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John 09-27-2002 03:08 PM

power boosters
The RV park which I'm spending the winter at in FL has low power (105/106) during the day due to being at the end of the power grid. Too low to run the AC. I purchased an Autoformer power booster and it boosted the power up to 118V. I'm now a believer in this product.
Thought some of you may find this of interest.

john hd 09-27-2002 07:59 PM

doubt it is the "grid", sounds like undersized service wire in the campground.

your buck boost transformer will only make the problem worse (for everone else, not you).

do you have a meter in the campground? or are you connected to their (camp ground) system?

if you have a meter call the power company and make them fix the problem, they should provide 120/240 or 120/208 +/- 5%.
if the system belongs to the campground they need to fix their wiring.

low voltage increases current, that increases heat. that shortens the life of all of your gear.


John 09-27-2002 08:24 PM

I was just sharing a quality product.

john hd 09-27-2002 08:37 PM

i'm not stating that it is not a good product, just uneeded if everything is working the way it should. fix the cause of the problem, then added equipment is not needed.

buck boost transformers are used when nothing else can be done to remedy voltage problems. like when 120/240v systems are converted to 120/208 and the cost of new equipment is out of the question.

but what the heck, if it works use it. at least you noticed the problem and did something about it. most people would have burned up their a.c. compressor and never gave it a second thought!


John 09-28-2002 06:12 AM

It's still very hot and steamy down here, 90 degrees during the day. From 8pm to 6 am, we have 120V in the park, but once the AC demand kicks-in during the day, the power drops off. This is why I am using the Hughes Autoformer to boost the power during peak demand. Now I can use my AC and be comfortable in my AS during the day.

jcanavera 09-28-2002 01:27 PM

We ran into our first low power situation at a Chapter rally this summer. One of our chapter members owns the campground, formerly a KOA and probably needs to do some major renovation of his electrical systems. We were down to about 90 volts at some of the sites.

What does a unit like you bought cost? Is there a rule of thumb as to how much you can boost a site when you run into this situation? Is there a web site to look at these?


John 09-28-2002 02:42 PM

The 30amp model cost $359 @ Camping World (they happen to be giving an additional 10% off this week). It will boost the low voltage by 10% . I was @ 106V prior to plugging in the Autoformer and now I'm @ 118V. The unit is in by-pass over 118Volts. It will boost when the park power drops below 116V. If the park power is really bad (reading below 95), the Autoformer will not have enough power to work and will go into by-pass moded (will not boost). It also has some surge and spike protection.
The campground I'm staying at has old aluminium wiring too. I just started using this yesterday and I haven't been below 109V w/the AC on. I check the voltage with a multi-meter.

John 09-28-2002 03:55 PM

The park's lot size are 50X80 for $250 per month, including taxes. During the winter months there is ample power, only during the hot months does the low voltage situtation occur.

John 11-19-2002 02:16 PM

The Hughes Autoformer died on me last week. My breakers started tripping and my mulit-meter was showing voltage spikes up to 135V, so I went out to look at the booster. I felt it with the back of my hand and it was HOT! I disconnected and everything went back to normal. I called Camping World and they sent me a call-tag to return it for credit only.
I'm lucky tho, because now the power within the park now is normal(no big drains) and we all have good voltage.
Just wanted to share this with you all. John

john hd 11-19-2002 03:13 PM


does the transformer have a rating? it should be in VA(volt amps) or KVA(volt amps x 1000).

sounds like it is too small for your load.

just off the top of my head it should be 5 to 7 KVA.


John 11-19-2002 03:21 PM

two models

They make a 30A & a 50A booster, both 120V. I don't remember the KV max., but Hughes felt that either a MOV went or it got water in it. For $330, I'm happy it died during Camping World's warranty.

john hd 11-19-2002 03:28 PM

is the park you're in served by overhead or underground wires?


John 11-19-2002 03:31 PM

old (installed 20 plus yrs ago) underground aluminium wiring.

john hd 11-19-2002 03:39 PM

at the utility i work at we have al underground wiring that is almost 50 years old. how it was installed makes a large differance as to how long it lasts.

who owns the wire feeding your site? the utility or the campground?

the reason i ask is because your auto transformer may have been affected by an open neutral in the service wires.


John 11-19-2002 03:45 PM

the campground owns the wires and they are always out fixing shorts. Last winter we had only single phase(half of the outlets worked) for a few days due to a line burning up underground. It's a nice park. A beautiful natural spring which flows millions of gallons of water per day. The lots are 50X80 and it only cost $250 per month, so all of us snowbirds deal with the poor electricty.

john hd 11-19-2002 04:00 PM

sounds like you're in a nice spot, have you ever checked your voltage with a load applied?

if you can, start your a.c. and measure the voltage at the same time.

what you may have is a "series fault" with aluminum cable you can get a bad spot in the insulation, then the conductor corrodes in the presence of moisture.

eventually the cable swells up, filling with a white powder. this is aluminum oxide, it will pass voltage through it but not amps.

it is exremely hard to diagnose because with out a load on the circuit you get good voltage. but, once a load is on the circuit the voltage will drop.

hopes this helps, i would hate to see you burn up a lot of cash trying to fix a problem that is not yours.


John 11-19-2002 04:12 PM

using a mulit-meter, I see a 4-6V drop when the AC compressor kicks in. This seems to be within normal range but I'm not a EE. I'm sure what you described is happening in this park. The park owner is in his 70's and he's just nursing it along.
The park is 100 acre's and is surrounder by a State Park to the south, a Nature Presevre to the west and a State Forest to the north. To the east is the Wekiva River which has only non-motor powered boats on it. I saw a coyote two nights ago, a deer this morning and hawks daily!

john hd 11-19-2002 04:36 PM

sounds like paradise with bad wires!

no chance of lobbying the owner for some new wire?

4 to 6 volts is not that bad, but with a multi-meter it is hard to tell. a good old fashioned meter with a needle would show a much larger swing.

it would seem that you are doing everything you can to protect your equipment.

given the past history of the park it is only a matter of time before the cable feeding your trailer fails. then it will get fixed one way or another.

the question is, you're paying for a site, you shouldn't need a transformer just to run your a.c.

can you move to a part of the park that isn't having problems(if there is one)?

sorry to sound stern, but i have yet to run into a customer of my utility that would let me off the hook if they had bad voltage.

make them fix it if you can, sounds like you've got a nice spot.:)


John 11-19-2002 04:54 PM

when the compressor kicks on, the voltage drops from 115V to 96V, then a second later it goes to 109V.

no use in talking about the power with the owner(the all park sinks, I'm in the better part), he'll just say if you don't like it, move. So we all watch our incoming power to insure that we don't burn out the AC, refrig, ect.

I love the sunrises and sunsets. It's too cool to move!!!

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