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Old 03-04-2015, 12:36 PM   #1
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Progressive Industries 50 Amp PEM system?

I am thinking of doing a permanent installation of the Progressive Industries 50 Amp PEM system with the remote display. EMS-HW50C

My question is: has anyone else installed this system in a 27FB International Serenity? If so, how difficult was it considering the tight access and the stiff low gauge wires from the connector.

I have checked the access to the wiring coming from the external connector. It is in the same access panel area as the water pump. It looks like the PEM (it's dimensions are 5"W x 9-1/2"L x 4-1/2"H) would fit in the access area. But I am worried that once I get into the access area, cut the wiring from the exterior connector, that it is going to be very difficult to wire up the PEM due to the limited space and stiff wiring.

I want to go with the permanent version of the electrical management system because the exterior dogbone version seems like just another thing to deal with upon setup and I would worry about it being stolen from the power pedestal when we were away. I know that it has a lock ring but then you have to deal with a lock and chain to secure the device. My 27Fb only has one exterior storage access area in the front of the trailer and it is difficult to wrestle a 50 Amp cord, PEM, adapters, etc out of the storage door.
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Old 03-04-2015, 01:42 PM   #2
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Pem

I use a portable for two reasons 1 if it burns out you will be out of commission until repair and if it is that difficult to install well that could really be a downer in the middle of a trip. The other is I saw one nearly cause a fire due to a bad ground at a state park I would much rather have the burning going on at the park power ped. than in my camper. Just a thought. Best of luck with install if you go that way. Rand
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Old 03-04-2015, 01:53 PM   #3
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Not a 27, but I installed that unit in our 34' where the breaker box is in a cabinet above the bed in the rear. It was not too difficult, but I wouldn't say it was a snap either.

What I did was lower the breaker panel to make room for the Progressive unit, and so the original incoming power cable was long enough to go into the Progressive Industries unit. Mounted the unit above the breaker panel, and then ran a 6/4 jumper between the two panels.

It will most likely be different in your trailer, but I think the key to a somewhat uneventful installation is getting the original incoming cable to reach the Progressive Industries unit without cutting or splicing the cable.

The most difficult of the installation was forming and connecting the cable between the two boxes because the only cable I could buy locally was not very flexible. Think if I was doing it again, I would go to an RV supply place and buy some of the more flexible cable.

I wanted the inside permanently wired unit for the same reasons you mention.

Here's a picture of what I did.

One more thing, almost every large motorhome built today comes with one of these units installed at the factory, so they must be pretty reliable.
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Old 03-04-2015, 03:01 PM   #4
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Not a 27, but I installed that unit in our 34' where the breaker box is in a cabinet above the bed in the rear. It was not too difficult, but I wouldn't say it was a snap either.
Thanks for the info. I might re-think this and move the PEM to the other end of the incoming power wiring at the breaker box like you did. It is still pretty tight but it makes sense that it would better not to cut and splice the PEM into the existing wiring near the exterior incoming receptacle. Also it was bothering me a little to think of the unit in the same compartment as the water pump. As a leak in the pump might possibly create a nasty short.

I am not worried by the comments from grizbear. My understanding is that if the unit fails it has a bypass switch to take it completely out of the circuit. I also would never expect the unit to catch fire as it is designed to instantly kill power if a fault is detected. I could see a fire developing at the power pedestal because if the pole is wired incorrectly the fire might develop in the power pole wiring.
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Old 03-04-2015, 04:53 PM   #5
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I installed one in my '15 Classic a couple of weeks ago. (I had the 30amp version in my '12 28' Intl CCD.) The install with 50 amps is definitely much more difficult due to the inability to form (bend) the cables. I was able to put it directly above my power panel in the closet. The 50amp version shows you the volts/amps on BOTH legs. Very cool!
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Old 03-04-2015, 05:48 PM   #6
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Use 6AWG marine cable for 50 amp service and your installations will be a snap! I do!!!!
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Old 03-04-2015, 05:58 PM   #7
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Pem

The PEM I was talking about was mine the co. will tell you that it has a fail safe but I arrived back at my trailer just as it had began to burn. I walked into my camper as the a/c started to shut down then the PEM started to smoke then the converter was in low flames but $ 500.00 in repairs later I'm good to go. I was very lucky I showed up when I did. I know this is unlikely to happen again but the campground had been through a hurricane a 18 months prior and the local electrical co. worker said when they laid the new ele. cables they didn't use conduit and the soil has very shallow water table. they came out and checked the power at several sites and point of entry to park and said there was a bad neutral and when a load was applied voltage dropped to 80v. It looked normal with no load. So i guess the PEM didn't read it as bad until its was to late. I now use a portable PEM and a Volt meter to check voltage before and after a load (A/C) is turned on.
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Old 03-04-2015, 05:59 PM   #8
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After the Progressive and the Magnum install, I need Lew to give me a class on "how to downsize your cables and not forfeit amps!" First he says, "use welding cable. Now he says "use marine cable." AARGGHH!
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Old 03-04-2015, 09:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAB View Post
After the Progressive and the Magnum install, I need Lew to give me a class on "how to downsize your cables and not forfeit amps!" First he says, "use welding cable. Now he says "use marine cable." AARGGHH!
Sorry if I have confused you. I always use the appropriately sized multi-conductor marine cable for connecting 120VAC circuits to and from an inverter via the breaker box. Remember this is the 120VAC side of things.

