What do you need to know about the two types of transfer switches?

  1. The significant difference between manual and automatic transfer switches
  2. Advantages and disadvantages of manual transfer switches
  3. Advantages and disadvantages of automatic transfer switches


As a top electrical supplier in Metro Manila, we know more than a thing or two about transfer switches. For starters, they are necessary for homes or establishments that have more than one power source. Combined with these alternative power sources, they can save you from having to suffer through or lose revenue over blackouts and power outages.

You can pretty much guess what a transfer switch does based on its name: it’s a switch that transfers your electrical line from one power source to another – from the commercial power grid to a generator or backup battery for example. This continuous supply of power ensures smooth functions and high productivity in different organizations and industries. For households, it saves you from the devastating effects of losing power and not having access to your devices.

There are many kinds of transfer switches, but the two main ones are the manual and automatic transfer switches. Each one functions differently, offers a different set of advantages, and comes with their own disadvantages. To find out more and achieve a complete understanding of these types, simply continue reading below!

Transfer Switch

Source: meijielectric.ph

The Significant Difference Between Manual and Automatic Transfer Switches

Although both exist for the same purpose, the way they achieve their goal is quite different.

Manual transfer switches are the more basic of the two and rely on manual effort to function. As its name suggests, you, the owner, have to manually flip the switch if you want or need to change power sources. So, in the event of a blackout, you will completely lose power until after you get up, grab a flashlight, head over to where the switch is, and flip or push it. You also need to manually switch it back the instance your main power supply comes back on.

Automatic transfer switches, on the other hand, are more advanced and have additional features. They can monitor the power supplied by your main source and detect issues such as fluctuations and irregularities, which are signs of an upcoming power outage. These things prompt the transfer switch to start up the generator and redirect your power line to it as soon as it becomes stable. What this means is that there is little lag time between losing power and changing sources, meaning you only lose power for a second or two – sometimes not at all.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Manual Transfer Switches

Now that we’ve discussed the difference between the two, we need to talk about each one’s advantages and disadvantages so you can figure out which is the right one for you, and we’ll start with the manual transfer switches.

The main reason some people prefer manual transfer switches over automatic transfer switches is that they’re much cheaper than the automatic ones. They are also small in size and can fit anywhere, making them beneficial to establishments that have limited space. Moreover, installation can be done by almost anyone who has basic skills and can properly follow instructions.

Of course, they also have downsides, with the most obvious and prominent one being the fact that you have to manually flip the switch. It’s nothing but a slight inconvenience for households but a few seconds of downtime can be detrimental for some businesses. For this reason, manual transfer switches are usually used by homeowners or by small businesses who aren’t troubled by brief power losses.

Automatic Transfer Switch

Source: indiamart.com

Advantages and Disadvantages of Automatic Transfer Switches

Likewise, automatic transfer switches also have their own advantages and disadvantages.

The biggest advantage of using an automatic transfer switch is simply the fact that everything is done automatically and no manual labor is needed. Before the outage even begins, the transfer switch will start working and prepare your backup power supply for use.

By the time the outage rolls in, your power supply would have already been transferred to your backup and not a single moment is lost. Large businesses are the ones that benefit the most from this as they won’t lag behind or lose money the moment the commercial power grid fails.

As for its disadvantages, the main one is its price. Since they’re so high-tech and advanced, they naturally cost way more than manual transfer switches. Another reason is size; if manual transfer switches are small, automatic transfer switches are large and require a lot of space. Lastly, installation is complex and a professional is required to accomplish it, which costs extra money.

Key Takeaway

All this information should be enough to make you decide on whether or not you need transfer switches and what kind to get. In general, there is no better one among the two. However, if you take into account your business’ or household’s needs and capabilities, you should be able to see that one is the more practical choice.

Once you’ve arrived at a decision, don’t hesitate to head to an electrical supplier in Metro Manila and purchase your very own transfer switch. You may even want to ask them to install it for you in order to guarantee proper and safe installation!


The Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines, Inc., (IIEE) is organizing the 41st Annual National Convention on November 23-26, 2016 at the SMX Convention Center (Mall of Asia), Pasay City. The Annual National Convention is being held to support the professional growth and information necessities of the electrical practitioners and all 42,000 active IIEE members all throughout the country. Consistent with this year’s theme: IIEE: Soaring High towards Globalization, the 4-day event offers various technical activities designed to enhance the professional skills and competence of the delegates, as well as to strengthen and to promote camaraderie within the industry from associates, government and private sectors.

Meiji at the 41st IIEE Convention

Meiji Electric is pleased to invite all electrical practitioners and visitors to attend this event to view the latest electrical products that bring safety and convenience to homes, commercial and industrial establishments. Items that will be displayed include various MCCB (Molded Case Circuit Breakers), MS (Magnetic Starters), Panelboards, Capacitor Bank and related items. Also featured are the Meiji Classic Series (MCS) Wiring Devices including the latest USB products, Floor and Pop-up Outlets, GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter), MTS (Manual Transfer Switch),  and MHPs (Meiji Home Panels). Electrical consumer items such as ‘Meiji’ Transformers, Extension Sets, Timers, Smoke Detectors, Motion Sensors, Automatic Voltage Regulators (AVRs), Adapters and many more  will also be exhibited.


Big Discounts, exciting raffle prizes, giveaways and bundled promos await visitors! So we are inviting all electrical engineering practitioners, industry users, fresh graduates and the general public to visit Meiji Electrics Booth number 396-397; and allow Meiji Electric’s staff to inform you of the diverse products and witness how  Meiji Electric ‘enhance energy to your everyday life’. See you all there!







Do you have a hard time setting your generator during brownouts?


In order to avoid this problem, you have to connect the generator directly to your household wiring. Using only one cord, you can power many or all of your necessary home circuits, especially the lights.The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires a transfer switch because direct connection without a transfer switch can result in damage to your home and generator.


Meiji Manual Transfer Switch (MTS)

Meiji Manual Transfer Switch (MTS) allows the user to switch the power connection from the Normal power to the Generator power as safe and easy as switching the lights. It prevents the Normal power and the Generator power from powering your home circuits at the same time. During power outages, you just simply switch on the Emergency Side Breaker and the Normal Side will turn off automatically. The necessary circuits in your home are now powered by the generator. On the other hand, the Emergency Side will have to be turned off first before the Normal Side can be turned on.

Compact, light-weight and user friendly


Meiji MTS is compact, light-weight and user friendly. It has an easy-to-use mechanical slide interlock which ensures that only one source is powering the necessary circuits, and prevents usage of two power sources. You don’t have to waste time setting up your generators in the dark or use extension cords to make messy connections. With Meiji MTS, just switch it on or off and your all set!

Comes in 2×1 pole, 2×2 pole and 2×3 pole

Meiji MTS comes in 2×1 pole, 2×2 pole and 2×3 pole Miniature Circuit Breakers starting from 1 ampere. On top of that, it can be enclosed with Meiji Home Panel Enclosure which is designed to protect both the circuit breaker and the user from possible risky conditions.

Light commercial establishments with backup generators also need Meiji Manual transfer Switch to control the whole electrical system and continue necessary business operations. It is a simple way of providing owners power, convenience and comfort.

As one of the Philippines’ leading electrical suppliers, Meiji Electric offers the most convenient and innovative Manual Transfer Switches. No more mess and fuss during power outages as Meiji MTS brings you a high level of safety and convenience.


As technology continues to advance, some might neglect the natural energy we can get from Mother Nature. To be significant, we should utilize what has been naturally entrusted to us and at the same time, enjoy the perks we can get from our natural resources.

