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Old 10-28-2016, 09:43 AM   #1
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Surge Protector

One of the few things that Teresa insisted that we get in our build sheet was the built in surge protector.

On 2 of the 3 campsites that we have been to since we've had the camper, the surge protector has shown an error which meant we had no electricity in the camper. Different codes each time, one was for an open ground, and I forget what the other was.

At the first campsite where this happened, it was hot so we needed to have our AC working. Fortunately the campsite has both 30 AMP and 50 AMP connections. I got the error code when I plugged into the 30 amp one, so moved over to the 50 amp one and no more errors, so I had the electricity that I needed.

On the next one, the campsite only had 30 Amp, so we ended up with no electricity for that weekend, but it was OK because it wasn't hot so we did not need either the AC nor the microwave.

Now I should mention that when the camper is at home, it is always plugged into a 20 amp connection that we have outside, and it never throws an error, and the first campground that we spent a night in the camper, we were plugged into their 30 amp and no errors, so I feel confident that the problem was in fact with the campsite connections.

I'm just curious what you do when this happens and you do in fact need to have electrical hookups? Should I have contacted someone at these campgrounds and asked them to check things out? Should I have moved to different campsites in the campground?
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Old 10-28-2016, 09:57 AM   #2
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You can bypass the surge protector by flipping the switch up on the remote but its not recommended. It sounds like its doing its job protecting you from bad power problems. These problems seem to happen more during the summer when demand it high on the electrical grid.

It also shows up in a lot in some of our state parks with very old electric systems.

Did you have a problem at Defeated?
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Old 10-28-2016, 12:40 PM   #3
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To clarify; an open ground isn't desirable but common not only in campgrounds but many older houses with 2 prong outlets or those with "homeowner" wiring.

I don't have a surge protector but I do check power supplies for open ground and reversed polarity. An open ground wouldn't prevent me from using the source.

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Old 10-28-2016, 12:45 PM   #4
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You can bypass the surge protector by flipping the switch up on the remote but its not recommended. It sounds like its doing its job protecting you from bad power problems. These problems seem to happen more during the summer when demand it high on the electrical grid.

It also shows up in a lot in some of our state parks with very old electric systems.

Did you have a problem at Defeated?
Tom, we did not have the issue at Defeated, nor did we have it at Henry Horton State park. We did have it at Fall Creek Falls state park, which surprised me because the loop that we were in had recently been updated, and we had it at Chickasaw State park, which did not really surprise me, as it was a really crappy campground which desperately needs to be upgraded.

We will be going back to Henry Horton for a couple of nights next weekend, and I don't expect it to be an issue this time either.
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Old 10-28-2016, 12:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
To clarify; an open ground isn't desirable but common not only in campgrounds but many older houses with 2 prong outlets or those with "homeowner" wiring.

I don't have a surge protector but I do check power supplies for open ground and reversed polarity. An open ground wouldn't prevent me from using the source.

Ron
Thanks for that information Ron, that is good to know
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Old 10-28-2016, 04:03 PM   #6
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Fall Creek Falls was rewired by the low bidder. Enough said.
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Old 10-28-2016, 05:07 PM   #7
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Low Bid

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Fall Creek Falls was rewired by the low bidder. Enough said.
Having administered millions of dollars worth of contracts covering a myriad of public projects, I have a little different view of failure of the end result. It is my considered opinion that projects fail due to several factors not necessarily related to bid price. Specifications must be well written, include materials of the highest quality available and clearly understood by the contractor prior to bidding. Construction execution must be thoroughly inspected from beginning to end by qualified inspectors. Testing of materials along the way must be done where appropriate. Upon completion, inspection and approval via a thoroughly developed punch list must be done. The contractor must have a valid bid bond. The project must have a warranty period where part of the final payment is withheld until the warranty period expires.
It's not always and not usually the contractors fault in my opinion.
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Old 10-28-2016, 05:21 PM   #8
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Having administered millions of dollars worth of contracts covering a myriad of public projects, I have a little different view of failure of the end result. It is my considered opinion that projects fail due to several factors not necessarily related to bid price. Specifications must be well written, include materials of the highest quality available and clearly understood by the contractor prior to bidding. Construction execution must be thoroughly inspected from beginning to end by qualified inspectors. Testing of materials along the way must be done where appropriate. Upon completion, inspection and approval via a thoroughly developed punch list must be done. The contractor must have a valid bid bond. The project must have a warranty period where part of the final payment is withheld until the warranty period expires.
It's not always and not usually the contractors fault in my opinion.
Iowa Dave
I'm a mechanical contractor and fully agree. The problem is in Tennessee half of the other requirements you mentioned would not be enforced. Hey at least it's beautiful looking at the mountains when you don't have electricity.
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Old 10-28-2016, 10:00 PM   #9
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Although there's a lot of variation in the levels of campground maintenance and maintenance man competency, it never hurts to let the camp host or a park employee know when something isn't working. At the Mississippi River Rally, Thoer found that his 30 amp service was not working. He walked over to the camp host site to report the problem. Within 30 minutes, the Scott County Parks Maintenace truck showed up, replaced a bad breaker, certified proper voltage and were on their way. Hard to get that kind of service anywhere, especially in the big city.
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Old 10-28-2016, 10:22 PM   #10
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Open ground

