As you may know, the Rosetta stone was the key to translating ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics. It had the same message written in Ancient Greek, a more recent Egyptian script and ancient Hieroglyphics and that was the key to understanding the long-dead language of classical Egypt.
While the National Electrical Code (NEC) is not written in Hieroglyphics, the language can be somewhat dense and the practical meaning isn’t always crystal clear. In particular, the new requirements added to Sections 700.3 and 702.12 in 2017 and 2020 are of interest to anyone responsible for installing or maintaining safety-related back-up and emergency power systems.
So, with a tip of the hat to the linguists, philologists and archaeolexicoligists who may be reading this, we will attempt to translate NEC-speak into everyday English you can use to implement the Code
700.3(F) Temporary Source of Power for Maintenance or Repair of the Alternate Source of Power.
If the emergency system relies on a single alternate source of power which will be disabled for maintenance or repair, the emergency system shall include permanent switching means to connect a portable or temporary alternate source of power, which shall be available for the duration of the maintenance or repair. The permanent switching means to connect a portable or temporary alternate source of power shall comply with the following:
(1) Connection to the portable or temporary alternator source of power shall not require modification to the permanent system wiring.
Translation: You can’t simply disconnect the existing wiring and hardwire the back-up generator. It’s both unsafe and time consuming. A better solution is a permanent docking station like a Trystar unit that is UL listed and able to receive a CamLock extension cable.
(2) Transfer of power between the normal power source and the emergency power source shall be in accordance with 700.12.
Translation: Back-up power has to be up and running within 10 seconds. A Trystar docking station has available options for Auto Start contacts or a Two Position Auto Start Selector Switch to ensure your back up generator is up and running on demand.
(3) The connection point for the portable or temporary alternate source shall be marked with the phase rotation and system bonding requirements.
Translation: Phase rotation and system bonding have to be identical between the primary and back-up power sources. A Trystar docking station has a phase rotation monitor and a bonding and phase rotation commissioning sheet or placard on the product for the life of the product.
An integrated phase rotation monitor is also standard. One green light indicates a correct connection. A red light indicates a mismatch and the system presents instructions on how to correct the problem
(4) Mechanical or electrical interlocking shall prevent inadvertent interconnection of power sources.
Translation: The docking station should make it impossible to parallel the permanent and temporary generator or backfeed the permanent generator, protecting the electrician or technician working on the the Generator. Trystar docking stations offer four different standard configurations that cover more than 60 percent of all common applications. Custom configurations are available to cover the rest.
5) The switching means shall include a contact point which shall annunciate at a location remote from the generator or at another facility monitoring system to indicate that the permanent emergency source is disconnected from the emergency system.
Translation: Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s entirely possible for a technician to take a permanent generator off-line for maintenance and then re-connect it but not actually perform all of the steps required to make it available in an emergency.
Trystar’s alarm annunciator panel includes both audible and visual alarms that indicate when the primary generator is unavailable for any reason to prevent this kind of mistake.
It shall be permissible to utilize manual switching to switch from the permanent source of power to the portable or temporary alternate source of power and to utilize the switching means for connection of a load bank.
Informational Note: There are many possible methods to achieve the requirements of 700.3(F). See figure 700.3(F) for one example.
Exception: The permanent switching means to connect a portable or temporary alternate source of power, for the duration of the maintenance or repair, shall not be required where any of the following conditions exists:
(1) All processes that rely on the emergency system source are capable of being disabled during maintenance or repair of the emergency power source.
(2) The building or structure is unoccupied and fire suppression systems are fully functional and do not require an alternate power source.
(3) Other temporary means can be substituted for the emergency system.
(4) A permanent alternate emergency source, such as, but not limited to, a second on-site standby generator or separate electric utility service connection, capable of supporting the emergency system, exists.
NEC 702.12(C) Power Inlets Rated At 100 Amperes or Greater, for Portable Generators
Equipment containing power inlets for the connection of a generator source shall be listed for the intended use. Systems with power inlets shall be equipped with an interlocked disconnecting system.
Translation: Disconnecting a 100-amp connector while power is applied is very dangerous and must be prevented. Trystar docking stations use a patent-pending solenoid interlock that prevents opening the access door or accessing the connectors while the generator is running or if the camloks are energized. The access door is also alarmed to indicate if it is not fully closed. These safety features are unique to Trystar docking stations.
Exception No. 1: If the inlet device is rated as a disconnecting means.
Exception No. 2 Supervised industrial installations where permanent space is identified for the portable generator located within line of sight of the power inlets shall not be required to have interlocked disconnecting means nor inlets rated as disconnects.
NEC 700 applies to any building occupied by large numbers of people including, but not limited to, hotels, sports arenas, libraries, hospitals, nursing homes, K-12 schools, colleges, universities and many others. Trystar offers a full line of NEC 700 compliant docking stations with capacities up to 5,000 amps and SCCR of up to 65K which are suitable for both new and retro-fit applications. Go to Trystar.com for more information, or call us at 507-333-3990 to see how a Trystar Docking station fits into your new build or retrofit plans.
When the National Guard is deployed to assist state and federal agencies, it usually brings its own “village” to give the troops a place to eat, sleep, shower and relax when they’re not working. Those villages are composed of very sophisticated portable shelters that include heating and cooling, running water and electric power for lighting, battery charging, internet connections and myriad other purposes.
