Surge Protection

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by JanieRyan, May 14, 2009.

  1. JanieRyan

    JanieRyan New Member

    We use a surge protector for using the laptop while camping in campgrounds. Learned this lesson the hard way by frying our last laptop. The stereo was also fried during the surge. Can we surge protect the trailer between the pole and the trailer so that everything we use in the trailer is protected? Also, can we use just a regular (i.e. non-rv) surge protector if we have the plug adapters? Thanks for your help!
     
  2. H2H1

    H2H1 Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    Yes you can, there is a surge protector just for that. I recommend you contact Ken at Grandview Trailer Sales and see if he can help you out.If he can't I am sure he has a recommendation for you.
     
  3. westom

    westom New Member

    RE: Surge Protection

    First, a surge is a current (not a voltage) that conducts from a cloud to earth. If that path to earth is through electronics, then damage results. Protection means keeping that current out of electronics - out of the RV.

    Second, anything to stop or absorb that current causes voltage to increase. Voltage will increase as high as necessary to maintain that current flow. High voltage times high current equals high power (and high energy). Any attempt to stop a surge means the surge dissipates high energy - destructively.

    Third, surge protection has always been about diverting a surge harmlessly in earth. That is what the protectors do that actually do protection. As you may know, earth ground is at the pole. Any surge protector that connects short to (ie within feet of) earth ground means that same surge need not find earth destructively via your laptop and stereo.

    Two factors define the effective protection solutions. A shorter (low impedance) connection to earth. And that longer separation between protector and appliances increases impedance (increases appliance protection).

    No surge protector provides protection. Protectors only connect (divert, shunt, bond, conduct) a surge harmlessly to earth. That means the protector must have a dedicated connection to earth. Now you have a benchmark to identify effective protectors verse the high profit myths that sell under trade names such as Tripplite, APC, Belkin, or Monster Cable.

    Will a power strip stop or absorb what three miles of sky could not? Of course not. Instead, it might increase surge voltage - cause a massive increase in energy where you don't want energy. Or simply connect that surge to earth destructively via adjacent electronics. The effective protector with a short connection to pole earth ground means even direct lightning strike energy is harmlessly dissipated in earth. Short connection to earth means a direct lightning strike does not even harm the protector.

    Characteristics to find the effective solution. A protector too close to appliances can even earth a surge destructively through the laptop or stereo. Best surge protection means the surge did not even enter the RV. Best protectors are only as effective as their connection to earth ground.
     
  4. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    I have no idea where the previous post got his information, but it sure don't agree with what I learned in my electronic education, nor with my experience of working forty years in electronic service?

    A power surge is triggered by any event that causes a sudden increase in line voltage. All current increases must be first caused by an increase in voltage as the two are tied together. Voltage is the pressure that pushes the current through the circuit. You can't have current without voltage!

    The small devices that are sold in stores like Wal-Mart do offer some protection for the equipment that is connected to them, but the amount of protection varies quite widely and it only protects from surges. The amount of power it can dissipate and the speed with which it reacts are critical to the usefulness of each device. In general, the really cheap ones don't do much for you, the higher priced ones usually do. But you have to compare the joules of power dissipation and the speed of operation when you consider them.

    There are many surge protection devices and some of them are made for protecting the entire RV. Surge Guard company makes both surge protection devices as well as line monitor devices that protect from not only surges but also from low or high voltage and many wiring problems. The best power line protection devices that I have seen are from the companies, Surge Guard and from Progressive Industries. Both make devices that provide a pretty complete protection from surges, high & low voltage, missing grounds or neutrals at the power pedestal and a few other issues. Both of these devices monitor The power for a bit more than 2 minutes before they connect your RV to shore power and neither will connect if the line is not proper. Both of them also disconnect the line if the voltage exceeds 132V or falls below 108V and will reconnect once the problem goes away.

    As one who made a living in electronic repair and service work for many years, I never connect our RV without using such a device.
     
  5. H2H1

    H2H1 Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    hey men Kirk, I like you can't figure where the other poster got or gets the information he has put out. Kirk I think you did a very good job explaining it
     
  6. westom

    westom New Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    One who designed surge protection knows surges are measured in current - not voltage. Voltage will build a plasma path that can conduct the surge. But the surge itself is a massive current source (not a voltage source). Voltage only exists (increases) where something tries to stop that surge. No voltage means no energy. Franklin demonstrated the concept in 1752.

    Lightning strikes a wooden church steeple because wood is conductive - a connection to earth more conductive than air. But since wood is not sufficiently conductive, current must create a higher voltage. Therein lies destructive energy in a surge. Voltage increases, as necessary, to conduct that current through wood. Voltage times current is more power (and energy). Divert that current on a more conductive material - no voltage; no energy; no damage. An insufficient conducting church steeple means voltage, destructive energy, and damage.

    Franklin solved this problem by simply connecting lightning to earth on a more conductive path - a lightning rod. Same surge current. But no voltage and no energy dissipated destructively. Instead, energy dissipates harmlessly in earth. Earth always provides protection - as was standard even 100 years ago. This is basic circuit theory taught first year engineers.

