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Faulty Electrical transfer switch.


Bo and Kathy Lee

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I'm at Rev Rv group in Coburg Oregon. I had a faulty Transfer switch fail on my 2009 Camelot. It burn-up my inverter, my microwave convection, my electric mattress pad. Because we lost the inverter we had no electric power at the outlet plugs. No battery charger. Still montering whether or not the house battery bank was harmed. This happened during a freezing rain storm. To get deisel furnace to run had to run Engine for 12 volt power. It was cold to say the least.  I said all of this to warn everyone  who might have the same transfer switch. The switch is a Iota IT-50R. Iota has never admited there was anything wrong with their product. The companies that took over from Monaco after the bankrupcy recalled all of Iota tranfer switch voluntarily. So if you have the switch be prewarned that the product may be defective. I hope no one else has to go thru this siuation.  This also could cause a fire. If you have any questions, you can contact me at bokathylee@g-mail.com

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So sorry to hear about the after affects from your faulty IOTA Transfer Switch.

Many members of this group including myself have been preaching and warning time and time again to other unsuspecting members along with new members in regards to changing out their transfer switch IF they have an IOTA one. I can't remember how many years have passed since we all began to warn people.

Plus I can't tell you the number of posts, most likely hundreds made on the old Monaco Yahoo site and I'd bet there are even some on this new site in regards to warning owners about the IOTA Transfer switch.

It's unfortunate for you to have suffered such extensive consequences BUT on the bright side you are once again warning members about the severe ramifications if they choose to ignore the situation.

I hope everything gets resolved and hopefully your insurance coverage will pick up the damages.

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My IOTA transfer switch melted.  No fire, but also no power from generator or shore power.  I'd been warned. I'd bought a new transfer switch but had not installed it before the failure.

So I was lucky.

I repeat the warning.  

If you have an IOTA transfer switch, change it immediately!

Dwight

Another point:

I had been habitually running the roof air conditioners while going down the road with the generator on.  When it was time to shut off the airs, I would simply shut down the generator.

In retrospect, this was STUPID!

With a big load at the transfer switch, switching power sources must have resulted in arcing at the transfer switch.

With my new ESCO transfer switch, I am now careful to shut down any big loads, especially the air conditioners, BEFORE switching power sources.

Dwight

Edited by Dwight Lindsey
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I recommend the ESCO LPT50BRD
https://www.escousa.net/electrical-supply/products-electrical/#cc-m-product-6625681554

It was recommended to me as the best one and it's what I've got now.

Long story . . .  I purchased the ESCO LPT50BRD and procrastinated getting it installed.  We left for a week long camping trip near Yosemite National Park, at Bass Lake.  I left the ESCO switch in the garage.  The transfer switch failed on our first night out.  We were a long way from our garage, so I called Camping World in Fresno.  They had a TRC Transfer switch in stock, so I drove an hour in the toad, bought the switch and installed it.  It worked for two nights at Escapees Park of Sierras in Coarsegold CA on shore power. 

When we moved to dry camping at Bass Lake, the transfer switch worked for about 4 hours on the generator and then failed.  A call to TRC tech support confirmed that the circuit board had failed.  The tech rep there talked me through switching the generator leads to the shore power side.  Since the transfer switch (and most transfer switches) default to shore power, a dead circuit board defaulted us to shore power and by switching the leads we managed to continue the camping trip and go home through the very hot Central Valley of California with the roof airs working.

I'm sure the TRC transfer switches are usually OK, but they seem more complicated than the ESCO.

Dwight

If anyone has an IOTA transfer switch, I highly recommend you replace it.  But while you're waiting for the new switch to arrive and/or be installed, with all power off to the coach, you could take the cover off the IOTA and have a look at the contacts and the wiring.  I suggest you don't touch anything unless you're very confident you know what you're doing.  But if you see melted contacts or burnt insulation on the wiring, don't use it again until it's replaced.

Mine was SEVERELY melted with blackened insulation on the wires.  I'm surprised the coach didn't burn up and kill us.

This is VERY SERIOUS stuff.

Dwight

Edited by Dwight Lindsey
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Sorry if this is a stupid question. I am new to the rv world and recently got a 1988 Executive Prestige and have no power and sounds like this is a good place to look for my problem. But where in the system should I look for this switch?  

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The transfer switch will be where shore power enters your coach.  It is usually in the roadside rear compartment

Can you describe your "no power" problem more completely?  No power when plugged into shore power?  No power when running on generator?  No ceiling lights (which are usually DC)?

