Product Review — Hughes Power WatchDog
At first blush, Hughes’ Power WatchDog looks like a great way to remotely monitor your RV’s power pedestal hookup.
In fact, the Power WatchDog smartphone app (iPhone in my case) monitors the voltage and amperage on both power legs (L1 and L2) plus the total watts your RV is using. Very slick.
However, there’s a catch: Since the Power WatchDog uses Blue Tooth (and not WiFi), its range is limited — about 200 feet maximum. If you go any further (or even sometimes when you’re in range), you’ll get this smartphone app notification:
FYI — I received this message so often that I turned off the sound for Power WatchDog notifications . . . which essentially nullified any protection the device offered.
The 200-foot maximum range caught me by surprise. I knew the Hughes device used Blue Tooth networking, but I thought there might be a way to connect it to the Internet via WiFi. Because, for me, with a range of only a few hundred feet, the Power WatchDog is useless.
Consider: while the Power WatchDog will alert you if it finds an electrical error (see NOTE below), it can only tell you that there is a problem. It can’t disconnect your RV from the power source like a more expensive Surge Guard (now Southwire) or Progressive Industries unit both of which offer remote displays to monitor power conditions:
However, at $144 for the 50A Hughes Power WatchDog model, it ain’t cheap. Instead, I would suggest the Hughes $15 voltage meter :
NOTE: Like previous Hughes documentation I’ve read, the Power WatchDog’s 1-page manual (PDF) is short on details. It doesn’t tell you what electrical errors will trigger a smartphone notification.