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256  Main Forum / General Discussion / Installed options: SurgeGuard and 50 amp Service on: December 22, 2013, 12:36:58 pm
Now that all of our Christmas shopping is done I have time to share our experience and opinions about two of the options we had installed on our 2014 2552; the hard-wired SurgeGuard and 50 amp electrical service.  My next post will be about the Coleman Mach 8 A/C with heat strip.

First, Kermit told me that they've only installed 50 amp service on about three or four PC's, and that ours is the first in which they've installed a hard-wired SurgeGuard.

It's really nice to be able to run the AC or electric heat, along with the microwave, tv's, coffee maker, etc without too much concern about the overall consumption.  I think this will really come in handy when we get to much warmer climates, like Arizona in the summer.  Won't have to turn off the AC when cooking dinner in the oven.  Since we haven't owned an RV before, we probably won't realize how much more convenient it is versus 30 amp service.

Since just about everything is a trade off in the RV world, 50 amp service comes with its negatives.  Heavier cable means more weight in the PC.  The 50 amp power cord is heavier and thicker, which might be an issue for some folks.  I don't find it to be too cumbersome or overly heavy, but it does take up more room in the back storage.  Also need to have additional adapters (50 amp to 30 amp, 50 amp to 20 amp). And both the cable and adapters are much more expensive than the 30 amp variety.  Lastly, some RV parks charge extra for 50 amp service usage.

For us the benefits outweigh the negatives at this point, since we'll be traveling quite a bit and hopefully for a very long time, and 50 amps will give us more options along the way.

The SurgeGuard unit in our rig was installed in the space under the drivers side bed, between the bed and the exterior wall.  In order to get to it you'd need to remove the hydraulic pistons that hold the bed up, remove the bed and remove the long narrow piece of wood that supports the bed along the exterior wall.  We hope we never need to do that. I'm sure they placed it there because it didn't need to be accessed, since we also opted for the remote monitoring panel which is mounted right near the inverter monitoring panel, tank level indicators and generator start switch behind the drivers seat.  Without the remote panel installed the unit would need to be accessible so you can see the voltage, current, fault lights on the actual unit itself.

The unit displays voltage (both legs), current and fault conditions in real time. It protects against excessive voltage (Low <102V and High >132V), miswired pedestal, open neutral, open ground, high/low frequency, reverse polarity.  It has an auto reset on power restoration, and a 2 min 15 sec reset delay that protects the A/C unit.

When you connect to generator or shore power, the unit will start a countdown of 128 seconds before allowing power into the RV.  It's looking for the correct stable power from the source.  If there are no issues after 128 seconds, it kicks in the transfer switch.  If you install SurgeGuard, be sure to let your service techs know it has this 128 second delay before the rig is powered up.  It sometimes confuses them.

It performed brilliantly during the first week we had it.  Phoenix forgot to install a short jumper wire on the transfer switch and SurgeGuard detected the problem and wouldn't give me power from the generator.  When we hooked up to a shore power pedestal the first night, the SurgeGuard detected a reverse polarity problem in that pedestal and wouldn't give me power.  It also stores a history of faults, so you can see if there were any issues if you weren't around.

I don't have any experience with other products that are like this, but we are pleased so far and the unit gives us a good level of comfort knowing our investment is protected.  Also, since it is hard-wired and inside the rig, the equipment can't be stolen.

- Mike

257  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Trackvision sat box on: December 22, 2013, 11:08:15 am
We are also looking into plans and receivers (for our Winegard RoadTrip Mission). Both are similar in that the receiver and services available depend on the model of dish you have.  You can look that up on the KVH site ( I know that Dish Network provides a nice plan which is Pay-As-You-Go, and I think was what you meant by a monthly plan.  From what I've read, it doesn't appear that you'd need a KVH box, just a box compatible with your antenna and services (GPS/DVB, DVB, HD, Bell/Dish/DirecTV, etc)

- Mike
258  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: At long last - Our PC arrives! on: December 22, 2013, 12:38:55 am
Ok, my final post in this topic.  Everything has been resolved.  As I posted earlier, our 50 amp power setup along with a hard wired SurgeGuard is 'unusual' and PC USA didn't install a jumper wire on the transfer switch.  Kermit walked me through it and 5 mins later I had power.

The no-heat/thermostat issue was finally resolved.  Again, this installation was non-standard....we opted for the Coleman Mach 8 15,500 BTU A/C with heat strip (not the heat pump model) Kermit and I talked about it for a while and it looked like either a miswired thermostat or a short somewhere. Due to how the the thermostat wiring runs in the PC, I couldn't find the problem myself so I brought it to one of our local RV dealers with a massive repair facility (Cordelia RV). They found the problem on the first day I brought it in (there was a short somewhere) but due to their backlog of service issues (they had about 60 RV's in there for one issue or another) they couldn't get to it for two weeks.  Thankfully, these were the two weeks we experienced an abnormal two weeks of hard freeze in this area, so our PC was cozy and warm in a service bay, inside.  Turns out the short was due to a wire nut coming loose, falling off and making contact with the control box in the rooftop a/c section.  Not only did they not charge me, but also washed the rig nicely.

