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Old 11-04-2019, 07:43 AM   #1
CADman_KS
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Using a surge suppressor questions...

I asked this question in another thread about surge protectors, but I don't want to hijack that thread so started a new one.

So, we have never had a surge protector / EMS on any unit we've owned. I also don't believe that we have ever had any issues with the pedestal power, or at least not that I'm aware of, and even with our 50A connection in our last unit, it always worked, on 50A or 30A. The only thing that we have ever had happen was potentially a brown out where the park was potentially overloaded, and/or having failing breakers. After a couple an hour of power off, they got the power fixed, and we didn't have any issues after that.

My questions are this:
  1. What do you do when the surge suppressor says power is bad, and you don't have a genny or any kind of backup power? In our case, we don't have a genny, so we wouldn't have any way to use anything if the power was "bad". At our usual places, we can't change campsites either, because they are full, so we're stuck where we are at.
  2. Depending on what the fault is, do you unplug the surge suppressor and take your chances? I don't have easy access to my input power on ours, so this is actually one reason that I would consider NOT having a built in unit.
  3. How do you "know" that you've plugged into bad power? Or, how do you know that the surge suppressor has saved your bacon?
  4. Is this more an issue with 50A power vs 30A power?

At the end of the day, I'm going to get one, because I can't see where it's a bad idea. I just wonder what people are doing when they have issues, and they still need to plug into SP...
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Old 11-04-2019, 08:24 AM   #2
beeje
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IMHO you should install a hard wired EMS-HW50C unit. It will detect any power problems and will not allow the bad power into your trailer.

If you have bad power at any campground, they should fix it. You are paying for it, it should work as intended.
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Old 11-04-2019, 08:36 AM   #3
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hard wired to the unit or stand alone device either way it works. I had some issues while in Texas so I know it saved my butt a few times.

Hard wired unit, don't have to worry about thieves once installed don't worry about it again. If need to replace a hard wired unit it could be a PIA...

Stand alone unit easy to replace, easy to steal, we use a lock that goes around the unit and around the pedestal.

The more expensive units will check for bad grounds, faults, over voltage under. If something like a surge comes in the unit will stop the flow of electricity to the coach, resets itself, performs another self check and re connects. While in Texas it was so bad it did that 1 time but the second time I had to go unplug the surge protector, plug it back in and we were good.

I posted last month Sams club is selling a inverter generator a small unit for 399, it is 200 off might not be a bad idea to have a small unit just in case...

Either way having one is a small investment compared to the damage that can potentially happen.

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Old 11-04-2019, 08:48 AM   #4
CADman_KS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beeje View Post
IMHO you should install a hard wired EMS-HW50C unit. It will detect any power problems and will not allow the bad power into your trailer.

If you have bad power at any campground, they should fix it. You are paying for it, it should work as intended.
While I don't disagree with having them fix it, I don't see that happening at the state lake we frequent. We're lucky if we can get them out there to change a bad breaker. And the guy who does come and work on it, is only going to change the breaker. He doesn't know anything about the wiring inside the box or how to fix it. I probably know more about what's going on inside of the box than he does, and I'm not an electrician by any means, but have wired my fair number of projects.

The part that I have a hard time wrapping my head around is how the wiring at the pedestal is wrong. I realize it could have a loose ground or neutral, but actually having it wired wrong seems like something that should or could never happen. I suppose it does though...
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Old 11-04-2019, 08:56 AM   #5
CADman_KS
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Thanks for the input!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Last2Die View Post
hard wired to the unit or stand alone device either way it works. I had some issues while in Texas so I know it saved my butt a few times.

...

The more expensive units will check for bad grounds, faults, over voltage under. If something like a surge comes in the unit will stop the flow of electricity to the coach, resets itself, performs another self check and re connects. While in Texas it was so bad it did that 1 time but the second time I had to go unplug the surge protector, plug it back in and we were good.

...
I guess that it's encouraging that it does work!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Last2Die View Post
...

Hard wired unit, don't have to worry about thieves once installed don't worry about it again. If need to replace a hard wired unit it could be a PIA...

...
I haven't taken the panel off yet, but I would have to remove a panel in the basement to install the permanent one, and there isn't a ton of working room in there. That's why the stand alone is appealing to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Last2Die View Post
...

The more expensive units will check for bad grounds, faults, over voltage under. If something like a surge comes in the unit will stop the flow of electricity to the coach, resets itself, performs another self check and re connects. While in Texas it was so bad it did that 1 time but the second time I had to go unplug the surge protector, plug it back in and we were good.

