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Thread: kohler Generators / service rated transfer switch 200 amp

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    132

    kohler Generators / service rated transfer switch 200 amp

    Since the Northeastern hit 2 weeks ago; In NJ; I've been requested to give estmates on whole house residential NG 14 or 20 kw backup generators. I'm presently researching between the Kohler and Generac units. Installers/electricians of these units favor kohler for their dependability and ease of accesability . They both run @3600rpm's. The Kohlers website reviews their transfer switch, and could not find a combined unit, w/ service rated OPD within. Kohler sells transfer switch and OPD separately. also, their load sheding module must be purched separately. An Inspector informed me a Kohler Gen w/ a Cut Hammer Transfer switch is a good combo. I'de need some light on that. I've only wired one Generac recently, Nice complete kit, easy install, and started right up, but seemed lack of quality in build. The nuetral lug terminals where too small, and needed a forked type lug or a separately installed lug for the incomming nuetral. Thats all. Never wired or seen a Kohler yet, and have hard time getting a local Kohler Cooper service rep to call me back. Are thes Kohler unit worth the extra $. All the customers me to pad and plumb the units. I'll have to do a load calculation of electric and gas usage to order proper unit and if gas line/meter is sufficient for all appliances and Gen at same time. If anyone with experience with any of these units or transfer swiches is available , please comment.

    Thank You;
    HR...

  2. #2
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    Jan 2008
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    Raeford, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by howardrichman View Post
    Since the Northeastern hit 2 weeks ago; In NJ; I've been requested to give estmates on whole house residential NG 14 or 20 kw backup generators. I'm presently researching between the Kohler and Generac units. Installers/electricians of these units favor kohler for their dependability and ease of accesability . They both run @3600rpm's. The Kohlers website reviews their transfer switch, and could not find a combined unit, w/ service rated OPD within. Kohler sells transfer switch and OPD separately. also, their load sheding module must be purched separately. An Inspector informed me a Kohler Gen w/ a Cut Hammer Transfer switch is a good combo. I'de need some light on that. I've only wired one Generac recently, Nice complete kit, easy install, and started right up, but seemed lack of quality in build. The nuetral lug terminals where too small, and needed a forked type lug or a separately installed lug for the incomming nuetral. Thats all. Never wired or seen a Kohler yet, and have hard time getting a local Kohler Cooper service rep to call me back. Are thes Kohler unit worth the extra $. All the customers me to pad and plumb the units. I'll have to do a load calculation of electric and gas usage to order proper unit and if gas line/meter is sufficient for all appliances and Gen at same time. If anyone with experience with any of these units or transfer swiches is available , please comment.

    Thank You;
    HR...
    If you are pricing the jobs the Generac set up has them beat. As far as quality not as good as Kohler but sometimes you just cannot sell quality. The Cuttler - Hammer transfer switch is nothing more than a Generac with a different paint job just like their generators. The main pit fall to these installs is if you are not an authorized dealer/ tech. Generac will not talk to you. To become a dealer and or tech. takes a large lay out of cash and training. You are best to find a good price on the unit and let the customer do the purchasing. You can register the unit when you get the code for the nexus panel on the Generac units. Then when they call you for warranty service you direct them to an authorized tech. or Generac to find some one to do the warranty work
    Organized people are people that are just too lazy to look for their stuff

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    New Jersey
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    101
    In the past year we've installed almost every residential NG fueled generator and I can tell you what I think (I might get in trouble).
    For the money the Generac units are fine and well built in my opinion. I've heard from many people (homeowners) that they are not built with the same quality as a Kohler, I feel that because they're sold in the home improvement stores people think they are of lesser quality. Generacs are the nicest to install in my opinion.
    Cummins Onan are the built the best and are the quietest in my opinion and some of that is a fact. These are a little more involved to install since the gen to ATS requires a 9 or 10 conductor cable (I forgot) which you can purchase in various footages from a local dealer or online. This is your best bet since a 9 or 10 conductor cable in the awg they spec is a special order at my supply house. These units are my top pick all around. They also come standard with internet monitoring and notification all you have to do is run a Cat5 and set it up.
    Kohler units are ok in my opinion and are identical to the Briggs & Stratton as far as the install goes. The last Kohler 20 kW we installed the owner kept calling about sputtering and backfiring during the exercise cycle. The composite pad is pretty much the same foot print as the generator so some customers and inspectors queston if it is in fact sitting on an approved pad. Just like the Briggs & Stratton they provide little information on the LCD display. The Generac and Cummins will tell you just about everything you need to know even in the event of a failure. Kohler states that they have the best warranty in the business at 5 yrs which is true although Generac and Cummins also have 5yr warranties, so I guess they all have the best warranty.
    When you get up to the liquid cooled units most of them have GM, Ford or Mitsubishi motors, I have only installed a few of these and they were all Generacs so I can't speak for the other brands.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    132
    A question I have is; In an exterior mounted service rated transfer switch, with an overcurrent protected device(main breaker) needed ahead of main service panel? Generac uses this type of switch in their transfer switch package, and Kohler uses a transfer switch w/o an overcurrent device which saves time and material not needing to move the ground electrode conductors or needing the 4th conductor to the main service panel; and They could use a non- service rated switch,

    Thanks;
    HR...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    West Chester, PA
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    If you don't have a fuse or circuit breaker ahead of the utility input to the transfer switch, then you need a service-rated transfer switch. It will have overcurrent protection and provisions for bonding to the grounding electrode system.

