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Old 12-29-2015, 06:18 AM   #1
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EMS (Electrical Management System) install

OK, so I finally got around to installing my Progressive EMS HW50 Surge Guard this morning. I just don't remember the #10 wires being so hard to bend in that tight areas, so it took me almost three hours, I remember the last time I did this it only took two hours. Oh well, it's in. I mounted it in the rear drivers side bay with the automatic switch device. I choose to protect both from shore power and the generator. Here are some pictures:
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemitebob View Post
.....cut.... I choose to protect both from shore power and the generator. Here are some pictures:
Can you recap for us what the EMS does in your case? What's the benefit, and disadvantages?
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:08 PM   #3
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EMS system for an RV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Can you recap for us what the EMS does in your case? What's the benefit, and disadvantages?

If you search the internet and read RV forums much, you will run into stories where folks have ruined appliances because the campground's wiring was improper or because the campground's voltage dropped below safe levels or surged above safe levels. Occasionally you will run into stories of people being shocked (or worse) due to incorrect wiring of the campground pedestal. I personally ran into this twice in the last 12 years, not a big number but the first time cost me out of pocket $2300. By the end of that month 12 years ago, I installed my first EMS, and I have had one in every new RV I have bought sense.

You could buy a Polarity Tester and test every pedestal you hook up to first and if you tester shows a problem, you notify the campground management and move to another one and test it before hooking power up.

Now, the polarity tester does not test for improper voltage which can harm your appliances. but, you can get a combination polarity/voltage tester to do that job as well. It's a matter of (for me) will I remember on that cold night and all I want to do is get hooked up, ah, it will be fine just do it. OK so the next problem is OK, you were fine, but you cannot continuously monitor voltage and it won't prevent a voltage drop or a surge, which happens the more people on on a system in a campground, and it can even happen at home in your stick house. These drops and/or surges can damage your expensive appliances and electronics even more now-a-days as there are so many more electronics involved.

These devices (EMS Systems) will continually protect your RV and appliances/electronics from:

Surges
Mis-wired Electrical Pedestals
High & Low Voltage
Other Miscellaneous Electrical Problems
You can get them for 30-Amp rigs and 50-Amp rigs (50-Amp models work on 30-Amp circuits as well). They are also available in models that can be plugged in directly to the campground pedestal and models that can be hard-wired into your coach.

If you use the portable model that gets plugged into the pedestal, you simply plug it in and then plug your power cord into the device. But, I had my stolen off the pedestal while my wife and I sleep during the night, that was an expensive item. Just after than we decided to hardwire, yes, it cost a bit more, but it's still there and now I have a hardwired unit in my new motorhome.

With most models, there is a two-minute delay to protect your air conditioner. If all is okay with the circuits, it lights up and allows electricity into your rig. If there is a problem, no electricity is allowed in and warning lights are displayed, as in my system I have a remote panel that gives me error codes to check to see what happened. Again, if there is a problem, notify the campground management and MOVE to another site. You may have to move to another campground! We have done that as well, only once to be honest with you, but it let me know. We use computers, as well as some computers that now run things in our motorhome.

Once electricity is allowed into the rig, the device protects the coach from surges. Also, it completely shuts down power to the RV if campground voltage drops below or surges above certain levels. This protects your appliances.

There is also a time delay built into the unit that keeps the air conditioner from short-cycling. If the compressor turns off and on too quickly it creates extreme stress and the compressor can be damaged. The time delay is just in case the air conditioner is "on" when plugging in initially or if the air conditioner was running during a power shut down.

There are I believe two or three major companies that make these units, I have a Progressive Industries system, but there are others, you will have to check the internet and see what comes up, and if you do decide to purchase one or the other, check with Amazon, I got mine there for about 100 bucks less than the company and I still have the complete warranty.

I guess you could say, I have piece of mind sense I've had this unit. I paid once and swore I would never do that again. It may never happen to you, but not if, but when it does, it will make a believer out of you. That time it cost me 2300, add it up, a new TV, a new refer board, both of them, a heater board, and my wife's base computer that was plugged in at the time. This system protects everything at once now, yes, you could protect individual item like computer (surge control) and other modern items, but like I said it's piece of mind, and cheap insurance.

