Annual Automatic Transfer Switch Maintenance and Thermal Scanning
A backup power system with a bad ATS is like a car without a transmission.
Maintenance Is Meticulous
We disassemble your ATS all the way to the contact level to ensure everything is in perfect working order.
Thermal Scans Can Help
If you can’t do full ATS maintenance right now, a thermal scan helps quickly identify issues.
What’s an Automatic Transfer Switch?
The automatic transfer switch (ATS) is the part of your system that switches your building’s power supply from the grid to your generator in an emergency. You can have the best generator in the world, but if your ATS malfunctions, you can’t access all that power—like a car without a transmission.
Unfortunately, many generator maintenance plans ignore the ATS because it’s not actually part of the generator. It’s a separate electrical switch, but it’s still a critical part of the overall system
What Does ATS Maintenance Consist of?
We’re looking carefully for a few things:
- Carbon tracking
- Overheated contacts or connections
- Wear in contact assemblies
- Loose terminals
- Proper lubrication
If these conditions remain uncorrected, the transfer switch can overheat and completely fail.
In order to properly do all this, the switch needs to be isolated from all live power sources and disassembled all the way down to the contact level. Unfortunately, many maintenance suppliers aren’t this thorough.
After the transfer switch is cleaned, inspected, and reassembled, all the power and control connections are checked for deterioration and then re-torqued according to manufacturer’s specifications. In particular, we check any wiring that goes across doors or is connected to any moving parts.
After completing the maintenance, we perform a second transfer test. This test should be a full emergency system test verifying that the generator set can start and run the critical loads.
To work on the ATS safely, we must remove the utility power and emergency power electrical feeds to it.
This can cause some disruption to business activities, since the procedure will remove the power to all your emergency loads. Depending on your business, this disruption can be minimized by doing the work during the weekend or at night; by bypassing the switch; or by renting a temporary generator set.
If none of the above are options right now, the next best thing you can do is have a thermal scan assessment performed. This service:
- Causes no power interruption to the loads carried by the transfer switch
- Identifies potential hot spots and areas of concern
- Provides a report with pictures of the conditions inside the transfer switch
While nothing can replace proper maintenance, a thermal scan gives you a snapshot of the status of your ATS—alerting you of any potential problems so you can address them before they get out of hand.