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Old 01-14-2013, 11:55 PM   #1
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Surge protector

I know the old saying "You get what you pay for" but $300 to $400 is that really necessary? I know converters and wiring harnesses are expensive but will a realitively inexpensive surge protector do the job? Any recommendations? I am talking 30 amp hook up. Thanks for any advise. JT
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:40 AM   #2
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when you consider the cost of repairs not only for the converter, but other possible electrical equipment. TV, Microwave, Radio, Satellite, Air Conditioner. Then there is the downtime and possibility of ruining a long awaited trip, and being a long way from home. Think of house or car insurance, you only need it if something bad happens.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:55 AM   #3
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There is more to a good surge and voltage protector than just surge protection. They protect against wiring faults at the CG (and can be programmed to hold the power off for up to 2 minutes when you plug in to prevent arcing at the pedestal) as well as over and under voltage conditions which happen far more than you would think. Our EMS HW30C kicked the power out to our trailer at 2 separate CG's last summer due to the voltage dropping below 100v. A condition like that can wreck you AC and numerous other devices if it goes on for awhile as an example the AC compressor will overheat. The list goes on. Do not kid yourself into thinking a cheap surge protector will do anything other than what it's name implies. Of course if you want the ultimate talk to Herk about the Franks Autoformer as it is the Rolls Royce of protection, hopefully there will be one of those in our unit this summer.

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Old 01-15-2013, 07:26 AM   #4
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I have a 30 amp surge protector and a 50 amp surge protector. I also have an autoformer. It's a 30 amp. May cost a few sheckles but a lot cheaper than when something bad happens to the electronics of your trailer.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:46 AM   #5
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Absofreekinlutely...

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ers-26202.html
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:06 AM   #6
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I see some complaints over in IRV2 forums about the Franks unit. I know nothing about it, but you probably want to do some research.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jtant View Post
I know the old saying "You get what you pay for" but $300 to $400 is that really necessary? I know converters and wiring harnesses are expensive but will a realitively inexpensive surge protector do the job? Any recommendations? I am talking 30 amp hook up. Thanks for any advise. JT
No doubt the best cheap insurance for $300-400!

A friend of mine with a motorhome went to visit parents and setup his unit in their driveway, no SP...got a spike from the house over night...a week later & $7K it was repaired.
He runs a SP now and gladly rather replace $400 vs $7K in the future



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Old 01-15-2013, 12:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BarryD0706 View Post
I see some complaints over in IRV2 forums about the Franks unit. I know nothing about it, but you probably want to do some research.
Not a member there. Could you PM me with a link?

I am EXTREMELY happy with mine.
I have also been on the phone with Frank (his number is in my review) if you have any questions about the unit or its warranty. Do NOT confuse his unit with the Hughes or AutoPower single stage boost autotransformers. The specs on the Franks blows those out of the water.
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jtant View Post
I know the old saying "You get what you pay for" but $300 to $400 is that really necessary? I know converters and wiring harnesses are expensive but will a realitively inexpensive surge protector do the job? Any recommendations? I am talking 30 amp hook up. Thanks for any advise. JT
CW has the Surge Guard 30 AMP model with LCD display on sale for $259.99 (item # 58464). There are 25 reviews and while I didn't read all of them, most of them speak well of it.

I have the SG 50 AMP model with LCD and would not ever plug in without it.

YMMV.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:34 PM   #10
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OK, I was PMed the link and will post it here:
Franks Voltage Booster, my 2-cents worth - iRV2 Forums

There is a BIG warning sticker on his units not to use them with the AC AND the water heater.

My camper has an ammeter I installed (you can see the install in my review link) that shows the current draw incoming to the camper - before the Franks so I can monitor it to avoid exceeding the FRANKS 30 amp peak current). If you are boosting you are converting amperage to voltage. Your camper can draw 30 amps before the camper's breaker trips, but the Franks "sees" more than 30 amps in that case if the power is low and you are boosting. This results in an over amperage condition and it shuts down until it cools off and resets its internal breaker.

My 15K AC draws 28 amps momentarily when the fan and compressor kick on at the same time - even when NOT boosting! (then drops within 2-3 seconds to 14 amps) If the water heater is running when the AC kicks on, it will trip mine off line too.

He was running TWO air conditions AND the water heater according to his rant.

He says he called Frank (a VERY sharp electrical engineer) and complained about it shutting down under these conditions. Frank most likely told him it was normal under those conditions and not to run the water heater. Frank probably did his best to explain it to him, but if he was as obnoxious as his rant implies; just gave up on him.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:44 PM   #11
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I would certainly want to know that I couldn't use the AC AND WATER-HEATER before I paid $700+ for this thing!