    If your ATS is not service-rated, then you need a service-rated utility main between the meter and the ATS. In my opinion, this is a safer installation because you can completely de-energize the ATS. When you use the ATS as the service main, the utility line is always hot and can't be de-energized without unplugging the meter.
    Nisi infractus, noli reficere.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2009
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    Durango, CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeStillman View Post
    If your ATS is not service-rated, then you need a service-rated utility main between the meter and the ATS. In my opinion, this is a safer installation because you can completely de-energize the ATS. When you use the ATS as the service main, the utility line is always hot and can't be de-energized without unplugging the meter.
    Even if the x-fer switch is service rated I prefer to put them after the main.
    If Billy Idol or John Denver is on your Ipod go and re-evaluate your life.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    NJ
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    The Generac is considerably cheaper and is a very nice package. The load shedding is built in while Kohler requires a $600+ purchase. The 200A ATS' are outdoor and SE rated out of the box. All in all, a good system.

    Quote Originally Posted by howardrichman View Post
    A question I have is; In an exterior mounted service rated transfer switch, with an overcurrent protected device(main breaker) needed ahead of main service panel? Generac uses this type of switch in their transfer switch package, and Kohler uses a transfer switch w/o an overcurrent device which saves time and material not needing to move the ground electrode conductors or needing the 4th conductor to the main service panel; and They could use a non- service rated switch,

    Thanks;
    HR...
    The Kohler would require a service disconnect. If you already had one outside, then this could work pretty easily for you. But if the existing installation uses the main panel as the service disconnect, then you are still going to have some work in order to power the entire panel. That's why the Generac is nice, you just put it between the meter and main panel and move the grounding over to it. It becomes the service disconnect and is able to power the entire house.


    Quote Originally Posted by JoeStillman View Post
    If your ATS is not service-rated, then you need a service-rated utility main between the meter and the ATS. In my opinion, this is a safer installation because you can completely de-energize the ATS. When you use the ATS as the service main, the utility line is always hot and can't be de-energized without unplugging the meter.
    Having the utility come in hot is pretty much standard around here for all installations, even without an ATS. Meaning, you would have to pull the meter in order for the main panel to be dead. It may be a bit safer having an SE rated disconnect before the main panel or ATS, but I don't think it would be worth the extra expense or the loss of the job to another contractor who would never do that. Ultimately, it is up to the customer. You can offer both ways to the customer, I just can't see them paying the extra $600-800 for something that won't benefit them at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by ActionDave View Post
    Even if the x-fer switch is service rated I prefer to put them after the main.
    That would be expensive around here since the standard service installation (both existing and new) is a meter outside and a main panel inside as the service disconnect. Putting the ATS after the main disconnect would require an expensive 200A SE rated disconnect and all the material and work involved in installing it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    New Jersey
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    Having a service entrance rated disconnect in between the meter and ATS doesn't really add any real safety advantage in my opionion. If you think about any previous install before the generator was installed there was no protection from the meter to the main breaker either, so it's pretty much the same thing.
    Since Generac and Cummins offer the SER ATS's I prefer not to install Kohlers anymore. Especially after receiving several calls during our last 2 week power failure in NJ from customers who we installed units for although they couldn't get in touch with Kohlers dealers after the units shut down. Now what do you tell a good customer who is looking at you for help because you installed it? (Those were not ATS related- I'm just pointing out the differences in quality and support that I have seen)

  9. #9
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    Nov 2012
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    US
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lang View Post
    Having a service entrance rated disconnect in between the meter and ATS doesn't really add any real safety advantage in my opionion. If you think about any previous install before the generator was installed there was no protection from the meter to the main breaker either, so it's pretty much the same thing.
    Agreed. Putting a service disconnected before a service rated ATS provides no benefit or higher level of service to the customer. It may, in a small way, help someone who services the ATS down the line, but we expect them to be qualified and not need special provisions in order to do their job. There are thousands of ways that we can make the job for future electrician easier, but we don't.

    I can't see a customer willing to pay all the extra money for a service disconnect like this. The only time I could see them agreeing to it is if they trust their electrician no matter what he says and he pushes for it, but that seems a little wrong to me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    3,100
    With 70e requirements, it's better to put in a separate service disconnect, makes life much easier when working on the transfer switch in the future. I haven't priced a service rated transfer switch because I always put a main in front of them, but I would say it would be cheaper to throw a MH disconnect in front of it than pay for the upgrade.

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