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Old 04-05-2010, 01:51 PM   #1
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NMBeemercouple's Avatar
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rio Rancho, NM
Posts: 118
Electrial Protection....Advice Please

We've owned a motorhome for just over a year now. Back when we were researching what to buy, we discussed getting some sort of spike protector. That was then. Now we have been either boondocking, relying on our batteries or genset, or in RV parks with never a thought of the power at the post....just taking it for granted. This week, we are in an RV park in AZ that catered to smaller units and semi-permenent residents, and had a very eye-opening encounter. The other morning, the wife was using her hair dryer and I was on the laptop. Suddenly, her hair dryer sounded 'different', and I heard a POP from somewhere in the front of the RV interior. I pulled out our voltmeter and tested the outlet inside our read 150 volts. After unplugging from the post outside, I checked the 110 outlet on the read 120 Volts. A few hours later I ran an extension cord (regular household type) from the post to the coach....I checked the outlet inside again and got about 85 to 90 Volts......For the rest of our stay, we'll use the onboard power.

Here is the question. From what I've read, there are products out there that protects from surges, and products that boost voltage, few products do everything from what I've there anything out there that will protect from high and low voltage, and boost or lower the voltage as needed to keep it consistent enough to protect the circuitry in the coach that is all wrapped up in one product? I've read some stuff about a product from Frank's Electronics which I thought might be the answer, then read a post on IRV2 where someone who owns one recommended it as a useful boat anchor! Any suggestions? We have a 50 Amp service. Thanks to all who chime in, and please do.....I'd like to hear both sides on several products.
2002 Monaco Windsor 40 PKD
2005 BMW R1200RT (hers), 1983 BMW R100RT (his), 2016 Ural Gear Up (ours)
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Old 04-05-2010, 03:09 PM   #2
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Newmar Owners Club
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Sounds like you had a neutral problem at the power post. Here is a link to the various surge protectors. You need to decide if you want a hard wired unit or a portable one. The Progressive Industries unit has a higher joule rating but is more expensive. The Surge Guard has a lesser joule rating but is less expensive. I had the 50 amp hard wired Surge Guard in my last coach because it was all I had room for in the electrical compartment. In my present coach I will be installing the Progressive Dynamics 50 amp hard wire unit.

The other issue of boosting and lowering voltage is addressed by an Autoformer. This unit can vary the voltage I believe by +-10%. This is the unit refereed to as an anchor. There is a lot of controversy about this item in that it contributes to even lower voltage to others in the rv park. The reason I think it does is that there is no free lunch. To boost low voltage the unit has inherent coil and core currents to operate and adds these currents to an already overloaded line further reducing voltage to the park. This is why some parks band their use. However, that being said, if you still want one I would suggest a 30 amp unit. The reason is that parks with only 30 amp service are older parks with an older electrical system where the occurrence of low voltage especially at night is greater. On the other hand parks with 50 amp service are newer with upgraded electrical equipment and less likely to have low voltage. I see no reason to spend the additional money on a 50 amp unit.
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Old 04-05-2010, 04:50 PM   #3
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There are three classes of product I'll talk about and I'm afraid I do not know the best manufacturer of any of them

Spike protectors: These are basically MOV (Metal Oxcide Varazistors) and what they do is clip a very short power spike, such as might happen when an Air Conditoner cuts in or out. They are good and every device below has them built in.. I also have a box of 'em hooked to my main breakers as well.

Surge Guards or power line monitor/guards.. These are computer operated boxes, Fairly large and costly, they monitor voltage, and optionaly frequency and/or waveform.> They include spike protection

But if a surge (Long period of high voltage) happens. They cut you off cold, I mean it's the click of darkness for you.. This is good because that surge can fry more timid stuff like your tv, microwave, radio, comverter, and so on.

Likewise if you get a LOW voltage they click off.. Thus protecting things like the air conditinoers

Finally we have Autoformers.. These devices monitor line voltage,, Most of them also contain MOV spike protection by the way (All far as I know)

The Hughes and Franks units, if your line voltage goes low, Will boost it by a very simple electronic "Trick" of a transformer in series with the power.

There is a third brand.. Alas, I don't know it's name. that can "BUCK" high voltage as well (Simply turns the winding around the other way)
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:21 AM   #4
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I think the third brand you were thinking of is Power Master. We looked into the Power Master and it seems to be a better quality item.

Thanks for the responses.
2002 Monaco Windsor 40 PKD
2005 BMW R1200RT (hers), 1983 BMW R100RT (his), 2016 Ural Gear Up (ours)
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