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Author Topic: Question about the Progressive Industries EMS-HW50C Surge Ptotector Installation  (Read 694 times)

JoelP

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A couple of months ago I order my hardwired Progressive Industries hard wired 50 Amp surge protector and finally found the time to install this yesterday.  I noticed that there is an option to install this after the transfer box to protect from both generator and AC power.  In my case I installed it before the transfer box in the path of the shore power cord.  My reason for getting this was fear that the power at campgrounds may not be well regulated and there was the chance I could fry lots of my RV's electronics.  That said, I wondered if many of you who have installed surge protection have installed this after the transfer box.  is there really so much concern about bad power from your generator?  Has anyone fried their electronics due to bad power output from their onboard generator?

I have still to snake the wire from the cabin to the Progressive box due to the headache of doing that, but tried it out with a 120V input from the outlet near where I store my rig.  I assume that this outlet is a 15 Amp circuit.  When I first hooked it up it seemed to works perfectly.  Then when I turned on some load including my electric hot water heater I noticed that the Progressive started making loud relay clicking sounds and had shut down power to my outlets.  I didn't think I was drawing anywhere near 15 Amps.  The Progressive seemed to indicate 10AMP draw, but it also gave a code of PE4, which I didn't see on the error code list.  E4 is low power.  .I presume that I was somehow loading this circuit with the ~10AMP current draw of the hot water heater and that must have compromised the voltage running to the Progressive.  It made me wonder if this thing is overly sensitive and will be shutting my power down when I don't need it to.

My next test before a camping trip will be to plug into a dedicated 30AMP circuit in my garage and see if it behaves well.
Joel from San Jose

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AStravelers

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I would take a multi meter and monitor the AC voltage while you turn on the water heater.  You may have a defective 15amp outlet in the house.
 
Or you could have a connection you made when wiring it in the RV that is not tight. 

« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 04:47:58 PM by AStravelers »
Al & Sharon
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AStravelers

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The PE4, is the previous (P) error was E4.  Found that in the install/operations guide.
Al & Sharon
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2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

jatrax

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PE4 is the same as E4.  The P stands for previous, so previous error.  I think it resets the error code when power is lost so PE can be read as last error.  And I would say functioning as designed.  Without a meter no way to tell your actual usage.  However any draw of a significant portion of available amps can lower the voltage.  So 115 with no load can be 104 with a 10 or 12 amp load.  I think that unit cuts out at 104.  Get a plug in voltage indicator or an actual meter and watch what happens when you aply tha load.  Bet the voltage drops and the ems cuts out.

docj

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I own the same device and I can't figure out what wire you are snaking down to it.  It sounds as if you have the Progressive properly connected ahead of the transfer switch (that's how most of us have ours connected).  The only wire that needs to go to the device is a phone wire used for the remote display.  There's no 120V connection needed.

As for your problem, the "P" in PE4 means "prior error".  That's Progressive's way of telling you that there was a problem that no longer exists.  It's a nice feature that is not included on the Surgeguard competitor product.  It allows you to know what happened when transients occur.

The PE4 code means that you probably had a transient low voltage on one leg of the system (Leg 1) which resulted in the power being switched off.  The fact that it was transient makes me wonder if you don't have a slightly floating neutral on whatever circuit you have the RV plugged into.  The reason I say this is that when I installed my Progressive I discovered that I was having transient high voltage spikes on one leg (a PE3 error) which was resolved by tightening connections inside my utility pedestal all the way back to the distribution transformer. 

If you aren't familiar with electrical issues such as this, a floating neutral will be observed as a low voltage on one leg and a high voltage on the other.  The reason the effects are often transient is that the connections are arcing ever so slightly so the resistance is changing along with the voltage.  The Progressive will cut off power when this happens as you observed.   In our case when the local power utility came to check our pedestal and the connections to the distribution transformer the technician told me that "only you RVers have equipment sensitive enough to actually notice these sorts of things.  However, he didn't deny that getting it fixed was important since doing so prevents my electronics from being exposed to excessively high or low voltages.
Sandie & Joel

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jatrax

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Note that a properly wired circuit should not drop that much.  But anytime you add an extension cord you are altering the circuit.  So something that works fine plugged into the receptacle might not when the extension cord is added.  I suggest never using anything less than a 12 gauge extension and always check it to see if it is getting warm.

JoelP

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...Or you could have a connection you made when wiring it in the RV that is not tight.
Not likely.  I torqued them like I torque screws in my 200AMP service box at home.

Note that a properly wired circuit should not drop that much.  But anytime you add an extension cord you are altering the circuit.  So something that works fine plugged into the receptacle might not when the extension cord is added.  I suggest never using anything less than a 12 gauge extension and always check it to see if it is getting warm.

