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Surge protector

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New Class C owner here,   I have read that I should have a surge protector.   I called Winnebago and was told my RV does not have one and it is up to me to decide if I want one, he would not give me advice either way.  When I do a internet search I see there are many different ones to choose from,   how do I decide what I need?

 

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Many of us buy one of the Progressive Industries model. They are a well respected company and have both 30 amp and 50 amp. It would be best if you educated yourself first so start reading. You also will need to decide if you want a pedestal version or locate one inside the rv.

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The term surge protector is commonly used for not only surge protectors (which I consider of questionable value) to full ability power line monitors, that I strongly believe in. Voltage sag is much more of a problem in the RV community than power surges, although those do happen. There are 2 very popular power monitors that have solid reputations and I believe that either one is worth your money. I would in fact choose based on price. While I have used a Surge Gard from Southwire for years with good service, I actually rate the Progressive EMS somewhat higher because of their willingness to supply parts to the end user for self repairs. If your RV is a 30a model, check these out. 

Progressive Industries Portable RV Surge Protector Portable EMS-PT30X RV Surge Protector  $218.20

  OR

Southwire Black 34930 Surge Guard 30A-Full Protection Portable with LCD Display        $221.51

If your RV happens to be a 50a model, the consider the 50a version of either one. 

 

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Yes, you want an energy management system not just a surge protector. We used Progressive Industries ones in our rigs with great results.

Linda Sand

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I have a 50 amp hard wired Progressive Industries unit. Would not be with out it. I even carry a Hughs Autoformer for low voltage citations. Between the two, my rigs electronics and anything I plug in is as safe as can be. 

Edited by rynosback

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When you look on Amazon for the 30amp be sure to notice the link that Kirk provided is for a renewed unit.  For about $10. more you can get a new unit.  Not saying one is better than the other, I just would rather have a new one.  

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6 hours ago, dirtyboots said:

When you look on Amazon for the 30amp be sure to notice the link that Kirk provided is for a renewed unit.  For about $10. more you can get a new unit.  Not saying one is better than the other, I just would rather have a new one.  

That is true for the Progressive unit, which I had not noticed. This link is to the new Progressive for slightly more money. $229.68   I would pay the extra for new since it is such a small difference and I am not sure exactly what "renewed" means?

In addition, Camco is now selling a competing unit called Power Defender that you may be aware of. $252.99 I have seen them advertised and the specs look to be pretty similar to the first two but I have known many satisfied users of both Progressive EMS and Surge Guard, I have not known anyone who uses the Camco and I have not seen it reviewed. 

Edited by Kirk W

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We strongly recommend the Progressive Ind, unit.  It has saved us from power problems more than once.  PI will provide surge protection as well as monitor power for low or high voltage, open neutral, open ground and power frequency. 

We have the hard wired unit mounted in the RV with the remote monitor panel.  PI provides great warranty service and are very helpful answering questions.

Ken

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We have the 30 amp progressive in our camper.  Ours in hard-wired into the elec. system, was very easy for me to put in.  Highly recommend it, very inexpensive insurance.  I know a guy that did not run one, cost him quite a bit of change to repair his campers electrical system when he got nailed with a surge.

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I have used the Progressive Surge protectors.  I have had three now.  Two gave their all for the RV too.  Saved me thousands of dollars.  I also use a Hughes Autotformer too if I am in an campground that is prone to brown outs.  Here is the link:  Hughes Autoformers

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On 12/10/2019 at 11:21 AM, StraitRVing said:

I have used the Progressive Surge protectors.  I have had three now.  Two gave their all for the RV too.  Saved me thousands of dollars.  I also use a Hughes Autotformer too if I am in an campground that is prone to brown outs.  Here is the link:  Hughes Autoformers

You should be aware that autotransformers at RV parks are a thing of the past and are not allowed under the national electrical code. This is discussed many other places so won't repeat here. Having said that I don't agree with that and I'm sure there are ways to hide it on-board and nobody would be the wiser. 

I guess lacking that, the best solution is to get a power monitor that shuts off power when the voltage gets too low, then complain to the park that they don't have usable power.

 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Al7387 said:

I guess lacking that, the best solution is to get a power monitor that shuts off power when the voltage gets too low, then complain to the park that they don't have usable power.

Me: The park voltage has dropped so low that my power protection device has disconnected from the power pedestal. I have no power!

Possible Campground Responses:

#1 - Campground: No one else has complained.

#2 - Campground: Maybe your protection device is bad.

#3 - Campground: Sorry, you'll have to live with it.

#4 - Campground: You can always go to another campground.

#5 - Campground: You're right, sir. We've been horribly remiss. I've contacted an electrical contractor, and we'll get right on it.

The only response I've never heard is #5.

