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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Do I need a surge protector?

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Desert Captain

Tucson

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Posted: 05/28/19 07:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have encountered pedestals with serious defects {detected by my Progressive EMS} more than a dozen times. Anyone of those defects, bad, ground, polarity, neutral etc. could have spelled disaster. I have had our EMS shut down low voltage a number of times any one of which could have cooked by AC compressor or done other expensive damage.

For what you potentially have to lose spending around $300 {for a 30 amp EMS} is small change that buys a great deal of peace of mind. Do you have insurance on your RV? Think of a quality {Progressive} EMS as just an additional level of protection as your RV insurance will not cover the damage that the EMS will prevent.

As always... opinions and YMMV.

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cavie

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Posted: 05/28/19 08:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

steved28 wrote:

I know this sounds like a stupid question, so let me explain. My new rig has a Precision Circuits PCS, which works in hand with a Magnum 2Kw inverter. The documentation states that the PCS will work together via an inverter assist mode. The PCS also brings up circuits one at a time, has L-1 and L-2 voltage status, shows amperage draw, can detect between 30A, 50A and genny. And has alarms for brownouts, overvoltages, and wiring status error. The PCS also brings up circuits one at a time, has L-1 and L-2 voltage status, shows amperage draw, can detect between 30A, 50A and genny. And has alarms for brownouts, overvoltages, and wiring status error.

The auto transfer switch (Ironically made by Surge Guard) does not have any surge protection. So it seems the switch itself is not protected.

So before I invest around $300 in a Progressive Dynamics HW50C, I am asking if I actually need it? It seems some of the functions of it are redundant to ones I already have.


The PCS can only alarm you. An EMS works on it's own and turns power off when low and back on when correct with you having to no nothing. Prevent form high and low voltage. Not just alarm. Will not allow current to flow with an incorrect wired ped.

It is a much different kind of equipment. Your PCS is a load sheader. I just turns off equipment till the draw is with in tolerance.


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AllegroD

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Posted: 05/28/19 08:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

While a surge protector does help stop a problem before it enters the rig, an EMS does more than surge protection. IMO, shutting down input at 104 has helped me. Not incurring heat damage for increased amps is important to me. Not all CG have adequate wiring or power.

Bobbo

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Posted: 05/28/19 08:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wa8yxm wrote:

I would put it in the line on the shore side of the ATS.. I don't worry so much about my generator. (Onan's monitor their output and shut down if it goes crazy)

I disagree on this one. I would put it between the ATS and the breaker panel. That protects from EVERY source of power. Generators do sometimes fail, and if it is the circuit board that fails, the generator may not shut down when it goes crazy. The ATS is fairly inexpensive, so I let it take its chances.


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pianotuna

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Posted: 05/28/19 11:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It may be best to NOT have the ATS switch while "under load". The Magnum may (or may not) have a time delay built in.

I'd prefer an autoformer. I have surge suppression added on to mine. I always check polarity and voltage under load before I plug in my 30 amp RV.

The majority of damage is from low voltage. An autoformer corrects that.


Regards, Don
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Posted: 05/29/19 07:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

I always check polarity and voltage under load before I plug in my 30 amp RV.

How do you put a load on the circuit and test it before plugging in your RV?

miatared

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Posted: 05/29/19 01:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You'll never get anyone who spent hundreds on a good surge protector to tell you you don't need one.

I can tell you this, in 2017, in a caravan through Mexico, out of 24 RVs , 2 had them, including me. And only us had no power at most places.It would simply refuse to let power through.

But, no one, and I mean nobody in the other 22 had issues then or afterwards, and we've kept in touch.

So my wife was not exactly impressed. I still have it, and still use it. The huge square box from Progressive.

I will leave it at that.

pianotuna

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Posted: 05/29/19 02:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Bobbo,

I use an adapter, 30 amp to 15, plug in a kill-a-watt meter, then plug in the polarity checker. Then I add a 1550 watt heater. If there is voltage drop I know about it, and I'll use the autoformer to correct the issue.

If there is 50 amp, I use a "break out box" and test each leg individually in the same manner as above. The box has one leg with a 30 amp breaker feeding a 30 outlet, and the other leg with twin 20 amp breakers feeding two 20 amp outlets. I know it is not balanced...but I don't run over 80% of capacity. (24 amps on a 30, 16 on a 20, and 12 on a 15.) I set the Magnum remote to get to those numbers, and often use the load support feature.

So far the only fault I've encountered is low voltage. In one 15 amp location, it was 100 when I started testing and after I added the heater it dropped to 94. My autoformer brought that up to 107 under load

The surge protection is something that Mex was kind enough to build for me.

I have the kill-a-watt plugged in and I monitor the voltage while using any heavy draw items.

Bobbo wrote:

pianotuna wrote:

I always check polarity and voltage under load before I plug in my 30 amp RV.

How do you put a load on the circuit and test it before plugging in your RV?


* This post was edited 05/29/19 03:46pm by pianotuna *

time2roll

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Posted: 05/29/19 02:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bobbo wrote:

wa8yxm wrote:

I would put it in the line on the shore side of the ATS.. I don't worry so much about my generator. (Onan's monitor their output and shut down if it goes crazy)

I disagree on this one. I would put it between the ATS and the breaker panel. That protects from EVERY source of power. Generators do sometimes fail, and if it is the circuit board that fails, the generator may not shut down when it goes crazy. The ATS is fairly inexpensive, so I let it take its chances.
+1 to protect the RV systems from all voltage issues. Transfer switch is not very sensitive to these issues and as stated a generator can develop voltage problems.


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down home

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Posted: 05/29/19 04:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Found out after we bought one that our coach has surge protection built in but... I still prefer that the 300.00 or less unit we plug into the tower, post, outlet or whatever to take the hit instead or at least first. It saved us grief a few times. In Missouri the campground had both 50 amp circuits going to one leg. The unit kept everything from frying on that leg and half the coach was dark.
I'm not sure that was the diagonsis. It has been a long time. In Michigan a campground we visit a lot on a packed holiday weekend a surge then brown out was caught by the unit. Another occasion lightning hit power distribution, something or other and popped the unit. During a storm some trees and high tension lines, came down and all kinds of fireworks popped the unit.
Our unit is undamaged but I have read here and elsewhere, over the years, of RVs being saved by the units which themselves were sometimes fried. In some reports the mfg replaced the damaged units but not always. I don't remember the two or three brands or even what mine is at the moment. It plugs into the pedestal and cord into it.

There are post here on this forum and others of some RVers losing microwaves, air conditioners,tvs and every thing else from a surge,...and brown outs from low voltage. We don't have one of the EMS that boost voltage but it's on the list. We see low voltage we turn on the generator and disconnect for time being.

* This post was edited 05/29/19 07:55pm by down home *

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