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Old 03-10-2020, 12:08 PM   #1
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Surge Protector vs, EMS

Several months ago my Progressive Industries 30 amp surge protector stopped working between camp sites. When I disconnected it to look at it water poured out from inside. It was my second one from Progressive Industries and they did replace the first one. At this point I was over it and ordered a Southwire Surgeguard. It is no exaggeration that the fit is so snug where my RV connects to it that it takes 15 minutes minimum to disconnect.

Researching today I see that a surge protector only offers high voltage protection. Progressive Industries has a Portable EMS PT30x. No hard wiring needed. Was on hold for 29 minutes waiting to talk with someone and finally gave up. It's a bit pricey at $278.00. I saw in one review that the owner covers his with a Tyvek cover to protect it from bad weather. My other concern is protection from theft. If the metal ring they have on it is the same as what was on my previous units the opening is small. even a bike lock won't fit through it.

Thanks in advance,

Judyoshi
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Old 03-10-2020, 12:25 PM   #2
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It all depends on the EMS and Surge protector. I've noticed the lines blurring between the two names.

You want protection from high voltage, reverse polarity and open neutral at the minimum. You can get that in some surge protectors that don't cost $300. In fact, some are under $100.

If you want protection from low voltage, that is usually in an EMS and some consider it unnecessary.

There really isn't anything to completely protect an EMS/surge protector from rain. You don't want to cover them completely, but if you can cobble together some type of 'umbrella' that can help.

As to theft, we've camped with a $100 surge protector and a $300 EMS and never had anyone steal them. Perhaps we've just been luck.
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Old 03-10-2020, 08:02 PM   #3
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The PI EMS has drain holes and it needs to be vertical for them to work. If laying flat it will collect water. I just hang mine on the pole most of the time. If storms and winds are expected I will put it in a toolbox I got from HF and cut out space for cords to enter/exit.

One member wired and mounted it inside their storage compartment with plugs to bypass it if needed. This is brilliant if you have the space and cord access to do this.

No one has stolen mine yet in several years and I have never bothered to lock it up but I do understand your concern.

Hughes also offers an autoformer with power watchdog that does everything the PI EMS does as well as includes an autoformer if you are still wanting something and not use PI.

Best of luck!
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Old 03-11-2020, 06:07 AM   #4
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My 50 amp Surgeguard has been hanging outside for 5 years, 6 months at a time. No cover. No theft or damage so far (knock on wood). They do make a cheezy plastic cover for them that a bike lock fits thru. Enough to stop an honest person from stealing it I suppose. I have it but don't use it.
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Old 03-11-2020, 01:35 PM   #5
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I've had 6 trailers since 2011. Each one has had a 30 amp HW EMS system installed.
no issues with any of them.
new trailer next month is a 50 amp
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Old 03-11-2020, 01:44 PM   #6
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EMS

My PI EMS has saved use twice. Both time low power. It does not take damaging very much equipment for the price difference. The last time guy next to me lost his electronic control panel from the low power. Most of the surge protectors are a one time hit and sacrifice. Mine is 4 years old and never a problem.
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Old 03-11-2020, 03:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tundra 2014 View Post
My PI EMS has saved use twice. Both time low power. It does not take damaging very much equipment for the price difference. The last time guy next to me lost his electronic control panel from the low power. Most of the surge protectors are a one time hit and sacrifice. Mine is 4 years old and never a problem.
An EMS is like having a firearm for personal protection..............You dont' need it until you REALLY Need it and at that moment Nothing else will suffice.

The Surge Protection on them is like any other surge protector, if tripped once it needs to be replaced. This is a small boar inside the permanent mount units that PI will supply free of charge.

Im not sure how they repair the portable units if the Surge Protector takes a hit.
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Old 03-11-2020, 07:03 PM   #8
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I have the 50 amp Progressive EMS. Had the same thing happen to me. First time I used it the rain ran down the cord into the unit. Yes it was vertical. It filled up. Kept working, but the display fogged out. They have a lifetime warranty so I had them replace it. I opened the unit up and sealed it with silicone around the cord entrance and down the sides. I drilled 2 small holes in the bottom for drains. Has worked for 3 years without issue. I still wrap it in a plastic bag just to be sure. I posted all of this on these pages and come to find out, it isn't an uncommon problem with these units. Mine has an adequate lock ring that I put a bike cable lock through just to keep the honest people honest. My unit has saved me from a faulty ground which can be devastating to a 50 amp system. I feel it has justified the expense.
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Old 03-12-2020, 07:23 AM   #9
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I purchased the Progressive Industries 50 Amp internal EMS, perfect solution, always stays dry. The installation was a bit of a PITA but IMHO it was worth all that effort.
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Old 03-12-2020, 07:37 AM   #10
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We went with the hardwired PI 30amp unit with display and no regrets. Installation took and hour or so inside the trailer but no weather/theft issues. it was also slightly less expensive than the outdoor unit.

