installing surge protector - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-06-2019, 03:47 PM   #1
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Name: Henry
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installing surge protector

I tried posting this thread this morn and it would not go through. So I will try again.

I am going to buy PROGRESSIVE INDUSTRIES HW30C 30 Amp Hardwired EMS-HW30C RV Surge & Electrical Protector and install it in my Big Foot 25RQ. I intend on cutting the 10/2 power cable 12" to 18" or so back from the inside of the power inlet. I may need to add 2' or 3' of 10 gauge 2 wire to the power cable so I can then mount the SP on one of the wooden stud of the bench seat.

How should I attach the extra two feet of cable to the existing power cable? Twist on screw connector, solder the ends together and cover with shrink tubing, clip on electrical connector, crimp on butt connector or some other way to connect these two big wires?

Trying to add a pic. if successful, the black arrow is pointing to the power cable.

I know little about electrics.

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Old 05-06-2019, 06:27 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Rzrbrn View Post
I tried posting this thread this morn and it would not go through. So I will try again.

I am going to buy PROGRESSIVE INDUSTRIES HW30C 30 Amp Hardwired EMS-HW30C RV Surge & Electrical Protector and install it in my Big Foot 25RQ. I intend on cutting the 10/2 power cable 12" to 18" or so back from the inside of the power inlet. I may need to add 2' or 3' of 10 gauge 2 wire to the power cable so I can then mount the SP on one of the wooden stud of the bench seat.

How should I attach the extra two feet of cable to the existing power cable? Twist on screw connector, solder the ends together and cover with shrink tubing, clip on electrical connector, crimp on butt connector or some other way to connect these two big wires?

Trying to add a pic. if successful, the black arrow is pointing to the power cable.

I know little about electrics.

Attachment 129199
I think that what you actually have is a 10/3 wire there, because you also have to have a ground lead as well. (NEC requirement.)

I installed one a few years ago on my Casita 17'SD. My flexible shore power cord came directly out of the converter and would be stored coiled up in the space behind the converter until pulled out of the little hatch to stretch it out to the power pedestal, so I just cut it off with enough slack to make the connections to my PI HW30C, and from there out up to my new marine style twist-lock plug. I then added a new twist-lock female end on the remainder of the cord. Since Casitas have those stupid little shore power cord hatches, I also changed it out to a larger access hatch to make my installation of my EMS unit easier.

If you have a Romex style wire feeding your converter that you plan to tie into before the EMS unit, I would suggest putting your connections in an electrical box mounted somewhere in that space with a blank cover to protect the connections. You don't want 120 vac connections made outside of an enclosure, (no tape knots, etc,) which wouldn't meet NEC requirements, and for good reasons. Just might give you some ideas to run with.

https://www.amazon.com/JR-Products-Z.../dp/B007HRTSBG

https://www.amazon.com/Marinco-30ARV...sr=1-1-catcorr
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New Electrical Hatch3.JPG   New Electrical Hatch1.JPG  

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Old 05-06-2019, 08:04 PM   #3
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Name: Henry
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Thanks Greg, the CEO of Big Foot, Grant R, said it is a 10/2 wire. Having said that, I won't actually know until I cut into it.

I think we are talking about doing the same thing, except putting the EMS in an enclosure. I don't really want an enclosure accessible from the outside. What if I put the EMS in a metal electrical box mounted in the space, that is, under the seat, then secure the box to one of the wooden supports for the bench seat?

Grant did not suggest I do this. It is a Canadian company, could the requirements be different? What is the reason for putting it in an electrical box?
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:34 AM   #4
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I believe he was suggesting you put the wiring connection in a box, and I second the idea.
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:41 AM   #5
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Are you sure that it is just an un-grounded 10/2, or is it a 10/2 W/Ground? I'm thinking the latter.

I don't know how you can have an un-grounded "3-wire 30 Amp RV plug" for your shore power, since the ground is critical to safety, and a ground is also required by RVIA standards, (which adheres to the requirements of the NEC and NFPA 1192, Standard For Recreational Vehicles.) The standard 3-wire RV plug is a requirement for all 30 Amp shore power cords in the US, and I'd bet money that Canada also requires the shore power lead to have a ground wire as well, especially since they also market many of them to US buyers.

