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IOTA ITS-50R Transfer Switch


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#1 Happy Prospector

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 11:43 AM

I installed one of these IOTA ITS-50R Transfer Switches in my 5th Wheel Trailer about 3 years ago, and it seems some of the RV Manufacturers are replacing these on a recall. To those of you in the know- should I be concerned? Is it recommended that I should replace mine? I sure don't need a fire. I have checked for clean and tight connections but on one of the other forums it was said that they overheat internally under heavy loads and high air temperatures.

What are your thoughts?

Kevin
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#2 Ranger Smith

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 11:49 AM

Replace it. Don't want to lose an RV, a pet, a life, over a $200 part if the old one catches fire

Edited by Ranger Smith, 16 May 2012 - 11:50 AM.

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#3 Dan Zemke

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 12:04 PM

Vendors have much more flexibility on recalls for trailers than they do motor homes. I just quickly googled: ITS-50R recall
and picked a link for a motor home recall.

This single result I looked at is my only source of knowledge on the subject. That said, based on what it says, if I had one in my trailer, I'd definitely remove or replace it before I used the trailer again. I'd also contact my dealer, if I bought new, or Iota to see if they have some kind program to help on the cost.

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On edit: Upon rereading your post, I see it didn't come with your trailer, so I'd try Iota.

Edited by Dan Zemke, 16 May 2012 - 01:07 PM.


#4 h2guy

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 12:31 PM

If you're referring to the Carriage recall of them, it was NOT becuase of a defect in the unit but rather that Carriage had not sufficiently tightened the wiring into some of them.

I know, cause I had one and called Carriage to inquire about it.

I've heard of no other mfgr "recalling" them.

Edited by h2guy, 16 May 2012 - 12:32 PM.

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#5 Chad Heiser

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:01 PM

I have a 2010 Montana Big Sky and mine had the recall. I replaced it. I had no issues with it, but was not willing to take the chance. It is a simple swap (depending on access). If I were you, I would swap it out. I would also call Iota and talk to them about some type of replacement price consideration.

Edited by Chad Heiser, 16 May 2012 - 01:02 PM.

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#6 Dan Zemke

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:03 PM

Here's the quote from my above link that caused me to give advice on something I only gathered from a quick web search:

"Navistar is recalling model year 2008-2010 Beaver motorhomes, model year 2009-2011 Monaco motorhomes, and Holiday Rambler RVs, manufactured from October 2007 through August 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, according to NHTSA. Potentially 249 units are affected.Electrical overload of the transfer switch could lead to overheating, and a fire, increasing the risk of property damage, personal injury, or death, according to NHTSA."

I looked a little bit further in the Google search results and it appears that Keystone, Thor and Winnebego also have recalls in process. Recalls tend to be a contentious process, and I have no idea whether the problem is the device itself or the way it was installed. There is often lots of finger pointing in recalls. But the risk seems to be wide-spread enough that I personally, would not just ignore it.

Dan




#7 Jim2

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:19 PM

"I've heard of no other mfgr "recalling" them. "


Several other mfgs have recalled all Iota ITS-50R transfer switches. The one I'm most familiar with is Keystone, since I own a Raptor Toyhauler with generator.
At first Keystone only had you bring the rig in to verify the lugs were tight, then after several more fires & melted wires they & the NHTSA had all the IOTA ITS-50R switches replaced with a different mfg switch. Most of the failure case reports I read were in high heat & high load conditions. Apparently some of the IOTA components/wiring were not capable of handling 50 amp loads in heat. If you never exercised the unit up to near the max load in high heat, the problem wouldn't occur.

< http://blog.goodsamc...lertkeystone-2/ >



and this list includes one for Navistar(Beaver/Monaco/Holiday Rambler) < http://www.rvbusines...s-for-february/ >

Edited by Jim2, 16 May 2012 - 01:26 PM.

Jim

#8 Happy Prospector

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:27 PM

I am planning on replacing the transfer switch, which switch are others recommending? I looked at the IOTA website and I couldn't seem to find the ITS-50R on their site anymore. On one forum sometime ago I found one poster that put some kind of foil type insulation behind their ITS-50R as well a spacing the switch so there was a small space between the switch box and the insulation with some washers!
I have a email into Iota, I need to hear what they have to say.

Kevin
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2007 Alpenlite Defender Toyhauler

600 watts of solar
2007 Yamaha Grizzly 700
2008 Model Kitty named Bob


#9 Mike Simpson

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 08:22 PM

After yesterday's most recent "fire", I believe I can speak with great personal authority on this matter!

Yesterday around 5pm, smoke was observed pouring from my electrical bay. I mamaged to pop off the cover on my ITS-50R transfer switch. The 2 hot terminals and the one neutral terminal on the far right (the output of the switch feeding the main breaker panel) were all glowing red hot, most of insulation had burned away from the load side wires, and the material holding the terminals in place had melted to the point that the only thing holding them was the forming of the wires. The lugs were literally suspended in free air by the now burning #6 wires. Only sheer luck prevented a serious short, which hopefully would have tripped the park's 50 amp breaker on the pedestal. If the two hots managed to find one another, the results might have been quite serious.

