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Old 08-23-2014, 07:17 PM   #1
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I think I fried my transfer switch!

2011 Berkshire 390RB with Progressive power converter. My unit was not subjected to the recall that was a hot topic 2 years ago and has worked fine. Today I arrived at my parents' house where they have a 50 amp RV plug in which we have used without issue every visit. Instead of me plugging in my cord (which I am always super careful about doing with the breaker off and plugging cord in securely) I allowed a well meaning relative to do it. A popping noise followed and the power did not come on in the coach, and noticed a burning smell coming from the converter and my Hughes Autoformer (which I was told was a good voltage regulator and surge protection device) was making a horrible buzzing noise. I quickly flipped the breaker off in the house and saw that the shore power plug was only pushed in halfway. The generator still works but now shore power does not. We tested power from the house outlet after this and it all checked out fine. The half- in plug must have caused a brownout-type condition (which the Hughes Autoformer was supposed to protect against but obviously did not!) and we checked inside the Progressive converter and saw the shore power part of it (the relay switch on the top half) seems burned and stuck :/
Will I need a whole new converter or can just the shore power part of it be replaced?
I will also be inquiring with the Hughes Autoformer people as to why this supposedly great protection device failed me.
Anyone else had anything like this happen?
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:59 PM   #2
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2011 Berkshire 390RB with Progressive power converter. My unit was not subjected to the recall that was a hot topic 2 years ago and has worked fine. Today I arrived at my parents' house where they have a 50 amp RV plug in which we have used without issue every visit. Instead of me plugging in my cord (which I am always super careful about doing with the breaker off and plugging cord in securely) I allowed a well meaning relative to do it. A popping noise followed and the power did not come on in the coach, and noticed a burning smell coming from the converter and my Hughes Autoformer (which I was told was a good voltage regulator and surge protection device) was making a horrible buzzing noise. I quickly flipped the breaker off in the house and saw that the shore power plug was only pushed in halfway. The generator still works but now shore power does not. We tested power from the house outlet after this and it all checked out fine. The half- in plug must have caused a brownout-type condition (which the Hughes Autoformer was supposed to protect against but obviously did not!) and we checked inside the Progressive converter and saw the shore power part of it (the relay switch on the top half) seems burned and stuck :/
Will I need a whole new converter or can just the shore power part of it be replaced?
I will also be inquiring with the Hughes Autoformer people as to why this supposedly great protection device failed me.
Anyone else had anything like this happen?
I'm not sure I understand..... AFAIK, Progressive does not make a "power converter" which I assume what you're really meaning is the device that converts 120V shore power to 12 volt coach power to work lights (and any other 12 volt items), charge the house batts, etc.

I don't know what Hughes Autoformer is, nor it's function. But it sounds like it does (or is supposed to do) the same thing that my Progressive model EMS-HW50C is supposed to do; that is surge protection and handling "voltage protection" (under voltage, over voltage, open neutral, etc).

Whenever I plug into shore power, the EMS-HW50C monitors what is going on for about 15 seconds. If everything checks out, a monster relay snaps closed (you can hear it plainly), and then full shore power is sent on to the transfer switch and the entire coach is then "live".

If a problem of any sort, full power us NOT energized and an error code reads out on the EMS-HW50C.

Not sure why a brown out condition (due to improper plug insertion) would not be caught by your Autoformer, but it does sound like your transfer switch is (at least partially) shot.

Good luck.

