. If sole function of the transfer switch employed is to transfer power to and from one power source to another, then it should be listed to the UL1008 standard.

GenTran’s Ovation™ Series Automatic Transfer Switches combine a transfer switch, service entrance disconnect, panelboard and surge suppression system (optional), so they are Listed to the UL67 Panelboards standard, as recommended by the NEC. Because the Ovation™ Series ATS incorporate an ATS in a load center/panelboard, they are tested to both the UL1008 and UL67 standard, although they are Listed to the UL67 standard. Regardless of the standard, if a transfer switch passes all of the stringent safety tests required by the UL standard, it will be marked with the UL label, such as found on the Ovation™ Series Automatic Transfer Switches.

NOTE: The Ovation™ Series ATS should NEVER be used as an emergency system (see NEC Articles 517 and 700), nor as a Legally Required System (see NEC Article 701), nor for primary power in place of the electric utility or in life support applications. Back To Top

3. What's the difference between a manual and an automatic transfer switch?
Manual transfer switches are typically used with portable generators and require someone at home to operate them. When utility power shuts off, the homeowner moves the portable generator outdoors, connects the generator to the manual transfer switch with an electrical cord and starts the generator. The homeowner then switches the manual transfer switch to generator power. When utility power is restored, the homeowner switches the manual transfer switch back to utility power, then turns off, unplugs, cools down and stores away the generator.

Automatic transfer switches, installed with a stationary generator, will sense a utility power interruption, will start a connected stationary generator and transfer power/loads to generator power automatically without human intervention. Since the automatic transfer switch and stationary generator are permanently wired, the generator and transfer switch are always ready to work. When utility power is restored, the transfer switch reconnects your loads back to utility power, cools down and turns off your generator, and readies it for the next power outage. Back To Top

4. Can I use an Ovation™ Series ATS with a portable generator?
In general, we recommend that you use a manual transfer switch with a portable generator. Automatic transfer switches are designed for use with electric remote start, permanently installed generators. Only certain generator manufacturers, such as Honda, offer portable generators with electric remote start capability and automatic choke and can be semi-permanently installed inside a GenTran GenShed™. Refer to /assets/pdfs/Ovation_HondaPortable5300017E.pdf for a complete list of Honda portable generators that are compatible with Ovation™ Series Automatic Transfer Switches. Back To Top

5. How does a Ovation™ Series ATS work?
The Ovation™ Series ATS senses when utility power is lost, starts a permanently installed generator and transfers the connected loads to generator power, reversing the sequence when utility power is restored. The startup and shutdown sequence limits the generator from rapid, intermittent start-up and shutdown, thus prolonging generator life. Here’s how the Ovation™ Series ATS works:

  1. Waits up to 5 seconds after sustained power loss to start up generator.
  2. Waits up to 15 seconds to transfer load to generator. (Delayed for possible successful utility power grid re-strike.)
  3. Once utility power is restored, the system waits one minute to transfer the load back to utility.
  4. Five minutes after re-transfer, the system completes the generator cool down and shuts down, waiting for the next power outage. Back To Top

6. Which stationary generators are compatible with the Ovation™ Series™ ATS?
At GenTran®, we believe the consumer and installer should have the right to choose the right transfer equipment to meets his/her particular needs. That’s why we designed the Ovation™ Series ATS systems to be compatible with virtually any stationary generator available. The Ovation™ Series ATS has been tested and certified to work with over 100 different generators from brands such as Generac®, Guardian®, Briggs & Stratton®, Cutler-Hammer®, Eaton®, Cummins®, Onan®, Kohler®, Pramac®, Powermate®, Winco® and Honda®. Connection to some generators may require additional parts to accept Start, Run and Stop signals from the Ovation™ Series ATS. Visit /content/support/installation_instructions.asp for a list of compatible generators and their corresponding wiring diagrams. Please verify your generator compatibility and wiring diagrams BEFORE installing the Ovation™ Series ATS. Back To Top

7. Why are GenTran’s Ovation™ Series Automatic Transfer Switches better than other ATSs?
The GenTran Ovation™ Series Automatic Transfer Switch provides a complete solution, ‘all in one’ product by combining an automatic transfer switch, a service entrance disconnect, a panelboard (load center) and surge protection all into one enclosure. Combining all of these components into one enclosure can save as much as 25-30% on equipment cost and installation time. GenTran’s Ovation™ Series ATS systems also incorporate some features not found in automatic transfer systems offered by other manufacturers such as NEMA 1 enclosures, a user interface, a programmable generator exerciser and optional integrated load management. Incorporating load management into your Ovation™ Series ATS can save as much as 40% on your initial generator investment because it eliminates the need to invest in a larger generator just to accommodate large, intermittent discretionary loads.

