Sunday, June 7, 2015

Surge Protectors vs. Electrical Protection Systems

Let’s talk electricity. For those that are experienced RVers, you have certainly experienced power problems at various RV parks. We need the power to run our RVs, but the wrong amounts of power can be catastrophic to the components of your RV. It is not optional to have some kind of electrical protection system for your RV. Let’s talk about the different types that are available.


Surge Protection
A lot of people think that they just need to protect themselves against power surges. We will go with that for now. So what is a power surge? A power surge is a temporary power spike that lasts for a short duration, like a second or less. A high voltage spike is generally 330 volts or more.

By comparison, a standard 30 amp and 50 amp rig is operating on 120 volts. Power spikes can be caused by lightning strikes, AC units, heavy equipment, tripped circuit breakers or even grids switching over. A power surge can cause damage to anything connected to it. Components especially sensitive to power surges are computers, TV’s, Mobile devices, and satellite receivers.

Surge protectors can take many different forms.  You may have seen the power strips that you can buy from the dollar store.  I am never going to recommend this as a serious method to protect your devices from power surges. These power surge units are not rated to cover you in the event of a high voltage spike.

There are also surge protectors that are outdoor boxes that use resistors that push high voltage to ground. These surges are rated for a certain amount of energy and if this rating is exceeded then the unit will need to be replaced.

There are a few things that you will need to look out for to ensure you have an acceptable surge unit. There should be indicator lights or a display that lets you know what the unit is doing. Without this you do not know if your surge protector is operational. The second thing is to ensure that the surge protector complies with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. If you choose a unit that does not comply with these standards then you could be at risk.

Of course, TechnoRV carries surge protectors that meet these standards. We carry Surge Guard surge protectors and they are the very best and have the highest joule rating. If you are looking only for a surge protector, then I would not own anything else but a Surge Guard. I have had the opportunity to read through countless testimonials that all confirm that these units do what they say they will do. 


Complete Electrical Protection
So, if you protect yourself from electrical spikes, then that should cover you, right? Nope, that is not correct. Unfortunately spikes are not the only concern that RVers have to worry about. Oddly enough, low voltage is a much more common problem than high voltage. You never know what you are going to get when you pull up to a campground. You can get a different experience at the same campground depending on what pedestal you are on. There can be so many RVs pulling power from a singular park source, and this along with various wiring issues can create voltage problems. When you go to plug your RV into a pedestal, it can be like a game of Russian roulette.

There are also high voltage issues, including accidental 240 volt which can be devastating to your entire RV. There can be open ground issues, reverse polarity (live and neutral are reversed) and open neutral (this can cause 240 volts to hit your RV when connected to a 50 amp pedestal). So, how in the world do you protect against this field of enemies?
You need a complete electrical protection system, not just surge protection.
Surge Guard 34850

Again, TechnoRV and Surge Guard products have you covered. We have a 30 amp and 50 amp complete electrical protection system in both the portable and hardwired version. When you attach to power, the Surge Guard system evaluates the power and tests for all of the enemies like open ground, reverse polarity, and open neutral. In addition, it will evaluate the voltage level. If there are any issues with the power, then the unit will not release the power to your RV. If there is an issue, it will flash a code that will tell you what the problem is. If this happens then you can talk to the campground manager and ask them to move you.

I personally use the 50 amp Progressive electrical protection system. I have had many situations that the park had low power, lower than 104 volts. I know that if I would not have had my Progressive that I could have had damage. I now have full confidence when I pull into a park. There are enough things to worry about when setting up, and for me, power is not one of them.

Conclusion
Surge protectors are definitely better than having nothing. They are less expensive than a full electrical protection system, but just know that you are still exposed to other problems that can occur. My opinion is that everyone that is willing to spend the money on a RV, should spend a few hundred dollars and purchase Surge Guard Total Electrical Protection System in order to protect the RV from electrical issues and not just a surge protector.