AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCH
What is an automatic transfer switch?
An automatic transfer switch functions to provide a reliable means of transferring essential load connections between primary and alternate sources of electrical power. Areas that require continuous uptime, such as hospitals or factories, will use an alternative emergency power source, such as a generator, if the primary power source becomes temporarily unavailable. Automatic transfer switches allow its user to access seamless and reliable power in the case of an outage by automatically transferring power to the generator when utility power fails. There are two main types of automatic transfer switches, including circuit breakers and contractors. Circuit breakers consist of two circuit breakers that have been interlocked, meaning only one breaker can be closed at any one time. The contractor type is a simpler design that is operated electrically and is held mechanically.
Why is automatic transfer switch maintenance important?
Automatic transfer switches are reliable devices that provide alternate sources of power during outages. Unfortunately, they too can malfunction due to dust, dirt, and moisture. In order to prevent malfunction caused by these elements, it’s important to perform preventative maintenance procedures to help remove any dust, dirt, or moisture buildup.
What are batteries?
Although they appear simple and compact, batteries are a collection of multiple cells that undergo chemical reactions to create the flow of electrons inside a circuit. Regardless of the type of battery, they all consist of three necessary components, including an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte which will react chemically with the anode and cathode. A battery functions when the anode and the cathode are connected to a circuit and the chemical reaction takes place between the anode and the electrolyte. This causes electrons to flow through the circuit and into the cathode. Ultimately, a battery stores electrical energy in the form of chemical energy and through a set of reactions, making it able to convert that stored energy into electricity.
Why is battery maintenance important?
Batteries are susceptible electrical devices which must be appropriately maintained to ensure that they function reliably and correctly. It’s essential to perform the proper maintenance on your batteries so that they can be utilized to the full potential of their lifespan. Maintenance will reduce the risk of the following:
- Undercharging or overcharging problems do not occur in them
- Your battery’s capacity is not reduced during daily operation
- Your battery does not experience early cell failure
- A low battery electrolyte level doesn’t occur, which can cause the volume of gas inside of the battery to increase drastically, resulting in an increased amount of flammable gas
- Loose or corroded connections, if any, can be detected early and repaired before they affect the operational ability of the battery
- Your battery performs consistently and properly whenever it is needed.
An automatic transfer switch functions by continuously monitoring the incoming voltage from the utility line. When an interruption in the voltage is detected, the automatic transfer switch senses the problem and sends a signal to the backup generator to start. Once the generator is safely up and running, the automatic transfer switch opens the utility line and closes the generator power line. The automatic transfer switch then continues to monitor the voltage of the utility line. As soon as it detects that it has returned to its steady-state, it transfers the electrical load back to the utility line and turns off the generator. The automatic transfer switch resumes its role of monitoring the voltage and remains at the ready.
Power outages are never planned, however, there are several ways you can prepare for a power outage, include:
- Take inventory of the items you have that rely on electricity
- Ensure you have a plan in place with generators ready to back you up
- Ensure that you have an automatic transfer switch installed to avoid any delays in power if an outage occurs.