This is the SECOND IOTA ITS-50R transfer switch I've had that has melted itself into slag! The first one showed its damage at the input lugs coming from the shore power cable. In both cases, IOTA factory representatives immediately blamed "loose connections" as the problem. In BOTH cases...they were WRONG, as I had just verified the torque at the specified 45 inch pounds.

When I spoke with Don Bull at IOTA yesterday, aside for immediately furthering the company's propaganda of "loose nuts", he also said that "sometimes in hot weather, these transfer switches have problems." WHAT??? It was 78 degrees for a high were I was yesterday, and by 5pm it was down to about 68! Hardly "hot" weather! And besides, what kind of a technical explanation was THAT?!?!? By the way, Don Bull at IOTA never mentioned anything to me about a recall, nor did he offer a replacement, as was done previously. No problem...I don't want ANY of their products EVER AGAIN!

Clearly these IOTA ITS-50R transfer switches are a highly hazardous, potentially DEADLY, complete pile of SHIT! Today, I removed the switch and simply added a standard 50 amp RV receptacle to my generator's output wires. Now, I simply pug the shore power line into the generator plug...or an external shore power source, whichever is needed. Far simpler and MUCH more reliable, less potential resistive connections, less things to go wrong...and best of all...NO MORE "LOOSE NUTS", like those at the factory in Tucson!

Obviously, I strongy suggest you run away from the IOTA ITS-50R transfer switch as far, and as fast as you can!




"I've heard of no other mfgr "recalling" them. "


Several other mfgs have recalled all Iota ITS-50R transfer switches. The one I'm most familiar with is Keystone, since I own a Raptor Toyhauler with generator.
At first Keystone only had you bring the rig in to verify the lugs were tight, then after several more fires & melted wires they & the NHTSA had all the IOTA ITS-50R switches replaced with a different mfg switch. Most of the failure case reports I read were in high heat & high load conditions. Apparently some of the IOTA components/wiring were not capable of handling 50 amp loads in heat. If you never exercised the unit up to near the max load in high heat, the problem wouldn't occur.

< http://blog.goodsamc...lertkeystone-2/ >



and this list includes one for Navistar(Beaver/Monaco/Holiday Rambler) < http://www.rvbusines...s-for-february/ >


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#10 Happy Prospector

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 10:04 PM

Thanks for the info Mike, I did get an email from Don at IOTA and I had asked about the recall for a few different makes of trailers he said:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Iota does not have a recall.

Some manufactures using the Iota ITS-50R had some installation problems. Basically all the lugs need to be tighten to 45 inch pounds. If the wires are loose they will build up heat and melt the insulation. I would check the lugs once a year during maintenance to be safe.

Hope this helps.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________



and when asked about the units getting hot internally under heavy loads and high air temps he said:
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Kevin,

If the loads are not balanced and with the high summer temps it will get hot.

The wire is rated to 105C which is 221F. I do not think it will get that hot in the box to cause a problem.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


For some reason it seems to me he doesn't know about the problem you had.

I still will be replacing my ITS-50R real soon.

Kevin
Retired, Fulltime RV'er
1999.5 Red F350 CC Diesel Flatbed
2007 Alpenlite Defender Toyhauler

600 watts of solar
2007 Yamaha Grizzly 700
2008 Model Kitty named Bob


#11 Dan Zemke

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 05:15 AM

At first Keystone only had you bring the rig in to verify the lugs were tight, then after several more fires & melted wires they & the NHTSA had all the IOTA ITS-50R switches replaced with a different mfg switch.


I'm certainly no expert on recalls, but I think that it's very unusual to replace the bad assembly with one from a different manufacturer. Usually the original manufacturer comes up with some kind of fix or replacement for their product. Assuming that Keystone made the decision to replace the transfer switches with those from a different manufacturer, they're probably eating the cost. They must think it was worth it for liability risk reduction and customer/or satisfaction.

Dan

#12 Ranger Smith

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 05:18 AM

I think when their sales start to drop and manufacturers stop using them . . . . They might start to think they have a problem and it is not LOOSE NUTS

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#13 RV Tamer

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 05:58 AM

I installed one of these IOTA ITS-50R Transfer Switches in my 5th Wheel Trailer about 3 years ago, and it seems some of the RV Manufacturers are replacing these on a recall. To those of you in the know- should I be concerned? Is it recommended that I should replace mine? I sure don't need a fire. I have checked for clean and tight connections but on one of the other forums it was said that they overheat internally under heavy loads and high air temperatures.

What are your thoughts?


Kevin ,

I recommend replacing the Iota transfer switch . tim

#14 Kirk

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 06:58 AM

I recommend replacing the Iota transfer switch .


Do you mind sharing the reason why? I don't have one, just wondered what the problem with them is.

