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Old 12-03-2021, 08:18 PM   #1
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Is Low Voltage An Issue In Most RV Parks

I am still waiting to pick-up my NoBo 19.6 and today I've been segregating my RV purchases pertaining to Electrical, Waste Water, Fresh Water as well as items for the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen over the past 6 month to see if I've overlooked anything.

From what I've read most campers would want to have a Surge Protector plugged in to the park's electrical supply and plug their camper into it. But what about the issue with Low Voltage, is that a real concern at RV Parks to where I need to consider spending the big bucks on an RV EMS System? I spent under a $100 for the Progressive Surge Protector but their EMS System seems to run around $300 and up so do most campers use those at their campsites?
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:28 PM   #2
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Is Low Voltage An Issue In Most RV Parks

I’ve had good luck with the cheaper Campco power defender. It comes in 30 and 50 amp. Guards against low and high voltage and surges although not the name brand, much cheaper and has lasted 5 years so far.
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:31 PM   #3
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A surge protector will only indicate issues when you are looking at it. It will do nothing to prevent damage on it’s own.

A EMS system will protect your rig 24x7 with no intervention on your part. I would not connect to any parks electrical system without an EMS. It has prevented issues quite a few times. Parks with low voltage and other problems are not the majority, but enough that the investment is easily justified.

This past season I had one pedestal at a state park that had a open neutral due to a bad receptacle, had the EMS not prevented power from entering the coach I would have significant and costly damage.

Currently I use a Hughes hardwired unit. In my previous coach I had a PI hardwired unit. I would recommend either.
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:32 PM   #4
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I doubt 1 in 10 use good EMS protection. It's like insurance you don't HAVE to buy. But you'll be glad you have it if something happens..
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:33 PM   #5
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In the summer when its hot there are real problems with low voltage at campgrounds.
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:48 PM   #6
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In the summer when its hot there are real problems with low voltage at campgrounds.
Ditto!!!! My Progressive Industries EMS protected us from low voltage at campgrounds on three separate occasions, cutting power to my TT temporarily until voltage came back up. And I only use campgrounds rarely while I'm enroute to dry camp in BLM or USFS land.
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Old 12-04-2021, 07:38 AM   #7
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Well it appears that I wasted almost a $100 on my Progressive Surge Protector since it didn't mention anything about protecting my RV against Low Voltage. Not sure I understand why they sell something to protect against the high but not the low voltage also if it is a major concern with damaging the devices inside my camper but it appears that I made a Newbie mistake by not purchasing one that would protect from both voltage situations... Might as well have flushed my $100 down the toilet.

I just found one from Hughes on Amazon and Amazon was selling it at approx. half off the manufacturer's current list price. As I've read from the mostly 5 star reviews it protects against high and low voltage and the price is not much more than what I shelled out for the PI Surge Protector. Has anyone had any experience with this particular model: Hughes Autoformers PWD30-EPO, 30 Amp Spike Power Watchdog. Hughes also stated that they have a replaceable surge module built in that the customer can replace if it ever goes bad which makes it sound as though I would never have to buy another "Watchdog" as they call it. If I order this model it would make sense to go ahead and order a new module (for under $30) to keep on hand and if the original goes bad within the first two years Hughes will send me one replacement for free.

As an added bonus Hughes noted that they have a bluetooth app where all of the data from the unit is transmitted via Bluetooth to sync with your phone. On the app, you will see in real time, your voltage supplied, your amp draw, and your use of power in Watts and also tracked over time as k/Wh. Not sure that I would ever need this info but it sounds cool anyway.

I hope someone on this forum can provide their experiences with this model...
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Old 12-04-2021, 07:55 AM   #8
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I have that Hughes unit and like it a lot. Several times this past summer we tripped it due to over amp situations and using the Bluetooth app makes it very easy to reset it.
Plus, we once had a low voltage situation and it tripped off. It came back on after the voltage came back up.
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Old 12-04-2021, 08:29 AM   #9
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Well it appears that I wasted almost a $100 on my Progressive Surge Protector since it didn't mention anything about protecting my RV against Low Voltage. Not sure I understand why they sell something to protect against the high but not the low voltage also if it is a major concern with damaging the devices inside my camper but it appears that I made a Newbie mistake by not purchasing one that would protect from both voltage situations... Might as well have flushed my $100 down the toilet.

