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Old 01-11-2010, 08:44 AM   #1
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Exclamation Unusual EMS Problem - Any Idea's ??

I have noticed for a few months now that my EMS display panel located in the upper bedroom cabinet next to the house circuit breakers has been acting very strange. We are full timers and are using 50 amp shore with surge protection all of the time. What is happening is that the set of green lights for the Power Status side are all normal and are all lit up as shown in the attached photo, however on numerous occasions, when checking the Service Type side display, the green lights are quickly switching back and forth between the 50 amp and Gen Set indicators. And I don't even have the generator going, just the 50 amp shore power.

So obviously something is haywire but I don't want to start digging into electrical things without trying to get opinions from others and any possible similar experiences with this specific problem.

Thanks for whatever advice you can offer.

Dr4Film ----- Richard.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:45 PM   #2
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I don't suppose you have any way to connect your coach to 30 AMP service to see if it flip flops at 30 also.... I have an adapter for plugging in my 30 AMP cable to my regular house current (15 AMP) but I don't know if a 50 to 30 is available. I'm thinking your 50 AMP service is borderline on the low end. Your surge protector is protecting you from spikes but probably doesn't do anything for you on the low end when you have power sags, but that's what I'd be checking for first.

Bob
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:32 PM   #3
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RVee'r

I will try that however the Gen Set light should not even be lit at all unless I have the generator running. I think there may be something strange going on inside the EMS control panel but I just can't put my finger on it.

My surge protector actually does have a low voltage cutoff to ensure that any low voltage doesn't destroy stuff inside the coach. I believe it's around 102 volts where it shuts down and goes into protect mode until the voltage comes back up. I also use a digital voltage meter inside the coach which is plugged into one the 120 volt outlets. It will also give me an audible waring when the voltage drops too low or goes too high.

Thanks....

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Old 01-11-2010, 04:55 PM   #4
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Ahh, I see you do in fact have the low end covered as well... very good.... I could only think of trying the 30 AMP test and if it still flickered back & forth then I'd call it an EMS issue. You're right, the Gen Set light should not be coming on at all w/out the gen running but, I wish I had a nickel for every time something did something it shouldn't be doing!

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Old 01-11-2010, 05:40 PM   #5
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Have you tried taking it off the wall, unplugging the back, let it set for 10 seconds and plug it back in? That will reset it, you would be surprised how re-setting electronics solves many of the problems.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:53 PM   #6
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Hi Jim, I did try that after reading your post and got the same results after plugging it back in. I sent a message this evening to the Intellitec Technical Support staff with the symptoms. So I'll see what they have to offer for a remedy. Tomorrow, my new Power Gear Slide-Out motor for my kitchen is supposed to arrive so I'll be working on that fix. It seems that there is always something to repair or modify.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

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Old 01-11-2010, 07:57 PM   #7
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AND, they come in threes. Let's make the third one simple. I had my three last month. Solved two, one to go. Good luck and sorry the reset did not work.
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:23 AM   #8
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Richard, find the EMS control board (probably in ac distribution panel) and do an inspection to be sure wiring connections are good and tight. While you are at it check the transfer switch and all circuit breakers as well.
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:54 AM   #9
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Additonal Information / Symptons ???

Thanks RV Wizard,

I will do that. Could you suggest where to start looking for the transfer switch/relay? Is it near the 50 amp power cord terminal which in my coach is at the very rear on the roadside, possibly inside the engine compartment?

Well, to my surprise I have stumbled across additional information which really doesn't make any sense to me but I wanted to make sure it was recorded for everyone. I have also sent this new information off to Intellitec Technical Assistance but have not heard back from them.

I noticed yesterday while observing the Smart EMS panel that when my wife turned on a specific light, thatís when the panel started to blink between the 50 amp and Gen Set indicators. I have since verified that scenario many times just to make sure of what I was observing. I even went around the coach and turned all of the 12 volt lights on to see what the results would be and it is the only one that has any affect on the Smart Panel. It is a 12 volt light positioned over the kitchen sink with two bulbs in it. I have no idea why this is happening but I figured that it is new information that may or may not be important.

I hate those little "electrical gremlins" that show up every so often.

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Old 01-13-2010, 04:39 PM   #10
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Richard,

How long have you been at this location? Was there a problem at another park? How long since you first noticed this?

First, I'd check the basics. It almost certainly is, but make sure your coach is correct. Unlike houses, the neutral and ground on an RV are kept separate. That's why, for your 50A system, there is a four pronged plug to connect to shore power instead of three. Make sure the shore power supply is wired accordingly. More than once I've seen a power post with no neutral connection or no ground connection. Just make sure your supply is compatible with 50A RV service.

