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Old 01-25-2019, 07:17 AM   #1
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Hughes Autoformer - 50 Amp

Hi gang. I read some info on the " Hughes Autoformer - 50 Amp" I was wondering if anyone had any experiance with this. I have a built in surge protector and I was wondering if I could still use this without removing the surge protector?
I was at a KOA last summer in Memphis TN and it was hot! The place was full and I know everyone was running their a/c's including me. I'm sure the park voltage dropped numerous times cause our breakers tripped. After that day I found that one of my A/C bite the dust. I was told the comperssor had frozen due to lack of voltage. I think this device would have helped.

What do you all think?
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Old 01-25-2019, 07:35 AM   #2
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We have the Hughes 30 Amp model. The original owner of our new to us Winnie hardwired it in and did a good job considering the small space in our model.
Suffice it to say we really haven't put it to much use considering we've only been plugged in at home.

We do not have a separate surge protector installed yet but we have read that they can be used together.

Here are some of those discussions if you haven't read them;

Autoformer with Surge Protection AND/OR Surge Guard - iRV2 Forums

Autoformer vs Surge Guard or both? - iRV2 Forums

Suggestions where to mount Hughes Autoformer? - iRV2 Forums
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:16 PM   #3
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An autoformer is a bad neighbor device as it robs power from all the other users in the park that don't have one. It's impossible for them to be 100% efficient and what happens is that they use MORE power on the park side to give you a bit more power. This is an ethical decision you have to make for yourself.

Now, you had CBs trip? That tells me that you don't have a very good 'surge protector' as a good one senses the incoming line voltage and shuts off your RVs voltage in the event it dips below the threshold. This prevents damage to your AC.

Progressive Industries is a good one, lifetime warranty too.

If your CBs trip a lot due to sagging power, that is the RV parks responsibility. And many of them are insured and do pay back guests who have ruined equipment. More often then not, they won't mention paying you back for that tho. I even saw a RV park in Mexico pay several RVers for ruined equipment. I had a Progressive so nothing of mine was damaged.

If it were me, I'd tell the office about each and every time the voltage sagged and ask them to fix it. Often all it requires is a call to the power company, they come out and move a tap on the power transformer on the pole, and boom, you have full voltage. If they are unresponsive, I'd ask to change spots, and if that didn't fix the issue, I'd ask for my money back so I could move to a different RV park.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:34 AM   #4
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Circuit breakers will trip under two possible conditions, over current or short circuit. In a reduced line voltage condition it is possible to trip a breaker particularly with an inductive load like an AC compressor. The power required to start the load does not change, the reduced voltage causes an increase in surge current to meet this power requirement, thereby tripping the breaker. A surge protector on your incoming line only protects you from power spikes coming from your incoming line and not from load surges, that’s what breakers are for.

As far as an ethics issue goes, the park has provided you with a 50A service. If you’re running 2 or 3 air conditioners, a water heater, a fridge, etc., you are limited to 50A/leg after which the post breaker will trip no matter what the voltage. Is this an unethical practice since others are doing much the same in hot weather? If you are using an autoformer to condition your power, you are still limited to 50A/leg after which the post breaker will again trip. Either way you are limited to the rating of the post breaker. The autoformer will use a very small amount of that 50 amps to power itself, I believe they claim 1 amp, leaving you with the remainder to use, however it will be at a working voltage thereby protecting your equipment. I’ve used this technology for decades in industrial controls applications and it does work well within its design limits.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:27 AM   #5
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CBs will trip for other reasons too. They are temp sensitive and will trip due to heat. Either external heat or heat caused by burnt contacts, or heat caused in the CB by high current (from low voltage to a AC for instance) even though it may be under the trip point, but is flowing for a prolonged time.

Breakers also have a life time. A consumer breaker is generally rated at 50 trips (operations due to any of the standard reasons a CB operates) before it should be replaced. I've seen some Chinese breakers that are rated at only 25 trips. This is why a breaker should never be used as a 'test device' to find an intermittent short or to verify which circuit is which by shorting terminals for instance.

Won't argue the ethics of using one, I'll just say that a 50 amp park should NEVER have a brown out. That's why I'd recommend talking to the parks management, asking for a different space, or moving to a different park.

I've never had a brown out in my 50 amp rig except once in Mexico and my Progressive EMS protected me until the park had the tap on the transformer changed.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
CBs will trip for other reasons too. They are temp sensitive and will trip due to heat. Either external heat or heat caused by burnt contacts, or heat caused in the CB by high current (from low voltage to a AC for instance) even though it may be under the trip point, but is flowing for a prolonged time.

