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IOTA ITS-50R


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Ok what’s the history, problems, and dangers with these transfer switches I heard mentioned on here? Working my way thru the coach looking at things. All wire connections in the box were tight and I didn’t notice any signs of heat damage. What are the issues with these. 

Edited by tmw188
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  • tmw188 changed the title to IOTA ITS-50R

Mine looked to be in perfect shape as well.  Then all of the sudden the generator side just quit working.    Luckily no other damage was caused so it was an easy swap and I was back up and running.  

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I just did a quick search of the Iota recall and found this

https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/2017/RCLRPT-17V597-7007.PDF

But I know this went back into the the early 2000's, in my case Monaco quit using the Iota during the 2002 year and in my case mine transfer case was the Lyght. 

If it were me I'd change the Iota, not really that much $$$ to change and worth the piece of mind.

 

NOTE, this is just one of many reported recalls.  I would not "literally" play with fire!!!!

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Todd,

I still have access to the old Monacoers email database and have counted 9 instances of Monacoers member's coaches having "meltdowns" of their Iota ITS-50R.  Keystone and Navistar (who owned Monaco at the time) issued a voluntary recall of coaches made while Navistar owned Monaco.  Unfortunately, coaches build prior to Monaco Coach Corporation's bankruptcy and acquisition by Navistar in 2008-9 were not included in the recall.  

Rather than share my opinion, I'll simply post the text for the NHTSA Campaign Number 12V060000.

I replaced mine.  There is another thread all about replacement options, so I won't belabor that here.

Scotty

 

NHTSA Campaign Number: 12V060000

Manufacturer NAVISTAR, INC

Components ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

Potential Number of Units Affected 249

Summary

NAVISTAR IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2008-2010 BEAVER AND CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2009-2011 MONACO, AND CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2009-2011 HOLIDAY RAMBLER RECREATIONAL VEHICLES, MANUFACTURED FROM OCTOBER 25, 2007, THROUGH AUGUST 26, 2010, EQUIPPED WITH IOTA ITS-50R 50 AMP AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCHES. THE IOTA ITS-50R 50 AMP AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCH BUS BAR AND/OR ELECTRICAL CONNECTIONS MAY BE INADEQUATE TO HANDLE THE ELECTRICAL LOAD.

Remedy

NAVISTAR WILL NOTIFY OWNERS, AND DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE IOTA ITS-50R TRANSFER SWITCH FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL BEGAN ON MARCH 15, 2012. OWNERS MAY CONTACT NAVISTAR AT 1-800-448-7825.

Notes

NAVISTAR'S RECALL NUMBER IS 12504. CUSTOMERS MAY CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.

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Posted (edited)

So what are good replacements. The LYGHT  LPT50BRD? 
So is this a touchy subject? It obviously must have a history of discussion. One of you said you didn’t want to start anything and the other said you didn’t want to give your opinion? I am looking for opinions and I will change it. Thanks for the info on the recalls Scotty and James.

Edited by tmw188
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The two most popular on this board are the ESCO LPT50BRD (in your post above) and the Southwire 40100.  I have the ESCO, but if I had to do it again (and I hope I never do) would likely go with the Southwire.

@Tom CherryTom Cherry provides excellent advice about changing the Iota to a ESCO.  Search the board for "transfer switch" and look for his name by the post 😉 

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When choosing a replacement make sure the wiring enters the enclosure are in the same relative position and that the attachment terminals within the enclosure are in a position for the existing wiring to reach.  My preference is to fine a replace that has a terminal block to make all external connections  vs one that has connection on several different components within the enclosure.

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6 hours ago, Jim Byrd said:

When choosing a replacement make sure the wiring enters the enclosure are in the same relative position and that the attachment terminals within the enclosure are in a position for the existing wiring to reach.  My preference is to fine a replace that has a terminal block to make all external connections  vs one that has connection on several different components within the enclosure.

Oh that’s for sure Jim absolutely.  

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20 hours ago, Scotty Hutto said:

Todd,

I still have access to the old Monacoers email database and have counted 9 instances of Monacoers member's coaches having "meltdowns" of their Iota ITS-50R.  Keystone and Navistar (who owned Monaco at the time) issued a voluntary recall of coaches made while Navistar owned Monaco.  Unfortunately, coaches build prior to Monaco Coach Corporation's bankruptcy and acquisition by Navistar in 2008-9 were not included in the recall.  

