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Old 06-18-2011, 10:55 PM   #1
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Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

I have read some interesting stories on how bad the power in some campgrounds can be. Campers have experienced reversed hot and neutral lines, 220 volts on a 110 volt circuit, low voltage, plus a whole lot more. The result is usually damaged air conditioners and any electronics that are plugged in are often fried. There is an interesting thread here that describes a few people’s experiences: http://www.heartlandowners.org/showt...-Power-Testing and there are lots more out there.

Although I never stayed in campgrounds with electrical services with our old trailer, I can certainly see it happening in the future now that I have a spiffy new Escape 19 that can actually make use of the power. Rather than wait to personally experience problems, I installed a Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C power monitoring system http://www.progressiveindustries.net/ems_hw30c.htm in my new trailer. It is rated at 120V/30A and is supposed to protect the trailer’s electrical system from: surges, high & low voltage, reverse polarity, open neutral, open ground and AC frequency variations. The voltage, frequency, and current draw of the trailer are shown on a remote display. This unit is probably overkill, but I do love my electrical gadgets and this one should provide hours of amusement as I watch the monitor.

The installation was fairly easy and only required buying 3 ft of 10/2 cable in addition to the Electrical Monitoring System with remote display. I cut the main power wire going from the shore power cord receptacle to the breaker panel and wired it into the input side of the EMS. Then I used the piece of 10/2 cable that I had bought to wire from the EMS box to the breaker panel. The original wire might have reached, but I didn’t even bother trying since I dislike having to work with wires that are almost long enough.

I had Reace install a 25 ft communications cable for the remote monitor from the “electrical room” to the cupboard above it when he built my trailer. Unfortunately, the remote didn’t work with the 25 ft cable so I replaced it with the 15 ft cable that came with the remote. It reached, but there was very little slack left over.

The first picture shows the EMS installed under the dinette bench. The second picture shows the remote monitoring panel installed above the dinette bench. The top monitor is for the EMS, the second one is for my Xantrex charger/converter, and the bottom one is a battery voltage display. I will cover the lower two in another post at another time. The switch on the monitor allows me to bypass the EMS in case the unit is damaged.

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File Type: jpg EMS-monitor.jpg (38.7 KB, 200 views)
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:23 PM   #2
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

Sounds like a good purchase.

You mention an open neutral, this is not normaly talked about but is a real devil on electronics if you are plugged into a 220 volt outlet.

Last time I had this problem was many years ago in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut (NWT)

Doug
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:39 PM   #3
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

I really like the idea of the electric monitor but I'm afraid it's out of our price range. I do, however, plan to install analog battery voltage and current meters. I'd be worried that the voltage requirements of the digital versions (5-7vdc) would put an unnecessary and constant drain on the battery, unless a meter bypass circuit was incorporated.

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Old 06-20-2011, 05:09 PM   #4
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

Quote:
Originally Posted by NuthatchBC
I do, however, plan to install analog battery voltage and current meters. I'd be worried that the voltage requirements of the digital versions (5-7vdc) would put an unnecessary and constant drain on the battery, unless a meter bypass circuit was incorporated.

Doug
The digital voltmeter that I'm using only draws 13 mA which is probably less than the self discharge rate of the trailer battery. The meter is one of the Murata DMS-20PC series and I bought it online from Mouser Electronics. I just looked at their online product listings, http://www.murata-ps.com/cgi-bin/cd4...N/Catalog/1013, and I see that they also make a DC ammeter with external shunt in the DCA5-20PC Series that only draws 10 mA.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:48 PM   #5
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

Harold,

That looks like a good insurance policy for $300, and you get hours of entertainment also! I tend to over gadget everything I own, but you can never have to many gadgets!
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Old 07-01-2011, 11:51 PM   #6
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

Harold, how did you determine that you would purchase/install the 30A rather than a 50A system? What about the portable units? It seems that one problem with those would be accessibility and the potential for being stolen. This is all a bit overwhelming at this point, but your links were interesting and power issues can definitely cause some expensive damage! Thanks for sharing the info!
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:02 PM   #7
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

