Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by smilinjohn, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    I always plugged in a little polarity/continuity checker I picked up when I first stated Rving before hooking up to the RV Park shore power. Every once in a while I would find the shore power wired wrong or not grounded. If the RV park power checked out OK, I would then use 30 amp surge protector ($80) plugged into the shore power at the outlet. I then monitored the voltage from inside the RV with a voltage monitor plugged into a ac outlet inside the RV. If the shore power varied very much or was low to begin with, I hooked up my Hughes Autoformer to keep my voltage in the safe zone (above 105 V ac). Never had any problem in 15 years following these procedures. My air conditioner compressor never prematurely failed due to low voltage because I used the Autoformer. Don't leave home without one. :)
     
  2. H2H1

    H2H1 Senior Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    Good points DL. I listen to you several years back and bought a Autoformer and use it all the time. I like you don't leave home with out it. :cool:
     
  3. agravegal

    agravegal New Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    I was going to thank the original poster for the question..........but now I think I need a surge protector for my brain!
    :laugh:
     
  4. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    Thanks Betty, Now I know what happened to my brain :eek: Overload from listening to Tex and all these electric experts. :laugh: ;) Guess it's to late for a brain surge protector for me :(
     
  5. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    " ... listening to Tex and all these electric experts." So, there's a difference, huh? :clown:
     
  6. westom

    westom New Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    That tester only reports a defective safety ground (and hot neutral reversals). It cannot detect earth ground. Completely remove earth ground and a tester would still say ground is OK. Earth ground and safety ground are electrically different.

    Tester can only report a defective safety ground. It can only imply a good safety ground. In most cases, a safety ground will be good when iimplied. Most, but not all defective safety grounds will be reported by that tester. Bottom line: that tester only reports a defect. Does not report safety ground is certain good.

    Now, safety ground is not earth ground. Earth ground is a connection from where neutral, safety ground, and earth ground all meet to an earth electrode.

    TexasClodhopper discusses this. First that earth ground, safety ground and neutral must all meet at the common point. Nothing must connect to earth ground elsewhere. This is first for human safety as explained by TexasClodhopper.

    For transistor safety, each incoming wire must make a short connection to earth ground. Wire length (not wire diameter) is critical for this type of current - for transistor safety. Every incoming wire in every cable must connect as short as possible to earth ground. Wire that cannot connect directly is the hot (black) or L wire. That is what a protector does. Make a black wire connection short as possible to earth ground. Both neutral (white ) N wire and safety ground (green) G wire already make that connection.

    Brownouts or high voltage - events that make an incandescent bulb brighten or dim - are irrelevant to earth ground or surge protectors. These voltage variations are normal (ideal) electricity to electronics. And can be harmful to motorized appliances (as another noted - the AC). Therefore incandescent bulb variations - especally when an appliance powers on or off - implies a problem somewhere with the hot (black) L wire or neutral (white) N wire connections. Safety ground and earth ground would (should) be irrelevant to this other type electrical anomaly.

    An autotransformer is one way to compensate for 'shore' wires or nearby utility transformer that are undersized for the many loads. Voltage adjustments mostly important to motorized appliances are tens of volts adjustments. Will not do anything significant for transients currents that, if blocked, can exceed thousands of volts and blow right through.

    Reasons why are explained by TexasClodhopper. And really is not complex. This is an attempt to explain same with different words. However no English sentence will mean anything if you do not go out and view the actual wires. There is no replacement for doing that eye labor.

    Back at the house, that water pipe is no longer sufficient for earthing. All water pipe earth grounds must be supplemented with some other earth ground - since about 1990. Water pipes must be connected to that neutral, safety ground, earth ground common bus bar first and foremost so that fault currents are removed from pipes (will trip a circuit breaker). But homes now must have some other dedicated earth ground. Grandfathering is why many homes do not yet have that dedicated earth ground.
     
  7. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    'beddows1' - Registered in 2003! Paul, welcome back and don't be such a stranger! :)
     
  8. smilinjohn

    smilinjohn New Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    Thanks for the in-depth discussion......surge protection, voltage regulation and wiring faults. All good stuff for me the "Newbie".

