[Sticky] Hughes Autoformer Study Results
As of 2 weeks ago, the language in the National Electrical Code that had prohibited the use of portable Autotransformers in campgrounds was changed. Autotransformers and the Hughes Autoformer will now be allowed in campgrounds as long as they're not built into RVs at the factory.
I was privileged to present the results of my 6-month study on the Hughes Autoformer to Code Making Panel-7 (CMP-7) at the NEC and had a prolonged discussion with them on the challenges facing campground power usage.
More to come on this topic soon.
Are you saying they must be installed outside at the pedestal, I.e. they can’t be located in an enclosed compartment?
Mine is located in the electrical bay as to not grow legs.
No, they do not need to be on the post. Yes, they can be mounted inside of the RV. One of the points was this is a portable plug-and-cord product that's not hard-wired into a system. And the NEC doesn't have control over plug-and-cord product. That's the job of Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
Secondly, the new language in the 2023 NEC edition will state that an autotransformer (or AutoFormer) must not be a factory installed option.
Finally, there will be a note in this section stating that too many autotransformers (or AutoFormers) in a campground may increase the amount of current during brownout conditions. But it will no longer be a code violation to plug in your own AutoFormer inside or outside of your RV.
Does that clarify the situation a bit?
And the NEC doesn't have control over plug-and-cord product. That's the job of Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
Haha, nice! Yes, "technicalities" do matter. That was some brilliant thinking on your part, sir.
So, "technically", a plug-and-cord product can be factory-installed as an option as long as it's not hard-wired because the NEC has no jurisdiction. They can write whatever they want but it doesn't matter. 🙂
As one government official told me "We can have these laws and we can enforce them as long as want until a court of law says we can't." Unfortunately that attitude has become the norm instead of the exception nowadays.
I'm going to do an Ask-the-Expert webcast about my Hughes Autoformer tests in a few weeks where I'll answer all your questions in real time. Please Stand By...
I installed SoftstartRV units on my 2020 DS and was disappointed the first time I was hooked to 30A service. When two units ran together the energy management system would immediately shed one. So while I wasn't tripping a breaker I still wasn't able to enjoy having two units cooling. I still believe them to be a good investment as they definitely eliminate the hard start and should reduce the wear on motors. I will be looking into possible adjustments to the energy management system which might allow the Softstarts to perform as intended. Just thought you might want to add this to your discussions regarding softstarts.
Recently my Hughes autoformer malfunctioned. It started boosting good voltage to an unacceptable level. It boosted 123V to 135. I was unaware of this until the onboard surge arrestor cut off the power. Hughes now has the unit for repair. Of course from now on I'll be double checking to be sure it stays in an acceptable range.