Casita Surge Protector... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-19-2020, 05:02 PM   #1
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Name: Andy
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Casita Surge Protector...

It seems like an EMS is the way to go over a straight surge protector. We are planning on ordering a Casita soon here, and can get the option for a surge protector (which does not seem to be an EMS).



Should we get the included surge protector, or would it be better to buy our own EMS?


Thanks,

Andy
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Old 06-19-2020, 06:15 PM   #2
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IMHO the main benefit of a EMS is a low voltage cutoff to protect the A/C (if you have A/C) from damage by brownouts. There are some lessor benefits to an EMS over a surge protector but the need depends on what electronics are in the camper. Some things like open Ground, open neutral and reverse polarity can be found with a separate tester before you plug in. More protection sure can't hurt and I would have the same Progressive Industries EMS that I have now even without A/C. But thats me. You can also use a portable unit if you dont want to install it in the camper.
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Old 06-19-2020, 06:47 PM   #3
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Name: Steve
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Our 2018 Escape has the factory built in Progressive Industries EMS
Our EMS has been in the bypass mode for the last two years
We do have air conditioning in our trailer
It was not money well spent in my estimation
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:08 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Our 2018 Escape has the factory built in Progressive Industries EMS
Our EMS has been in the bypass mode for the last two years
We do have air conditioning in our trailer
It was not money well spent in my estimation
On the other hand, we know that low voltage is bad for compressors, and my EMS has detected low voltage at campsites a few times, and shut off power to protect the A/C. It also gave me a clue that I had a problem before the fire started, but it was only a clue and I attributed the bad display to something else. See:

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ire-79837.html

On the other other hand, your training and experience in this field is dully noted and for those who are not aware of it, Steve knows this stuff.
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
On the other hand, we know that low voltage is bad for compressors, and my EMS has detected low voltage at campsites a few times, and shut off power to protect the A/C. It also gave me a clue that I had a problem before the fire started, but it was only a clue and I attributed the bad display to something else. See:

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ire-79837.html
To me an EMS is nothing more than an expensive electronic insurance policy
After waking up to a cold trailer on several mornings due to the EMS false tripping , and not being able to make a pot of coffee or a slice of toast because the EMS was constantly nuisance tripping , I decided it was a bigger PITA than itís worth
I know some people swear by them but experience led me to swear at them
Iíll take my chances cause I like having my coffee/ breakfast in the morning .
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:32 PM   #6
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To me an EMS is nothing more than an expensive electronic insurance policy
After waking up to a cold trailer on several mornings due to the EMS false tripping , and not being able to make a pot of coffee or a slice of toast because the EMS was constantly nuisance tripping , I decided it was a bigger PITA than itís worth
I know some people swear by them but experience led me to swear at them
Iíll take my chances cause I like having my coffee/ breakfast in the morning .

Do you use a surge protector then, or just sort of take your chances? From reading stories online it seems like 99% of the time there will not be an issue.
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:46 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Andy Avram View Post
Do you use a surge protector then, or just sort of take your chances? From reading stories online it seems like 99% of the time there will not be an issue.
We do not use an EMS or surge protection in our home or trailer
We do not carry any delicate electronic equipment with us when camping
I have recalibrated our EMS on 3 occasions but it will not hold setting leading to false / nuisance tripping
I’d rather take my chances , the odds are in my favor .

If the EMS actually provided voltage regulation that would be a different story .
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Old 06-19-2020, 08:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
...
We do not carry any delicate electronic equipment with us when camping
...
And that is the pertinent point. Like I said, it depends on what you wish to protect. A simple camper with no A/C or other sensitive electronics does not need one. Besides, NOTHING will protect you from a direct lightening strike.

Note that I have never had a false trigger on my P.I. EMS. Neither have I heard of others besides Steve having that problem. But if that is a concern yet you still want the protection, then get the portable version. If it is faulty (unlikely) then maybe you can get a refund. If not.. its not installed so just leave it out.
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Old 06-20-2020, 12:46 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Our 2018 Escape has the factory built in Progressive Industries EMS
Our EMS has been in the bypass mode for the last two years
We do have air conditioning in our trailer
It was not money well spent in my estimation

Steve, do you know the reason you've had to put your EMS in Bypass? I've had ours for about 5 years with no problems.
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Old 06-20-2020, 06:20 AM   #10
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Steve, do you know the reason you've had to put your EMS in Bypass? I've had ours for about 5 years with no problems.
The EMS was shutting down power to the trailer ( Over Voltage trip)
Tested utility voltage with fluke meter —actual voltage was approx 120 VAC
I recalibrated the EMS to the point where EMS display matched both my Fluke and my Klein digital voltmeter within 1/ 10 of volt
Worked ok for a while and then false / nuisance trips started again
Again I recalibrated unit .
After the third recalibration , I decided that the gain wasn’t worth the effort . I would guess that the potentiometer used to calibrate the unit is not holding setting due to being faulty or road vibration.
All the EMS trips in the time we used the unit were false trips

From my 40 years as an electrician I really think an EMS in a camping trailer is unnecessary and they are selling consumers a load of crap


After waking up in the morning to a hot / cold trailer or not being able to make a pot of coffee because our EMS thinks 120.3 VAC is too high , it went into bypass

I did talk to the factory , there is no authorized repair center near me and it wasn’t worth the effort on my part to tear it out and send it in , hoping they could fix it