Renewable Energy

rERenewable energy, as defined by Wikipedia, is the power that comes from resources that are naturally replenished like sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and heat energy stored in the Earth.

Renewable energy substitutes the usual fuels we use in running motors, energy services and electricity generation. The mainstream renewable energy sources are wind power, hydropower (energy in water), biomass (energy from plants materials), geothermal energy (energy stored in the earth) and solar energy.

And because it is widely used all over the world mainly in power plants, business establishments and even in our homes, it results to significant energy security, climate change treatment and a lot of economic benefits.

There is a strong support of promoting renewables sources particularly solar power and wind power. These kinds of energy source provide 19% of electricity generation worldwide including households.” -International Public Opinion Survey

Growth of Renewable Energy

According to the Renewables Global Features report last year, 2013, national renewable energy markets are projected to continue to grow strongly in the coming decade and beyond. Here in the Philippines, specifically in Palawan, there will be a large micro-grid power plant generating clean renewable energy.

Some local residents nationwide have renewable energy technologies (Solar Panels, Wind turbines, etc.) already. With these advances, it would be cost-efficient  for you to have another source of power aside from the usual distributor of electricity power (MERALCO).

You can definitely use renewable technology with or without generators as a substitute for emergencies especially when you experience power outage in a home.

Manual Transfer Switch1

As we are informed, we cannot use both emergency power and normal power (MERALCO) at the same time, or else, it would start a fire or even blow out a house.  In this case, a Transfer Switch is a necessity.

Transfer Switch Utility

With the help of a transfer switch with a built-in interlocking system, may it be manual or automatic transfer switch, we can easily transfer power from one source to another safely.

Meiji Electric offers three types of transfer switches, Manual Transfer Switch (MTS), Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) and Contactor Transfer Switch (CTS). With MTS and ATS, you can make your home more comfortable during  brownouts. The type of transfer switch that would match up with your generator and/or renewable technology depends on their capacity and ampere ratings.

Normally, we use any of the three in a household setting. But for institutions with industrial setting, like power plants, the MEIJI Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) is the appropriate one to use. An ATS, by the term itself is a system that automatically transfers your emergency power when normal power is unavailable and automatically transfers back to normal power when power returns. This type of Transfer Switch brings ease and security to you because you don’t need to turn on and off any power source by yourself.


Some home owners find it more convenient to use Meiji Contactor Transfer Switch (CTS). CTS is a transfer switch that brings the accessibility of utilizing the same feeder lines during emergency power, with a current-limiting device that can help you regulate the amount of energy to be given each specific load when the power runs out.

It has an automatic transfer switching which safeguards you and your home from overloading the generator with a current-limiting and automatic resetting of power at your pre-set time.

You can make your home safe and comfortable during a power outage and peacefully enjoy bonding time with the family. The same with corporations, they can work continuously without being interrupted by energy disconnection and other sudden electrical cut-offs. Remember that down-time costs double, you pay for regular work without producing anything.

Technology can really make people’s lives easier without harming the environment.

Thus, Meiji Electric responds to everyone’s needs as we all embrace its continuous development. With Meiji, go along freely with the flow of innovations on green energy.


The number 1 rule to surviving and comfortably getting through an emergency situation is preparation. This cannot be emphasized enough, be prepared! A lot of us are guilty of having the mentality that bad stuff only happens in youtube videos and news reports, certainly it will not happen to us. This is what causes us to be unprepared and unable to cope up with sudden, drastic changes in our environment. These emergencies can happen at any given time and believe it or not, it will happen to you. One example of this is the event of a power outage.

Most of us grew up to having electricity on hand 24/7. We are so used to this commodity that we can’t even imagine life without it anymore. Very seldom are we without access to it that we tend to think it’s always going to be there and this is what causes us to be unprepared.

So how exactly do we become prepared? It’s simple, just consider the chance that an emergency could happen, take it seriously and do the necessary things to make sure you can get through it with minimal damages to your health and lifestyle.

