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Old 07-11-2016, 02:57 PM   #15
Rivet Master
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
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Originally Posted by FCStreamer View Post
. . .
Between the fridge, the two TVs, and lights, and electrical connections, the converter, the inverter, and all the other stuff that could suffer from an electrical surge, $350 is cheap insurance. YMMV.
Well said (and pretty obvious IMO). The 30 amp version for our FC20 was similarly cost-effective insurance in our view.


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Old 07-11-2016, 03:21 PM   #16
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2015 30' Classic
Pleasanton , California
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Between the fridge, the two TVs, and lights, and electrical connections, the converter, the inverter, and all the other stuff that could suffer from an electrical surge, $350 is cheap insurance
Yep, the same argument applies for the $49 insurance they want for my new washing machine, the $64 they want for my new TV, or the $86 they want for my new laptop. Not all electrical surges or under-voltage events are going to result in a $10K bill so where do you draw the line?

I find it difficult to decide when to break my own rule, so in the last ten years of so I decided to just stick to the plan - no insurance for things I can afford to replace. There's another thread regarding the value of TPMS that I find interesting. dkottum points out that he'd rather buy good quality tires than purchasing the TPMS monitor. I too have considered adding a TPMS monitor but came to the same conclusion. I tell myself should I really be adding a system that I have to constantly monitor, setup and tear-down when I take out the RV, to identify an unlikely event that shouldn't occur very often with my Michelin LTX tires? No, but who knows, maybe a $10K event will happen soon and I'll be joining in!

Al, K6IV
2015 30' Classic, "Chez Nu"
2014 RAM 2500 w/Cummins Diesel
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Old 07-11-2016, 03:36 PM   #17
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Long Island , New York
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Different strokes for different folks, alano, for sure!

The basic point (IMO) is to remain conscious of all the risks and rewards, and to take full personal responsibility for your choices.

Simple stuff, but the payback for inadequate insurance can be a little uncomfortable, in hindsight.

The phrase "I did not consider that possibility" is the one I hope to avoid by participating in this forum.

Good luck and Happy Trails !

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Old 07-11-2016, 04:40 PM   #18
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Euless , Texas
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I have the PI 30A inboard with remote digital readout for the past year and love it. I know exactly the voltage and amps coming in and it shuts off and notes errors. In the past year it has shut power off due to ground fault twice and low voltage several times at campgrounds so I feel it has paid for itself in saving my A/C. I really like being able to monitor the voltage and amperage from inside and I have it mounted next to my Trimetric meter so have I both 12v and 120v digital readouts together.
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Old 07-11-2016, 04:56 PM   #19
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1995 25' Excella
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I have Camco Power Defender....Yeah, it's doesn't offer the best surge protection...However, recently it shut the power to my trailer due to low voltage 4 times on a hot day in a fully booked park. I felt better about my AC knowing it detected low voltage. The 150 bucks I paid for it didn't cause me to lose any sleep.
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Old 07-11-2016, 06:04 PM   #20
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1987 32' Excella
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I opted for the portable. I did not want to go to the trouble and expense of hardwiring in a unit and since I have 2 trailers I can use it on both of them. I will take it to Fl for the trailer that stays on site down there and then put it in the truck for the summer travel.
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Old 07-11-2016, 06:17 PM   #21
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El Dorado Hills , California
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I bought the external Progressive Industries low voltage protector, mainly for the AC. Figured the cost to replace, not to mention my time and transport cost for repair (day to haul, day to haul back from dealer) me than makes up for a couple hundred bucks.
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Old 07-11-2016, 08:24 PM   #22
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Trenton , Georgia
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Thanks to everyone for your comments. Much appreciated. Bought a cheap one Camping World sells when I picked up my AS in FL. Does not protect against low voltage so I'll take the majority's advice and get the full featured PI portable EMS-PT30C. Chief concern of portable was theft but will take my chances.

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Old 07-11-2016, 09:40 PM   #23
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Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
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Originally Posted by alano View Post
But we'll never know if not having the additional losses created by having the TRC unit in the first place would have resulted in $10,000 of damage.

Lew, I expect you have many war stories to tell, but I suspect there are many folks like me who don't bother with these systems and enjoy problem-free Airstreaming

It's true that there isn't that level of electrical components in a stock Airstream trailer. The incident I mentioned was in a high-end Country Coach motor home and a floating neutral in the power post decided to float a bit more than normal and sent 240VAC right thru the bypassed TRC and into the coach, blowing out the inverter/charger, batteries, transfer switch, 3 TVs, 2 A/C units and a microwave.

The smell sure wasn't pretty, and the owner sure wasn't happy about it.

Like it was stated in one of the don't really need it.....until you do.
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:06 AM   #24
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2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Bellevue , Washington
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SPDs (Surge Protection Devices) work best when they are right at service entrance. They need the lowest impedance path to the safety ground. Just a foot or two of wire can substantially reduce their effectiveness. Or inversely stated as this graph shows, the amount of let-through voltage:

Assuming there is an earth ground at the campground breaker, then that is where you want to put the unit (i.e. use a portable one). Putting it in the trailer would hugely reduce their value.

Note that no such device can guard against "lightning." Real lightning has so much power that these little devices have no prayer of protecting you against it. Their usefulness is to shunt surges created by heavy machinery, and such. I guess in RV situations this might be the A/C in your neighboring lot so some value may be there.

Also note that many of of your electronic devices come with built-in "surge protection." Additional ones far away from earth ground really doesn't do much.

I have one of the PI portable units but the only reason is for diagnostic purposes. I don't count on it doing a thing for surges.

Net, net, buy and use these devices because they make you feel good. Not because they do much .
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Old 07-12-2016, 01:00 AM   #25
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2016 30' Classic
Santa Rosa , California
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I picked up a PT50C (50amp model) for only $299 on Amazon about 4 months ago. Looks like they are selling for $314 (10% off) plus free shipping right now.
Happy Trails,
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Old 07-12-2016, 03:27 AM   #26
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2015 30' FB FC Bunk
Ayer , Massachusetts
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I had the Surge 50 amp unit installed in my trailer prior to delivery. Simply the best thing I did.

Forget about lightning for a minute, if you think you are hooking up to good power 100% of the time you are wrong.

The thing checks the power six ways to Sunday, we have found issues a number of times and avoided them all together.
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:17 AM   #27
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Green Cove Springs , Florida
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If armchair quarterbacking our decision to buy and use this kind of protection helps you feel better about not doing the same yourself, that's fine with us. We have no regrets and would much rather fry a disposable box of circuitry than the systems in our trailer. Each must do what's best for them.

Thanks, and happy camping!

Originally Posted by alano View Post
Rocinante illustrates an example why sometimes adding protection and voltage regulation can unfortunately result in a less reliable system. When you add additional components, you're introducing loss in the system which results in a small voltage drop due to the connections and internal switches inside the protection device and voltage regulator. It easy to imagine a situation where the voltage sag during compressor turn-on would trip the under-voltage indicator and be perfectly fine had there been no protection device.

I tend to view these devices like insurance and my motto is that it's usually not worth buying insurance for things you can afford to pay for yourself. Sure, there may be times when these devices save you from a costly event, but I'm willing to take my chances and pay for any damage should the unfortunate occur. I suspect I'm not the only one.

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(Named for John Steinbeck's camper from "Travels With Charley")

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