Also, your new EMS unit will not function without a proper ground lead, so if it really is only a 10/2, (which I would doubt,) you'll probably need to swap that out for a 10/2 W/Ground for it to function.

Good luck, and let us know what you find when you tear into it.
Greg

PS. The box I was referring to was strictly for the electrical wiring connections. The PI EMS is a sealed unit, (with a removable cover for access to the internal wiring, so it doesn't need to be inside another box.) If you should ever want to be able to access it from the outside of the trailer, I would look into the hatch I linked to above. It's what I installed, and it locks.
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Old 05-07-2019, 10:36 AM   #6
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Exclamation Rethink needed

In general, INTERNAL surge suppressors are not a good idea. When lightning hits your electrical source, internal components in the suppressor burn out which opens the circuit and protects your trailer. This process carries with it the risk of smoke and fire. Further, you must plan to replace the suppressor which self-destructs when hit by lightning. Internal suppressors can be time-consuming to replace. An external suppressor keeps the smell and fire risk outside your trailer. And replacement is a snap by just swapping out the damaged unit for a new one. While you are waiting for the new one to arrive, you can still power your trailer without surge protection. With an internal suppressor, you'll be eating by candlelight until the new one arrives and is installed.
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Old 05-07-2019, 10:49 AM   #7
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The HW30C is a good unit, easy to replace parts when needed. I have installed the same in my Scamp 16, and my suggestion is to remember that you must have enough slack in the cable reach from the box to your distribution panel so you can pull it off the wall to add more wires, etc.
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Old 05-07-2019, 03:19 PM   #8
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Thomas, "enough slack in the cable", adding the EMS in line might give a couple of inches more to the power line, but not much. Why do I need extra slack in the power cable? Maybe I should add a couple of feet of 10 gauge wire? I will think about this.
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Old 05-07-2019, 06:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rzrbrn View Post
I tried posting this thread this morn and it would not go through. So I will try again.

I am going to buy PROGRESSIVE INDUSTRIES HW30C 30 Amp Hardwired EMS-HW30C RV Surge & Electrical Protector and install it in my Big Foot 25RQ. I intend on cutting the 10/2 power cable 12" to 18" or so back from the inside of the power inlet. I may need to add 2' or 3' of 10 gauge 2 wire to the power cable so I can then mount the SP on one of the wooden stud of the bench seat.

How should I attach the extra two feet of cable to the existing power cable? Twist on screw connector, solder the ends together and cover with shrink tubing, clip on electrical connector, crimp on butt connector or some other way to connect these two big wires?

Trying to add a pic. if successful, the black arrow is pointing to the power cable.

I know little about electrics.

Attachment 129199
I would not mount a surge protector inside my unit. If you've ever seen one take a hit from lightning you'd know why I say that. They can easily cause a fire since they can burn for a short time. We've attended rallies where we went to classes on fire safety and this is one thing we've seen more than once. We use a portable surge protector that we just lock with a chain wrapped around it and around the post tightly to prevent theft. We wrap the chain around the cord completely then around the post tightly and padlock it keeping it tight so the plug can't be pulled through.
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Old 05-07-2019, 06:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jann Todd View Post
I would not mount a surge protector inside my unit. If you've ever seen one take a hit from lightning you'd know why I say that.

How is that different from taking a hit by lightening without a surge protector? I've seen and heard a hit in a farmyard in Saskatchewan and have to say, I was impressed.
I'm not sure many people can compare a hit with and without a surge protector.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rzrbrn View Post
Thomas, "enough slack in the cable", adding the EMS in line might give a couple of inches more to the power line, but not much. Why do I need extra slack in the power cable? Maybe I should add a couple of feet of 10 gauge wire? I will think about this.

I'm saying that because the unit should be screwed to the floor, and without slack, when you remove screws from the distribution panel, it stays stuck to the wall. I left just enough, wish I had left more, was hard to work on the back of the panel when adding wires. My panel is located below the fridge and can only be accessed by removing it.
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:00 PM   #12
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Name: Henry
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Thanks Thomas. I will keep your suggestion in mind.