To answer your question, all are benefits, disadvantages, I see none.

I know a disadvantage; wiring the #10AWG into that unit, I don't remember that being so dang hard the last time I did it, it's tuff getting old. This is the fourth unit I've installed in 12 years, I think this is the last one I'll be doing, we really like this MH.
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Old 12-29-2015, 08:19 PM   #4
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Thank you. Great information to have.
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Old 12-30-2015, 01:05 PM   #5
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One of the first things I did was to install one of these
In my case, the electrical stuff is all under the bed, so that was the logical place to put it.

My only suggestion to others considering it, go ahead and pay the small upcharge to get the remote display. I could of course order one and add it, but so far haven't..... but almost every trip there's at least one time that I would like to glance over and check the current status for some reason or another.

I initially set my up with the delay to protect the AC, since I'm unsure if my as has such a delay itself or not.... but recently I disabled the delay. It was annoying plugging in then waiting so long for it to power on. And delay after every fault too. I'm usually mindful enough to not restart my ac right away anyway.
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Old 12-30-2015, 02:33 PM   #6
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Remote, I don't think I mentioned that. But yes, I so agree with blw2, I even went as far as getting the box that allows me to have two remote. That way I have one when I plug in shore power, and the other inside along with the panel on the wall for monitoring. I like remote things . I had a problem with mounting it under the bed along with all the other electrical stuff in there along side of the "water pump", it totally worries me to have so much electric next to that device. I even moved the power converter to the next compartment high on the "basement wall".
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Old 12-30-2015, 06:13 PM   #7
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I agree this is a worthwhile investment... My 'whole house' surge supressors (brick and mortar home) have saved me multiple times (giving their life in the attempt on 2 occasions) - so installing in the RV was a no-brainer...

I went with the portable model (Surge Guard 50A) - as I didn't want to add to the 'hum' under the bed (where all the electrical is) - and wanted something I could bypass easily if IT failed for some reason (old models of Surge Guard had a bypass - but they eliminated it on newer models.)

I chain it to the power pedestal - someone would have to cut lock/chain/cord exiting unit to remove... Certainly can be done - but can't just unplug and walk away.

I believe it has already saved me $$ in repairs - as we ended up at a park in August that had a low voltage issue on the leg I was on... It 'protected' multiple times and was enough to convince the camp owner he had a problem.

Only issue I had with choice of a portable unit was a recent park where the electrical boxes were almost horizontal just above ground... The Surge Guard has to be vertical to be waterproof (per the label). I may need a short 50amp cord to give some flexibility if I run into that again.
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Old 12-30-2015, 07:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmc View Post

I went with the portable model (Surge Guard 50A) - as I didn't want to add to the 'hum' under the bed (where all the electrical is) - and wanted something I could bypass easily if IT failed for some reason (old models of Surge Guard had a bypass - but they eliminated it on newer models.).
GMC:
I don't know why everyone tends to put it under the bed - why? It's just as easy or easier to open the connection at the Transfer Switch and do it there. Away from the water issue under the bed too. Oh, you said there is no more bypass, your wrong there is on mine anyway. You just switch it to off at the remote.

Here is what the manual says, and mine I just bought:

ByPass | This switch is located on the remote display and allows
the user to bypass the EMS in the event of failure, thus allowing
AC power into the RV. This does not disable the surge protection
portion of the EMS; however, all other features are disabled.
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:00 PM   #9
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Different brand... Surge Guard dropped the bypass capability... and I hadn't found this forum back when I made the purchase to see what else was available...

On my unit (2014 Hurricane) - The transfer switch and converter are under the bed... really wasn't another place I could find to tie it in without running lengths of #10AWG. I have no water near the bed (water pump is under bathroom sink).

Looked like a nice install in your unit.. I may very well hardwire the next one
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:52 PM   #10
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gmc, don't know why I figure everyones like mine, duh, At least they didn't put the water pump within inches of your electrical, that is why I moved mine. As for hardwiring, don't wait until your hands don't work as good, man that wire is hard to bend into tight places. The picture below is before I moved the converter. I've also cleaned a lot o this up. Made a separate area for the water pump so if it does leak it will fill it's own box that I placed it in and hopefully I notice it before it overflows. I should build a drain through the floor, hmmmm.
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Old 01-01-2016, 03:27 AM   #11
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Ems

I opted for the portable box, and bought a cable lock to secure it to the pedestal. Too much $$ to make it a permanent addition for no increased coach value.

