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Old 04-05-2012, 05:42 AM   #1
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Should I install a Surge Protector with my Autoformer?

I have a Hughes Autoformer and use everytime I plug it. Should I have a surge protector for additional protection?
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:57 AM   #2
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YIKES !!! YES!!!

And you will be far better off if you invest in a Progressive Industries EMS unit which are lifetime guaranteed.

I am sure that if you do a search and read some of the posts where people have had to replace multiple devices inside their coach that were destroyed due to a variety of shore power problems, no neutral, lost ground, low or high voltage, etc.

Then there are posts where a certified electrician wired a 30 amp RV socket to 220 VAC and the owner plugged in and fried multiple things inside their coach.

With the PI EMS unit, it would not allow ANY power into your coach until everything has been checked to make sure the power is OK.

I use a Power Master Voltage Booster in front of my PI EMS HW50C unit so that I am never shut down due to low voltage which occurs at various RV Parks especially during the peak A/C season.

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Old 04-05-2012, 10:25 AM   #3
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Some folks think having both is "Belt and Suspenders" approach.. It is not.

If the auto former is the belt.. The Surge Protector is more like shoes, They protect against different things.

The problem is how to chain them. The "Surge protector" is not really well named, "Power line guard" is better,, As it protects against much more than surges. A surge (Sustained high voltage) can not only damage your RV, it can damage your Autoformer as well. so putting the surge guard first.. Makes sense.

But the surge guard also protects against LOW voltage, which is corrected by the autoformer, so it effectively disables the autoformer bu shutting off power when the autoformer would be fixing it.

Does anyone make a surge guard where you can tell it to re-set the low-voltage point so the autoformer can do it's thing?

If so. MAKE AND MODEL PLEASE!

Oh, it also provides SPIKE protection (These little six outlet surge guard power strips are also mis-named, they are worthless in a surge (I know, I tested them, not intentionally, I should say Detroit Edison tested them for me) but they do a great job on spikes) the autoformer doubles up on that, On spikes, doubling proteciton. Not a bad thign at all. The more protection the better.
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Old 04-05-2012, 01:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
...But the surge guard also protects against LOW voltage, which is corrected by the autoformer, so it effectively disables the autoformer bu shutting off power when the autoformer would be fixing it...
That is why most people put the autoformer ahead of the EMS. The biggest problem with that is the autoformer is then unprotected (the Hughes autoformer does have minimal surge and spike protection). What I would love to see is someone, especially Progressive Industries, come out with an integrated autoformer/EMS that would protect the autoformer itself, as well as everyting else, but would shut down for low voltage only when the autoformer can't boost the voltage enough. Another model that would also include an ATS (automatic transfer switch) would also be nice.
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Old 04-05-2012, 01:46 PM   #5
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If Progressive would make a combo Hi-Lo autoformer/surge protector, I'd buy it. If my SurgeGuard burns up (its a pretty good unit in its own right), I'll switch to Progressive on the replacement, unless I can repair the S.G. for a lot cheaper. Progressive has some potentially useful additional feature (which i don't currently recall) that S.G. doesn't.

But a combo Hi-Lo auto-former would be nice. I've only camped one place that the power was cut out due to voltage out of range, and it was wandering high/in-range/high/in-range/etc. So my S.G. kept kicking out/in/out/in/etc every 3-4 minutes. Low voltage is also a problem that can ruin appliances, and probably more prevalent on average. But I keep going back to the over-volt park, and I'd need the Hi/Lo feature to entice me to add autoformer function.
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by LadyFitz... View Post
That is why most people put the autoformer ahead of the EMS. The biggest problem with that is the autoformer is then unprotected (the Hughes autoformer does have minimal surge and spike protection). What I would love to see is someone, especially Progressive Industries, come out with an integrated autoformer/EMS that would protect the autoformer itself, as well as everything else, but would shut down for low voltage only when the autoformer can't boost the voltage enough. Another model that would also include an ATS (automatic transfer switch) would also be nice.
According to the Tech Specs, the Hughes Autoformer has only 733 joules surge suppression per line --1466 joules total.

That's the main reason I chose to install the PowerMaster Voltage Booster which comes with 3580 joules of surge protection. It is followed with a Progressive Industries HW50C EMS system with another 3580 joules of surge protection. As you can see, I don't need to install the PI EMS system in front of the voltage booster thereby defeating the purpose of the PowerMaster, it has it own protection. Whereas, with the Hughes Autoformer, even though it has minimal surge protection, I would not trust it. It's about as much as one of those useless strip surge protectors you can buy almost anywhere.

The PowerMaster also boosts voltage at 2 different levels, 2.5% and 12% depending on how low the voltage drops unlike the Hughes Autoformer with only up to a 10% boost.

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Old 05-20-2012, 08:27 PM   #7
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IN personal testing:

I agree, it really depends on the "surge guard" type: if it has voltage protection and drops out at a higher voltage than your various brand voltage boosters cut in, then it needs to be placed between the voltage booster and the trailer.. If the surge guard/voltage protection cuts out at a lower voltage, or does not disconnect the voltage but only provides surge/spike protection, place the guard first to protect both the trailer and the voltage booster.. The details are in the specifications, or personal testing, as I have done with each of the voltage boosters/regulators I have used.. (Hughes, Franks and now TRC Surge Guard)
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