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Old 02-10-2013, 05:31 PM   #1
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Surge Protection

I just finished installing a new PD9245 converter in my '73 Argosy 20' (thanks for everyone's help on guiding me through the installation!) Now I realize I want to protect it from possible surges, but I don't want to spend $200-$300 for an RV surge protector. Pretty much everything on the trailer I use goes through the converter, and anything that doesn't go through the converter gets plugged in after I'm already hooked up at the campground. So I think really all I need to do is protect my 12v system.
My question is, can I buy a simple surge protector (here's a link to what I would purchase Tripp Lite 2-outlet, Direct Plug-in, 1410 joules Isobar Surge Suppressor- Direct plug-in surge, spike and line noise protection (ISOBLOK2-0) ) and plug the converter in to it? The specs on the converter indicate it draws 105-130 volts and 725 watts. So if Amps = watts/volts, it should only draw 6.59 amps at 110 volts, well within the 15 amp rating of the surge protector - correct, or is my logic flawed?
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:30 PM   #2
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I think you are right on. Great idea. I'm going to have to do some research myself on this "must have" accessory.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:55 PM   #3
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A serge protector will possibly protect the PD converter/charger from damage. However, if you are concerned about serge issues on the 12 volt side, there are not any to begin with, as far as I know. The battery itself becomes a huge regulating force and even if a spike did get through the PD converter/charger, it would be neutralized by the house battery.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
A serge protector will possibly protect the PD converter/charger from damage. However, if you are concerned about serge issues on the 12 volt side, there are not any to begin with, as far as I know. The battery itself becomes a huge regulating force and even if a spike did get through the PD converter/charger, it would be neutralized by the house battery.
I think this is correct. I think you want to protect the 110V outlets in the AS. Many will argue that most TVs...etc. are protected within....and I can't argue that, but the RV protectors also guard against low and high line voltages. I have personally found this to be a more frequent problem than surges. But is is also nice to know there is surge protection. As stated above, your idea will protect the converter only.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:27 PM   #5
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A refrigerator costs far more than a converter. Doesn't it need protection also?
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
A refrigerator costs far more than a converter. Doesn't it need protection also?
My refrigerator runs off of either 12v or propane, so if I've got the converter protected, then the refrigerator is protected (according to my logic). I think the only appliance that wouldn't be protected in my case is the AC, so I'll have to throw the circuit breaker to the off position. Not a big deal to me as I rarely if ever use AC.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:30 PM   #7
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With all the expensive stuff I have in my TT, I think it's short sighted to go cheap, and not give that stuff the best protection you can.

I installed one of these, that I got from Best Converters.
EMS-HW30C 30 Amp Hardwired EMS with Remote Display

I think it's cheap insurance.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:34 AM   #8
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Well I woke up at around 3 this morning and realized I said that my refrigerator ran on 12v! It's a 2 way, so it runs on propane or 110 AC, so some type of protection is needed for it. Dang.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:24 PM   #9
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RV Surge Protectors

$89
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:17 PM   #10
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But surges aren't the only problems, high or low cycles, high or low voltage, open neutrals, open grounds. All these things can screw up your stuff. I agree that a surge suppressor is essential, but I also believe in protecting myself from these other threats. That's why a good power protection system was the first upgrade I made when I got my AS.

My Airstream is expensive, I don't believe in going cheap to protect it.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
A refrigerator costs far more than a converter. Doesn't it need protection also?
The main reason for a surge protector is to protect an electronic circuit board from a spike in the supply voltage. That would be the 120volts in your rv. So anything and everything that has a circuit board should be protected. Like a TV, computer, microwave oven, your rv power converter. Newer refr's have a board. even some blenders have boards in them.
The actual part in a surge protector that does the protecting is a mov ( metal oxide veristor). The mov is not a resettable part. So the outlet strip most of us buy for our electronics is really a one time shot. The reset button on it is not the surge protection but is only a circuit breaker ( amperage only). So if a power surge happens and the mov blows and the reset trips, you can reset and think it is still good. However it has lost its surge protection.
So the cost of a whole rv surge protector vs the cost of one or more boards.
BTW most electronic items do not have built in surge protection.
Hope this helps
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:48 PM   #12
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We don't "resort camp" with shore power but the AS is plugged in a lot here at home. We have a history of random supply problems, plus it 'duz get stormy once in awhile when Erie get riled. This has worked well for the last 6 years, not cheep, but the neither is the AS.

