Anyone who has used a auto-start generator during a power outage will have come across an Automatic Mains Failure Panel, or AMF panel. Sometimes also referred to as a switch, if you haven't heard of one, this is one device you should get to know... Especially if you live in an area that regularly suffers from blackouts.
It might seem like a simple device, but an AMF delivers a major advantage for generator users: it guarantees reliable, seamless power when outages occur.
How does it work?
As the name suggests, an automatic transfer switch automatically transfers power to the generator when mains power fails, providing the highest protection for continuous power.
The AMF monitors incoming voltage from the mains line around the clock. So if mains power is interrupted, the automatic transfer switch immediately senses the problem and signals for the generator to start.
The best part is that the process is completely safe. Once the generator is running at proper speed, the automatic transfer switch safely shuts off the mains power line and opens the generator power line.
Within just seconds of your mains power going down, your automatic start generator will be supplying electricity to the critical emergency circuits around your home or business. It's completely seamless.
What's more, the AMF continues to monitor what's happening with the mains power line. So when the transfer switch detects the mains line voltage has returned to a consistent and steady state, it automatically re-transfers the electrical load back to the utility line. The generator isn't left in limbo - it will continue to run for a safe cool-down period of a few minutes. Meanwhile, the entire system is prepared for the next power outage.
For safety, your automatic transfer switch must be installed by a qualified electrician in order to comply with all applicable laws and electrical codes.
Types of AMF units
There are different types of AMF units depending on the generator. For example, a portable generator transfer switch is different from an industrial generator transfer switch. Small transfer switches are best for portable generators or where only part of the home or business requires emergency power. For industrial/standby generators or where the whole home / business requires emergency power, you should opt for a large/industrial transfer switch. We recommend you look at Auto Start Generator Ranges such as Pramac or Generac which have AMF panels especially designed to fit with the generator unit to ensure seamless compatibility.
Do all generators work with an AMF?
No, but there is a great selection of generators for sale that do. The Pramac and Generac range of auto start generators are designed for domestic backup power in the home and can both be paired with an AMF unit to provide backup power when a blackout occurs. For applications that require silent power, such as residential areas and outdoor use, some of the Pramac units are silenced or super-silenced, with noise reduction technology so when the unit kicks in, you won't even be able to hear it!
What about for solar back up, not main power?
Similar to the AMF panel, another optional accessory within the generator auto start range is a Two-Wire Auto Start Controller: this controller is designed for solar power set ups and when fitted to an auto start generator, it senses when the power levels in the deep cycle batteries are running low, and then prompts the generator to automatically kick in and recharge the batteries...so you'll never be without power! You can read more about the two-wire auto start controllers for solar back-up here.
Explore more backup generators for sale with the Automatic Mains Failure and Two-Wire Auto Start Controller options at MyGenerator.com.au
DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.