Sunday, December 3, 2023


RVelectricity: Guide to RV surge protectors

By Mike Sokol

Dear Readers,


I’m going to encourage you to read this excellent article from TechnoRV on the various types of RV surge protection devices that are available and how they work. While I didn’t write this, I’ve spoken with one of the authors, Eric Johnson, many times about how they operate, what they protect, and selecting the proper surge protector for your RV.

While TechnoRV does sell Surge Guard brand products, this is a well-written piece that’s applicable to just about any brand surge protector you’re considering for your RV. For a link to the full article just click HERE. But I’ve included a few interesting paragraphs from the article just as an overview.

From TechnoRV:

What Is An RV Surge Protector?

An RV surge protector is a device that connects between the RV park power pedestal and your RV’s electrical system that is designed to protect your RV against dangerous power surges. There are more advanced RV surge protectors that can also cut power off to your RV if it detects any dangerous electrical conditions such as undervoltage or miswired pedestals.

What is a power surge? A power surge is a temporary power jolt that lasts for a fraction of a second. Power surges can be caused by lightning strikes, AC units, heavy equipment, tripped circuit breakers or even power grids switching over. A power surge can cause damage to anything connected to it. Components especially sensitive to power surges are computers, TVs, mobile devices, and satellite receivers.

So, if you protect yourself from electrical surges, then that should cover you, right? A typical misconception is that an RV just needs to be protected from surges. That is all we worry about in houses, so it makes sense that it would be the same for an RV, right? Actually, that is not the case. RVs are wired differently than houses and since they are constantly moving from place to place, they do not receive their power from one stable source all the time. For these reasons, RVs need more protection than surge protection alone.

If you’ve been RVing long enough, you know that you can’t guarantee what power issues you are going to get when you pull up to a campground pedestal. One site can have steady, stable power coming from the pedestal while the one across the row can have a miswired pedestal with no ground wire in place or worse.

In addition to wiring issues, there can be low voltage issues, commonly referred to as brownouts, when too many RVs are pulling power from a single source (think summertime when everyone is running their AC units at the same time). Brownouts are actually the most common electrical issue RVers experience, and most times you don’t even know one is happening. I guess you could say that plugging into some pedestals is a little like a game of Russian Roulette.

So, how in the world do you protect against this field of electrical enemies? Sure, you can test your pedestal with a multimeter before plugging in, but you can’t be there 24/7 watching for any electrical issues that might occur. In order to truly protect against all of the possible electrical issues that happen in RV campgrounds, you need a complete electrical protection system and not just one of the entry-level $80 – $100 surge protection units.






Once again, for a link to the full article just click HERE

I think you’ll learn a lot from reading it.

Let’s play safe out there….

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

For information on how to support RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles, seminars and videos, please click the I Like Mike Campaign.




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Dr4Film (@guest_67893)
3 years ago

Experiencing a power surge is the least of your electrical worries when hooked to shore power. Low voltage is more common than most other electrical situations. Occasionally you will have too high voltage and one of the most lethal is a missing ground plus the most costly can be a missing neutral. With that said spending money on a surge protector in my opinion is a waste versus spending a little bit more for a complete EMS protection system. I also use a Power Master Voltage Booster VC-50 which sits prior to my Progressive Industries EMS System. Having those components wired in that order ensures that my AC’s will be operating correctly when the RV Park voltage is too low due to everyone running their AC’s full time. In that situation those without any protection are shortening the life of their AC’s and those with EMS protection will be without AC’s until the voltage increases above the EMS cut-off threshold.

Drew (@guest_67848)
3 years ago

The article is a little dated. The Autoformer has much more than just surge protection now. I’d now consider buying one before getting an ems type protector. Here’s the site:

Mike Sokol (@guest_68020)
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Be aware that the 2020 National Electrical Code makes any autotransformer use in a campground a code violation. Hughes is in the process of attempting to reverse that decision.

Mike Sokol (@guest_68021)
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Please explain what you mean by that statement. The Autoformer has always been an automatic autotransformer booster with some extra surge protection, not the other way around.

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