Rather than share my opinion, I'll simply post the text for the NHTSA Campaign Number 12V060000.

I replaced mine.  There is another thread all about replacement options, so I won't belabor that here.

Scotty

 

NHTSA Campaign Number: 12V060000

Manufacturer NAVISTAR, INC

Components ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

Potential Number of Units Affected 249

Summary

NAVISTAR IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2008-2010 BEAVER AND CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2009-2011 MONACO, AND CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2009-2011 HOLIDAY RAMBLER RECREATIONAL VEHICLES, MANUFACTURED FROM OCTOBER 25, 2007, THROUGH AUGUST 26, 2010, EQUIPPED WITH IOTA ITS-50R 50 AMP AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCHES. THE IOTA ITS-50R 50 AMP AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCH BUS BAR AND/OR ELECTRICAL CONNECTIONS MAY BE INADEQUATE TO HANDLE THE ELECTRICAL LOAD.

Remedy

NAVISTAR WILL NOTIFY OWNERS, AND DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE IOTA ITS-50R TRANSFER SWITCH FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL BEGAN ON MARCH 15, 2012. OWNERS MAY CONTACT NAVISTAR AT 1-800-448-7825.

Notes

NAVISTAR'S RECALL NUMBER IS 12504. CUSTOMERS MAY CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.

So does that mean I can get mine replaced still or not. 

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Thanks Scotty

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1 hour ago, Gary M said:

Thanks Scotty

 

1 hour ago, Scotty Hutto said:

It would be worth a call to Navistar…

Let us all know what you find out. It would be nice, if you can trust someone else doing it and waiting two months to get it done. 

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8 hours ago, Admirial RVr said:

Scotty,

What is different or better about the Southwire vs ESCO? 

Looking forward to what Monaco tell Gary.

Don

Yes inquiring minds want to know. 

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13 hours ago, Admirial RVr said:

Scotty,

What is different or better about the Southwire vs ESCO? 

Looking forward to what Monaco tell Gary.

Don

Don,

That thought is based on a lot of conversation with my late friend Bill Groves.  Bill was an engineer in the switchgear business for many years before he started his own company, GTEK.  He preferred the way that the Southco (aka TRC) handled the switchover from shore power to generator and vice-versa - specifically the that the ESCO did not have mechanical interlocks for the neutral and was not UL1008 listed.  That said, many have installed the ESCO LTP50RD (including myself) and have not had a problem.  The key to "not having a problem" for me has been Bill's advice to make sure and unplug shore power BEFORE starting the genny, or shut down the genny BEFORE plugging into shore power.  By doing that you bypass the potential issue of neutral current flow during a transfer.

Below are Bill's comments from a February 2016 discussion on the subject.  He was rather adamant... 🙂 But he also told me if I follow the advice above I shouldn't have a problem.  He also recommended the Southwire product (they purchased TRC, mentioned below).

-----

Gary,

 
If you want the open neutral protection at and downstream of the ats and use a progressive ems at the pole or in front of the ats as recommended by many on this forum, then get the trc 41260 for 220$ from dyersonline or elsewhere.
 
Stay clear of the lpt50brd.
Here are just a few things wrong with it:
 
1. It is not a ul1008 listed transfer switch. This listing guarantees certain things that a transfer switch should have and do.
2. It utilizes general purpose double throw 40amp frame relays.
3. It has no ability to turn off both sources of power and thus cannot provide time delays needed if the shore power is on when you switch to genny. It's either shore or genny and cannot do neither, i.e. Both sources off. When you plug in a trc, no source is connected. Only after neutral and ground are validated and a time delay is the shore contactor activated.
4. In the case where shore is still on, if you start your genny, the neutral relay switched first , leaving you with open neutral on the shore for about two cycles before the line relay switches. The line relay is not allowed to switch until the neutral relay is confirmed to have been switched. This protects you from a burned out coil on the neutral relay but makes no assurance that the coil on the line relay is not burned out. For that they depend on shore being off. DO NOT START YOUR GENNY WITH SHORE POWER ON WITH THE LPT50brd.
5. It is not mechanically interlocked. If one relay gets stuck contacts you can end up with shore with no neutral.
6. It has no surge protection.
7. It has no open neutral protection.
8. It has no open ground protection.
9. It is not FLA rated to switch inductive loads.
10. The progressive ems50 at the post does not protect you from open neutral at the ats or errant genny behavior at all. Ats failure is often the problem as we have seen.
 
