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Old 07-11-2014, 05:18 PM   #15
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
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Modern electronics are sensitive and expensive, so a surge protector is good insurance. As said, the A/C is also susceptible. At first we used the little ones that plug into the wall receptacle, but they are not very good. I broke down and bought a Surge Guard. You have a couple of choices (besides 30 vs. 50 amp—you would use a 30 amp for your trailer). I bought the one that is designed for placing in a small closet in a MH (didn't think about that at the time). I had to wire it into the system inside and screw it to the bed support. There's little room to do that work and even less to fit a 5'10" human on the floor to do the work. I had one leg wrapped around the end of the bed and the other one had no where to go except over my head or crunched up somehow. Not a very good choice, but I got it done. It works fine, but I'll never make that mistake again. But the ones that attach to the electric pedestal are better for trailers and you can buy some sort of lock for them. No wiring necessary. The only problem with one outside is that if the power goes out in a thunderstorm in the middle of the night, do you really want to go outside to check it? That was why I bought the one I did, but the better answer is to pull the covers over your head and go back to sleep.

You can also get a voltage meter and plug it into a wall receptacle. You'll have to watch it all the time and if a surge is coming, you'll have to instantly disconnect everything before the meter shows the surge. A meter is a good idea, but all it will tell you that's useful is if the voltage is too low or too high, still useful information.

I know it is commonly said campgrounds can have bad power, but I've never had a problem. When camped in northern Canada where the electricity came from an old campground generator, I wondered about the power, but had no problems (and no need for A/C). Long ago I lost 2 TV's and a cordless phone when lightning hit our wellhead and the surge went to the house (fortunately not the pump). That was before anyone used surge protectors. I love surge protectors even if they are rarely needed.

A Surge Guard costs $200-250 though Camping World has sales from time to time. My computer, my wife's computer, my iPad, a printer, a microwave and the TV cost a lot more.


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Old 07-11-2014, 05:26 PM   #16
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At first I did not use one but now I never leave home without it. IN fact I even hook it up when at home. My thought process is like buying bumpers for a boat. The Boat cost thousands of dollar but without the bumpers you subject it to scratches and gouges and worse case scenario expensive repairs. Your AS is expensive so a couple of hundred dollars to protect the circuits is in my opinion well worth the expensive.

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Old 07-11-2014, 06:32 PM   #17
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Thoughts on using a surge guard?

Mine protects also from open neutral - incorrect polarity, surges , low and high voltage .....

Seems simple enough and necessary for protection

Arguments against cite that there is unlikely to be a problem so waste of money - but no data there - whereas anecdotes galore for voltage drops - surges - open neutrals Etc on various forums

My neighbors before buying one recently had an appliance damaged with respect to a surge
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:34 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Matthew014 View Post
I've never had any issues with my 2004 Safari's electrical system and I'm curious how common the use of surge guards are? Any thoughts on this?
My thoughts are that you probably don't need one. I have been Airstreaming for more than ten years now and haven't needed one. Come to think of it, right offhand, I don't know any of my Airstreaming friends who uses one. (Aside from forum friends, that is.)

The $250 surge protectors protect you from a variety of power problems, most of which you probably don't actually need protection from.

Transient surges and lightning protection: Easy enough to unplug your computer during a thunderstorm.

If you would like to incorporate transient overvoltage protection into your Airstream you can hard wire a heavy-duty surge protector into your breaker box. They mount in a standard knockout and cost less than $50, for example this one:

SQUARE D SDSA1175 1PH 3W SURGE ARRESTER | Gordon Electric Supply, Inc.

Undervoltage protection: The need for brownout protection of AC motors has been recognized for at least 30 or 40 years. I assume that current generation RV air conditioners incorporate brownout protection; I know that $100 window units do.

By all means buy a plug-in AC Voltmeter (less than $20) to keep track of what the campground power is doing.

AC Voltage Meter - Four Corners JL-010204-01 - Voltage Monitors - Camping World

If the line voltage is lugging down to 90 Volts when your air conditioner starts, probably ought to shut off the air conditioner.

Open neutral protection: Only applicable to big motor homes and trailers with a 240 Volt, 50 Amp connection. On a trailer with a 120 Volt, 30 Amp connection, the neutral is one side of your power line. If you have an open neutral you have no power.

Originally Posted by Matthew014 View Post
I understand it is to monitor the campground power source. I was just making the statement that I haven't had any problems due to poor quality campground power.

What my dilemma really boils down to is.....even if the surge protector goes off, what are my options? With my campsite all set up with kids, dogs, wifey all having fun....and the power is cut in the Florida sun! I will call the campground office to complain......then remove the surge protector to get the A/C working again.

