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Old 04-13-2013, 03:47 PM   #1
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Default UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs (SPD)

Just about every article I read about Surge Protection Devices (SPD) states that the device you buy should be certified UL 1449 3rd edition. The effective date of compliance for the 3rd Edition of UL 1449, “Standard for Safety for Surge Protective Devices” was September 29, 2009, so this standard has been in effect for over three years now.

However, I can't find any RV specific surge protection devices that are certified UL 1449. If you've done the research and found any please let me know. Two popular RV or motorhome surge protection devices are:

Technology Research Corp http://www.trci.net/products/surge-guard
and
Progressive Industries http://www.progressiveindustries.net

To check whether the company AND the particular model you have or want to buy go to http://www.UL.com and click on ‘Online Certification Directory’ at the bottom of the page. There are many search options. The UL Category Code for Surge Protection Devices is VZCA.

Progressive Industries does not have any UL 1449 certifications for Surge Protection Devices on the UL website that I can find. I have sent them an email to confirm.

Technology Research Corp has one UL 1449 certification that I can find but I think it is only for this GFCI Single Outlet Adapter . I have sent them an email to find out for sure.

Both of those companies offer products that look to be very good for RV use. Look at the different models to find over and under voltage protection and polarity checking etc. - all very nice features - but, I'm looking for a UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Device.

UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices have holographic labeling and the letters SPD are required and visible:



Note the letters SPD in the photo.

My search continues. If you are going to install surge protection then you might as well buy one that has the UL 1449 certification and meets that standard. Right now I'm thinking the best protection for your RV electrical system and appliances would be by using more than one protection device. One device that automatically shuts off the power when the voltage is too low or too high, protects against open neutral or open ground, indicates reversed polarity and incorrect wiring. And, add a second UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Device right at the AC breaker panel.

I'm currently considering adding a UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Device like one of these for my RV:
Levton Residential Whole House Surge Protector $50 http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/202993881
Eaton Complete Home Surge Protection $69.97 http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/202800798
IG Series Surge Protective Devices http://www.intermatic.com/Products/Surg ... 40RC3.aspx

This post http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f54/ ... post293875 on Fiberglass RV forum was very informative.
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Old 04-13-2013, 04:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Nice comparison chart for the Progressive Industries and Surge Guard units here: http://www.rvupgradestore.com/Articles.asp?ID=279

You'll note that some of the products are "UL Listed" but, as far as I can tell, they are not UL 1449 certified. UL 1449 certification has very specific labeling requirements (see above). The letters SPD will be visible on the holographic label. Go to http://www.UL.com and click on ‘Online Certification Directory’ at the bottom of the page to check what category the device you are interested in is listed under. The UL Category Code for Surge Protection Devices is VZCA.

A quick check of one of Surge Guard's UL listings - E189106 - shows that UL listing is for UL category NMTR:



And a quick check of the Progressive Industries UL listing E213280 shows that UL listing is also for UL category NMTR:



UL category NMTR falls under Miscellaneous Apparatus. It does not include UL 1449 listed Surge Protection Devices.

Quote:
Miscellaneous Apparatus (NMTR)

Products Listed under this category include the following devices: amplifier cards, brakes, circuit monitors, dimmers, autotransformers, clutches, cutout bases for thermal cutouts, resistors, potentiometers, rheostats, power supplies, reactance, resistance, selecting systems, variable-voltage autotransformers, phase converters, enclosed slip rings, indicator interfaces and injection systems.
It's all very interesting and I welcome any comments. Perhaps there is an explanation why UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs seem to be very hard to find.
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File Type: jpg surgeguard ul E189106.jpg (48.4 KB, 3189 views)
File Type: jpg progressive industries ul E213280.jpg (113.7 KB, 3189 views)
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Old 04-15-2013, 12:06 AM   #3
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
It's all very interesting and I welcome any comments. Perhaps there is an explanation why UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs seem to be very hard to find.
Define a surge. And good luck. The word comes without any numbers. Numerous and different anomalies are sold as a 'surge'.

