The Basics Of Transfer Switch Systems

Transfer switch systems are essentially used to transfer power from one source to another. Typically, they’re core parts of backup and emergency systems. They’re located at the heart of the power systems, enabling fast transfer of power between different power sources.

Modern Transfer Switch Systems are very much part of standard system layouts in power system design. They can be tailored to a range of requirements, depending on the types of power sources available and the type of power distribution required.

These systems are quite flexible. A power system using a grid source, for example, can also be wired up with a transfer switch system to take backup and mobile power systems as well. This also applies in reverse to the power systems that serve them, being able to connect to power distribution systems as well.

Modern transfer switch systems include, not very surprisingly, a range of types of switches and optional switches. They aren’t actually power boards, but some could be mistaken for power boards, with a range of power connection plugs. This part of the transfer switch system is basically a plug-in mode, connecting power through simple plugs.

Transfer switch system design

Transfer switch systems divert power sourcing from one power source to another. This means that power connections have to be related to the various types of connections involved. This may include camlocks, simple plugs, and a wide range of switchgear.  The connections define the design needs of the transfer switch systems.

The transfer switch systems, therefore, are fitted in to the power system very much like a basic switch on a circuit diagram. This is the easy way to design a transfer system that integrates well into the overall configuration of power systems, some of which can be extremely complex.

This is a five-stage process:

  1. Power source(s)
  2. Transfer switch
  3. panelboard control system
  4. Power distribution system
  5. Operating systems

The design of these systems is straightforward enough, but some level of customization is usually required depending on the type of power system involved. For example, when working with high voltages, the transfer switches naturally have to have safety switches, like the rest of the system, to protect against the risks of high voltage power issues. Manual and automatic power cutoffs are incorporated.

Standalone systems

Standalone systems are separate from other systems. Many have their own backup generators and other, sometimes several, sources of power. These systems also require transfer switches, but may have multiple design issues.

While the power issues and the role of the transfer switch system may be the same, the design considerations can be complicated. The distribution system of some standalone systems may involve multiple independent sources of power. The transfer switch systems have to cater for all the needs of the standalone system.

The solution is relatively easy. For multiple sources of power, multiple transfer switch systems and/or transfer switch master controls can be incorporated in to the design.  It’s a needs-based design process, simplifying the issues.

When researching your needs for transfer switch systems, start by researching the latest on the market, rather than just “standard” transfer switch systems. You’ll see major efficiencies and cost benefits.