I have ordered the hardwired unit, but I understand the reasoning behind a portable unit.

I have one of the cheaper portable units which is just a surge protector not a management system. Why not use both? If a surge from lightening the cheap one at the pedistal will burn up, the hardwired EMS in the trailer would be unaffected but still provide protection of everything else, right?
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Old 05-07-2019, 10:01 PM   #13
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The owners manual is on this page: https://www.progressiveindustries.net/ems-hw30c


Pretty good YouTube installation video:


You would want to ask the manufacturer directly before putting this unit inside another really tight enclosure. Sometimes a device needs cooling access.



Basic electrical installation rules say; All splices and connections to wired devices in the AC system should be inside an approved junction box. (The housing of the surge suppressor is such an approved junction box which was supposedly tested to contain whatever mishap might occur to the device inside).



I never use PVC junction boxes for anything. Steel is real. Go to the hardware store and get a 4x4 steel junction box and a couple of cable clamps and a cover. You can use the proper gauge extension cord cable (like Type SJW, etc.) with the right number of conductors outside the junction box; do not use Type NM or Type UF house wiring or direct burial cable or any single conductor wires in this exposed location. Single conductor cables have to be grouped inside the proper conduit. Using the proper conduit is never a bad idea for wiring inside closets and under seats. You should clamp the incoming cords to the trailer within 6" of the junction box, and to keep it up out of harms way along the route.



All AC-system metal junction boxes should be bonded (connected) to the green wire in the system. Inside the steel junction box you want to bond the box to the bare or green wire with an 8-32 green grounding screw screwed into the threaded back-side hole in the steel box and a ring-terminal crimped to a 6" 10 ga green pigtail going to the green wire splice so you have 3 bare stripped wires going into that one green wire wire-nut.



According to the charts on the wire nuts boxes, you can splice 2 or 3 #10 wires with red, tan, or grey wire nuts. Because the wires inside the SJW cord will be stranded, a red or tan wire nut should be fine.


Just wanted to help you get this done safely...
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:44 PM   #14
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How is that different from taking a hit by lightening without a surge protector? I've seen and heard a hit in a farmyard in Saskatchewan and have to say, I was impressed.
I'm not sure many people can compare a hit with and without a surge protector.
The trailer doesn't have to take a direct hit by lightning for the surge protector to blow up. It can also blow up by a surge in the power line by lightning or from the electric company. I've personally seen a few surge protectors that blew up from surges. My own house got hit by lightning close by and the surge came in blowing up a surge protector on my fridge and my security system fried since it wasn't protected by a surge protector. My wall had black marks all over it under the security system panel. A big ball of fire came out of the wall when the lightning came through the power line and it almost hit me in the head. I knew then I never wanted a surge protector inside my RV of any kind. I was fortunate to not die that day.
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Old 05-08-2019, 05:12 AM   #15
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Alan, I watched the video, it is very informative. I have not rec'd my EMS unit yet so I am unsure what exactly I will find. For instance, I don't understand why the video guy had to go into his junction box. Assuming I don't have to add a length of power cord, my plan is to just cut the cord, put the EMS unit between the cut cord, power in, power out sort of thing. It should be easy. However if I do need to add cord then I will use a steel junction box where the new cord connects to the old cord. Thanks to everyone for explaining the need to do that, I would not have known to do it otherwise.

The power cable in the Big Foot is orange and before cutting into it does appear to be 2 wires. The ground must come out of the power inlet at a different location. After I get the unit in hand and cut the power cord, if I can't locate the ground wire I will contact Big Foot and ask what to do, or at least help in location all the wires.

Thanks everyone.

Is there any wrong with using a surgenprotector at the pedestal as well and having this EMS hardwired?

Also I picked up somewhere that the EMS must be switched off when plugging a generator into the power inlet, is this correct?
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Old 05-08-2019, 08:53 AM   #16
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Alan, I watched the video, it is very informative. I have not rec'd my EMS unit yet so I am unsure what exactly I will find. For instance, I don't understand why the video guy had to go into his junction box. Assuming I don't have to add a length of power cord, my plan is to just cut the cord, put the EMS unit between the cut cord, power in, power out sort of thing. It should be easy. However if I do need to add cord then I will use a steel junction box where the new cord connects to the old cord. Thanks to everyone for explaining the need to do that, I would not have known to do it otherwise.

