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Old 03-30-2011, 05:28 PM   #1
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Surge protection with Transfer Switch

Am looking at three choices for a 50A surge protector for my 33C Winnebago.

1) Portable. Possible problem: theft
2)Hardwired. Problem: in my coach there is almost too little room to install this, and part of it would actually be exposed. Too tight a fit.

3 Surge guard Plus Automatic transfer switch. As I understand it, they would remove the existing transfer switch and install this one, with surge protection "built in." The item we're considering gives 3350 surge protection, 130,000 max spike. It does not protect against over/under voltage, ground fault problems, miswired pedestals. Cost about $300. (TRC has another version of this for about $600, with higher values and over/under protection.

THE QUESTIONS: Is #3 a reasonable solution to the surge protection issue? Has anyone had any experience with these surge protected transfer switches? And/or does anyone have any thoughts on how I might best proceed??

Thanks, in advance,

Bobbi
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:48 PM   #2
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Hi SF Bob,
I had the same problem. I ended up purchasing the portable unit. I wired the unit so I could enclose it in my electric bay. It was a tight fit, but it is in. I purchased a "J" shaped bracket from Lowe's. Then screwed it into the top of the electric bay. The bracket allows me to hang the electric cord using the vertical space I was never able to use before installing the bracket.

I would not want a surge protector combined with a transfer switch. If the surge component gets hit, one may need to replace the entire switch.
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:57 AM   #3
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I also had the same delima. Wound up buying the portable, but on my rig the hookup is outside the wet bay. I plug the unit in at the pedestal and let it hang from there. I secure it to the pedestal with a cable type bicycle lock. Not the pretiest looking, but it gets the job done.
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:39 PM   #4
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Thumbs up Portable surge

I have used the portable plug in for two years and have had no problems. I plug it into the park electric, wait for it to determine if the electric is ok, then plug my 50 amp line into it. I then wrap a cable lock around it and to the post and all is fine. If someone needs it badly enough, they would have to cut the cable. No theft to date.
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryKD
Hi SF Bob,
I had the same problem. I ended up purchasing the portable unit. I wired the unit so I could enclose it in my electric bay. It was a tight fit, but it is in. I purchased a "J" shaped bracket from Lowe's. Then screwed it into the top of the electric bay. The bracket allows me to hang the electric cord using the vertical space I was never able to use before installing the bracket.

I would not want a surge protector combined with a transfer switch. If the surge component gets hit, one may need to replace the entire switch.
Hate to barge in but can you post a photo as I want to do the same install. Thanks
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:44 PM   #6
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One problem reported with built in is possible fire hazard if the unit fails. Is the unit you are looking al UL or CSA approved?

I think I would rather take a chance on having the portable unit stolen.
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:40 PM   #7
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Like dantrim, I had a portable SG plugged into the power stalk. I put a chain around the stalk so the door would not open, and the SG could not be removed. Then I covered the stalk (and chain) with an extra tire cover...if questioned I said it was to keep the water out.
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:56 PM   #8
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It does cost more, but based on my experience with a SurgeGuard for the past 6 years, I would not want one w/o over/under voltage protection. Other than the initial check when we first plug in, that is the part that trips most often. Too many parks, even some new ones, have poor wiring that causes badly sagging voltage. And I have been very surprised at how many 50a circuits have a bad common which causes very low voltage on one leg and simultaneous very high voltage on the other (verified with a multi-meter after the SurgeGuard trips and cuts power to the MH). Ours is hard wired. If my MH had limited room, I would probably go with a portable model UNLESS my transfer switch needed to be replaced anyway ...then it might make sense to get the combined model.
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:57 PM   #9
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Hi clifftall,
The coach is connected to shore power so you will not see the power cord coiled on the "J" hook. However I hope these photos provide what your interested in seeing.

Go to Electrical Bay With Components - iRV2.com RV Photo Gallery to see the electrical bay in its' entirety. The power path is:
1. Shore cord is the female receptacle on the right.
2. From the female receptacle to the power transformer (big yellow box).
3. From the power transformer to the surge protector (on the floor in the back, seen on the lower left.
4. From the surge protector to the transfer switch.

The "J" hook is visible in the upper center of the picture. One loop of the shore cord is resting on the "J" hook. To help ventilate the bay, there is a computer fan in the upper left of the bay. It draws air in from the power cord entry point and expels it through the top left rear of the bay. There is a red button switch so I can turn the fan on or off depending on the outside temps.

Go to Electrical Bay Better Picture Of Surge Protector - iRV2.com RV Photo Gallery to get a better view of the surge protector that is on the floor and behind the power transformer.
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:45 PM   #10
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I installed the Power Master Surge and Voltage controller. It has worked fine this winter and needed it once as the power spiked. My neighbor had to have a transfer switch and inverter replaced.
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:50 PM   #11
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I have the full Surge Guard Plus system, with full power monitoring as well as surge protection. I've had this particular one for 2.5 years and it replaced an earlier model of the same system, which failed at age 5 and began giving false errors when it got too hot (it was mounted next to the engine bay). It was original equipment on my coach.

It's an excellent system, with a remote display so I can see the current voltage and amperage on each leg as well as any error conditions. If the budget can handle it, I recommend it.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryKD View Post
Hi clifftall,
The coach is connected to shore power so you will not see the power cord coiled on the "J" hook. However I hope these photos provide what your interested in seeing.

Go to Electrical Bay With Components - iRV2.com RV Photo Gallery to see the electrical bay in its' entirety. The power path is:
1. Shore cord is the female receptacle on the right.
2. From the female receptacle to the power transformer (big yellow box).
3. From the power transformer to the surge protector (on the floor in the back, seen on the lower left.
4. From the surge protector to the transfer switch.

The "J" hook is visible in the upper center of the picture. One loop of the shore cord is resting on the "J" hook. To help ventilate the bay, there is a computer fan in the upper left of the bay. It draws air in from the power cord entry point and expels it through the top left rear of the bay. There is a red button switch so I can turn the fan on or off depending on the outside temps.

Go to Electrical Bay Better Picture Of Surge Protector - iRV2.com RV Photo Gallery to get a better view of the surge protector that is on the floor and behind the power transformer.
Gary
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:20 AM   #13
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We also have a 35E and had no place for a hardwired surge protector, we went with the EMS-PT50C and keep it locked. No problems in 4+ years, except for bad voltage. Low voltage is the most common and is a must as the voltage may be fine when you first setup. On the first hot afternoon when everyone puts their AC's on is when you will find out just how good the CG's electric is. You need 24/7 protection.

Bob
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:50 AM   #14
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I was ready to build my own Surge Protector using a whole house protector you can buy from the Home improvement stores. That offers much more protection than what I've seen sold for RV's. But, then I attended a seminar at the FMCA Rally, and I've decided to wait and save up for a unit that protects against over/under voltage, surge, improper wiring (hot and neutral switched, or no ground). The speaker sells both types of units, but he says very seldom do you get Electric Surges in a campground. Now the definition of a Surge, is basically a lighting strike, and that's all a Surge Protector will do for you. Most of the damage in the parks is from UNDER voltage. He said you will see OVER voltage if you travel to Mexico and some areas in Canada, but the US is mostly UNDER voltage problems. This occurs when the campground is not wired with proper gage wire, and in the summer when everyones air conditioner kicks in. This makes perfect sense to me, so I'm saving my pennies for the full deal.
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