Breakers also have a life time. A consumer breaker is generally rated at 50 trips (operations due to any of the standard reasons a CB operates) before it should be replaced. I've seen some Chinese breakers that are rated at only 25 trips. This is why a breaker should never be used as a 'test device' to find an intermittent short or to verify which circuit is which by shorting terminals for instance.
Indeed true, as it seems we are saying the same thing. Breakers are generally thermal devices. Burnt contacts will cause a voltage drop across them thereby reducing the voltage to the load and cause increased surge current on inductive loads. Many breakers are to be replaced with only 2 to 4 short circuit trips, over current trips are quite a bit more. Thermal derating occurs around ambient 50 deg C, or if I recall correctly 60 deg C for square Ds. Letís hope we never have to RV in those conditions. The pool would evaporate fast !!
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
An autoformer is a bad neighbor device as it robs power from all the other users in the park that don't have one. It's impossible for them to be 100% efficient and what happens is that they use MORE power on the park side to give you a bit more power. This is an ethical decision you have to make for you
Not true at all, check Autoformer website for the real facts!




https://hughesautoformers.com/
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:57 PM   #8
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The Autoformer DOES NOT take power from the park.
It does not affect the park or input voltage, or make electricity.
What it is doing is changing the voltage Ė amperage relationship, lowering the amperage and raising the voltage. Since appliances run better on higher voltage, lower amperage, less overall power is used from the park, and better service is enjoyed from your RV
An Autoformer running at full output (50amps) will use 1 amp, but will cause appliances to cycle more often and run cooler. This will use less total power from the park.
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by az wiz View Post
The Autoformer DOES NOT take power from the park.
It does not affect the park or input voltage, or make electricity.
What it is doing is changing the voltage – amperage relationship, lowering the amperage and raising the voltage. Since appliances run better on higher voltage, lower amperage, less overall power is used from the park, and better service is enjoyed from your RV
An Autoformer running at full output (50amps) will use 1 amp, but will cause appliances to cycle more often and run cooler. This will use less total power from the park.
You'll have to show me the math that proves an autoformer doesn't take power from the park and uses less total power from the park then the output because those statements go against all I learned about transformers and autoformers in college.

What an autoformer does is take enough power to INCREASE the available power at the output (the RV side) PLUS the power required to operate the autoformer (which is just a special transformer) AND power for the losses inherent in operating a transformer (the park side).

There are RV parks who's rules forbid autoformers because of the extra energy required to run a bunch of them.
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:18 PM   #10
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Autoformers are used in industries to stabilize voltage and lower the operating cost of equipment. The Autoformer has 5 windings: 2 primary and 3 secondary. All models have surge and spike protection. When the unit is in Automatic and the park or input voltage is 116 volts or below, the output is 10% over the input. When the input is over 118 volts, the output is 2% over the input.
The Autoformer DOES NOT take power from the park.
It does not affect the park or input voltage, or make electricity.
What it is doing is changing the voltage – amperage relationship, lowering the amperage and raising the voltage. Since appliances run better on higher voltage, lower amperage, less overall power is used from the park, and better service is enjoyed from your RV
An Autoformer running at full output (50amps) will use 1 amp, but will cause appliances to cycle more often and run cooler. This will use less total power from the park.
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Old 02-10-2019, 07:02 PM   #11
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You are misinformed. An autoformer does not "steal" power from others.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
An autoformer is a bad neighbor device as it robs power from all the other users in the park that don't have one. It's impossible for them to be 100% efficient and what happens is that they use MORE power on the park side to give you a bit more power. This is an ethical decision you have to make for yourself.

Now, you had CBs trip? That tells me that you don't have a very good 'surge protector' as a good one senses the incoming line voltage and shuts off your RVs voltage in the event it dips below the threshold. This prevents damage to your AC.

Progressive Industries is a good one, lifetime warranty too.

If your CBs trip a lot due to sagging power, that is the RV parks responsibility. And many of them are insured and do pay back guests who have ruined equipment. More often then not, they won't mention paying you back for that tho. I even saw a RV park in Mexico pay several RVers for ruined equipment. I had a Progressive so nothing of mine was damaged.

If it were me, I'd tell the office about each and every time the voltage sagged and ask them to fix it. Often all it requires is a call to the power company, they come out and move a tap on the power transformer on the pole, and boom, you have full voltage. If they are unresponsive, I'd ask to change spots, and if that didn't fix the issue, I'd ask for my money back so I could move to a different RV park.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:30 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=az wiz;3833905]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
An autoformer is a bad neighbor device as it robs power from all the other users in the park that don't have one. It's impossible for them to be 100% efficient and what happens is that they use MORE power on the park side to give you a bit more power. This is an ethical decision you have to make for yourself.=QUOTE]


NOT TRUE check their website for the truth!
'Alternate Truth' is not truth.

"The Autoformer DOES NOT take power from the park. It does not affect
the park or source voltage, or make electricity. "

Patently false. Of course it's taking power from the park or it wouldn't be operating at all. You can quibble about the terminology but the truth is that it's taking enough power from the park to run your appliances PLUS the power to operate the autoformer itself. Which as I said earlier is typically around 80% efficient.

