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Old 01-11-2013, 08:43 PM   #1
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Question EMS vs Surge Protector

Probably another dumb newbie question here. I have seen references on this forum to an EMS (electrical management system I think). Is that the same thing or does it work the same as the high quality, expensive surge protector Escape offers and I am buying for my 17B to be?
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:45 AM   #2
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They are two separate things. The surge protecter saves the EMS. My research convinced me that campground power is dangerous without the surge protector.
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:07 AM   #3
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I installed the Progressive EMS which is a surge protector AND it monitors the electrical for over/under voltage, improper wiring and so on. I'm not sure what brand Escape offers but I noticed in DonM's build pictures he has a Progressive unit? Not sure if he had them install in lieu of others or this is what Reace installs as part of Escape add ons?
Don, maybe you can shed some light?
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:54 AM   #4
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Short video on Progessive EMS with surge protection, I found on youtube. Had this same unit installed in my trailer before Escape offered surge prection as an option. Works great!!

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Old 01-12-2013, 09:48 AM   #5
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The RV industry seems to use the terms EMS & Surge Protector to often describe the same device, or a bunch of different devices. Technically, a surge protector only does one thing - it absorbs the energy of short over voltages (spikes or surges). They are often sold for homes in lightning prone areas, added to plugging strips, etc. They are rated in joules - poorly designed ones not capable of absorbing a useful amount of energy are often added to plugging strips and other devices as a sales tool.

True EMS devices usually have surge protection built into them (although sometimes not enough) as well as other functions. In larger RVs, some Energy Management Systems also detect whether the RV is plugged into a 50 amp or 30 amp pedestal, and can "shed" or disconnect loads to prevent overloading the pedestal breaker. The best of these allow the owner to choose the load shedding order, for example, if the microwave starts, the AC shuts off, or provides automatic switching between two air conditioners.

On top of all that, there are also "Autoformers", devices that automatically raise low campground voltage to prevent damage to air conditioners and other motor driven devices due to low voltages. Because they often have EMS functions as well as the voltage adjustment capability, they are also sometimes called surge protectors or EMS.

You really need to examine the specifications of the device to be sure it is going to do what you expect. Like Jim, I installed the built in version of the Progressive Industries EMS HW30 in my trailer - it has shut down the power to my trailer a couple of times for low voltage & once for reversed polarity.
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I installed the Progressive EMS which is a surge protector AND it monitors the electrical for over/under voltage, improper wiring and so on. I'm not sure what brand Escape offers but I noticed in DonM's build pictures he has a Progressive unit? Not sure if he had them install in lieu of others or this is what Reace installs as part of Escape add ons?
Don, maybe you can shed some light?
We added the surge protector as a separate option to the standard supplied EMS. This was Escapes recommended unit. Perhaps the battery charging system etc is what is meant by EMS.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:06 PM   #7
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Just to clarify for my old brain - if I had Reace install the Progressive Industries EMS, I would NOT need to also install a separate surge protector?
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:10 PM   #8
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Don,
Can you tell from your build sheet if Escape installed something other than the Progressive EMS we all seem to have added to our units? There is no standard supplied EMS, just a converter that with the solar provides 12v power. I know they offer for $260 a surge protector but I'm not sure if that is the Progressive EMS which you have unless that is what they are referring to on their option sheet? So your sheet may show the surge option of $260 plus an install fee for the Progressive?
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Just to clarify for my old brain - if I had Reace install the Progressive Industries EMS, I would NOT need to also install a separate surge protector?
That is correct.
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Old 01-12-2013, 05:24 PM   #10
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Carol, the Progressive Industries 30HW not only is a surge protector but does more than that. I was waiting for one of the electrical gurus to respond. We have that unit as does Jon and others partly because it has a higher rating as far as joules, which means it protects better against worse spikes. You can find a surge protector that is still higher but it will not do nearly what the EMS does.

As Jim mentions, no EMS comes with the Escape and the one we have costs about $250- $300 depending on whether you install it yourself. The likeliest time it would be used if you have A/C. In hot weather, the power is strained to perhaps below 105 volts with many people using their A/C. That would ruin your A/C so the Progressive unit will shut it down. The EMS also has error messages it will give for that or polarity or other problems. In addition, the monitor will tell you exactly how many amps you use for any particular item such as lights or heater. That is a very handy feature.

We have been at a campground with bad electrical. No telling what we might have ruined if we didn't have an EMS because we were brand new to all of this and didn't know what we were doing. I guess we ran off of the battery that time. We had one error message after another. Only place we ever found a problem.
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