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Old 06-07-2010, 10:28 AM   #1
2011 Berkshire 390bh
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Surge Protectors

Two part question regarding surge protectors. How many of you use them? Has anyone ever had a surge do damage to their electrical system or appliances? I'm just wondering if the surge protector is something I should be looking into.

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Old 06-07-2010, 10:39 AM   #2
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Purchased one after reading several posts about improper wiring at campgrounds and damage to electrical systems after thunder storms. In my opinion, the $300 or so spent on a surge protector is cheap insurance with all of the electronics in todays rigs. The Progressive unit has a LCD display that shows if the power being supplied has the correct voltage and polarity and how much each leg is using.
Soooo, when is the big day???

Tom and Margaret
2014 Berkshire 390bh-60

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Old 06-07-2010, 11:13 AM   #3
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I have electrical breakers for all the 110 power systems in my RV. I do not think I need surge protectors in addition to the breakers. I do not know how different the power to an RV park is from the power to your home. And, I would think if the park had an issue they or the guests would be letting everyone know about it. With that said, what harm can come from having a surge protector?

Big Bird
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Old 06-07-2010, 11:31 AM   #4
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Breakers don't protect appliances from surges. If they did there would be no reason to use surge protectors on computers and TVs etc. Power at a campground or at home are all provided the same way. From a power company through a transformer to the box whether it's in your home or the box next to your camper.
Breakers protection is based on amperage where the surge protectors are based on voltage. Similar but not quite the same.
I have one to protect the electrical system and appliances etc within the motorhome. I use it at my home as well when I'm plugged in to the landline.
They have come down in price in the past year or two. Cheaper than replacing TVs and other appliances should a surge occur.

2007 Georgetown 370TS

Driver: Charlie
Navigator: Sheri
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Old 06-07-2010, 11:49 AM   #5
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There is little difference between the house and the RV 120 volt circuit in general. But the cuircuit breaker in either case protects from short to ground or short across legs. There is no protection from spikes or brownout.

I do use a surge protector but I use it to check the wiring before connecting the shore power.
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Old 06-07-2010, 04:27 PM   #6
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We have one in our camper. We would never leave home without it. They are a lot of good ones out there in every price range. Ours is a Progressive Industries. It was around $300 but we feel it is worth the price. Here is a link to a very good model. You can browse other models when you get to that page.

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Old 06-07-2010, 06:43 PM   #7
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I'm what you might call a bit of an expert in these matters (Got a BS in Electrical Engineering a few years back) and unless you have a dirt simple rig without much electrical gear (like a Katrina Trailer) a surge protector is a must.

One of the ways to look at the problem is probability & impact.

I categorize camping electrical issues into three main groups...

1) Bad wiring
2) Low voltage / sags
3) High voltage / spikes

Based on my experience, the probability of them happening is #2, #1 then #3, with #2 being the most likely

I would rank the impact at #3, #1 then #2, with #3 being the biggest/worst impact. Caveat - REALLY bad wiring can be really bad :-)

That being said, you want at least a device that checks the wiring and cuts off due to a surge.

If you don't dry camp much and use shore power in campgrounds, particularly in hot weather, you should worry about voltage sags. These are very common as people come/go and cycle their A/C units off and on. Damn near impossible to install an electrical system in a decent size campground that won't have voltage sags and this has only gotten worse with 50 Amp rigs becoming common.

Routine sags that are deep enough will spell trouble for your A/C units and other devices.

So my recommendation is to get a device that covers everything in one unit.

Voltage Booster

I've been using the 50 Amp model happily for a couple years. When others are in their rigs sweating because the A/C efficiency is crap due to low voltage (so they turn up the A/C and it brings the voltage even lower), I'm a happy/cool camper.

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