Something I learned very on in my tinkering career is that electricity can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Anyone who knows what a burnt circuit board smells like, knows exactly what I’m talking about.
So, what do you do with your new (or new to you!) home on wheels? You protect it.
Campground power is KNOWN to be far from ideal; lets face it, generator power can be just as sketchy at times (generator failure, control circuit failure, etc). The solution is an Electrical Management System (surge protection), but which one is best?
After reading a lot of articles, reviews and specifications, I came to the conclusion that the best on the market is the Progressive Industries hard-wired units. They make units for both 30 amp and 50 amp service, integrated display and remote display. The main advantage I saw to a hard-wired unit is that you will never forget to connect it, it won’t be stolen from the camp site (as opposed to units plugged between shore power and your RV cable).
Not only does the progressive unit protect you from surge protection, it protects your RV from improperly wired outlets, low voltage and high voltage. Let’s face it, RV appliances are NOT cheap. I really don’t want to replace a fridge, AC unit, or convert and I’m willing to bet that you don’t want to do that either. $250-350 is cheep insurance against such issues.
Progressive Industries EMS 30A Hardwire w/Remote Display (EMSHW30C)
Progressive Industries EMS 50A Hardwire w/Remote Display (EMSHW50C)
Above are links to the 30A unit that I installed, and it’s sister 50A unit. Progressive does make units without the remote display that save you a few bucks; however I would highly recommend the remote display. If there is a power issue, the display is what tells you what is wrong. Additionally, it’ll show you a live view of your voltage and power usage. It’s well worth the money.
Realistically, the EMS unit (30A Remote Display) is a DEAL at the listed price. I’ve paid a lot more for power-filtering equipment on computer servers at my house. Installation isn’t bad at all. I was able to remove the factory connections holding my shore cable at the entry point into my trailer. I cut the cable off 1′ from the end, stripped the wires and connected it. The whole process took less than an hour and I was back up and running.
PLEASE NOTE…. if you are NOT comfortable working with electricity, please pay someone to do this job. You could kill yourself, someone else, or best case just burn down your trailer. I do not accept liability for your actions; I was able to install this system and found it very easy to install. You know your limitations better than I do, please act accordingly.
After connecting the wires to the EMS I re-connected everything in the trailer, triple-checking every connection. I only got one shot at getting it right, so I wanted to be sure I got every wire where it was supposed to go. It didn’t help that my son was watching me. No pressure or anything.
Got everything hooked up and it works great. This gives me a lot of piece of mind that I won’t fry my delicate electronics due to an issue outside of my control.