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Old 09-10-2018, 11:45 PM   #1
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Default Pls. help me chose a surge supressor !

Because the new PW Plateau I hope to have in a couple of weeks seems to have a lot of electronics, I'm thinking I might be wise to buy a surge protector.

Never had one before in many years of RV'ing, and don't think I've ever had a problem that would have been avoided by having one - but things are getting more complex these days!

I don't know a lot about them but after watching a few youtube videos and checking out different websites I think I am getting close to making a half-ways intelligent decision!

Would appreciate any comment from anyone with more in-depth understanding reviewing my comments below and advising if I am off-base on anything before I go ahead and spend my $$!


(1) Price comparison - there seems quite a range of features offered - and no doubt quality influences price to some degree also.

The price ranges I have seen (in $ Can ) seems to be from slightly over $100 to around $700 or more.

No matter the price, I think all models have the ability of detecting mis-wired campground electrical connections - reversed hot wire, open ground etc.

I already have a $5 gadget that tells me this, but since all the surpressors have this built in, I guess that makes things simpler. As well, I'm not sure, but I think that if the surpressor detects a mis-wired socket, it will not transmit power - so that would be a good thing compared to my $5 gadget!

Joule ratings not surprisingly go up with price.

I believe this is a measure of the energy of "spike" the device can absorb. If the spike exceeds the rating then I suppose you are still vulnerable to damage.

All I can read into this is that higher the joule rating the better. I don't know that there is any "right" figure! The ratings I have seen on different models seem to run from around 500 to 2500J

The less expensive surpressor models appear to protect only from mis-wiring of campground outlets, and electrical spikes.

Then, some more expensive ones will shut off power if under-voltage or over-voltage is detected.

I think under - voltage is the more likely situation experienced in campgrounds and can burn out air conditioner motors etc., Although I do also think that these days, most such appliances have breakers that will protect them - and will auto reset. I have experienced that with travel trailer air conditioners in the past. Was happy to see them come back on again!

The most expensive surpressors appear to incorporate circuitry (autotransformers?) to actually bump-up low voltage to allow continued safe operation of electrical appliances even when teh campground voltage is low .


In my case, I have already use a plug in voltmeter to monitor campground voltage for years, and I also have a low voltage plug in "beeper" alarm.

We don't run the AC when away from the RV, so I don't really feel I need that sort of protection.


So ...........

I'm thinking that I will buy a unit that primarily gives me just surge protection, and it will be in the 2000 joule range - I think that will be in the $150-$200CAN range.


I gather security is an issue with these devices - some come with provision to attach locks, others do not - That won't be a major factor in my choice.

I will make up some aircraft cable doodads with "hammer on" connectors to put on both the input and output cables to then somehow secure the device with bike lock cables to whatever I can! That should deter the casual thief as much as any of the built in lock hasps I think. If they really want it they will take it!


I will likely buy one from either "Surge Guard" or from "Progressive Industries."


Any thoughts or advice appreciated - especially if you believe there are errors or important factors I have not considered in my comments above!


Cheers ........ Brian.
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Old 09-10-2018, 11:59 PM   #2
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Many of us use the Progressive Industries 30 amp units, both hardwired and plug in.


We prefer the hardwired unit as it is invisible to daily life and totally no bother. You also don't have to worry about it "taking a walk" when you aren't looking. Well worth the effort to install it to have it that way.
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:06 AM   #3
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I didn't use a surge protector for 15 years with my Roadtrek without any problems. There were only a few times that I thought the campground outlet was a little sketchy, and I just didn't plug in. But with my new camper, after reading horror stories online, I bought the Progressive Industries EMS-PT30X. I use it since I have it, but it's bulky and takes precious storage space. I don't lock it although it comes with a device you can use for locking. If we're hooked up, I don't think anybody would risk taking it, and if we're not, I just throw it in the van. In 6 months of camping it has cut power once or twice for low voltage, but since we were only using lights at the time, I doubt it saved us from any equipment damage. I'd say if it buys some peace of mind, buy it, but it seems a lot of people, including myself in the old days, get by fine without one.
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:49 AM   #4
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Ditto others. I have the Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C. My 1997 PW has an outside accessible door/bin where the cable is stored. I hardwired the unit into that bin area; accessible above under one of the beds where the converter is. So it was pretty easy to insert it in the main circuit and not use any additional storage space. I've got the display/readout mounted just under the bed on the inside of the RV.
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Old 09-11-2018, 01:05 AM   #5
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I have had the hard wired 30 amp Progressive installed in my new rig.
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Old 09-11-2018, 01:10 AM   #6
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I use the Progressive Industries SSP-30XL. It's built into a NEMA 3R water resistant enclosure with a hinged transparent cover protecting the RV plug. It also has a provision to lock the device to the pedestal with a cable lock.