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Old 02-11-2013, 03:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DryFly View Post
So I think really all I need to do is protect my 12v system.
You have a battery, right? Maybe two? They provide excellent surge protection, better than most surge protectors.

Quote:

My question is, can I buy a simple surge protector (here's a link to what I would purchase Tripp Lite 2-outlet, Direct Plug-in, 1410 joules Isobar Surge Suppressor- Direct plug-in surge, spike and line noise protection (ISOBLOK2-0) ) and plug the converter in to it? The specs on the converter indicate it draws 105-130 volts and 725 watts. So if Amps = watts/volts, it should only draw 6.59 amps at 110 volts, well within the 15 amp rating of the surge protector - correct, or is my logic flawed?
I will copy my reply to a similar question from a year ago. The Tripp Lite device you mention is of the MOV type:

-------

This comes up from time to time here and on other RV-related forums.

I have a background in physics and electrical engineering though these days I write software for a living.

There are two types of surge protectors for RVs that are on the market. The cheap ones are nothing more than a set of MOVs (metal oxide varistors) connected between power and ground. Those will provide some protection against lightning strikes.

The thing is that shore power connections run underground and are generally supplied by pad-mounted transformers which provide enough inherent protection against lightning that any lightning-related surge will, by the time it gets to your trailer, be weak enough that any electronics you might have present can deal with it. Good quality power supplies have their own MOVs or are otherwise designed to deal with voltage spikes.

At one of my last jobs we had a lab where there was a big red power outlet with warning signs on it and a button you could push to apply surges of varying voltages and durations to it. We tested new products on it just to be sure. We also had, on a similar piece of equipment. an insulated wand designed to provide a carefully calibrated 10,000 volt pulse to whatever it touched, and we'd apply it to all exposed connectors and surfaces.

So I would say that the cheap MOV-only surge protectors don't solve any problem RVers actually have, unless you stay in one of the few remaining campgrounds where the shore power comes to the pedestal via overhead wires.

The autotransformer-type surge protectors additionally provide some compensation for slightly low and high voltage. Hughes Autoformer is the best known brand. These will also disconnect power if the voltage is out of specification. They are heavy and expensive.

In general the input voltage range of the autotransformer devices isn't any wider than what the converter and 120v appliances can accept by themselves. In practice the converter, fridge, microwave, and air conditioner will all run fine on any input voltage between around 100 and 135 volts. I know, I've done it.

The autoformer devices will detect and correct certain overvoltage conditions that result from wiring problems in the campground or in the utility equipment serving the campground. These problems are rare.

I don't recommend surge protectors of any type as I think that the weight, hassle, and dollar cost exceeds the value of the protection they provide.

If you're concerned about your electronics, the best thing to do is run all the electronics from the 12 volt system. The converter and 12v batteries provide much better surge protection, for equipment connected to the 12v system, than even the fancy surge protectors provide for the 120v system.

If you're concerned about damaging your converter, consider replacing it with a Xantrex Truecharge, which is designed to run on any voltage from 90-265 and will shut off by itself if the voltage is too low.

RV technicians like to blame air conditioner failures on "power surges" or low voltage. They find it much more convenient than blaming such failures on shoddy design and workmanship on the part of the manufacturer of the air conditioner. Air conditioners have thermal protectors in them which should prevent damage from undervoltage. Again in practice they'll work fine up to 135 volts or so, maybe more.

I don't have a surge protector on my trailer and doubt if I will ever get one.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:19 PM   #14
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I'll keep beating this dead horse. Surges are not the only threat.

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