Automatic Transfer Switch Vs. Interlock: How to Choose?

The automatic transfer switch or ATS can sense the power loss in the distribution board and turn off the main board by connecting the backup power cord. You can do all this manually, and once the power is restored, the reverse operation will be performed.

1. Interlock VS transfer switch

Interlocks are similar to transfer switches in that they allow you to manage the operation of both a backup generator system and the electric system. The interlock ensures that the switch and generator circuit breaker will never operate at the same time. Therefore, it can ensure safety and prevent any dangerous feedback that may occur.

Before deciding which system is best for your application, you should better understand your needs. You should consider the type of generator installed, whether it is a backup generator or a portable generator. You should consider the size, election load, duration and frequency of outages, occupant requirements, and availability of field operators.

2. When to use interlock?

Compared with the automatic transfer space, the interlocking system is less complicated and the price is lower. Many people use it for residential and small commercial purposes. It is more suitable for places that do not need continuous power supply, and the operation is also very simple. However, you need proper training to understand how it works. There is additional power management, once the capacity of the generator is exceeded, you need to close the circuit breaker. Below we will further detail the difference between the interlock and the transfer switch of the portable generator.

3. When to use the transfer switch?

The residential automatic transfer switch is in the case of automatic operation of the power supply. You can often see this in commercial buildings that require backup power to ensure safety. In addition, it also complies with building codes and national election regulations. You can also install it in a residence, even if this place often experiences power outages.

The working mode of the ATS automatic transfer switch and the interlocking device are the same. Although, they operate differently. You can use them for various applications. Interlocks are more suitable for residential use and places experiencing small-scale power outages. On the other hand, you can use automatic transfer switches for commercial purposes and large apartments.

If you have a fully automated system and do not need supervision, you must choose the ATS switch. It can also achieve all commercial or industrial purposes with the help of automatic switches because they require continuous power. If there is a backup generator, any of these devices are necessary at home. You will also need this for any building that includes backup power and transfer switches.

4. How does the transfer switch work with the portable generator?

Suppose you forget to include the transfer switch and connect the portable generator directly to the power service panel. In this case, it may cause electrical appliances to burn out, endanger utility workers who may be working on the power line, and eventually damage your generator.

The transfer will quickly allow you to power anything you need, whether it’s a refrigerator, a boiler, or more. Electricity can reach these devices through generators or utility power, but not both together. The automatic transfer switch will work with the help of a set of dedicated switches.

With the help of the transfer switch, you need to make a connection, plug one end of the wire into the portable generator and the other end into the special box connected to the transfer switch.

5. How does the interlocking device work with the portable generator?

Many third-party manufacturers and service panel manufacturers use interlocking devices as small connectors. Each one is only intended for a specific panel model, but all of them work in the same way. You can connect them to a portable generator on a service panel without a transfer switch. Therefore, they can eliminate the risk of direct connection. You must install an interlock with the help of an electrician.

The service panel will be covered once you install this. Therefore, it will not allow you to open it while the generator is running. When the utility power is restored, you can slide the interlock device back to its original position. Therefore, power will only flow in one direction. Compared with the automatic transfer switch, this option is a more manual option, but it is cheaper than buying and installing an automatic transfer switch.

6. The ALION automatic transfer switch is one of the best on the market

ALION is a leading manufacturer of automatic transfer switches. Their main purpose is to help improve the environment and quality of life through the use of power management technologies and services.

They have a set of guidelines for safe installation and wiring, which need to be followed when installing automatic transfer switches. Professionals should refer to this manual before proceeding with the installation. The proper checklist should be followed when selecting the best automatic transfer switch.

7. Why choose ALION?

Speaking of automatic transfer switches, ALION provides the best quality and has some features worth mentioning, such as.

  • The switch produced by ALION is compact in structure, easy to install and maintain, reliable in the transfer process, and very durable and long life.
  • The size of the manufactured automatic transfer switch is relatively compact, which helps to meet the different installation requirements that customers may have.
  • ALION ensures the continuity, safety and reliable power supply of the products.
  • You can use the automatic transfer switch in various occasions where the company cannot withstand power failures.
  • The automatic transfer switch can also be used with the inverter.

Before choosing an automatic transfer switch, it is best to consider all its functions. Then, you can make a clear comparison between the automatic transfer switch and the interlocking system to understand what is best for your building.


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