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Old 05-15-2019, 02:41 AM   #1
Nomadicchefs
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50A Surge protector 30A camper

We have some newbie neighbors with a dilemma I thought I might be able to help them with, via your advice from here. They have a 50amp surge protector and a 30amp camper. I guess the 50 was all that particular rv store had at the time and as they were traveling, didn't want to have one shipped somewhere. The guys there told them they could use a dogbone adapter from the surge protector to reduce it down to 30amp and plug their camper into that. I assume this would be fine, but it seems other threads are stating not, am I missing something? Wouldn't it be the same as having no protector at all and simply plugging into a dogbone? Since we have our main box in the camper in case a breaker trips? What can I tell them? Thanks all!!
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:08 AM   #2
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I do see a problem as far as being protected. I also see a problem down the road when they camp with 30 amp 'only' service. They would plug in a 30 to 50 dog bone, then the surge protector, then a regular 50 to 30 dog bone and then the RV. A little too convoluted, but, as the old punch-line goes, "It's not my dog."
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:11 AM   #3
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I don't see a problem as far as being protected. I see a problem down the road when they camp with 30 amp 'only' service. They would plug in a 30 to 50 dog bone, then the surge protector, then a regular 50 to 30 dog bone and then the RV. A little too convoluted, but, as the old punch-line goes, "It's not my dog."
Yea, I was thinking it seems like a little bit excessive in the adapter department, but I know the protector was expensive because we have the same one for our camper. So I hated to let them down if it's not going to work.
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:58 AM   #4
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It's a legitimate concern. The answer really lies with the particular surge protector. Different manufacturers will have different answers on that issue. I saw a video on etrailer that stated that you cannot step down the one they sell...I believe it's a Camco one.

However, I contacted Progressive Industries regarding their protectors and they said you could step them down with a dogbone adapter.

Best to check to whoever made the one they've got.
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notanlines View Post
I don't see a problem as far as being protected. I see a problem down the road when they camp with 30 amp 'only' service. They would plug in a 30 to 50 dog bone, then the surge protector, then a regular 50 to 30 dog bone and then the RV. A little too convoluted, but, as the old punch-line goes, "It's not my dog."
In theory you could use an adapter to plug the 50 amp protector into the 30 amp service, then use another adapter to plug the 30 amp trailer into the 50 amp protector.

I assume the adapters all follow a standardized system for which wire to drop in the step up/step down process. The Surge Protector should indicate whether the above contraption still provides adequate power to the coach.

In the end, if the protector is suitable for step down use, it's still protecting against a serious surge up to its rating.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:41 AM   #6
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The pedestal here is only 50amp, so they are just putting the 50 to 30 adapter at the end of the surge protector. They have the progressive industries EMS-PT50X, and progressive told them not to use any adapters as it would cause an electrical fire. What I don't understand is how it's any different than using a 50 to 30 adapter right at the pedestal if you didn't have a surge protector? You're still dropping down no matter what there's still only 1 leg and 30 amps going to the camper, correct? Now they've got me super interested in this predicament.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:40 AM   #7
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Think of it this way: If you have wiring in your house that will support a 15a load (14ga), and you connect that to a 20a breaker (intended for 12 ga wire), what will happen if you overload that 15a wiring? The breaker won't trip before the wires melt and will start a fire. In this case, unless you have a 30a breaker/surge protector, the wiring in the camper will be toast before it trips that 50a breaker/surge protector. Kind of defeats the purpose of a surge protector doesn't it?
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:41 AM   #8
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the difference may be in the model. Mine is the SPP-50X. I'm sure the issue is not in the adapters but in the electronics of the surge protector. A current mis-match can certainly cause a problem. I would definately operate on the advise of the manufacturer.

Sounds like your friend should be able to return the SP he bought since it can't perform as promised by the dealer.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:43 AM   #9
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P=IE. Power = Volts times Amps.
We are dealing with 120 Volts.
The surge protector, in theory, kicks in when the power exceeds 6KW more or less.
The TT in question is built and wired for a max of 3.6KW. Do you see the problem here?
Switching from a 30 AMP plug to a 50 AMP adapter into a surge protector and then switching back to 30 AMP to plug into the TT.
I do not want to be parked next to them.
Further, shame, shame on the RV store that sold them that device.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:48 AM   #10
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I'll let them know, thanks.
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:24 PM   #11
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Some of you are comparing apples to oranges. A surge arrestor, or in this case a Electrical Management System is quite different than electrical breakers or fuses. A EMS monitors the line voltage looking for sags (brownouts) or overvoltage conditions. If it detects something that might be a problem, it will disconnect the power going to the TT. It also checks for improper wiring (disconnected grounds, reversed hot/neutral, etc.) and will not even apply power to the TT unless everything checks out OK. The Progressive 50A EMS is being plugged into a 50A connector at the pedestal, so no problem there. And I fail to see what the problem would be if they used a 50A to 30A dogbone going from the EMS to the TT. It would not be any different if they were plugging the dogbone into the pedestal directly. Certainly the 50A Progressive would handle any current or power requirements that a 30A TT would require.