    Either a surge current flows destructively through an appliance - creates a high voltage destructively inside the appliance. Or current flows directly to earth via an earthed protector - near zero voltage and near zero energy. Just like Franklin's lightning rod - surge protection means conducting a surge harmlessly into earth with near zero voltage.

    Many surge protectors exist. In reliabile facilities, earthed protector is the only 'always required' solution. A solution that has been used for 100 years is the same principle demonstrated by Franklin in 1752. And still some have failed to learn these well proven principles. Some foolishly believe a 2 cm part will stop what three miles of non-conductive air could not. Even a technician did not do what is required to have that knowledge. He should post those manufacturer specs numbers that define protection. No such protection claims exist. How would an experience technician then *know* it must work? It is often a problem for engineers. Technicians who know without first learning.

    Those missing specs are why telcos everywhere in the world do not use nongrounded protectors. Current increases voltage, as necessary, to blow through any protector that would absorb surges. Where is that spec for protection? Does not exist.

    Why does every telco CO connect protectors as close to the earthing electrode as possible? Why do they prefer protectors to be located farther from electronics? Same reason why it also works for an RV.

    As Franklin's lightning rods demonstrated, if a surge current gets connected shorter to earth, then near zero voltage exists. Near zero voltage times 20,000 amps means near zero power (and energy). A surge current that does not enter the RV does not create voltages; does not dissipate energy destructively inside the RV. Energy (current) that does not enter an RV will not cause damage which is why the effective protector have a dedicated wire for earthing.
     
  7. westom

    westom New Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    These devices do not protect from surges. Described are high or low voltages. That is not a surge. That device is for other power anomalies. Problems that a surge protector would ignore or would be completely destroyed by. So yes, the Surge Guard device is helpful to avoid a fire problem too often seen with power strip type protectors.
     
  8. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    Kirk and westom, ya'll are both talking about the same event from different directions and distances.

    Westom's second explanation does a better job of describing what occurs with a 'direct' lightning strike. You can only divert the 'surge' current to earth through large copper cables that have such low resistance that there is very little voltage produced across them at very high levels of 'surge' current through them. This kind of event happens VERY fast, but the energy diverted is massive.

    Kirk's explanation fits better to an event (like a lightning strike) that occurs further away from the spot where the 'surge' protector is located. The 'surge' produces a high voltage that is distributed across the power system as a 'spike' in voltage locally. This local 'surge' voltage is part of a massive parallel path of the 'surge' current produced by that far away lightning strike.

    A local 'spike' in voltage (nothing like a direct lightning strike) could also be produced by an event like a tree falling on a power line. The quick shorting of the lines, the tripping of local breakers and some inductive effects can produce brief voltage effects that protectors try to dissipate.

    One thing should be made clear to everyone (both weston and Kirk are saying it) is that the only real way to protect your RV from voltage anomalies is to do it outside the RV and as near to the power pole earth ground connection as possible.

    Any 'protection' done inside the RV is really a waste of time (and money) and will eventually let the smoke out of all of your favorite electronic components. :clown: ( Didn't you know that all electronic components are full of smoke and are designed to let it out at the most inappropriate moments? )
     
  9. brodavid

    brodavid Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    WOW
     
  10. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    I use an outside surge protector that plugs in directly to the RV park shore power and then my RV 30 amp power cord plugs into the surge protector. These RV surge protectors can be purchased in any RV store.

    I have been using one for 14 years and haven't had any problems with my RV appliances. You can argue all day long about what causes the surge but a 30/50 AMP surge protector is great insurance that your RV/wiring/appliances will survive a surge of whatever's. They aren't cheap. A 30 amp surge protector costs about $110 and 50 amp is more. I have had the surge protectors trip many times while hooked to RV park shore power without any problems to my RV. I still use a plug-in 115 V surge protector inside the RV with my computer plugged into it.
     
  11. Triple E

    Triple E Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    Ohm's Law Calculators
    • Current (I) Calculators
    • Power (P) Calculators
    • Resistance (R) Calculators
    • Voltage (E) Calculators

    Ohm's Law
    • Ohm's Law Pie Chart



    Calculate for Current (I)
    I = P / E
    Power Voltage Current

    Watts Volts Amps
    I = Square Root of (P / R)
    Power Resistance Current

    Watts Ohms Amps
    I = E / R
    Voltage Resistance Current

    Volts Ohms Amps


    Calculate for Power (P)
    P = I x I x R
    Current Resistance Power

    Amps Ohms Watts
    P = E x I
    Voltage Current Power

    Volts Amps Watts
    P = E x E / R
    Voltage Resistance Power

    Volts Ohms Watts


    Calculate for Resistance (R)
    R = P / I x I
    Power Current Resistance

    Watts Amps Ohms
    R = E / I
    Voltage Current Resistance

    Volts Amps Ohms
    R = E x E / P
    Voltage Power Resistance

    Volts Watts Ohms


    Calculate for Voltage (E)
    E = I x R
    Current Resistance Voltage

    Amps Ohms Volts
    E = P / I
    Power Current Voltage

    Watts Amps Volts
    E = Square Root of (P x R)
    Power Resistance Voltage

    Watts Ohms Volts


    • Ohm's Law Pie Chart
    • Ohm's Law Calculators


    http://www.the12volt.com/ohm/page2.asp#12
     
  12. Triple E

    Triple E Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    I maybe wrong on this and I am sure someone will let me know, but, once your protector has been hit the warranty is all used up. The same thing with the breaker in your home.
     
