Blog posts of '2021' 'March'

Automatic Transfer Switches: Purpose And Function

Much as our electricity suppliers do their best to keep power available on a continuous basis, there are, nonetheless, occasions when the power fails. This can be for one of many different reasons, but when it happens to you it can be anything from a bit of a nuisance to an outright disaster. It rather depends upon your situation.

For instance, if you were watching a programme on TV, it may be annoying, but it is hardly going to be life-changing. However, if you were a surgeon in the middle of a tricky operation when that same power outage occurred and all the lights went out, that can be extremely dangerous for the patient.

Furthermore, power outages can occur for a few minutes or may continue for many days. For example, after the Great Storm of 1987 many people were without power for up to two weeks as engineers worked to get power lines back up and working again. This is why some sort of backup is vital in many situations, and for many people, the answer is a generator. At Blades Power Generation, we supply both new and used generators.

Since one doesn’t want to have run outside to the generator in order to start it up, the answer is what is known as an automatic transfer switch, or ATS as it is known. Power backup is often by a generator but can also be a second mains supply. In the latter case, the primary power supply into a building is backed up by a secondary supply and the ATS changes over to that instead of a generator.

If using a generator for the secondary supply, it is essential to check it and give it a test run on a regular basis so that one can be confident that it will perform as required if there is an outage.

Of course, there are many situations where power is required other than simply inside a home or other building. For instance, if there is an outage in an area, all of the streetlights and traffic lights would go out. This means that traffic slows to a crawl at crossroads, car accidents increase, and emergency services cannot get to where they need to be. An automatic transfer switch overcomes these issues.

Of course, there is another issue, and that is that the power can be restored at any moment. When this happens, it can be dangerous, as there would be a power overload and this can cause wiring and appliances to burn. However, the ATS works both ways, so that as soon as power is restored it switches back again and allows the generator, if one is being used, to rest.