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Old 03-23-2007, 12:53 PM   #1
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Can anyone explain the difference of a 50 amp surge protector and a 50 amp energy mgmt. system? Obviously I can see the cost difference but which one do I actually need?
I would like to get one or the other to protect my coach.
Thanks in advance for the help.
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Old 03-23-2007, 12:53 PM   #2
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Can anyone explain the difference of a 50 amp surge protector and a 50 amp energy mgmt. system? Obviously I can see the cost difference but which one do I actually need?
I would like to get one or the other to protect my coach.
Thanks in advance for the help.
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Old 03-23-2007, 04:10 PM   #3
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Could you identify some specific examples? There is no standard definition of these things and there often is a lot of overlapping function in various products with those labels.

A surge protector protects against surges in the incoming (shore) power, i.e. transient voltage spikes. But most external RV power monitors do more than that, checking the external power source for reverse polarity, open grounds, and other incorrect or unsafe electrical conditions. Some may also monitor for low or high voltage. The exact combination of functions will vary by product.

An energy management system (EMS) is usually built into the RV rather than added on externally. Usually an EMS monitors power consumption within the RV and shuts down loads that would cause it to exceed the available power. EMS is popular on 30A RVs because of the need to budget power consumption. But high end Rvs now often have them, enabling these feature rich and power hungry RVS to work adequately on 30A power.

And last, sometimes the entire power management system in an RV is called an EMS, thus confusing the issue. That sort of EMS may do things like starting the generator when battery capacity gets low or reducing battery charge rate when shore power is limited.
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Old 03-23-2007, 04:18 PM   #4
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Gary brings up a good point.

The EMS systems provided by coach manufacturers are not the same as the Progressive EMS. Two different things.
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Old 03-23-2007, 07:54 PM   #5
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Thanks for the information it is obvious that I want more protection than just for surges.
Therefore I will look to purchase the Progressive EMS product.
Again my thanks for the help.
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Old 03-23-2007, 11:05 PM   #6
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BobD - Need a little info on what type of protection you are wanting. The Progressive EMS and Surge Guard will stop voltage spikes, surges, mis-wired power pedestals, over and under voltage, etc. If they detect any problems they will not apply power to the coach. If the power is already applied they will remove it for a period of time, usually a couple minutes, and reapply it when the power is stable. However, these units will not shed load if you try to run too many things at a time. Load shedding is usually needed in a coach that is wired for only 30 amps instead of 50 amps. If you have only 30 amps available and you are using lets say 25 amps and you then decide to turn on a 10 amp hair dryer, a load shedder will shut certain loads down to keep the power usage at 30 amps or less. When you turn off the hair dryer the loads that were shut down will be allowed back on line as long as they do not exceed 30 amps. These are two completely different animals but they are commonly called EMS systems. Make sure you know what you are trying to protect before you buy.
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Old 03-24-2007, 02:29 AM   #7
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by BobD:
Can anyone explain the difference of a 50 amp surge protector and a 50 amp energy mgmt. system? Obviously I can see the cost difference but which one do I actually need?
I would like to get one or the other to protect my coach.
Thanks in advance for the help. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Bob,

Is your Adventurer a 50 amp coach? Does your Power Line EMS panel have a 50 amp indicator and does your shore power cord have a 4 prong plug? If the cord is only three prong then you have a 30 amp coach and need a 30 amp power protection device.

Consider also that the while the Progressive unit is very nice, if I understand correctly, it does not fix brownouts but shuts you down completely. A Hughes Autoformer on the other hand will fix the problem and boost low voltage during a brownout and protect your RV from overheated circuits, equipment etc. Brownout seems to be the most common cause of AC failure and effects many. I have the Autoformer and a Surge/Low Voltage Protector installed in my coach and the Autoformer will activate many times a day even though the voltage never gets low enough to trip the other protection device.

Let's face it during an extended brownout when it is nearly 100 degrees out and the humidity is closeing in on 100% most people are going to hit the bypass on the low voltage section of the surge protector to get some relief. With the Autoformer you will not have to do that.

I did have the surge/low voltage protector installed previously and experienced losses, I have not had any more brownout related losses nor power interruptions from brownput on my coach since installing the Autoformer.
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Old 03-24-2007, 08:29 AM   #8
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Hi Neil, Thanks for the information and yes I do have a 50 AMP system.
I hear what you are saying and I'm going to look at all of my options including the Autoformer.
I had read in prior posts about it so I know what to look for now.
Again thanks to all for the valuable information. I definetly will get some protection.
As my Father-in-Law used to say "That's why they make strawberry ice cream because not everyone likes Vanilla"
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Old 03-24-2007, 08:39 AM   #9
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I have a couple of questions about the autoformer. I do not full time, am rarely in extreme heat and can't seem to figure out why I would need the extra feature of providing power in low voltage situation.

