Types of Automatic Transfer Switches

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automatic transfer switch. Isolated circuit breaker

When seeking the surety and dependability of a generator and backup power system for your commercial business, you certainly want to be sure you’re getting the best! But the best doesn’t always necessarily mean the strongest, largest, or even the most expensive.

Do you know what type of automatic transfer switch your business needs? If not, you may be surprised that the true answer actually depends on a lot of factors regarding your power supply, electrical needs, and the scale of your business.

PSI Control Solutions has been providing superior power system products for years. Our family-owned and -operated business has deep roots in setting the standard for top-quality tap boxes, transfer switches, and safety systems! Ready to learn more about automatic transfer switch (ATS) types?

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What Type of Transfer Switch Do I Need?

When a manufacturer or electrician mentions the type of transfer switch, they could actually be referring to many different aspects of what classifies an ATS as a “type.” This could be the brand, the size (available amperage), or the way in which the switch operates. In reality, all of these points are important to choosing the right ATS for your business. For now, however, let’s focus on how your ATS operates.

Types of Automatic Transfer Switches

  • Open-transition switches. An open-transition ATS utilizes a break-before-make system, meaning your transfer switch will break contact with the previous power source (grid versus generator) before establishing new contact. This system does create a brief total loss of power, but a stable connection is reached within seconds. Many smaller businesses, or businesses where a two second or so delay will not hamper processes, utilize open-transition switches. These switches are the most widely used and tend to be highly reliable due to the sheer simplicity of the device and its processes.
  • Standard or “fast” closed-transition. These operate on essentially the same principles of an open-transition system, but the switch will maintain contact with both power sources (grid and generator) until a stable connection is established. Connection is held usually for roughly a tenth of a second, so there’s no real danger of back-feeding or harmful overlap. Since these systems avoid the power interruption of an open-transfer switch, they are often used by businesses that can be harmed by even the briefest losses of power. Most often these are large-scale commercial businesses, hospitals, data centers, etc.
  • Delayed-transition systems. With these ATS systems, a break-before-make is still established, much like an open system, but there is an engineered and purposeful delay before the switch from grid to generator power is made (and vice-versa). This delay acts as a fail-safe against power surges that can be common to heavy industrial equipment when powered on and off within seconds.

fusible vs non fusible safety switch

Choosing Your ATS Type

All of that information may seem a bit baffling at first (as most jargon related to specific businesses can be), and this is why the experts at PSI Control Solutions would urge you to work with a certified electrician to find the best system to meet your needs. Seeking professional assistance provides you all of the experience and knowledge you need to find the right transfer switch for your specific needs, avoiding painful overspending or frustrating re-installations if mistakes are made.

How Do Automatic Switches Benefit Your Business?

When you choose the right automatic transfer switches to meet the needs of your commercial building, you’ll gain:

  • Power reliability. A generator relies upon a manual or automatic transfer switch to function properly when needed. Many businesses opt to install an automatic transfer switch, which can save a lot of time and improve the functionality of the generator.
  • Safety. Handling any source of power at all can yield detrimental results. Employees can be harmed by a sudden outage, and handling a manual generator hookup can be disastrous—especially in the dark! A transfer switch handles all of your needs all on its own, removing the dangers associated with an outage entirely.
  • Simplified operations. Upon the installation of your automatic transfer switch, specific operations are chosen to be automatically powered. This can be everything from your lights, to HVAC systems, industrial equipment, or even refrigerators. This process drastically simplifies restoring power and improves the function of your generator as well.

Automatic Transfer Switches with PSI Control Solutions

We’ve been providing the most effective and reliable power solutions to our patrons for decades. Ready to get the power solution your business needs to retain full function in the face of disasters, funky weather, and planned maintenance? Contact our team today to learn more about our automatic transfer switch options!

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