The type of surge that required UL 1449 is completely different from what a Progressive does.

Meanwhile, UL 1449 says nothing about how well a device performs. UL 1449 is only about one completely different device, also called a surge protector, not killing humans. UL is only about human safety. Since the Progressive does something completely different from other devices also called surge protectors, then the Progressive need no UL 1449 testing.
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Old 04-15-2013, 01:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Thanks for replying. It is not clear to me what you mean. If you can elaborate further I'd be grateful and be as technical as you like because I like learning about this stuff.

Note: this White paper from Siemens is good reading for a UL 1449 overview: http://w3.usa.siemens.com/us/interne...Protection.pdf
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
It is not clear to me what you mean.
Plug a device that draws more than 0.5 amps into a USB port. A surge is created. That has no relationship to what a Progressive does. Or what a Monster power strip does. Or what a UPS does. The word 'surge' defines numerous electrical anomalies. A generic term that routinely creates confusion when so many layman make recommendations without basic electrical knowledge. Then a box for only one anomaly gets recommended to magically cure all.

'Surge' is a generic expression that says almost nothing without associated specification numbers.

No relationship exists between a Progressive for an RV, USB port for a computer, and what that White Paper discusses. All do surge protection - from anomalies that are completely different.

UL 1449 applies to one type surge protector. Also has no relationship to surge protection found on a USB port. UL 1449 is only about human safety. Says nothing about effectiveness of any surge protector.

What specifically a device does must be defined, with numbers, long before anyone can make a protector recommendation.
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:58 AM   #6
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

I'm trying to find a UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Device for a "whole house" protection of a motorhome.

1. Are there any?
2. Is there a reason why the two most popular RV surge protection brands are not UL 1449 Certified?
3. Is there any reason to not add something like a UL 1449 Certified Levton Residential Whole House Surge Protector $50 http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/202993881 Either by itself or in addition to a power management system that automatically shuts off the power when the voltage is too low or too high, protects against open neutral or open ground, indicates reversed polarity and incorrect wiring etc.

Here's another informative and easy to read article Surge Suppressors: Anatomy Lesson
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Old 04-15-2013, 06:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
2. Is there a reason why the two most popular RV surge protection brands are not UL 1449 Certified?
A post 20 some minutes before your's answers that question. Even the Leviton unit and boxes discussed in Surge Suppressors: Anatomy Lesson are different devices; operate completely different.

Let's say the anomaly is 'open neutral'. The Progressive would detect and respond to that anomaly. The Leviton would not. Surge protection in a computer's USB port would not. Protectors discussed in Surge Suppressors: Anatomy Lesson would completely ignore that anomaly.

Which device, called a surge protector, is required? First answer a relevant question. Which anomaly do you want to avert?
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Old 04-15-2013, 01:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

westom - Did you join the forum because of this topic? If so, are you here to promote particular models or particular functions or a particular brand of RV power management devices?

I think this is a very useful topic. People can get very passionate about their product choices and can be quick to defend those choices. I don't want that happening here. The point of this topic is to provide useful information.

If you are going to ascribe particular functions to particular brands please reference model numbers otherwise it is misleading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by westom
......... Let's say the anomaly is 'open neutral'. The Progressive would detect and respond to that anomaly..........
For example, this "Progressive" device http://www.progressiveindustries.net/ssp_30.htm



would detect an 'open neutral' anomaly the same way any basic outlet tester plugged into a 30a/15a adapter would. And, neither device would "respond" other than informing you at the time of testing.



The photos in my second post were to reference UL listing numbers. The EMS-HW50C shown in the second post is a multifunction device and is not the same as the SSP30 shown in this post.

This previously referenced chart http://www.rvupgradestore.com/Articles.asp?ID=279 will help sort through the features of The Surge Guard and Progressive Industries units.

