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More may not be better? Using external surge protector with Progressive Industries EMS


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As Cajun cook Justin Wilson used to say, "I am what dey call a Safety Engineer.  I wear a belt wit my suspenders."  

This is similar to what I do with surge protectors...I use Southwire Surge Guard (Model 34931) at the power pole and have the standard Progressive Industries Electrical Management System (EMS-HW30C).  It's a case of we have it, might was well use it logic.  We do not use any autoformer or voltage boosting equipment.  The stated low voltage limit for the Southwind is 102 VAC, whereas the limit on the Progressive is 104VAC.

A couple of weeks ago, we had our first power problems at a camp site.  Highly variable voltage that would drop over time as the air conditioning cycled on.  No other sites seemed to be having this issue and the park rangers said they knew of no problems.  The problem disappeared until the middle of the night after a storm passed.

As pole voltage would drop, the Southwind at the pole would trip off before the Progressive, which I found interesting given their low voltage specs. (Of course, I left my voltmeter at the house so I could not investigate this further.)  The Progressive was indicating a low voltage event which makes sense.

Strange part was when the Southwind at the pole would trip, the inverter (Xantrex Freedom XC 3000) would not transfer over to battery power.   I was concerned about impacts of  hard power shut-downs that were occurring.  Additionally, when pole power would come back up and the Southwind would turn back on, the Progressive delay function would seem to kick in.  So even though power was available, we were waiting for the delay function to help save the A/C compressor from short cycling.  We ended up using battery power for the rest of the night.

Next morning with low voltage still coming and going, I removed the Southwind at the pole thinking maybe it was having some problems.  This left us with just the Progressive Industries surge protector.  Now, when the power would drop below 104VAC, the Progressive would trip and the Xantrex would switch over to battery flawlessly even with air conditioning running.

I have not spent much time trying to figure this out, but given the different limit voltages, surge protectors in series may be a case of too much of a good thing is not always better?

We are going back to the same site this weekend and my voltmeter is already packed!  The state park has told us the site is now working perfectly so I may not be able to get more info on this.
 

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SE Texas  | 2021 Elite II  # 927  "Lucy"  |  2019 F250 FX4 6.7

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I had somewhat the same problem on our last campout at a state park. The surge protector started kicking on an off, checking the voltage from the state park showed a voltage drop at the parks service pole, low amp output with the voltage meter test.  What was funny is that the A/C and the water heater could not work at the same time, they drew too many amps and would kick out the system. So I switched the hot water to gas and all worked as it should, when I got home I plugged the trailer in and both worked as they should. I do not have the battery backup system on out trailer, just wouldn't use it as we don't Boondock.  I will say that owning a travel trailer requires you be a plumber, electrician, and general knowledge of repairs and be able to solve problems, I do feel bad for those who don't have any of these skills as camping can become pretty much an unpleasant experience at times. 

trainman

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Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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1 hour ago, Trainman said:

 I will say that owning a travel trailer requires you be a plumber, electrician, and general knowledge of repairs and be able to solve problems, I do feel bad for those who don't have any of these skills as camping can become pretty much an unpleasant experience at times. 

trainman

I totally agree, it can be a sobering revelation to brand new owners who jumped in feet first without enough research on owner forums. Those RV commercials on tv are so very deceptive, with the happy family gathered around on the meticulously groomed grass beside the lake, with not another camper in sight. I wish I could find that perfect spot 😬

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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So, @Jim and Frances, you leave your inverter (not just the charger/converter) on when you're hooked up to campground power via the shoreline? The power button on the Xantrex is pushed in?

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

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3 hours ago, John E Davies said:

I totally agree, it can be a sobering revelation to brand new owners who jumped in feet first without enough research on owner forums. Those RV commercials on tv are so very deceptive, with the happy family gathered around on the meticulously groomed grass beside the lake, with not another camper in sight. I wish I could find that perfect spot 😬

John Davies

Spokane WA

I agree, the glossy photos and perfect camp ads are very deceptive!
It’s actually overwhelming when you are new. We had a voltage issue right from the get go however we learned a LOT while trying to pin point that issue. The key is having patience, there’s nothing that can’t be learned. 

