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Open Roads Forum  >  Class A Motorhomes

 > Replacing Iota 50R Transfer Switch

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crah

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Posted: 04/09/12 09:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There's been recent posts on some recalls from certain manufacturers on the Iota 50R transfer switch. Basically what I got out of it was that Iota was pointing to the manufactuer for not torquing down the lugs tight enough or within spec. Iota also discontinued these switches. The recall looks like it only affected 2008 or newer models of certain manufacturers. I am not certain of all the recalls, but I thought I would at least point my history and replacement. My Iota 50R is the original transfer switch in my 2003 coach to the best of my knowledge. I am the second owner and only had the coach for a little over a year. I've been having intermitent problems for the last 2-3 months with the switch not working properly without a good tap to the transfer switch box. This was a common problem running both the generator and shore power. I never started the generator while on shore power during my ownership, but cannot speak for the prior owner. Also I do know to minimize the loads prior to hookup or genset start up.

I decided to purchase a Powermax Furion PMTS-50 automatic transfer switch online. I kept searching for online retailers and found the cheapest one for $122 delivered express. It would have been $10 cheaper in regular mail. The knockouts on the new box was not large enough for the shore power (so I shaved a larger diameter opening with a utility knife. The box is plastic just like the Iota so that was easy. Making up the wires were a little bit of a pain because unlike the Iota, the connections were direct connect (the Iota had extensions that lead to the contactors-made install easier). When I disconnected all the lugs on the Iota, they were all on tight-I did tighten them when I first bought the coach as routine maintenence. The plastic box on the Iota itself was warped from heat at one time. I don't know if it happened before I owned it or not. I didn't pay attention that well. When I removed the old Iota and disconnected the wires, I noticed that the shore power extension (black wire) that went from the shore power to the contactor was completed melted. All lugs were tight including the connection to the contactor. Not sure what really happened (possibly low voltage at one time?). I don't use any type of surge protection, but then again, I mostly boondock. The wire definitely had signs of high heat and the plastic shows for it. I can't say what caused it for sure as I truly don't know. I thought I would at least share so others experiencing tranfer switch problems don't let theirs stay that way for too long. Mine looked like a fire waiting to happen.

Some pictures below of the old switch, wire damage, and new switch install.

Old Iota


Follow the second black wire from left to right. You will see a close up of the burned section in the next picture.


Close up of the burned wire


New Powermax transfer switch


Final picture. I mounted upside down, as the wiring was the easiest to do it this way.


* This post was edited 04/09/12 10:06pm by crah *


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crah

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Posted: 04/10/12 10:25am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bump. I figured I would get a little more feedback on this.

mscamping

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Posted: 04/10/12 01:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Replaced ours just last winter while setting in the South.. It would not transfer voltage from the gen.. When I tore it apart the points were burnt.. I got one from Alliance Coach that is made in Elkhart, that is suppose to be rebuildable.. Mike M..


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moisheh

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Posted: 04/10/12 05:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

crah: It very well may be well made. I was just wondering. Aren' the mfrs. the same people who make a Chinese knock off of a USDA made convertor used in a lot of travel trailers?

Moisheh

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Posted: 04/10/12 03:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would wonder if that inexpensive unit will stand up. Appears to be Chinese. Do others also use that transfer switch? Progressive makes a good USA built unit.

Moisheh

crah

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Posted: 04/10/12 04:28pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

moisheh wrote:

I would wonder if that inexpensive unit will stand up. Appears to be Chinese. Do others also use that transfer switch? Progressive makes a good USA built unit.

Moisheh


You bring up a good point. I am usually diligent about getting quality parts and preferably made in the USA if it's an option but that thought didn't even run through my mind when I made the purchase. I will have to say however that the transfer switch is a pretty simple item with a couple of contactors in a box. I can't make out who makes the contractors themselves. They look much beefier than the ones that were in the iota. The iota seemed a lot more fragile. I believe the iota was made in te USA and I wasn't impressed with the quality. My 2 cents. My suggestion for anyone having transfer switch problems is to at least get it inspected right away. My wire problem was not visible without taking it apart.

crah

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Posted: 04/10/12 07:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

moisheh wrote:

crah: It very well may be well made. I was just wondering. Aren' the mfrs. the same people who make a Chinese knock off of a USDA made convertor used in a lot of travel trailers?

Moisheh


Unfortunately I don't know anything about them. Shame on me as I usually do a lot of research prior to purchase. I guess for now it's better than the fire hazard that was in place. I guess time will only tell on this unit.

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