Its surge protection is 22,500 Amps and its Joule rating is 825J.

I plug mine into the pedestal before I plug in the RV, to see what the polarity and ground situation is and to check for an open neutral.

I thought about the hard-wired units, mainly because sometimes I lose things, but being able to survey the situation before connecting the RV means a lot to me.
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Old 09-11-2018, 01:51 AM   #7
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If you just need surge suppression, you can get far better specs at a far lower price by going to Home Depot and buying a whole-house surge suppressor. This is what I have in our rig:

surge.jpg

Far superior to any RV-specific device in every way at a fraction of the price. Plus, since it is a 2-phase device, you have a built-in "spare", should it ever sacrifice itself.


BTW: "Joule ratings." are B.S:

https://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarc...s~20040708.php

http://www.pqglobal.com/ka-not-joules.html
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Old 09-11-2018, 02:35 AM   #8
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Agree that such a device from Home Depot serves the surge suppression purpose at a much lower price.

Frankly, I don't know joules from Jules or jewels; I was relaying what Progressive Industries states in the product documentation.

I like the LED indication of polarity, ground and neutral state, communicated before I plug in my RV. Anything hard wired into the coach implies the rest of the circuitry is involved when the cable is plugged in at the pedestal.
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Old 09-11-2018, 02:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvsprinterguy View Post
I like the LED indication of polarity, ground and neutral state, communicated before I plug in my RV. Anything hard wired into the coach implies the rest of the circuitry is involved when the cable is plugged in at the pedestal.
As OP says, there are very inexpensive devices that will detect miswired shore power outlets, if you are worried about it.

In my case, the 120VAC goes directly into an integrated inverter/charger/transfer switch, which does all the fancy voltage and frequency checking, so anything more than a surge suppressor would be redundant. I do have to say, though, that in all my years of RVing, I have NEVER encountered that kind of bad power. Surge suppression is another matter, and well worthwhile both in the RV and in the home.

The other thing I did was to add a nice little BlueSea master breaker at the shore power input. It has an indicator that shows reversed polarity, which is by far the most likely fault:

control panel 2.JPG
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Old 09-11-2018, 03:28 AM   #10
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.

Check with PW.

It might have one already built-in.

ps. don't ask the dealer, they don't know noth'in. Call PW direct.
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Old 09-11-2018, 06:14 AM   #11
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rvsprinterguy. The progressive will not allow reversed polarity regardless of whether or not it's hardwired. You have to over-ride the protection in either mode. So if you connect up your RV with the hardwired version, it will not allow power past the module to your RV and will display an error code indicating that reversed polarity is the issue. I believe that you can bypass that but have never encountered that issue so am not sure.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:08 AM   #12
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The portables run the risk of theft. More importantly, they don't protect from possible onboard generator faults.
The $5. gadget tells you of a problem if one exists as you check, not a second after.
I chose the Progressive hard wired after the transfer switch to avoid those possible problems. Plus it has a remote display so I can monitor from inside the MH.
At the last RV site I stayed at, on shore power, I had the A/C on when the electric shut down. The monitor showed a low voltage fault. After approximately 10 seconds the unit turned the power back on. I can't say it saved the A/C or anything else, but maybe, just maybe.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
If you just need surge suppression, you can get far better specs at a far lower price by going to Home Depot and buying a whole-house surge suppressor. This is what I have in our rig:

Attachment 6439

Far superior to any RV-specific device in every way at a fraction of the price. Plus, since it is a 2-phase device, you have a built-in "spare", should it ever sacrifice itself.


BTW: "Joule ratings." are B.S:

https://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarc...s~20040708.php

KA not Joules - Surge Suppression Standards | PQ Global - Latin America Division
This is the same unit I use for surge protection. For polarity I have BlueSea panel as well.

Most of surge protection devices used MOV components, very inexpensive components, more MOVs - more Joules can be absorbed/nulled. There are 3 types of MOVs: MOV components for homes, RMOV for RV world and MMOV for marine world, they are physically identical except prices, ordinary MOV are at a lowest cost, RMOV tenfold higher and MMOV even higher, so, pick a right one for you.


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Old 09-11-2018, 12:58 PM   #14
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Back when we were new to the van scene, we installed this one whose mug shot I've posted below (mounted in the storage space under our couch). And then we proceeded to create an off-grid van which basically made it obsolete.