Boowho??
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Old 08-24-2014, 06:54 PM   #3
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Hi Boowho. Sorry yes I was referring to my Automatic Transfer Relay Switch by Progressive Dynamics that came with the coach in the back compartment on the drivers side next to the shore power cable storage. It appears to have 2 relay switches in it -- one for shore power and one for the generator. The relay switch for the shore powers seems to be snapped and smells burned and I assume is melted and stuck. The power from the generator works but not shore power. I was wondering if I could just replace the shore power relay and not the whole Progressive Dynamics silver box but probably will have to get a whole new one.
The Hughes Autoformer is what my local tech highly recommended when I said I was looking for a surge protector. It supposedly ( :/ ) works as both a surge protector and a voltage regulator for just the type of thing that happened (a loose or wiggled plug or some other shore power fluctuation) but I am nevertheless left stuck with what appears to be a fried transfer switch.
I can't figure what else may have caused this except for the poorly inserted plug into the shore power outlet on my parents' house. We put a test meter on the house outlet after this happened and it checked out ok.
Luckily it is not too hot here -- we had not planned on dry camping in their driveway!
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:52 PM   #4
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I tryed to look up specifications on the Hughs Autoformer and could not find any data that it provides protection against surges. On other fourms have found that others are using it with a suge protector like the Progressive EMS. The Hughs web site didn't provide details other then it increased the low voltage.
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:40 PM   #5
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I think I Will be adding a Progressive Surge protector to my set up with it --- with of course the purchase of a new transfer switch!
Thanks to Boowho and no3putt for your time to search and reply! When the green consider your next one a gimme
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:00 AM   #6
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Hi Boowho. Sorry yes I was referring to my Automatic Transfer Relay Switch by Progressive Dynamics that came with the coach in the back compartment on the drivers side next to the shore power cable storage. It appears to have 2 relay switches in it -- one for shore power and one for the generator. The relay switch for the shore powers seems to be snapped and smells burned and I assume is melted and stuck. The power from the generator works but not shore power. I was wondering if I could just replace the shore power relay and not the whole Progressive Dynamics silver box but probably will have to get a whole new one.
The Hughes Autoformer is what my local tech highly recommended when I said I was looking for a surge protector. It supposedly ( :/ ) works as both a surge protector and a voltage regulator for just the type of thing that happened (a loose or wiggled plug or some other shore power fluctuation) but I am nevertheless left stuck with what appears to be a fried transfer switch.
I can't figure what else may have caused this except for the poorly inserted plug into the shore power outlet on my parents' house. We put a test meter on the house outlet after this happened and it checked out ok.
Luckily it is not too hot here -- we had not planned on dry camping in their driveway!

Not sure if it's the same transfer switch or not-- but I did the same thing on a coach once.

I called the company that made the transfer switch. ( I believe in Michigan). They informed me that I wasn't first one to do this. They had a program where they sent me a rebuilt on and I sent mine back in same box and charge was like $100

Might be worth a phone call.

Russell
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:27 PM   #7
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This is a pure guess, but I bet with the plug half way installed, the 2 power pins were engaged but not the neutral pin. With a 50 amp plug, this means the transfer switch, and everything on the coach, gets 240V, instead of the usual 120V. This is why it is recommended to turn the circuit breaker off while inserting the plug. Most EMS will catch and prevent this.
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Old 08-25-2014, 04:09 PM   #8
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This is a pure guess, but I bet with the plug half way installed, the 2 power pins were engaged but not the neutral pin. With a 50 amp plug, this means the transfer switch, and everything on the coach, gets 240V, instead of the usual 120V. This is why it is recommended to turn the circuit breaker off while inserting the plug. Most EMS will catch and prevent this.
I think the plug blades would be grossly under manufactured per design which forces the blades to engage together at the same time. Most likely the coil of the transfer switch happened to fail at the wrong time. The plug installer heard it and released immediately "in shock".
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Old 08-25-2014, 04:30 PM   #9
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I spoke to a tech who said that it was very possible that with the plug being barely plugged in then the plug blades might not have been fully engaged and produced very rapid intermittent on/off pulses of power and that the relay in the transfer switch kept trying to very rapidly snap on and off to the point it burned or melted enough to get stuck.
Moral of the story-- make sure plug is fully inserted into shore power outlet before flipping the breaker on. And don't trust a non rv person else to help or do it for you!
Thanks for your replies!
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