Edited by Zulu

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8 hours ago, Al7387 said:

You should be aware that autotransformers at RV parks are a thing of the past and are not allowed under the national electrical code. This is discussed many other places so won't repeat here. Having said that I don't agree with that and I'm sure there are ways to hide it on-board and nobody would be the wiser. 

I guess lacking that, the best solution is to get a power monitor that shuts off power when the voltage gets too low, then complain to the park that they don't have usable power.

 

 

 

 

“not allowed under the national electrical code.” 
If this statement is really true, you would think that Hughes would not be able to make them and sell them. 

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This was posted on Hughes’s website:

 

Run Your Autoformer With Confidence – A Note Regarding NFPA70

First, the NFPA 2020 proposal is not law, it is not a regulation, it has no legal authority.  The NFPA is a civilian-run organization that publishes suggested safety regulations, which may or may not be adopted at some point by governmental agencies.

So, who’s is trying to ban a product that has saved RVers literally millions of dollars?  Who wants to eliminate a product that has made RVing safer and more enjoyable?  Who’s trying to tell over 150,000 Hughes users and the American RVer they can’t protect themselves?

The latest effort to ban ‘autotransformers’ is being pushed by board members of the NFPA and a competitor.  One’s an executive of national campground sites, the other sells electrical equipment to RV parks and the third person spreading around misinformation is a competitor company.  Why this guy?  Probably because we’ve introduced a product that is far superior to their old surge protection units.  The Power Watchdog.  People are out to serve their own interests rather than those of the American RVer.

Technically the NFPA has been recommending ‘autotransformers’ be banned since 1971, so this latest publicity stunt is nothing new.  Fortunately, the NFPA board is only an advisory committee and up till now, no one has taken their advice!

First thing, the Hughes Autoformer is not an ‘autotransformer’, (more on this later).   But for simplicity’s sake, we are appealing this recommendation anyway and it will probably be repealed once and for all.  Science and logic will win over ridiculousness and greed.

Secondly, their claim is false on its face.  These NFPA board members say autotransformers cause, “…severe additional stress to surrounding electrical infrastructure not accounted for in the load calculations…”

Now, to the science. Let’s say a park owner “calculated” for ten campsites, for ten 50amp coaches, for ten 50amp breakers, how can the Hughes Autoformer place “severe additional stress” when no site can draw more than the “calculated” 50 amps because there’s a 50 amp breaker?  You get 10% more power on whatever resistive load is running (Ohm’s law).  However, on a modern RV 90% or more of the loads are inductive (air conditioning motors, microwaves, pumps).   If the park customer is using 8,000 watts and 10% is resistive, that’s 800 resistive watts, the Autoformer boosts that 10%, that’s 80 watts extra out of an 8,000-watt draw, only 1% more!  Hardly “severe additional stress”.  If only one of the above mentioned 10 RVs had an Autoformer, that’s .001% more than his neighbors in the park.  And again, ultimately no one can get more than the park owners “calculated” because of the park breakers.      Ridiculousness!

The simple fact is, park owners don’t want to talk about low voltage or explain to their customers why the guy with the Hughes Autoformer still is burning bright and has AC running cool when everyone else is suffering a brownout.  All voltages sag when the RVers have their ACs and other necessities running.  Things start getting damaged at 108 volts and lower.  Most surge protectors shut down at 102 -4 volts.  Meanwhile, the Hughes Autoformer is changing unusable high amps-low volts into usable high volts-low amps, thus saving equipment and blowing at least 25% more AC air.  Rather than having to explain why some RVs are still working, the park owner would rather everyone suffer equally and most importantly, suffer in silence.  Woodall’s Campground Management magazine mentions the proposed rule this way, “This action helps RV park owners prohibit their use (autotransformers) by having a code article to point to”.  By the way, by providing unusable power, a park owner can save thousands of dollars a year.

Autoformers can actually save power in the park.  With the Hughes Autoformer, everything runs more efficiently.  AC units pump out at least 25% more air flow with a 10% voltage boost (search amp curves vs motors).  This extra airflow allows the AC units to cycle on and off more often than their low voltage neighbors.  Because the Hughes user’s AC is off more often, they may be using the least amount of power in the park.

The NFPA is a safety committee.  RVers are far safer when their appliances and cables are not overheating due to low volts and excessive amperage.

The final kicker, the NFPA recommends banning autotransformers, the Hughes Autoformer is not even an autotransformer  It’s called the Hughes “Autoformer”, not the Hughes autotransformer.  It’s a transformer that “automatically” boosts your voltage when needed, thus the combination of the words auto and transformer.  An autotransformer has a single winding inside and the Hughes product has four windings, a different technology entirely.

So, if someone looks at your grey box and says autotransformers are banned, tell them no, some board members recommend they not be connected.  Secondly, you have a Hughes Autoformer which is not banned because it’s not an autotransformer.

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I advise you to  unplug during lightning storms.  That's one cause of surges, and many SP's are one-time use only.

Edited by hemsteadc

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