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Old 07-10-2014, 05:01 PM   #1
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Thoughts on using a surge guard?

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?


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Old 07-10-2014, 05:51 PM   #2
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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?


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The problem isn't with the trailer it is the campground power! I use one every time I hook up. I don't see too many of them around the campgrounds tho.

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Old 07-10-2014, 06:04 PM   #3
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Wouldn't be without it! Was at a campground that didn't manage its power properly. When too little voltage was being sent, my surge protector shut things down before any damage could be done to electronics in the trailer. You just never know how things are wired. Always cheap insurance. Good luck!
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:09 PM   #4
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I recently bought a Progressive Industries PT30C 30 Amp Portable Electrical Management System (surge protector) from Amazon. I used it at home while I was setting up my FC 25 for a trip for about 5 days. The first night of our trip our 120v power went out and all that showed up on the surge protector's display was "-----". I removed the surge protector and plugged into the campground power with no problem. I returned the unit for a refund. I don't know if it's worth another try. The unit cost $250 and lasted about two weeks.
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:13 PM   #5
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Hi from AZ. . . I agree, pretty cheap insurance. Some parks have old or substandard wiring systems, or get overloaded running all those A/C's. Frying the AS electronics/electrical would be VERY expensive. . . Regards, Craig
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:06 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:43 PM   #7
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I use a surge guard primarily to protect the electronic components in the trailer in case of a voltage spike, just like I use surge protectors on my electronic components at home. These can occur if the power goes out and is suddenly restored, and can also be caused by lightning, regardless of the quality of your power source.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:47 PM   #8
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Ok, I'll bite on this. I've never used one, so that in mind, recommendations? Thanks.
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:25 PM   #9
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Ok, I'll bite on this. I've never used one, so that in mind, recommendations? Thanks.
http://www.technorv.com/mobile/Produ...e=PG-EMS-PT30C

Progressive - this is a link to their 30 portable. There's 30s and 50s, portable and hardwired. I went 30 portable. Bought from TechnoRV - I'm not affiliated but love their service and newsletters. Very happy with the product an that company.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:02 PM   #10
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@ CA Streamer, if I buy one that would be my rational.
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:05 PM   #11
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I use one of these. It seemed to have the best spike rating (6500amps) and highest Joules rating (2450) for the price. Portable Surge Guards With LCD Display - 30 Amp - TRC 34730-001-LCD - Surge Protectors - Camping World

On a side note, I also made a locking cable for it so I can lock it to the power post. Helps to deter theft as they are rather pricey.
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:20 AM   #12
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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.
You can also burn up your a/c compressor by trying to run it on low power. Pretty expensive to replace an a/c unit. The suppressor is a lot cheaper. Most campground owners can't/won't do much about their crappy power. We were camped at a state park and the power went out, took two days for it to get fully repaired. Had something to do with transformers and the feed line into the park.

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Old 07-11-2014, 05:10 AM   #13
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Use one every time, just last weekend as the remnants of Andrew blew by while in Cape Cod the campground had a surge, those near me that had them were fine, but a few tripped some internal breakers with two folks loosing TV & Audio components.
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:29 PM   #14
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Apparently I cursed myself!


VERY IMPORTANT - make absolutely sure the surge protector is well connected at the power post. My surge protector shut off 3 times in a half hour so I went to the office to complain. They looked at it and showed me some melting plastic on my surge protector. Apparently it was pushing away from the post an not fully engaged so it was arcing and that's what was shutting off the protector. Had to run to an RV place and get a replacement (Camco, not Progressive Dynamics...). I have this one strapped in with a tight bungee cord. Oh well. Still better than a day in the office :-)
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:18 PM   #15
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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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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.

Quote:
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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