Interlock locks to be used in lieu of transfer switch

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Not an option for Gymmy Bob, unless it is on a pro bono basis.     /sarcasm
Tip..you will need to do a lot more to hear a GB eulogy. That Golden info you posted is useless. You need: http://www.execulink.ca/index.php The Golden illusion is just one of a few 'tricks' this moron has down pat, as a MO. GB also runs a Shaw account, for starters. Some links that will help the uninitiated. <http://tinyurl.com/dyozp <http://tinyurl.com/g8ghs
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no spam wrote:

No luck, it was turned in to the county during a toxic household waste amnesty day recently.
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On Sun, 13 May 2007 16:59:19 GMT, Bruce L. Bergman

Interesting points Bruce, got me curious as to what exactly the regulations actually say so I invested some time the other day at the library :).
First, just so everybody is on the same wavelength (5,000,000 meters if I've done the math right) I checked the definition of "Transfer Switch" The closest I could come to a definition in the Canadian Electrical Code is more of a functional description, section 14-612 (pg 88, 2006 edition) -
"Transfer equipment for standby power systems
Transfer equipment for standby power systems shall prevent the inadvertant interconnection of normal and standby sources of supply in any operation of the transfer equipment" Duh.
Rememer the "inadvertant" part for later.
The only other mention I could find in the document to transfer switches was in section 32-208 requiring that transfer switches used to power fire equipment has to be, along with some location & labelling requirements, "approved for fire pump service"
Thats all there is in the CEC.
Onwards to the NEC, where apparently a larger budget allows for far more verbose descriptions & More Capital Letters-
First, we get a real defintion for a transfer switch or "Switch, Transfer" as the book in article 100-1 ( pg. 108 2005 ed.) prefers-
"An automatic or nonautomatic device for transferring one or more load conductor connections from one power source to another" Duh.
Additionaly, the NEC goes into far more detail on when/where/what/why for requirements, the real meat & potatoes of which is in chapter seven "Special Conditions" where we are variously informed & entertained with the requirements for "Emergency Systems" (Article 700, pg. 563), "Legally Required Systems" (701, pg. 567), and, most applicable to us, "Optional Standby Systems" (702, pg. 570). Obviously I'm not going to sit here & type in 8 or 9 pages of text. Hell, I won't even type in "eight" or "nine". I will however, provide some selected highlights-
Article 700- "Emergency Sytems" covers installations legally required by municiple, state, federal, other codes or by goverment agencies & are automatic in operation (apart from heath care institutions covered in article 517). It applies to stuff like emergency lighting, fire systems, required ventilation, pretty much anything & everything that relates to public safety.
Pertinant to our thread Paragraph 700.3 states that "All equipment shall be approved for use on emergency systems" The rest of the section applies to things like testing, maintenance, specific wiring requirements, genny maintenance etc. which, Thank God, is outside the scope of this discussion.
Article 701- "Legally Required Systems" is again for, obviously, Legally Required Systems. but not "Emergency Systems" as coverd by article 700. As opposed to things in 700 such as "Fire", 701 applies to things such as "Sewage".
Again, pertinant info (to us)- of interest is paragraph 701.7 "Transfer Equipment" that requires automatic operation & to be "approved by the authority having juristiction". The following pages cover pretty much the same ground as 700 does.
Article 702- "Optional Standby Systems" is where we start hitting both portable & permanent installations used in places such farms, homes, industrial/commercial sites etc. where loss of power "could cause disscomfort, serious interruptions of the process, damage to the product or process, or the like". I'm guessing Iggy's ice box fits in there somewheres.
For our puposes the information of interest is located in paragraphs 702.4 "Equipment Approval"- "All equipment shall be approved for the intended use" and 702.6- (Wait For It-) "Transfer Equipment". I'm going to argravate my repetitive stress injury here & type in the whole damn thing :(.
"Transfer equipment shall be suitable for the intended use and designed and installed as to prevent the inadvertant (ed.- theres that word again) interconnection of normal and alternative sources of supply in any operation of the transfer equipment. Transfer equipment and electric power production systems installed to permit operation in parallel with the normal source (ed- i.e. UPSs) shall meet the requirements of Article 705. Transfer euipment located on the load side of branch circuit protection, shall be permitted to contain supplementary overcurrent protection having an interuppted rating sufficient for the available fault current that the generator can deliver. The supplementary overcurrent protection devices shall be part of the listed transfer equipment. Transfer equipment shall be required for all standby systems subject to the provisions of this article and for which an electric -utility supply is either the normal or standby source.