The es50-65n is by far the better transfer switch. I used to sell transfer switches and went to square-d school for them. In a prior career I was the industrial field engineer for them in the New Orleans area.
 
Believe me when I tell you that the lpt50brd is not an ats that should be allowed within 100 ft of your coach. Anyone who has been recommending the LPT needs to take another look at it from a technical standpoint. 
 
Just because some tech recommends it because it doesn't hum is not enough. I think a lot of shops use it because they can buy it for a few bucks less than a real ats. I see it for about 150$. Be assured that the 70$ you save now might cost you a lot more later with downstream damage. As far as field servicing, I don't know anyone who has repaired one.
 
All that said, I have not used this particular trc ats but it gets high ratings. The one in the Dynasty is its big brother that also provides protection from out of band voltages and frequencies and so takes the place of the progressive ems50 also. And it's also UL listed as an ats. It's ties into the Aladdin system and displays plain English status, Volts , frequent, source etc.
 
I see you have an 09 Dynasty.
Does it not have the trc40250 or 40350? Those are the high end ones that have 130,000 amps of surge protection... And protect from all the other stuff like volts, freq, open n , etc. 
 
Why are you changing it.? Has it failed ? Mine is 11 years old and works every time.
 
Bill G

 

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7 hours ago, Scotty Hutto said:

Don,

That thought is based on a lot of conversation with my late friend Bill Groves.  Bill was an engineer in the switchgear business for many years before he started his own company, GTEK.  He preferred the way that the Southco (aka TRC) handled the switchover from shore power to generator and vice-versa - specifically the that the ESCO did not have mechanical interlocks for the neutral and was not UL1008 listed.  That said, many have installed the ESCO LTP50RD (including myself) and have not had a problem.  The key to "not having a problem" for me has been Bill's advice to make sure and unplug shore power BEFORE starting the genny, or shut down the genny BEFORE plugging into shore power.  By doing that you bypass the potential issue of neutral current flow during a transfer.

Below are Bill's comments from a February 2016 discussion on the subject.  He was rather adamant... 🙂 But he also told me if I follow the advice above I shouldn't have a problem.  He also recommended the Southwire product (they purchased TRC, mentioned below).

-----

Gary,

 
If you want the open neutral protection at and downstream of the ats and use a progressive ems at the pole or in front of the ats as recommended by many on this forum, then get the trc 41260 for 220$ from dyersonline or elsewhere.
 
Stay clear of the lpt50brd.
Here are just a few things wrong with it:
 
1. It is not a ul1008 listed transfer switch. This listing guarantees certain things that a transfer switch should have and do.
2. It utilizes general purpose double throw 40amp frame relays.
3. It has no ability to turn off both sources of power and thus cannot provide time delays needed if the shore power is on when you switch to genny. It's either shore or genny and cannot do neither, i.e. Both sources off. When you plug in a trc, no source is connected. Only after neutral and ground are validated and a time delay is the shore contactor activated.
4. In the case where shore is still on, if you start your genny, the neutral relay switched first , leaving you with open neutral on the shore for about two cycles before the line relay switches. The line relay is not allowed to switch until the neutral relay is confirmed to have been switched. This protects you from a burned out coil on the neutral relay but makes no assurance that the coil on the line relay is not burned out. For that they depend on shore being off. DO NOT START YOUR GENNY WITH SHORE POWER ON WITH THE LPT50brd.
5. It is not mechanically interlocked. If one relay gets stuck contacts you can end up with shore with no neutral.
6. It has no surge protection.
7. It has no open neutral protection.
8. It has no open ground protection.
9. It is not FLA rated to switch inductive loads.
10. The progressive ems50 at the post does not protect you from open neutral at the ats or errant genny behavior at all. Ats failure is often the problem as we have seen.
 
The es50-65n is by far the better transfer switch. I used to sell transfer switches and went to square-d school for them. In a prior career I was the industrial field engineer for them in the New Orleans area.
 
Believe me when I tell you that the lpt50brd is not an ats that should be allowed within 100 ft of your coach. Anyone who has been recommending the LPT needs to take another look at it from a technical standpoint. 
 
Just because some tech recommends it because it doesn't hum is not enough. I think a lot of shops use it because they can buy it for a few bucks less than a real ats. I see it for about 150$. Be assured that the 70$ you save now might cost you a lot more later with downstream damage. As far as field servicing, I don't know anyone who has repaired one.
 