Hope this answers your question
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Old 06-20-2020, 10:47 AM   #11
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Wow, sorry to hear of your bad experience with the PI EMS unit. I have had mine for about 5 years now and never had any trouble with it. I have the hardwired 30 Amp unit with the remote readout. It has worked flawlessly for me the whole time I've had it, and has never had the "over-voltage" conditions that yours is experiencing, but it has given me indications of low voltage, reverse polarity, and no ground on several occasions in various camping venues.
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Old 06-20-2020, 10:53 AM   #12
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I vote surge suppressor

[QUOTE=Andy Avram;782426]
Should we get the included surge protector, or would it be better to buy our own EMS?
/QUOTE]
A surge suppressor is an appliance or device designed to protect electrical devices from voltage spikes. A surge protector attempts to limit the voltage supplied to an electric device by either blocking or shorting to ground any unwanted voltages above a safe threshold. The surge suppressor is the device of choice if it fits the budget. I have this, but there are many under $100 that help and give some troubleshooting lights. https://www.amazon.com/Surge-Guard-34830-Portable-Display/dp/B00T36Q7R2/... (link is external)
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Old 06-20-2020, 06:02 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Casita Greg View Post
Wow, sorry to hear of your bad experience with the PI EMS unit. I have had mine for about 5 years now and never had any trouble with it. I have the hardwired 30 Amp unit with the remote readout. It has worked flawlessly for me the whole time I've had it, and has never had the "over-voltage" conditions that yours is experiencing, but it has given me indications of low voltage, reverse polarity, and no ground on several occasions in various camping venues.
HI Greg ; from your description, we have the same model EMS
If I was to purchase a new trailer , my option dollars would be spent elsewhere!
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Old 06-20-2020, 06:49 PM   #14
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Name: Jann
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Originally Posted by Andy Avram View Post
It seems like an EMS is the way to go over a straight surge protector. We are planning on ordering a Casita soon here, and can get the option for a surge protector (which does not seem to be an EMS).



Should we get the included surge protector, or would it be better to buy our own EMS?


Thanks,

Andy
We got a surge protector that we hook to the pedestal for surge spikes. I think it also stops at low voltage. If I was to do anything I'd always go for the kind we have. We fried one converter during a lightning storm and if we'd had a surge protector it would have saved us. I prefer that it not be built in in case it blows apart which some do to protect the electronics. I've seen this in RV classes and I've seen surge protectors blow up when lightning hit by my house and came through the electric wiring shooting a ball of fire out past my head. The only thing damaged was our ADT panel that they had not put on a surge protector but the fridge was ok from the protector saving it. That is where the fire came out. We always use our surge protector even at home when we have the RV plugged in and when traveling.
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Old 06-20-2020, 07:25 PM   #15
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... If I was to do anything I'd always go for the kind we have. We fried one converter during a lightning storm and if we'd had a surge protector it would have saved us. ....
Maybe it would have.. maybe not.

My first thought is that a new converter costs less than a good EMS/Surge protector. So if the choice were that simple, then take the hit and replace the converter.

But the choice is not that simple.. It is true that buying protection from "spikes" in the electrical system can be cheaper than replacing the things damaged by those spikes... but the surge protector can only prevent damage from spikes within its specs, such as a lighting strike on the grid some miles away... so,

My third thought is that NOTHING (within reason) can protect your electronics from a direct lightening strike. But there is financial insurance that covers that damage.

And my final thought is that a true EMS provides protection from enough other potential risks (reversed polarity, etc) so that it is worth the expense.
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Old 06-20-2020, 07:46 PM   #16
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Maybe it would have.. maybe not.

My first thought is that a new converter costs less than a good EMS/Surge protector. So if the choice were that simple, then take the hit and replace the converter.

But the choice is not that simple.. It is true that buying protection from "spikes" in the electrical system can be cheaper than replacing the things damaged by those spikes... but the surge protector can only prevent damage from spikes within its specs, such as a lighting strike on the grid some miles away... so,

My third thought is that NOTHING (within reason) can protect your electronics from a direct lightening strike. But there is financial insurance that covers that damage.

And my final thought is that a true EMS provides protection from enough other potential risks (reversed polarity, etc) so that it is worth the expense.
When we had our converter replaced it was around $400 so the surge protector is much cheaper. We paid less than $200 for it. I looked and Camping World doesn't even carry the one we have any more. They have gotten more expensive and more sophisticated but I'd still buy one and not go through the problems of not having electric while traveling which is what happened on our way home from TX. The possibility of losing all our food in our fridge and not being able to use our pump, etc is not appealing to me. Our protector does show polarity issues, voltage, etc. So if the converter and protector was even the same price I'd opt for the protection of a protector vs the problems of a fried converter or A/C unit while traveling.
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Old 06-20-2020, 07:53 PM   #17
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When we had our converter replaced it was around $400..
You must be including the cost of the converter and the (rather expensive) installation by a RV shop. The actual converter is not that much. But in sum I agree with your post.
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Old 06-20-2020, 08:01 PM   #18
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You must be including the cost of the converter and the (rather expensive) installation by a RV shop. The actual converter is not that much. But in sum I agree with your post.
Yes it was the converter and installation. We don't want to do that kind of work on our RV's. We feel with electric it is better left to a professional since we are not that great with it. We can do some electric and have basic knowledge and can run some wiring, etc but not something as complicated as a converter. Plus it was on a weekend on our way home from a 2 week trip.
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