Manual Transfer Switch Upgrade (Blue Sea Systems #8363)

6.7LMegaCab

Well-known member
After lots of digging, researching, and considering alternatives, I decided to move on to a manual transfer switch, something that will fit right in with the rest of the controls inside the coach and has a physical disconnect between switching sources (on - off - on). You can see my reasons leading up to this in this thread:

These manual switches are very expensive and while you can find very similar knockoffs from China for much cheaper, I wouldn't trust them. Enter my search that eventually led to Kraus & Naimer switches and the catalog of Blue Sea Systems (BSS). The two best options that I could find are the switch only (9019) or the switch and panel (8363) from BSS.

This particular switch allows two separate sources and one output load rated for 65A and maximum 600V.

#9019 - is just that, a switch with a source selection panel
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#8363 includes 9019 in a nicely laid out panel that also includes LEDs that light up when power is detected on either source, as well as if the polarity is reversed.
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You can achieve the same thing as the switch panel by adding LEDs and the appropriate resistor yourself for half the cost (depending on the vendor). But most vendors are fairly close in pricing. I ended up finding the combined panel for less than or just a few dollars more than the switch alone. I did find the 9019 switch on eBay for even less, but when I considered the time it would take to fabricate my own heavy-duty aluminum faceplate, the additional cost of #8363 was worth it. The LEDs are a common type and just use a large resistor to connect to 120-240V AC.

Due to the cost of these switches, I found that the switches themselves are made by Kraus & Naimer (K&N) out of Austria. I figured I could get the switch at half the cost, but I was wrong. These are heavy-duty commercial switches that are used in a variety of industrial applications, so it comes at no surprise to the cost. I will add that there are a ton of used and supposedly working K&N switches from old equipment readily available for cheap. But not much info to ensure you are getting the properly rated switch without more digging through the manufacturer catalog if the seller didn't include the info.

Since the control cabinet inside the coach will require the PD52DCSD remote display to be removed, I'll make some rearrangements and enlarge the hole to accommodate this switch (assuming the depth of the knob allows the cabinet door to close)

Here are my reasons for this type of switch as well as location (inside of the coach):

1. Automatic start does not exist on this generator
2. If the power goes out while connected to shore power, I have to get up to start the generator anyhow, so I can now just manually switch over the power source after giving the generator a few minutes to warm up.
3. I can observe from the living room when shore power has returned, shut everything down, and switch the source back to shore.
4. The ATS seems to really only be more of a convenience and works better if the generator automatically starts upon losing shore power (kind of a bad thing in my opinion as this doesn't give the Genset time to warm up before loads are applied).
5. I'm done with the chattering of the ATS that will ultimately result in whatever line is chattering, disconnect completely and possibly result in a fire.
6. The top of the PD52 was getting really hot, so I removed the top to see if additional air would help (it didn't), but then I got to observe what exactly was going on and noticed that L1 would chatter the most. When resetting the CB at the outside RV panel, if it didn't pull all the way down, it would let out a little bit of smoke. I also found that when it started chattering, I could just use a stick to push it down again and all would be good for a while.

I'll post the progress and what is needed to be done when the switch comes in.

Hopefully this will help others encountering similar issues in deciding what to do. Again, these aren't cheap, which is probably why RV manufacturers don't use them.

A cheaper alternative would be to add a 50A RV outlet on the generator source line and plug the cord into that...but again, I really don't want to get out of the RV if it's raining outside.
 

6.7LMegaCab

Well-known member
Gonna take a bit longer than planned to do this. The alternator on the truck caught on fire last week, with no damage other than to the wallet to replace the alternator and batteries. Also, the order for the new switch was canceled due to the unavailability of the part. I really hate crawling in that basement to work on that ATS, so I'm evaluating whether or not to install the new ATS for now or leave it out while I figure out where to get another manual switch.
 

6.7LMegaCab

Well-known member
I ended up sourcing the same switch from another company out of Florida for less and they stock them. So I am back on track to upgrading to hopefully something more robust. These switches are used in various heavy machinery as well, so I suspect that it will last a lifetime.

The switch does require a separate circuit breaker to be installed within 10 feet (measured length of wire) on the shore power side. I'm installing a separate box in the basement, but close to where I can quickly access it should for some odd reason it trips before the 50A breaker trips at the RV box. Some folks I talked to said they didn't think it mattered, but I opted to stay on the safe side.