According to their marketing department that wrote the ad copy, it boosts the voltage on the RV side 10% when it's 113 volts on the park's side. So that's 124.3 volt. Let's say you are running a few electrical heaters and use the MW plus all the other items typically on in a RV at the same time. And as an example lets say that ends up drawing ~25 amp. The math tells us that on the park side, the 113 volt side is drawing 27.5 amp to supply your 25 amp, if we add in the losses of the autoformer, it comes to ~33 amp. It doesn't matter what you do, when you use the math and start with any current on the RV side, it's going to calculate out to be higher on the park side.

In practice, what usually happens in the given example is that the voltage on the park side sags even more. Which is what your neighbors could see at their RVs. This would be pretty typical in a park with inadequate wiring to begin with where your voltage is sagging to 113 volt.

Check out the math for "Autotransformer Example No1" at the link given.

But you could also check out this article by a team of trained individuals, Helen with a B.S. and M. S. in Physics, and Dave with B.S.E. degrees in Engineering Math and Physics, and a Ph.D. in High Energy Nuclear Physics. Damouth.org is their blog site and the article pretty much explains the ethics of it better than I can.

In most modern RV parks, it's not even a question that comes up very often, but in the rural RV parks I stay at, winter and summer, full time, it can affect your neighbors adversely...occasionally.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:50 PM   #13
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Yes you can use both which is how mine is set up and the combination has reduced my repair cost immensely. Before I installed the system I was regularly replacing starter capacitors, hard start devices, electric motors, contactors and other electrical items that would die an early death due to bad campground electrical systems and now I have a much lower failure rate of these components.

The Autoformer is a Good Neighbor device since it prevents under voltage situations that results in poor performance of systems and balances out your electrical draw so your AC and such runs more efficiently and for shorter duration to do the same amount of work. It does not take power which is just an Urban Legend that was disproved at least a decade ago and just changes the ratio of amperage to voltage for the amount of wattage. When voltage is correct devices use less amperage allowing them to run more efficiently using less wattage overall making Autoformers beneficial for campground owners too.

You could, to test this out, run an electrical motor under a constant load and start dropping voltage to see how amperage and wattage consumed are increased using an amp probe and volt meter multiplying amp times volts to see wattage consumed. You will see that as voltage drops and amperage rises that wattage consumed increases generating more waste heat while as voltage increases (within reason) amperage and wattage consumed drops which more than compensates for the 1% overhead of the voltage correction device.

Most examples people give against using voltage correction devices do not take into consideration that wattage consumed goes up being wasted as heat in the circuit as voltage drops. I maintained factory complexes and this type of hysteria does not come up when the voltage correction devices are put on the power feeds coming in off the grid since they are well known to benefit everyone.

Unfortunately most campgrounds do not have a well maintained electrical system so that said many pedestal breakers might trip well before their max rating is reached and only provide 80% of the rated capacity however that is the fault of the campground owner/maintenance staff and not the Autoformer.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:45 AM   #14
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Hi gang. I read some info on the " Hughes Autoformer - 50 Amp" I was wondering if anyone had any experiance with this. I have a built in surge protector and I was wondering if I could still use this without removing the surge protector?
I was at a KOA last summer in Memphis TN and it was hot! The place was full and I know everyone was running their a/c's including me. I'm sure the park voltage dropped numerous times cause our breakers tripped. After that day I found that one of my A/C bite the dust. I was told the comperssor had frozen due to lack of voltage. I think this device would have helped.

What do you all think?

Yup. Would have saved the day. I had a Hughes for years but it went bad. I have another brand now that a friend sold me when he had to give up RVing for health reasons. All I remember about it is that it is yellow. I mounted it so I don't have to fuss with it.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:23 AM   #15
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Jim,


An autoformer is just a fancy transformer with some taps. Since nothing is 100% efficient, it does use a tiny bit of power. I've measured the watts draw with, and without the autoformer. To say that it is unfriendly to neighbors is silly. The problem is NEC doesn't require a small enough number of pedestals per main breaker. Since RV's are a plug in device, they are not required to limit their continuous draw to 80% of the maximum current. So even an "up to code" park may be doomed to low voltage when it is summer time and all the RV's are drawing as much wattage as their main breakers support.

I use my autoformer a lot and limit my consumption to 80% of the rating of the shore power. That is NOT going to adversely affect my neighbors--in fact quite the opposite.

I use a Sola Basic 4000 va unit which has three layers of boost, and one of buck. My air conditioner is much happier, my induction hob is happy, as is the microwave, and my electric heaters give their full wattage in winter.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:00 AM   #16
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From everything I've read, the Hugh's Autoformer is not an auto transformer as specified in the electrical codes. They are different. They don't "rob power".

I use a surge protector then the Autoformer together with the surge protector first in line from the pedistal.
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