The trailer only has a 30A service so buying the 50A unit would give no additional benefit. I considered getting one of the portable units but I had the same concerns about theft that you do. Now that the unit is installed, I like that it requires no action on my part for it to do its job. Otherwise, if I were setting up in a rainstorm or were in a rush for some other reason, I might consider not bothering with using the portable unit which would invariably be the one time that I needed it.
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Old 07-05-2011, 02:18 PM   #8
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

I read on one of these blogs about someone who fried his electrics fried by improper connections on the plug. This will prevent that for a nominal fee. You just have to remember to use it! You also can get an adapter 20 to 30 amp with the proper sex.

http://www.acehardware.com/product/i...ductId=3099774

Another hint, always run the water from your water hookup before connecting. I ran some into a container and was astounded to see several insects swimming around!!
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Old 07-05-2011, 06:54 PM   #9
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger C H
I read on one of these blogs about someone who fried his electrics fried by improper connections on the plug. This will prevent that for a nominal fee. You just have to remember to use it! You also can get an adapter 20 to 30 amp with the proper sex.
http://www.acehardware.com/product/i...ductId=3099774
Harold, what would be missing by using one of these to check the current beforehand, or perhaps one of these from Camping World (http://www.campingworld.com/shopping...k-shield/18337).
Convenience for sure, because you would have to consciously use it, but what else?
Thanks (for all those electrically compromised who would never attempt to install the one you put in)
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:20 PM   #10
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

Quote:
Originally Posted by HokieEscape
Harold, what would be missing by using one of these to check the current beforehand, or perhaps one of these from Camping World (http://www.campingworld.com/shopping...k-shield/18337).
Convenience for sure, because you would have to consciously use it, but what else?
As far as I can tell, all that is missing is protection from low voltage (also known as a brownout, caused by everyone in the park is running their air conditioner and the service not being able to handle it), and AC frequency variations. The $8 device that Roger mentioned detects wiring errors and does a lot for what it costs. The surge protector from Camping World protects against voltage surges, usually caused by lightening striking a power line, and also protection against ground faults. Surge protection is actually quite inexpensive to provide and most power bars for computer have it built in so the cost must be in the ground fault and waterproof features. I think that the brownout protection is the one feature that is missing from these two units combined that is the most important. I would suggest that you should get the $8 circuit tester for sure and leave it at that if your budget is tight. If you want more protection, I would recommend buying the LCHW30 http://www.lawrencerv.com/proddetail.asp?prod=LCHW30 which is just like mine but without the remote display for $219 with free shipping.
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:14 PM   #11
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

The problem with the basic EMS is when you hook up to a generator the "open ground" issue will not allow the current to flow. You have to bypass the EMS in order to get the electric to the converter. Without the remote and the bypass the switch this can not be done.
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:13 PM   #12
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008
The problem with the basic EMS is when you hook up to a generator the "open ground" issue will not allow the current to flow. You have to bypass the EMS in order to get the electric to the converter. Without the remote and the bypass the switch this can not be done.
Thank you for bringing this up. I discovered this issue this very quickly when I first plugged my trailer into my Honda EU2000i generator which uses a "floating neutral" that causes this error. Since I like to have the current readout that the EMS provides when I am using my generator, I chose another solution. First I checked my generator to ensure that the ground of the duplex receptacle was already connected to the generator frame and found that it was. If it was not, I would have rewired the generator front panel so that it was. Then I took a standard grounded plug, like you would use to replace the male end on an extension cord, and wired the neutral and the ground together using a 1" piece of 14 gauge wire. I made a label that I stuck on the side of the plug that says "Neutral Bonded to Ground" so I wouldn't mistake it for a normal plug and put in back into one of my boxes of electrical supplies. When I am using the generator with the trailer, which is wired correctly and therefore does not have the neutral tied to the ground at the service entrance, I plug the modified plug into the unused side of the duplex receptacle on the generator and the EMS works just fine. I can still use the generator on applications where the neutral is bonded to the ground elsewhere by just not using the special plug. There are some generators that come with the neutral bonded to the ground at the factory, but there is usually a decal on the front panel that states so and there are instructions in the manual on how to remove it if required..
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:36 AM   #13
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

