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Old 03-14-2016, 02:49 PM   #1
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Low voltage at RV site and autoformers

I've seen discussions on autoformers and other methods to help with site low voltage. With new use of power/surgegard type devices isn't it just better to rely on detection of low voltage and then either getting the site fixed OR to just use your generator on those rare occasions? Paying $500 for a gadget like an autoformer that you infrequently use seems to be money and space wasted. Other opinions? I've camped for more than 15 years and it's never been much of an issue.
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Old 03-14-2016, 03:17 PM   #2
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I think so, if the guy before me didn't blow up, chances are I am pretty safe. If I measure low voltaged, I try and move or see if management can get it repaired, if not, I guess I would run generator as last resort. Haven't seen or had a problem thus far knock on wood.
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Old 03-14-2016, 05:41 PM   #3
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We camp twice a year for a week each time at a cg where the voltage ranges from 94 to 110 volts. This is a 30A cg. Where I was afraid to leave the dog in the rv for a couple hours at a time if it was hot, with a 30A autoformer, I have never seen less than 108 volts with ac running. I bought it used on craigslist. It is doing what I needed.
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Old 03-14-2016, 07:25 PM   #4
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I was camping long term up in the UP of Michigan for a job. I had occasional problems with low voltage but dealt with it, since it was cooler I didn't have to run the AC's. When my wife got up there in July the first day we tried to run the AC it kept pulling to much amperage and would die.

I finally just bought a Hughes Autoformer and it solved the problem, we camped with it for ~2 months.

I've since invested in a Progressive Surge Guard that monitors for voltage and phase and have found bad in several campgrounds we stayed at since then. Probably more common once you have the ability to monitor.
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Old 03-14-2016, 07:35 PM   #5
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Have a 30 amp unit that I burned up one time. Turns out it was 30 amp internally, but had 50 amp connections. It was one that CW sold and seemed to be a special one and they advertised is as a 50 amp/3600 watt unit. Suckered me in!
Anyway, it did as advertised unless overloaded.
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Old 03-14-2016, 07:44 PM   #6
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My 50 Amp Voltage Controller is in line and alway in use. More often than I would have thought, it is in the yellow, boosting 2%.
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:01 PM   #7
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The biggest issue is to monitor. Then you can adjust. It does not take a lot of electronics to do that. If you have to stay somewhere where the power is bad chances are there is no fix other than adding an autoformer. If it is short duration you can always dry camp maybe with the added bonus of charging the batteries at night when the load is down. ;-)
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:40 PM   #8
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Adding an autotransformer could lower your neighbors input voltage....
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milasman View Post
Adding an autotransformer could lower your neighbors input voltage....
Not according to Hughes or other voltage controller manufactures. Hughes says...

The Autoformer DOES NOT take power from the park.

It does not affect the park or input voltage, or make electricity.

What it is doing is changing the voltage amperage relationship, lowering the amperage and raising the voltage. Since appliances run better on higher voltage, lower amperage, less overall power is used from the park, and better service is enjoyed from your RV

An Autoformer running at full output (50amps) will use 1 amp, but will cause appliances to cycle more often and run cooler. This will use less total power from the park.
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwmaustin View Post
Paying $500 for a gadget like an autoformer that you infrequently use seems to be money and space wasted. Other opinions? I've camped for more than 15 years and it's never been much of an issue.
I agree that the money spent is not usually worth while, except in certain situations where you stay for extended periods at a site that has chronic low voltage. I spent the money on a larger battery bank that allows me to run all the 12 volt loads for about 18 hours. We were at one older site that provided only about 102 volts, so I unplugged and just ran off of battery. Another time we were at a resort in CA that had a serious power failure, dropping down to the low 90 volts. It was a "No Generator" facility, but within 5 minutes of the power problem almost every long term site had their gennies up and running, so I joined the crowd and fired mine up.
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:11 PM   #11
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Flagship1--could be wrong but what you describe sounds like a "free-ride" to me. To increase the volts, means you have get the energy from somewhere [Ohms Law????]--more amps? If amps go up, then you have to wonder if power cord and connections will handle the increase. Maybe its urban legend but think this is why many camp grounds dont approve of using such devices. Help me understand?
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Flagship1--could be wrong but what you describe sounds like a "free-ride" to me. To increase the volts, means you have get the energy from somewhere [Ohms Law????]--more amps? If amps go up, then you have to wonder if power cord and connections will handle the increase. Maybe its urban legend but think this is why many camp grounds dont approve of using such devices. Help me understand?
When voltage drops, amps drops also. By increasing the voltage back up to spec. (120), the amps go back to the original design rating. No overload is created.
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:31 PM   #13
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Adding an autotransformer could lower your neighbors input voltage....
Have heard that argument before and it's wrong, in fact it actually leaves more power for others since it's drawing fewer amps
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluepill View Post
When voltage drops, amps drops also. By increasing the voltage back up to spec. (120), the amps go back to the original design rating. No overload is created.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
Have heard that argument before and it's wrong, in fact it actually leaves more power for others since it's drawing fewer amps
My understanding as well. And I researched this - here and elsewhere pretty thoroughly before spending the money 3 years ago. I have a Power Master VC 50 (no longer in production). It's in line - in my electric bay - before the PI PC50. There is debate on that as well... where to put it - before or after the Progressive Industries Surge Protector / EMS. Since the VC 50 has the identical surge protection I don't think it matters. I have a post tester and if all is well, plug in and forget about.

I also now have a new transfer switch with the same features as the PI. Managing power is important to me since I'm living in the coach full time.

As for the free ride - although I don't belive it is a drain on others - I pay for power from a post and if it's not up to snuff, I'd be paying for something I'm not getting. By having it all tidy in my electric bay - I avoid the discussion.
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