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2021 Dodge Ram 1500 

2021 Oliver Elite ll 

Hull #732 

Michigan 

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On 9/9/2022 at 12:18 PM, Steph and Dud B said:

So, @Jim and Frances, you leave your inverter (not just the charger/converter) on when you're hooked up to campground power via the shoreline? The power button on the Xantrex is pushed in?

Yes, we do leave it turned on.  The Xantrex is a single unit that both inverts and charges.  It switches back and forth automatically.

 

SE Texas  | 2021 Elite II  # 927  "Lucy"  |  2019 F250 FX4 6.7

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On 9/9/2022 at 9:38 AM, John E Davies said:

I totally agree, it can be a sobering revelation to brand new owners who jumped in feet first without enough research on owner forums

So true!  We were back at the same part this weekend and had similar problems.  I watched the voltage at two different sites wonder all over from 98 up to 130.VAC.

I spoke with three other campers to ask if they were having issues, they said not really - just their breakers inside their RVs were tripping.  I asked if they were using a surge protector.  They said, "What's that?"  Oh dear.  In fact, one sweet young couple was out for their first trip from the showroom and besides not knowing about a surge protector,  they didn't even know to have a water hose to fill up their water tanks.  

Anyway, I was able to capture screen shots of the Xantrex app showing the incoming grid voltage to show the the part rangers.  Come to find out, the single transfer feeding the park (Sea Rim State Park, TX - right on the Gulf of Mexico), is on the ground and has been completely under water on several occasions.   My hope is they get the local utility to get that pad transformer replaced asap given the damage it is likely causing to some of the ill informed campers.

As for is more really better, I think we are going to rely on the Progressive alone.  It's easier at the power pole, less to cart around and works fine.  I think it was a was a waste of money for me to get the Southwire given what comes standard on Oliver's today!

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SE Texas  | 2021 Elite II  # 927  "Lucy"  |  2019 F250 FX4 6.7

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As I have stated before, chaining two surge protectors, one at either end of you power cord is not necessarily bad (although, I suspect there’s still a potential for gremlins) it is not without drawbacks. 

Mainly, there’s the expense and trouble of dealing with two. I think you’ve made a wise choice. 

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher and Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie and Lucy (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

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6 hours ago, Jim and Frances said:

The Xantrex is a single unit that both inverts and charges. 

That is true but the charger/converter section of the Xantrex will still charge the batteries and pass 120v AC to the outlets when the inverter is turned off at the control panel and you're connected to shore power. We usually only power up the inverter section when we need to run 120v appliances off the batteries. I had never considered leaving the inverter section on while connected to shore power. I can see that could be useful if you have some sort of critical 120v equipment that you would want to ensure constant power to. OTOH, running the inverter when you do have shore power adds inefficiency and heat. You're basically taking 120v AC, converting it to 12v DC to charge the batteries, then inverting it back to 120v AC to feed the outlets. In special circumstances I can see value in that. Maybe you're running the air conditioner for a pet while you're gone and don't want it to stop if the shoreline power failed. Leaving the inverter on would be an elegant solution (provided you return before the batteries are exhausted). The downside, however, is increased runtime for your inverter - which might lead to its failure earlier than if you only ran it while boondocking.

Just another way of looking at it.

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

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Now I'll correct myself after reviewing the manual. The Xantrex can indeed function like a UPS, switching back and forth between shore power and battery automatically. Pretty nifty trick. (Note that setting 11 should be on APL if you're running the A/C.) The only downside I can see now would be forgetting to turn it off when not connected to shore power and draining your batteries by accident (or having the shore power fail without you knowing it, with the same result). Interesting.

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

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Our trailer has what I would call the base systems, like I said in a previous post you need to be a plumber, electrician, etc. to own a travel trailer. Now I'm none of those, but do have a good knowledge of mechanical operation of things and what goes where and why. Like all RV's things are always going to go wrong, but for me the fewer things you have to go wrong is a plus. I see after reading on this forum that many have not only the factory base system, but other systems to backup those systems which for me just adds another thing to go wrong and thus makes diagnosing the problem that much more complex. I'm a believer in the KISS system and with what is manufactured in todays world you should find yourself giving it a try, buying the latest greatest gadgets for your RV might just drive you to become less likely to enjoy you camping experiences. 

trainman

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Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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