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#15 mrschwarz

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 08:06 AM

Is it possible that other MH manufacturers aren't recalling because they don't use this transfer switch? I had to change a defective switch out and I believe this is the one I changed it to. It has been working fine for the past 9 months.

Any recommendations for a replacement. Parallax recommends that their switch NOT be used when a vehicle in motion so that precludes their use in a motor home.

Michael

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#16 Happy Prospector

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 10:44 AM

I have started checking my IOTA Transfer Switch ITS-50R and on the Transfer Switch internal wiring Iota HAS INSTALLED #10 WIRING!!!!!!!!!!! 50 Amp RV circuits are #6 wire. DO YOU THINK THIS MAY BE A PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!! #10 WIRE IS GOOD FOR 30 AMPS I KNOW FOR SURE I WILL BE REPLACING MY IOTA TRANSFER SWITCH NOW!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe this is a reason they "tend to have problems with a heavy load and high temperatures"!!!!!!

CAN YOU SAY DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I could not believe my eyes when I read the wire size. Unbelievable.


Michael
I did a search and I am looking at the Esco Brand ES50M-65N brand of transfer switch.

Kevin
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2007 Alpenlite Defender Toyhauler

600 watts of solar
2007 Yamaha Grizzly 700
2008 Model Kitty named Bob


#17 pinger

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 05:37 PM

Just went out to check my transfer switch.. Parallax Supply Co. ATS 5070 FOR NON EMERGENCY APPLICATIONS IN RECREATION VEHICLES ONLY 50A/240v Assembled in Mexico

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#18 Kirk

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 06:40 AM

I guess that Tim don't care to say what it is about Iota that he don't like. I think that most of us just use whatever the RV manufacturer puts in, at least until we have a problem with it. I don't even know what brand ours was, as we never had any problems with it, but I did always unload the system before transferring power.

Good travelin !...............Kirk
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#19 Mike Simpson

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 05:25 PM

Hello Kirk and all,

Just to clarify, in my situation BOTH of the automatic transfer switches that melted down did so while plugged into shore power (once at my shop over a year ago, the other at a campground last Monday night.) Obviously, in neither case was the vehicle in motion nor under genset power.. And I NEVER switch nor engage power when under load. Both of the near fires actually hapened under fairly light current draw, somewhere around 20 amps per leg (which also rules out an inbalanced neutral issue.) In any case, the damned device is supposedly "rated" at 50 amps per LEG!

Like Kevin, I also noted the use of #10 for the internal wiring of the switch by the manufacturer, which came as a complete shock (not literally, thankfully)! What the hell were they thinking?!?!?!?Let there be no doubt....whoever "designed" this switch (I won't use the word "engineered", as it would do a dis-service to real engineers everywhere) needs to be drawn and quartered! Or perhaps better, install one in their residence!

My "no transfer switch" solution (simply manually plugging my shore power cable into either the generator's output, or alternately, a shore power pedestal) is working flawlessly. Interesting enough, at this very moment I have three 15,000 BTU roof air units all running on high, about 20 amps of additional electronic equipment in use, plus both battery bank chargers are bulk charging at 30 amps each (at 24 volts of course), and my TOTAL current draw from the pedestal is about 10 amps LESS than when it all went through a transfer switch. I'm guessing the diference was amps being converted to HEAT due to the poor connectiions...thanks to the STUPIDITY of the manufacturer!

But the most AMAZING thing about this story...while set up in the flea market area at the Dayton Ham Radio "Hamvention" event these last 4 days, I tossed the melted transfer switch out on the table just for all to see, never intending to sell it. Some guy came along and offered me 50 bucks for it, saying he was bigtime into solar, and just wanted it for the relays! WOW!!! Can you say CAVEAT EMPTOR!!!


I guess that Tim don't care to say what it is about Iota that he don't like. I think that most of us just use whatever the RV manufacturer puts in, at least until we have a problem with it. I don't even know what brand ours was, as we never had any problems with it, but I did always unload the system before transferring power.


Mike Simpson
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#20 HERO Maker

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 07:10 PM

I just checked my build sheets and data info on our trailer and found out that our bad switches were from some other mfg. co.

My switch burned out one day about 1 1/2 years ago, and I rewired to the other transfer switch (under the watchful eye of Jack Mayer). Later I had my favorite RV shop order my replacement part (under extended warranty) and upon undoing my temp wiring, they discovered that my other switch was also bad. Had to order and wait for the other one to come in.

Saying this only to say that Jack's comment to me, as well as an electrical company tech that came out to park, was that every year we need to check all electrical connections and snug them up. Especially large wires. Even those connections in the pedestal at rv park. (not your responsibility - the parks) (he was speaking to the park mgr)

If the internal wiring is too small, then that's another matter.

So grab a screwdriver (shut off the power first unless you really know what you're doing) and go around and snug everything up. These connections will loosen not just because we are taking our rigs down the road or off the road.

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