1. Emergency Kitemergency kit

As in any emergency, it is important to always have an emergency kit. An emergency kit may contain anything you believe you’ll need if ever a mishap occurs. During a power outage it is advisable to have the following items in yours:

– Flashlights

-Battery Operated Radio (extra batteries would be nice too)

-First aid kit

-Medical Supplies (7 day supply is advisable)

-Multi-purpose tool

-Sanitary Items

-Charged Cell Phones (a landline would be great)


-Car Fuel

-Food and water

This list is only the basic necessities that the American Red Cross suggests you keep inside your emergency kit to weather a severe power outage that could last for days. There is plenty of room for you to add anything you think would be useful.

2. Foodfood

It is probable that power outages can affect your barangay or even your  city. It is very important to know what to do about the food you have stocked in your home, especially if there isn’t that much of it. Refrigerators can generally keep the goods inside it safe for hours and a freezer up to 2 days but this is no guarantee. It is best to minimize your trips to the fridge to keep it cold as long as possible. Do not go open and close it just because you are bored or if you want to taste the food inside it. If you smell anything funny throw it out immediately.

Stocking up on canned goods is a good idea as these are already pre-cooked and can be eaten from the can. It is best to consume first your perishable goods from the fridge . Also, a cooler filled with ice would be good for your freezer items if the power outage lasts for more than a day.

3. Waterwater

There is nothing more important than having enough water. We need water for food, hygiene and hydration therefore we need to have lots of it prepared in cases of prolonged power outages. Fill up your pales and other containers as well to be used for hygienic purposes. Being able to flush your toilet will work miracles on having a decent amount of comfort during emergencies.

Drinking water is on a different level of importance, though. It is not only for being comfortable during power outbreaks, but more importantly it is for survival. Your emergency kit should have a good amount of drinkable water.

4. Special Needsmedicine

Many people have special needs in their daily lives. There are elders that need life support machines, disabled that need certain equipment, and people on medication. Should you or anyone you know be affected by having no access to their special needs, it is crucial that you prepare for it now before an actual power outage happens. Have an emergency plan and backups if possible.

dark roomDon’t get left out in the dark. Luckily, here’s where Transfer Switches barge in and save the day. Or save power that is. A transfer switch is a device used to maintain power supply in case of outages in power and also spares homeowners from the dangers of improper generator installations.


By definition, a manual transfer switch is linked to the necessary circuits for supplying power during blackouts. A switch like this requires actual man power as for this mechanism to be of use, the owner needs to start the engine manually and wait for it to stabilize its speed. Upon stabilization, the lever on the switch must be thrown into the generator’s position.

This is located beside the main electrical panel. In the instance when a power outage has struck your home, a manual transfer switch comes handy as you just have to crank up the generator and have a single power cord run from the generator to the transfer switch.

With this done, you’ll have the generator running in no time. All you have to do now is select the circuits to power up, flip the respective switches and voila! A backup power for your home or establishments in the midst of a power supply outage.

Determine the size of a manual transfer switch

To determine the size of a manual transfer switch, one should know that it is congruent to the size of the power cord, e.g. for a 20-amp cord, a 20-amp transfer switch is necessary.

There are also different types of manual transfer switches that a homeowner could use.

Single Circuit – For 15 to 50-amps, this type can supply power to back-up energy for furnaces or sump pumps and other supplications that require a single circuit. It’s fairly easy to install as well as fit for the budget.

Selected Circuit – For 15 to 50-amps or 4 to 10 branch circuits. Transfer switches of this type transfer power to selected circuits you want to supply energy. Plus, these are constructed with a flexible conduit whip and vividly marked wires for a reliable and hassle-free installation to the load center.

Kits – For 20 to 50A or 6 to 10 branch circuits. This type of transfer switch is primarily designed for commercial and residential purposes. Fast installation indoors, these kits include a Selected circuit transfer switch (stated above), a power cord, and of course, a power inlet.

