Can the CPAP’s Circuitry Get Damaged?

Discussion in 'Camping for the Medically/Physically Challenged' started by JennInJersey, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. JennInJersey

    JennInJersey New Member

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    I am unsure if it is safe for my GF to use the plugs in my pop-up to run her CPAP. It’s not simply mechanical, it has computer components that monitor her sleep and stuff.

    It’s a recently purchased used 1988 Coleman. It came with electric hook-ups I really don’t fully understand. It’s got built in lights and several outlets that look like normal American household outlets.

    The previous owner, who was not the original owner, only ever ran basic lights with a battery in it and couldn’t make any specific promises about the electric system beyond that. He mentioned something about 12 volts and talked about different kinds of current.

    I asked my electrician what he would charge to inspect and explain the electrical system to me, but he said it’s got more in common with a car’s electric system than a house one.

    So, is there a risk of damaging the CPAP if it’s plugged into the pop-up’s system? Will a surge protector be sufficient to keep it safe? Should we just run a long extension cord through the window to a power strip with surge protector like we have done while tent camping to be safe?
     
  2. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member

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    You dont say what kind of pop up you have, but virtually all of them have two electrical circuits: 120 volt, and 12 volt. If you have your camper plugged into shore power, plugging into one of the outlets in the camper is pretty much like using an extension cord.

    You also don't say what kind of surge protector you use, but it's important to note that damage to electronics is done by low voltage rather than surges. Many surge protectors only protect against voltage spikes, leaving your electronics vulnerable.
     
  3. Shaman1

    Shaman1 Well-Known Member

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    The '88 Coleman 120v system is just like the one in your house (despite what your electrician said). The 120 plugs work just like your house when you are on shore power. As eoleson1 said, the real concern is low voltage to sensitive electronics. I do think campgrounds drop voltage more than your house would. You can run the system through a battery backup like we do with computer systems. You can also get a "surge protector" that identifies problems and protects the systems, like this one, but they aren't cheap. surge.jpg
     
  4. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    Let's start with a small Primer:

    This is a really simplified version on how the electrical system is laid out.

    [​IMG]

    So unless you are plugged in at a campsite, you will not have power in the electrical outlets.

    Your CPAP machine can run off of 110v, and usually you can get a Car Adaptor and run it off of 12V.

    As for damaging it, people above have already talked about a surge protector, so I'm not going to cover it, but yea, if your worried about it, it's good insurance to get a good surge protector. In your case, I'd spend the $100-$200 on a surge protector.
     
  5. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

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    You should have no problem using a CPAP in the Pup. We do it all the time.
     
  6. SHFL

    SHFL Active Member

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    mpking — should JennInJersey check the polarity of the 110/120V outlets?
     
  7. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Post all questions here on the site, most will have answers for you. Jenn where in jersey are you?
     
  8. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    WHere is your PUP getting its power from? If she's smart, she's using at the very least a surge supressor with her CPAP. I happen to use a UPS with mine at home. Camping I use a jumper pack with a built in inverter. Clean power, without worry. Make sure to turn off the humidifier and if equipped hose heater.

    I would be FAR more worried if you are connected to shore power, than if you were running off of a 12v adapter or off of an inverter. Campground power tends to vary wildly and can do some serious damage, to both her CPAP, and your camper. Assuming your camper is 30 amp input, you will want something like the Camco PowerDefender 30 amp.
     
  9. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    I installed 12 volt cig type outlets in my pup and bought a Resmed 12 volt power supply from cpap.com. Not cheap, expect about $100. I always run my cpap on 12 volts when camping, whether we have power or not. I won't say that nothing bad can possibly happen, but I don't get rudely awakened if something happens to the power from the campground, there is a replaceable fuse in the plug itself to handle unexpected spikes, and a built in low voltage disconnect in case the battery gets too low.
     
  10. JennInJersey

    JennInJersey New Member

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    Thanks everybody. The chart was really helpful since I am much more of a visual spatial thinker than a verbal one. I looked at the UPS option and think that’s the way I will go.

    I think the camper can run off various power sources. There are the leads the guy showed my for hooking up to a battery and he said that just ran the lights. If I am understanding what everyone is saying, those won’t send power to the in camper outlets though. Then there is a plug that looks like a regular grounded house hold plug. I assume that when eoleson says it like an extension cord that’s what he is talking about. Then there is a little convert that I think is for 30 amp hook ups.

    The reservations I have for my up coming trip say “20 amp.” Which I was told I could plug a regular extension cord into.

    So if I plug the camper into the 20 amp, then use a UPS plugged into the campers outlet, then plug the CPAP into the UPS it should be OK? Better than an extension cord and surge protector?
     
  11. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    If you have a 30 amp power cord on the pup you will need a 30 amp to 20 amp adapter. Additionally, i would not run the AC , and the other stuff on 20 amp. Thats why i asked where you live, if your close i could go over some of the stuff when i have a free day. If your pop up has brakes, its good to have a battery for the breakway system. ( thats a whole nother animal). Battery will run the dc systems, lights, water pump, fridge( but not well) fan for heat. Ellectrical hook ups will run the outlets, fridge on 110 volts, air conditioner. The power center will convert the ac ellecteic to dc to run the dc stuff when plugged into an ellectrical outlet.
     
  12. JennInJersey

    JennInJersey New Member

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    Sjm9911, I am up north in Bergen county. I may be moving to Passaic soon though.

    I kind of bought the pop-up a little prematurely. Months ago I reserved a campsite that would be OK for either tent camping of a small pop-up and was putting off buying the pop-up till I was sure I would have enough drive way to store it between trips. I was planning to buy a house in West Milford that had plenty of driveway for it, but the deal fell through. I went and got the pop-up because the trip was coming up so soon and I wanted to practice a bit even though the house wasn’t a done deal. So I may end up having to rent storage space.
     
  13. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Eek, not good. Im down the shore, but if you really get stuck i can take a ride up if you need to figure stuff out. Cant help with the storage, mine sits in the yard!
     
  14. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    You'll need something like this to go from 30 amps to 20 amps. Its not a surge protector. Just an adapter.
     
  15. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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  16. JennInJersey

    JennInJersey New Member

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    Thanks for the offer, but I don’t have time before we leave for our first trip. Even with the UPS, I chose largely based on what could be picked up in store today.

    I think the 20 amp is what it comes set up for and that I have to use the converter to plug into a 30 amp. It’s super basic bare bones camper. 1988 Coleman Columbia. No A/C, no fridge, nothing but lights and outlets. The water faucet even has a hand pump.

    I need to buy a very light one because my tow vehicle is a Honda CRV with a max capacity of 1500#.
     
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  17. JennInJersey

    JennInJersey New Member

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    I can’t imagine my neighbors around here putting up with me parking it in the yard. I’m pretty there are city ordinances against parking anything in the yard. I’ve been nervous that someone would complain about my having it open in the driveway for the last few days to air out.

    I just as an experiment plugged it into the outlet I usually use for the Christmas lights and plugged a fan into the outlet near the bed my GF will use and need for the CPAP. It worked just fine.

    I’m feeling a lot more confident about this. Obviously a fan is a lot simpler than a CPAP, but combined with the UPS that dbhost mentioned...

    I’m so glad I found this forum.
     
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  18. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member

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    The town I live in has an ordinance against keeping a camper in front of your house, but there's a clause in the ordinance that allows us to park it there for three days to load and/or unload. You should see if your town allows that too. Might give you some peace of mind.
     

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