I have to think that this is it Jatrax and feel rather silly that I didn't think of this myself. I used a rather small extension cord that surely added resistance over a 25 ft length, dropping the voltage.  I have a big fat 12 gauge one packed in my RV that I could have used instead and will next time I try this.

PE4 is previous.  I should have seen that, but thanks to all who pointed it out.


I own the same device and I can't figure out what wire you are snaking down to it.  It sounds as if you have the Progressive properly connected ahead of the transfer switch (that's how most of us have ours connected).  The only wire that needs to go to the device is a phone wire used for the remote display.  There's no 120V connection needed....

... makes me wonder if you don't have a slightly floating neutral on whatever circuit you have the RV plugged into.  The reason I say this is that when I installed my Progressive I discovered that I was having transient high voltage spikes on one leg (a PE3 error) which was resolved by tightening connections inside my utility pedestal all the way back to the distribution transformer. 

If you aren't familiar with electrical issues such as this, a floating neutral will be observed as a low voltage on one leg and a high voltage on the other.  The reason the effects are often transient is that the connections are arcing ever so slightly so the resistance is changing along with the voltage.  The Progressive will cut off power when this happens as you observed.   In our case when the local power utility came to check our pedestal and the connections to the distribution transformer the technician told me that "only you RVers have equipment sensitive enough to actually notice these sorts of things.  However, he didn't deny that getting it fixed was important since doing so prevents my electronics from being exposed to excessively high or low voltages.
 

Yes, the wire I was referring to snaking was the thing that looks like a phone wire to the remote display. As for the floating neutral I am thinking that this is less likely since it was a GFI outlet that would be likely to trip with a floating ground and it never tripped.

Mostly I am glad to have this protection and to not hear from anyone that I blew it by not putting it at the output of the transfer box.  Thanks to all for your quick replies!

Joel
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 07:09:28 AM by JoelP »
Joel from San Jose

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AStravelers

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It certainly sounds like you know what you are doing and are on the right track to resolving the low voltage problem. 
Al & Sharon
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Quote
...tried it out with a 120V input from the outlet near where I store my rig.  I assume that this outlet is a 15 Amp circuit.  When I first hooked it up it seemed to works perfectly.  Then when I turned on some load including my electric hot water heater I noticed that the Progressive started making loud relay clicking sounds and had shut down power to my outlets.  I didn't think I was drawing anywhere near 15 Amps.  The Progressive seemed to indicate 10AMP draw,

You really can't have a "floating neutral" on a single 15A/120v outlet, but it's possible the building wiring is defective in some way so that the outlet suffers a voltage drop under load.  Doesn't have to be a large load either - a poor connection or undersized wiring can lose voltage with loads of just a few amps. Further, the outlet shares a branch circuit with other outlets, so the total circuit load could be greater than just what you were using.

I'm surprised, though, that the relays chattered before the low voltage sense kicked power off. Most such power protection devices drop power well before the relays rattle.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 09:23:28 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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JoelP

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...I'm surprised, though, that the relays chattered before the low voltage sense kicked power off. Most such power protection devices drop power well before the relays rattle.

Perhaps it is not accurate to say it chattered.  I think what happened was it detected low voltage set an error and shut down the output, which in turn removed the load and the voltage drop due to the small extension cord, making the Progressive think the shore power was fine which then turned power back on.  This seemed to cycle repeatedly until I intervened.
Joel from San Jose

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8.1L Chevy Workhorse with Banks PowerPack
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Yeap, that would explain it. The cycling of the relays in the EMS are slower than a  "chatter", but the net effect would be the same. Usually, though, there is a time delay once the relays open. That's to protect things like the a/c compressor, which can possibly be damaged if power goes off/on quickly.
Gary
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JoelP

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Fortunately my AC has a built in time delay, which I verified before deciding how to set the jumper on the Progressive. 

I just tried my much fatter extension cord, which is about 1/2" in diameter but given that it is 50 ft long it is nowhere heavy enough to carry a 10A load either, so the Progressive did the same thing.  Next I will test it on my 30A garage Circuit with the shore line from the RV.
Joel from San Jose

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Gary RV_Wizard

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Cord diameter says nothing about the wire inside. So called "heavy duty" extensions are often just better-protected against wear and damage with a thick coating, but have the same old 16 gauge wire inside. A 10A load needs 14 gauge wire for runs up to about 20-25 ft and 12 gauge much beyond that.
Gary
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AStravelers

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Your 50' extension cord should have the wire size stamped or printed repeatedly along the body of the cord.  Such as "12/2 w/gnd"
Al & Sharon
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Also be aware that 50 ft of extension cord still adds 50 wire-feet of resistance, even if the physical distance from coach to outlet is only 5 ft.
Gary
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John From Detroit

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I have "Contractor Grade" cords (14/3) Standard (16/3) and a few 12/3.. I like those 12/3 cause though they are rated 15 amp due to the plug and socket. 20 is within their limits.
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JoelP

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Your 50' extension cord should have the wire size stamped or printed repeatedly along the body of the cord.  Such as "12/2 w/gnd"
Yes my "heavy duty" cord was only 12-3.  When, however, i plugged the 50AMP cable from the RV into a 120V adaptor pigtail and then into the same power source it worked just fine even with a 15 amp load.