I just found one from Hughes on Amazon and Amazon was selling it at approx. half off the manufacturer's current list price. As I've read from the mostly 5 star reviews it protects against high and low voltage and the price is not much more than what I shelled out for the PI Surge Protector. Has anyone had any experience with this particular model: Hughes Autoformers PWD30-EPO, 30 Amp Spike Power Watchdog. Hughes also stated that they have a replaceable surge module built in that the customer can replace if it ever goes bad which makes it sound as though I would never have to buy another "Watchdog" as they call it. If I order this model it would make sense to go ahead and order a new module (for under $30) to keep on hand and if the original goes bad within the first two years Hughes will send me one replacement for free.

As an added bonus Hughes noted that they have a bluetooth app where all of the data from the unit is transmitted via Bluetooth to sync with your phone. On the app, you will see in real time, your voltage supplied, your amp draw, and your use of power in Watts and also tracked over time as k/Wh. Not sure that I would ever need this info but it sounds cool anyway.

I hope someone on this forum can provide their experiences with this model...
I have the 50 amp hardwired version of this unit. This is the type of EMS you want. Very good unit and a longtime solid company behind it. No need to carry a spare surge board, unless something catastrophic occurs nearby lighting strike etc, it will be many years before you need it.
A basic surge protector like you already have does not protect you from high voltage just surges, which are short duration high voltage spikes. A EMS like the Hughes EPO unit will monitor for line voltage and open up the power feed to the RV if line voltage goes above 132 v or below 104 v. Once voltage is restored to normal after a 90 second delay it will reconnect power. It of course also has the same surge (spike) protection as the one you already have does.

That is an excellent price from Amz.
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Old 12-04-2021, 09:05 AM   #10
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I have that Hughes unit and like it a lot. Several times this past summer we tripped it due to over amp situations and using the Bluetooth app makes it very easy to reset it.
Plus, we once had a low voltage situation and it tripped off. It came back on after the voltage came back up.

5er_tom, Thanks for the post on the positive experiences that you've had on this particular Hughes unit. I really don't see how I could go wrong at the current price point on Amazon and the fact that they have a replaceable surge module inside their unit makes it even better.
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Old 12-04-2021, 09:20 AM   #11
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I have the 50 amp hardwired version of this unit. This is the type of EMS you want. Very good unit and a longtime solid company behind it. No need to carry a spare surge board, unless something catastrophic occurs nearby lighting strike etc, it will be many years before you need it.
A basic surge protector like you already have does not protect you from high voltage just surges, which are short duration high voltage spikes. A EMS like the Hughes EPO unit will monitor for line voltage and open up the power feed to the RV if line voltage goes above 132 v or below 104 v. Once voltage is restored to normal after a 90 second delay it will reconnect power. It of course also has the same surge (spike) protection as the one you already have does.

That is an excellent price from Amz.

Steve-W, Thanks for your post as well, you've provided me with the detailed information of how the Hughes works and the safe limits above and below 120 volts that I had not read yet as well as the short comings on using a surge protector. Wow I wished I had read enough about surge protectors before I wasted my money on one... If I knew more about the electrical space available on the NoBo 19.6 I might consider hardwiring one in since it would be nice not to have to worry about someone walking off with the plug-in model but at this price I will go ahead and take a chance.

If the PI surge protector was heavy enough I could say it might make a good boat anchor but I'll probably take a loss and try to sell it online -
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Old 12-04-2021, 09:37 AM   #12
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Invest in a voltage transformer. If it includes "surge" so much the better.

High summer temperatures (i.e. massive air conditioner use) and (old) campgrounds with marginal electrical infrastructure (to include bad pole box connectors) cause low voltages which are damaging to electrical devices. It's the old "Watts" issue which is simply Volts times Amps; if volts drops amps has to increase to supply the watts. None of this has any relation to "surge."

I've been using an AutoFormer for years that simply plugs into the power pole and the trailer connects to it. But even it wasn't enough to keep the voltage high enough at an Indiana SP a few years ago and the entire campground literally shut down for most of a very hot day. Good olde LP/AC refrigerator kept the ice cream frozen and the beer cold if you actually need another reason to avoid the 12v-inverter refrigerators.

Surge is really a non-issue. Unless you built a house in the past couple of years there's no "surge protection" in your home. But an RV surge protector is cheap. I think I have one somewhere stashed in the Roo...

