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Hughes Autoformer


birdshill123

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I see posts once in awhile about the Hughes system. RVers should be aware that these units are not UL approved and have been known to cause fires. I understand that some cg's do not allow them to be used. I think they sold the rights to that device to another company. Hughes does not have any UL surge protectors. Buyer beware. 

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Wow. Looks like some serious guessing here.

Are you talking about Hughes Autoformers or Hughes Surge Protectors or Hughes EMS devices? I have looked all over and never found an instance of a Hughes Autoformer or other device causing a fire. 

Few things in RVs are UL listed. Even in high end solar systems. Look at Victron and you will see both UL-listed and non-listed devices like inverters. The UL-versions are much more expensive so most RV installs use the cheaper versions. The UL listed stuff is primarily for residential systems to satisfy utilities and insurance companies.

Hughes has not "sold the rights" to their devices to another company. They are still manufacturing and selling them.

Autoformers are prohibited in the 2020 NFPA, but there is no evidence that this is because of any fire hazard. Hughes is fighting this change vigorously and the science seems to be on their side.

I suggest you read Mike Sokol's tests of Hughes Autoformers.

https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electricity-hughes-autoformer-testing-part-1/

https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electricity-hughes-autoformer-test-part-2/

https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electricity-hughes-autoformer-test-part-3/

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Just do a simple Google on the subject. Rvtailgate life has lots of info. The nfpa has them listed as prohibited.  When your mh was built all the electrical components had to have an approval. It could be ul,ulc,csa and few others are approved.  PD surge protectors are approved. Hughes are not.

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I don't own a Hughes Autoformer however I do own a 50 amp Power Master Voltage Booster which was made and sold by Todd Coffelt (no longer in business). It's been in my coach for 11 years now without ANY problems. Plus I have yet to hear or read about ANY Hughes Autoformer catching fire.

YMMV

After reading an article published by RVTailgate Life about the Hughes Autoformer, it is highly speculative that ANY campground would have a significant number of Hughes Autoformers operating within the same campground to cause a major fire and hazard to the campground wiring infrastructure.

My opinion is that any campground (mainly older ones) who refuse to upgrade their electrical supply especially when converting to 50 amp should be closed until they do versus sucking big bucks from the RVer for a 50 amp RV site and then complain because they come with power protection for their expensive RV and equipment.

Edited by Dr4Film
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I have used a Hughes Autoformer for years.  Would not hook up to any pedestal without it.  It has saved surges on our coach several times.  I keep it plugged in at home as well.  Customer service is great.  Sharing my experience

 

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On 4/19/2021 at 3:05 PM, Bill Morgan said:

 

Autoformers are prohibited in the 2020 NFPA, but there is no evidence that this is because of any fire hazard. Hughes is fighting this change vigorously and the science seems to be on their side.

I suggest you read Mike Sokol's tests of Hughes Autoformers.

https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electricity-hughes-autoformer-testing-part-1/

https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electricity-hughes-autoformer-test-part-2/

https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electricity-hughes-autoformer-test-part-3/

Interesting reading. Part 3 indicates a followup, anyone have a link?

The article indicates that additional testing with better equipment is planned. I checked several meter readings in part 3 and while volts increase and amps decrease and with the autoformer there is about a 30W loss of power in the autoformer which reflects the good efficiency of a transformer. However the autoformer consumes power of course and his numbers indicate about 30W. That power increase is not free for metered sites and/or the CG. 

How this all effects the utility company and the NEC is not clear to me. The articles ignore the power factor which is another aspect of the overall picture. 

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40 minutes ago, Dr4Film said:

I looked up your link and can't find anything about "protection against an open neutral".

It states about surge protection only - what am I missing?

If you look closely at the panels you will see it on the face.  Their site is not well done as far as information.

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26 minutes ago, Hypoxia said:

If you look closely at the panels you will see it on the face.  Their site is not well done as far as information.

I think I see what you are talking about.   Several lights one of which is neutral lights up to let you know it's good.   It's not automatic protection like my Progressive EMS.

I think some Parks and other campers feel like you are cheating.   We all must suffer together 😰   it's part of the green new deal.    😏

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10 minutes ago, Ray Davis said:

I think I see what you are talking about.   Several lights one of which is neutral lights up to let you know it's good.   It's not automatic protection like my Progressive EMS.

