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Old 12-06-2019, 08:13 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by TowPro View Post
I have never had one. owned our first RV in the 80's.
I did loose an inverter to a "surge" around 2001, that surge was lightning striking the power system in park.


that would have taken out a $300 surge suppressor.
The invertor only cost $100
Today it can easily take out the sensitive electronics in all your appliances that were not nearly as susceptible to electrical damage in the 80s.

It may Never happen..............but IF it does you will most likely wish you had one.
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:36 AM   #42
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Keep in mind an EMS typically won't work with a generator, something to consider for hard-wired installations. It is possible to get by this with what is known as an Edison plug. All that does is bond the neutral and ground circuits together to mimic line voltage.
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Old 12-06-2019, 10:33 AM   #43
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A Surge Protector is like a spare tires and firearms for personal protection, you dont' Need one until you NEED one very badly! And at that moment, should it ever come Nothing else will suffice.

An EMS provides protection not only from surges (common during lightening where we live) but from under voltage.

I have all three.
Iím with Doug on this one, I too carry all three when I travel. I use a Southwire EMS for on the road use and a Camco surge protector for home storage. As many here have mentioned I didnít use one in my previous RVís, an early 2000ís Lance camper and a 2007 Arctic Fox trailer. Neither unit had the number or complexity of my current Rockwoodís electrical components so I feel my investment in these two protectors is justified.
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Old 12-06-2019, 10:49 AM   #44
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As many have said,
Do you need one? Mant say no, I say maybe.
Never bought one before this last trailer. Been camping in tents, motorhomes, pups, and bumper pulls since I was a kid. My folks never used them. My DW parents were life long campers and never used them. And we never used them ether. About 12 years ago I installed a 30 amp outlet at my house for our new SOB we had just bought. Hauled that camper to many state, private and county campgrounds with no problems. Then we bought the Lacrosse in 2016, it is a 50 amp unit, has many more higher end electronics in it. Ofcourse I found this forum and did a lot of reading and convinced DW we needed a PI built in. We got it for ourselves for Christmas and seems like it was working great. Well you dont really know till something happens. Power company was working on the power lines in the neighborhood Las winter and told all that there would be interruptions and when checking things out later the display was showing and error. Seems they hooked the ground back up last as it was the no ground error. This was the last error code, no error and power in trailer at that time.
Interesting.
Then this summer we have not been able to take it out due to health issues the DW is working thru. But ever few weeks I would go out to the rig and walk thru checking for issues and one day no lights. Humm, I check display and blank. Go to the breaker panel and 30 amp is thrown. Ok, reset breaker, walk back out to trailer and still no power but display is showing no neutral. Well, that ain't right. I'm thinking power cable. Go grab the meter and no neutral at trailer end of cable, ah ha, yep bad cable. Checked outlet since I was there, no neutral. Bummer. Opened breaker panel and it had burned thru. It was loose at the buss bar and high resistance burned it. Without the PI, I would have not known and bad things can happen with no neutral. It seems even the batteries came back too.
Glad we have it.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:02 AM   #45
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I always figure that when someone asks "Do I need XYZ?" that they really mean "I don't want XYZ, so prove to me why I need it".


Then........everyone who has been luckier than a 4 leaf clover will pipe up and say "Well, I've camped for 120 years and I've NEVER needed that expensive thing".


So, just don't buy one. When you have an issue, you can come back on here and post "Well, I didn't buy one and this and that happened, and now I'm toast". OR, you'll go 120 years and never need it. One or the other.


I'm the other.


I've had this 5th wheel going on 4 years. I've had at least 6 instances I can count that the EMS saved me. So maybe I'm just unlucky, you think? I'm sure that's it.


You asked for advice, and you got a lot. My advice is YES you need one. Just like you NEED life insurance.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:23 AM   #46
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I like the analogy mentioned earlier to having a spare tire. I haven’t used my spare tire in over 20 years of traveling with a motorhome, but I’m sure always going to have a spare tire with me. Likewise, you may not have had a power problem yet, but you may want an EMS or surge device installed when the time comes that there is bad power.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:55 AM   #47
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Definitely several groups of advise here. But I really enjoy the folks who decided to buy one and claim it immediately saved them a dozen times. How do you know? Ok, it complained of low/high voltage or whatever, and shut down the power. If you didn't have the EMS, chances are you would never have known any of that and suffered no ill affects. So did it really 'save' you?
I realize having an EMS is just adding another layer of protection, but it also comes with drawbacks, as my friends came to find out, and decided the extra protection wasn't worth the added hassle. So it's not a perfect solution.
And for folks like myself, who boondock with generators most of the time, it's not that big a deal.
And in RL, I've never actually met anyone who had something fried in their RV, that wasn't self inflicted. Like my Dad who didn't do his regular electric tests and plugged into a new outlet in a barn that his SIL had wired wrong. Or my friend Fred, who decided to so some rewiring with live wires
Only you can decide if an EMS is worth it for your particular situation.
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Old 12-06-2019, 12:03 PM   #48
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Call it luck, but we don't use a surge protector. We have owned a 30amp and now have a 50amp system and have spent many nites at a huge verity of RV parks all over the USA and Canada (cheap & expensive), on the highway and off the beaten path for 12 yrs.