GenTran pioneered the compact manual transfer switch category nearly 30 years ago, and has been awarded numerous patents for Automatic and Manual Transfer Switch and generator accessories inventions. GenTran designs and manufactures all of its transfer switches in the USA and ensures product quality through a rigid UL quality inspection program. GenTran is the largest designer and manufacturer of residential transfer switches in the world.

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8. What size of automatic transfer switch do I need?
You size the transfer switch to match your electrical meter service size, the number of circuits you want to power during a power outage and generator size. Most homes have a 100 or 200 amp service meter. Some homes have a 400 amp service feeding 2 – 200 amp panelboards (load centers). You then need to decide if the transfer switch will also be your panelboard or will you use your existing panelboard. We offer Ovation™ Series ATS units with out without panelboards (load centers), up to 38 circuits. If you want to only power certain loads during a power outage, size the transfer switch to the sub-panel feed circuit breaker from the main panelboard. Finally, size the transfer switch equal to or more than the generator output. Back To Top

For example, you have a 200 amp service meter, a 15kW (62.5 amp) generator and want to have all circuits in your existing load center to powered by the generator. You would select Ovation™ Series ATS Model ATS2002R, which is set up for a 200 amp service meter, up to a 200 amp generator, has a service entrance disconnect and does not include a panelboard (use your existing panelboard/load center) . Your installation would look like this: Back To Top

9. Is surge protection required on my Ovation™ Series ATS?

There are over 20 million lightning strikes every year, 100 every second in the United States. Lightning is responsible for the most power outages, and is the most damaging source of voltage surges to home appliances, equipment and electronics. Our UL Listed, point-of-entry surge protector provides the lightning a preferred path to ground, bypassing expensive and sensitive equipment. Indicator lights on the front of the Surge Protector indicate the surge protection is functioning. The 24 month, $10,000 residential electrical system warranty program provides piece of mind and confidence to the homeowner. Order PN 510199 to add a Surge Protector to your ATS. Back To Top

10. Why might I need a “Service Entrance Disconnect” rated transfer switch?
As required by the National Electrical Code (NEC), a building must have a means to disconnect all power from the utility, commonly referred to as the "Service Entrance Disconnect”. All Ovation™ Series ATS units are Service Entrance Rated, meaning they can be the “Service Entrance Disconnect” instead of purchasing and installing a separate “Service Entrance Disconnect”. Most other transfer switch manufactures charge extra if you want the “Service Entrance Disconnect” feature, we do not. Back To Top

11. Can I incorporate an Ovation™ Series ™ ATS with a 400amp utility service?
Yes. Since all Ovation™ Series™ Automatic Transfer Switches are “Service Entrance Disconnect” rated, you can install one or two model ATS2002Rs or ATS 2001D or ATS2001Rs as the “Service Entrance Disconnect” combined with another unit as the automatic transfer switch. When installing one transfer switch, we recommend that your installer group all of the “emergency loads” into the load center connected to the transfer switch or the transfer switch itself (ATS2001D/R). See Diagram A. When installing two automatic transfer switches, one ATS (Master) will control the generator, the 2nd ATS (Slave) will transfer to generator power after the generator is running. See Diagram B. Back To Top

 


12. Does Gen/Tran offer automatic transfer switches for 3-phase applications?
Not at this time. Our products are designed and intended for single phase 120VAC or split phase 120/240VAC, 50/60 Hz applications only – for residential and small commercial installations, and for single phase generators up to 50 kilowatts. Back To Top

13. Can I install an Ovation™ Series™ ATS myself?

We recommend that our Ovation™ Series ATS systems be installed by a professional licensed electrician familiar with electrical wiring, national and local codes, and experienced in working with generators. Most installations require electrical and plumbing permits; many require HOA approvals, so leave it to the professionals. Gen/Tran accepts no responsibility for accidents, injuries or property damage resulting from incorrect and/or improper installation, which will void all GenTran warranties. Back To Top

14 Does GenTran offer factory training for to certify installers?
Please contact us at 1-888-GEN-TRAN if you or your staff require installation training. Back To Top

15. What if I need to speak to someone in Technical Support?
GenTran’s Technical Support personnel are available Monday - Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. To schedule an appointment for other times, please call us at 1-888-GENTRAN and ask for Technical Support. Back To Top

ATS LOAD MANAGEMENT QUESTIONS

1. What is PowerPause™ Load Management?
Ovation’s PowerPause™ Load Management feature allows certain circuits/appliances to turn on only when generator capacity is available. This effectively eliminates the need to invest in a larger generator just to accommodate certain large, intermittent, discretionary loads. The PowerPause™ Load Management feature is available by ordering the Load Management Module Kit, Model LSM. Each Load Management module accommodates up to two 2-pole 50 amp circuits, and each Ovation™ Series ATS accepts up to three Load Management modules to control up to six 2-pole circuits. During a power outage, it is important to run the essential circuits for maintaining human comfort, food safety, dwelling integrity/security, communication, and news/weather updates. These circuits/appliances that maintain these functions should be considered mandatory, and should not be load managed.

