Why would I need a surge protector??? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 12-26-2015, 08:52 PM   #1
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Why would I need a surge protector???

Hi all,
I usually don't camp at places that have electrical hook-ups but next year will be my first exception. We will be camping at four locations, for a total of twelve days, that have electricity. I'm not convinced at the necessity of a surge protector. Isn't that what the fuses are suppose to protect against, besides faults...

Dale
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Old 12-27-2015, 12:38 AM   #2
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A surge protector is closer to the power source and is suppose to protect against power surges. A fuse protects against overloads. A surge protector will also interrupt the power much quicker than a fuse because a fuse must first heat up before it can break.

Having said that, they are pretty much useless in RV's and not much better in homes. I have never had one in either my home or RV.
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Old 12-27-2015, 12:44 AM   #3
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You will find the biggest power problem in campgrounds is low voltages, not power surges.
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Old 12-27-2015, 01:08 AM   #4
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Like many other things (a pressure regulator on your water hose, for example)... it's insurance. While the chances of it happening are low, a power surge may not only fry the entire power grid on your rig, but possibly your computer, TV's, and appliances... and none of it will be covered under warranty. You'll just be SOL.

Personally, I like 'em, but your mileage may vary...
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Old 12-27-2015, 04:12 AM   #5
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To me the big benefit of my surge protector is the wiring check. Two green lights and I'm good to go. (30 Amp model) After that, I'll admit, that for a simple overnight, I may not include the protector (and lock box) in the circuit; and instead, just plug in. But if the wiring (especially ground) isn't right, I want to know that before I go to sleep.
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Old 12-27-2015, 04:33 AM   #6
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After some friends of my folks had their camper fried by a new campground I bit the bullet and got one. It has protected our unit several times at campgrounds with low voltage. Like Tom says, its insurance. For my folks friends it was a vacation stopper--no power to the trailer after that and a $5000 repair bill.
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Old 12-27-2015, 04:41 AM   #7
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There are surges other than campground wiring, Lightning can and will, if conditions are right, can cause a large surge too.
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:29 AM   #8
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Electrical service in campgrounds can be a crap shot. A good surge protector will cover it all, from the power surges to over/under voltages that burn out things like the AC. They also provide protection from miswired power posts.

I have come across just about every situation that can cause havoc to the power system in my camper. I used check things like polarity at the post and used a Kill-a-volt in the camper to monitor the voltage inside the camper.

Just got to be to many things to check and monitor, so I went to a hard wired surge protector. Now I just plug in and let the surge protector run through checks and do the monitoring.
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Old 12-27-2015, 01:06 PM   #9
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Do you have insurance on your rig? Does it cover electrical destruction of your electronics? A surge protector is cheap insurance against; surges, low voltage, high voltage and crap wiring. I have seen just about every type of mis-wiring possible. Reversed neutral, missing grounds, reversed neutral and ground as well as low and over voltage conditions. The units today have a lot more electronic control boards in them than ever before. They are more sensitive to over/under voltage than the older stuff. Your call. You may go an entire lifetime and never get struck by lightning, some people may get hit more than once. I prefer the peace of mind of a surge protector.

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Old 12-28-2015, 11:31 AM   #10
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Won't plug in without it. Had an electrical issue here at John Prince. One unit complete fry, another just the microwave. For $300, I know exactly what I'm plugging into. No worries.
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Old 12-28-2015, 11:53 AM   #11
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We were camping with a group of friends at a fairground......we were the only ones using a surge protector (and we camp mostly at state campgrounds with no electric).....anyway - we were sitting around late one evening - when all of a sudden there was a loud blast. We look at the sky and there is a large "glow" coming from the bank of transformers outside the fairground! We check the camper for lights etc - we're good, we immediately unplug the trailer.....others that we are camped with were not so lucky (and these are people who camp with electricity all the time).......4 travel trailers + 2 pop ups with a range of problems to lost microwaves, refrigerators & TV's to simple things as burnt out light bulbs.......when we checked with others at the fairground in the AM - horror stories all around. I would rather be safe than sorry and for the amount of money we spent on the surge protector - it was well worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm sure some "smart" people put in claims with the utility company BUT we didn't have to go through the process!!!!!!!
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Old 12-28-2015, 03:20 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone,

You all convinced me to lay out the cash for one.

Dale
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Old 12-28-2015, 04:02 PM   #13
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I realize it's easy to listen to a few "horror stories" and buy one, but at least check with your insurance first. I live in an area with excellent power supplies at campgrounds and would never consider buying one, there's only so much crap you can fit in a camper and what if stuff gets left at home. I do keep a cheap tester in my tool box and check any new campgrounds before hooking up.