Having said that, it would still probably be best if they took back the 50A and got a 30A Progressive instead. Not all sites have 50A service, but almost all sites have 30A. Also, it’s better in the long run not to have too many electrical adapters in the chain if you can avoid it.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:06 PM   #12
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Some of you are comparing apples to oranges. A surge arrestor, or in this case a Electrical Management System is quite different than electrical breakers or fuses. A EMS monitors the line voltage looking for sags (brownouts) or overvoltage conditions. If it detects something that might be a problem, it will disconnect the power going to the TT. It also checks for improper wiring (disconnected grounds, reversed hot/neutral, etc.) and will not even apply power to the TT unless everything checks out OK. The Progressive 50A EMS is being plugged into a 50A connector at the pedestal, so no problem there. And I fail to see what the problem would be if they used a 50A to 30A dogbone going from the EMS to the TT. It would not be any different if they were plugging the dogbone into the pedestal directly. Certainly the 50A Progressive would handle any current or power requirements that a 30A TT would require.

Having said that, it would still probably be best if they took back the 50A and got a 30A Progressive instead. Not all sites have 50A service, but almost all sites have 30A. Also, itís better in the long run not to have too many electrical adapters in the chain if you can avoid it.
Unless Iím mistaken, the EMS device has overload and surge protection in addition to the other functions it provides. If the EMS provides overload protection at 50 amps, considerable overload damage could occur to a 30 amp electrical system before the 50 amp protection would kick in. Iím no expert but that seems logical to me.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:23 PM   #13
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If the last couple of posts are correct, then anyone (ALL OF US) with 30 amp EMS and ALL OF US with 50 amp EMS systems who have a 15 amp circuit breaker on an "outlet line" in our trailer, have a 20 amp breaker for the air conditioner or have a 15 amp GFI circuit in our trailer wouldn't have protection "INSIDE" our units, only the 6KW or 3.6KW part would be protected.

In actuality, if there is a "surge" it will typically be a lightening strike or a "massive voltage" (well over 1000 volts) and the EMS (whether a dual line 50 amp device or a single line 30 amp device) would shut down power. If there is over the voltage limit or under the voltage limit (typically they monitor for voltage from 105-130 VAC) then the system will shut down. It doesn't matter if it's line 1 or on line 2, the entire system will shut down. There is no need for circuit protection (at the source/power pole) if there is protection at the circuit level. Think about your home circuit breaker panel. Typically they have a 200 amp "main breaker" and several other breakers ranging from 50 amp/220 for stoves and furnaces, 30 amp/220 for dryers/AC systems, 20 amp/110 for general circuits and some 15 amp/110 for GFI or light duty general circuits. If there's a problem with one line of the 50 amp/220 circuit, there is no "dangerous condition" on any of the "lower amp breaker systems, it doesn't matter whether they are on line 1 or line 2 from the "main breaker".

I'd say that if the 50 amp EMS is connected to a 30 amp power source, it is going to monitor the "LINE IN" for 105-130 VAC/60Hz/50 amps/0 errors. There will be no input on the other line, so the EMS would need to be placed in BYPASS to power the second 30 amp adapter. From that point on, it's the same as plugging the trailer into any power source. The trailer power panel 30 amp breaker will protect the trailer circuits, the power cord (up to the EMS) and the 30 amp (power pole plug) will be protected by a circuit breaker further upstream, probably in the house breaker panel.

I don't see any issue with using the 50 amp EMS on a 30 amp trailer. It will provide the same "surge/lightening" protection no matter how much amperage is being used in the trailer and none of the EMS systems I've ever seen have a "circuit breaker protection built in" so it's irrelevant whether it's monitoring 50 amps or 30 amps, all it does is give a LED reading of how much is being consumed. ALL of the circuit breaker protection is provided by the power center INSIDE the trailer, not the EMS.

The "rub" as I see it, is that SOME EMS systems, when in bypass, will not monitor for low voltage conditions, the manufacturer for that type (CAMCO) recommends not using a 30/50/30 multiple adapter setup. The other brand, Progressive, monitors for low voltage while in bypass, so that brand will work with a multiple adapter setup.
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:29 PM   #14
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The trailer power panel 30 amp breaker will protect the trailer circuits, the power cord (up to the EMS) and the 30 amp (power pole plug) will be protected by a circuit breaker further upstream, probably in the house breaker panel..
OK, I'm an EE, retired.
Circuit breakers will trip just in time to protect themselves and burn out anything down stream.
If all you needed is the circuit breakers then why buy a surge protector?
In a proper electrical circuit everything must be sized and rated as required.
The surge protector is there to guard against Brown Outs, high voltage and spikes. Spikes, you know, what you get in a poorly designed campground when someone or a bunch of someones connect or disconnect.

