Gadgets Magazine

How To Test If Your RV Surge Protector Is Working?

Posted on the 06 January 2020 by Palmgear @PalmgearBlog

An RV surge protector gives you peace of mind while camping knowing that all your expensive RV appliances are protected from power-related issues like low and high voltages, spikes, lightning, and more.

But what happens when any of these power issues occur and your protector jumps in to save your electric items? Will it still remain functional? Will it protect your electronics next time? How do you know if your protector still functioning post-surge?

In the following post, we’ll explain how you can check if your surge protector is still working, what to do if it stops working, and so much more.

Let’s begin…

How Exactly Does RV Surge Protector Work?

A surge protector acts as an intermediary between your RV electrical system and the power outlet you connect it.


To get a clear picture of how your RV surge guard works, think of it like a sponge…but rather than absorbing liquids, it takes in the unsafe levels of voltage and thus ensures they don’t reach your RV appliances and damage them.

Unlike the sponge which can take out the liquid it absorbs, your surge protector will not get rid of the voltage it takes in. This means that the surge guard can only handle a certain amount of voltage before it goes bad and stops working.

How much voltage your specific protector model can withstand? Well, this is usually expressed in terms of joules.

The joule rating for the most common RV surge protectors run from 400 to 2000 Joules. The higher the number of joules, the more unsafe voltages a protector can withstand.

For instance, if you have a protector rated 1000 Joules and it takes in 200-joule hit, that means it’s left with 800 joules worth of protection. If it takes 3 more 200-joule hits, it depletes its protection levels and will no longer be able to safeguard your electric items.

How To Check If Your Protector Is Still Working

When your RV surge guard has reached its limit for taking in unsafe voltage, it stops working. But how do you know that your protector has stopped functioning?

The fact that these devices do not come with some kind of display to indicate their operating status makes it quite hard for you to monitor their joules status and know when they stop working.

Luckily, though, the manufacturers integrated LED indicators into them which will give you an idea of the status of your surge protector.

This means that these devices come with their own surge protection testing mechanism and if this test fails, they’ll let you know by triggering a visual in the form of LED notification…though some high-end models feature an audio alarm as well.

Typically, a green LED illumination indicates that your surge guard is 100% functional and ready to protect your appliances should a power surge occur. If the green LED isn’t illuminating, however, this is a cause for concern. it could mean something is wrong with your device’s internal setup or the power outlet you’re using isn’t correctly wired.

The surge protector for RV also has additional LEDs that give you information about the power outlet you connect it to, including whether the outlet is grounded, reverse polarity, faulty outlet wiring, and whether normal power is flowing from the outlet.

Surge Guards Don’t Last Forever!

Now that we have explained that the protection ability of a surge guard is measured in terms of joules, it means that this device isn’t designed to last forever. Once it depletes its joules, that’s the end of it.

Unlike what most folks think, the lifespan of a surge guard isn’t measured in years. The Joule rating determines how long a given surge guard lasts. When the joules are used up, the guard should warn you that it’s no longer capable of protecting your equipment via the LED indicators.

For continued protection of your RV electric items against power surges, we always recommend you to find the best surge protector for RV to replace your current model as soon as it stops working.

Final Verdict

You can tell the operational status of your surge protector by looking at its LED indicators. Green illumination usually indicates the device is working properly. Failure of the green light to show up when you plug in your device might be an indication that it’s no longer working.

These protectors come with a built-in mechanism that constantly tests for their surge protection capabilities and fires a warning (via LED indicators) if they detect they’re no longer able to protect your appliances.

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