If there is a low voltage situation and I had an EMS, it would shut the power down and I would be running on batteries which are fine for the short-term. If I needed A/C, I could use the generator.

On the other hand, the autoformer is not that much more expensive and would have the added benefit.

Do I have this right?
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Old 03-24-2007, 09:40 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by JavaJelly:
I have a couple of questions about the autoformer. I do not full time, am rarely in extreme heat and can't seem to figure out why I would need the extra feature of providing power in low voltage situation.

If there is a low voltage situation and I had an EMS, it would shut the power down and I would be running on batteries which are fine for the short-term. If I needed A/C, I could use the generator.

On the other hand, the autoformer is not that much more expensive and would have the added benefit.

Do I have this right? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Most of the time a brownout that would start to stress your equipment and lead to premature failure over time will not trip most protection devices which seem geared more for the extreme situation. The Autoformer will boost power many times a day and should help prevent premature equipment failures that occure over time. A brownout that would immediatly cause equipment to burn out will be caught by most surge protectors however those constant low power dropouts that hit all through the day that are just marginal and raise the current draw of your equipment and cause them to start heating up will not only be caught but rectified by the Autoformer before any incremental damage can occur.

My hope is not only to prevent the inconvienence of shut down but reduce my long term repair costs. I live in the Tampa Florida area and our power fluctuates greatly all day. A home computer UPS units kick in every few minutes during the summer months as low voltage is a very big problem.
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Old 03-24-2007, 01:06 PM   #11
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Perhaps putting some numbers to the question will help provide some clarification. First let me say that my RV came with an Intellitec 750 EMS (Electrical Management System) installed. It's only purpose is to recognize when it is on 50AMP, 30AMP and/or 20AMP power. When it senses 30AMP (or is told 20AMP) it regulates the power (amp draw) that the coach consumes. When the RV is on 30AMPs the amp draw is limited to 28AMPS max. It performs this function by killing the power to certain circuit breakers in the main power panel. e.g.: (Rear A/C) (water heater) (washer / dryer) etc. It does nothing about the quality of the power.

I also have a Hughes Autoformer (50 AMP). When the shore power is turned on the autoformer checks the the incoming power for faults such as reverse polarity - open ground, etc.. If it finds a problem it lights a yellow light on the front, of the case. It does not stop problem power. It does monitor the voltage level(24/7) -- if the voltage drops below 116VAC it boosts the incoming power by 10%. The autoformer will boost between 94VAC and 116VAC. Below 94VAC the autoformer just lets the power come thru -- it does not shut off the low power. The autoformer also has some surge suppression capability - not as good as the 50C.

The third item that I use is a Progressive Industries HW-50C Surge Supressor / Electrical Monitor System (EMS). On a 24/7 basis it monitors incoming power. If there is a wireing fault it shuts the power off to the coach. At the FMCA Brooksville Rally one coach was pluged into a 50AMP socket. The neutral opened up on the power pole. The owner did not have a 50C or equivalent and is now talking to Southern Power about his losses (approx. $1,000 +). The 50C is a surge suppressor and also monitors(24/7) low voltage (&lt;104VAC), high voltage (&gt;132VAC), frequency (&lt;51 Hrz &gt;69 Hrz). Anytime the power goes out of these parameters the 50C shuts off the power to the RV and inserts a delay of 15 sec or 2 min 15 sec before restoring power, to protect the A/C compressors. Also it will display an error code to tell why it shut off the power, even it it restored the power later.

If I could have only one of the above it would be the Progessive Industries HW-50C. It is the only one that shuts off problem power to the coach. As you can see I choose to camp with all three.

Good luch with your choices.
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Old 03-24-2007, 02:27 PM   #12
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Roland and NeilV,

thanks much for the good information. Given my circumstances, the Progressive EMS is probably the most cost effective option. I don't see me needing the Autoformer just yet. Especially w/a 2000 watt inverter and 7,500 watt generator.

Assuming that Roland is correct, while the autoformer is a good product, it doesn't seem to protect against an extreme case. That is what I'm most concerned about.

That said, who would you go to, to get the Progressive EMS installed. I know it is not just any dealer.
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Old 03-24-2007, 02:41 PM   #13
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NeilV, Roland & JavaJelly,
Thanks again for all the information.
I have been online looking at all the options today and as JavaJelly stated I have also decided to go with the Progressive Ind. EMS system which I believe will give me the protection I'm looking for.
It is always nice to get other people's input and experience with different products from this forum.
The information provided by this forum has always been very helpful..
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Old 03-24-2007, 03:01 PM   #14
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I installed the Progressive 50A EMS myself. It wasn't too hard, and the hardest part was bending the #6 wire to make the connections.

BTW, I installed it to protect both the generator and shore power.
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