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Open Roads Forum  >  General RVing Issues

 > The Electrician said “oops”

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cruising7388

Nevada

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Joined: 06/29/2005

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Posted: 08/28/06 12:07am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bill socal wrote:

The Electrician said “oops”- a little more…

Too All --Some of the replies, so far, have been what I had hoped for. I wanted to reach someone that does not have an electrical protection device in use for their rv. That’s why I posted it. I’m not selling or pushing any particular brand. I have what I prefer. I wish I was a vendor, I could sell many units.

Many ‘readers’ don’t spend the time (no offence intended) to do a search in this forum to acquire invaluable information that is available, on any rv subject. There are many knowledgeable and talented posters in this forum. Weed out the others.

I think many posts go un-noticed after a few days so I wanted to post again what many others have said in the past. “Protect yourself”.

There are many items that you could spend your money on pertaining to an rv. Starting with the ‘must haves’ and ending with the ‘would be nice to have’. Purchasing ‘insurance’ is usually a necessary evil. A good electrical protection device is cheep insurance when you consider what the bad alternatives are.

If only one reader takes this information to heart and protects themselves with a good ‘electrical protection device’, than I have made an impact that has saved someone from an expensive experience.

OK, I’m almost off my soapbox now.

It is a true story but it was meant to awaken many that don’t think they need such a device. I know that ‘good devices’ cost around $400 bucks and I was apprehensive to spend that much for something that ‘might happen’. But my personal situation (lots of power outages) dictated that I should have it. In the first two weeks I know it ‘saved’ me twice. My neighbors now wish they had spent $400 instead of going through the hassle of replacing many appliances they recently lost. Stuff happens.

I have been a reader and a participant in this “RV Net” and have learned enough to become a wiser rv owner. There have been many that have helped me understand the somewhat complicated world of rv electric. That information has recently saved me from a great financial loss. I can’t say “thank you” enough to the many that have helped me.

For them my ‘thank you’ is to spread the information.

Now to answer one of your questions.

Chenevert - Don’t get hung up on the term ‘surge protector’. A good protection device will protect against many anomalies associated with campground electricity. i.e. low voltage , high voltage, neutral to ground, miss-wired pedestals, to name just a few. Many use the term ‘surge protector’ loosely. Do some research and get a good device that protects against everything/anything. Believe me I’ve experienced it and so have many others.

Thanks to all.


The confusion is caused by what is loosely described as a "surge protector". Narrowly defined, a surge protector is specifically designed to clamp high voltage narrow pulse spikes typically produced by high inductive devices shutting down that happen to share the circuit with your equipment. These spikes can be many thousands of volts in amplitude but because the pulse width is narrow, the power that has to be absorbed by clamping devices such as Metal Oxide Varistors and in-line chokes is within the survival limits of the protection devices.

A voltage surge is very different from a voltage spike. The surge voltage is much lower which is good, but the duty cycle for surges
is far to high to be absorbed by a basic surge (aka spike) protector. For example the protection devices on a 120V strip will burn out very quickly when subjected to 240 volts. Consequently, a single device that protects against both conditions has to incorporate a voltage watchdog circuit that will trip off the protector when the supply voltage rises above the design trip threshold (typically 130V) and some models will also trip if the supply voltage drops below a trip threshold (typically 104V). The most sophisticated models (Progressive, et al) permit you to bypass the voltage watchdog circuit with a remote switch if you choose to do so.

Xpltivdletd

OH, U.S.A.

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Joined: 04/04/2001

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Posted: 08/28/06 12:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You've made a believer or two here, even if we need help with the language! Considering how much you'd have to spring to replace everything it might fry--a $400 or $500 whatever-it's-called that will open the circuit **IS** cheap insurance in most RVs. 230/240V where it was only supposed to be 120 happening in one place only proves it *can* (a bit like a "200-year-flood). Once you know a thing can happen, it only makes sense to take a reasonable precaution. THANKS for bringing this to us here.

chenevert

Virginia

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Joined: 06/23/2006

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Good Sam RV Club Member

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Posted: 08/28/06 08:22am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

cruising7388 and all, thanks. This is very informative. You have done both confirm my suspicion that basic "surge protectors" are not fit for the type of fault that was described, yet also convinced me that there are devices available that do address, not only short spikes, but also the other types of anomalies described below in this post chain.

I have been reading most posts since I have joined, but that was recently. I have already learned a lot by doing searches and finding valuable info from old posts. But as annoying as it may seem that topics keep coming up that were exaustively discussed before, I recognize that every time, it gets a few more people caught up that had missed earlier debates. Me included on this topic...

So I am now off to research past posts on this topic. Thanks to all!


06 Ford F-350 diesel (LWB, S/C, SRW)
06 Grand Junction 35TMS (40ft)


Stonefiddle

Oklahoma

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Joined: 08/04/2004

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Posted: 08/28/06 02:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I just bought this past week a 50 amp "Autoformer" ($539 CW club price)that I learned from these forums would help proctect my a/c, etc. from low CG voltage. It has protection of 1466 joules surge/9000 amps spike. Do I also need a "Progressive Surge Guard"? If so which one: the 50 amp portable (CW $349) specs at 1750 joules surge/6500 amps spike while the 50 amp Surge Guard Plus Monitor(CW $494.10) specs say 3350 joules surge/130000amps spike? If the latter then I'm looking at a total with the Autoformer of $1,033.20 to protect my rig.