I think some Parks and other campers feel like you are cheating.   We all must suffer together 😰   it's part of the green new deal.    😏

You are correct, not automatic which I did not realize.  Kinda takes the luster off.  I have the old style Autoformer and use a Southwire 40350-RVC  transfer switch which also gives those protections automatically.  The protection board in the Southwire unit is replaceable.

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I went back and looked CLOSELY and you are partially correct.

They have little indicator lights which will tell the owner whether the incoming power is correct or not at the moment you plug it in. What it doesn't do is protect your coach by disconnecting the incoming power IF the neutral were to drop AFTER you have it all plugged in and running. That's what TRUE power protection is all about which is exactly what the Progressive Industries EMS Systems provide.

Also those indicator lights are nothing more than the same as plugging in a power tester to see what the quality of the power is at THAT moment in time. Plus I doubt very much that any RVer will sit next to his autoformer and watch those little indicator lights to make sure that they all stay green ALL the time.

37 minutes ago, Chuck B said:

The new PDW series unit does.  What about the older units that were around in the mid 2000's?  Those are the ones I have been posting about.  I Stand Corrected.  How many of the members have the new PDW series units?  Chuck B 2004 Windsor

Chuck, the new PDW series devices are NOT autoformers.

There are still only two autoformer models, one for 30 amp and one for 50 amp, neither which protect a coach from any damaging power problems other than surges which is the least likely to happen.

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A big AMEN to that Richard.  2004 was 17 years ago.  I purchased my first coach in the early 90"s .  Almost everyone referred to a coach as a Winnebago even if it was another brand.  Back then probably google was not around much for gleaning information off the internet.  Today anyone can be very knowledgeable about almost anything by going on the internet.  Back then, One had to rely on first hand information from fellow owners, dealers, experience, and rallies.  You and I can truly say we have been there and experienced that.  That is what makes us "ole farts".  Chuck B 2004 Windsor

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People, let's open our minds a bit.  First, "Hughes Autoformer" is the company name, not the product.  Years ago, back in the 60's they were known primarily for their Voltage Transformer which many called an "Autoformer" or "Autotransformer" but that is more like people calling all facial tissue "Kleenex".   Second, Hughes (short for Hughes Autoformer, the Company) has introduced a line of Surge Protectors that many consider in direct competition to Progressive Industries.  Their PDW Series do have Open Neutral Protection with Shut Off.  I've had many RVers ask how they compare to Progressive Industries units.  That is what brought my attention to this line, since as an old Ham Operator (over 50 years) I'd only heard of their voltage transformers.  I've tried to get real technical data (engineering type) information from them, but have not received any as yet.  There is a chart on this website that shows some of the technical details.  

On 4/19/2021 at 4:05 PM, Bill Morgan said:

Wow. Looks like some serious guessing here.

Are you talking about Hughes Autoformers or Hughes Surge Protectors or Hughes EMS devices? I have looked all over and never found an instance of a Hughes Autoformer or other device causing a fire. 

Few things in RVs are UL listed. Even in high end solar systems. Look at Victron and you will see both UL-listed and non-listed devices like inverters. The UL-versions are much more expensive so most RV installs use the cheaper versions. The UL listed stuff is primarily for residential systems to satisfy utilities and insurance companies.

Hughes has not "sold the rights" to their devices to another company. They are still manufacturing and selling them.

Autoformers are prohibited in the 2020 NFPA, but there is no evidence that this is because of any fire hazard. Hughes is fighting this change vigorously and the science seems to be on their side.

I suggest you read Mike Sokol's tests of Hughes Autoformers.

https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electricity-hughes-autoformer-testing-part-1/

https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electricity-hughes-autoformer-test-part-2/

https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electricity-hughes-autoformer-test-part-3/

This posting and the reviews contained within are talking about Autotransformers (Voltage Transformers) NOT the Hughes Surge Protectors.  Yes, made by the same company, but not the same product.  I started the review referenced and found that this guy has just enough electrical knowledge to be dangerous.  He claims that in a purely resistive circuit, as the voltage decreases so does the power, meaning that the resistance changes as a function of voltage.  This is not true.  Resistance in a purely resistive circuit is not affected by voltage - it remains constant.  He eludes that there would be no such thing as a "brownouts" because as the voltage dropped, so would the power and current.  We know this isn't true.  In any case, those articles have nothing to do with the surge protector line from Hughes.  I have no connection with Hughes, and my comments are submitted only to clarify incorrect assumptions that the only product Hughes makes is the Voltage Transformer, and therefore all comments related to Hughes are applicable to all their product line.   

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