If a protector gives you peace and comfort by all means get one, not cheap. Makes me question, if a surge protector is necessary, why are they not included as part of the RV and installed at factory?



cruisin

Some do, as part of an upgraded automatic transfer switch.

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Old 12-06-2019, 12:09 PM   #49
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I have never had one. owned our first RV in the 80's.
I did loose an inverter to a "surge" around 2001, that surge was lightning striking the power system in park.


that would have taken out a $300 surge suppressor.
The invertor only cost $100

No, it would not have.

Are those 2001 dollars for both units or 2019 dollars?

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Old 12-06-2019, 12:53 PM   #50
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Definitely several groups of advise here. But I really enjoy the folks who decided to buy one and claim it immediately saved them a dozen times. How do you know? Ok, it complained of low/high voltage or whatever, and shut down the power. If you didn't have the EMS, chances are you would never have known any of that and suffered no ill affects. So did it really 'save' you?
I realize having an EMS is just adding another layer of protection, but it also comes with drawbacks, as my friends came to find out, and decided the extra protection wasn't worth the added hassle. So it's not a perfect solution.
And for folks like myself, who boondock with generators most of the time, it's not that big a deal.
And in RL, I've never actually met anyone who had something fried in their RV, that wasn't self inflicted. Like my Dad who didn't do his regular electric tests and plugged into a new outlet in a barn that his SIL had wired wrong. Or my friend Fred, who decided to so some rewiring with live wires
Only you can decide if an EMS is worth it for your particular situation.
X whatever!

And what are all these 'sensitive electronics' everyone keeps talking about?

You all got NASA mission control centers inside your rigs?

These "do I need" or "what is the best" threads are sometimes (mostly not) interesting fodder but the poor OP has to wade through so much fodder I often wonder if they are ever able to make a educated decision.
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Old 12-06-2019, 01:20 PM   #51
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Many times I ask myself....if you have to drag all the tech with you, why go camping ? First thing I did when we bought our cabin, disconnected the satellite and got rid of all of it.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:16 PM   #52
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Many times I ask myself....if you have to drag all the tech with you, why go camping ?
Some of us aren't camping. Ignoring that I'm now fulltime, I've never really "camped" once I got our pop-up and then fifth wheel. We are travelers first and the RV happens to be an apartment on wheels.
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:15 PM   #53
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Some of us aren't camping. Ignoring that I'm now fulltime, I've never really "camped" once I got our pop-up and then fifth wheel. We are travelers first and the RV happens to be an apartment on wheels.
Totally understand your situation, where you're full time and working on the road at the same time. Your job requires you to have the tools that you need. My comment is more directed to those that are not in your situation, but feel they have to have every tech gadget know to man with them wherever they go...including camping. How many times...and you cover a lot of ground....that you've seen families out there at a CG and mom and dad and all the kids faces are just buried in their tablets, laptops, cell phones ?
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Old 12-06-2019, 04:04 PM   #54
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Totally understand your situation, where you're full time and working on the road at the same time. Your job requires you to have the tools that you need. My comment is more directed to those that are not in your situation, but feel they have to have every tech gadget know to man with them wherever they go...including camping. How many times...and you cover a lot of ground....that you've seen families out there at a CG and mom and dad and all the kids faces are just buried in their tablets, laptops, cell phones ?
Oh trust me, as I said- ignore that I'm now fulltime. I wasn't always and we had 4 years of travel as weekenders.

We rarely camped back then.

We took our portable hotel room to various destinations and explored the areas. (In fact, it's pretty much why we went fulltime- so that we could expand those areas that were reachable from our homebase.)

I'm just saying, not everyone goes camping in RVs. If that family all wants their heads buried in laptops, tablets, and cell phones- that's what works for them. No sense in us saying, "that's not camping" and somehow implying they're wrong for having those things with them.
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Old 12-06-2019, 04:05 PM   #55
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Hello all,

Lets talk about surge protectors. As a newbie to the TT/RV world I have questions

1. Do I need a surge protector?
2. Do you use one?
3. What do you use/recommend?
4. Why do you recommend that one?

Thanks!
1. You don't NEED a surge protector. It CAN be a good insurance policy, depending on the value of electrical and electronics in your TT, the likelihood of an equipment frying event, and the rate of false negatives from the protector.

2. I don't use anything besides the LED light in the power cord. But we normally camp in federal and state campgrounds, rarely in private parks. We are more likely to dry camp (no hook-ups) then camp in a private campground. Most of the public campgrounds in Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota have electrical installations from the '90s or later. Or they don't have electric at all. I've never had any damage from electrical surge or nearby lightning or under-voltage.