His was a 50-amp unit, so one would hope that main AC and water heater were on different circuits. A second AC could have been a problem then.

In the comments he indicated that all agreed that his 50-amp unit had 35-amp breakers. That doesn't sound right to anyone, but apparently Doug wouldn't stand behind that.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by BarryD0706 View Post
I would certainly want to know that I couldn't use the AC AND WATER-HEATER before I paid $700+ for this thing!

His was a 50-amp unit, so one would hope that main AC and water heater were on different circuits. A second AC could have been a problem then.

In the comments he indicated that all agreed that his 50-amp unit had 35-amp breakers. That doesn't sound right to anyone, but apparently Doug wouldn't stand behind that.
I went back and re-read that post. He states that the park power was 25 amps per leg. There are 50 amps per leg available provided the incoming voltage is correct. If he is BOOSTING at the 2 stage setting (hard to tell without incoming and outgoing voltmeters), he could easily trip the internal protection with a 15K AC start up current, the water heater heating on AC, and the converter powering the 12 VDC items in his rig. I am sure the 2nd AC was on the other leg and was no problem.

Here is the engineering test of the degree of boost provided in each stage.
Again, Frank would be a better source of information on his equipment.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:02 PM   #13
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OK read down all the way:

A brief update and I'll let this alone. Franks contacted me and answered a couple of my questions. For one thing, they are now installing 50-amp breakers in their 50-amp unit as opposed to the 35-amp breakers that are in the "older 50-amp" units. The sales/tech guy said he would mail me a couple of replacement breakers but I still don't know if this chassis will handle the 50-amp breakers or if I'll get the 35-amp size.
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This post was in 2007. Their spec sheet for 50 amp units specifies the 50 amps input is max on each leg so, I guess this is moot.

There was a GIANT ad in the way and I initially did not know there were many posts below the ad. (embarrassed)

Sounds like even though Frank was not responsible for the unit (when it was bought) he stood behind the product and offered to upgrade his circuit protection to current standards.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:06 PM   #14
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Does any one know what if any effect installing the Frank's unit would have on my factory warranty? Dues the installation take any more than simply plugging it in between the shore power and the camper? Thanks JT
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:13 PM   #15
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Does any one know what if any effect installing the Frank's unit would have on my factory warranty? Dues the installation take any more than simply plugging it in between the shore power and the camper? Thanks JT
Your shore power cord plugs into the side of the unit and the unit's pigtail plugs into the pedestal.

Before I moved it inside (still using the plug system so I can remove it if I ever needed to move it to my next camper) I used to chain it under the slide out and used my 25 foot extension cord to go to the pole. It is water resistant but not waterproof.

It should have NO effect on warranty since your camper is not modified in any way and only pure filtered and surge protected power is allowed inside.

FYI -
15K AIR startup current = 28.5 amps at 120 volts or 3,420 watts
15K AIR running current - 14.5 amps at 120 volts or 1,740 watts
Suburban Water Heater AC current = 1000 Watts at 120 volts or 8.5 amps

So if the incoming voltage drops to 105 volts, the inductive draw changes

At 105 VAC input voltage (no Franks unit)

15K AIR startup power = 3,420 watts @ 105 volts is 32.5 amps
15K AIR running power - 1740 watts @ 105 volts is 16.6 amps
Suburban Water Heater AC power = 1000 Watts at 105 volts is 9.5 amps

To boost 105 volts to 123 volts (from sheet) is a boost of 18 volts with a 300 watt load. The higher the load and the lower the voltage the more amps are required to do the boost. As you can see when boosting voltage to protect your inductive and restive loads in your camper, careful monitoring of your usage is required even with 50 amp circuit protection if the power is as bad as mine was in Gettysburg last summer when it was 105 degrees outside. The 30 amp run to our campsite was aluminum wire and we were not getting 100 volts on the pole.

Without our Franks, the air would not run at all, even with the fridge and water heater on propane. It saved our vacation. Even WITH the Franks there was one day when the pole power dropped to sub 100 volts we lost power completely when the Franks killed power to the camper to protect it.
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:21 PM   #16
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Heyh Herk 7769.you mentioned on post 15 that you used plugs for the surge protector..were they twist locks or normals. I am still waiting for the weather to warm up to install mine.
Thanks
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:24 PM   #17
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Heyh Herk 7769.you mentioned on post 15 that you used plugs for the surge protector..were they twist locks or normals. I am still waiting for the weather to warm up to install mine.
Thanks
My Franks has a 30 amp Male Pigtail (that goes into the pedestal) and a Female 30 amp RV socket on the box itself.

I bought two pigtails (one male and one Female) and wired it into the camper's 30 amp romex to the power center. This way it is not "permanently" installed and can be removed quickly if it ever goes bad or I trade camper's.
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