Look, size devices for need not wishes.
But then RV salesman say my Silverado can pull a 32" camper.
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:44 PM   #15
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I know virtually nothing about the technical aspects of this topic. I yield to those who do.

I do know that others on other threads have commented about damaged components in their rigs due to spikes and/or inconsistent voltage in parks. I'd rather have some cheap insurance and never need it than wish I had it when it's too late.
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:15 PM   #16
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OK, I'm an EE, retired.
Circuit breakers will trip just in time to protect themselves and burn out anything down stream.
If all you needed is the circuit breakers then why buy a surge protector?
In a proper electrical circuit everything must be sized and rated as required.
The surge protector is there to guard against Brown Outs, high voltage and spikes. Spikes, you know, what you get in a poorly designed campground when someone or a bunch of someones connect or disconnect.

Look, size devices for need not wishes.
But then RV salesman say my Silverado can pull a 32" camper.
I never said, "All you need is circuit breakers"... I did say that the EMS doesn't protect against amperage overload.....

There is NO amperage protection (only visual monitoring and display) of the amperage load. If you exceed the amperage, it's the circuit breaker, NOT the EMS, that trips to protect the circuitry. So, whether it's a 100 amp, a 50 amp or a 30 amp EMS, it does, as you say, protect against brownouts, surges, spikes, ground issues, hot neutrals, but it does NOT protect against amperage consumption. That's entirely left up to the power panel in the trailer (for trailer distribution) and to the campground circuit breaker for "upstream protection".
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:32 PM   #17
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Biggest issue is plugging the device into a 50amp out outlet with a 30 trailer, as the shore cable and wiring from the trailers inlet to the trailer electrical panel is not protected correctly. We routinely plug in our 50amp TT with and 30 to 50 amp adapter. Just a few minutes ago DW started the microwave while the WH and portable heater were running and we are on a 30AMP outlet. The hardwired PI unit dumped the power based on low voltage.

I see no problem running an adapter on each side of the portable PI unit. The PI unit will still do it's job of looking for open grounds or neutrals, reverse polarity , low or over voltage, freguency etc.

PI units do not error or trip on amperage, that is left to the circuit breakers.
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:34 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by JRTJH View Post
I never said, "All you need is circuit breakers"... I did say that the EMS doesn't protect against amperage overload.....

There is NO amperage protection (only visual monitoring and display) of the amperage load. If you exceed the amperage, it's the circuit breaker, NOT the EMS, that trips to protect the circuitry. So, whether it's a 100 amp, a 50 amp or a 30 amp EMS, it does, as you say, protect against brownouts, surges, spikes, ground issues, hot neutrals, but it does NOT protect against amperage consumption. That's entirely left up to the power panel in the trailer (for trailer distribution) and to the campground circuit breaker for "upstream protection".
So if Iím understanding correctly, the trailerís circuit breakers will protect the trailer from an amperage overload, the EMS will protect from a voltage overload (and all of the other above mentioned problems). That makes sense.
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:47 PM   #19
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Here is a list of things the P.I. EMS does/protects...


Product Features:

Over/Under Voltage Protection

Open Ground, Open Neutral & Reverse Polarity Detection

Accidental 240V Protection

Miswired Pedestal Indication

Surge Failure Indicator

Amperage Meter Display

Previous Error Code

A/C Frequency Protection

Time Delay (136 seconds)

Adjustable Time Delay

Thermally Protected

Built-in Scrolling Digital Display

Field Serviceable

UL Certified and Canadian Approved

Lifetime Warranty
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:59 PM   #20
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I have 2 of the 50 amp Hughes autoformers (both surge protector and voltage booster) - one for my 50 amp Cougar, and the other for my 30 amp camper. I went with the 50 amp model for my 30 amp camper based on the following information taken directly from the Hughes owner's manual:

"Match the Autoformer rating to your RV: If your RV has a 4-wire power cord, you should use a 50-amp Autoformer. If your RV has a 3-wire power cord, use a 30-amp Autoformer. Always use the highest amperage power source available. You can convert to a lower amperage outlet by using appropriate adaptors, for example: a 50-amp Autoformer can run on a 30 or 20-amp power source. Of course, you will be restricted to that lower amperage, but the Autoformer will boost the voltage when necessary. Be careful not to overload the lower amperage park power box."

My thinking was that if (when) I sell the 30 amp camper, I won't have to buy another unit if I upgrade to another 50 amp camper.
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