I still have one question about this. Today the Progressive showed L1 as carrying 9A and L2 as carrying 6A.  My assumption was that L1 and L2 referred to the opposing phases for a 240V line.  If so, how can there be current on both L1 and L2 unless the Progressive is dividing the load into these two phases even if only one phase was coming in?  Is that possible? I had always assumed that this division of voltage to serve outlets and devices even when powered from a single phase of 120V was being created further down the line in the electrical control. If so, how would the Progress know how to measure the current to both sides of the system?



Joel from San Jose

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docj

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Yes my "heavy duty" cord was only 12-3.  When, however, i plugged the 50AMP cable from the RV into a 120V adaptor pigtail and then into the same power source it worked just fine even with a 15 amp load.

I still have one question about this. Today the Progressive showed L1 as carrying 9A and L2 as carrying 6A.  My assumption was that L1 and L2 referred to the opposing phases for a 240V line.  If so, how can there be current on both L1 and L2 unless the Progressive is dividing the load into these two phases even if only one phase was coming in?  Is that possible? I had always assumed that this division of voltage to serve outlets and devices even when powered from a single phase of 120V was being created further down the line in the electrical control. If so, how would the Progress know how to measure the current to both sides of the system?

The incoming line is being split by your adapter, not the Progressive.  The spit has to occur before the Progressive, otherwise it would interpret the situation as "voltage on Line 1 but no voltage on Line 2" and it would shut down. 
Sandie & Joel

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JoelP

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The incoming line is being split by your adapter, not the Progressive.  The spit has to occur before the Progressive, otherwise it would interpret the situation as "voltage on Line 1 but no voltage on Line 2" and it would shut down.

I thought it was a very simple adapter, but as you say I cannot imagine how the Progressive can see current in two phases unless that was being sent into the Progressive unit. I will take a closer look at this adaptor to see if I can figure out how that is possible.
Joel from San Jose

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Gary RV_Wizard

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It's not "seeing two phases" - just showing the voltage and current on each of the two hot wires as they pass through to EMS. The adapter ties the two lines together further along near the source, but that is invisible to the EMS.  It just sees what is on each wire (plus the neutral and ground, of course).  The adapter parallels to the two hot wires in the shore cord so each sees the same voltage and each one can get part of the shared amperage from the source.  Amps are "pulled" by the load, not evenly split by the source, so the amp load on each hot wire is whatever it needs to be for the devices connected to that wire.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 06:44:28 PM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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grashley

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To elaborate on Gary's post:

Look at the adapter like this,  Plug two extension cords into the same outlet,  Connect one to L1 and the other to L2 in the camper.  Each cord carries the current necessary for the respective load, but both come from the same 15A or 20A 120V circuit.  They also share the same neutral and ground. (from the receptacle)

That is what the dog bone does before the power gets to the camper.
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JoelP

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So, saying this differently a dog bone, puts voltage on both lines out, but it would seem to me that both lines out are now in phase, whereas if plugged into a 50A 240V source the two sides would then be out of phase. Is this right? 

Those things drawing 120V would not care about phase.  However, it seems to me that those things in the RV that are dependent upon a 240V supply would have trouble running if both lines are in phase. Doesn't the basement air conditioner run on 240V? If so, how does the RV correct for this?  In this respect it seems to behave differently than the power coming into my home.
Joel from San Jose

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docj

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So, saying this differently a dog bone, puts voltage on both lines out, but it would seem to me that both lines out are now in phase, whereas if plugged into a 50A 240V source the two sides would then be out of phase. Is this right? 

Those things drawing 120V would not care about phase.  However, it seems to me that those things in the RV that are dependent upon a 240V supply would have trouble running if both lines are in phase. Doesn't the basement air conditioner run on 240V? If so, how does the RV correct for this?  In this respect it seems to behave differently than the power coming into my home.

Unless you own a very high end MH you aren't going to have any devices wired for 240V.  I've heard of some Newmars with 240V dryers but mostly such installations are limited to Prevost conversions and things like that.  I seriously doubt that your basement A/C requires 240V.

You are correct that you would not get 240V using a dogbone adapter since both "legs" would be in phase.  It's my understanding that most coaches with 240V appliances have generators with 240V outputs so they can still operate all their equipment when a 50A hookup isn't available.
Sandie & Joel

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Alfa38User

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JoelP wrote:
Quote
I seriously doubt that your basement A/C requires 240V.