All that said, I have not used this particular trc ats but it gets high ratings. The one in the Dynasty is its big brother that also provides protection from out of band voltages and frequencies and so takes the place of the progressive ems50 also. And it's also UL listed as an ats. It's ties into the Aladdin system and displays plain English status, Volts , frequent, source etc.
 
I see you have an 09 Dynasty.
Does it not have the trc40250 or 40350? Those are the high end ones that have 130,000 amps of surge protection... And protect from all the other stuff like volts, freq, open n , etc. 
 
Why are you changing it.? Has it failed ? Mine is 11 years old and works every time.
 
Bill G

 

No I am not necessarily changing it. Heard a lot bad about it so keep checking connections for tightness. Worked in a lumber mill and used a thermal imaging tool to check out all 480v connections for possible hot spots.

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One of my first changes was to get rid of the Iota in my 06.  I, too, read the different opinions regarding it but ultimately felt my and my family's safety and peace of mind were worth the change.  I went w the Esco.  I did the swap myself.  Took maybe 2 hours?  It wasn't bad, but wire length can make it a little tough as the Esco has the terminals differently than the Iota.  When I announce I made the swap, I had many "why?!"  "Keep the terminals tight and you're fine!"  But in the end, I wanted better peace of mind and have that now. I have had no issues w my Esco and follow the turn off genny before plugging in rule, etc..

Steven

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Bill Groves and I had differing "Professional" opinions on WHICH ESCO to install. ESCO recommends that LPT50BRD when you call them.  Many of the older Monacoers liked the es50-65n. I have been on this forum since March, 2009 as a moderator-owner-administrator. Bill and I would "joust" over electrical issues....and like most engineers, we had different opinions on the "Correct" way to do things.

The LPT50BRD is the most commonly found ATS in RV Repair shops. We have never had a failure of that switch. It is based on a Lyght (sp?) design. It is a LOW Voltage switch in that it does NOT have a 120 VAC Control board. I installed mine right after the IOTA was recalled. It is an EASY swap. It has NEVER given me (or anybody for that matter) an issue.

The ES50-65N was a switch that was used long ago and many folks loved it....especially our late founder, the "Colonel". We spent a LOT of bandwidth on the "Which is better". I talked to an ESCO design/field tech engineer that knew the history of the ES and the LPT switches . The main issue, and there were failures with the ES, was the AC Hum. If you are deaf as I am, then it is not a problem. Many of our members decided on the ES when the IOTA failed. Some were NOT happy as they and their spouses found the hum irritating. The hum is there....but where you sleep and where the ATS is located and the surrounding enclosure are the variables.

More people, due to the age of the ES, have had failures and had to rebuild them. ESCO did (need to verify now) have parts available to repair them and many, including the Colonel had rebuilt them more than once. When the IOTA failure came about, it was a boon for ESCO as the LPT50BRD was the number one choice....for a "Simple" ATS. 

The field engineer and the tech support folks said that the long range plan was to discontinue the ES, but to keep a few parts in stock, and to migrate to the LPT. I do NOT know if they changed their marketing strategy.

Without speaking ill of one of our beloved members, a qualified EE could make a case for one being superior....it is a matter of the "theoretical" interpretation of the specs.

Our MH's are rated for 50 Amps and L1 and L2 have to be "Out of Phase". The constant swapping or the sinusoidal load on the neutral will always be a function of the L1 and L2 loads. For whatever reason, ESCO used 65 Amp for the neutral in that relay.  The Main circuit board and the pedestals and the line cord and the interconecting wiring are only rated or protected for 50 Amps.   YES... depending on the wiring chart and temperature, you will read a theoretical 55 and 65 Amp value. However, with an Out of Phase circuit (220 50 amp pedestal), the Neutral never exceeds the highest amp load of either L1 or L2.....

NOW, many folks have upgraded and gone to the TRC switches. There are several varieties of them. The disadvantage of the TRC is that it is NOT field serviceable. So, in a simple ATS - NON SURGE PROTECTED - the LPT (or if you prefer) the ES is the favorite. 

NOW....the "Board's" consensus is that a MH should be protected and the hands down favorite is a combination of a good switch (LPT, of course) and the Progressive Industries HW50C. 

The Dynasty and higher Monaco models had TWO versions of a surge protected ATS. They were not cheap and there have been an occasional failure. 

