Mod #3: AC Voltage Monitor

Mod #3: AC Voltage Monitor

Submitted on: 06/07/08

     Category: electrical
Mod Rating: 12345

(36 ratings)

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Mod Description:

An AC voltage or line monitor can be a real cost saver. From the simplest analog gauge to the techie digital do-it-all meter, these devices can warn you of impending electrical doom. Well, not exactly. But they can warn you if the AC voltage is too low or too high just by glancing at the meter. This can save you money because you have a chance to shut off power to the RV before low or high voltage destroys your precious electrical/electronic systems and components. Campgrounds are notorious for poor power quality so no matter which type you choose, you can save yourself a lot of grief.

Mod Difficulty:

There are a few popular meters widely used by RVers. The first type is the AC analog volt meter. You simply plug it in to any AC receptacle in your RV and it displays the line voltage using a needle and a voltage scale. Green means good, red means bad. If this is all you want to monitor and precision isn’t necessary, then this is the gauge for you.

The other popular type is the digital volt meter. Like the analog gauge, these are simple digital equivalents that only monitor voltage. However, you must know what is too low and too high a voltage value in order to decide to go off the grid. Just glancing at the meter doesn’t give you a warm fuzzy from a good/bad perspective. However, some of these simple meters also have audible alarms to warn you of voltage problems as well as polarity issues.

Finally, there is a pretty nice monitor called the Kill-A-Watt. Not only does it monitor line voltage, but it can also calculate usage, cost, power consumption, and measure line frequency, all in a nice little form factor at a reasonable cost. You plug it in to a receptacle just like the other voltage monitors described above. Then you plug in a device or appliance in to the monitor and see how much power it draws. This is very useful in that if you have an inverter you want to power the device or appliance, you can know the exact power consumption and size your inverter accordingly. Or if you just have a burning (no pun intended) need to know about how you use AC power in your RV, then this is the monitor for you.

ModMyRV recommends these parts for this mod:
TRC AECM20020-3-012 Electra Check Digital Monitor for all AC Power Sources, Black with White Face
Prime Products 12-4058 AC Power Line Monitor 12-4058
Kill-A-Watt Electricity Consumption Meter

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7 Comments For This Mod

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  1. babblescriber

    You could also use a surge protector that checks the line condition and can warn you of low and high voltage problems. I use one that I got from rvupgradestore.com that’s made by Progressive Industries. It has a digital voltage readout that you can look at too and it also protects against frequency problems, reverse polarity, and a bunch of other stuff beyond my electrical understanding. Works for me so far!

  2. ModMyRV

    That’s a great suggestion babblescriber. Try posting it in the forums too to see what others have to add or have tried. Add a link to the product or a picture too if you have one. A picture’s worth a 1000 volts!

  3. Bob Vaughn

    I use the wall plug type that I plug in to a seldom used outlet…..I am some times suprised at how low the power is at some campgrounds we go to…..

  4. tvman44

    Would not be without. I have 2.

  5. rvoutreach

    I have the Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C and it has this feature. Well worth having. You can see all my mods on my web site (click my user name).

  6. ON-A-ROAD

    Has anyone install a line conditioner? Those would really help when the campground is having a brown out. I just started reading about them, so I have no clue what kind to use for an RV.

  7. gary

    Hi
    I have high 30 amp at this campground. My surge protector
    is a Progressive Industries EMS-HW50. It recorded 135 high
    on a 30 amp post. Camp ground said, it was ok, everyone is
    using it. Didn’t know what to do, so I pluged in. Hope it
    will be ok, for a 4 day stay.

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. 10 Low Cost Mods You Can Make to Your RV

    [...] 2. AC Voltage Monitor - An AC voltage or line monitor can be a real cost saver. From the simplest analog gauge to the techie digital do-it-all meter, these devices can warn you of impending electrical doom. Well, not exactly. But they can warn you if the AC voltage is too low or too high just by glancing at the meter. This can save you money because you have a chance to shut off power to the RV before low or high voltage destroys your precious electrical/electronic systems and components. A simple analog gauge can be had for about $10 and you just plug it in to an AC outlet. Here is an example: http://www.modmyrv.com/2008/06/07/rv-ac-voltage-monitor [...]

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