Exception: Temporary connection of a portable generator without transfer equipment shall be permitted where conditions of maintenance and supervision ensure that only qualified persons service the installation and where the normal supply is physically isolated by a lockable disconnect means or by disconnection of normal supply conductors."
All donations for Howard's Right Arm Medical Relief Fund are gratefully accepted.
So, where does all this leave us? As for "type acceptance", its not mentioned anywheres. To me the term "Type Accepted" applies to a specific design or form factor. Nowheres have I found any mention of approved or required designs for the actual switching mechanism. I personally have dealt with, both in Canada & the U.S., units designed around manually operated & motor driven knife switches, spring loaded contacts, breakers with mechanical interlocks, ganged breakers, breakers with the "Kirk" locks and bizzare mechanical monstrosities too evilly complicated to discuss here. These were all commercialy built and/or installed, no home handyman hacked up higgledy piggledy anywheres.
As for "Approval" itself, in Canada things appear to be pretty (perhaps too much) straightforward, per CEC 32.208 "Approval" is only required for units suppling fire pumps. Doesn't say by whom but I'm guessing its up to the various local fire codes/inspectors to address it. Same in the NEC , "Approval", and again it comes from the entity legally responsible for approval of the equipment the transfer switch is feeding per NEC 700.3, & 701.4.
We'll leave Articles 700 & 701 here as they don't apply to the situation we're disscussing, namely Iggy's icebox. No goverment agency in their right mind would ever wan't to take responsibility for that :\\.
702.4 leaves in a bit of of a limbo situation, "All equipment shall be approved for the intended use" begs the question "By Who". And does it apply to the setup as a whole or to it's constituant components? Consider- I'm aware of transfer setups used for homes (In Canada) that consist of two main disconnect breakers, one on the main panel & one on a seperated box next to the main panel (for the genset) that have a sliding bar mounted between them so that it is impossible for both breaker handles to be in the "On" postion at the same time. This was deemed acceptable by the utility inspector. ( In fact I've seen the same idea on commercial units albeit both breakers are in the same panel) Both breakers were either UL or CSA approved, both installed in acceptable boxes. Does the bar itself need approval from the un-named, possibly un-maned agency?? Inquiring Minds Want To Know. Until they find out it appears that the bar is kosher.
Yes, its possible to deliberately bugger the thing up & get both breakers on at once,
But Not (theres that word again) Inadvertantly.
I honestly don't see the difference between this and the Kirk (or similar) lock setup I described in my original post. Yes you can defeat them if you want too,
But Not Inadvertantly.
Now, ask anybody who knows me & they'll tell you I'm an Idiot. Actually, I'm a pretty darned good one. Hell, I've put in long hard years deliberately honing my idiocy to a Dull Edge :).
I'll be damned If I could figure a way to *inadvertantly* defeat the systems using the keyed locks.
Nor is there any mention, apart from the temporary connection mentioned in702.6, of a requirement for trained personnel to operate the transfer equipent. I think that any good lawyer (oxymoron?) could make the point that, given tha the lack of a definition of "qualified personnel" the guy who did the setup is the guy who is qualifed to operate it. I can see where you may have nightmares over this, & I personaly don't blame you, but there it is :(.
Now, niether I, Iggy, or anybody else here is out to murder linemen. Hopefully we've moved pass the days when farmers would hook up thier gensets to the main panel with an old pair of jumper cables. Unfortunately we *are* seeing homeowners hooking up by plugging double ended extension cords into wall outlets, these are the fools you should really be worried about :(. Nothing but education is going to fix this . However, it would appear that what Iggy is trying to accomplish, & should be applauded for, is a safe system that meets his particular requirements. From what I've been able to discover what I think he intends appears to be, arguably. legal and apparently safe.
Now, if I've missed something in either the CEC or NEC, or theres other pertinant (to this situation) regulations I'm unaware of I'd love to hear about them as I think we can all satand to be better educated on this subject.
Regards,
Howard.
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Good post and nicely done!
One section forgotten (I can't rememeber the section and I don't have my code book handy) is the quality of the workmanship claus. The inspector can reject it if he doesn't think it appropriate.
The other item is "qualified". I believe you would have to have somebody deem you qualified to apply this one.
I wonder where "drunk wife" comes into play here?
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On Thu, 17 May 2007 16:19:04 -0500, "Solar Flaire"