I've had a number of anomalies in the electrical supply department and, while no two were identical, there did seem to be a common denominator.

You probably mentioned what type/brand of surge protection you were using and I missed it. I use Progressive Industries EMS PT50C for my coach protection. It has informed me on numerous occasions that something was wrong with the shore power and it was dead on. However, there have been occasions where there was a problem (coach EMS dumped power) and it didn't inform me of anything.

On these occasions, I bypassed the PT50C and all seemed well in the coach. I checked voltage on both sides of the supply, neutral and ground, both at the post and in the coach, and all was well. Each event was different and I chalked it up to local electrical voodoo.

My point is, every electrical problem I've had seems to be a shore power issue since the PT50C has never lied to me. However, it hasn't always told the truth because it doesn't always know what the truth is.

This is just me, but I'd bypass the surge protection you have for a very short period to see what happens. Unplug all of your expensive stuff first! Who knows, one of them might be causing the problem. But, I'd leave that as an aside for now. A quick check like this might point you to the problem.

Since the EMS and surge protector are both intelligent devices, there may be a conflict between them when there is a weird anomaly with the shore service. Another reason to bypass the protector.

If all is well in your coach (and I mean actual checking of voltages, neutral and ground) after bypassing the surge protector, as always, I'd suspect the shore power as the problem.

Steve
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:28 PM   #11
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Hi Steve,

Thanks for the great explanation and ideas. The surge protection I am using is made by TRC, Surge Guard.

50A Portable | Technology Research Corporation

They do a reasonable job in testing before the power is transferred to the coach, but like you said, they may not be able to check everything.

After the threat of rain subsides, I will take a close look at the pedestal.

Thanks again.

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Old 01-14-2010, 09:14 PM   #12
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DR4film: Given the symptoms you describe per chance there is a bad connection somewhere on the 12VDC supplied to your EMS board. The EMS control board requires the 12VDC to operate the circuitry. If you feel comfortable working with high voltage electrical devices, then using a digital volt meter measure the 12VDC at the EMS control board. Observe this reading while turning the questionable light on and off. Perchance when you have a faulty 12 volt connection somewhere and turning the light on causes the voltage to drop sufficiently to cause this problem.

My EMS control board is located inside of my main AC circuit breaker panel. The breaker panel looks very similar to a typical home type circuit breaker panel. Once the front panel is removed the EMS control board is clearly visable. Be very careful as there is 120Volts AC at the circuit breakers and also at several connections on the EMS control board. As I recall the control board was very clearly marked where the 12 VDC connection is.
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:33 PM   #13
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Electrical gremlins are certainly a pain, both to find and usually to the pocketbook. I had a '97 Southwind that the frig overhead panel started showing it was constantly switching between propane and 110V. Cost me $178 at a dealership in New Hampshire to diagnose that the overhead florescent light in the kitchen was causing this. My current 2004 Winnebago when new wouldn't change TV channels or volume by the remote while sitting back in the kitchen - found out the front ceiling florescent light was blocking the signal. Now we leave it off when watching TV.
Hope you find your gremlin.

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Old 01-14-2010, 10:46 PM   #14
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This isn't a tested fix, but a hunch based on experience with similar hardware in my coach. I'd suspect that you have a relay in the transfer switch that indicates to the EMS system whether you are on generator or not - this relay may not have thrown completely the last time your transfer switch flipped. I'd disconnect your shore power briefly, fire up the generator and run it a few minutes, then kill the generator and hook up the shore power again to see if it resets - it could be that the line is 'floating' with no signal OR ground applied in the transfer switch, and the routing of the wires runs close to the supply wire for your kitchen light (and/or the bulb in the kitchen light is about to blow and generating RF noise) and it is generating a faint signal in the genset/shore-power sensing lead.
If this DOES fix it, you may have just had a random event, or it may be a sign or further problems to come - depends on how frequently it re-occurs, but it would point to that relay in the transfer switch.
If that doesn't fix it, the next check would be to find that signal line and test it - see if it is a broken wire or a bad relay inside the transfer switch (the transfer switch is PROBABLY located in your rear-most roadside bay where the incoming power is or along the most direct route from there to your main breaker box - listen for the thunk when you shift between generator and shore power) - watch the voltage on that wire when on shore and on gen - it should be 'different' between the two. If so, follow the wire and test it at every junction looking for loss of signal - if not, time to open up the transfer switch - probably call/take to a qualified electrician if you aren't comfortable working around exposed 220V power.
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