The switch will be installed in the control cabinet next to the panel that the generator start switch is located. Because the old ATS display was removed, and the Inverter remote display was next to it, the hole was too big for the switch panel alone. So, I built a metal cover to mount the switch on that will cover up the large hole. The remote inverter display switch will be installed elsewhere. The screws to mount the switch to this custom cover were painted to match the ones that came with the unit, as the original screws were too short and made for wood.

The main power wires going to the main breaker box and both the generator and shore power wires will be pulled up into the back of the cabinet.

Here are some pics of the switch. Hopefully this weekend the rain will slow down enough that I can work on pulling the wires up and get this installed and post more pics.

The switch itself is made by Kraus & Naimer under part number: C42.A212 and is made in Austria.
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6.7LMegaCab

Well-known member
Got it all done! 6 AWG wire is tough to work with.

The only downside, the power available LED for the generator doesn't work. I'll need to reach out to Blue Sea to see if they can send me just the LED or point me where to get one, not pulling that switch out again though. The LED for shore power is more important as I'll know when power is restored, if the generator if running.

I thought I should test it before hand, but figured they would just work.

The generator wires along with the wires to the main breaker had to be extended about 3 feet using butt splice connectors, splicing tape, Teflon anti-chafe tape, standard electrical tape, and wrapped it all together with aviation flameshield silicone tape for extra measures. Overboard? Probably, but I wasn't taking any chances and since I had it all on hand, I figured I'd use it.

All that is left is to wipe everything down and clean up the tools!
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6.7LMegaCab

Well-known member
Most definitely! I tried switching it quickly to see what would happen in case I have one of the kids start the generator. Absolutely nothing! Quite reassuring that there is zero way to back feed with the break in the middle. I'm quite pleased with it!

Through all this, I discovered the generator isn't a true 240V genset, unless I'm missing something. While troubleshooting that LED, checking the voltage across L1 and L2 on the generator doesn't record any volts. L1 to N and L2 to N shows ~120V each. I kind of wondered if that is why the LED doesn't work, but it's connected to L1, N, and L2 on the switch. It's probably a dead LED.

I opened a ticket with Blue Sea. They are getting a new one sent out (they didn't specify whether it's a switch or an LED they are sending).

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porthole

Retired
Unless you ordered an Onan commercial generator (which are typically painted white) you do not have a 240 genset, two 120 volt outputs.
 

6.7LMegaCab

Well-known member
I didn't even know they made them that way (two 120). It makes sense seeing that there isn't anything on these land yahts that require 240V.

Thanks for the info!

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porthole

Retired
Some 5th wheels and Class A’s can be ordered with 240 receptacle to use with dryers, for those that think a 120 volt dryer is insufficient.
 

centerline

Well-known member
Is someone trying to promote a product here?.. there is a much easier and much cheaper solution, which is to get a NON marine rated Automatic Transfer Switch and install it.. no dials, no manual switching, no worries.. average cost is about $175, and about an hour of install time... which most anyone can do if the simple instructions are followed..
 

6.7LMegaCab

Well-known member
I guess you didn't read any of my posts or the link to my other thread about why I went away from using an ATS. I suppose you can say it's a non-paid promotion of a product that just works. ATS is merely for convenience and unless you have an auto-start genset, there is zero reason for an ATS, and even then, i can think of a reason or two that it still isn't needed in an RV with about the only exception being a medical condition that requires power to be available at all times.

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porthole

Retired
Promote? I didn’t think so.

But I am a user of Blue Sea products, and there are two things that stand out with their products, they are not the cheapest option and everything I have bought is top notch, high quality product. For electrical needs Blue Sea and Ancor are about the best you can buy for AC & DC systems in mobile units, RV’s boats etc.

The ATS is convenient and serves a purpose and our current ATS also has built in EMS protection. That said, I’ve seen multiple OEM ATS’s failures including several at rallies that required ‘emergency surgery’.

Kinda like tow vehicles. I could have bought a Ram, less expensive, does the jobs etc, but I opted for a higher quality, better TV instead 😳
 

porthole

Retired
I tried Cookie, I really wanted to road test the DRW with air ride , but there just wasn’t any around. So I didn’t have to settle :)
 
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