That's the essence of the problem. All the protectors can do is shut off the power if they're not happy with it, and I suspect that you end up with more nuisance trips than protection.

But if the peace of mind of having a gadget watching your incoming power is worth the purchase price to you, go for it.
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:43 PM   #19
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Since I have a moho with optional 50 amps, and also spent many years dealing with power quality, I installed the hard wired Progressive at the input. I consider it insurance: each of us has to do a risk assessment and decide what to insure, a cost/risk/benefit analysis. I have to much stuff plugged in, and do not want to risk low voltage in the afternoon frying my a/c.

I have no idea if it has helped, but will have to replace some components: when I plug in to a 15 amp 120v circuit at home it sometimes shows low voltage on one phase, but: there is only one phase! A vigorous tap on the unit resets the sensing circuit so a board swap should fix it.
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Old 07-12-2014, 04:35 AM   #20
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one big advantage to the surge protector is that it is automatic. both at home and in the trailer i leave a small UPS (Uninterruptible power supply - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) plugged in because i like that they beep when things go wrong. some give info such as voltage and frequency. i have a plug in volt meter but it only works when i'm looking at it ;-)
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Old 07-12-2014, 05:38 AM   #21
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I use a surge protector also but I installed the hard wired unit. IMHO the cords on the pedestal unit is so short it does not allow for a plug replacement. I've had to replace two shore cord plugs previously due to failing outlets on the pedestal.
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Old 07-12-2014, 06:07 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by GCinSC2 View Post
I use a surge protector also but I installed the hard wired unit. IMHO the cords on the pedestal unit is so short it does not allow for a plug replacement. I've had to replace two shore cord plugs previously due to failing outlets on the pedestal.
I'm starting to thing the hardwired unit is a good idea myself :-(

I've bungeed my replacement unit to the power pole to prevent it from the mismatch.
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:48 AM   #23
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The hardwired unit may be a good idea but be sure to have a method to bypass the unit if necessary. For instance, the hardwired unit could fail and you'd need a temporary means of connecting to power.

I decided to go with the portable unit that connects at the pedestal. So far so good but I've only used it a few times. I can imagine there will be a situation where it does not interface properly with the pedestal so I plan to use a short pigtail to put the surge protector a few feet down the line. Of course that adds another connector to the system and each connector has the potential for failure, overheating, arcing, etc. but that's my backup plan for now when the pedestal doesn't cooperate.
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:20 AM   #24
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Ironically, last night the power went off. It had rained all evening with one thunderstorm after another going over. At about 2:30 am I woke up to hear the rear fan going. It had turned off when it started raining and we had never turned it off, so I got up and turned it off. Then I turned on the ceramic heater to warm up the trailer a little and nothing happened. The light on the microwave was out too. The light on the Surge Guard was off. I decided going outside to check the breaker on the pedestal was not worth it and went back to bed. At about 7 Barb went out and flipped the breaker to see if it made a difference; it didn't. At 8 am, the power came back on.

Did the Surge Guard save anything? I'll never know but I glad it was there. That the pedestal breaker didn't turn off means nothing—a surge can be so fast and short the breaker may not react even if it should.

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Old 07-20-2014, 09:50 AM   #25
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Just a quick how-I-did-it on securing my Surge Guard. I used two 3/4 inch cushioned p-clamps and bolted them together, and then cinched the bolt. It's not high grade theft protection, but it'll cable-lock to the pole and might just be enough theft-deterrent to do the trick. IMHO, if the thief wants something bad enough, they're gonna get it anyway.

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Old 07-24-2016, 01:11 PM   #26
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Looks like I am late to this party. Is there a theft device and would I use a surge protector with a generator?

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Old 07-24-2016, 01:35 PM   #27
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I did not use one for the first 10 years with the trailer. I did monitor voltage and grounds. We did have caravan leaders with surge protectors/monitors tell us not to use the power a few times. I bought one early this summer at the International rally and use it now. One thing I like is that it has a delay of 2.5 min or so before it resets if the power trips. That delay is supposed to protect the AC if it trips and reconnects while it is starting. I had a home AC go out under those conditions. Easy enough to just plug in the surge protector and then the cord. I am not smart enough to read the codes on the one I have so I will not even look at it unless the power goes out. I still have my little $15 meter plugged in in the trailer to check voltage. I was disappointed that I could not use the cheaper model to leave on my trailer in Fl when we are not there. The smaller models seem to act more as a fuse that a resetting surge protector and the company advised against using it in that application. Everything is off in the trailer except the dehumidifier we keep running.

Yes there is a theft protector. About 25 bucks I think. I bought it but so far have not used it. According to the company representative you do not use the surge projector when running your generator.
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Old 07-24-2016, 01:45 PM   #28
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Newer threads FYI:

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