Good point.
If the inspector ever sees it :\\.
Do you really believe all those folks buying wireing & boxes & outlets & switches at Home Despot on Saturday afternoons all have building permits & are going to hand the stuff over to a liscensed electrician to do the work??
Lets just AssUMe everybody smart enough the be on Usenet can do house wiring to acceptable standards :).

True, but "qualified" is a loaded term- I'm sure we all know of presumably "qualified" electricians who shouldn't be allowed to plug a wallwart into a wall recepticle. My experience is that utility inspecters will pass something if it's "right", even if it isn't done by the "right" person.
Have a look here for some examples of transer setups approved by "qualified" electricians-
http://members.rennlist.org/warren/generator.html

Most usually at socialy awkward times :(.
H.

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I know they don't. I'm not a licensed electrician. Personal story below.
Where I used to live if you went to the county court house and asked about a permit they would have told you that you'd have to go to the next county to get your driver's permit. I now live in an area where you have to have a permit before you can even think about what you might build five years from now. With that said, after jumping through many hoops, paying more money than I make in 6 months and filling almost one complete drawer in my filing cabinet with the necessary paperwork I started to work. I called and told them I was ready for the county inspector to come out and see if things were up to standards. He drove up, we talked about military service, his days flying an old PBYand told me that ever thing looked fine and signed. He never got of his truck.

To be honest with you if the codes are written clearly you don't need much over a 60 IQ to wire a house. Code tells you what size wire from point A to point B, how many outlets and/or lights allowed per circuit, max distance between outlets, where GFI's are required. The problems start when you have a strong electrictions union around.

A lot of them will pass stuff if its done wrong but done by the "right" person, usually a "licensed" <insert profession here>. Let some "idiot home owner" install things OVER CODE (i.e. using 10 ga wire when code only requires 12) and see what happens.
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no spam wrote:

You should try building a TV station in a city with no heavy industry, if you want to meet idiot inspectors.
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No thanks, I have enough around me.
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On Fri, 18 May 2007 13:14:57 GMT, Howard Eisenhauer

At least, not on a monday morning or a friday afternoon!

And just about as often they will pass something done by the "right" person, if, at a glance, nothing looks egregiously wrong.

At least the owner's made the claim they were approved. I guess maybe my opinion of professionals still has room to fall. :)
sdb
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<snip some good stuff.>

I think a lot of AHJ could have some fun with, "...prevent the inadvertant interconnection...in any operation of the transfer equipment."
One could take the position that "any operation" could include using two keys simultaneously. And that's the crux of the whole argument. A real transfer switch can't be put into two different positions at the same time.
Sort of like NEMA reversable motor controllers. Not only is there an electrical interlock to prevent both contactors being picked up at the same time, there is a mechanical bar that will not let one side pull in if the other side is somehow jammed in.
While keylocks are familiar to many of us, and certainly the AHJ, they may seem foreign to some homeowners. Someone's wife, who called the neighbor in the middle of the night, may decide that in order to turn that second lock, she needs to go get the key from the safe. No problem, she trots upstairs with a torch, gets the second key and hands it over to the 'helpful neighbor'. Who promptly 'interconnects' the normal and alternative sources of supply. Inadvertantly.
"Qualified" personnel understand that the key-lock is meant to ensure only one lock can be operated at a time. But someone 'unqualified' may just assume the other key is kept in a 'safe place' and just needs to go retrieve it. OOPS.
A simple slide-bar or other mechanical interlock is more 'foolproof' then keylocks. Keylocks are more for when the two switches/breakers are too far apart for a simple mechanical interlock.
daestrom
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daestrom wrote:

