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Old 04-19-2018, 08:35 AM   #1
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Hopefully humor me, non-AS question

I hope you all won't mind this since I am an active AirForums member and respect some of the experts here more than elsewhere.

My son just bought an OPUS 200 Off-Road tent camper. Really robust, structurally and wiring-wise. I wish AS utilized some of the overkill and automotive quality/standards in this unit. It has its workmanship issues (it's an rv, Clark!!!) but it's really cool. As an "overlander" style unit, it is pretty primitive in its amenities.

On the 120V side it has a total of three outlets, one of which is for the converter (not adequate and is currently being upgraded to a 55 amp Boondocker). on the 12V side it has 2 X 100A AGM batts, an ARB 63 quart refrigerator, LED lighting, several power ports and USB ports, 2 X small water pumps and that's about it.

Son asked me last night if he needed a surge protector. I started to say yes, then had to think about it. On the 120 side, the boondocker is really the only electronic component.

So here's the question: Would a surge carry over and hurt the 12V side of things, or does the battery act as a buffer? Why would he spend $200+ in order to protect a $150 converter?

I haven't really thought about this before and argue both sides in my head!
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Old 04-20-2018, 03:44 PM   #2
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Howdy!

It's not simply the converter that you will be protecting, but what ever is plugged in to the converter as well. Think it's money well spent!
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Old 04-20-2018, 03:48 PM   #3
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So surges will pass on to 12v systems? Don't think I've ever heard of replacement of 12 v components.
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Old 04-20-2018, 03:49 PM   #4
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I, of course, have one as I have a lot of boards, etc. This camper has no heater, water heater etc. But it does have an ARB fridge on 12v power.
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Old 04-20-2018, 05:47 PM   #5
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Forgive my ignorance Lew (whom I respect), but as someone said earlier, it's your money...and then you need to think about security...I personally, have never had/used a surge protector....I've talked to several folks who have them, even purchased expensive security cable locks, only to find after a while, they stopped using them...money well spent? Not convinced....15 years of luck?
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Old 04-20-2018, 05:51 PM   #6
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I don't want this to go in left field. All I am asking is:
1) do surges pass through the converter, batteries and affect 12 volt items.
2) has anyone ever heard of a surge which has taken out 120v items AND 12 v items?
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Old 04-20-2018, 06:24 PM   #7
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It appears that if you Google the question, there is information that suggests a surge can pass through voltage step up/down devices. It may take a very big surge to have an effect. It may be that the SOB has enough spike supression in the converter. You can research, test or ignore the whole issue and go camping. A surge protector is not terribly expensive. Leaving surge sensitive electronics at home might be refreshing. Asking dad and finding out he does not know everything is of very high value. Some might say priceless. Others would just duck. Pat
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Old 04-20-2018, 06:36 PM   #8
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It is my layman's understanding that a significant 120-volt surge will travel down every available wire, and go through devices like converters etc.. As lewster said, " . . . what ever is plugged in to the converter . . . " would be protected by a surge protector.

Better safe than sorry? I would get a surge protector personally.

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Old 04-20-2018, 06:41 PM   #9
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Peter, that's the argument half my brain keeps saying, but I have always heard, "the surge took out the a/c, TV, microwave". Never have I heard , "the surge took out my battery monitor, tank level monitor, tongue jack, brake actuator, fantastic fan....etc". Why? Not trying to justify one position or another, just hit me, an I'm curious. Lew, ever seen blown up 12v stuff, along with the 120v stuff?
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Old 04-20-2018, 06:45 PM   #10
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Belts and suspenders IMO.

Avoid analysis paralysis.

Low cost, significant possible benefit.

Why not get one? Interested in lewster's input as well.

Good evening.
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Old 04-20-2018, 06:50 PM   #11
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More curiosity and knowledge than $250. I just want to know, electrically, what the answer is.
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Old 04-20-2018, 08:54 PM   #12
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I had a power surge (assume lightning) that passed into the 12v part of the electronics.
Not only did I loose the AC unit and power cord end;
The battery burst.
The converter started outputting incorrect voltage
The transformers and bulbs on fluorescent lights burned out.
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Old 04-20-2018, 08:57 PM   #13
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Thanks, AW
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Old 04-21-2018, 04:11 AM   #14
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Rich-

We lost 12V stuff control too when lightning hit our buried cable to the pole barn where our Shiny Pete lives while he's not on the road. Stupid me didn't have the portable surge protector plugged in at the time, and when the arc/surge/whatever melted the power cable (Hot/Neutral together I guess), in that split second lots went bad. I now have an installed Surge Guard in the coach so I can't forget.

We lost all of the dimmer light switches, the tank monitor (seelevel?) panel, the charger/converter (the original battery cooker thankfully), and the control board for the A/C. Truthfully, I can't remember losing any actual appliance, just the 12v stuff..........

At least get him a lower cost plug-in unit, if it ever saves just the ARB from damage, it will be worth it. Also, don't forget, yo can cause a lot of damage from plugging the camper into a mis-wired outlet. Hope this helps.
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