Also, westom - do you have a Progressive Industries device in your RV? If so which model and how is it mounted.

This topic: http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fusea ... m#25485242 indicates that care needs to be taken in choosing the mounting method and location as they can get hot.

UL 1449, the “Standard for Safety for Surge Protective Devices” seems too important to casually ignore. I will try to get official responses re: UL 1449 from both previously referenced companies.

As far as I can tell these three questions have not been answered:

1. Are there any UL 1449 Certified RV surge protection devices?
2. Is there a reason why the two most popular RV surge protection brands are not UL 1449 Certified?
3. Is there any reason to not add something like a UL 1449 Certified Levton Residential Whole House Surge Protector $50 http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/202993881 Either by itself or in addition to a power management system that automatically shuts off the power when the voltage is too low or too high, protects against open neutral or open ground, indicates reversed polarity and incorrect wiring etc.

westom - you quoted question 2 but seem to basing your answer on particular model or multifunction device. I don't see how your answer applies to Progressive Industries model SSP30 for example.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SSP30.jpg (26.0 KB, 2995 views)
File Type: jpg outlet tester.jpg (12.3 KB, 3015 views)
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Old 04-16-2013, 12:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Both aforementioned RV surge product manufacturing companies responded to my inquiries re: UL 1449 - Standard for Safety for Surge Protective Devices.

Technology Research Corp (Surge-Guard)

Quote:
Thank you for contacting TRC.
The RV products for UL are rated on the website.
The UL 1449 3rd edition is not part of this listing.
No additional information there. The phrase "RV products for UL" doesn't even make sense.

---------------------------------------

Progressive Industries (response from the President of the company)

Quote:
We meet that standard, but not tested.
There may be follow-up answers from both companies. I will post any info I receive.

You have to give the advantage to Progressive Industries.

If a 30A protection device is what you need then the EMS-HW30C hardwired unit feature list is really impressive. http://www.progressiveindustries.net/ems_hw30c.htm

It has a Bypass switch - a feature that its closest sibling doesn't have that might come in useful.

Quote:
This switch is located on the remote panel, and allows the user to bypass the computer circuit in the EMS in the event of computer failure, thus allowing AC power into the RV. This does not disable the surge protection portion of the EMS; however, all other features are disabled.
Again, here's the comparison chart of both companies RV Surge protection products: http://www.rvupgradestore.com/Articles.asp?ID=279
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Old 04-16-2013, 03:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
For example, this "Progressive" device http://www.progressiveindustries.net/ssp_30.htm
I was not discussing that device. I was discussing the EMC-PT30: http://www.progressiveindustries.net/ems_pt30c.htm

The SSP-30 is a different device that does not protect from damage by an open neutral or other anomalies.

Again, before making any recommendation, first each anomaly to be averted must be defined.
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Old 04-16-2013, 01:58 PM   #11
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

That opens up another interesting area for discussion. There are portable, outdoor units and also hard wired units installed in your RV available for purchase.

The outdoor units move the risks of device failure (getting hot or catching on fire for example) outside of your RV and the outdoor unit can easily be transferred to another RV if you sell yours or have more than one RV. There is a risk of theft but some units are lockable or have add-on locks available to purchase. You have to remember to use them.

The indoor units have the advantage of always being in place. You don't have to remember to plug them in or look for storage space in a camper van. Some have a by-pass switch that allows you to continue to use it in the event of the computer in the protector failing. The theft risk is eliminated.

Are there any other advantages or disadvantages to having an indoor or outdoor electrical system protection device?
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:02 AM   #12
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
Are there any other advantages or disadvantages to having an indoor or outdoor electrical system protection device?
Again, that question can only be answered by first defining the anomaly to be solved. Events such as open neutral or reversed polarity ( which does not harm appliances) can be solved or averted anywhere in the incoming electrical connection.