Standard Service Switches – For 100 to 800A. From home to industrial use, you need not to worry when having struck by a blackout. This is suitable for commercial and auxiliary power sources as it can provide a bigger load of backup power supply.

Main or Sub Panels – For 30-amp to 125-amps, this switch type combines a transfer switch and a circuit breaker box.

Service Entrance Rated Switch – For 60 to 400A loads, this provides a combination of a service entrance equipment and a transfer switch to provide backup energy for your small or large business, farm, commercial, industrial or home applications.


The lights went out. All power has gone. And it’s been 5 hours!!!

Have you experienced this? But what if you had to send a very important presentation to your boss? How about your daughter suffering from asthma because there is no means to operate the nebulizer when the power tripped? And do you remember how you longed for McDonalds delivery because you and your family have not had dinner?

I say, it is time to put an end to those dark times!

Here are some reminders as to why you should go ahead and get your home a reliable generator:

1. Reliable Emergency Power.

As you are already well-aware, the very basic use of a generator is to provide power and electricity when your main power source could not.  Generators use fuel, diesel, or gasoline so you could still make use of necessary loads depending on your household’s needs.sudden power outage

2. Backup support.

Have you answered yes to any of the questions above? Then you must know how pestering it is to be in the middle of those situations, yes? And unless you All-Knowing is your Middle Name, then I bet you wouldn’t even remember where you placed your flashlight right away. So say bye bye now to the “If-Onlys” and “I-Should-Haves”. Your family deserves better.

3. Security blanket in the midst of crisis.

Do you remember all the spoiled food from that longest power outage? Talk about cost and time inefficiency.  Or how about that aquarium tank you’ve been taking care of for a long time? Fret not if you have a generator!

4. Productivity.

At home, this could mean getting things done on time, without wasting time waiting for power to return.  Also true in the workplace, this cuts employees’ reasons to procrastinate. All the more important to manufacturing industries where output is very important in generating profit. One hour without electricity may mean loss of thousands of supposed materials that could have been made money for the company.

family safety5. It pays to be in the know.

In times of calamities, when all power lines are down, it pays to be in the know. Having your own generator at home will allow you to make important calls to authorities and loved ones,  to watch news and be informed of the cause and make other necessary action steps to know how you and your family could better prepare for the longer black-out days.

Instead of spending your next pay check on an extra car, an updated laptop, or even that new couch you saw last week, consider the investment of having something very useful as a generator. You know you could make use of it.  Don’t wait for another typhoon to sweep your cozy feet off that bed. Invest in your family’s safety!

Manual Transfer SwitchWhat is a Transfer Switch? I bet if you’ve been living for a year in the Philippines, you’ve experienced at least once… nah, I’ll be kind to say at least thrice – of having power shortage or what we would normally call, “brown-out!” So when it happens, you slowly reach out for your handy emergency light to finish whatever it is that you’re doing. But what if you’re cooking using an electric stove when the power got cut? How do you continue? Or when you were watching a really nice movie and the hero was just about to save the day! You were left hanging because of the power outage – what do you do? How do you respond to your kids who desperately need to finish their homework with a strict deadline the next day? Answer: GET YOURSELF A TRANSFER SWITCH!

When we say ‘transfer switch’, we mean transferring power from one source to another. So we can say, from using Meralco power source, we now transfer source to your Genset or Generator. Now, having said this, we can get the logic that you can only make your transfer switch work when you’ve already bought yourself a reliable Genset. In choosing which Genset to buy, you first need to establish what percentage of Meralco power you need or want to work during a power outage. If this is inconvenient for you to compute, then you may just check what loads: wattage and ampere ratings of the appliances you need or want to work. After doing so, then you’re all set for your transfer switch.

