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Old 08-16-2010, 05:34 PM   #1
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Where on airstream would you install an on board surge guard?

I would like to protect my AS after a bad power experience and have started to look at the surge guards.

I have a few questions and hope y'all can help me with them:

1. If you buy the on board model, where would this get installed on my airstream? (I have a 2008 safari 23FB).

2. If I buy a 50 amp model, can I use it with either 50 amp or 30 amp outlets in the campsite?


Here is a link to one model of the 50 amp on board surge guard:
50 Amp Permanent Permanent Mounted RV Surge Guard

Thanks everyone!
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:18 PM   #2
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Their website might answer your questions......

30A Hardwire | Technology Research Corporation
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:39 PM   #3
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a few of the relevant threads...

the genuine experts here suggest it's NOT needed...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/...such-9834.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/...ors-11922.html

but others use'm...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f368...tor-39986.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/...sor-36800.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...ard-57351.html

what exactly was the "bad power experience" ?

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Old 08-16-2010, 10:54 PM   #4
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I've been advocating a peruvian goatskin as a better alternative to surge protectors - lighter, cheaper, easier to install, with protection that people have trusted for generations. Kidding aside, the weight expense hassle for surge protection devices IMO exceeds the weight expense and hassle of replacing any blown up stuff that the surge protector would have saved. Not all blowups can be prevented by a surge protector, not all beepy flashy power events fussed over by the surge protector would have done any actual damage, and a really nasty power problem will blow up the surge protector along with everything else so you have one more thing to replace.

That said, to answer your question, in most cases you would want to mount one inside near the shore power breaker panel, in an Airstream, because unlike SOBs that have a dedicated shore power cord locker, Airstreams have the Marinco inlet, which doesn't waste enough space to allow some to be recovered to make room for the surge device.

This detracts from the surge protector experience in that you cannot have the satisfaction of taking in all the blinky beepy bling while plugging in your shore power cord. Well, you can't have everything, I guess.
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:18 AM   #5
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Surge protectors have a legitimate application protecting electronics from fairly weak spikes caused by nearby (but not direct) lightning strikes. That's about it. The typical "bad power" situations (open neutral, high line conditions, phase missing on a 3-phase causing the single phase circuit you get to be high by 50-60%) are untouched by surge protectors. My advice would be to buy a voltmeter and check the outlet before you plug in. Plug in a test load like a small electric heater or a 200 watt bulb and see that you get the same voltage from phase to neutral and phase to ground, and nothing from neutral to ground, under load. If your hookup passes that test it will probably be fine. A surge protector can't hurt but it doesn't fix the problems we typically see. Jammer's comment about any real surges blowing up the surge protector is correct -- you don't want to carry what it takes to protect against all "bad power" conditions.

Also, older Airstreams do typically have a power cord locker and who knows what for wiring between there and the breaker panel.

And yes, a 50 amp model will work for a 30 amp hookup.
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:20 AM   #6
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This is what we use.

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping...rge-guard/2279

Power surges, and just as important low voltage, can cause damage to the circuit board in the A/C and other electronics. We used our Airstream for just over a year when it was new and our circuit board went out. The technician thought it was probably from inadequate current. The first year we camped at one campground almost exclusively and there were times that the circuit breaker on the post would trip...this was during the heat of a Florida summer and was before we bought the surge guard. It has shut off power to the trailer on two different occasions at two different campgrounds and returned power to the trailer when acceptable power conditions returned. The unit is portable and lightweight and stores in our rear trunk storage. While not much more than replacing a circuit board, I can tell you it is worth the price because our A/C went out over Labor Day Weekend at (different) Florida beach campground leaving us with no A/C over a HOT weekend. Not to mention the inconvenience of having to take the trailer to a repair shop and go back later to pick it up. This type product won't protect against catastrophic events like direct lightning strike, but then few things will, but it will take care of the usual issues you will face.

Their description is:
Quote:
Surge Guard offers total protection with three individual safety circuits. No installation--just plug it in. Checks power pedestal for damaging mis-wire conditions and has warning indicator for reverse polarity, dangerous current on ground wire and pedestal mis-wire. Solid state (full mode) surge protection. Automatic over and under voltage protection. Weather-resistant.
Plus, it is currently on sale.
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonginator View Post
I would like to protect my AS after a bad power experience and have started to look at the surge guards.

I have a few questions and hope y'all can help me with them:

1. If you buy the on board model, where would this get installed on my airstream? (I have a 2008 safari 23FB).

2. If I buy a 50 amp model, can I use it with either 50 amp or 30 amp outlets in the campsite?


Here is a link to one model of the 50 amp on board surge guard:
50 Amp Permanent Permanent Mounted RV Surge Guard

Thanks everyone!
Square D sells one that will mount onto your box for about $120. Check with your local electrician or distribitor. The big box stores will not have it.
I have one on my trailer and my house.
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Old 08-17-2010, 11:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate View Post
This is what we use.

Portable Surge Guard - Product - Camping World

Power surges, and just as important low voltage, can cause damage to the circuit board in the A/C and other electronics. We used our Airstream for just over a year when it was new and our circuit board went out. The technician thought it was probably from inadequate current.
That is the typical story people tell, which surge protector makers just love.

Technicians like to blame surges and campground wiring because it deflects blame from the product they sold you. What the tech says sounds plausible and most people find it hard to refute. I doubt very much if "inadequate current" had anything to do with the circuit board failure. I would imagine that it was a manufacturing defect.