With an A-frame, the most expensive vulnerable component is the Cool Cat air conditioner. It is a pretty much stand-alone installation, accessible by lifting up the bed in the back. So it's less than $1K to replace, including labor. Other vulnerable AC items are the microwave ($40) and possibly the converter ($150 to replace). So a $200+ surge/under voltage protector doesn't make much sense for our risk profile. It especially doesn't make sense, given the lack of room for an internal install and the theft susceptibility of an external unit at the power post. I would rather put my money into other camping accessories and take my chances.

I also have insurance on the camper (I forget my deductible; I've never made a claim).

Obviously, different campers and risk profiles could change the cost/benefit equation.

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Old 12-06-2019, 04:28 PM   #56
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Definitely several groups of advise here. But I really enjoy the folks who decided to buy one and claim it immediately saved them a dozen times. How do you know? Ok, it complained of low/high voltage or whatever, and shut down the power. If you didn't have the EMS, chances are you would never have known any of that and suffered no ill affects. So did it really 'save' you?
I realize having an EMS is just adding another layer of protection, but it also comes with drawbacks, as my friends came to find out, and decided the extra protection wasn't worth the added hassle. So it's not a perfect solution.
And for folks like myself, who boondock with generators most of the time, it's not that big a deal.
And in RL, I've never actually met anyone who had something fried in their RV, that wasn't self inflicted. Like my Dad who didn't do his regular electric tests and plugged into a new outlet in a barn that his SIL had wired wrong. Or my friend Fred, who decided to so some rewiring with live wires
Only you can decide if an EMS is worth it for your particular situation.

really? No one?


I know of several. One lost his TV, microwave, converter. Turns out he had an EMS but it had gotten really wet not long before and wasn't actually doing anything, broke. He did send it back and got a new one.



One lost a refrigerator. He is one of the "Never an EMS" guys. Oddly, he still is.


I am not sure some of "youse guise" camp enough to increase your chances of bad failure enough! LOL Just kidding.


I hear the arguments against the thing. I just simply can't comprehend them. Nor can I comprehend bothering to buy just a simply surge protector.
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:29 PM   #57
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1. There are folks who try to insure every aspect of their lives against problems. They can't understand others who don't do things their way.
2. There are folks who only try to insure against catastrophic losses, and self insure (or not insure) against the rest. Dave Ramsey is a big cheerleader for this group.
3. There are folks who avoid all insurance they are not required to have, and take their chances in life. They don't understand others who don't do things their way.

The OP has a modest TT that has A/C, microwave, and entertainment center electronics that are vulnerable to power surges and/or under voltage. The EMS protects against under voltage by disconnecting the TT from shore power. There is no way to know unless one measures at the time of disconnect whether or not the disconnect is for actual low voltage or is a "false positive". There are certainly reports of false positives from EMS units in these forums. There is also no guard against "false negative" - an actual low voltage condition being passed through due to a malfunctioning EMS unit. And finally, there is no way of knowing whether there is a real "save" or not by the EMS - most of the time, modest under voltages do NOT damage equipment.

In favor of an EMS, the odds of preventing damage from a severe under voltage dramatically increase. But realistically, the only thing that gets damaged during an under voltage is the A/C - if the compressor is running at the time.

Power surges are another issue. Even the best surge suppressor can't protect against a powerful lightning strike in the immediate vicinity of a campsite. But moderate power surges seldom affect anything except the microwave, and minor power surges seldom do any damage. Computers and other electronics usually do not run directly on 115V, and so the power supply buffers the minor-to-moderate power surges. The power supply is the part most likely to be damaged by a moderate power surge. A campground that is serviced by underground utilities will generally have less severe power surges than one serviced by above ground power lines.

And no EMS protects against sudden power loss - which can cause things like a hard drive head crash. You need a UPS to protect equipment against sudden power loss.

Financially, to me, even total loss of a recreational vehicle is by definition not a catastrophic loss. Others, especially full timers, may see things differently.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to insurance. It's all about how much financial risk can you/are you willing to tolerate. And an EMS is nothing more than an insurance policy - with limitations - against particular bad things.

Like others, I have never encountered or have first-hand evidence of damage to RVs from under voltage or power surges. But then I don't go around asking others in the campgrounds if they have ever had surge or under voltage damage.

Fred W
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:08 PM   #58
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Biggest problem will be bad weather with a lot of nearby lightning strikes. We were in a storm and fried our converter
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Old 12-09-2019, 07:18 PM   #59
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I put the small individual surge protectors on everything inside the camper and where the refrigerator plugs in. they work at home and work on the RV, much cheaper too. A/C of coarse is not protected. My past problems with campground electrical has been LOW voltage. Good luck!
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Old 12-09-2019, 07:29 PM   #60
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Yes, as Iím sure everyone is going to tell you!

Iím sure you are going to get a ton of positive responses. When I first started out RVing many, many years ago I followed the suggestion to get a surge protector and have been glad several times that I did. I am currently with a 50 amp Progressive unit. My last unit burned up at a reverse wired pedestal. Progressive did not bat an eye and replaced the unit. Something for you to consider! Welcome to the family!
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