Correct but... They do have 2 120V feeds, one from each side of the circuit breaker box, to spread the load and power the 2 compressors found in most basement units.

You would read 240V if you were to put a voltmeter across the two (L1,L2) wires coming into the unit.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 07:37:18 AM by Alfa38User »
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Quote
So, saying this differently a dog bone, puts voltage on both lines out, but it would seem to me that both lines out are now in phase, whereas if plugged into a 50A 240V source the two sides would then be out of phase. Is this right?
YES


Quote
Those things drawing 120V would not care about phase.  However, it seems to me that those things in the RV that are dependent upon a 240V supply would have trouble running if both lines are in phase.
They might, if there were any such things.

Quote
Doesn't the basement air conditioner run on 240V?
NO.  It would not be able to work when plugged to a 30A campsite outlet if that were the case.

There are a few RVs that actually have one or more 240v appliances, maybe a cooktop or clothes dryer. They use an inverter or run from their genset if they do not have a 240v shore power source available.
Gary
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JoelP

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Now this is 100% clear.  Thanks to those who responded for the education. It never ceases to amaze me how different an RV is designed than my home and how much I learn on this site about how that RV really works. I will stop making assumptions.

Now if I can only figure out how to snake a wire from the Progressive read out to that "all-together" panel I will be all set.  I have taken the magazine rack off the nearby vanity, the 'all-together" control panel out of the wall, and the propane detector out of the wall and have run a wiring snake up the wire bundle, but have yet to spot where in the wall the wiring is chased.  I wish that had a fiber optic inspection tool.
Joel from San Jose

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8.1L Chevy Workhorse with Banks PowerPack
2016 CMax Energi Hybrid dinghy

JoelP

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After many hours of searching and snaking I finally found a path from the "all together" past my propane detector, past my vanity, past my step and battery power switches, through the hot water heater enclosure to the underside of the rig only to realize that the display readout cable that came with the Progressive is only about 16 ft long, about 15-20 ft short of what is needed.  I am guessing that this cable only looks like a phone wire.  Tomorrow I plan to call Progressive to see if they sell and extender cable, or if an ordinary phone cable will work.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 05:50:15 PM by JoelP »
Joel from San Jose

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ChasA

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Joel
Winnebago calls the panel your'e calling  the "all together the  "one place".
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AStravelers

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After many hours of searching and snaking I finally found a path from the "all together" past my propane detector, past my vanity, past my step and battery power switches, through the hot water heater enclosure to the underside of the rig only to realize that the display readout cable that came with the Progressive is only about 16 ft long, about 15-20 ft short of what is needed.  I am guessing that this cable only looks like a phone wire.  Tomorrow I plan to call Progressive to see if they sell and extender cable, or if an ordinary phone cable will work.
When I installed my remote 9 years ago, in the RV I had then, I used the existing phone line cable that was built into the RV.  As I remember there was a caution about using the phone line cable, that is, the typical flat 4 wire phone cable.  The caution is that some of the cables had the wires crossed.  That is the transmit pair and receive pair are crossed from one end to  the other.  I am pretty sure you need a cable where the wires are not crossed.  It us just a straight through cable.  I think there are some instructions which came with the surge protector addressing this issue. 

It has been far to many years to remember the exact details. 

BTW you should be able to find bulk phone cable, the connectors which go on the ends and a crimp tool to install the ends for not to many $$.  This way you can run the cable, cut it to length and then install the ends.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

JoelP

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When I installed my remote 9 years ago, in the RV I had then, I used the existing phone line cable that was built into the RV.  As I remember there was a caution about using the phone line cable, that is, the typical flat 4 wire phone cable.  The caution is that some of the cables had the wires crossed.  That is the transmit pair and receive pair are crossed from one end to  the other.  I am pretty sure you need a cable where the wires are not crossed.  It us just a straight through cable.  I think there are some instructions which came with the surge protector addressing this issue. 

It has been far to many years to remember the exact details. 

BTW you should be able to find bulk phone cable, the connectors which go on the ends and a crimp tool to install the ends for not to many $$.  This way you can run the cable, cut it to length and then install the ends.

I looked in the manual and didn't see that, but Progressive confirmed it is a data cable, not a phone cable (as AStravelers said) and they will provide one in a 25 ft length.  Let's hope that 25 ft will be long enough to reach to my "One Place" (thanks ChasA). Progressive has mailed me a 25' data cable free of charge.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 10:46:58 AM by JoelP »
Joel from San Jose

2010 Itasca Suncruiser 37F
8.1L Chevy Workhorse with Banks PowerPack
2016 CMax Energi Hybrid dinghy

 

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