Hardwired Surge Protector vs Portable - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-21-2018, 09:45 AM   #1
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Hardwired Surge Protector vs Portable

Online sites on surge protectors all seem biased by either the manufacturers of portable units or rv dealerships looking to do a hardwired install. Looking for some help in determining the best way to proceed on our build. Portable units can grow legs and walk away but are easily replaced if the unit fails. Hardwired units are protected from the elements but costlier to replace following a failure. Has anyone had issues with their hardwired unit? Can an owner easily replace the hardwired unit if necessary? If you are using a portable unit, have you experienced any issues that makes you wish you had opted for the hardwired version? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:59 AM   #2
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Online sites on surge protectors all seem biased by either the manufacturers of portable units or rv dealerships looking to do a hardwired install. Looking for some help in determining the best way to proceed on our build. Portable units can grow legs and walk away but are easily replaced if the unit fails. Hardwired units are protected from the elements but costlier to replace following a failure. Has anyone had issues with their hardwired unit? Can an owner easily replace the hardwired unit if necessary? If you are using a portable unit, have you experienced any issues that makes you wish you had opted for the hardwired version? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
We recently sold our second Escape and had the hard-wired surge protector in both; never has a problem with either one. Our new Airstream did not have a built-in surge protector so I paid $150+ for a low end portable Progressive Idustries unit. Itís a nuisance to setup and I had to create a cable lock for it. I say spend the extra couple bucks and get the built-in.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:01 AM   #3
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Online sites on surge protectors all seem biased by either the manufacturers of portable units or rv dealerships looking to do a hardwired install. Looking for some help in determining the best way to proceed on our build. Portable units can grow legs and walk away but are easily replaced if the unit fails. Hardwired units are protected from the elements but costlier to replace following a failure. Has anyone had issues with their hardwired unit? Can an owner easily replace the hardwired unit if necessary? If you are using a portable unit, have you experienced any issues that makes you wish you had opted for the hardwired version? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
Our ETI installed PD EMS unit has performed flawlessly for the past 5 years. If it does decide to crap out at some future date, it is readily accessible in our 19' under the front dinette bench seat.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:08 AM   #4
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We had a portable Progressive EMS unit that we used with our previous units and sold it and went with the hardwired. Why did we do this? It's better protected from the elements, our portable had to be replaced due to a hard driving rain that flooded it. It was under the cover of the lid on the campsite power source which was not enough protection. And we always were afraid it was going to grow legs so there were times we did not use it. The hardwired is immune to both of those and is not another item we need to store and get out each time we want to use it.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:15 AM   #5
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I found some campsites had their power pedestal so low to the ground that using the portable unit would not work. I went with the hardwired unit and never looked back.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:31 AM   #6
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Progressive industries (not to be confused with Progressive Dynamics) EMS has a lifetime warranty, not to cover labor.


I had to replace the contactor for chatter, not easy but not difficult. tech support was easy to work with.
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Old 09-21-2018, 11:47 AM   #7
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We have a hard wired surge protector that started to hum, the manufacturer replaced it, and the installation was straight forward.
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Old 09-21-2018, 12:26 PM   #8
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I have a portable unit that I have used on my past three campers and currently on the Escape 15. Now that we have the Escape with no plans to change campers, I might consider going to a hardwired system. The portable unit still works fine.
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Old 09-21-2018, 12:36 PM   #9
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We did not have a hard wired unit installed at the build time, now after four years of use we find we are using more campsites with a power pole. Rather than spend the time wiring in the EMS I chose to go with a portable unit. It is a Progressive Industries EMS-PT30X Portable 30Amp Electrical Management System (Tweety's) and was the same cost as a built in unit, less the installation. I purchased a cable and lock from Master that will slow a thief down for about 60 seconds, less if he/she is well prepared.

So far it has not detected any issues with a power pole but I have a campground coming up in a couple of weeks that I am suspicious of.

I did the wiring for my inverter, it was not hard but time consuming. I did not feel the desire to repeat that effort when another solution was available. From my reading it is important to get a unit with EMS.
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Old 09-21-2018, 02:43 PM   #10
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I have a 2017 5.0 TA with the wrap around dinette. The ETI installed surge protector is fastened to the floor under the driver side bench with plenty of space around it so that if I need to do any repair/replacement it would be easy to get to. I also have the removable power cord but I assume with the hardwired cord it would collect around the surge protector and may introduce dirt to that area. As is the area stays clean. Most of the time I also use a 12 gauge/ 15 amp. power cord and 30 amp pigtail instead of the 30 amp cord and I really appreciate seeing the voltage and amps in use while I am in the trailer. Especially while using the 1500/750W Lasco portable electric heater.
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Old 09-21-2018, 03:03 PM   #11
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Had a portable but added a hardwired unit myself. Progressive Industries has great customer service. It can be easily installed/replaced if you are even remotely handy and comfortable with basic wiring connections. I put the portable up for sale on the forum and nobody wanted it. That tells me that the general preference of those looking to add one is to go hardwired...or they were just reluctant to buy used...who knows. All I can say is my suggestion is to go hardwired and you won't be disappointed.

Power line monitor?
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Old 09-22-2018, 07:13 AM   #12
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Thanks. Informative and leads me to believe that if I needed to replace the hardwired unit I could do it.
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Old 09-22-2018, 07:17 AM   #13
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We also ordered the 5.0 TA. Happy to know the placement allows easy repairs/replacement. Good insight on the power cord. We ordered the removable power cord but not for the reason you gave. Now I am especially glad we ordered it. Thanks.
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Old 09-22-2018, 07:19 AM   #14
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Thanks. We are going with your suggestion. Seems like a no brainer after reading all the replies.
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Old 09-22-2018, 07:19 AM   #15
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Good to know. Thanks.
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Old 09-22-2018, 07:21 AM   #16
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Never thought about post height causing difficulty in connections. Good point.
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Old 09-22-2018, 07:59 AM   #17
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Never thought about post height causing difficulty in connections. Good point.
Yes, and it is probably those campsites that would need the protection in the first place, poor installation, poor or miswiring, lack of maintenance or following local codes and so on.
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Old 09-22-2018, 09:12 AM   #18
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Here's my surge protector, under drivers side dinette bench. Identify the right Romex going from the shore to the WFCO, cut, insert the unit. I added plywood underneath it and was very careful not to screw it down with screws that might be too long, since it all sits on the black water tank. Mine has a remote display I attached to the under seat wall. Set and forget. No problems.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SurgeProtect1.jpg (144.6 KB, 44 views)
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Old 09-22-2018, 09:38 AM   #19
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Thanks for pics.
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Old 09-22-2018, 05:28 PM   #20
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I used a plug in without issue for 11 years w my Aframe. I ordered onboard in my 17a for convenience, but just last week I was visiting a friend and the system gave an error code which I looked up in the book. Turned out the extension cord she provided from garage to my cord didn’t have a ground. We changed cords and all was well, but likely could have spent more time trouble shooting were it not for the on board.
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