Thursday, November 30, 2023


Ask Dave: Why can’t I get power through my Smart Surge Protector?

Dear Dave,
I have a Power Watchdog Smart Surge Protector with Emergency Power Off (EPO) and a Generac GP3300i portable generator for a Lance 2465. In order to get power to the trailer, the surge protector cannot be used. Do I need to ground the generator? —Charlie

Dear Charlie,
How ironic. I’m at a show in Harrisburg, PA, and just talked with a vendor yesterday regarding the Hughes Power Watchdog. I sent people from my seminars to him for campground protection.

According to their website, your model PWD30 EPO has a few features that would shut off or create an open which would not allow power to get to the rig. First is an open neutral condition, then an open ground, and reverse polarity. From the information, all three of these conditions have an indicator, so you should be able to pull up the information on your phone to tell if it is a ground issue, as you suggested.

Another issue might be a high voltage condition or surge that would have shut the unit off and disabled it. The rep at the show said that if it’s a low voltage condition, the unit will come back on when power goes up over 106 volts. However, if there is a surge over 130 volts, it takes out a chip and has to be sent in to be replaced. He stated that they typically replace it once for free, and then it’s $40 after that.

Mike Sokol and the bonded neutral and floating neutral issue

Having said all this about the Watchdog, the issue could be how your generator is set up. Mike Sokol is THE expert when it comes to all things electrical. He wrote a very descriptive article discussing bonded neutral and floating neutral here.

One point in particular in Mike’s article that would apply to your situation is this: Why won’t my EMS Protector turn on with a floating neutral generator?

I could not begin to explain this like Mike does, so I urge you to read his article. But check out your Watchdog as well.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

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Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. He has been in the RV Industry since 1983 and conducts over 15 seminars at RV shows throughout the country.



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Mike Sokol (@guest_168217)
1 year ago

And here’s my entry-level article on why you need to use a bonding plug on an inverter generator when powering an EMS surge protector.

John Dunn (@guest_168243)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

If I am using two small inverter generators in parallel, do I need a bonding plug for both gens?

Mike Sokol (@guest_168379)
1 year ago
Reply to  John Dunn

No, only one of them. But it should be inserted in the “Companion” generator with the 30-amp twist-lock receptacle if you’re using Honda generators. Read this:

John Dunn (@guest_168433)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Thanks, Mike. I have 2 Yamaha units. The first one started is the controlling unit, then the second one acts as the “companion” unit. I’ll use the plug in the second one.

Glenn (@guest_168244)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol


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