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Old 05-18-2015, 06:53 PM   #1
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Question Surge Protector - Only for Shore Power, or on everything??

We're about to install our Progressive hardwired surge protector.
Are most people just using theirs for Shore Power (easy in-line install on that cable)? Or is it common to have it after a transfer switch (or inverter, etc) so that ANY source of 110 is protected? Not sure a generator or the inverter would have a surge, per se, but if there's no harm in it, I don't mind the extra planning.

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Old 05-18-2015, 06:59 PM   #2
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I spend 98% of the time on shore power , so I just put it in the power cord.
If I regularly spent time on the generator running , I might have installed it after the transfer switch.
Doesn't the inverter have built in surge protection ?


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Old 05-18-2015, 07:15 PM   #3
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I think the better grade inverters do. Looking at a couple of higher end models, possibly having the transfer switch built in. A little worried about having everything in one box, though, as it would be easier to replace/service a single unit instead of having my entire AC trashed if the inverter went down. If the inverter I get does have "good" surge protection, I'll put this unit in front of it...
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:21 PM   #4
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I use a portable Progressive for shore only, so I'm biased... but I'd focus on protecting the shore power side:

If you think of the "surge protection" feature, most likely it will be from the shore line. Not impossible to have a malfunctioning generator, but unlikely. One of the big things a Progressive or similar unit does is check for miswired shore hookups, bad grounds etc. Again not going to have this gen side normally.

However, anything before the Progressive isn't protected. So if you put it after the transfer switch, then it fries before the Progressive sees a problem with the shore power, and maybe a big enough surge takes out more (gen?)

In any case I come down on the side of ensuring the shore power is clean by installing the Progressive on the shore line before it gets to anything else, but JMHO. I know the doc gives you instructions for installing either way (before or after the ATS) so obviously both are 'approved.'

(If you google "progressive surge before after ats" you'll get a lot of hits and discussions both ways, in many forums.)
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Old 05-18-2015, 10:11 PM   #5
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You can wire it either way.

My coach has the surge protector wired after the transfer switch. This way it protects the coach from crappy power from the shore as well as from the generator
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:36 AM   #6
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It seems most people put it before the transfer switch. That's what Progressive recommends. They say it's to protect the transfer switch, and it's not necessary to put it after, because the generator is a cleaner source of power with its own protection.

But I don't buy that logic. A transfer switch is basically a set of relay contacts. There's nothing there that is easily damaged by the kinds of things the EMS protects against: high/low voltage, surges, or wiring problems. The odds of the incoming shore power damaging the transfer switch are VERY low, and if the worst should happen, a transfer switch is one or two hundred dollars, tops.

On the other hand, generators can fail, and when they do they can cause all sorts of nasty problems, including very high voltages if the voltage regulator fails. If that happens, the potential cost to equipment in the coach could be in the thousands.

While I've heard of transfer switch failures caused by loose connections or switching while under heavy load, I've not heard of a single transfer switch failure that was caused by bad shore power. However, I've heard several stories of massive coach equipment damage caused by a failed generator.

So, would you rather risk an inexpensive piece of equipment that is robust and not prone to failure, or would you rather risk many expensive pieces of equipment that are more likely to be damaged? In my mind, the decision is easy: don't worry about the transfer switch, but protect everything else from shore power AND the generator -- I put the EMS after the transfer switch.
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Old 05-19-2015, 12:27 PM   #7
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As you can see, you'll get opinions both ways. I put mine in the shore power line before the transfer switch.
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Old 05-19-2015, 01:36 PM   #8
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My first coach SP was after the ATS. My current SP is before the ATS. I wish the current coach was AFTER the ATS.

I've heard both ways on the "protect the ATS" side and the "the generator is well regulated" and found both seem plausible but I would rather ensure power from both sources are regulated.

Also, with the PI remote control I can see L1 & L2 information while on both shore power and generator. With the SP before the ATS you only get L1 & L2 info on shore power.
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Old 05-19-2015, 01:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emiddleb View Post
However, anything before the Progressive isn't protected. So if you put it after the transfer switch, then it fries before the Progressive sees a problem with the shore power, and maybe a big enough surge takes out more (gen?)
I just don't see this happening. For the power to arc over the transfer switch contacts and back-feed into the generator, it would take a massive surge, like a direct or nearby lightning strike. If that were to happen, that same surge is going to go into the coach and cause all sorts of damage inside the coach as well: when that happens, the transfer switch and the generator are going to be the least of your concerns.

And don't think that the EMS being before the transfer switch is going to protect you from a direct or nearby lightning strike, it can't. The Progressive EMS is a very capable unit and can absorb a few thousand Joules of energy during a surge. That's an impressive amount. However, a lightning strike has millions to billions of Joules of energy, and nothing in your rig stands a chance against that, including the Progressive EMS.
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Old 05-19-2015, 02:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShapeShifter View Post
It seems most people put it before the transfer switch. That's what Progressive recommends. They say it's to protect the transfer switch, and it's not necessary to put it after, because the generator is a cleaner source of power with its own protection.

But I don't buy that logic. A transfer switch is basically a set of relay contacts. There's nothing there that is easily damaged by the kinds of things the EMS protects against: high/low voltage, surges, or wiring problems. The odds of the incoming shore power damaging the transfer switch are VERY low, and if the worst should happen, a transfer switch is one or two hundred dollars, tops.

