X-Switch FAQ: Questions and Answers

Why bring a new External Bypass Switch to the UPS marketplace?

We see way too many External Bypass Switches that are confusing or poorly labeled, and generic instruction sets that don’t fit the specific site at all. Almost all installed bypass switches are very vulnerable to improper use.

Why use vertically mounted breakers?

Most External Bypass Switches are built in a standard breaker panel, with opposing operation. Breakers on the left turn on to the right, and vice versa. External Bypass operation is confusing enough without having to figure out which breakers are off and which are on. In an   X-Switch, the breakers are all mounted vertically – it’s easy and intuitive to see which are off and which are on. This helps reduce the confusion about operating the switches safely!

Why put a closed door in front of the bypass breakers?

Security! You don’t need even one unauthorized person to ever mess around with the bypass breakers or the UPS input breakers, either accidentally or maliciously! You’re way more secure by having the breakers out of sight, behind a closed door. (Optional door lock.)

Why call it X-Switch instead of External Maintenance Bypass Switch?

Electricians have a hard enough time labeling the upstream breakers – we’ve all seen plenty of main breaker panels with no labels at all. They never write out “External Maintenance Bypass Switch” – it’s too much! And we’ve seen too many where the breaker feeding the UPS Reserve Input is labeled “UPS Bypass,” and the breaker feeding the External Maintenance Bypass Switch is also labeled “UPS Bypass.” That can be really exciting! With a short name, there’s at least a chance the electrician will correctly label the upstream breakers: “X-Switch!”

How is the X-Switch easier to install?

The electrician doesn’t have to lift off the main front cover – it’s big! Covers that do come off can be damaged while they’re off, and they’re hard to get back on afterward. The X-Switch main front cover is mounted on hinges – it just swings open. Also, the inside cable landings have their own labels AND there’s a one-line diagram posted inside. The electrician knows what to do without having to look at the front side of the panel. Nice!

Why are X-Switch Instructions easier to understand?

Most Bypass Switch instructions are engraved on a plaque that’s too small, and they try to fit all possible installation configurations. There are too many “if there is a … installed, do this step.” It’s confusing enough without all the if’s, and’s or but’s! The X-Switch Instruction Page is larger and much clearer! We use 64 different instruction sets, so it exactly fits your installation. In addition, there’s a simple one line diagram so it’s easier to understand what’s happening. Clear, straightforward instructions are so nice when the pressure is on!

Why are there names like BIB and MIS on other Bypass Switches?

It’s to make the whole process too confusing for anyone who’s not already an expert. It’s confusing at best, even when you are an expert! The X-Switch is easier to understand, so people who need to operate it can be confident they’re switching safely, and in the right order.

Why is the X-Switch’s SKRU more foolproof than other brands?

Interlock Keys (or Kirk Keys) and the SKRU (Solenoid Key Release Unit) help you avoid two horrible mistakes when using an external bypass switch.

    Horrible Mistake 1: Wrong Order: If you turn off the output breaker before turning the bypass breaker on, you instantly drop your critical load. Ouch!
    Horrible Mistake 2: Wrong Timing: If you turn the External Bypass on while the UPS is running on inverter (you were supposed to switch to internal bypass first!), you might damage the UPS, drop the load, and lose your job!

    Basic Kirk Keys without an SKRU prevent Mistake #1. With Keys the Output Breaker and Bypass Breaker can’t both be turned off. You have to turn on the Bypass Breaker, remove its key, then use the key to turn the Output breaker off. The Kirk Keys prevent Mistake #1, and if you remember to put the UPS into internal bypass first, you avoid Mistake #2.

    People generally assume that by adding the SKRU you still prevent Mistake #1, and additionally prevent Mistake #2. It’s not true! You get more keys, more lights, more buttons, more wiring, and a higher price but you give up preventing Mistake #1– you now prevent only Mistake #2. It’s quite unnerving to look at an expensive SKRU panel and realize that the output breaker is completely naked! Whether accidental or malicious, anyone could turn off the output breaker and drop the critical load without ever touching any of the keys at all!

    The X-Switch Interlock Key and SKRU logic is done right! With the Safety Slide Bar you can’t switch in the wrong order AND you can’t switch until the UPS is internally bypassed. The reverse is also true - you can only return to UPS normal operation in the right order and at the right time. The X-Switch truly prevents both horrible mistakes. Wonderful!

Can I get non-standard sizes at a reasonable cost?

Yes! By changing the rating plugs, we can resize the breakers to many different possibilities. For example a 250 Amp Frame Size breaker can be sized at 225, 200, 175, 150, 125, 110, 100, 90, or 70 Amps. You could have different size breakers for input and output, or you could order a standard X-Switch with lower trip ratings, at no extra charge.

If there’s no utility power and no UPS power, can I operate the SKRU?

This situation is rare but it sometimes happens. The X-Switch interlock keys are mounted to the front panel, not directly on the breakers. Just open the front panel with a screwdriver and the interlock keys move out of the way. Now you can operate the breakers without keys or pushbuttons. Just be careful to do it in the right order!

How quickly can I get an X-Switch?

We try to keep a few standard 3 breaker X-Switches in stock. Otherwise standard X-Switches take 4 to 6 weeks to ship, custom designs may take up to 8 weeks.

Can I get custom features?

Yes! We can do anything! Additional breakers, different voltage, TVSS, pilot lights, output distribution breakers, anything you want. It's just money!

Can I order an X-Switch immediately?

Yes, please do!