How to Install Transfer Switches
If you have an RV, you should know what transfer switches are and why they’re an important part of your RV’s electrical system. You see, aside from the 12-volt electrical system that will provide most of the power your RV needs, you will also need to have a source of 120-volt power to operate most of the appliances you’ll want to use, such as your TV, radio, and kitchen appliances. RVers will just either run a generat...
How to Install Transfer Switches
If you have an RV, you should know what transfer switches are and why they’re an important part of your RV’s electrical system. You see, aside from the 12-volt electrical system that will provide most of the power your RV needs, you will also need to have a source of 120-volt power to operate most of the appliances you’ll want to use, such as your TV, radio, and kitchen appliances. RVers will just either run a generator or hook up to a campground’s power pedestal via a shore power cord for this purpose.
So what is the purpose of transfer switches? A transfer switch serves as a safety device that works by automatically switching between the two power sources (12 volts or 120 volts). This way, your RV won’t receive both electrical currents at the same time. If both electrical currents are introduced to your RV simultaneously, it will cause significant and irreparable damage to your vehicle.
Most, if not all, transfer switches installed in RVs are generator-priority switches. This means that the transfer switch will automatically use shore power normally, but will automatically switch over to the generator’s inputs as soon as it detects the flow of 120-volt electricity coming in from the generator.
Here’s a quick guide for you to learn how to install transfer switches:
- Check your RV’s manual first to learn the functions of each color-coded wires. After that, check the manual or brochure of the transfer switches to see the proper wire-to-terminal connections, which should also be color-coded. The wiring for the shore power cord hookup, as well as the generator, will typically be color-coded black and red. The wires from all available circuits should also have labeled terminals.
- Check the inside of the transfer box case to see the wiring diagram for the switches as recommended by the manufacturer. This will provide specific details for your particular vehicle, which you can use to help you with the installation. Take note: the hook-ups for the generator and shore power cord, as well as the circuit breaker board, will typically be connected to the “downstream terminals” of the transfer switch.
- Make sure that all of the power sources going to your RV are disconnected first. This means shore power, generator power, and batteries. Remove the 4x4 boxes and disconnect any wiring connecting them to the RV as well.
- The grounding wires should be connected first, then the shore power lines, and then the generator lines. After that, connect the load center wiring. Make sure the screws do not go inside the wire insulations, otherwise you’re going to have a badly-wired connection that can cause a fire later on.
- Before plugging in, make sure that all wirings are connected securely and correctly. When you plug it in, there should be electricity coming in from the shore power cord into the distribution center. The next test should be running the generator. When you start it up, the shore power should be automatically cut off. If so, you have successfully wired your transfer switch.
50Amp Automatic Transfer Switch – Allows automatic transfer to generator power after 30-second delay. With dual contact arrangement and mechanical contactors.
Transfer Switch 240Volt 50A – Designed to switch power sources with ease, regardless of line voltage conditions. LED diagnostic indicators and self-checking system.