Diesel Generator automatic transfer switch

In the majority of cases, the utility provider gives access to power to onsite applications. This is the primary means of reliable energy provision for most businesses and sites. However, reliable as it may be, that access can cease. Infrastructural issues and faulty power sources can cause a loss of power. When that happens, you want a backup generator to kick in as soon as possible. The transfer switch is what allows your backup power source to reach your onsite applications.

The Role of the Control Panel

Diesel Generator Control Panel

The control panel plays a central role in the automatic transfer switch’s efficiency and effectiveness. It detects power failures and initiates the procedure that transitions from the utility power to the generator. It also detects when voltage and frequency within the generator, ensuring that you are provided precisely the amount of power that you need. Learning the operation of the different features in the panel system ensure a seamless switch to generator power.

Sensing Voltage Drops

The main role of the control panel, or at least one of them, is its detection features. It monitors voltage levels constantly, alerting to drops and complete failures from your power source. Failure points are set and monitored for all phases on pre-set settings while sensors on the panel convey voltage and frequency data from the generator. The transfer process won’t be initiated until the generator is able to accept the load by showing the minimum voltage and frequency to meet your power needs.

Time Delay Systems

Time delay functionality is a crucial part of automatic transfer switches. Without them, false alarms would start the transition process to generator power. Momentary dips in utility power and false voltage drops do happen from time to time. Without time delays, a brief outage would cause your generator to start the load transfer process, wasting energy and creating downtime. A delay 0.6 seconds and one second is the most common setting, short enough to make the transition process as seamless as possible without breaking regulatory compliance.

There’s a secondary time delay for when the system transitions back from generator power to utility power. When load stability is maintained, a delay of up to thirty minutes ensures that the normal source of power is working effectively before you switch back to it. A third delay setting establishes a cool down period for the engine, where the engine is run without a load for some time before it is switched off.

While you want the transition from utility power to the backup generator to be as seamless as possible, end users are able to sequence different time delays to ensure that they are using their backup generator correctly as the situation calls for it. For multiple transfer switches, a matching number of time delays can ensure that loads are transferred to the generator in order, instead of all at once.

GTEC Diesel Generator ATS Panel
Contact Point

When power from the utility provider fails, a contact point within the panel signals the engine controls, starting their process. For the majority of modern control panels, this involves a dry contact closing when utility power fails. This completes a circuit between the batteries to the engine control system. When the system has ensured that the regular power source is back up and running, the contact point opens, and the generator begins to shut down. The contact point is crucial, dictating the effective use of your transfer switch. Users should test the contact point regularly, making any maintenance or repairs as is necessary to prevent failure. Some transfer switches do include backup contact points to provide another point of access should the first fail.

Routine testing

Control system testing is essential and should play a key role in the regular maintenance of any backup power system. Testing is simple, too. For instance, there are manual switches that allow users to simulate source power failure. This simulation allows you to see that all functions, including time delays, power measures, and contact points are working effectively. There is a range of other tests available. It’s a good idea to learn the guidelines for a successful test from an electrical contractor or the manufacturer so you know that your control system and generator meet your needs.

The control panel of the automatic transfer switch allows you to ensure that your generator is able to kick into action when it’s most needed. Your personnel can specifically set features and functions so that you have less downtime and as seamless a transition as possible in future.