Quote:
The first year we camped at one campground almost exclusively and there were times that the circuit breaker on the post would trip...this was during the heat of a Florida summer and was before we bought the surge guard. It has shut off power to the trailer on two different occasions at two different campgrounds and returned power to the trailer when acceptable power conditions returned.
The fact that the unit shut off power does not mean that damage would have occurred had it not done so.
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
The fact that the unit shut off power does not mean that damage would have occurred had it not done so.
Of course this is true. It just means that it was functioning as it was designed to. However, repeated under power could damage the system. Supposedly, under current will damage the A/C compressor. I'm no electrician, electrical engineer, or other electrical expert as you are so what you are saying is plausible, I guess.

BTW, the technician that replaced the board wasn't at the dealership where we purchased our Airstream; that dealership was in another state. The dealership where the board was replaced was the one that Airstream in J.C. recommended.
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:30 AM   #10
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surge protection

Thanks for all of the thoughtful responses.

We were at a campground that had erratic power - lots of others were having issues with their A/C and while there, our water pump and systems monitor panel went out and stopped working.

I did buy an outlet tester and also now have a voltmeter. Just trying to avoid this again if we can.

Appreciate all of the input.

If there are any other simple suggested steps for testing the outlet before plugging in, I'd love to know them. I am not an electrician so would have to be simple!
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:34 AM   #11
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voltmeter

Quote:
Originally Posted by dljosephson View Post
Surge protectors have a legitimate application protecting electronics from fairly weak spikes caused by nearby (but not direct) lightning strikes. That's about it. The typical "bad power" situations (open neutral, high line conditions, phase missing on a 3-phase causing the single phase circuit you get to be high by 50-60%) are untouched by surge protectors. My advice would be to buy a voltmeter and check the outlet before you plug in. Plug in a test load like a small electric heater or a 200 watt bulb and see that you get the same voltage from phase to neutral and phase to ground, and nothing from neutral to ground, under load. If your hookup passes that test it will probably be fine. A surge protector can't hurt but it doesn't fix the problems we typically see. Jammer's comment about any real surges blowing up the surge protector is correct -- you don't want to carry what it takes to protect against all "bad power" conditions.

Also, older Airstreams do typically have a power cord locker and who knows what for wiring between there and the breaker panel.

And yes, a 50 amp model will work for a 30 amp hookup.

Thanks for the advice - but I am not an electrician. "Phase to neutral" and "Neutral to ground"? How would I check this with the voltmeter? Are there indicators for each on the voltmeter? Is there a laymen's way of describing this?
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonginator View Post
...We were at a campground that had erratic power - lots of others were having issues with their A/C and while there, our water pump and systems monitor panel went out and stopped working...
the water pump and systems monitor are 12volt only.

so even while PLUGGED IN they are powered by 12v (battery or converter) not 120/ac power.

does 'erratic power' mean voltage fluctuations?

it's very common for some rv parks/campgrounds...

to have continuous or intermittent LOW voltage or 'brown outs' during HIGH airconditioner usage.

many of the older campgrounds or older state parks simply aren't wired for HEAVY juice use.

the simplest way to monitor for this is with a 24/7 plugged in gizmo that provides a visual readout of the voltage.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f314...ars-61076.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...elp-33986.html

LOW voltage is a real issue and far more common/risky that lightning strikes or spikes.

awareness is key cuz ANYday that's hot in an rv park/campground may be a day of low voltage.

the same is true in cooler seasons IF everyone is trying to 'get their moneys worth'...

by using space heaters or heat pumps INSTEAD of the lpgas heating.

IF you absolutely must use rely on shore electricity and want to avoid LOW voltage situations,

and can't MOVE to another park, and CLEANING the connectors/changing sites doesn't help ...

the so called autoformers DO work, but they are expensive.

FOLLOW THE LINKS in post #3 here...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...ard-57351.html

allofthesetopics (surge protection, low voltage, autoformers/voltage regulators) have many many threads.

some are worth reading, others not so much.

be sure to REGULARLY inspect the 30 amp CORD for signs of heat 2ndary to low voltage...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/...his-43466.html

cheers
2air'
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Old 08-19-2010, 03:41 PM   #13
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If there are any other simple suggested steps for testing the outlet before plugging in, I'd love to know them. I am not an electrician so would have to be simple!
I have one of these and while it is only accurate to the nearest 5 volts or so it provides some idea what the voltage is. It stays plugged in the galley, I don't check the shore power plug before I plug in.

I check it after hooking up shore power and after firing up the element on the water heater, the A/C, or the electric heat. Anything below 95 or above 135 volts is cause for investigation.
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Old 08-19-2010, 03:52 PM   #14
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We were at a campground that had erratic power - lots of others were having issues with their A/C and while there, our water pump and systems monitor panel went out and stopped working.
Do not be too quick to blame the shore power for the problems.

RV air conditioners are flaky. Brand new ones are flaky and they get worse with time. On a hot day in a busy campground with 100s of RVs lots of people are going to complain about "issues" with their A/C no matter what the voltage at the pedestal is. The real "issues" may be that the A/C is too small, or has clogged filters or coils, or a corroded fan bearing, or is leaking refrigerant, or has a shorted winding in the compressor because the manufacturer saved a buck or two by using smaller wire than was wise, or is now home to a small family of mice which lined their nest using pieces of insulation. Hopefully foam insulation, not insulation from the wires.

Any problem with your water pump and systems monitor is unrelated to shore power because anything wrong with the shore power will not get past the batteries.
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