Power Tool: Surge Guard Surge Protector

Surge Guard’s latest portable device is a hedge against damage caused by faulty 120-volt AC hookups and natural influences

Plugging into 120-volt AC power at an RV park may seem uneventful, but in too many cases this simple procedure can lead to damaged appliances and accessories, and ruined trips. Not all power is created equal, especially in older campgrounds with aging power grids. Subject hooking up to user faux pas and adverse weather, and sparks can fly, literally. Circum­venting potential electrical problems with the use of a surge protector, like the new model 34950 from Surge Guard, can add peace of mind and a big dose of safety.

Surge Guard has been making power-protection devices for a long time, and the latest model has all the bells and whistles any owner needs to defend against low voltage, lightning-induced surges, and brownouts caused by grid overloading in areas where everyone is using air conditioning. As a portable device, the Surge Guard simply plugs into the pedestal before connecting the power cable.

Protection from bad RV-park power is all-encompassing (4,200 joules), and just about every potential problem is covered, including power surges, low and high voltage, miswired pedestals and an open neutral. The big improvement for this model is the ability to read an open neutral inside the RV. This is a patent-pending feature, and according to the company, a game changer when it comes to RV power protection.

Flip-out Easy-T-Pull handle enables a good grip on the plug when it’s time to remove from the pedestal receptacle.
Flip-out Easy-T-Pull handle enables a good grip on the plug when it’s time to remove from the pedestal receptacle.

The housing has been improved to include a flip-up cover for the receptacle that has a rubber gasket to keep water and debris out. An overall shorter length helps to position the device off the ground when in use (majority of pedestals). Both ends also have Easy-T-Pull handles, which reduce the effort to unplug the RV’s umbilical cord and the device from the pedestal’s receptacle.

A screen on the face of the housing continuously displays voltage and amp draw, and the lights below inform the user if the power is clean enough for making the connection. Once the device is plugged into pedestal power, it goes through a start-up sequence, and the green light will illuminate when conditions are safe. During a long-term test, the Surge Guard showed faulty power at a number of parks; at one site, the 50-amp receptacle was faulty, but the 30-amp side was clean, giving us the warning needed to use an adapter for the one-night stay.

Receptacle cover employs a rubber gasket to prevent moisture intrusion when in use and keeps debris out when in storage. The housing resists rainwater but cannot be submerged. Summer downpours did not affect the test surge protector.
Receptacle cover employs a rubber gasket to prevent moisture intrusion when in use and keeps debris out when in storage. The housing resists rainwater but cannot be submerged. Summer downpours did not affect the test surge protector.

Low-voltage protection came in handy a few times during the heat of summer, where all the neighbors were running multiple air conditioners. When the voltage dips to 102, the device shuts down incoming power, protecting sensitive appliances from damage. After adequate power is once again detected, the 120-volt AC appliance operation is restored automatically. A 128-second reset delay protects the air-conditioner compressor, which may be subject to high head pressure at the time of start-up.

The Surge Guard proved its value at one RV park where a couple of live wires were dislodged inside the shared box while the tenant behind our rig was plugging in his cable. The surge protector shut down the system instantaneously as sparks and smoke shot out of the box.

A locking ring is provided to prevent theft, but the user supplies the lock and chain or cable. RV parks are generally safe, and while the locking ring is not tamper-proof, the device is not usable if the cable is cut.

The metal ring around the cable can be used to padlock the Surge Guard to the pedestal. Lock and chain or cable are not provided.
The metal ring around the cable can be used to padlock the Surge Guard to the pedestal. Lock and chain or cable are not provided.

Surge Guard offers a lifetime warranty, which covers defects in manufacturing and if equipment inside the RV is damaged should the device fail to protect against electrical maladies. Replacement (necessary) as a result of a lightning-induced surge is not covered under warranty, but the appliances and accessories will survive the event. A 30-amp version is also available (model 34930).

The extensive range of protection afforded by the Surge Guard is well worth the price, and it should be considered a must-have safety device for all RVs.

More Information: Southwire


 

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