Today’s RV’s come with a multitude of extras that often have electronic processors: Flat screen TV’s, DVD players, refrigerators, microwave ovens, or air conditioners to name a few. Taking care of your camper is more than just taking care of the body, with these extra gadgets you have to take care of them too.
When we upgraded to a travel trailer in May 2015, I started doing research on protecting those extra’s in our camper. I learned that the campgrounds we were anxiously wanting to visit could be the source of so many potential problems. The power supply in the campground can either spike sending too much voltage causing a surge or it can become taxed and dip with too little voltage, often called a “brownout.” Both brownouts and power surges can cause damage to the essential electronics in your camper. And here is the really bad news: often the warranties do not cover electronic processors damaged by surges or brownouts.
Wanting more than just a surge protector, I started researching ways to protect against both surges and brownouts. My research lead me to Progressive Industries Electronic Management Systems (EMS). The consumer product reviews for this company are outstanding and that appeals to me. I appreciate companies that stand by their product and fix any problems that do come up quickly and to the customers satisfaction. I also liked that this company offers a lifetime warranty on their products and they are made in the USA.
I liked the product enough to buy a system for our camper and then recommended it to the Taylor’s when they purchased their new camper. We each purchased an Electrical Management System from Progressive Industries for our campers. However, I purchased the hardwired system and Wayne purchased the portable system. Both systems continuously scan and provide protection for:
- High/Low Voltage Protection ( Low <104, High 132>)
- Lost/Open Neutral Protection
- Frequency Protection (Low <51Hz, High 69Hz>)
- Open Ground Protection
- Polarity Protection
- Previous Error Indicator
- Surge Fault Indicator and Amperage Meter
- Thermally Protected
The Hardwired System (The Todd’s)
I purchased the EMS-HW50C. The upfront cost is a little high (between $300-$500 unless you can find it on sale) but I can tell you this system has already saved me once. Angie and I took a couples trip to Branson, Missouri in the heat of the summer. In the campground, with so many units running air conditioners, the power dipped and my EMS shut down all power to the camper until the power was at a level sufficient to safely power the camper.
I installed this model in my camper in a power access panel. It did require some splicing of wires to get it properly installed. The EMS-HW50C also came with a digital display that I installed on the inside of my camper that continuously scrolls through the power source information. If the EMS detects any problems (high or low) it shuts down the entire system. As soon as it detects the right levels, it allows the power back to the camper. I like the fact that if something is wrong, I can check the display and see exactly what is wrong all from the inside of my camper. Besides the convenience of reading the display from inside the camper, I also liked the added protection against theft by having the EMS become a part of the campers electrical wiring system.
Everyone who owns a camper would probably agree with us that setting up can be a hectic time. We all have mental checklist but occasionally we forget a step. I know before hooking my camper up to the campground electricity I should make sure that the power is off. My EMS provides some peace of mind that if I should forget and skip this step, I am still protected. The EMS delays power to the camper until it has done an initial check for power source and determines it is safe to proceed.
The Portable System (The Taylor’s)
We purchased Model EMS-PT30C. The major difference between my system and Allen’s is how it is installed. Allen has already described that his is hardwired on the inside of his camper, mine is a portable system that plugs into the campground power supply first and then the camper plugs into it. The continuous scrolling display is done at the power site and not inside my camper. The upfront cost is slightly less (between $200-$400 depending on sales you might find). The portable system does all the same things as the hardwired system except it has a locking devise and is weather resistant as it is outside.
In our perfect world, Electronic Management Systems would come standard on all trailers but until that happens we do highly recommend adding one to your camper aftermarket. We have both been pleased with Progressive Industries Electronic Management Systems, and think either system, the hardwired or the portable, will provide power protection for all of your electronic gadgets.