  13. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    I'm not sure but I think the RV surge protector I have works like a ground fault interrupt circuit (GFIC) in that it trips if there is a small electrical surge or difference in the electrical current entering the RV and the electrical current leaving the RV. However, if a massive lightening strike hit close by it probably would be a HIT an the thing would be all used up.

    Anyway the thing gives me peace of mind when it's hooked up. :laugh:
     
  14. vanole

    vanole Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    JanieRyan,

    Like others have said it is a good insurance policy and piece of mind. Here is a chart that shows comparisons of surge protectors for RV's. Chart is dated I believe thnk surge gurad has a new model out that equals the playing field between them and Progressive Industries. I'm sure there are other option out there. If you buy a surge protector I recommend that you buy one with "low voltage protection" also.
    http://www.viprv.com/ems/ems-chart.htm

    V/R
    Jeff
    GO NAVY
    Fly Navy
     
  15. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    As long as you understand that "peace of mind" is only there up to the point of getting struck by lightning ... :clown:
     
  16. vanole

    vanole Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    Tex,

    Oh so true!!!!!

    Jeff
     
  17. H2H1

    H2H1 Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    I believe that if you get struck by lighting no surge protector or GFI or anything else is going ot help you. IN most cases you can just KYAGB . :laugh: :clown:
     
  18. westom

    westom New Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    Electricity has numerous anomalies - each requiring different solutions. For example, the Surge Guard is for an anomaly that is completely different from what a surge protector does which is completely different from what a GFI does. None do what the others do.

    If surge protection did not help, then your phone service is lost all over town for four days while they replace the switching computer. And what I did as an engineer for the past 40 years really did not provide protection? Nonsense so often posted by those who know without first learning why.

    That chart discusses protector devices for specific anomalies. But when it comes to protection appliances from surges (which are not the misrepresented surges that promote Surge Guard, et al), that means earthing, and the protector that makes that short connection to earth.

    Another type of anomaly is called open neutral. An open neutral can create a large voltage that is not a surge but that can convert some power strip protectors into a fire threat. See these scary pictures to appreciate why that plug-in device called a surge protector has resulting in calls to the fire department in most every town:
    http://www.hanford.gov/rl/?page=556&parent=554
    http://www.westwhitelandfire.com/Articles/Surge Protectors.pdf
    http://www.ddxg.net/old/surge_protectors.htm
    http://www.zerosurge.com/HTML/movs.html
    http://www3.cw56.com/news/articles/local/BO63312/
    http://tinyurl.com/3x73ol
    http://www.pennsburgfireco.com/fullstory.php?58339

    What protects the power strip protector from a potential fire? Surge Guard, et al. But again, each performs a different function.

    Finally, the Surge Guard says it can detect an open ground. Yes, just not an open earth ground. It may detect a broken safety ground. The difference is significant. Essential to safe operation and so that surge protectors can work, a power pole's earth ground must be visually inspected to confirm that earthing does exist. No consumer device can electrically detect a good earth ground.

    Meanwhile, surge protector is routinely installed so that direct lightning strikes cause no damage; even the protector is not harmed. But so many have been so brainwashed by retail store propaganda as to believe protectors protect by failing. Any protector that fails did not provide proper protection AND operated in violation of what the component manufacturer requires. Routine is to have direct lightning strikes and no damage. But that means, first and foremost, the protector must make a short connection to earth. Only urban myths and retail store propaganda claim damage from direct lightning strikes is acceptable. Routine is to do the same thing in munitions dumps, suffer direct lightning strikes, and not have explosions. But then not everyone here has this knowledge learned from experience.
     
  19. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    Westom, you provide some very good information.

    I'm find myself wanting you to provide some information on a device that DOES provide surge protection at the earth ground (as it exists in an RV spot). I'm hoping this device is one that we can afford, store and install at each RV park we visit!

    I know of some, but they are not really practical in our RV situations.
     
  20. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: Surge Protection

    Probably the best post here is the chart listed by vanole, although it should be kept in mind that the chart was designed to help then to sell the product which they show as best. It is very true that there is little other than prayer that will protect you from a direct lightning strike or even one to the power line that is very close to you.

    Any of those line monitors will protect an RV from the most common electrical problems that occur and none will protect from everything. Triple E posted the basic laws of physics which apply to electricity. If you wish to argue, do so with the scientists and educators who teach and support those, as we who make our living with them have found that they do work. If you want to argue electrical theory, this isn't the place as the thread was started with a question "Can we surge protect the trailer between the pole and the trailer so that everything we use in the trailer is protected?" The answer is clearly, yes to most problems, but that there is no 100% protection from everything.
     

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