What is an Automatic Transfer Switch?

An automatic transfer switch allows for safe switching between your mains supply (primary source) and your generator when the backup unit is required. The automatic transfer system invokes the standby power source after sensing a power failure. As it is connected to both primary and backup power sources, the automatic transfer switch also serves as an intermediary between equipment and power supplies.

How does the Automatic Transfer Switch work?

The automatic transfers switch triggers the generator and emergency power supply system to start when a power failure is identified within the primary source. These steps are reversed upon the return of the regular power source. Before changing between sources, the automatic transfer switch will verify that the supply is within the desired parameters and is stable.

The basic transfer sequence is as follows:
1. The primary power source fails.
2. The transfer switch shifts the load to the emergency power source when power from the generator or backup utility is stable and within prescribed voltage and 3. frequency tolerances. Depending on the set-up, the transfer process may be self-acting or manually initiated.
4. The transfer switch returns the load from the emergency power source to the normal power source when utility power is restored. This re-transfer process may also be self-acting or manually initiated.
5. Once the automatic transfer switch returns to normal position, the ATS dictates a cool down period of the generator.

How is an Automatic Transfer Switch serviced?

Specialised and professional maintenance of the automatic transfer switch is fundamental as the device’s functionality directly impacts the integrity of the critical power system. The majority of malfunctions within this device are a result of dust, dirt and moisture build-ups. The first stage of generator servicing should always be to clean the unit interior and exterior, clearing out any foreign bodies, build-ups or accumulation of solids.

The components within an automatic transfer switch should then be tested individually. Testing of contacts, communication within the emergency power system, and power transfer will help identify any areas of concern or underlying issues. Loose cables are one of the most common problems with these devices and can be identified by discolouration on the lux. It is also essential to systematically check the mechanism for any binding, lubricating any points if necessary.

Testing of the entire emergency power system should also be included in this process. During comprehensive testing, problems can be identified that would otherwise cause malfunction during an actual power failure. Reactive Generators tests to these systems under simulated power outage conditions, as systems operate differently when used under a load. Our skilled technicians will send different capacities through the automatic transfer system, testing and comparing the input with the output levels. After each charge is confirmed, the generator is continually tested at gradually increasing increments. Any excessive differences between input and output levels may highlight an underlying issue within the automatic transfer switch.

Why is it important to service an Automatic Transfer Switch?

A large percentage of automatic transfer switch failures result from incorrect or neglected maintenance practices. The transfer switch works seven days a week, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year to carry normal and emergency power to the load. At the same time, the generator only provides electricity during power outages. As the emergency power supply system is unable to function without an automatic transfer switch, routine servicing and testing are fundamental to the mechanism’s functionality, safety and reliability. This proactive approach can identify any underlying issues or areas for concern, allowing the problems to be addressed and rectified before the unit is required. Failure to identify these issues may result in power disruptions during the outage or irreversible damage to the appliances running via the generator.

How often should an Automatic Transfer Switch be serviced?

The recommended frequency of an automatic transfer switch service depends on the type, usage and load-level of the device. Reactive Generators recommend a monthly test on your transfer switch, and at least an annual transfer switch service test. This regularity will give you the peace of mind that your automatic transfer switch will work at maximal capacity when it is required.

Reactive Generators Automatic Transfer Switch

The skilled technicians at Reactive Generators bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to their work every day. Our client-centric focus means we can adapt our services to suit any budget, needs and time frame, and we strive always to provide long-lasting and innovative solutions for every customer. Operating across Queensland, we have technicians in Brisbane, Ipswich, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Get in touch with the friendly team at Reactive Generators to discuss your generator needs.