I also live in an area that loses power to my home at minimum 15-20 times a year with many, many brownouts, I have my computer on a surge protector and nothing else, never had anything go bad. Also, nothing is going to protect you from a direct lightning strike, except homeowners or RV insurance.
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Old 12-28-2015, 04:17 PM   #14
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We had a lighting hit somewhere near the campground we were staying at in New York. It hit while we were in town, when we got back, power was out on our rig. Apparently the surge protector did its job. It got fried, but everything inside was ok. I have the progressive industries brand that is made in the USA. Has a lifetime warranty and they repaired it for me for free. Here is the link Progressive Industries RV Surge and Electrical Protection industry lea to their web site. 1st class customer service.
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Old 12-29-2015, 01:35 AM   #15
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I have one and wouldn't plug in without it. 10-15 yrs ago at a campground in Kentucky there was a Power surge and it took out several appliances "just like that" ... ever since I've used a surge protector. Here's what I use, a little pricey but a lot cheaper than what I spent replacing stuff. They stand behind their products , great warranty too. I have no interest in the company, just sharing what I use and what works for me..

Progressive Industries RV Surge and Electrical Protection industry lea
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Old 12-29-2015, 11:27 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by dawniewest View Post
I realize it's easy to listen to a few "horror stories" and buy one, but at least check with your insurance first. I live in an area with excellent power supplies at campgrounds and would never consider buying one, there's only so much crap you can fit in a camper and what if stuff gets left at home. I do keep a cheap tester in my tool box and check any new campgrounds before hooking up.

I also live in an area that loses power to my home at minimum 15-20 times a year with many, many brownouts, I have my computer on a surge protector and nothing else, never had anything go bad. Also, nothing is going to protect you from a direct lightning strike, except homeowners or RV insurance.
It might be OK if you only have a few known campgrounds that you use, but when you travel like we do I just don't want to be bothered checking in the campground power is clean and the pole isn't miswired.

If I had to find a spot to store a plug in surge protector, I could find plenty of crap that we drag around and don't need. But the plug in type is not that big that it can't fit into a draw or cabinet somewhere. If you go with a hard wired version it's no problem at all, because it can be installed in any one of the empty spaces beneth the cabinets. My hard wired is in a cavity right behind the distribution panel. I plug in no muss no fuss and no worries.
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Old 12-29-2015, 11:39 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by hddecker View Post
If I had to find a spot to store a plug in surge protector, I could find plenty of crap that we drag around and don't need. But the plug in type is not that big that it can't fit into a draw or cabinet somewhere. If you go with a hard wired version it's no problem at all, because it can be installed in any one of the empty spaces beneth the cabinets. My hard wired is in a cavity right behind the distribution panel. I plug in no muss no fuss and no worries.
If your's is "in a cavity right behind the distribution panel" how do you see or check on it when you plug-in? Did you do the wiring your self or did you have someone install it?
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Old 12-30-2015, 03:20 AM   #18
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If your's is "in a cavity right behind the distribution panel" how do you see or check on it when you plug-in? Did you do the wiring your self or did you have someone install it?
I have the display module that tells me condition of the power being supplied, voltage, shows if there is miswired pole, etc. The surge protector display is right below my solar panel charge controller, so all my power monitoring is in one spot.

Installed it myself, it's very straight forward, it took me longer to pick the location than to install it. The terminals are color coded, in my case Dutchmen left me enough extra wire all I had to do was cut it once I had the module bolted to the floor.

I can't feature anyone doing a hard wire install without the display, you would have to have it accessible to see the leds to determine if there is a fault or not.
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Old 12-30-2015, 05:18 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by hddecker View Post
It might be OK if you only have a few known campgrounds that you use, but when you travel like we do I just don't want to be bothered checking in the campground power is clean and the pole isn't miswired.

If I had to find a spot to store a plug in surge protector, I could find plenty of crap that we drag around and don't need. But the plug in type is not that big that it can't fit into a draw or cabinet somewhere. If you go with a hard wired version it's no problem at all, because it can be installed in any one of the empty spaces beneth the cabinets. My hard wired is in a cavity right behind the distribution panel. I plug in no muss no fuss and no worries.
I totally agree, just being the other side of the coin.
Plus i'm biased by my hundreds of power outages without incident.
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Old 12-30-2015, 01:15 PM   #20
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I totally agree, just being the other side of the coin.
Plus i'm biased by my hundreds of power outages without incident.
Power outages at home and power outages at a campground are two different animals. We have a beach cottage that we are allowed to use in exchange for my doing some maintenance on it. The power company "lost the neutral", it fried all electronics in the house that were plugged in. Fortunately they admitted to it and were quick to pay for everything that had to be replaced, but it was still a PITA. A whole house unit like the Progressive would have been great. Instead of having to baby sit an semi-competent electrician for two weekends I could have been drinking beer on the beach. And even after that clown got done, I still had to replace the GFCI breaker that he "forgot" to do.

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