Currently deployed Guard units in California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Virginia, New York and South Carolina depend on portable power distribution panels supplied by Trystar of Faribault, MN.
“We have supplied about 20 packages to our customer so far during the crisis,” explained Anthony Sandoval, Trystar Sales Manager – West Coast, “and we are expecting orders for up to 100 more in the next few days. Each panel will handle 10 shelters which gives you some idea of the scope of the Guard’s projected COVID-19 response.”
Meeting the sudden demand presented a challenge for Trystar because the Mil-Spec plugs and receptacles required on the panels and extension cables are not standard inventory items and suppliers quoted a 6-week delivery lead time.
“That was clearly unacceptable in a situation like this,” Sandoval said, “so we had to improvise, adapt and overcome the obstacle. As it turned out, our customer had the necessary parts in stock so they ship them to us, we install them and ship the finished panels and cables back to them which cuts delivery time by five full weeks. It’s not a standard procedure, but it works and the troops get their shelters when they need them.”
Trystar has been the sole supplier of electrical distribution panels to this customer for more than five years and the kind of cooperation that overcame the Mil-Spec plug and receptacle challenge has been typical of the relationship.
“A few years ago they got an order that required plugs and receptacles to meet EU requirements,” Sandoval added. “The specs looked liked ‘Greek’ to their engineers so they called us for help. Our master electrician helped them make sense of the spec and we got a quote to them the same day. That’s typical of our relationship and they rely on Trystar to figure out what their customers really want.”
Trystar distribution panels, Automatic Transfer Switches, Docking Stations, cables and other equipment are widely used in the rental industry to support construction sites, entertainment venues, charity events and other events. The company is currently developing specifications for a standardized package of components to support the specific needs of temporary and re-purposed facilities required to combat the COVID 19 pandemic crisis.
Dear Trystar Customers,
Many throughout the world and our nation are facing significant personal and business challenges. Trystar has always been a company you could rely on no matter the crisis and we’re here for you and your customers during this one as well. Trystar conducted a thorough assessment and implemented mitigation plans in response to COVID-19. We are open for business and are here fulfilling our role to help you maintain infrastructure availability for first responders, disaster relief, utilities and other areas requiring portable power, critical facilities, and/or electrical grid support.
Our top priority is for the safety of our employees and supporting the broader needs of the nation to limit spread of the virus. We acted early and have implemented a number of measures to proactively help prevent workplace exposure and address the situation effectively if one of our team members is exposed or diagnosed.
Our other top priority is to maintain business continuity throughout the pandemic to support our customers. Trystar products are critical to many parts of the infrastructure that is currently being taxed as the nation focuses on responding to the virus. We’re ready to supply:
– Docking stations for critical facilities including hospitals, urgent care facilities, nursing homes and military just to name a few.
– Portable power distribution for temporary installations including temporary health care, remote health screening, temporary housing and any natural disasters that occur while COVID-19 is a threat.
– Utility support equipment including grounding cable, portable power cable, portable power distribution and temporary transformers.
Our administrative staff is keeping our service levels high while working remotely to reduce risk of exposure. Our normal access mechanisms (phone, email etc.) are still fully staffed. You can also reach us 24/7 on our emergency after hours line at 507-384-1750.
We are taking COVID-19 very seriously and are here to meet your needs as they arise.
When hurricane Florence struck the Carolinas on September 14th, 2018, Trystar was already hard at work. In fact, we began sending portable power equipment on September 10th—four days before Florence ever made landfall. And our shipments continued throughout that week, and into the following week. When Florence hit, the Trystar team was prepared to work harder, longer, and faster so that critically needed equipment was on the road and on site.
Trystar built their production process to be able to respond to natural disasters at a moment’s notice. With office staff and even their family members pitching in on the assembly lines, everyone at Trystar is proudly doing whatever it takes to provide desperately needed equipment immediately to help people during this unprecedented natural disaster. Watch these stories from CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates about Trystar’s extraordinary efforts.
Built in the early 1940’s in anticipation of WWII, the Red Hill fuel storage facility buried deep in the mountains above Pearl Harbor is an engineering feat on the scale of Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. A series of underground tanks, each as tall as a 20-story building, the facility holds two hundred and fifty million gallons of fuel: Enough to supply the United State’s military’s entire Pacific Fleet. Sixty-five years later it is still strategically vital to our nation’s defense, yet recently leaks were discovered in the tanks, which could eventually compromise the Oahu aquifer that supplies Honolulu’s drinking water. Chicago Bridge & Iron was awarded the contract for the massive and complex repair project and Trystar provided temporary power equipment that would need to be specially engineered and manufactured for the unique underground conditions. Working nights and weekends over the Christmas Holidays, Trystar was able to deliver against tight deadlines so that the Red Hill Project could begin work immediately.
The severe flooding in Baton Rouge and the surrounding area led to massive power outages and devastating destruction of homes, schools, churches and businesses. The faster could power could be restored, the sooner lives could be restored. Working with our partners Sunbelt, Louisiana Cat, Aggreko and ServPro we were able to help provide power for the recovery efforts immediately. Trystar’s manufacturing flexibility and capacity allowed us to react instantly, shipping out the first equipment overnight. As soon as the equipment left our facility we tracked each truck, to provide immediate delivery status. Trystar also provided boots on the ground, flying master electricians and technicians to assist on site.