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Rating: 5/5Premium transfer switch, with great features
This review is from: APC UTS10BI Universal Transfer Switch 6-Circuit 120/240V European Version - 240V
Pros: [Note: this review is adapted from one I originally posted on Ama**n.] -- well-built / looks good -- Has many configurable settings for how power is allocated to the loads you have connected. -- Has front-panel LCD readouts of usage and settings -- Each load circuit is represented on the front with a bright red LED. This will tell you if one or more circuits have been shed (or blown.) -- Multiple inputs: when utility power is cut, you can configure it to supply each individual circuit (except the 240V) from either the generator source, or the secondary source. -- Each source is represented with a bright green LED showing availability: Utility, Generator, UPS. -- I have a UPS on my secondary source, but you could also attach a small generator there. (15A max = 1800W max at 120V.) -- load shedding -- when you first configure the unit, you set the capacity of each source, and the unit will "shed" ("delay") loads in rotation to avoid exceeding the limit that you've set (which would overload your generator.) -- The unit can be set to auto-start your generator if main power fails (if your generator supports it, is OUTSIDE, ten feet away from any building, and set up properly). Separate kit required. -- Support is good. I've asked APC tech support a couple of questions via email, and they've responded within a day, with useful information. Phone support was also available and helpful. -- Although this unit is a bit pricey, it's not that much more than a manual switch, and provides much more functionality. > The increased functionality you get from this "premium" type of switch over a basic manual switch is well worth the incremental cost: about $500 vs $300-400. > The cost of installation is far more than the cost of the switch so, if you're going to get a switch, I think it's worth getting a good one, like this unit, instead of a manual one.
Cons: -- Protects each individual circuit with a fuse. From my experience with a short circuit, the fuse blows before the main panel breaker trips. These fuses cost about $11 each (see below for spec). > That said, fuses are more sensitive so, with fuses, it's less likely that a short will damage the unit. -- 240V required -- you must supply 240V power for the unit to operate correctly. > My generator is switchable between 120 and 240V but, when set to 240, its capacity is split between the two phases. So, you have to be more careful to balance the loads across the two phases. -- Two of the ten circuits on the unit are dedicated to a 240V circuit, even if you don't have a 240V load. -- My generator is also variable speed. With lower load, it will run at a lower rpm, and burn less fuel. With the load split, and uneven, it will turn as much as it needs to, to supply the side with the maximum load.-- Note: the unit was redesigned around the beginning of 2012, and there is no longer a generator input on the front, as shown in the product photo. In these new units, the generator input must be hardwired from a separate inlet (purchased separately).
Other Thoughts: SOME TIPS I had this unit in place when Sandy blew through, and I depended on it for the ten (10!) days we were without power. Here are a few things I learned the hard way. -- To replace a blown fuse on short notice, have these on hand: > To open the case: Robertson #3 square head bit > Fuse-puller tool: such as Ideal Industries Small Fuse Puller, 5" Long for 0 to 30A/250V, 1/4" to 1/2" Diameter Fuses > Spare 15A fuses: Mersen ATMR15 600V 15A Cc > Spare 20A fuses: Mersen ATMR20 600V 20A Cc -- The unit comes with 15A fuses installed on each 120V circuit. On installation, replace 15A fuses with 20A on those circuits requiring it. -- Configure the unit correctly to get the best performance. For example: > Configure each circuit to match the load type. It will use this to set the delay timings (max off & min on). > All high-drawing circuits should be set to "Delayable", if at all possible, to allow the unit to effectively manage your total load. Otherwise, you could still overload your generator. > When the unit was first installed, a couple of circuits were set to OFF in the configuration settings. Set them back to ON before calling tech support. > Set the UTS to match the capacity of each circuit (15 vs 20A). -- In a normal configuration, the UTS will take 10-15 seconds to energize your designated circuits from the UPS when the utility loses power, or the generator cuts out (such as when you run out of fuel.) -- Most circuits can be designated as "Non-interruptable" (to avoid the startup delay) but then the total load of those circuits can't exceed the capacity of your UPS, or about 12A (1440W @ 120V), whichever is smaller. -- The single UPS on the secondary input will run out of power quickly with a a normal household draw. -- I only have my lighting circuits set for UPS protection, and they draw down the UPS after about 5 or 10 minutes. -- Place separate, high-capacity UPS batteries on your critical loads, like sump pump and computers. This will also buy you more time to set up a portable generator, especially if you're away. I also have a UPS on the TV, so that I can set that circuit as "delayable". -- The price/performance sweet spot for UPS capacity is 1500VA, which you can pick up for about $150 or less. For higher capacities, the price climbs steeply. (The higher the VA rating, the longer the unit will be able to supply power at a given load.) -- Before you bring in an electrician, map out which circuits you want protected. You can only have 1x 240, and 8x 120V. > I have: Sump & water softener, Refrigerator, Furnace (Blower Motor), Lighting x2, Computer, TV&Stereo, Microwave & Kitchen lights / outlets. -- Although the manual states "DO NOT use these [240V] circuits as individual 120 V circuits", APC tech support has confirmed to me that "Yes, you can run the 240v circuit to a sub panel. It doesn't matter what the sub panel feeds; it would be up to the electrician to wire everything correctly and in code
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