Surge Protector for Casita? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-16-2012, 11:04 PM   #1
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Name: Robert and Laura
Trailer: September 2012: New proud owners of a 2010 Casita SD
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Surge Protector for Casita?

We just purchased a 2010 Casita Spirit Deluxe. Our first trailer ever...so this is all new to us. We read a few horror stories about people who do not use surge protectors. Lots of different opinions left us dazed and confused. Can anyone clear it up or is it just a matter of opinion? We purchased an very expensive surge protector but we're reading that some folks have the $90 one instead of the $300 one. Neither one is rated by UL. We haven't been out yet in the trailer so haven't used it so we're thinking about bringing it back to Camping World and buying the cheaper one ($90) if you guys think it would do the job. We certainly don't want to fry our AC in our Casita or anything else. We will be bringing a laptop and we will have a TV. What say you? Your opinions are welcome. Thanks everyone for your help!
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:24 AM   #2
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There are 2 items out there being used, one is strictly a surge or spike protector, usually less than $100 that protects your unit against voltage spikes that can damage your trailer's and anything plugged in(computers) from harm. These spikes can be from lightning or trees falling on lines in your area. In addition there are also expensive $300 EMS or electrical monitoring systems that will protect your trailer and and plug ins from miss wired campgrounds that may have neutral and or the hot wired reversed. In addition to the spike/surge protection these units also protect against over/under voltage where the cg's capacity may be less than needed when everyone turns on their a/c and the voltage drops below 110 volts, then anything with a motor like your a/c can be harmed.
Your choice of protection.....
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:47 AM   #3
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You don't indicate the maker or model of either "surge" protector. More than likely, the expensive one does a job that the cheaper does not do, to wit, detecting BOTH an overcurrent (high voltage) and undercurrent (low voltage commonly termed "brownout") and shutting down power to the trailer in response. The lower-priced acts as circuit analyzer and spike detector. There are many articles on Google which will help you understand the distinction.

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Old 09-18-2012, 11:37 AM   #4
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Thank you Robert and Laura for bringing this up. Being a 'Newbie' to trailer camping, we were not aware of this problem. We have tent camped in the past and have used the small outlet strips to run a few electrical things, but have never experienced any difficulties at any of the campgrounds we were at. We're shopping for a Scamp or Casita trailer, and definitely will want to protect our purchase. Since there is not a local RV dealer/supplier in our area, I did a search on the net, and found several websites that sell these including Amazon. Reading the customer reviews on a couple of surge protectors, I found one disgruntled customer who said that they couldn't get their surge protector to fit any of the hookups in 4 different campgrounds! My question to the experienced RV owners is have you experienced this? Is this very common? Any suggestions or information on the brands that you are using would be helpful. Thanks!
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:34 PM   #5
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I believe they were referring to the portable models, ones that you plug into the cg pedestal and then plug your cord into it. These models are about 24" long and there are some c/g with outlets lower than that. You can either move to another location or opt not to use it. That is one of the advantages of the permanent ones installed inside your camper, no hook up issues.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:10 PM   #6
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An inexpensive interim solution

Brought the thread to top to suggest another option for checking campground power circuitry and voltage. I would like to have the 200+$ E[lectrical] M[anagement] S[ystems] 30 amp hardwirable circuit analyzer and over/under voltage protection for the Burro but we're in "our" camping season now and I decided to go with an inexpensive alternative for the moment. Shown is the Prime Products circuit fault checker and AC voltage meter (about $27 from Amazon Prime), a 30amp male to 15amp female adaptor (about $6 and free shipping when ordered w/ an Amazon Prime item), and a 50amp male to 30 amp female adaptor which I already had (probably from Walmart).

The Prime Products voltage meter has a simple indicator light system to reveal correct or reversed polarity, open neutral and open ground. Also monitors line voltage. It can check circuitry plugged into an AC receptable in the trailer; however, IF it reveals a circuit fault, it is not possible to know if the fault is in trailer or campground circuits. Plugged directly into 15 amp receptable in the box on the pole (or into either 30amp or 50 amp receptables using the appropriate adaptor[s], the campground system is isolated from and tested separately from the trailer. Added benefit is very similar to the use of the "dogbone" portable surge protector to establish correct circuity and adequate voltage in site power box BEFORE plugging in trailer or even backing into site. I think for under $40, this is a LOT BETTER than stumbling blind into a miswired or inadequate power supply. I also think the operation is a bit simpler than standing in the rain trying to remember how to use a multimeter for circuit tests. What is not available at the price is auto-shutdown of power to the trailer based on circuit faults or over/under voltage; you must make the decision to refuse a site or camp without AC power and you must monitor line voltage in situations you believe might produce voltage "brownout" or severe voltage spikes.

I checked our trailer today (both the four AC duplex receptables inside and my home circuitry thru a 20amp extension cord that supplies "shore power" at home). Found no faults and voltage readout right on the nominal 120VAC. Turning A/C on high had the effect of dropping readout to 118volts.

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Old 09-20-2012, 05:58 PM   #7
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So since your trailer checks out interior, just a matter of checking the exterior (this unit should not be left plugged in outside as it is not for exterior use) when initially setting up. That said, you are still not protected from spikes or surges that can happen while connected, during night or while away. You are still "unprotected" but you know your wires are correct. There is also a circuit analyzer that is an audible alarm which will alarm you with over/under a/c current, but again, unless you are inside to hear it??
For peace of mind, I like the EMS "whole house" package, but like you said, it is $$$.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:52 PM   #8
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Quite right, Jim; warned but not protected. I think this rig gives about the same service as some of the 90$ "dogbones" but does require the human to act as circuit breaker in the case of an observed fault. 24/7 vigilance as a voltage monitor is obviously not possible unless you're already pulling 3 on 3 off watches cause you saw the smoke from Rim Rock and figger them injuns are gettin pretty hungry up there without so much as a cup of joe or a pop tart and prolly gonna attack any minute now. At least better than nothing which is what all us who are unaware of the problem have initially.

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