Double Throw Switch

Transfer SwitchesNow you may say what about the conventional “Double Throw Switch” that my friendly engineer-technician recommended? Well, aside from it’s unappealing in nature and the need to move the lever up or down; it merely makes up of a barrel bolt that highly risks your (the users’) safety. What do I mean? In light of a transfer switch features, let me help you understand.

A transfer switch is a compact, light weight and very user-friendly mechanical device with a built-in interlocking system that does not allow you to switch on both your Normal power source (MERALCO) and the Emergency line (GENSET). Turning on the Emergency side breaker will automatically switch off the Normal side avoiding any faults on your power source that may cause extensive damage such as fire, explosions and the like to your main panel board. On the other hand, the Emergency side will have to be switched off first before the Normal side can be switched on. This will then be an advantage of the so-called Manual Transfer Switch (MTS). These are available in 2×1 pole, 2×2 pole, 2×3 pole, with models starting from 1A. How about the price you say? As we have already mentioned earlier, your Genset will depend on the loads you want or need to work therefore, the Transfer Switch also depends on the load of the Genset you’re using. So ultimately, the price depends on you. So now, be sure to inform your engineer-technician that you’ll definitely be using a Transfer Switch than a Double Throw one.

Now that you know how to choose your Transfer Switch, how it works and its basics features from the MTS earlier, allow me to inform you of the two other types. Don’t worry, I’ll only brief you into them at least before a sales agent pitches in his or her talk, you are not at their mercy.

Automatic Transfer Switch

An ATS by the name itself is a system that automatically turns on your Emergency Power when Normal Power is out and automatically shuts off your Emergency Power and turns on Normal Power when it comes back in. This type of Transfer Switch highlights convenience and safety for you (the user) as you don’t need to personally turn on or off any power source. And more importantly, like the MTS, it avoids accidentally turning on both power sources.

An ATS is a Circuit Breaker type that is electromechanically operated that does that for you since there is an electromechanical circuitry unlike the normal breaker in your bathroom heater that you have to manually turn on and off. You would just have to fix the loads set on your Generator for emergency purposes.


Contactor Transfer Switch (CTS)

Last but definitely not the least is the Contactor Transfer Switch (CTS). Like the ATS, the CTS’ primary role is to promote safety by automatically turning on and shutting off your Genset in cases of power outages. Its primary feature we can say is convenience. Aside from the above-mentioned, it also allows you to turn on all the loads you want your Genset to give power to. This is because of its current limiter that can detect overloading. So your CTS saves you the hassle of memorizing which breakers are the only ones allowable to turn on, the stress of turning off all breakers and turning them on again once power is back, instead when it senses an overload, the breaker just ‘trips’ or cuts off power. At first, you have to do a trial and error to find out up to how much your Genset can handle. But once you’ve established that, when power is out or comes back, you’ll just have to wait about 3-5 minutes for the delay. This is to protect your breakers from the electric surge when power comes back. So once this has been established… then clap, clap, lights on!

So whether you were cooking a romantic dinner for your spouse, watching a great movie with the family or in desperate cramming mode to finish your homework, when the power gets cut, no worries! You know you have a Transfer Switch doing its work!

Meiji Transfer SwitchesUnlike the conventional “Double Throw Switch”, ‘Meiji’ MTS is a compact, light-weight and very user-friendly Manual Transfer Switch with a built-in interlocking system that mechanically interlocks the Normal (MERALCO) from the Emergency lines (GENSET). Turning on the Normal side breaker will automatically switch off the Emergency side. On the other hand, the Normal side will have to be switched off first before the Emergency side can be switched on.

Bus Bar


Busbar of pin and fork type ensures reliable and efficient terminal connection to MCB, RCCB and other modular electric devices.

Construction and Feature

  • Standard segmented connecting pin saves labor tremendously
  • High purified copper used to ensure perfect electricity conductivity
  • Fire resistant material endures abnormal heating Technical Data
Meiji Transfer Switches

MTS-Transfer Switches