We now have a fully functional and gorgeous PC that is ready to get on the road.  First stops....Red Bluff, Palm Desert, San Diego after Christmas.  Then across the country once we get the Ford Edge tow gear and braking system hooked up.

Kudos to Kermit for keeping in touch and being extremely supportive! I'll post more about our 50 amp service, SurgeGuard and Coleman a/c in relevant topics.

 - Mike
259  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: TST Tire Pressure Monitor on: December 21, 2013, 11:53:21 pm
Oh, I found this DIY project for cup holders which I ran across after the fact.   Pretty neat idea, but you have to be sure you have your cupholder dimensions right.....
260  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / TST Tire Pressure Monitor on: December 21, 2013, 11:38:29 pm
Finally got around to adding and mounting the TST Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS w/6Flow Through Sensors - Model TM-507SG)

They make non flow through sensors as well, and in hindsight I would probably go with those, since they are smaller.  The flow-through models allow you to inflate the tires without removing the sensors.

The instructions are not that great, but once you figure out what's going on the system is easy to program and pretty nice overall.  Took me about 1/2 hr to get everything installed, programmed and ready to go.

POSITIVES:  Accurate wireless readings to each tire.  Configurable alarms for over pressure, under pressure and temperature.  Standard alarms for rapid tire deflation and communications errors. The monitor in the cab is very small, low profile.

NEGATIVES:  It appears that the lowest over-pressure setting is 101 psi.  I have to check on this but that's what it appears to me at first glance.  Not the best manual.....looks like a techie, not a user, wrote it.  No problem attaching to the rear tires, but the flow-through sensors are large enough that they just barely fit on the front tires, due to the PC wheel covers in front.  I imagine the standard sensors would fit just fine.  They aren't hard to install or remove....just screw on and off.

I installed the monitor along with the ScanGauge together in a cup holder mount (see pic below) and it works very well.  The mount is from Bracketron ( and is a pretty nice holder that fits in cup holders (adjustable) and expands to fit a variety of devices.

261  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Aime's Matchmaking Service on: December 16, 2013, 09:53:46 pm
Not much activity in this topic for a while, but if the program is still alive then Joni and I would be more than happy to show off our 2014 2552.  We are in Northern California, specifically in the Napa/Sonoma/Solano county area. 
262  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: MICHELIN TIRE RECALL on: December 16, 2013, 09:36:07 pm
Escaped this one.  Ordered in July, took delivery in November.  Tires say 1313 (week and year).

- Mike
263  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Small Giveaway on our Facebook Page on: December 12, 2013, 10:27:13 pm
Aw, dangit....we used to Facebook.  We don't Facebook anymore.  Will have to look up the Kronen stuff, tho.
264  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Happy Holidays to everyone on: December 11, 2013, 09:57:52 am
Happy Holidays!  Saw a huge Newmar yesterday completely decked out with Christmas decorations.  Wish I had my camera.  Safe travels......and hope to see you all at some point down the road in 2014.

(And ya beat me to it, Tom....Happy 4th!)
265  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: What to do with an Fiamma Awning now that I have a new Electric Awning on: December 06, 2013, 08:25:09 pm
I second that, Ron.  I have some really nice stuff I bought (brand new), thinking they would be great but once we received our PC and found other more suitable stuff (for us) and I was left with surplus.  Not the kinda thing Goodwill would easily deal with. 

- Mike
266  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: 12 Volt Charging Station on: December 06, 2013, 08:16:27 pm
Ok, note to time I talk to Kermit I will implore him to document all the amazingly wonderful stuff he puts in our homes.  I can imagine some young, techie type motivated person that would love to put down in readable form everything we would want to and everything.  Heck, I know a dozen that I could send up to Elkhart for a month and they would love it....well, after this frigid weather anyway. :-)

  - Mike
267  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Running Engine and Generator at Same Time on: December 06, 2013, 11:10:24 am
I hope it all turns out well.  How full are your tanks?

We've had a similar unusual week, but not as bad, here in the Bay Area north of San Francisco.  Low 50's during the day but into the 20's at night.  Ironically, our PC is sitting inside in one of the warmish repair bays of our local RV shop for a thermostat/heating issue.  I'm pretty happy that they've been too busy to finish the job quickly.

 - Mike
268  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: What to do with an Fiamma Awning now that I have a new Electric Awning on: November 30, 2013, 08:18:55 pm
Might also want to look on the Sprinter/Caravan forums.  I remember a lot of discussion about Fiammas on those sites.  Might provide some idea of used costs.  Long shot, but maybe a local RV dealer might sell it for you on consignment?

269  Main Forum / General Discussion / Happy Thanksgiving! on: November 27, 2013, 07:54:54 pm
Lots of things to be thankful for this year, and among those are all of you amazing folks who have helped Joni and I for the past few months with our new PC.   Here's hoping you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

 - Mike and Joni
270  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Registering and Titling Our 2552 In California on: November 24, 2013, 11:16:42 am
Both the website and the DMV office were pretty clear in that 'vehicle' was a Ford and the 'body type' was a motorhome.  They also go as far as to physically verify the VIN, making sure all numbers match (door frame, engine, title, etc) and then certifying it.  Can't see them getting that part of the process wrong, even if you put the wrong (PC rather than Ford) VIN on the registration application.

- Mike
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