Conversely, I use class K welding cable for the heavy DC loads like the DC side of the inverter; batteries to inverter, batteries to distribution bus bars or fuse blocks, etc.

It's been a while since I looked up the specs on these cables, but IIRC, the marine cable is rated for 105C dry and 75C wet and meets UL 1426, DOT/Coast Guard and ABYC rating requirements.

Class K welding cable is also rated to 105C and 600 volts, but I don't remember if it had the other ratings.

The manual for the Magnum MSH3012-M calls for 6 AWG cable in a 60 amp 120VAC environment. I use the 6AWG marine cable for 50 amp installations also in motor homes and trailers with dual 50 amp service, as it is far easier to use than residential multi conductor cables. For 30 amp use (like with a Magnum MS-2012 or MS-2812), I use 10/3 marine cable. Nice and pliable!!!!!

Try some....you'll LIKE IT!
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grizbear View Post
The PEM I was talking about was mine the co. will tell you that it has a fail safe but I arrived back at my trailer just as it had began to burn. I walked into my camper as the a/c started to shut down then the PEM started to smoke then the converter was in low flames but $ 500.00 in repairs later I'm good to go. I was very lucky I showed up when I did. I know this is unlikely to happen again but the campground had been through a hurricane a 18 months prior and the local electrical co. worker said when they laid the new ele. cables they didn't use conduit and the soil has very shallow water table. they came out and checked the power at several sites and point of entry to park and said there was a bad neutral and when a load was applied voltage dropped to 80v. It looked normal with no load. So i guess the PEM didn't read it as bad until its was to late. I now use a portable PEM and a Volt meter to check voltage before and after a load (A/C) is turned on.
grizbear, was this also a Progressive Industries PEM or some other unit that caught fire?

Since the Progressive Industries is a high end model designed to be used inside many high dollar coaches, I would think that it should not catch fire and that if it did it must be defective. One reason to use the PEM in the first place is to prevent this situation from happening.
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:05 AM   #11
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Pem

It was over 9 yrs ago I don't know the brand name sorry.Like you I wanted to be safe and not have to mess with an extra device each time I hooked up. The likely hood this could happen is low but after a very scary encounter I didn't want to press my luck a second time. My second a portable 30 amp unit has some melted plastic at the male plug end not sure where that happen noticed it when hooking up sometime last yr I'm now on my third one in 11 yrs.
If a portable unit burns out just move sites the and plug in. I had to wait for parts with no A/C 30 hrs at the beach in Florida in sept. my wife and dog were not happy. The new PEM's may be much better than unit I had 9 yrs ago for my self if something goes wrong I would rather it be at campground power post than in my AS. Rand
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:21 AM   #12
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I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do here just letting u guys hear what happened to my PEM and converter/charger. I was within a few minutes of losing my dog and camper. Best of wishes Rand
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:58 AM   #13
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I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do here just letting u guys hear what happened to my PEM and converter/charger. I was within a few minutes of losing my dog and camper. Best of wishes Rand
I understand. Thank you for your input, it gives me something to think about before jumping in.
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Old 03-05-2015, 01:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Sorry if I have confused you. I always use the appropriately sized multi-conductor marine cable for connecting 120VAC circuits to and from an inverter via the breaker box. Remember this is the 120VAC side of things.

Conversely, I use class K welding cable for the heavy DC loads like the DC side of the inverter; batteries to inverter, batteries to distribution bus bars or fuse blocks, etc.

It's been a while since I looked up the specs on these cables, but IIRC, the marine cable is rated for 105C dry and 75C wet and meets UL 1426, DOT/Coast Guard and ABYC rating requirements.

Class K welding cable is also rated to 105C and 600 volts, but I don't remember if it had the other ratings.

The manual for the Magnum MSH3012-M calls for 6 AWG cable in a 60 amp 120VAC environment. I use the 6AWG marine cable for 50 amp installations also in motor homes and trailers with dual 50 amp service, as it is far easier to use than residential multi conductor cables. For 30 amp use (like with a Magnum MS-2012 or MS-2812), I use 10/3 marine cable. Nice and pliable!!!!!

Try some....you'll LIKE IT!
Lew, as a retired ABYC certified marine surveyor and former marine electric business owner, I agree that marine grade wire and cable is so much easier to use, even in the larger sizes, because of its high strand count. Much more flexible and easier to use, and also more compatible with crimp-style connectors. The most prevalent brand is Ancor, available at West Marine and other marine supply stores.

Welding cable is desirable for the same reason for the larger battery cables, etc. It's flexible, and very abrasion resistant. Think of those cables being constantly dragged around on the ground in shipyards, machine shops, etc. They hold up really well, even though OSHA requires their replacement on a regular basis in industrial environments. The one place welding cable fails is oil resistance, and that's why it's not permitted by ABYC standards. If it stays in constant contact with oily bilge water, the insulation gets rubbery and loses its adhesion with the wire. My own boat is wired with it, and it's all blistered and scary-looking. It gets replaced this coming season. But it's definitely usable in most RV applications.
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