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Old 03-08-2013, 06:22 PM   #1
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Newbie Question #: Surge Suppressors

Hello, All,

As we continue gearing up for the 2013 season (and fervently awaiting the opening of our nearby state park campgrounds!), we're looking into purchasing a surge suppressor such as those noted by John B. in the post, 'Newbie Question #7: Tools.' We've decided to eliminate the TRC from consideration because it is made in China, whereas the Progressive Dynamics products claim to be made in U.S.A. So, we've narrowed things down to the Progressive Dynamics SSP-30 (around $84 on Amazon) and the EMS-PT30C (around $260).

The primary question is: other than the advertised differences in features between the two units (e.g., the EMS-PT30C bills itself as an entire 'power management system, and provides time-out protection for A/C compressors, and its description details its voltage range tolerances, etc.) what if any basic difference in protection does the more expensive unit offer over the considerably less costly one? Both units feature the same response time of <1 nanosecond. Both indicate reverse polarity, open neutral, and open ground, although the PT30C actually prevents power from flowing to the RV if any of these conditions are present. The PT30C has almost double the amount of surge amp protection rating than the SSP-30; the PT30C offers more than double the joule rating than the SSP-30 (1790 vs. 825). The more expensive unit features automatic 240V protection--but I can check the power pedestal voltage with the Fluke before hooking up. Likewise, the automatic time delay for A/C compressors is nice; but this feature is almost universal in all A/C control circuitry, and really doesn't need to be redundant on the power surge protector.

The only things, therefore, that really seem to separate these two PD units in terms of performance are the surge amp rating and the joule rating. Is this really that important? The surge amp rating would seem to be a no-brainer: the higher the rating, the more powerful the surge being protected against. The SSP-30's 22,500 surge amp rating seems plenty high.

We're not sure, however, how joules, a measure of work, relates to the quality of protection being provided by a given suppressor. Is joule rating somehow related to more protection being available should several high-load appliances (A/C, microwave, whatever) be in use simultaneously when a power surge take place?

Any help on this would be appreciated. We don't particularly want to spend almost 3 times the cost of the less expensive unit, but if the consensus is that it's worth it, we will.
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:53 PM   #2
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Hi Matthew,

On the surge suppressor, I myself went through this same decision of, do I get the larger rated one or the small one?

From my research on this, bigger is better. The issue is we really do not know what electrical spike is going to hit the incoming line. From what I have found, when a heavy surge comes through, the line suppressor gives up it's life and burns out with some getting hot enough to catch fire. After realizing this, I did not want a permanent installed one. I went with the one on the power post where if it catches fire out there, my camper is not burning.

Think of this as an insurance policy. If you get less coverage, you save $$ along the way in less premiums. That is until the day a heavy loss strikes and your lower coverage does not cover all the damage. So after the loss, then you pay the full cost plus more as the damage is already done.

In the CG, low volts in the summer, miss wired power posts, loss of ground are the more common things that do and have happened. Lightening strikes that come down the power line happen too, just less frequent.

In my case I justified in my head, spend the more money on the larger protection. If I only ever use it once for a high power surge, it paid for itself. And since the higher end ones can burn out when a massive spike hits, it does it's job of protecting the camper and gave up it's life instead. That is not a guarantee it will stop the strike, but increases the odds of doing so.

Here are a few write ups on these.
The RV Doctor: Are Surge Protectors Needed in RVs?

Do RVs Need Surge Protection?

They are not as high end technical as I would like, but help.

Good luck

John
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:24 PM   #3
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surge suppressors etc

How did I ever get thru 28 years of RVing and owning/towing/driving 19 campers of all types without all this technical stuff!! And no real disasters either........hmmmmmmm..
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:49 PM   #4
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Let's see, 19 campers in 28 years would be a new camper every 1.4 years. At that pace, how could technical disaster keep up with you?!
We're just not blessed with that type of luck.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabes View Post
Let's see, 19 campers in 28 years would be a new camper every 1.4 years. At that pace, how could technical disaster keep up with you?!
We're just not blessed with that type of luck.
Now that is funny.....

I also remind myself every now and then, If I would have stayed with the tent... I would not have to fix so much stuff.... But then when I flip on the furnace, hot water heater or the AC on in the camper, I say Naaaaa.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:52 PM   #6
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Wanted to post a follow-up to our search for a surge guard for our 2363:

We decided to buy the pricier EMS-PT30C, which we bought on Amazon.com for around $260.00. We're glad we bought one! In a little over a year's time using it, we've had 4 incidents; twice where the EMS actually shut down everything in our Sunline, saving us from who-knows-what! As JohnB pointed out, it's good insurance especially considering what it costs to replace some of the electrical devices in an RV. Now when we go camping, no matter where we are, we plug in the EMS first and take it from there. We would definitely recommend Progressive Industries EMS PT30C.
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