It boggles my mind that people will put so much effort into justifying their schemes to bypass the need for a proper transfer switch. It's not that difficult - if you're sure your system is safe, call the people who do electrical inspections in your area and ask. If they say "no", then are you really stupid enough to do it anyway? Knowing that an unapproved electrical installation is going to cause hell with your insurance if you ever have a problem... If they say yes, get it in writing, do it, and don't bother Usenet with the details.
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On Thu, 17 May 2007 19:38:09 -0400, "daestrom"

Yes, two keys *could* be a problem, but I've never encountered an installation where two keys were available. Kirk seems to make it damned hard to actually get a spare key. The fact is keyed interlocks are in use & therefore presumably acceptable by some, if not all, authorities.
As for a "real" transfer switch not being able to be put into two positions at the same time-don't believe it. I've seen lots that with a little messing around, or even failure of a simple spring clip, can most certainly be in two positions at the same time. Caveot Emptor.

If you have two keys, nail the spare to the wall. Or get rid of it . Placard the breakers against using two keys at once. Tattoo operating instructions to the wifes forehead. In reverse. So she can read them by looking in a mirror.
The installations I've worked with certainly had lottsa little lamiplax signs all over the place with operating instructions, warnings, contact info- in short everything but next week's winning lotto numbers :(. If the people can read & they read the sign, well then I'd say they're qualified.

Agreed, but I was under the impression that was Igor's problem, the physical layout of the existing panels ruled out the use of a single box transfer switch.
H.
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Sounds to me like a $2K Kirk interlock system in order to replace a $200 transfer switch.
One other point. Many of the Home Depot transfer switches will never pass code in Canada. Home Depot has them hidden from the shelves in an attempt to cover up their lack of code knowledge.
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Solar Flaire wrote:

So, are you telling us that Home Depot can't find anyone in Canada that knows what they are doing?
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I don't know about Canada but in the US I'd think any company would fire an employee that started giving out code info. Too many lawyers running just looking for a chance to sue.
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At least in the electrical isle, just about any advice that the employees give is potentially "code info". There's likely plenty of legal CYA going on, but it can't be _that_ cut-and-dried.
At least in the Canadian HDs I'm familiar with, the contractor desk, electrical and plumbing areas has at least one licensed tradesmen on staff most of the time, and I've not found them to give out any really stupid info, nor avoid commenting on something to do with code.
The original comment:

I find really hard to take at face value. HD isn't going to risk large fines (and potentially jail time) for selling unapproved electrical equipment.
[Selling unapproved electrical gear is against the law in Canada. Actions are rare, but they will do it.]
Given that his other comment about "automatic transfer switches" being illegal here, and obviously they aren't, I'm not sure he'd recognize an unapproved device if it bit him.
I've never looked for a transfer switch at HD. Their catalog carries one, the generac one, I think. But, I don't have a clue about the "hide" bit.
If they're "hiding them", it's probably because they _prefer_ to sell these devices to people who know enough (eg: electricians) to ask for one. And/or simply not enough people would want one to use up shelf space for them.
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There is that reading ability thing again! Where did you see me say they were selling illegal transfer switches?
The comment, once again to clarify was . HD has a shelf full of illegal (in Canada) transfer switches and they hide them (not sell them) to cover up their code ignorance. (the purchasing agent thinks he is still in the US)

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Let me get this straight. HD Canada, which has purchasing independent of HD US, has agents that somehow manage to get confused about which country they live in, except that they get it right for just about everything _but_ transfer switches, and continues to spend money buying, stocking and shipping expensive objects they can't and won't sell?
I really really don't think HD is that dumb. They'd be broke if their inventory management system was that broken.
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Chris Lewis wrote:

You're right. Somebody either has a hardon for HD Canada, or they only have a couple working neurons.
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What do you expect for minimum wage?
HD opened here with all these "trade experts" in every isle. They thought they would clean up the market. many long term building supliers closed down for fear they would never compete. Five or six years later, HD has no experts left, not even the industrial accident ones. You can't get anybody to serve you, let alone know anything about a trade tip. The plumbing isle has a guy that has heard of PEX pipe and another that doesnt know the difference between PEX-AL-PEX fittings and even one of the 6 different types of PEX fittings, if you can find him not busy in the shingles sales isle.
..and you want them to know and understand the electrical safety code too? Most of them are having a hard time knowing that a 1/2" knockout isn't a physical threat.

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