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Old 07-01-2011, 05:39 PM   #1
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Loud Humming Noise from Surge Protector

I have installed a TRC 34520 30 amp surge protector (SP) in the trunk of my 2005 LYG 30 SO motorhome. I have attached it to the wall at the back of the trunk.

When plugged into shore power, the SP makes a noticeable humming noise. This is no big deal until night time when all is quiet. Our bed is right above the trunk and I can hear it humming all night long.

I could relocate it in a more forward basement compartment, but this would necessitate about a 20' run of wire to and 20' of wire back from the SP's new location.

Two questions: 1. How important is it to have a surge protector?
2. If I did relocate it, and added the 40' of wire, would this add too much length to my cord leading to shore power (ie. would there be too much voltage drop)?
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Old 07-01-2011, 08:03 PM   #2
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Heeellllp! Where are all the electricians out there? Must be camping.
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Old 07-01-2011, 09:23 PM   #3
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Never mind. I searched "surge protectors" on the forums and now have more than enough reading material on the subject.

The only thing I have not seen addressed is the loud humming noise.
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:54 AM   #4
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Is the surge protector mounted on an aluminum wall or wood panel? If on aluminum, maybe you could add a thin insulation sheet of rubber to absorbe any vibration it may be causing. If the unit itself is loud, does it produce any heat? Could some type of insulated box be mounted over it in lieu of relocating.
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:49 AM   #5
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There's not much in the way of heat, but it does vibrate, and it is mounted on a board with a thin layer of carpet underneath.

I might try to put a layer of foam underneath before relocating. Relocation would be a major undertaking.

When I called TRC, they said that they check them for noise before they send them out, (presumably to weed out the noisiest ones?).

Some of you have a surge protector (they call theirs "power protectors") made by Progressive Industries. Do their power protectors make any noise?
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Old 07-02-2011, 12:11 PM   #6
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You can reduce a lot of the noise by using rubber mounting isolators, which are basically rubber donuts or washers that prevent the surface to which the device is mounted from becoming a sounding board. Check out RadioShack, Fry's Electronics or other electronics stores for tips on installing these instead of the screws or bolts you are currently using to mount the surge protector to the wall or board.

You could also just install plumbing rubber washers or make something up yourself, but the results might not be as good as using mounting hardware designed for this purpose.

Internally, the vibrations are probably coming from loosely mounted electronic parts inside the surge protector. This will probably void the warranty, but remove the cover (with the power off completely disconnected; i.e., unplug the shore power connector, as power may still be present inside the unit even though it appears to be turned off) and see if there are any large inductors or capacitors that could be generating the sound. You can check for the noise by turning the power back on; but be careful, as 30 amps is a lot of current in a dead short. Use a non-conductive probe to gently push down on suspect parts to see if the noise is reduced or goes away. Your wife's orange stick that she uses on her cuticles or a wooden or plastic chopstick are good for this, if you don't have a regular nylon electronic tuning stick. Caution: Don't use a metal screwdriver.

If you locate where the noise is coming from, you might be able to stake that part down with hot melt glue, used sparingly (again, with the power off). Applying a thin bead along the edges where the part touches the printed circuit board is sufficient. That may help.
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michigander
...When I called TRC, they said that they check them for noise before they send them out, (presumably to weed out the noisiest ones?)...
Will they not exchange it for you? The noise is likely coming from a power relay or choke coil. When these are wound, the coil is typically dipped in shellac or something similar to bond everything together so that it won't buzz or hum to a noticeable degree. Occasionally a noisy one gets through. Sound deadening techniques will help, but I would see if I could get a quieter one first.
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Old 07-02-2011, 04:26 PM   #8
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Your other question was about voltage drop—it depends on the size of the wire and it would have to be as large or better, larger, than the existing wire that brings shore power to the converter.

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Old 07-23-2011, 04:56 AM   #9
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Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. I ended up re-mounting it in its original location with two layers of foam kneeling pad between the surge protector and the wall.

This seems to have solved the problem! Yeaaaaaahhhh!
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