How Do Transfer Switches Work?

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Introduction

  • Electrical circuitry, while the basis for many applications and conveniences in our lives, is susceptible to any number of problems. These include power spikes, sags, overages and other anomalies that need to be monitored and dealt with. This is where transfer switches come in.

Operation of a Transfer Switch

  • A transfer switch actively monitors current incoming power. It is set to a predetermined impedance. If any change to it--such as a spike, sag or other power anomaly--occurs, the transfer switch cuts out the circuit and transfers the power to a backup source, typically a generator or battery. When the surge or spike has returned to normal, the transfer switch will return the power supply to the main source.

Automatic and Manual Tranfer Switches

  • Automatic transfer switches do exactly what their name says. They are set up with an internal impedance monitor that routes the power during any change in impedance. A manual switch typically cuts out the circuit and must be manually set to another power source. These switches are used to prevent power interruption and damage by electrical spikes and surges.

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