Can you start the coach?  If so, you've got power from the chassis battery.

Dwight

And there are no stupid questions . . .

 

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My generator needs a starter so not sure about that part. No power to breaker panel when hooked up to shore power though. The coach will start but don’t think batteries are hooked up properly. I have to turn off batteries when not using the coach or they drain which also turns off engine start batteries. The guy I bought this from knew nothing about the coach but it didn’t stop him from doing unspeakable things to it lol. 
 

Most of my electrical is accessed under the steps of the coach but I’m not sure what to look for as to the transfer switch. 

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Brian:

Hopefully someone with a 98 executive will chime in.  That's a high end coach and a different era than mine and things will be a lot different than my coach.  But your transfer switch should be somewhere near the where the shore power cable enters the coach, probably on the roadside rear.

A small battery drain when the batteries are on and the coach is not hooked to shore power is not unusual.  Whether your battery drain is unusual I certainly don't know.  

If your batteries have been drained completely, they may have had their lives shortened and their capacity reduced.

Do your ceiling lights work?  If so, you're getting power from the house batteries.

If the ceiling lights don't work, you should look for what we call the "salesman's switch", which cuts off all 12 volt power to the coach.  The idea of this switch is that the salesman at the RV dealership could turn on all the lights and leaving the coach, hit one switch to turn them all off.  Then when showing the coach, one switch lights it all up pretty for the customer.  It's not useful to me or most folks, so many people bypass the relay that switch controls.

If you locate the transfer switch and if you are very sure you know what you're doing, you can pull the cover off and see if you have power coming into and out of the transfer switch.  The transfer switch should default to shore power, so it you're plugged in and the transfer switch is working at all and not completely fried, you'll have power on the output side of the switch.  If that's so and you still have no power at the panel . . . then that's a puzzle indeed.

Dwight

An IOTA transfer switch will look something like this:

image.png.d899804d2d3e46b6a18a4c90a1d1c22d.png

Mine was mounted on the back wall of the compartment such that the label was vertical.

Dwight

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Dwight

Thanks for the information. Mine is a 1988 though. A little older but still worthy. I’ll look for that switch. I have a feeling that might be where I need to look. My house lights on 12v do work. I hope if my switch is fried that it hopefully didn’t burn up other things as well as this post started out with. I don’t have the rv here right now I am having work done on it at a shop but they have been slow to get it done. 

This rv is very much a work in progress and it will take some time to get it done right. As much as I am ready to take it on the road I have to take the time to get things done right. 
Brian
 

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Brian:

OK, so you have 12v in the house. That's good.

If I understand correctly, you don't have 110 volt power in the outlets when plugged into shore power.  What exactly are you plugged into?  50 amp?  30 amp?  15 amp? 

Have you checked every outlet?

If there's a ground fault outlet, be sure to check that and make sure it's not tripped.  Most of the outlets in my coach, forward of the bathroom, are connected to a GFI in the bathroom.

If your coach has an inverter, check that.  There are circuit breakers on the inverter.  When the circuit breakers on the inverter on my coach are popped, I only have power to two outlets in the bedroom.  Don't ask how I know that . . .

The 1998 Executive electrical schematic has a main panel and a sub panel.  Do you have more than one panel?  I don't know your coach at all, but I find it odd that the circuit breaker panel would be under the steps and not nearer to the power entrance. That diagram may also be instructive in another way:  Shore power goes directly to the central 50 amp main breaker.  So on that coach, checking for power at that breaker would be useful.

Dwight

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When I plug the coach in to shore power the transfer sw makes a loud clunk after a second or 2 delay.  Your sw may not make the noise in its present condition but it might be worth trying to see if it will help you locate it.

Edited by Ray Davis
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14 hours ago, Bdawg65 said:

Sorry if this is a stupid question. I am new to the rv world and recently got a 1988 Executive Prestige and have no power and sounds like this is a good place to look for my problem. But where in the system should I look for this switch?  

I had a 97 Dynasty and the power entered the coach at the far rear driver's side through a removable cable.  The transfer switch was on the ceiling in the bay just in front of the drive axel (there were no bay doors to access it).  This area was accessed through the bay forward of that bay through a sliding divider inside the bay. 

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1 hour ago, Romeo84 said:

What years was the Iota IT-50R used? My coach is in storage and dont know which 1 I have. 2000 signature. Kinda have me a bit worried. 