At the last Clearwater festival on the Hudson River, we camped at the state park. I tested the pedestal and found an open ground. I immediately reported it to the park office. The park folks fixed it right away . What amazed me the most was when I asked the neighboring campers if they were aware of the situation, they were clueless. None of them tested before plugging in. They just plugged in and took what they got. The open ground affected 6 campsites.
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Old 10-29-2016, 12:11 AM   #11
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We had a bunch of shut-downs in Texas and Oklahoma while being there several months earlier this year. We most often had an open ground. Also had high voltage and low. The low resulted in our solar charge controller no longer working. Waiting on a new one.

We have reported it and breakers have sometimes been replaced. One area was getting new electric after the whole loop had errors except us. Everyone but a couple moved out because of the need for A/C. They couldn't believe ours was working, but other times nearby it was not. We have had shut-downs from storms and/or lightning. Sometimes the power would be out and then restored within a few minutes. We only moved once, due to high volts.
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Old 10-29-2016, 02:01 PM   #12
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... Also had high voltage and low. The low resulted in our solar charge controller no longer working. Waiting on a new one.
I don't understand this: how can low voltage of the shore power cause the solar charge controller to fail?

The solar charge controller isn't connected to shore power; all it sees are input from the solar panel(s) and the battery. Low battery voltage will stop the solar charge controller (so it needs a reset), but that's not what the "surge protector" (electrical management system) detects.
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Old 10-29-2016, 03:26 PM   #13
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I don't understand this: how can low voltage of the shore power cause the solar charge controller to fail?

The solar charge controller isn't connected to shore power; all it sees are input from the solar panel(s) and the battery. Low battery voltage will stop the solar charge controller (so it needs a reset), but that's not what the "surge protector" (electrical management system) detects.
I'm assuming he means the batteries got so low that the solar charge controller stopped working, but yeah, the surge protector has nothing to do with the solar.
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Old 10-29-2016, 08:02 PM   #14
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I don't understand this: how can low voltage of the shore power cause the solar charge controller to fail?

The solar charge controller isn't connected to shore power; all it sees are input from the solar panel(s) and the battery. Low battery voltage will stop the solar charge controller (so it needs a reset), but that's not what the "surge protector" (electrical management system) detects.
Whether the charge controller will not work any more because it was defective, or they all don't work if a certain low point is reached, or what, don't know. We followed instructions to reset it, and it was their call when it would not reset that we need a new controller. It would not reset from a low volt situation. Still showing a message regarding low volt. We had the same message briefly on the surge protector but it then worked after that, of course. The solar charge controller never did.

Did not mean to say that the solar and surge protector are connected. But you can get many situations due to storms or lightning or similar. I believe this occurred when we had a pedestal problem and the situation, whatever from, apparently also ruined our solar charge controller. That pedestal was soon good again as I recall. We had similar messages for both solar and surge protector. At least, that is what I think was the case at that time although we have had quite a few instances of such problems.
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Old 10-29-2016, 10:34 PM   #15
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Cathy, is it under a two year warranty? That is what I'm reading on the Samlex info.
Are they replacing without any cost?
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Old 10-29-2016, 11:21 PM   #16
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Cathy, is it under a two year warranty? That is what I'm reading on the Samlex info.
Are they replacing without any cost?
Yes. We should receive it soon.
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Old 10-29-2016, 11:36 PM   #17
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Did not mean to say that the solar and surge protector are connected. But you can get many situations due to storms or lightning or similar. I believe this occurred when we had a pedestal problem and the situation, whatever from, apparently also ruined our solar charge controller. That pedestal was soon good again as I recall. We had similar messages for both solar and surge protector. At least, that is what I think was the case at that time although we have had quite a few instances of such problems.
Thanks for the clarification.
The two problems may have happened at the same time, and voltage surges induced in wiring by lightning could cause both problems (although the surge protector is supposed to protect the trailer from such surges, not die as a result of them), but a lightning storm won't cause low voltage from the pedestal.
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Old 10-29-2016, 11:50 PM   #18
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We have also had high voltage and it was not caused by lightning either. This surge protector only protects so high, however, so I think lightning or a very high surge of another kind can cause it to stop working.
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