Power Watchdog Review

Hughes Autoformer/Power Watchdog Surge Protector Review

Surge protection is one of those things that should never be skipped on while out in your RV. RV parks and campgrounds have a wide array of electrical problems and while most can be minor some may just melt down your RV’s electrical system leading to costly repairs or worse. That doesn’t even include lightning strikes. Even a more inexpensive “dog bone” type surge protector is better than not having one at all. Our original dog bone has saved us many times and we still carry it today as a back up. This review will cover our new favorite surge protector the Hughes Autoformer Power Watchdog.

Our Old One

We have always been a fan of the Progressive Industries PTX-30 Surge Protector/Power Management System. We even did a review on it that you can check out by clicking the following link** EMS PT-30X**. Well, during our stay at the KOA in Milton our PT-30X took its last lightning strike/power surge hit. Unfortunately, Florida is known for its lightning storms and while our PT-30X undoubtedly saved our RV from an electrical meltdown it made the ultimate sacrifice.

Two Sections To The Unit

During that storm, the power went off for a few minutes and when the storm ended and the electricity came back on for the campground, ours did not. The funny thing was that the digital read-out was still reading the volts, amps, etc. but no power was coming through to the RV. Apparently, there are two sections to this unit. The readout part and the surge protection/energy management part. It was the latter part that fried.

Problematic Pedestal

We have absolutely no complaints with that unit as we had purchased it during our stay in Amarillo back in 2017. It had been through many storms and saved us numerous times. The time we spent in Amarillo was a challenging time as far as electricity goes. We had problems with our pedestal and had to be moved to another site. The owner never believed it was his pedestal even though we had proved it many times over.

No Brainer? Not So Fast

That being said it seemed like a no-brainer that we would just purchase another one right? Well, not so fast. Did we really need an electrical management system or could we just get away with a surge protector? I have used just a surge protector (dog bone type) with my other RV and even with this current one when we first bought it. We never had a problem with the dog bone style and as a matter of fact, it even detected a few bad pedestals along the way.

Back To The Trusty Ole Dog Bone

So after the hit in Milton we just started using the ole trusty dog bone again. We knew we wanted to get another unit but we wanted to see what was out there. Then COVID hit and the world went haywire. Surge protection was the last thing on our minds. After all, we knew we had the dog bone and we were comfortable with that. With everything going on we kind of just forgot about it.

In The Middle Of The Ocala National Forest

So now we are in the Ocala National Forest and while we have not had any storms as bad as when we were in Milton we started talking about surge protection. We realize the dog bone is fairly old and figured we should get something more modern.

As we started researching surge protectors, this Hughes Autoformers Power Watchdog surge protector kept popping up. As we researched it we found it has been getting some pretty good reviews online.

We’re Easily Amused

One feature that stood out for us is the fact that it had an app that would connect it to your phone. The EMS-PT-30X had a digital readout but no app. We found ourselves looking out the window many times as we turned things on and off to see how many amps a particular appliance drew. Yeah I know, we need a life…lol. It was very informative though!!!

Power Watchdog In The Box

We decide to give this Hughes Autoformer Power Watchdog a try. We went with the base model PWD30. It does not have the shut-off features the PTX-30 had but we figured we would give it a try anyway as it was definitely a step up from the dog bone. Below are the features of this surge protector.

  • Open Neutral Indicator
  • Open Ground Indicator
  • Reverse Polarity Indicator
  • Volt/Current Monitoring (With App)
  • Low/High Voltage Alert
  • Low/High Amperage Alert
  • Free App
  • Kilowatt Usage Monitor
  • Analyzing Park Power
  • Replaceable Surge Protection
  • Locking Option
  • Surge Protection (Joules)= 2400
  • 30 Amp Service

So you see you get alot of protection for a rather inexpensive investment

Simple 7 Step Set-Up

Once it arrived we wasted no time in getting it plugged into our RV. The set-up was a super simple 7 step process.

  1. Search for Power Watchdog on the app store or Google Play. If you have a code reader on your phone you can scan the QR code provided on the instruction sheet to get it.
  2. Plug the unit into the park’s electrical pedestal. Before moving forward make sure all 3 green lights are on. If not there is a problem with that pedestal’s electricity.
  3. Open the app on your phone and make sure you allow access to your phone’s camera so you can scan the barcode.
  4. Scan the barcode on the side of the surge protector. This will sync the surge protector to the app
  5. Name your product and set values for each area. This is so you will get notifications if one of the things monitored go outside of your programmed values.
  6. Tap on your Bluetooth icon and select the name you gave to your device.
  7. Your device is now set. All you have to do is tap on the icon of the dog face any time you want to see the info.

Using The App

Using the app is super simple. It is just a matter of finding the icon on your phone and tapping it. Once it opens up, look for the name of your device (whatever you named it in step 5 of the set-up) and tap on it. A similar screen to the one below should pop up.

Watchdog App Screen

That’s it!!!. Now you know exactly what’s going on as far as the electricity in your rig. No more looking out the window to try and read the digital readout like we used to. It’s all in the palm of our hand. This is perhaps my absolute favorite feature of this product.

Another good feature is you can set values. One such value is the kilowatts hours usage. You can set the hours and when you reach that number of hours you will get an alert on your phone. You can also set high and low voltage values. If the Power Watchdog ever takes too many hits and the surge protection board is used up, you can order a replacement board.

Our Review Summary

Hughes Autoformer/Power Watchdog Surge Protector

Overall Value
Overall Quality
Ease Of Use/Set Up
Ease Of App Set Up & Usage

Final Thoughts

In the short time, we have had this surge protector we are extremely pleased with it. We have had no problems and it seems to be working as described. We absolutely love the app feature and have had lots of fun with it testing draw values of different appliances from the comfort of our RV. We have lost electricity several times at this site already (it’s Florida you know…lol) and we are confident when the electricity comes back on if there is a surge our Power Watchdog will be there to protect our RV.



  • Quick Check LED Lights For When Plugged Into Shore Power
  • Bluetooth Connectivity To The Easy To Use App
  • You Can Set Values On The App & Get Alerts When Those Values Are Out Of Range


  • Unit Is A Little Large Causing It To Lay Flat On Lower Pedestals

2 thoughts on “Power Watchdog Review”

    • Vince- I am not sure what “pos” is (I think I know what you are referring to but it does not make sense in this context) or what is happening in 3-5 minutes. When we arrive at a campground we plug our unit in and make sure all our lights are green. Once that is complete we power down the pedestal and hook up the RV. We then power up the pedestal again (turn on the breaker) and we have power. We have never had an issue when the initial test of the campground pedestal showed good. Once it’s hooked up we can monitor the readings on our phone. If the voltage goes above a certain reading or below a certain reading (I forget what those numbers are) the unit sends us an alarm and shuts down. If your unit is shutting down it may be a problem with the voltage at the pedestal. I would rather my unit cut power to the RV than have my appliances (especially my a/c…lol) get damaged. If your unit is shutting down for another reason maybe you can contact Hughes customer support. Their Tech support number is 1-888-540-1504. I hope this helps… Dennis


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