Another anomaly involves fast (ie microsecond) transients. Averted by connecting that anomaly as close (short) to earth as possible. And by increasing separation between that protector and appliance. This type protector is best connected at the pedestal so make a 'low impedance' connection to earth ground. A power cable between the protector and RV appliances increases protection.
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:32 AM   #13
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Would you prioritize the protection features of RV multifunction surge protection devices in an order similar to this?
(in general RV use, protecting the occupants and the appliances in the RV)

1. Open Ground Protection
2. High/Low Voltage Protection
3. Surge Protection
4. Surge Protection availability indicator
5. AC Frequency Protection
6. Accidental 240V Protection
7. Open Neutral Protection
8. Reverse Polarity Protection
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:48 AM   #14
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
Would you prioritize the protection features of RV multifunction surge protection devices in an order similar to this?
Order would change based upon what must be protected. Three categories are human safety, electronic protection, and motorized appliances.

Let's discuss motorized appliances. High and low voltage protection is a problem more often in campgrounds due to undersized distribution wiring, poor maintenance, too many others drawing high power, or combined with bad power factor.

Open neutral (maybe also called accidental 240 volt) is another reason for high and low voltages.

How significant is that anomaly? Monitor 120 volt incandescent bulbs. Intensity changes imply that can be a problem to motorized appliances.

Open grounds - is that a safety ground or earth ground? Ground fault is typically not harmful to motorized appliances.

AC Frequency variation is mostly a function RV generators. Not found in AC (shore based) power. Frequency variations can increase strain on motors. Is irrelevant to electronics or human safety.

Low down the list is one kind of surge protection often created by lightning or stray cars hitting a utility pole. Such transients might occur once every seven years. However, such damage can be catastrophic. A rare anomaly. Risk is little. Damage can be significant. But the cure is so easy.

Surge protector availability is simply a report that the protector was so grossly undersized as to trip a thermal fuse. To protect human life from a potential fire. Says nothing about motorized appliance protection.

Priorities can vary based mostly upon your venue. Some reasons to worry more or less about each are provided.
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Old 04-17-2013, 02:15 AM   #15
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by westom
Open grounds - is that a safety ground or earth ground? Ground fault is typically not harmful to motorized appliances.
I was thinking open earth ground as in the campground pedestal having a broken ground wire. Some of the multifunction Progressive units will prevent power from reaching the RV if there is an open ground condition.

And, thanks for answering all these questions. I appreciate it.
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Old 04-17-2013, 04:26 AM   #16
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
I was thinking open earth ground as in the campground pedestal having a broken ground wire.
I don't know how it can detect an open earth ground. That three light tester can only detect an open safety ground. A test means a complete circuit must exist. Safety ground at a wall receptacle forms a complete circuit when the safety ground and neutral meet in the main breaker box (ie in the pedestal). One wire to the breaker box and another coming back.

Only one wire goes to earth. No return wire. Therefore no way to detect an open earth ground connection.

Even in a home, only reliable method of confirming earth ground is visual inspection.
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Old 04-26-2013, 06:46 PM   #17
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
......... Is there a reason why the two most popular RV surge protection brands are not UL 1449 Certified?


Technology Research Corporation - http://www.trci.net/products/surge-guard - the manufacturers of Surge Guard RV Protection Devices, sent a followup response to my questions about UL 1449 certification for RV surge protection products.

Quote:
TRC's portable RV Surge Guard products are outdoor Surge Protection Device (SPD) that are intended to be temporally plugged directly into the outdoor receptacle of an RV power pedestal. The Scope of UL 1449 only covers permanently connected devices when they are intended for outdoor usage. Temporary connection is not included in the scope of this standard. Below is Section 1.4 of UL 1449 ;

“These requirements cover cord-connected and direct plug-in SPDs intended for indoor use and permanently connected SPDs intended for indoor and outdoor use in accordance with the National Electrical Code, ANSI/NFPA-70.”

