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Installed options: SurgeGuard and 50 amp Service

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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