FWIW, Progressive was a company formed by Tommy Fannelli, who was the chief field engineer for TRC. He proposed making the switches more robust and also field serviceable. When Progressive pooh-poohed the ideas, he finally left and he and his brother designed the Progressive Surge Protectors and put in the improvements that many customers had begged for....and it was a hit. I knew him as he was local and we talked and he also helped folks with issues. He sold the company...and retired. 

Bottom LINE....GET RID OF THE IOTA. Unless you want to spend MORE $$, then put in a combination of the HW50C and the LPT50BRD. The HW50C goes UPSTREAM of the ATS....regardless of which ATS you have as that protects the ATS. It does NOT go downstream. Tommy and I helped an individual that did that and he burned up the FIRST relay, ever, in the HW50C. The lower end MH's like I have, are an IN PHASE 8KW Genny. Therefore, the load on the Neutral is the SUM of L1 and L2. When you overload, even with the 35 Amp circuit breaker on an 8KW Onan, you are putting up to 70 amps on the neutral. The ES series is only rated for 65 and the HW50C for 50. And the relay in the HW50C failed. Tommy's guys replaced the parts locally when the member came through the area.  We ALL keep learning.

Final item....and I have posted this many times.....PAY ATTENTION TO THE WIRING OF THE IOTA and LABEL L1, L2 and Neutral. The ESCO switches as well as others MAY not be in the same order on the terminal strips. We have had folks that put in an LPT50 and use the same order....L1, L2 and Neutral. OPPS....the ESCO switch has two of them reversed. It has been so long, I forget.  BUT, if you read the inside of the IOTA, you will see WHICH is the order. Typically L1 will be BLACK and L2 will be RED and White will be the Neutral. It does NOT matter if you swap L1 or L2.....but you can NOT hook up L1 to Neutral and have it work.

YES, folks have done that and then...."It don't WORK".  SO take photos....make sure you KNOW what the numbers are on the strip and WHERE they go....

Have at it.....GET RID OF THE ITOA before you have to grab a fire extinguisher or you are in the middle of the desert and no AC....

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Thanks @Tom Cherry!  
 

There you have it, everyone! The wisdom of two of the boards long-time authorities on the subject. They differ in opinion regarding which switch, and I think both sides of this long-time discussion are well represented here, but the one thing they don’t differ on is their recommendation to replace the Iota and add surge protection.  

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Posted (edited)

I had the switch mentioned above in my last MH. I had a long time issue that I finally traced down and fixed. The board below the contactors has the logic in it and was a issue with the way the board fit up to the contactors. I never relied on it to be smart enough to safely allow power to be sent to the panel from only the genny or the shore, if I loss shore power. It hummed occasionally but not all the time and  was hardly noticeable.

Edited by tmw188
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Another ATS to take into consideration is the SURGEGUARD Series of ATS/Surge Protection switches. The SurgeGuard 40250, 40350 and the 40450. These ATS switches combine the Transfer Switch and Surge Protection in one unit. They are a little pricey but offer great protection. These SURGEGUARD ATS Units are installed in most of the higher end Coaches such as PREVOST, NEWELL and FORETRAVEL. These SURGEGUARD Automatic Transfer Switch models are available with maximum spike current from 26,400A – 130,000A, and surge suppression from 2600 Joules – 3350 Joules.

The SURGEGUARD ATS Units are also Field Serviceable.

Here is some info and specs;

  • Transfers to generator power automatically when energized after 30 second delay (generator mode). When both shore and generator power are available , generator dominates after a 30 second delay. Once generator shuts down, shore power activates after 3 second delay.
  • Total electrical protection from faulty park power
  • Provides protection against:
    • Power surges
    • Open ground
    • Open neutral
    • Low (<102V) and high (>132V) voltage
    • Reverse polarity
    • Miswired pedestal
    • High and low frequency
  • Multi-mode surge suppression
  • RVC communications allows instant display of voltage, current, and fault conditions on an RVC compatible device
  • Indicator lights on front of ATS indicate presence of input power for L1 and L2
  • Optional remote power monitor LCD Display (Part number 40299 sold separately)
    • Displays voltage and amp draw (RMS)
    • Easy to navigate faults in plain English
  • 65A, FLA mechanical interlocking contactors
  • UL approved – UL1008 full transfer switch rating
  • UL/CUL listed
 
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