Circuits that are NOT recommended for connection to load management are those that are considered essential (not discretionary), and must have power to them at all times. Some examples are:

  • Refrigerator/freezer
  • Furnace Fan (gas/oil)
  • Medical/safety equipment (not life safety)
  • Garage door opener
  • Security system
  • Sump Pump
  • Septic/Lift Pumps
  • Pool/spa anti-freeze pumps
  • Computers/phone/fax/internet routers
  • Aquariums Back To Top

2. What types of loads/circuits are recommended for PowerPause™ Load Management?
It depends on the size of your generator, your appliance/circuit priorities and other factors. Circuits/appliances that ARE recommended to be connected to PowerPause™ Load Management are those that would be considered discretionary, or “nice-to-have”. Some of these are:

  • Central air conditioning
  • Electric Range
  • Electric Water Heater
  • Electric Clothes dryer
  • Well pump
  • Spa/hot tub
  • Pool pump
  • Room air conditioner
  • Supplemental electric space heaters Back To Top

3. Is “load management” the same thing as “load shedding”?
Sometimes. Some manufacturers refer to load management as load shedding. However, each transfer switch or generator manufacturer has chosen to implement this type of feature differently. Not all load management features work the same way. Unlike the PowerPause™ Load Management feature, most load shedding works by “locking out” the non-essential load whenever the generator is running. The GenTran PowerPause™ Load Management feature allows the non-essential loads to run whenever generator capacity is available. Back To Top

4. Can the Ovation™ Load Management feature be installed into my OvationOvation™ Series ATS at any time?
Yes. As power needs change in your home (finishing a basement, adding a room or garage, remodeling, etc.), you may need additional appliances on generator backup power. Ovation™ Load Management Modules can be added to the Control Module at any time. See /assets/pdfs/PowerPause_LoadManagementInstallationManual.pdf for installation and programming instructions. Back To Top

5. Can the PowerPause™ Load Management modules be installed on ANY automatic transfer switch?
NO. They are designed specifically to be incorporated into the Ovation™ Series automatic transfer switches only. Back To Top

6. Why do I need a PowerPause™ Relay Box?
A PowerPause ™ Relay Box can control up to two 2-Pole (240VAC) 30A or 50A loads by interrupting power to the load when commanded by the PowerPause ™ Load Management Module installed in the Ovation™ Series Automatic Transfer Switch. In conjunction with a PowerPause™ Load Management Module, it prevents overloading the standby generator by managing pre-select loads, ensuring compliance to NEC Article 702.5. Up to 3 PowerPause™ Relay Boxes (6 managed loads in total) can be connected to an Ovation™ Series Automatic Transfer Switch. Packaged in a NEMA 3R enclosure, the PowerPause ™ Relay Box can be conveniently installed indoors or outdoors next to the load center, Ovation™ Series Automatic Transfer Switch or managed load. Back To Top


ATS TROUBLESHOOTING QUESTIONS

1. How can I test if my generator and Ovation™ Series ATS are working properly?
Press the GENERATOR START/STOP button on the User interface/Control Module. The generator should start and run. Press the GENERATOR START/STOP button on the User Interface/Control Module again, and the generator should stop. Back To Top

2. None of the LEDs on the front of my Ovation™ Series ATS Control Module light up. What should I do?
The Control Module on the Ovation™ Series ATS requires power from the generator battery in order to operate.

Check the following:

  • Be sure the J6 connector is firmly plugged into Control Module
  • Verify all cables and connections from battery to J6 connector on Control Module
  • Generator battery is good (output should be 13-14VDC). Check across Pin 1 + 2 on J6 on Control Module.
  • Verify that the battery charger is operating. (Some generators incorporate their own battery charger while others require installation of an external battery charger). Verify battery output is 14VDC min when battery charger is operating.Back To Top

3. The LEDs on the front of the ATS Control Module are on, but the motor hums and does not switch the circuit breakers.
The generator battery must be providing 13-14VDC to the Ovation Control Module for proper motor operation within the Ovation™ Series ATS. Check the voltage across Pin 1 + 2 on J6 on the Control Module. Check battery and wiring if voltage is below 13VDC. Back To Top