By Mike Sokol
Last week RVtravel.com ran a survey asking which brand of surge protector you used, or if you used any surge protector at all. In a moment the results of that survey, but first I’ll write about a few comments you posted. (To read the survey click here.)
First, Steve noted that even though he had a Surge Guard that plugs into the pedestal, he had a failure in the new shore power cable that was supplied with his RV. Most likely his appliances were damaged by an open neutral which allowed an over-voltage condition to occur on one leg of his 50-amp feed.
As I’ve noted in other posts, any kind of surge device can only protect your RV from electrical problems that occur upstream of itself. So a pedestal-mounted surge protector will protect you from power problems coming in from the pedestal, but it can’t do anything about a failure in the wiring AFTER itself. That’s why I think that hard-wired surge protectors offer superior protection compared to portable units that plug into the campsite pedestal outlet.
The next comment was about an EMS surge protector finding a grounding problem in the new RV owners’ home wiring.
Many homeowners don’t realize that their own power outlets have grounding issues, which can create a dangerous hot-skin condition if you plug your RV’s shore power into it. So always use a NCVT (non-contact voltage tester) to double-check after plugging your RV into ANY receptacle.
Lightning is always a threat to RV electrical systems. All surge protectors will help prevent lightning damage from a nearby strike. They are way less expensive than the deductible on your insurance.
The primary function of any surge protector is to prevent voltage “spikes” from entering your RV’s electronics. These spikes can be upwards of 1,000 volts and will instantly destroy any electronics. Even if you don’t opt for a higher priced “smart” surge protector that can disconnect you from low and high AC voltages, a MOV-based (metal oxide varistor) surge device will help isolate your RV from nearby lightning strikes and other high-voltage events.
Finally, here are the results from our survey:
It looks like there’s nearly a 2-to-1 ratio of Progressive Industries users compared to Surge Guard users. And only 22% of you responded that you don’t use any kind of surge protection at all. I’m finding that 22% result of no surge protector hard to believe just based on anecdotal observation. So please add a comment below and answer Yea or Nay about if you use a surge protector on your RV.
Let’s play safe out there….
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.