...
I believe that the unit that I'm looking into will do all of this, PLUS shutdown if something is wrong in the wiring in the unit, or the anaconda cable, which is a plus as well...
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Old 11-04-2019, 09:05 AM   #6
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well given the information it seems you narrowed YOUR choice down to a stand alone unit. time to go shopping ! LOL

Some of the newer ones even have bluetooth that will connect to your phone and you can see what's going on wirelessly. just something to consider spending more money on !

Tony
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Old 11-04-2019, 09:22 AM   #7
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well given the information it seems you narrowed YOUR choice down to a stand alone unit. time to go shopping ! LOL
...
LOL! I have one in the cart.
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Old 11-04-2019, 09:29 AM   #8
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First of all a surge protector isn't what you need, an EMS is. Progressive, over the years has had the best warranty service. In almost nine years of full timing I've had our Progressive EMS save us five times that I know of. I use a portable so I don't have to back in to a bad site. At a campsite in Indiana it told us there was no ground. The next year I was put in the same spot and they hadn't fixed it. We've had brown outs and power surges and frankly I don't want to go thru the hassel of replacing all or some of our appliances and dealing with the insurance company. And yes, I do know some folks who've had to replace things.
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Old 11-04-2019, 10:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DQDick View Post
First of all a surge protector isn't what you need, an EMS is. Progressive, over the years has had the best warranty service. In almost nine years of full timing I've had our Progressive EMS save us five times that I know of. I use a portable so I don't have to back in to a bad site. At a campsite in Indiana it told us there was no ground. The next year I was put in the same spot and they hadn't fixed it. We've had brown outs and power surges and frankly I don't want to go thru the hassel of replacing all or some of our appliances and dealing with the insurance company. And yes, I do know some folks who've had to replace things.
EMS, meaning all of the features of a surge protector PLUS monitoring of the power condition and load?

Other units have these features, but don't call it EMS (at least that I've seen). EMS appears to be a Progressive term.
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Old 11-04-2019, 11:10 AM   #10
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An electrical management system constantly monitors the incoming power and isolates the rv from line one, line two, or both depending on the fault. The progressive unit also logs the fault and displays the code for it until you reset. I have had no ground issues, low power on one line or the other, high frequency once in smokey moutains, high power on both due to a close lightning strike that took out power in campground in smokey mtns. Someone doing maintenance at a campground can easily reverse wiring when replacing a 50 amp outlet if they are not paying attention and don't check their work. A surge protector does nothing except protect against very high fast voltage conditions that might occur due to a lightening hit in the area that bleeds onto the power lines. When this happens the devices in the unit are weakened or burnt up.
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Old 11-04-2019, 04:06 PM   #11
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Had a 30 amp Surge guard EMS. Pretty much gave it away to a friend.
He quit using it after it "died". It did its job. Never replaced it. Later he had an electrical issue. Mobile tech said he needed an EMS once the repairs were made.

He is back to using an EMS.
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Old 11-04-2019, 04:36 PM   #12
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Prior to installing a 50 amp PI EMS, we just had the portable PI surge arrestor. We had a voltage bump from the utility which took out both our satellite boxes. Since installing the hardwired EMS, we have seem missing neutral, missing ground, and numerous low voltage conditions. The one missing ground turned out to be a broken ground prong on our shore cable plug, which would not be visible with a portable device, as any of these units only look back toward the source, meaning the pedestal and beyond. With the hardwired units, they see all the RV internal wiring from the hardwired device out to the pedestal, too, which canít be seen by the portable units. Also, with the hardwired with the remote display, there is a bypass switch that can close the contactor to turn on power, which cuts out the voltage checking and protection but still keeps the surge protection feature working. So, for a voltage issue that causes the unit to turn off power, if you dare risk damage, you can manually bypass these units to get power into the rig. You really should not do this as you risk not only damage but also a hot skin condition that can shock you or anyone touching the rig, which can be extremely dangerous.
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CADman_KS View Post
While I don't disagree with having them fix it, I don't see that happening at the state lake we frequent. We're lucky if we can get them out there to change a bad breaker. And the guy who does come and work on it, is only going to change the breaker. He doesn't know anything about the wiring inside the box or how to fix it. I probably know more about what's going on inside of the box than he does, and I'm not an electrician by any means, but have wired my fair number of projects.

