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Old 07-07-2018, 09:03 AM   #1
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Is a surge protector needed?

I did a search through the forum and didn't seem to find this addressed so..

Our dealer did not think a surge protector was really needed. He said in his umptididdle years of selling Airstreams, personal experience, etc. he'd never heard of anyone actually having an issue from a power surge.

So my question to the group, have you or someone you directly know ever had an actual problem from a surge?

Not trying to start a fight here but just trying to decide if I need to spend the money on one.

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:15 AM   #2
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My surge protector also protects against low voltage (which can harm your air conditioner). It activated a couple of times recently and shut down power to the Airstream.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:17 AM   #3
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I have a progressive EMS. Haven't used the surge functionality as far as I'm aware, but definitely caught some miswired outlets, and regularily use the low voltage cutoff when I'm plugged in to the in-laws and my MIL uses the hair dryer when out AC is on. EMS cuts off the power before the breaker trips.

IMO, it's super cheap insurance.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:27 AM   #4
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Hi

Simple answer is that yes you *do* need a surge protector and that an EMS setup (that disconnects on high / low / error voltages ) is well worth the money. There are far to many campsites out there with flaky power. It only takes one problem to cause a very expensive repair. In addition, it pretty much ruins the camping trip ....

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Old 07-07-2018, 09:44 AM   #5
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Do you NEED one. NO. But should you have one. YES. We did not have one and got away with it for years. Early on I just never thought about it but in later years after hearing a few horror stories I did think about it but just never got one. This past winter I bought the bullet and got the EMS from Progressive Ind. A simple surge protector is pretty cheap and good insurance but only from a surge. The EMS is more $$$ but more complete protection from a variety of electrical issues. Simply put better insurance but cost more. In a recent trip it did flip due to a low voltage issue while we were out. I'm glad that I went for it.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:46 AM   #6
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Why would you not get a surge protector?
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:56 AM   #7
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After a Lewster solar install, I picked one up in Quartzite on sale.

I did find an open ground in my current campsite, and I have popped the GCFI with close lightening strikes during monsoon in Flagstaff couple years ago.

I can "see" the need.
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:04 AM   #8
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I only bought one AFTER I lost an air conditioner to poor voltage. Haven't lost one since.

It's a little annoying each spring when I wonder why the air conditioner won't work. Until I remember that the surge protector takes a minute or two to verify the voltage is OK.

I have 50a service, but I only use the EMS on the circuit to the air conditioner. Anything else I could lose on the other circuits is cheaper than a 50a surge protector.
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brick1 View Post
Why would you not get a surge protector?
. . .
Exactly!

With an overall investment way north of $100,000, why run the risk of ruining lots of things to save less than a 1% up-charge?



Risks>Rewards.

Simple IMO
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:19 AM   #10
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Hi brick1,

As stated in my question our dealer did not think we needed one. Perhaps he did not sell them... Also, the expense of it and having yet another thing to have to store, carry, and set up.

Wondering if anyone had any real stories of damage, etc., not just what they have heard or common accepted practice. Seems like a no brainer to have such a unit I'm sure, but I've never had a whole house protection circuit and in over 30 years of home ownership never had a single problem due to line surges, low voltage, etc.

The voltage regulation to protect the AC and flaky wiring issues at campgrounds seems like a good argument in favor of having one. Hearing actual stories of encountering low voltage situations lends weight to the argument to have a unit. On another forum I found a guy who had to replace his AC due to low voltage.

Steve
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:26 AM   #11
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Is a surge protector needed?

Our original A/C got fried because of undetected low voltage. Son lived in it for a year while he went to school in Texas. His Insurance paid for it, but it was a pain that was unnecessary.
IMHO an EMS that checks for low voltage is a darn good idea.
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:26 AM   #12
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Mine shut the power off recently for an open ground on my garage circuit. You can put it in bypass but make sure the voltage is not low.
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:28 AM   #13
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Thanks!

So saw Mark's post that happened while I was posting. He lost an AC unit. This is the kind of info I was looking for.

I'm convinced now to go ahead and get a unit.

I'll search the forum for recommended/favored units and probably will have some additional questions.

My problem is we're on the road now and are living in our Airstream, so buying something mail order is a bit of a problem.

Thanks for everyone's input.

Steve
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:28 AM   #14
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Is a surge protector needed?

Yup. A voltmeter always connected on the 120 volt AC circuit is a good idea as well.
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Old 07-07-2018, 11:00 AM   #15
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I went without one for years with no issues. My dealer also said it wasnt necessary, your unit is equipped with "breakers" that will protect you. On a whim I bought a fairly inexpensive, entry level surge protector as added insurance. Murphy's Law, big surge while at a popular KOA, fried the cheapo protector and 2 TVs. I thought that at least if I had some protection it would be better than none at all but I was mistaken. I now have a Progressive EMS-PT30X. Made in the USA and very highly rated as one of the best. There is a big difference between an electrical management system (EMS) and a simple surge protector. Not cheap, but much cheaper that many of the AS components that can be damaged by a miriade of electrical calamities. Do your research, then make an informed decision.
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Old 07-07-2018, 11:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane View Post
I only bought one AFTER I lost an air conditioner to poor voltage. Haven't lost one since.

It's a little annoying each spring when I wonder why the air conditioner won't work. Until I remember that the surge protector takes a minute or two to verify the voltage is OK.

I have 50a service, but I only use the EMS on the circuit to the air conditioner. Anything else I could lose on the other circuits is cheaper than a 50a surge protector.


Like TVs, microwaves, stereos and such? That must be one expensive surge protector.
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Old 07-07-2018, 11:19 AM   #17
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You don't need one until you need one.
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Old 07-07-2018, 11:30 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by stevejones View Post
Hi brick1,

As stated in my question our dealer did not think we needed one. Perhaps he did not sell them... Also, the expense of it and having yet another thing to have to store, carry, and set up.

Wondering if anyone had any real stories of damage, etc., not just what they have heard or common accepted practice. Seems like a no brainer to have such a unit I'm sure, but I've never had a whole house protection circuit and in over 30 years of home ownership never had a single problem due to line surges, low voltage, etc.

The voltage regulation to protect the AC and flaky wiring issues at campgrounds seems like a good argument in favor of having one. Hearing actual stories of encountering low voltage situations lends weight to the argument to have a unit. On another forum I found a guy who had to replace his AC due to low voltage.

Steve

I have a friend who is a full time RV’er. His 5th wheel was hit by lightning, burned everything up. He now has a Progressive Industries surge protector. He has been hit twice since, surge protector took the hit. No camper damage.
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Old 07-07-2018, 11:41 AM   #19
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You don't need it................until you do.
I also have a fire extinguisher that I've never used, and a first aid kit full of bandages!
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Old 07-07-2018, 11:48 AM   #20
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[/COLOR]

Like TVs, microwaves, stereos and such? That must be one expensive surge protector.
TV - about $150
Microwave - about $100
Whats a stereo?

We're not full timers. Leave the good stuff at home.
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