TRC’s RV surge guards are designed for the RV lifestyle and environment. They are intended to be used by at outdoor campgrounds for temporary connection to the pedestal.
You'll often see the suggestion to only buy a UL 1449 certified surge protector but, if your search results are similar to mine, when it comes to RV use they do not appear to be available.

Thank you to the folks at Technology Research Corporation for taking the time to explain why.

I currently have one of their more basic portable units: http://www.trci.net/products/surge-guar ... ound-fault which I'll use until I figure out if I want or need a broader range of protection from power related risks.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:23 PM   #18
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

I saw some small surge protectors priced at $6.99 UL listed to code VZCA - Surge-protective Devices. Actually, the included $100,000 connected equipment warranty protection is what caught my eye. Either the risks are very low or the surge protection is good or something else entirely - you pick.

I bought two to put in my van. I already had a Belkin Surge-protective Device on hand and the TV antenna and WiFi router in my van are already plugged into a Surge-protective power bar. I charge phones and cameras etc.off that surge-protective power bar.

This is not a recommendation and I am not in anyway suggesting a $6.99 device offers the protection of RV specific devices. Read through this topic for a description of the risks various devices protect against.

I already have a basic RV surge guard:



The problem is that I forget to use it so I figured I might as well deploy a few surge-protective devices. Mv van is always plugged into grid power at home and I plug into friends and relatives homes when visiting. So at least i have some surge protection now.

Fridge


Microwave


TV


Using a circuit tester to check the power post at a campground seems like a smart thing to do. I have a basic circuit tester that I always use when doing AC wiring. You just plug it in and the indicator light show if there is a problem. You'll need an adapter that allows you to plug a 15A plug into a 30A outlet for most campgrounds.

Circuit tester


RV plug adapters


This RV 30A outlet test shows "correct".


I guess you'd call these interim measures. I have to get in the habit of using the RV specific portable surge guard I already have. At some point I will get a device with more features though - probably a permanently installed unit.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg rv surge guard.jpg (4.9 KB, 721 views)
File Type: jpg fridge surge.JPG (284.1 KB, 721 views)
File Type: jpg microwave oven surge.JPG (238.9 KB, 721 views)
File Type: jpg tv surge.JPG (176.4 KB, 721 views)
File Type: jpg circuit tester 30 amp RV outlet.JPG (209.1 KB, 722 views)
File Type: jpg circuit tester.JPG (247.4 KB, 722 views)
File Type: jpg circuit tester and rv plug adapters.JPG (157.4 KB, 722 views)
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Old 05-06-2013, 02:34 AM   #19
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

Quote:
I have a basic circuit tester that I always use when doing AC wiring. You just plug it in and the indicator light show if there is a problem.
Posted previously was:
Quote:
I don't know how it can detect an open earth ground. That three light tester can only detect an open safety ground.
Protecting appliances is about the connection to earth ground; not safety ground.

Read what the Belkin claims to protect from. Typically only protects from transients that do not overwhelm protection already inside appliances. It does not claim to protect from transients that typically do damage. Such transients are averted by a short connection to earth ground. Which that three prong tester cannot test for.

No protectors does protection. Effective protectors connect a destructive transient to protection. That $6.99 device would not.

UL1449 says nothing about a protector being effective. UL is only about human safety. Because many protectors caused house fires. A problem that still sometimes occurs with a UL1449 listed protector.

Human safety (ie RV fire) is completely different from another problem - appliance safety. UL1449 only means that device is less likely to cause a fire. And says nothing about actual protection.

Essential is to understand the electrical difference between safety ground and earth ground. That three light tester says nothing about earth ground. Cannot report a safety ground is sufficient. Can only report some safety ground defects.
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Old 05-06-2013, 02:58 AM   #20
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Default Re: UL 1449 Certified Surge Protection Devices for RVs

westom - re: gfci - Is it best to buy an RV surge device that also has Ground Fault Shutdown as a feature?
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