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Surge Protectors or Power Monitors


chuckbear

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How many of you use either a surge protector or some type of power monitor at a campground? Which do you use and what is your preferred model? Who doesn't use anything at all and why? Living and traveling on our boat for 25 years, we have encountered every conceivable power issue, including plugging the boat into docks in third world countries. We have never had a problem with the electrical systems or any equipment on board. What makes a campground so different? Chuck

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I use a progressive dynamics EMS (energy management system ). It does more that just provide surge protection. It will analyze the power at the pedestal and let me know if it is safe to plug my RV into it. It will tell me what is wrong with the pedestal power. It also tells me how many amps my coach is using on each leg as well as contuouslly letting me know what the voltage is on each leg.

 

The two main manufacturers of RV surge protection devices and ems devices are Surgeguard and Progressive. I chose to use the Progressive as they offer a lifetime warranty compared to Surgeguard's one year warranty.

 

I havent always used an electical protection device and as a result lost a couple of tVs, and a charge system due to bad pedestal power.

 

Since I started using my device it has , at least 3 times, warned me of pad pedestal power and I have not used that pedestal.

 

I hope this helps.....Jim

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We would not be without an EMS. Can't tell the number of times we had problems with park power and have the management say no one else is complaining. Our response is how many have EMS?

 

Ours is a portable. The built-in EMS systems have the advantage of watching monitors mounted inside.

 

Portable EMS units have the advantage of being able to walk down a row of power posts looking for good power.

 

Why parks over marinas? Longer distances of buried cable, more abuse of power posts.

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We have used the portable Surge Guards from TRC for about 15 years now. When we had our 50A motorhome we used a model 34850 but now that we have downsized to a small travel trailer with 30A service we use a 34830. I have an extensive background in electrical service work including installation and maintenance of electrical power monitor systems and base upon that and 40 years in the service & repair industry, I am a firm believer in the use of one of these devices. There are actually several excellent products out there by each of several different companies and all of them seem to perform as the manufacturer claims. As you consider this question, let me suggest that you take the time to read this article that was published in Escapees magazine about your subject as I think that it may help.

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How many of you use either a surge protector or some type of power monitor at a campground? Which do you use and what is your preferred model? Who doesn't use anything at all and why? Living and traveling on our boat for 25 years, we have encountered every conceivable power issue, including plugging the boat into docks in third world countries. We have never had a problem with the electrical systems or any equipment on board. What makes a campground so different? Chuck

I use a Progressive EMS voltage monitor and surge protector. It has cut my power at least 5 times over the past year when voltage has dropped low enough to be damaging to my RV. If you don't have one of these devices you may be getting damage to your unit but not know it. All of a sudden at some point you may lose one of your electronic devices in your unit. Low voltage damage is cumulative. The Progressive takes a beating as well and keeps on going. I know because I drove it for about 500 yards to a park dump dragging it the whole way. It has still worked extremely well.

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This year also I added a Hughes Autoformer to my existing hardwired Surgeguard. I bought the less expensive 30A version because that's all we have at the park where we're having issues and we can always adapt to coping with 30A, if necessary. I wouldn't say that the combination of the two devices makes us invincible but it is nice not to have to worry about the voltage level at a park with poorly regulated grid servicing it. I'd guess that my Autoformer is "on" at least 25-30% of the time.

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We have a hard wired SurgeGuard in our fiver. It has saved me from low voltage a couple of times. When you're in a park in the heat of summer and everyone decides to run 2 air conditioners and other appliances all at once, it is pretty easy to get into a low voltage situation.

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we had a 50 amp Surge Guard and the new 5er came with a hard wired Progressive Ind. EMS. I would not be without a EMS to monitor the power in the RV.

 

With the amount of damage that can be caused frying electronics and appliances, they are very good insurance. A few hundred dollars can save several thousand in repairs.

 

Ken

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My progressive EMS does not tell me when it's safe to plug in, I have to plug it in THEN it tells me if the power is correct by allowing it into the MH. If anything is not right with incoming power the EMS will not allow AC power to pass through. I have confidence in the Progressive EMS, however, I sill manually test pedestal power with my meter first thing after parking. Like the old saying "Trust but Verify".

My next big purchase plan is to buy a 50A Hughs Autoformer and hard-wire it into the system just ahead of the EMS.

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Thats interesting Ray. With mine I plug it into the pedestal and watch the readout. It will eventually flash a code. If it flashes E0 Which means normal I then plug my coach into it. Any code other than E0 means a fault and they are listed on the face of the EMS as to what fault the code means.

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Jim, i think we are talking about different systems altogether. Mine is built into coach wiring from Winnebago, and only detects anything when plugged in to shore power. It will not prohibit low/high voltage, simply displays it on the readout. Incorrect or lost wiring is detected.

Updated 8/2,

Well, I was wrong. I re-read my owners manual and high/low voltage may be set to owners preferences-within limits.

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I don't care what all these other folks say.. (they must get kickbacks from Progressive Industries).. I think an EMS is a complete waste of money. I've NEVER used one and in all my years full timing I've never had any power issues with my rig. :huh:

 

Of course.. I 'should' probably mention that I've never actually plugged my rig into a shore power source other than my genset... so that might make a difference. :lol:

 

I do own a Progressive EMS and would never consider plugging into an unknown power source without one. Time and time again I've seen a number of quality EMS's "save" a rig. As one of the other posters said.. I too think an EMS should be standard factory equipment.

 

An aside: If your sense of humor isn't as warped as mine, disregard the first two paragraphs. :P

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I have a built in Progressive Industries unit. Along with the protection it offers, a couple of other advantages - for those campgrounds that don't include a breaker in the pedestal, it's built in delay insures you don't arc the connector plugging "hot", and the readout let you know what you are drawing, helpful on 15 amp connections.

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