Our 00 Admiral came with Esco ES50M. The one that is slightly buzzing when in use. 

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the question that comes to mind on the IT-50R is, what was the relays in the switch rated for? In there online manual it states it good for 50 amps. And if you look at the manufacture of the relay it would state how many cycle it was tested for. Typically a power relay can open and close under full load with no problem. as long as the cycle of use are not exceeded. This is not likely in this use. 

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18 hours ago, Dwight Lindsey said:

I recommend the ESCO LPT50BRD
https://www.escousa.net/electrical-supply/products-electrical/#cc-m-product-6625681554

It was recommended to me as the best one and it's what I've got now.

Long story . . .  I purchased the ESCO LPT50BRD and procrastinated getting it installed.  We left for a week long camping trip near Yosemite National Park, at Bass Lake.  I left the ESCO switch in the garage.  The transfer switch failed on our first night out.  We were a long way from our garage, so I called Camping World in Fresno.  They had a TRC Transfer switch in stock, so I drove an hour in the toad, bought the switch and installed it.  It worked for two nights at Escapees Park of Sierras in Coarsegold CA on shore power. 

When we moved to dry camping at Bass Lake, the transfer switch worked for about 4 hours on the generator and then failed.  A call to TRC tech support confirmed that the circuit board had failed.  The tech rep there talked me through switching the generator leads to the shore power side.  Since the transfer switch (and most transfer switches) default to shore power, a dead circuit board defaulted us to shore power and by switching the leads we managed to continue the camping trip and go home through the very hot Central Valley of California with the roof airs working.

I'm sure the TRC transfer switches are usually OK, but they seem more complicated than the ESCO.

Dwight

If anyone has an IOTA transfer switch, I highly recommend you replace it.  But while you're waiting for the new switch to arrive and/or be installed, with all power off to the coach, you could take the cover off the IOTA and have a look at the contacts and the wiring.  I suggest you don't touch anything unless you're very confident you know what you're doing.  But if you see melted contacts or burnt insulation on the wiring, don't use it again until it's replaced.

Mine was SEVERELY melted with blackened insulation on the wires.  I'm surprised the coach didn't burn up and kill us.

This is VERY SERIOUS stuff.

Dwight

Thank you for the information, looks like I will order the ESCO LPT50 BRD tomorrow. I do my best as a do-it-yourself guy but how hard is it to install? I took a picture of the IOTA ITS-50R and it has 13 bars to connect wires to, however, the ESCO unit shows just 9 connections. What was the difference in swapping out the transfer switchs?

     

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The swap isn't difficult.  The hardest part is getting the big stiff wires to behave and bend where you want them.  The box of the ESCO is a bit bigger than the IOTA, but it fit in my bay just fine.  

At this far remove from my install a couple of years ago, I don't recall the IOTA very well (except for the melted contacts and burnt installation) so I can't verify the number of connections on the IOTA.

As I recall, there are 3 wires each for shore power, generator and house, which gets to the 9 connections you mention on the IOTA.  Then there's a ground bus bar that needs to connect to the chassis.  On my coach there was a green ground wire that connected there.

As long as you keep good track of which wires are shore, generator and house when you disconnect, it really isn't difficult.

 

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Here's what my transfer switch looked like. It was a progressive dynamic pd52. The shore power side of the relay failed two days ago, taking the charger portion of the inverter with it when it went. Luckily that was all.

I could not find an exact replacement that was within driving distance, but I found a unit by Southwire that had the same spec's and the same input and output  direction of wire feed.

Now I am just waiting for a replacement/upgrade inverter, and in the meantime, I am using an external battery charger to keep the house bank charged.

Bob K

06 Knight PLQ

20210224_112358.jpg

20210224_112456.jpg

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Just a quick note, two months ago because of conversation at the time i pulled the cover on my iota an torqued all the connections,(i just used my in. lbs torque wrench) i was surprised to find 2 connections loose enough where i beleave the wires could have wiggled loose had they not had the weatherproof fittings holding them in place. Knock on wood there were no signs of any arcing or burned areas. FYI when i bought my coach it only had a little over 200 hrs on the generator, dont know if that point relates to this topic at all, other than to say prior owners didnt rely on that type of power much. 

9B802A9F-7F2D-4B3E-A22E-C8BB8CD5D698.jpeg

37BA1F92-3568-4DF9-9A71-AADCED57C2E3.jpeg

Edited by Rikadoo
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