The power cable in the Big Foot is orange and before cutting into it does appear to be 2 wires. The ground must come out of the power inlet at a different location. After I get the unit in hand and cut the power cord, if I can't locate the ground wire I will contact Big Foot and ask what to do, or at least help in location all the wires.

Thanks everyone.

Is there any wrong with using a surgenprotector at the pedestal as well and having this EMS hardwired?

Also I picked up somewhere that the EMS must be switched off when plugging a generator into the power inlet, is this correct?
You do not want to use a surge protector at the pedestal if you build one into the hardwire one. Use one or the other. If you are going to use one at the pedestal why go to the trouble of building one into the trailer. Using both could cause an overheating situation from what I've seen and been told about it.
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:17 AM   #17
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Well...the EMS unit is on the way. I suppose I could send it back but only after I get a closer look at it, and more than likely I will install it. But I also have a cheap SP.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:34 AM   #18
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I rec'd my EMS unit from Amazon. I found a place to mount it but this spot requires adding about 4 to 6 feet of additional 10 gauge wire. Please bear with me, I am not electrically knowledgeable.

There is almost no slack in the power cord which is 10/2. The BF company clarified and said the power cord is called 10/2 but is really 3 wires of 10 gauge wrapped in orange colored plastic. At any rate it does indeed have 3 wires. Phew, who knew...

So my plan now is to cut the power cord, use wing nuts to spice in 2' to 3' of 10 gauge wire wire, the other end into the EMS box, wire the other 2' to 3' of 10 gauge wire into the outgoing EMS connectors, then wire the other end of the new wires back into the orange power cord, again using wing nuts.

So that is 6 wire nuts. Do I really have to use a junction box to house these wire nut connections? I have no room in the area where I have to cut the power cord and there is no slack in the power cord. This is where the junction box has to go, as far as I can determine at this time.

I suppose I might be able to squeeze in a junction box and screw it to the floor, but this area also houses a number of water lines and water line connectors.

Can't I just wire nut and then tape each, and not put in a junction box?

This has turned from a simple plug and play installation to a real... well...it's like having a white head pimple right on your butt...and the only place to sit is on a wooden church pew...

I am really thinking about packing the whole thing up and sending it back to get an external EMS unit.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:44 AM   #19
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I don't know why so many are afraid of mounting their EMS unit inside their trailer. There is absolutely no difference to it hanging on an external power pedestal or hard-wired mounted inside the trailer. It's there to do what it is designed to do, wherever you put it. All this silly paranoia about having it blow up in the trailer is more fear and hype than fact. I've done electrical work for over 40 years, and I installed an internally mounted a 30 amp EMS unit inside my trailer. I am very happy with it, and it does everything I want it to.

The main reason I opted for a hard-wired one, which I mounted behind a locked hatch, is because those portable units often tend to "grow legs" and walk away when you aren't in your campsite. Behind the locked hatch it is out of sight and out of mind. People don't look at taking something they don't see to begin with.

And yes, to be installed to code anyway, you do need to mount an electrical junction box wherever wires are connected together, (i.e. no open exposed wire nuts/tape knots,) are allowed by the RVIA, NFPA Standard 1192, and the NEC. All non low-voltage wire connections, (read: 120 vac connections,) must be made in an approved enclosure, such as a switch or outlet receptacle box with blank cover for example.

If you don't have room for a J-box, then perhaps replacing the entire conductor with a one piece wire of sufficient length. Use the replaced section for those shorter additional runs so it isn't wasted.
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:26 PM   #20
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It is raining here in Nashville, TN right now so it may be a bit before I can go out and resurvey what needs to be done.

Thanks Greg, I will try tracing the power cord and see where it goes from the power inlet. The simplistic drawing on page 33 of the BF Owner's manual shows the black wire going to a 30 amp breaker and the white to the buss bar. It does not show a third wire.

I will go on Amazon and see if I can find a small junction box with a blank cover.
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