I also bought a 3 filter water filtering system. RV parks are notorious for well water, water pressure issues, etc.

I am all set. Now, if I could just get my new coach out of the THOR maintenance facility, or the Ford dealer long enough to actually use it, for the first time ever!
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Old 03-25-2017, 02:06 AM   #12
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GMC: Questions about Your Surge Guard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmc View Post
I agree this is a worthwhile investment... My 'whole house' surge supressors (brick and mortar home) have saved me multiple times (giving their life in the attempt on 2 occasions) - so installing in the RV was a no-brainer...

I went with the portable model (Surge Guard 50A) - as I didn't want to add to the 'hum' under the bed (where all the electrical is) - and wanted something I could bypass easily if IT failed for some reason (old models of Surge Guard had a bypass - but they eliminated it on newer models.)

I chain it to the power pedestal - someone would have to cut lock/chain/cord exiting unit to remove... Certainly can be done - but can't just unplug and walk away.

I believe it has already saved me $$ in repairs - as we ended up at a park in August that had a low voltage issue on the leg I was on... It 'protected' multiple times and was enough to convince the camp owner he had a problem.

Only issue I had with choice of a portable unit was a recent park where the electrical boxes were almost horizontal just above ground... The Surge Guard has to be vertical to be waterproof (per the label). I may need a short 50amp cord to give some flexibility if I run into that again.
Hi GMC, I know this is an older thread but if you are there still, does your Surge Guard also have capacity to disconnect the rig if there are power surges or low power? What else does it do?

And, can you say more about how exactly you secure it so it's not stolen?

thanks,
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Old 03-25-2017, 02:08 AM   #13
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Winder 1:

Can you say more about exactly how you secured the surge protector to the pedestal to avoid theft? Also, can you say more about what functions your unit has as in does it disconnect your rig if there is low power or a power surge?

thanks,
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Old 03-25-2017, 11:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karwask View Post
Hi GMC, I know this is an older thread but if you are there still, does your Surge Guard also have capacity to disconnect the rig if there are power surges or low power? What else does it do?

And, can you say more about how exactly you secure it so it's not stolen?

thanks,
Still here...
Yes - it protects against high/low voltages, including surges - disconnects the rig for a minimum of 2 min (protection for compressors in appliances - frig/ac - that don't like a quick off/on when running).
It also verifies correct wiring on the pedestal before connecting to the RV systems - open grounds, etc..

Between home (full house surge suppressor) and RV - I can't even count the $$ they have saved me when neighbors had equipment damaged.
Last RV issue I know about - it tripped multiple times at an RV park due to low voltage... working with the park we found a problem in the main circuit feeding that portion of the park - a loose connection on a main upstream breaker was the culprit.
Last home issue was hearing the unit 'give its life' with a bang to save the rest of the house (I was 20' away) on a large surge as power company re-energized lines after a blackout... Surge suppressor was the only damage in my house... Neighbors lost appliances and electronics.

For security:
They sell a plastic cover that locks over the connection between surge guard and RV power cable... To me that just means they take the power cable too (assuming it plugs into the RV at other end...)
I use a length of chain wrapped tightly around the pedestal and wrapped around the short wire length between the surge guard and its plug (RV end)...
A determined thief could cut the chain and/or lock (or output cable - but that would damage the unit) - but nothing really stops someone that determined...

The other option is of course the hardwired version - inside the RV.. Certainly better protected from theft.
Two things steered me away from that direction (personal preference)...
One was that newer units seemed to have eliminated the 'bypass switch' - and I wanted an easy option to have power if the unit failed for some reason... Rewiring the main feed to the RV to bypass isn't something I wanted to have to do on the fly.
Second was reports that the units can hum... and it would have been located under the bed.
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Old 03-25-2017, 06:16 PM   #15
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Greg, thanks so much for the thoughtful response. Will take what you are pointing to into consideration. Some of the videos I have seen seem to have it that you can turn the unit off but, as you say, might be older units. I'll have to check.
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