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Old 05-25-2021, 10:23 AM   #1
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Default Hard-wired surge/EMS on 2008 189 FD?

We just bought a 2008 189 FD and as I was reading up on what I should keep in mind before heading out on the road I discovered the polarizing and complex world of AC power. I decided it was more important to me to stay out of the "learned my lesson from a multi-thousand dollar repair bill" camp than it was to see if I could get into the exclusive "gone 30 years without one and never had a problem" camp and go ahead and purchase something accordingly.

Still debating it with my wife... I'd rather spend $300 on something that will protect from more than just surges and hopefully shut off without sacrificing itself than to spend $100 on a single-use surge protector that only helps with surges (we're in Canada, so the numbers may be higher than they would be for you). As I began to investigate, it seems to make more sense to install one internally than it does to use a portable one (so I can't forget to either use it or take it home, and so that no one else beats me to the taking it home part). Looks like this is a pretty standard choice for basic protection: Progressive Industries HW30C 30 Amp Hardwired Electrical Management System with Remote Display.

Our trailer is at the storage lot now so I don't have easy access to open up the panel and see how much space is in there... does anyone know if there will be room to safely install one in our trailer? Anything I should keep in mind?
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Old 05-25-2021, 12:05 PM   #2
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I don't recall the exact model number of the portable surge guard I purchased shortly after buying my current camper but it's similar to this:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...vwebnetwork-20
At the time - the one I ordered was somewhat more expensive and I used the 'lock box' made to secure the surge guard to the power cord. https://www.amazon.com/Technology-Re...e%2C281&sr=8-3
The box is just plastic would would slow down a thief as they are 'opportunists' for a quick grab and run.
It has proven very useful as I'm amazed at how many power pedestals in RV parks are wired incorrectly.

However --- if I had to do it again, I would buy one that is hard wired inside the camper.
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Old 05-25-2021, 12:23 PM   #3
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Thanks! Good to know we're on the right track. I assume that there will be space to actually get the unit in place, but would love to find that out before buying it, rather than after, if I can!
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Old 05-25-2021, 12:41 PM   #4
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Yes, if you are going to hard wire one in, you need to find out if you have space available inside.
When adding a satellite TV jack, I got inside a cabinet and removed a side panel that exposed the factory installed cable TV jack, the the black water flush vent valve and the electrical plug in for the 30 amp cord......and there would have been space available.

To find out on your particular unit, look inside where the 30 amp cord receptical is on the outside and see if you can access the 'inside' of the plug. That will give you a starting point although it may be possible to wire it in elsewhere .... but I'm no electrician.
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Old 06-01-2021, 03:36 PM   #5
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I haven't installed one yet, but in case anyone else is doing research, I pulled off the electrical panel and there was quite a bit of space behind it - more than enough to mount a unit like the HW30C. There are just a couple of screws to remove the cover, then 4 (for me - there was space for 8, so I don't know how many come stock) to unscrew the panel itself to access the space behind it.
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Old 06-02-2021, 02:39 PM   #6
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During a period in my prior life I was assigned the task of trying to make field instrumentation survive lightning strikes in the SE as the companies loss rate was high. Overhead electric lines almost seem to be magnets in attracting lightning strikes. I found that a properly designed surge filter had to incorporate several stages with the first stage including spark gap devices and an excellent ground rod so that the surges could be effectively couple to the earth. Then the next stages could be increasingly tighter in their ability to clamp any voltage transients: MOVs (metal oxide varistors) followed by solid state transorb devices (essentially high current zeners). From my perspective the best place to stop a lightning jolt is at the camp connector box BEFORE is enters your trailer and make sure it has a solid connection to the local ground rod (not just a wire daisy-chained to other RV hookup sites).

For filtering transients caused by RF or perhaps other RV trailer air conditioner's cycling ON/OFF a simple plug strip with inductors (commonly a toroid common mode choke) and capacitors (X and Y) are sufficient to clean up the AC line going to more sensitive devices.

For brown-out conditions (low voltage) the best solution is what is called a ferro resonant transformer as it will boost the voltage when the input drops. This would be mounted inside the trailer. These also have the advantage of inherently attenuating any high frequency transients.

These are just a few thoughts from my experiences.
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Old 06-03-2021, 09:33 AM   #7
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I'm not overly 'electronically inclined' but agree with JimbofunFinder above.

Placing the built in electrical surge protector as close as possible to the incoming source of power would be logical .. which is why I suggested just inside of the receptacle the cord plugs into on the camper.

As a side note - I have a whole house surge protector in my home given all the electronic components in it ... as the kitchen range, microwave, TV, computers, washer/dryer, refrigerator, furnace, etc. that could be 'fried' from an electrical spike or lightning strike. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LXRNOEI...osi&th=1&psc=1
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Old 06-03-2021, 09:33 AM   #8
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I'm not overly 'electronically inclined' but agree with JimbofunFinder above.

Placing the built in electrical surge protector as close as possible to the incoming source of power would be logical .. which is why I suggested just inside of the receptacle the cord plugs into on the camper.

As a side note - I have a whole house surge protector in my home given all the electronic components in it ... as the kitchen range, microwave, TV, computers, washer/dryer, refrigerator, furnace, etc. that could be 'fried' from an electrical spike or lightning strike. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LXRNOEI...osi&th=1&psc=1

Cheap insurance IMO.
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Old 06-30-2021, 08:13 AM   #9
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I’m somewhat surprised that the (whatever brand) RV power panel does not have some sort surge protection as part of its design! Not that it means power surges/spikes don’t or won’t happen but I’ve never experienced any issues with our ‘07 x210 (WFCO model 8945AN) and only recently have become aware of the potential need for additional protection via general camper discussions with friends. Is it that newer rigs are loaded with high tech (sensitive) electronics this issue has been kicked up a couple of notches? I’m concerned with Eagle’s comment RE: the number of campgrounds where he’s discovered improperly wired electric hookup pegs! I’m somewhat tempted to get one of the “line test/surge protection” devices just to see how prevalent this issues actually is.
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Old 07-03-2021, 11:48 PM   #10
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I would agree that it's better to stop a surge outside the trailer than inside the trailer. I've never seen a surge protector in action but I can imagine that a big enough voltage or current surge could result in a lot of heat, smoke and flames.
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Old 07-05-2021, 04:25 PM   #11
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From what I've read, the issues are occasionally around surges, but more often around voltage fluctuations or wiring issue at the post... so it's not a matter of lightning up the road about to fry all your stuff, but everybody in the park trying to run AC at the same time and not enough juice to do it without a risk of damage. Again, my knowledge is just anecdotal (blogs and forums) but I've never read of anyone having their surge protector burst into flames, but plenty who fried their AC, fridge, or other electronics due to less dramatic (and obvious) issues.

My preference to mount something inside would be for two reasons - if it's installed with the electrical panel I can't forget it, and nobody else can steal it. Anecdotally (again) it seems there's some risk of these things being stolen, and if I have to purchase a lock, have one more thing to carry around a key for, maybe have someone hack up even if they try to steal it and aren't successful, and potentially set down and forget during pack-up, those all seem more likely to actually become problems than the chance of getting a surge large enough to light me up.
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