I can tell you that, for the short time it was used, the hum it made was somewhat annoying. I go out into the great outdoors to escape noise, not to create it.

Of course, if one is running the a/c overnight, that hum will never be heard over the resulting din. But for instance if electricity is hooked up mostly for battery charging and no devices are running, it will be audible.

If I were hooking up routinely, I'd remove it and start over, mounting a rubber pad or something behind it to absorb that noise, and possibly putting additional noise attenuation materials around it. But I haven't hooked up since October 2016, so it's not a priority now.

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Old 09-11-2018, 01:26 PM   #15
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Thanks to all for the very helpful info - I do like the idea of a hardwired unit - just a question of how easy it would ne for me to install one - space, access to incoming wiring etc. I'd be a bit reluctant to be messing too much with a brand new van!

As BBQ mentioned I should really double check with PW to see if there already is one built into the 2019 models before doing anything, although I would think that they would have noted that it was so equipped in the specs if there was one, but maybe not.

PW apparently now assign some sort of "Personal Assistant" to new owners for the first three months to help with familiarisation, answer questions etc - they give a direct 1-800 number for use 6 days a week, and email address. I've already started a list of questions in case I don't get answers on our walk through when we pick up the van in 2 weeks and this will be added to my question list!

Avanti - appreciate the info on the very economical Home Depot solution and I will certainly explore that. Any time an item is associated with RV's the price sky rockets!

If the physical size of the HD unit lends itself, I suppose I could even enclose that device in a weather proof box and use it at the power stand. Maybe build one of the wiring checkers right into the same box.

Any idea what these surge protectors do when they actually are tripped by a spike?

Do they reset and reconnect the power automatically after the spike, or need to be manually reset? Maybe either depending on make/model?

Thanks again - great info! .......... Brian
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Old 09-11-2018, 03:34 PM   #16
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Great information!

I hadn't considered the possibility of my own genset causing problems-- that's an issue a non-hardwired unit cannot address.

That a hardwired unit won't pass reverse-polarity current is a major benefit, too.

I may have a new project!

-Robert
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Old 09-11-2018, 04:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
........................... Any idea what these surge protectors do when they actually are tripped by a spike?

Do they reset and reconnect the power automatically after the spike, or need to be manually reset? Maybe either depending on make/model? ................... .........
My understanding is that they will absorb excessive energy or shunt excessive energy to ground. Replacement of the SPD is sometimes necessary after a surge.

A couple of copy & paste quotes from Progressive Industries website:

Quote:
Surge Occurrence

The unit has protected your RV from a surge event and is not covered under warranty. This unit will continue to provide error code information but will not protect your RV from future surge events.
Quote:
Q: Should a Hardwired EMS be installed before or after the transfer switch?

A: A hardwired EMS should be installed prior to the transfer switch. The reason for this is most RV generators already have built-in voltage and frequency protection. If the EMS is installed after the transfer switch, this leaves the transfer switch vulnerable to power problems.
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Old 09-11-2018, 04:39 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Any idea what these surge protectors do when they actually are tripped by a spike?
I'm not referring to a particular brand, but my understanding is that the inexpensive ones simply self-destruct without a way for you to know it. The ones that don't self-destruct are very expensive. It looks like the Progressive Industry one self-destructs but at least it lets you know.

--Mike
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Old 09-11-2018, 06:15 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelingp View Post
I'm not referring to a particular brand, but my understanding is that the inexpensive ones simply self-destruct without a way for you to know it. The ones that don't self-destruct are very expensive. It looks like the Progressive Industry one self-destructs but at least it lets you know.

--Mike
Virtually all modern surge suppressors use a Metal Oxide Varistors (MOV). These are voltage-dependent resistors that block current flow until a certain voltage is reached, at which point they conduct the current to ground. Obviously, any given MOV can conduct only so much current until it self-destructs, so they are considered expendable. All the more reason not to buy your surge-suppression bundled with all kinds of other expensive features.

Any decent surge-suppressor will have an indicator light to show that it has absorbed a fatal hit. The Leviton device I referenced above has two little lights which show the status of each phase. In an RV, you will typically only use one phase. If its light comes on, you can simply rewire it to use the other phase's MOV, so you get a free hit.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:54 PM   #20
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I have the Progressive Industries SSP-30XL unit and it has a life time warranty. If it fails I sent it to them and they repair if for free. I have done this one time in 2017 when it failed. I do not remember where it failed but it still provided power.

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