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Old 02-23-2019, 03:52 PM   #1
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Installing and Using a 50 Amp 220v Hughes Autoformer

I just had my son pick up a 50 amp Hughes RV Autoformer Voltage Booster with surge protection from Camping World for $519.84, "regularly $732.99". Catalog item #102450, Hughes part #RV220-50-SP https://www.campingworld.com/hughes-...-amp?rrec=true
I think it is a good purchase, but I'm trying to decide how and where to put it in my 2015 Berk 34QS. I'd appreciate insights from people who've got these. I'm not going to be able to use it until early April, since I'm in Calgary and everything else is in Tucson.

1. The Autoformer can be plugged into the campground post and the RV power cord plugged into it. That is the default installation, but it leaves the Autoformer exposed to rain and theft (I'll lock it, but...). I understand that some ill-informed campground managers think that this causes problems to their electrical system and "outlaw" them.

2. I could put it into my electrical bay, but then I'd have to leave my existing power cord wrapped around it, plugged into the Autoformer, and then connect to the power post with my extension 50 Amp cable. I'm not sure if my electrical bay has room for all of this, and ventilation might not be very good with all that equipment installed. My inverter is in the same bay, on a different rack and there is a fan installed in the bay for the inverter. I assume the fan would come on if the bay gets hot for any reason, and the inverter wouldn't be generating much heat except battery charge current when on campground power.

If people have done this, is there an overheating problem?

3. I could open things up and remove the 7 foot power cord from the Autoformer with its male plug, and replace the current power cord that is connected to the transfer switch with this shorter. Then, I could take the current long power cord and wire it into the Autoformer in place of the 7 foot cord. This would let me keep the Autoformer in the electrical bay, while I feed the long power cord out to the post. This would leave more room in the bay for the Autoformer and it would have more space from cooling.

Have people done this and is there any residual overheating problem? That would be situations with both AC's running, along with other applicances like the microwave and fridge.

Note that I plan to continue using my current surge protector in the power post. It would catch power spikes before the Autoformer is asked to catch power spikes, and it is easier and cheaper to replace if I hit a power spike. I can't see any problem with running two surge protector units in series.

Finally, I notice that Camping World lists a more expensive 50 Amp Hughes Autoformer, catalog #72455 https://www.campingworld.com/50-amp-...rmer?rrec=true Hughes part #RV220-50 for a sale price of $792.99. I can't see what is the real difference between these two that justifies a higher price on the latter. They both have 50 Amp 220 V and surge protection. The less expensive one has more diagnostic lights.

Is the more expensive model old stock that is replaced by the newer unit?

–Gordon
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Old 02-23-2019, 05:56 PM   #2
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I put the Autoformer in the shore power bay. I left it as is, which allows me to change my mind down the road. I did have to remove the handle to fit it in on it's back. I did not want the whole shore power cord in there to, so I shorted it to about 3 feet and put one of these on there.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I put the female version of same on the removed 22' section of shore power cord. I also have a 50' shore power extension cord I carry. I have both in a tub forward in the storage.

So now, depending on the situation I use the long or the short cord, and the compartment is relatively uncluttered.

There is one caveat. Whereas the female end on my 50' is the fused on one and nice and compact, these yellow screw on plugs are too large to fit through the pass through in the bottom of the compartment. So if I want to use the 22' cord (The original male with a screwed on yellow female, I have to feed the male and all of the cord through the hole. I don't mind that, you may feel differently.

As you can see I also stuffed the surge guard in there. Lately it's been acting up and I've not used it for a while. Took it out and put it in the tub with the cords. The Hughes should do everything the Surge Guard does.
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Old 02-23-2019, 06:38 PM   #3
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Thanks Oscar. Nice to see your approach. Your electrical bay looks like mine in size, but I've lost some space by putting in a solar charge control on the front wall. I was thinking that I'd also have to move some things to a separate storage bay.

I agree that it is nice to be able to have the Autoformer so that it is plugged in and removable from the system. But, I'm not sure why there is a need to use the extra yellow Camco plug ends. It seems to me that I can use the wires and male plug ends that are already in the coach and the Autoformer, as in my solution 3. Unless it is not possible to open the Hughes unit and the transfer switch to change the wires that are connected there.

I'll have a closer look at your solution at the rally in late April.

– Gordon
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Old 02-23-2019, 06:44 PM   #4
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I "semi-permanently" installed my 30 amp Franks Autotransformer just behind where the power cord enters the camper.

I cut the wire between the back of the wall socket and the power center and installed a male/female plug/socket (that could be connected to each other when the autotransformer was out of the camper) and installed the autotransformer inside the camper.

You can do a similar "insert" with a 50 amp setup.

Here are some photos of my install that you may be able to adapt to your motor home.

That way the "big cord" is not effected at all.
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Old 02-23-2019, 06:56 PM   #5
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The cheaper unit will constantly boost 2% of the incoming voltage (even when its "good") and then boost up to 10% of the incoming voltage when it drops to 113 volts. So it will always be boosting at least 2% even when not needed.

If the incoming voltage is 122 volts, that unit will output 124.5 volts. Still safe (below 127 volts) but on the higher side.

The better one will ONLY boost 10% when the incoming voltage drops below 115 volts and will stop the voltage at 95 volts incoming.
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Old 02-23-2019, 07:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herk7769 View Post
The cheaper unit will constantly boost 2% of the incoming voltage (even when its "good") and then boost up to 10% of the incoming voltage when it drops to 113 volts. So it will always be boosting at least 2% even when not needed.

If the incoming voltage is 122 volts, that unit will output 124.5 volts. Still safe (below 127 volts) but on the higher side.

The better one will ONLY boost 10% when the incoming voltage drops below 115 volts and will stop the voltage at 95 volts incoming.
Herk,
That is useful to know.
Is there some electrical standard that specifies that equipment designed for 110v circuits must be able to handle up to 127 v safely, but no requirement that it handle higher voltage?

–Gordon
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Old 02-23-2019, 07:38 PM   #7
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Wikipedia on standard voltage ranges

Answering my own question, Wikipedia on the subject of Mains electricity says:
In the United States[8] and Canada,[9] national standards specify that the nominal voltage at the source should be 120 V and allow a range of 114 V to 126 V (RMS) (−5% to +5%).

This is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity

–Gordon
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Old 02-23-2019, 08:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordonsick View Post
Herk,
That is useful to know.
Is there some electrical standard that specifies that equipment designed for 110v circuits must be able to handle up to 127 v safely, but no requirement that it handle higher voltage?

–Gordon
UL and other testing agencies make sure that things will operate in the "safe range". Outside that; all bets are off.
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:06 PM   #9
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Do *not* modify the AutoFormer, they’ll void your warranty. Their owner’s manual also specifically calls out hard-wiring it in. You can do like shown above and plug it in permanently, but don’t hard-wire it.

And, they do fail. Mine did. It was boosting good voltage and throwing my hard-wired EMS into an “over voltage” shutdown. I did some diagnostics with them over email and they sent me return info. I think I paid for shipping back to them.

They’re also fulltimer friendly and made sure to get a shipping address before returning it.
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordonsick View Post
Answering my own question, Wikipedia on the subject of Mains electricity says:
In the United States[8] and Canada,[9] national standards specify that the nominal voltage at the source should be 120 V and allow a range of 114 V to 126 V (RMS) (−5% to +5%).

This is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity

–Gordon
US is 108 to 132
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