You will need to buy a RV surge protector to protect your RV or travel trailer from the varying quality of power that can be found in campgrounds. Campgrounds suffer from surges, lack of voltage, too much voltage, spikes, and generally overall a bad quality power. For example, there is a campground that we have not stayed at, but drive by several times. In the spring every year, the campground floods from winter runoff and is about a foot under water. Can you imagine the quality of their underground utilities if water gets in the boxes and pipes? One mishap with their power could jeopardize your electrical system in your trailer. Wouldn’t $100 for protection be worth the cost that could be upwards of $1,000 for a new distribution panel/converter, plus the cost of items that could be damaged when they were plugged in? The worst part of this happening is the timing, I don’t know about your dealer, but my dealer is usually a month out on repairs. This could potentially ruin your summer camping plans.
What surge protectors do
A surge protector is device that is designed to protect electronic equipment from voltage spikes by limiting the voltage supplied by blocking or shorting any dangerous voltages above the threshold. This will protect electronic devices which are plugged into the unit such as: your fridge, A/C unit, converter, distribution panel, laptops, tv’s cell phones, microwave, and any other devices plugged into your RV while you are plugged into shore power. All of these items range in prices from $250 to $2,500 each. Read more about do I need a surge protector?
Best Plug and Play 30 amp and 50 amp
The best 30-amp surge protector I found to fit our needs is the Progressive Industries SSP-30XL. It’s designed for outdoor use being weather resistant, which also includes a weather shield assembly that fits over your plug and is thermally protected. It has status lights for open ground, open natural & reverse polarity direction, miswired pedestal indication, as well as surge failure indicator. It is always a good idea to plug the surge detector in first and make sure you have a green light and the pedestal is not wired incorrectly before you plug your trailer in. Progressive industries also includes a lifetime warranty and is UL Certified and also approved for use in Canada. We purchased this model as as we want our trailer to remain in as good as condition as possible.
The 50-amp version (SSP-50XL) is also a great model if you have a 50-amp trailer. It too is designed for outdoor use with open ground, natural, reverse polarity detection, miswired pedestal indicator, as well as surge failure indicator. It also is UL Certified, Canadian approved, and comes with a lifetime warranty. For the price you can’t beat these two models. Both the 30 and 50 amp come with locking security brackets to protect from theft.
Best Electrical Management System (EMS) 30 and 50 amp
If you are looking for an electrical management system, Progressive Industries big brother EMS-PT30X includes all the bells and whistles. Not only does it include the open ground, open natural, reverse polarity detection, miswired pedestal indicator, and surge protection, it also includes over or under voltage protection. This is especially useful if you are at a busy campground and many people are hooked to shore power hogging power. There will be fluctuations and could even provide less than 120 volts which could hurt your appliances just as much as over voltage. If you plug this detector in, you will have a digital readout showing the volts as well as all other faults. If you like to purchase items once and never worry about it, purchase this model first.
The EMS-PT50X is the Electrical Management System Surge Protector you would want to buy if your trailer uses a 50 amp electrical system. This provides the lifetime warranty from Progressive Industries as well as all of the security and peace of mind of the 30 amp model above.
Best Hardwire Electrical Management System (EMS) 30 and 50 amp
If you are looking to hardwire your Electrical Management System to not have to remember to plug it in every time you go to a campground as well as not have to worry about it walking away, you can get the EMS-HW30C for a 30 amp trailer, or the EMS-HW50C for a 50 amp trailer. These will operate and have the same features as the plug and play models, but be hardwired installed and come with a remote monitor that must be installed within 14’ of your EMS system. If you do plan to purchase a hardwired unit, make sure you are skilled enough to deal with 120v voltage or are willing to hire an electrician to install the unit into your trailer. Miswiring the unit could cause permanent damage to your trailer or even to you.
Locking them up
It is always important to protect your investments, as surge protectors can be a bit expensive, they may tend to walk away if they are not locked up. A small cable won’t stop someone who has bolt cutters who is determined to steal your protector, but it will stop the opportunity criminal by not creating the opportunity to easily steal. You can purchase a masterlock cable lock that is compatible with the locking security bracket on the plug and play models here. Learn more about securing your travel trailer and items from our article.
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