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Old 02-18-2009, 02:06 PM   #1
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I have read some horror stories ref. major damage to electronics, fridge., etc. by voltage surge, etc.
I have also heard that Alpine's don't need it because it has built in protection, which I don't see in mine anywhere (36ft 2001).
Any opinions as to installing one or not.
Any specific recommendations as to type, brand, etc. will be most welcome.
William H Fleming
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Old 02-18-2009, 02:43 PM   #2
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Many of the newer units came w/ SurgeGuard hardwired units that act as a combination transfer switch & surge guard. I've had that on our coach for 4 years (06 & 08 coaches). They cut shore power if voltage is above or below certain limits. SG has cord type surge protection as well, which you can see on the link.

There is another brand, Progressive Industries, that sells a similar type product they call EMS. The link is to their 50A hard wired device, which has some additional feature that I don't remember. They also have corded products you can splice in-line at the pedestal. Some folks worry about theft of such things, as they are spendy for a gizmo somebody could walk off with, and prefer hard wired.

The next level up consists of transformer devices that regulate power to within limits, not just shut it off if it goes out of spec. They are bulkier, heavier, and more expensive.

IMO the Surge Guard or EMS is good insurance against park power problems. I've been in places where voltage is over 132 volts, and others under 100. Most modern electronics are tolerant of varying voltage range, but some motors are not (I'm thinking air conditioner compressors). And if you had a real problem, like a broken neutral (which can send 240V thru a device by backfeeding thru the coach's neutral buss from separate circuits), any of the above will save you burning up something you may not discover till days or weeks later when it isn't even practical to make a claim to the park you were visiting. The transformer products are really only additionally useful IMO if you stop somewhere you'd like to stay a while and the power is no good; otherwise the surge types work great.
Baja-tested '08 2-slide 36'
Alpine: The Ultimate DIY'er Project
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Old 02-18-2009, 03:16 PM   #3
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I don't believe the 2001 has any protection built in. I use an external SurgeGuard unit which I bought on Ebay for $300.
John and Mary Knight
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:14 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feed-back, guys. Sounds like it is a good investment. Are you concerned about someone stealing the portable unit?
William H Fleming
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:36 PM   #5
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Have a hard wired Technology Research Corp (TRC), transfer switch with surge guard. Rated 120/240VAC, 50A, 3350 Joules. Will automatically switch between shore power and generator with generator dominate. Has oversized Cutler Hammer contactors rated 60A FLA/75A Resistive. Detects open wire & gnd, reverse polarity, high/low frequency, low/high voltage,etc. Remote display is available.
Although this type device was an option on Alpines, this particular installation was a after market add-on.
05 40FDQS
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:38 PM   #6
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I understand that they make a locking system for the portable SurgeGuard unit. I bought the hardwired version but made it "portable" in case it needs to be replaced.
Wayne & Roberta and Maggie the Miracle Dog 08 Winnebago Destination 39W Gas UFO Workhorse Chassis......It's really weird being the same age as old people.
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:35 PM   #7
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We found that two-part protection works the best and have encountered "saves" from both in the last year alone.

1. the Surge Guard or other surge protector to block spikes, mis-wires and other incoming anomalies.

2. the buck-booster to bring up the voltage in parks (namely Thousand Trails) that have old electrical systems and don't send enough juice to the pedestal. We have used both Power Master and Autoformers. Both work fine. I think the Power Master has a bit higher protection level. Also heard that Frank's Electronics has one that is cheap to rebuild after a lightning strike, whereas the others are thrown out. I'd shop eBay (again).

As far as security, It is very easy to install both inside the coach (tucked up and out of the way) and maintain the ability to bypass them. Just install them with 50 amp stove plugs and outlets. There's no reason to leave them outside where someone could walk off with them (or they get wet). It's probably even cheaper to install them right than to buy the locks, which only work on some pedestals.

If you do a "FIND" on surge guards you'll find instructions and ideas that were post last year on several threads.
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:09 AM   #8
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after a TV got fried i bought the surgeguard portable protector. I also bought the security lock. like any other security system, if someone really wants it they will get it. it keeps the honest people honest. during a recent camping trip i kept loosing power. i talked to CG owner about it and was surprised because no-one else had problems. turns out one phase was shorting to ground intermittently. my surgeguard opened up every time that happened. Annoying yes, but considering the alternative!!

My project, when the weather warms up, will be to install a hardwired surgeguard with a removable power cord.
John, Joyce and Zoie (our 17# Guard Dog)
2018 Ford F-450 KR / 2019 Mobile Suites 40KSSB4
Fulltiming since 2008 and loving it
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Old 02-21-2009, 08:18 AM   #9
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I wonder if the "buck-booster" would work on my 401K- its only getting enough juice to power a 101K and I'm worried it'll fry the whole thing...
Baja-tested '08 2-slide 36'
Alpine: The Ultimate DIY'er Project
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:04 AM   #10
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We have used the Hughes Autoformers on four RVs now and had no issues whatsoever. If consistency is any measure of success the Hughes units have been excellent. We bought the inboard kit for our Bounder but decided we'd let a pro install it because Jack does not bend as easily as before .

Best to all...Jack&Rita
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