OR, you can just bypass with the remote switch and it will allow the power to flow, will it not?
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:22 PM   #14
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

Quote:
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OR, you can just bypass with the remote switch and it will allow the power to flow, will it not?
You are correct. Using the remote bypass switch will allow the power to flow but you no longer have a real time readout of the current draw on the generator. When the bypass switch is used, the display simply reads "OFF".
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Old 05-25-2012, 11:50 PM   #15
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

Harold, we also have that Progressive Industries EMS now. There must be a standard installation method as ours is the very same as yours.

One thing we did not consider was the delay for the A/C. Maybe you do not have A/C. We will have to figure out if ours has the proper delay.

As you say, it is entertainment! We turned on various things and would check the amps. It was between 3/4 and 1 amp for each regular light. Thank goodness we have a big double LED in the middle of the trailer for boondocking. We plugged in two IPads and two phones to charge them and the amps with all of those together did not change. Microwave 15 amps though. We thought the water heater was using 3 amps but someone else said 2 amps so I guess monitors account for some of the 3. I expect it is too much trouble to disconnect the microwave monitor.

The EMS certainly tells you what you need for solar. Only the water heater has to be run, I guess, and maybe a monitor or two but that would call for more than one solar panel of 40w with 2.2 amps. So the EMS is helpful in addition to the protection for brown-outs and all. But, yes, entertaining to watch that monitor!
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Old 05-26-2012, 12:12 PM   #16
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

I meant to say that only the water pump has to be run but then I don't have all of this figured out yet.
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:43 PM   #17
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

There is one issue that may arise while on the EMS. If and when you hook up a generator you all see a fault code, "open ground" and the EMS will not allow the generator to connect to the trailer. This is because all generators are not grounded and the ground wire is open. You can either bypass the EMS with your remote or create a grounding plug by connecting the ground to your neutral within the plug. If you are not an electrician I'd suggest you contact one. Again any advice given here should not be relied upon without contacting an expert. As gar as the a/c relay, there is a jumper that Mr. Palmer can instruct to set the delay to, if my memory is correct 150 seconds?
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:31 PM   #18
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

Thank you, Jim. We do not plan to have a generator but solar instead, however, it is a matter of interest for resale, if we do not remove the EMS.

I believe the delay is 2 minutes 16 seconds (if the A/C has a delay then 15 seconds is used, I think). The installer certainly seemed very familiar with this and I hope has done what was necessary. We will look into it further and make sure. Nothing like finding out that your A/C protection is not there at all, after the big storm.
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:18 AM   #19
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

Now that I see it is an installation that is accessible, I'll probably get one also. I have the portable unit that just plugs in and does the same because I had several trailers, but now that I'm down to one I like the permanent set up. Anyone want to buy a portable unit, discounted?
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:43 AM   #20
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Re: Electrical Monitoring System Installation (Surge Protector)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floating Cloud
One thing we did not consider was the delay for the A/C. Maybe you do not have A/C. We will have to figure out if ours has the proper delay.
The Dometic 6003 series air conditioner that comes with the Escape 19 does not have a built in time delay to stop it from restarting immediately after a power interruption. From the Duo-Therm Operating Instructions:

H. Compressor Non-Time Delay Models:
When the 6003XX Series Air Conditioners are turned on and the thermostat calls for cooling, the fan and compressor start at the same time. After shutting the air conditioner down manually by either the selector switch or the thermostat, always wait at least 2 to 3 minutes before turning the air conditioner back on. This allows the refrigerant pressures in the air conditioner to equalize so the compressor may restart.


Therefore the 136 second delay would be the correct choice rather than the factory set 15 second delay. To change the delay, move the time delay jumper on the circuit board.
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