Manual transfer switches are rather simple- it's just a switch. The trickiest part is knowing how to deal with the neutral! The key concept is that the neutral must be bonded to ground once, and only once, regardless of how many sources feed the building. Alternately, you can switch the neutral in the transfer switch, and bond each of the neutrals to different points.
Smarter ones, the automatic transfer switches, also monitor voltage and frequency of the two inputs and automatically operate the switch. These have terminal boards on them with communication wires that tell generators to start and stop, and can sometimes command other breakers to open or close.
More complicated transfer switches are often built directly into switchboards, and use remote-control breakers that are opened and closed by a programmable logic controller (PLC) that monitors power and current levels and positions of breakers, and can be a lot more sophisticated, allowing generators to parallel with the utility for a no-break transition back and forth, or to automatically load shed, etc. (Was done by relays in the old days- you may still come across a few.) Again, not much I can really draw for you- it's just a switchboard with a computer doing what you or I might do by hand. Just with a whole mess of little wires.
You'll note current transformers (CTs) as loops of small-gauge wire wrapped around the cables in transfer switches and whever else current levels are measured. These essentially use the wire passing through the loop as if they were the primary coil of a transformer (albeit, just 1/2 of a loop!) and are used to measure current.
As an apprentice asking questions is part of your job. You cannot learn if you do not ask. Just keep the questions relavent to what you are working on during work time. Other question can be asked during lunch or break times or after work. There is a lot of info in the tech area. Check out a local colllege for electrical theory courses. You need to keep learning for life in this career
As an apprentice asking questions is part of your job. You cannot learn if you do not ask. You need to keep learning for life in this career
Exactly! Asking questions also shows your enthusiasm and willingness to learn. Learn from those who have done it (and may be even mucked it up) before.
That last point by nesparky is a particularly important one, I've lost count of the sparkies I've met over here that seem to think that when the ink is dry on their ticket, that they have learned sufficient skills and need not do any further training or study.
IMO, this is a starting point and it really only gives you a minimum skill set to be able to do your work in a compliant manner. Besides, the more skills and knowledge you have, the more attractive you are to a prospective employer.
It seems to me that the knowledge a good electrician is almost limitless.
I have a lot to learn, I like being prepared when doing a job and that means understanding everything I do or see. I hate just being the one getting tools and bending pipe while the electrician does all the complex work. Luckily I have some good guys I work with and they are more than willing to explain things to me.
I hate just being the one getting tools and bending pipe while the electrician does all the complex work.
I've known apprentices whose only job was to carry around ladders, get coffee and sweep the site clean every afternoon... once had the pleasure of working with a 3rd year apprentice who wasn't able to set a switch box in a wall on 5 tries. The only thing he cared about was getting a used BMW even though he didn't even have a license back then, let alone the money to pay for taxes and mandatory insurance (accounts to around $4000/year or even more for a big car).
So long story short, I like guys who want to learn something and be good! They are rare, at least here. After several years of working in the electrical field I came to the sad conclusion many people seem to think being able to tell apart black, blue and yellow/green wires is enough knowledge for being a sparky...
A couple of months ago I met a young electrician who really surprised me because he started chatting with his boss about some lightning protecting related issues throwing around mathematical knowledge that left me pretty blank in comparison (though I don't wok in that field)... and that really brought the issue to my attention - if you can' believe actually seeing an electrician who really knows more than just what he learned from hands-on work that means the ones you met before can't be that bright... most electricians I met so far really don't know that much theory, especially stuff beyond the code book.
So all good guys who are around, keep up your work!