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Auto former

Auto former  

11 members have voted

  1. 1. I

    • Plug mine in every time I connect my rig to power
      3
    • Only plug it in when I see low voltage
      7
    • I think it is a gimmick and a waste of money
      0
    • Not sure what an auto-former is
      2


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We have a 50 amp Hugh’s Auto-former. I was just wondering how many people carry them? Do you just plug them in when the voltage is low or do you have it plugged in every time? 

My rig also has a Progressive Industries EMS system.

Edited by rynosback

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While I am very familiar with what the AutoFormer is and I know that it isn't a gimmick, I have never owned one and have no plans to do so. If we spent a lot of time in places where electric power was often overloaded and tended to experience voltage sag, I definitely would use one, but we do not. I have been using a TRC-Surge Guard power monitor device for many years. 

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7 hours ago, rynosback said:

I was just wondering how many people carry them? Do you just plug them in when the voltage is low or do you have it plugged in every time? 

Great questions, I'm not an expert (long retired and rusty from practice) but I am familiar with such devices having spent much of my career as a Power Distribution Design Engineer so will offer my thoughts.

1) NO I do not carry one.

2) However if I did here are my recommendations and reasons for such.

   a) NO I wouldn't wait until voltage was low (how and when will you even know its low ??? If you see its low damage may already be done !!! What if you're not there???) that's too late and defeats the whole purpose of having one in the first place. It stores energy and if the input voltage sags it uses that energy so its output the RV sees MAY NOT EXPERIENCE SUCH A SAG subject to its rating and the input and its capacity to maintain a certain output to the RV.  Its NOT and infinite energy source but can reduce sags to the RV.  

  b) If I had one I would hard wire it permanently so anytime the RV is plugged to shore power it can do its job subject to its limitations 

NOTES  The closer the RV park may be located to any heavy industry where huge chillers or other HVAC or welders or motors etc are in use the greater the need for such a device because there's a greater chance of voltage sags......... also spikes and surges. Likewise the farther the RV park is located from the last substation the greater chance of problems, what's also fed from the primary line serving the park??? 

      I see so many older RV parks (including government parks) with poor quality power distribution and in that case transformers and surge protection devices and energy management are most important.

   While no devices are perfect transformers and monitors and protectors obviously reduce the risk of damage to an RV's electricals. Since you already have one wire it in permanent and use and enjoy its features which you will hopefully never even realize took place

 

 John T

 

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1 hour ago, Kirk W said:

While I am very familiar with what the AutoFormer is and I know that it isn't a gimmick, I have never owned one and have no plans to do so. If we spent a lot of time in places where electric power was often overloaded and tended to experience voltage sag, I definitely would use one, but we do not. I have been using a TRC-Surge Guard power monitor device for many years. 

2X.  While not a gimmick, there have been few times I wished I had one.  On those rare times the voltage dropped enough that I needed one I simply shut off the AC (nothing else in my trailer is damaged by low voltage) & turned on the fan.  I do have a Progressive EMS and have found it useful.

Edited by vermilye

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8 hours ago, Kirk W said:

If we spent a lot of time in places where electric power was often overloaded and tended to experience voltage sag, I definitely would use one, but we do not. I have been using a TRC-Surge Guard power monitor device for many years. 

I don't think there are many folks who would consciously stay in campgrounds with regular voltage sags.

I think it's more likely that you would arrive at a new-to-you campground with low voltage or happen to stay at a park where voltage may drop occasionally. Since we don't always have the option of just packing up and leaving a park with bad voltage, we carry an autoformer.

From what I glean of this and other RV forums, most folks visit the same campgrounds. I'm staying at about 40 different campgrounds this year and the same a couple years ago. In this case, with so many opportunities for bad power, I wouldn't be without an Auto Former (in my case a voltage regulator) and, of course, an electrical fault protector.

 

7 hours ago, oldjohnt said:

   a) I wouldn't wait until voltage was low (how and when will you even know its low ??? If you see its low damage may already be done !!! What if you're not there???) that's too late and defeats the whole purpose of having one in the first place.

I'm guessing that those of us with auto formers (that aren't permanently wired up) also have an electrical fault protection system that disconnects power when voltage drops too low.

 

7 hours ago, vermilye said:

2X.  While not a gimmick, there have been few times I wished I had one.  On those rare times the voltage dropped enough that I needed one I simply shut off the AC (nothing else in my trailer is damaged by low voltage) & turned on the fan.  I do have a Progressive EMS and have found it useful.

Spare yourself, get an autoformer.

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We have run into a few campgrounds running voltage to the high ens of the range.  If they have a weal Neutral, with the Hughes, you can put higher voltage on one leg than the other.  This will cause the EMS to shut down on high voltage on one leg.