    Upon examining the specs. on the 120V, 30A voltage regulators/boosters, the pretty yellow Surge Guard #10176, the Hughes #RV2130 and the Power Master #VC-30 all boost voltage by 10 to 12%, relative to campground/park reduced voltage at the post. So, if the park voltage drops off to, lets say 113V, then the above regulators will boost voltage 110% to 112% to 124.3V to 126.6V. I understand the need to regulate voltage to an acceptable level, so as to not strain the Air Cond. compressor motor and other equipment. However, what happens at the other end when voltages exceed the 120V @ 30A......"124.3V to 126.6V example, as above, or 1.12(115V) = 128.8V? Is the voltage not too high?

    :) John
     
  9. Triple E

    Triple E Senior Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    I have seen voltage as high as 130 VAC. No problem. :cool: I am not sure how high you can go without a problem. :question:


    :8ball:
     
  10. westom

    westom New Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    Where power connects is a plate or label. That always required information is your first answer.

    When happens when 120 volts rises to 126? Incandescent bulb fails twice as fast. A voltage increase will be obvious when the bulb changes intensity.

    How high can voltage rise and not harm a laptop? 265 volts. But again, every appliance provides that number in writing.
     
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    but ,, that does not really apply to rvs ,, the lighting in them are 12 volt ,, and the converter will take the over power no prob ,, but i understand about the appliances ,, but i have seen as much as 140 volts on my system ,, and with no prbs yet :)
     
  12. westom

    westom New Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    Dimming and brightening light bulb is not a problem. It is test equipment. Use a 120 volt light bulb to see a problem before it causes failure. 12 volt incandescents would not report useful information.
     
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    ok i can agree with that ,, but what if the rv has a power management system , that takes care of any under or overvoltages,, but u do realize that just about everything on an rv is 12 volt right ,, furnace ,, w/p ,, and even the refer's control board is 12 volt , now the a/c units and micro wave is 120 volts , but they can take some over voltage ,, better than under voltage ,, and yes the 12 volt lights would provide usefull info ,, as in the converter going bad (dim) lights ,, or the house battry going bad ,, rvs are not like a house ,, u can not apply all the principles of 120 volts as do in a house ,, there are more than just a ligt bulb plugged into a 120 volt socket ,, will that (test) light bulb ,, ck say a furnace circuit in and rv ,, i doubt it ,, but i am up for the challenge if u can prove it and btw ,, u don;t have a name in u'r profile ,, would be nice to know who u realy are and what state u live in ,, most do have the courtsey for at least doing that on here ,,
    :approve: :approve:
     
  14. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    Member profiles and rv troubleshooting in general are really off topic.

    What we are discussing is surge "protection" and autoformers and high / low AC voltages.

    I don't know how much information about high / low AC voltages you will ascertain from the 120VAC light bulb, unless you pay very close attention to it.

    Also, the low voltage condition that an autotransformer might correct for in most cases would already be there when you plug your RV into the pedestal. That light bulb tester would just be at some dimmed level. It wouldn't tell you any useful information at that point.

    Also, we're not trying to troubleshoot the problem of low AC voltage at the park. We're trying to correct for it, if it's there, without interrupting our good times at whatever location we're in. As automagically as is possible! :clown:
     
  15. westom

    westom New Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    And you also have 120 volt receptacles.

    Why do voltage variations not affect electronics appliances? Becase all electronic appliances have the same converter - voltage regulation - that 12 volt RV appliances and bulbs have.

    A 120 volt light bulb is the effective voltage monitor. Appreicate the numbers here that apply to all previous posts. For example, if AC voltage increase from 120 to 127 volts, the increased light bulb intensity an obvious 20% brighter bulb. Operating one bulb on 120 volts is a simple and obvious monitoring device for voltage variation. Variations that are typically harmful only to motorized appliances. Not to anything that is powered through a power supply - ie computer, 12 volt interior lights, etc.
     
  16. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Newbie confused by the various surge protectors

    Bottom Line: Use a surge protector for surge overloads and some type of AutoFormer only when the voltage is low (monitor it from inside your RV with a plug-in device) and you will eliminate 99% of the common RV Park problems. Nothing is perfect. :) :) :) :laugh: Your Air Conditioner compressor will love you :bleh: Oh, by the way we stayed in almost 500 RV Parks in our 15 years of traveling. Practice makes ALMOST perfect. :approve:
     

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