I have ordered a Harbor Freight Generator to use when the power is out.
I am thinking of installing a transfer switch to just pick up the water pump (I am on a well). Any ideas of an inexpensive switch that would meet code? I have been watching for such a switch in the scrap yards, but so far, nothing. I can use an extension cord for the coffee pot :-)
If the generator is any distance away, use a couple of sizes bigger wire than the load would normally require. Remember the starting current on the pump can be substantial.
A couple of years ago I copied a transfer switch from Northern Tool ( it wasn't that well built and there certainly wasn't $200/US in parts). The feed from the generator goes to a six breaker distribution pannel. I mounted five single pole double throw, center-off 20 Amp switches below the breakers. I copied the center-off part from the commercial switch. The center=off switches preclude bridging during switchover. The switches are wired such that the swinger goes to the load. One end goes to the regular breaker and the other end goes to the generator breaker. I leave the breakers in the transfer box off as an additional safety measure. Inspectors around here don't appear to be insane about UL as long as thigns look like a professional did the work. If you don't know what you are doing don't try this yourself 8o(. YMMV.
Interesting thought. I didn't think of the "plug and socket" approach. Don't think that is what I will do but it is an idea that definitely goes into the mix. I will probably go the breaker and switch route
I forgot to mention in my earlier post that there is a lockout "clip" arrangement that can be fitted into a breaker box with a "main" switch to allow simply swapping the main feed source. The "clip" will only allow one feed to be "on" at a time. I haven't seen it done, but a friend built it into their house and it passes inspection. This trick depends on how the box is constructed.
Nick, Bill, Kieth- I have this sort of setup at one of my work locations. There's actually two types installed, one where the mains & backup gen. breaker switches are located in the same panel next to each other, where a sliding bar ensures only one switch can be closed at a time. These are regular breakers, the bar slides back & forth along the front of the panel, simply extending into the space that would be occupied by the breaker's handle in the "on" position. Another setup is two different panels, each with a key operated bar. The trick is there's only one key (both cores are keyed the same) & you can only remove the key when the bar is in the "lockout" position. Example- to switch from mains to backup you have to turn off the mains breaker, turn the key to extend the bar to prevent the mains breakerr form being closed again, remove the key & insert it into the "backup" lock, turn it to remove THAT interlock bar from the breaker switch, then flip the breaker on.
I'm sure an equivalent setup could be easily duplicated in a home environment. Of course, getting it past the inspector is another project entirely.
Since you gentlemen are obviously knowledable enough to recognize the need for a transfer mechanisum I won't give you the lecture about the evils of plugging the genset directly into a wall outlet to get power to the panel :). (Yes, theres idiots out there who actually do that :( )