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Old 12-04-2021, 09:59 AM   #13
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over heated one leg of a ,50 to 30 amp dogebone adapter. during summer in a campground full of rvs. slightly melted the rubber around the prong and discolored it. still works fine. never payed big bucks for a " surge",, voltage regulator ... i am on my 5th rv. dog bone adpts. are under $20.00 at home depot under RENOGY DOG BONE . Surge protector or "Minnow Money?" ill take the minnow money ,and a dozen night crawlers ,, Please!
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Old 12-04-2021, 10:14 AM   #14
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The current model Hughes AutoFormer does have a basic surge protector built in, it does not provide the same protection as an EMS. The AutoFormer will raise and lower line voltage +/- 10% if it is out of the safe range. It most situations it is not needed. If you frequent a particular campground that has low or high voltage it is very useful. They are quite $$$ and are not needed in most cases. If you use a AutoFormer it is also recommended that a EMS is placed inline after the AutoFormer.
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Old 12-05-2021, 10:57 AM   #15
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Low Voltage

If you are getting one, go EMS. It only takes 1 incident to cost you more than the EMS. The EMS will disconnected, then reconnect when the low power is solved or sacrifice itself. We have only seen 2 times in 20 years, so it is rare. I think it depends if you mainly go to state parks or private camp grounds (more likely to have problem). Think of the EMS as an insurance policy. One incident for us, we were at a campground when road construction hit a power pole. Our EMS did its job, we were w/o power for several hours. Several campers had electronics fried. The surge protector will not help w/ low power.
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Old 12-05-2021, 01:16 PM   #16
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As stated, consider an EMS as insurance protection. Think of all the electronics in your RV. Microwave, A/C, electronic boards for water heater, refrigerator, TVs, DVD player, and display tablets to control everything, converter and inverter and on and on. Ask yourself: Do you feel lucky? Just think of what some of the cost will be if you blow any of the things listed. With shortages of everything and dealers repair backups, you could find yourself broke and at the end of the season for going out. Buying an EMS is petty cash compared to fixing many affected electronics.
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Old 12-05-2021, 01:31 PM   #17
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Invest in a voltage transformer. If it includes "surge" so much the better.

High summer temperatures (i.e. massive air conditioner use) and (old) campgrounds with marginal electrical infrastructure (to include bad pole box connectors) cause low voltages which are damaging to electrical devices. It's the old "Watts" issue which is simply Volts times Amps; if volts drops amps has to increase to supply the watts. None of this has any relation to "surge."

I've been using an AutoFormer for years that simply plugs into the power pole and the trailer connects to it. But even it wasn't enough to keep the voltage high enough at an Indiana SP a few years ago and the entire campground literally shut down for most of a very hot day. Good olde LP/AC refrigerator kept the ice cream frozen and the beer cold if you actually need another reason to avoid the 12v-inverter refrigerators.

Surge is really a non-issue. Unless you built a house in the past couple of years there's no "surge protection" in your home. But an RV surge protector is cheap. I think I have one somewhere stashed in the Roo...

-- Chuck
I'm good with most of that but what is a "12v-inverter refrigerator"?
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Old 12-05-2021, 03:13 PM   #18
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I have an EMS that I use on almost every hookup. I have been fortunate not to experience low voltage issues, but I have experienced low amperage issues at a couple parks. When I measure the voltage at the plug, it reads 120 volts +/- 1 or 2 volts. But at one park, in particular, the output reads 27 amps on a 30 amp post. What that means is that operation of individual electrical items appears normal, but I cannot use, for example, my AC and my water heater when both are drawing power. So I use the water heater on propane and the AC on electrical power. It took me a little while and a volt-meter to figure out the problem. At first I thought it was something in the electrical hookup within the trailer. But once I knew what the issue was, the "cure" was pretty easy to come by.
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Old 12-05-2021, 04:21 PM   #19
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I'm good with most of that but what is a "12v-inverter refrigerator"?
Your 15TB has a 12 volt refrigerator

https://forestriverinc.com/rvs/trave...pro/G15TB/4395
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Old 12-05-2021, 04:28 PM   #20
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Your 15TB has a 12 volt refrigerator

https://forestriverinc.com/rvs/trave...pro/G15TB/4395
Yes it does but it has nothing to do with the inverter. Just confused me.
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