I do not recommend that it stay wired in all of the time.  Even when there is no low voltage, the Hughes will boost voltage 2 or 3 volts which may put you over the EMS high limit.

Ken

 

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1 hour ago, Zulu said:

I don't think there are many folks who would consciously stay in campgrounds with regular voltage sags.

Many older RV parks have that issue and some folks have favorites like that. There are also those who travel into Mexico where that problem is common and they realize that it is. Your Surge Guard is interesting!

Southwire-RV-Hardwired-Surge-Protector-M51TxNbPp+NL.jpg

Did Southwire buy the Surge Guard line from TRC?

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4 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

Did Southwire buy the Surge Guard line from TRC?

Yes, in 2017. They also started lifetime warranties like Progressive.

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  Ryno, good thread you started, fun and educational. So long as there are no issues with using an EMS and your Auto Former together, I would consider trying it hard wired full time UNLESS advised otherwise by either manufacturer. Hopefully, the Auto Former will prevent voltage sags within its capability and if over voltage should occur, the EMS will alarm. I don't view the chance of any constant OVER voltage problem CAUSED BY THE AUTO FORMER ITSELF, although sure if the park was operating at a drastic high voltage the Auto Former wont reduce it if I understand it correctly.  

   I believe the Auto Former operates in a sort of float or standby mode providing little boost when the pedestal power is within spec HOWEVER if the pedestal voltage drops to a certain level it can automatically boost as high as 10% or whatever its max capability is. THEREFORE I don't see much risk in using it full time fearing OVER Voltage, and besides if that happens the EMS will alert.

 Have you used both at the same time ?? Any problems ?? But the Auto Former may have done its job any you were never even aware but hey if so fine right???

 John T

 

 

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1 minute ago, oldjohnt said:

  Ryno, good thread you started, fun and educational. So long as there are no issues with using an EMS and your Auto Former together, I would consider trying it hard wired full time UNLESS advised otherwise by either manufacturer. Hopefully, the Auto Former will prevent voltage sags within its capability and if over voltage should occur, the EMS will alarm. I don't view the chance of any constant OVER voltage problem CAUSED BY THE AUTO FORMER ITSELF, although sure if the park was operating at a drastic high voltage the Auto Former wont reduce it if I understand it correctly.  

   I believe the Auto Former operates in a sort of float or standby mode providing little boost when the pedestal power is within spec HOWEVER if the pedestal voltage drops to a certain level it can automatically boost as high as 10% or whatever its max capability is. THEREFORE I don't see much risk in using it full time fearing OVER Voltage, and besides if that happens the EMS will alert.

 Have you used both at the same time ?? Any problems ?? But the Auto Former may have done its job any you were never even aware but hey if so fine right???

 John T

 

 

No, the Auto former will not reduce voltage. When plugged in it boost 2% all the time. When the voltage drops to lower levels the Auto former can boot up to 10%.

Yae I have and are using both at the same time now. I have not had any issues using both at the same time so far. I really started using it more as when in the 80-100 degree weather, I would think would be the times it would happen much.

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10 hours ago, rynosback said:

No, the Auto former will not reduce voltage. When plugged in it boost 2% all the time. When the voltage drops to lower levels the Auto former can boot up to 10%.

Yae I have and are using both at the same time now. I have not had any issues using both at the same time so far. I really started using it more as when in the 80-100 degree weather, I would think would be the times it would happen much.

Thanks for the feedback ryno, yep that confirms what I was thinking and if you watch this video I found it verifies the same.  That's why I don't envision any over voltage harm (caused by the Auto former) and wouldn't hesitate to run it full time. Using it coupled with the EMS you have reduces risk significantly. As always, consult with the manufacturer before making your decision.

https://hughesautoformers.com/voltage-boosters/

I agree when the temp warms up and all the RV's run the AC now that's when low voltage is more likely to occur and a 10% boost can really help. Thanks to you and this thread I'm about to convince myself to invest !!!!!!!!!!!!

 In some of the computer rooms I designed power distribution for in addition to all the spike and surge protection and UPS I also specified more exotic and some automatic tap changing transformers to more precisely regulate the voltage, but that's sort of overkill and expensive for an RV.. 

Take care now best wishes, fun chat

John T

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22 minutes ago, oldjohnt said:

Thanks to you and this thread I'm about to convince myself to invest

AutoFormer is the best known and perhaps the oldest but there are several manufacturers who make similar products and have been for 10+ years. There are at least 3 and I believe 4 manufacturers of them. If you do some research and study the specification sheets for them you can easily see what the differences are. 

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