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HP²S Honda Portable Power Systems - Transfer Switch History
Understanding why the unique and versatile HP2S is an unprecedented technological advancement for residential power management starts with an understanding of transfer switch technology and its evolution over the years.
Back-up Power and the Transfer Switch Requirement
A transfer switch is a small control panel that connects to a home's main load center to enable the safe, simple, and efficient hook-up of generator power to the electrical wiring system of a building. Transfer switches are required by the National Electrical Code any time a portable generator is used to power the electrical wiring system of a building. Improper connections to a building's electrical system can allow current from the generator to back feed into the utility lines. This can electrocute utility workers and cause damage to the generator when utility power is restored. A generator used for home back-up power requires a transfer switch.
In a power outage emergency, many customers either buy a new generator or use an existing one, along with extension cords, to plug in only one or two devices - perhaps a sump pump and a refrigerator, for example. The average generator, however, is capable of operating many additional devices - such as a furnace, television, microwave oven, lighting, a computer, or a well pump. These devices can add a lot more comfort during a power outage. A transfer switch can make all of these devices individually available to the user at the flip of a switch. Only a transfer switch lets a user get all the power that a generator was built to deliver.
Until the introduction of the HP2S, three transfer switch offerings have been available for consumers; these include:
Manual Transfer Switch (MTS)
- Permanent, easy-to-use system for transferring power from portable generators to the customer's home electrical system. Completely manual, the user must switch on and off when needed and manage generator overloads.
Semi-Automatic Transfer Switch (SATS)
- This type of switch is used when the customer has a manual start generator unit. SATS has built-in voltage monitoring capabilities allowing automatic switching to and from a backup source.
Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS)
- This configuration ensures smooth and immediate power between primary utility line and backup power source. It senses interruption in utility power and starts up the secondary power source. The ATS monitors the utility power and, when it is restored, it reconnects the load to the primary source after disconnecting it from the secondary one.
The Honda Connection
To date, Honda has offered two brands of transfer switches. These include Gen-Tran (circuit breaker switches) and Reliance (toggle switches). Each type of transfer switch accommodates direct-wire from the power inlet to the transfer switch or plug-in generator connection.
The Gen-Tran unit becomes the load center and is expandable to 16 circuits.
The reliance unit toggles between utility power and generator and does not require a feeder breaker to power the switches. Both have replaceable breakers.