On the other hand, generators can fail, and when they do they can cause all sorts of nasty problems, including very high voltages if the voltage regulator fails. If that happens, the potential cost to equipment in the coach could be in the thousands.

While I've heard of transfer switch failures caused by loose connections or switching while under heavy load, I've not heard of a single transfer switch failure that was caused by bad shore power. However, I've heard several stories of massive coach equipment damage caused by a failed generator.

So, would you rather risk an inexpensive piece of equipment that is robust and not prone to failure, or would you rather risk many expensive pieces of equipment that are more likely to be damaged? In my mind, the decision is easy: don't worry about the transfer switch, but protect everything else from shore power AND the generator -- I put the EMS after the transfer switch.
Transfer swith on our coach went when a park transformer blew. I had a Power Master VC 50 voltage controller inline, followed by the PI PT50 C. 120 contacts fried. Voltage controller and Surge protector were fine. Have no idea how that occurred but it did.

New transfer switch was a little more that one or two hundred dollars.

http://www.dyersonline.com/trc-40250...FQcQaQodTFsApg

Still have the same set up and the 40250 that does all the PI SP does.

Note. Also required an upgraded display and pigtail. About $800.
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Old 05-19-2015, 03:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flaggship1 View Post
Transfer swith on our coach went when a park transformer blew. I had a Power Master VC 50 voltage controller inline, followed by the PI PT50 C. 120 contacts fried. Voltage controller and Surge protector were fine. Have no idea how that occurred but it did.
Fried contacts on a transfer switch are usually due to arcing caused when switching power sources while under load. Are your sure the contacts weren't already burned before the park transformer blew, perhaps pushing the compromised transfer switch over the edge? It's mighty curious that the more sensitive components before the transfer switch were fine while the more robust contacts were burned.

But even if the failure is directly attributable to the blown transformer, that's one ATS failure. I've read about many more generator failures taking out lots of equipment in a coach.

Quote:
New transfer switch was a little more that one or two hundred dollars.
That's not a typical transfer switch. That's a TRC SurgeGuard (roughly equivalent to a PI EMS) built into a transfer switch. Most of that cost is for the EMS protection.

Of course, if you look hard enough, you can find an exception to just about any statement. It's more telling to back up a level, and look at the other transfer switches they offer: they range from $38 to $200 (not counting the 100 A transfer switches, or those with built in EMS or surge protection.)

This just doesn't make sense. If that's the transfer switch you had, why did you waste money on the redundant PI PT50 C? Or, look at it the other way around, if you had the PI PT50 C, why not put in a more reasonably priced transfer switch? And if you already had that transfer switch (with built in surge protection) AND the PI PT50C, and it STILL blew up from the transformer failure, that seems to indicate it was a rather drastic event that took out your transfer switch contacts.
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShapeShifter View Post
Fried contacts on a transfer switch are usually due to arcing caused when switching power sources while under load. Are your sure the contacts weren't already burned before the park transformer blew, perhaps pushing the compromised transfer switch over the edge? It's mighty curious that the more sensitive components before the transfer switch were fine while the more robust contacts were burned.

But even if the failure is directly attributable to the blown transformer, that's one ATS failure. I've read about many more generator failures taking out lots of equipment in a coach.


That's not a typical transfer switch. That's a TRC SurgeGuard (roughly equivalent to a PI EMS) built into a transfer switch. Most of that cost is for the EMS protection.

Of course, if you look hard enough, you can find an exception to just about any statement. It's more telling to back up a level, and look at the other transfer switches they offer: they range from $38 to $200 (not counting the 100 A transfer switches, or those with built in EMS or surge protection.)

This just doesn't make sense. If that's the transfer switch you had, why did you waste money on the redundant PI PT50 C? Or, look at it the other way around, if you had the PI PT50 C, why not put in a more reasonably priced transfer switch? And if you already had that transfer switch (with built in surge protection) AND the PI PT50C, and it STILL blew up from the transformer failure, that seems to indicate it was a rather drastic event that took out your transfer switch contacts.
The transfer switch I had was the 2008 factory $200 TRC switch that is now redundant - discontinued - no longer available. I could have bought any switch I wanted. I chose the new upgraded model. Which was also the one Fleetwood said was the replacement model. Of course any number of them could have worked.

The quick fix on the old switch was to move the lines from 120 pedestal switch side to the generator side while I waited for the new one to come in. Worked fine for several days like that.

I can't tell you what state the switch was in other than fried and can't say why other than the blown transformer. We had been full time in the coach for about a month when it went out. 12:30 am. - Boom wakes us up. Fridge starts beeping. Go outside and park host is out telling everyone the transformer blew.

But the new display and the new switch were worth the money to me. Since my power line was modified - cut and plugs added so the VC5O and PI could be mounted in electric bay, I left it that way.

The new display actually does something - and so does the switch. And it's now six months full time and working fine.

BTW - our transfer swith is under the bed. I could have moved things around but am not a big generator user per se. It gets used on the road sometimes. And exercised with load when sitting.
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:55 PM   #13
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You can get industral grade surge protection that installs into the ac load center.

They are about 3 inches cubed and can pull a 30 to 50 amp breaker.

Larger ones more.

Having one connected yo the ac load center mains can trip the breakers of any source if it gets that far.
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:04 PM   #14
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You can get industral grade surge protection that installs into the ac load center.

They are about 3 inches cubed and can pull a 30 to 50 amp breaker.

Larger ones more.

Having one connected yo the ac load center mains can trip the breakers of any source if it gets that far.
Now there's something to look into.
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