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Slowly Exposing Circuits to my Generator

Discussion in Universal Transfer Switch started by Russ , 7/8/2017 3:31 AM
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Slowly Exposing Circuits to my Generator

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  • I'll be autostarting my generator from my APC UTS6H.  I've got the Euro 6 pin plug on order, the instructions from APC for the relays in the upper right corner of the UTS6H, and plus, my portable generator's already in a  shed outside connected to a GSCM-Mini: a device from Atkinson Electronics that can be configured to start a generator when the absence of utilty power is observed by it.

    The thing of it is that after the seemingly unchangeable 5 seconds of time the UTS6H takes to observe generator power, it transfers the generator's load to all 6 circuits and can stall the generator with too much demand for its power until it's had a chance to warm up a bit.

    What techniques can be used to, say, start one circuit at time on the UTS6H, and maybe, ideally, wait a minute or so before the first circuit kicks in?

    If the 5 seconds changeable short of maybe factory resetting of firmware?

    I have a mid size APC UPS connected (as it has to be) on circuit 1. I don't need for anything but power to the UTS6H between the utility going out, and the generator coming on line.

    The generator's a 3000 watt invertor with electric start.


    P.S. Autostart currently set to manual on UTS6H.

  • Information and techniques for getting the APC UTS line of switches to bring circuits on line from a generator, in a particular order, appears sparse at best.

    I solved the problem, which for me really was about all circuits demanding power from a cold generator, by

    1) keeping the APC UTS generator setting at manual (the default) rather than automatic (automatic is where two relays in the upper right hand corner of the circuit board can open or close to do things at the beginning and conclusion of a utility outage event like start a generator with auto start capabilities, or transfer a load, or at the end of an outage, break from a generator load or stop the generator.  This is supported in a separate manual from APC.


    2) upgrading from the GSCM-mini to the full GSCM where things like the time between when the generator starts, and when in transfers its load can be delayed to give the generator time enough to warm up so it doesn’t stall when the 6 circuits of my APC UTS get energized from it.

  • Hi Russ:

    according to the docs at Atkinson Electronics, it says "Honda EXXXXXIS Series requires a GSCM-mini-i"...is your 3000W inverter generator a Honda? Curious if you could provide more details on your UTS set up and GSCM configuration. Wire between the UTS and GSCM?

  • No, my generator is not a Honda brand: it's a Yamaha 3000iSEB.  It is similar to the EXXXXXIS Honda series in its production of around a maximum of 3000 watts of 120 volt only power (not 220) from an inverter, rather than a generator, per se.

    I only put 120 volts into the ATC UTS.

    The difference is that an inverter converts the power it produces from AC to DC and back so as to produce very "clean" power for electronics and other sensitive gear.  I believe the Honda EXXXXXIS models are also inverters as well.

    As to what you read about Atkinson Electronics "mandating" use of the GSCM-mini (generator start control module) only product here, this claim, taken literally, is patently false.  Please understand why I say this, as follows:

    For argument sake, Atkinson Electronics full GSCM module, slightly more expensive and feature rich would ABSOLUTELY be ok too--in fact it's what I use.  The GSCM-mini is simple a subset of the GSCM's features.  In fact two of the features, relatively to the topic at hand about slowly exposing circuits to a generator are only available on the full Atkinson GSCM product and not the mini product and they are a) the ability to configure the full GSCM to allow the generator to run for fixed period of time (I could look it up but I think it's 1 - 5 mintues) before allowing its power to ever reach the UTS, and equally important, b) when the GSCM is given the signal that it no longer needs to run the generator (usually as a result of utility power being restored) the GSCM is also configurable (where the GSCM-mini is not) to allow the generator to run in a cool down mode for a configurable amount of time, where it no longer supplies power to the ATC UTS, but continues to run and cool down.

    In short, ANY feature the GSCM-mini has, the GSCM has and the GSCM is a perfect, more feature rich substitute in this application for the GSCM-mini.  This applies in any situation a GSCM could be used, from here, to RVs, to solar panels, to whatever.

    The wording you read may have been Atkinson electronics wishing you to run one of their products (GSCM-mini or regular) as opposed to a competitor's product.

    This said, some of the GSCM functionality to start and stop a generator/inverter is already within the APC UTC.  There is additional documentation on how one can configure th APC UTC to signal the generator to start and stop, but like the GSCM-mini, its features are a subject of that the full GSCM can offer.

    I am glad to give you specific details on the wiring between the UTS and GSCM if you wish but will try to keep the following more high level.

    The GSCM, with an additional inexpensive electronic device called a relay, monitors utility power.  When that power is not available this relay signals the GSCM to begin starting the generator.  The GSCM is wired to the generator/inverter's electric start switch, and closes this circuit to crank the engine.

    The GSCM monitors the generator's production of electric power.  When it sees such power it knows to open the circuit described above that effects engine cranking.  The GSCM can be configured to try several cranks, at different durations, etc., as sometimes engines don't start on the first try.

    Once the GSCM sees this power it, as described above, can be configured for a period of time (or no time) to wait for the generator/invertor to warm up before allowing its power to reach the UTS.  Like the generator/inverter starting the process, this waiting period is also done with a separate relay.  It is not hard to set up if you wish guidance.

    Ok.  So let's say the generator has warmed up for two minutes and the GSCM is configured to wait 2 minutes.  After this time this second relay permits power to flow from the generator inverter to the UTS via appropriate cabling.

    This cabling can be hard wired to, or pluged into a male receptable in the UTS.

    When the first relay detects utility power, it can be configured to let the generator continue to provide power for a configurable number of minutes (this is because sometimes when power is restored by the utiltiy it goes on and off for a while) and then once this time limit, if any, is expired, the GSCM can also optionally be configured to continue to run the generator but supply no power to the ATC UTS , allowing the engine to cool down.

    After this cool down period, another pair of wires from the GSCM to the generator do something called "ground the magneto"...which is fancy talk for not allowing the spark plug's spark to work during this grounding process, causing, by design, the generator inverter to shut down.  As soon as the GSCM detects no electric power from the generator/inverter the grounding process stops, preparing the setup for the next power outage.

    Ok David, this is definitely a 60,000 foot view of things as long winded as it is.  I am sure you have more specific questions.  Hit me up.  Let the process of skinning my knees setting this up years ago allow you to not have to do the same thing to get this up and running and understand things.  There's a lot of wires, but each pair, and what is does is pretty easy to understand.

    As an aside I also run my generator/inverter off of utility provided natural gas, which unlike gasoline never runs out, is cleaner, and more reliable.  Pretty much any generator running on gasoline can be converted, through purchaseable kits, to run on propane or natural gas, is it is simpler: the carburetor can be bypassed because the fuel, already in vapor form, need not be mixed with air, like gasoline, in the carburetor.

    When the APC UTS was first marketed, it provided the only UL-1008 compliant (the standard for home automatic transfer switches) at 110 volts that I knew of, and was paired in cobranding with Honda.  By no means are you wedded to using Honda generators, and by all means the full GSCM is a perfect, in fact superior substitute for teh GSCM-mini.



































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