The only issue I had was that the unit wasn't calibrated correctly for voltage and was activating the low power shut-off too early. I called their tech support and they walked me through the adjustment after a 5 minute wait on hold. I would recommend them based on my own experience but YMMV.
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Old 03-12-2020, 07:42 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by azfansinnc View Post
We went with the hardwired PI 30amp unit with display and no regrets. Installation took and hour or so inside the trailer but no weather/theft issues. it was also slightly less expensive than the outdoor unit.

The only issue I had was that the unit wasn't calibrated correctly for voltage and was activating the low power shut-off too early. I called their tech support and they walked me through the adjustment after a 5 minute wait on hold. I would recommend them based on my own experience but YMMV.
I also had excellent experience with PI Tech Support. I wanted to run a cord longer than the one supplied with the unit for the remote display.

It looks like a regular phone cord but he told me that won't work. I needed a Data Cable. (what the difference is I have no clue) but I ordered one (looked just like a phone cable BTW) and it worked perfectly.
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Old 03-12-2020, 10:06 AM   #12
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In my post I should have included that, had I known of the issues with the external units, I would have opted for the hardwired ones. Oh well. That's what these pages are for.
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Old 03-12-2020, 12:19 PM   #13
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I have the Camco EMS and have never had a problem with water accumulation for the last five years. It has saved me from low voltage in the summer heat a few times.
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Old 03-12-2020, 03:17 PM   #14
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Thank you everyone for your input. I spoke with Progressive Industries and was told that when they purchased the company they were having some quality control issues with the factory in Mexico. The gentleman went into detail about the changes they made and stated that their water intrusion issues have greatly decreased. He also said that the majority of phone calls are about brown outs. I have ordered the 30 amp portable EMS and will loosely cover it with something.
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Old 03-12-2020, 05:25 PM   #15
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thanks to this forum I purchased a 50 amp PI EMS before I got my new trailer. Way too much electronics in these new RV's to not protect them as best as possible. Last trailer was 2007 and it had very little so wasn't concerned about it. We're in So Cal so don't worry much about rain.
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Old 03-12-2020, 05:32 PM   #16
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My portable surge protector has gone thru two RVs and numerous heavy storms and worked fine for 20 years I place a plastic bag over as rain protection never had a problem
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Old 03-12-2020, 05:38 PM   #17
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We're in So Cal so don't worry much about rain.
Ummmm, have you looked out the window today???
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Old 03-12-2020, 06:11 PM   #18
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Ummmm, have you looked out the window today???
Yeah but today is part of the crazy 2020, we don't normally see this type of rain all year!

On another note...

I read a lot about these getting damaged and stolen and thought of an idea, but I'm not sure it would work properly. Can you hook your cord up to the campsite and then hook up the surge protector or EMS in one of your storage compartments; then hook a second cord from that to your RV?
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Old 03-12-2020, 06:26 PM   #19
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Can you hook your cord up to the campsite and then hook up the surge protector or EMS in one of your storage compartments; then hook a second cord from that to your RV?
Yup. I have done exactly that in a situation where I was concerned about the EMS (i.e., isolated spot and we're going to be absent). Some might argue that your "cord" is no longer protected, but I don't think that's where any significant damage is going to be done . . .
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Old 03-12-2020, 06:27 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by jpjn94 View Post
Yeah but today is part of the crazy 2020, we don't normally see this type of rain all year!

On another note...

I read a lot about these getting damaged and stolen and thought of an idea, but I'm not sure it would work properly. Can you hook your cord up to the campsite and then hook up the surge protector or EMS in one of your storage compartments; then hook a second cord from that to your RV?
Yes. One member has done this and posted pictures of it.
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