The part that I have a hard time wrapping my head around is how the wiring at the pedestal is wrong. I realize it could have a loose ground or neutral, but actually having it wired wrong seems like something that should or could never happen. I suppose it does though...
All I can say about that is that I would not be going to any campground who does not take there electric service seriously.

Our group had a power issue at the campground we go to on Memorial day and Labor day weekends. We had the issue on memorial day, and was fixed well before we went on Labor day.
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:06 PM   #14
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The OP stated that he never has had any problems with the pedestal " that he is aware of". Without an EMS you will never know if you are receiving high or even worse low voltage. Low voltage is like smoking cigarettes, your not going to notice any ill effects initially, but the cumulative effect is what can kill you.
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:07 PM   #15
CADman_KS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rohrmann View Post
Prior to installing a 50 amp PI EMS, we just had the portable PI surge arrestor. We had a voltage bump from the utility which took out both our satellite boxes. Since installing the hardwired EMS, we have seem missing neutral, missing ground, and numerous low voltage conditions. The one missing ground turned out to be a broken ground prong on our shore cable plug, which would not be visible with a portable device, as any of these units only look back toward the source, meaning the pedestal and beyond. With the hardwired units, they see all the RV internal wiring from the hardwired device out to the pedestal, too, which canít be seen by the portable units. Also, with the hardwired with the remote display, there is a bypass switch that can close the contactor to turn on power, which cuts out the voltage checking and protection but still keeps the surge protection feature working. So, for a voltage issue that causes the unit to turn off power, if you dare risk damage, you can manually bypass these units to get power into the rig. You really should not do this as you risk not only damage but also a hot skin condition that can shock you or anyone touching the rig, which can be extremely dangerous.
Bob,

Thanks for the reply! Very helpful information!

So, the Surge Guard 34XXX series makes the claim that the units can measure LOAD ground conditions as well. If that's true, I would think that a portable unit would / could measure a bad ground on the RV plug too.

It's very possible that I don't understand what they mean when they say load monitoring, and/or I could be reading something into that that isn't there.

I had not heard about the PI turn-it-off feature, and while I like that, if I put the hardwire unit close to the input plug, there's no easy way to get the remote monitor panel switch console, which is where I would want it. And, like you said, you're gambling at that point anyway. That wouldn't be any different gamble that plugging in, finding you have a bad ground, and then unplugging an external one so that you could still have power.

At the end of the day, I decided to go with the SurgeGuard 34951 with remote monitoring, since it's wireless. At this point, I'm into the easiest solution, and any solution is better than no solution...
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theunz View Post
The OP stated that he never has had any problems with the pedestal " that he is aware of". Without an EMS you will never know if you are receiving high or even worse low voltage. Low voltage is like smoking cigarettes, your not going to notice any ill effects initially, but the cumulative effect is what can kill you.
Yup, and I admit that we've been running totally blind to those conditions, so I have no idea if they exist or not...
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:13 PM   #17
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The above posters and myself are giving you good advice. Don't mess around with the surge protector types because that are easier. Do it right once and be done with it forever.

I once stayed at a friends house and he provided power to me with over 200 feet of 14 gauge ? extension cord. The EMS did not like the voltage drop and would not power up my unit.
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:15 PM   #18
CADman_KS
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Originally Posted by beeje View Post
All I can say about that is that I would not be going to any campground who does not take there electric service seriously.

...
LOL...

We go where our kids go, and this where they go. Earlier this year, this lake had about 30% of the electric sites under water. The lake was up 18' IIRC, which was an all time record for them. They actually did a really good job getting things back operational after the flooding receded, BUT we didn't know about EMS at the time, and just plugged in, and it worked.

Now we know...
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Old 11-04-2019, 08:08 PM   #19
CADman_KS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beeje View Post
The above posters and myself are giving you good advice. Don't mess around with the surge protector types because that are easier. Do it right once and be done with it forever.

I once stayed at a friends house and he provided power to me with over 200 feet of 14 gauge ? extension cord. The EMS did not like the voltage drop and would not power up my unit.
I do appreciate the advice from everyone! I actually see some benefits in the pedestal model, especially with the way the electrical is configured in our model. It isn't easy to get to.

I have no reason to believe that the SurgeGuard wouldn't shut down given the same scenario. It is monitoring power ( voltage and amps) on both legs, and if one was lower than the minimum, it would shut off.

Thanks again for everyone's input!!
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Old 11-10-2019, 03:14 PM   #20
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Our Progressive EMS stopped power at a park in New Orleans. Three other sites checked there were the same. We left that park. We wouldn't be without it.
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