Why didn't Keystone just build this stuff into my RV so I could spread it out with the rest of my 120 months of payments?

ol Bombero-JC

USA

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Joined: 06/24/2004

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Posted: 08/29/06 03:11am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Surge-Protector or not - ALWAYS check your power source
before using it - and for obvious reasons -as this- after an electrical
failure & repair/s.

Kill-A-Watt is a good start - Power Pal is better.
[Ya can't cover all the bases - but worth trying!]

Lightning - go to "Lightning Strike" in 5th wheel forum by
"F250 Red dog" on 8-21-06. Good info and interesting posts -
even when disconnected from power! [NO surge-prot. help either]

"bill socal" -
This thread was a great pitch for surge-protectors!
Now need one for LOW voltage protection (Auto-formers).
JC

bill socal

Coastal Bend Texas

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Joined: 02/13/2005

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Posted: 08/29/06 04:01am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

More info for those inquiring.

Again, I’m not selling. I’m just trying to educate to the need for good “Electrical Protection”. Not just for a surge but for ALL the anomalies that do occur to ‘campground power’. These anomalies occur when your not looking. They occur anytime after you have put your test meters away.

I have both the Autoformer and a separate Electrical Management System (EMS). The reason for both is just my personal preference with a little logic behind it.

First I purchased the Hughes Autoformer, many months ago, because my fulltime rv park has low voltage. Usually around 107 VAC. The voltage boost of the Autoformer did its job well enough. Then a month ago the voltage became lower, down to 98 VAC. Because I’m checking the voltage outside at the pedestal I know the voltage is going lower during peek usage and I’m just not catching the lowest sag. The Autoformer has a low operating range of 95 VAC plus its 10% boost brings it up to 104.5 VAC. I felt this was too low for me.

A few weeks ago, fortunately, I added the EMS from Progressive Industries because:
- Much better protection against voltage anomalies.
- A higher ‘low threshold’ of 104 VAC
- A built-in readout panel that tells me voltage, current, frequency and error codes.

Both the Autoformer and the EMS are portable styles. I installed the EMS first at the power source, then the Autoformer between the EMS and the rv. The EMS now cuts me off if the supply goes lower than 104 VAC. That insures two things, the Autoformer will be protected from all anomalies and when power is on I will at least have 114 VAC inside.

Since this last ‘repair’ and the smoke as cleared, the voltage has been around 110 so I’m a happy camper. They also have promised to upgrade all to new 50/30/20 Amp pedestals starting in November.

The Autoformer is:
Hughes Autoformer
Model 220-50, (50 amp, 12,000 watts)
From RV Performance Products
888-244-5554
http://rvperformanceproducts.com

The EMS is:
Progressive Industries
Model EMS-PT50C (50 amp)
From VIP Enterprises
734-516-2056
http://viprv.com


1999 Safari Serengeti, 330 CAT


otbiker

Kerrville TX

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Joined: 02/02/2005

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Posted: 08/29/06 06:21am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I suspect the 230v was acheived by applying 115v down the neutral line. Will a surge protector provide protection if there is voltage on the wrong line? Not just reversed hot/neutral, but voltage down the neutral or ground?


Marty & Martha in Kerrville

2013 Winnebago ERA

bill socal

Coastal Bend Texas

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Joined: 02/13/2005

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Posted: 08/29/06 12:19pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

otbiker wrote:

I suspect the 230v was acheived by applying 115v down the neutral line. Will a surge protector provide protection if there is voltage on the wrong line? Not just reversed hot/neutral, but voltage down the neutral or ground?


You’re correct. That’s exactly what happened. They ‘sent’ 115 from the other ‘leg’ down the neutral line lighting us up with 230 VAC.


As to what each of the different devices will and will-not protect you from, I suggest you contact the experts for the model you’re interested in. Most web sites have the specs.

Xpltivdletd

OH, U.S.A.

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Joined: 04/04/2001

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Posted: 09/02/06 11:42pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm still educating myself about this part, but FWIW there are EMS manufacturers claiming their products will protect your RV from accidental 240 in a 120 supply.

ve7prt

Ucluelet, BC, Canada

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Joined: 07/29/2003

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Posted: 09/03/06 10:36pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Xpltivdletd wrote:

I'm still educating myself about this part, but FWIW there are EMS manufacturers claiming their products will protect your RV from accidental 240 in a 120 supply.

Yes there are. Not that I would use these products for RV use, but Furman puts out a bunch of rack-mounted power conditioners that will cut the output power if the input power exceeds a certain voltage. They are used in the live band/recording industry, and ARE the industry standard. Only problem is, once the Furman product cuts the power, you have to manually reset it. On reflection, that may not be a bad thing.

As to using a Furman product for your RV, I'm not sure it's possible. I suppose you could install a 19" rack in a basement compartment and run your shorepower cord into it. I do believe they make 30Amp models, though I'd have to check.

So if Furman can make these power conditioners with over-voltage shut-down, then I'm sure someone has built a unit for RVs that does the same thing. It's not that hard. [emoticon][emoticon]

Cheers!


Mike Shepherd (VE7PRT)

Pulling Power: 2008 Dodge Ram 3500 Quad Cab 4x4 6.7L CTD, 68rfe, Brakesmart, Edge Insight CTS
Sleeping Space: 2007 Rockwood Cargo-cum-Camper Trailer

Mike & Bernie's Website

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