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Old 02-18-2024, 06:26 PM   #1
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Progressive Industries EMS and Victron Energy 2000w Inverter “Question”

I will try to make this as short and painless as possible.

My wife and I just got back from our maiden voyage in our (new to us) brand new 2022 Airstream Caravel 22FB. We had a fantastic time and are already planning our trip for next month.

We did encounter a problem on our first nights stay. We stayed at Flying Flags RV resort in Buellton, California. I had researched everything prior to our trip and I had all the gear I needed. I hooked everything up without a hitch. Everything was golden until........

About 12 midnight everything in the trailer turned off. We had been using a small space heater in the trailer to conserve on our propane. It wasn't a problem because we were hooked to shore power, or at least that is what I thought. Just a side note, after clinging to each other for warmth all night, we woke up in the morning and the temperature inside the trailer was 46 degrees!!

Evidently I was not hooked up to shore power and everything we had run and did throughout the first day drained my brand new Battle Born batteries completely. Through a series of phone calls, multi meter checks, more phone calls, panic, a friend who was camping next to us said, "just for the hell of it, lets eliminate the surge protector". Low and belhold my brand new Progressive Industries EMS Surge Protector was the problem. Once that was eliminated, everything worked for the rest of the trip as it was supposed to.

When I called Battle Born, the only thing they said was that my 2000w inverter has a built in surge protector but they still didn't know why my trailer wasn't getting power with the EMS connected. The readings on the EMS were as they should have been so it is still a mystery to me.

Does anyone else have any experience with surge protectors and Victron Energy 2000w inverters? Any info would be very helpful. I guess I need to only rely on the surge protector in the inverter?

Thank you in advance,
Monty
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Old 02-19-2024, 01:04 PM   #2
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Perhaps your PI EMS was faulty? (It is an external one, to which you plug into the pedestal, isn’t it?, just making sure you aren’t referring to one that’s internally installed.)

I would want a surge protector at the pedestal, as it should protect the whole trailer; the one in the inverter should protect the inverter, and perhaps anything on those 120v lines, but would leave your 12v section exposed to surges.

Good luck troubleshooting….
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Old 02-19-2024, 01:56 PM   #3
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LNBright,
The PI EMS was an external one. It attaches at the pedestal. It is brand new and was reading correctly with no errors. I can't imagine that it was faulty, brand new out of the box.

I agree, I would feel better with a surge protector at the pedestal but if the trailer won't receive power with a surge protector attached, I'm not sure what to do.

Thank god for this forum. Hopefully someone has experienced the same thing and will be able to shed some light on the subject.

Thank you so much for your advice!
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Old 02-19-2024, 02:10 PM   #4
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If you have no error codes but no power is getting to the trailer and you have power without the EMS, your EMS is defective. Give PI a call and they will make it right. I have had a few issues over the years with my unit and they have made good every time. They have even shipped a new unit to a campground while we were traveling.
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Old 02-19-2024, 03:29 PM   #5
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I concur with Richard: a unit at the pedestal that’s showing no errors, but no power inside, is having a problem. They’re warranted, see what happens once replaced.
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Old 02-19-2024, 04:10 PM   #6
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Congratulations on your Airstream!

Duh, I was wondering why you are running the inverter when plugged in to power an AC heater, but then figured out it's a Victron MultiPlus. So, the previous owner put it in with the lithium batteries? If so, I'd guess you can check its status indicators, but I vote for EMS issue.

As an aside, from someone in Minnesota, we camp when it's cold in the spring and fall and propane lasts for a long time, so I wouldn't worry too much about conserving it.
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Old 02-19-2024, 04:22 PM   #7
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Thank you Richard! I will contact PI and see what they say. JeffKim, I was told I do need to have the inverter on because I have a 2000w inverter which has a built in converter so in order to operate the outlets I need to have the inverter on. Once I eliminated the surge protector, everything worked and, with the inverter on, the batteries started to charge.

The inverter was "Mains On" and "Charge". Once the batteries were charged it was reading "Mains On" and "Float".
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Old 02-20-2024, 04:41 PM   #8
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I have an update! I spoke to Lee Stephens at Progressive Industries customer support. He helped me troubleshoot the unit over the phone. Using a multimeter I was able to determine that the surge protector was letting power in but not letting it pass through. The receptacle was reading no voltage at all.

Lee was incredibly helpful and led me to the warranty claim page on the Progressive Industries website. I filled everything out and submitted it so hopefully I will be getting a new unit soon.

Thank you so much to everyone on this forum who took the time to look at my post and offer assistance. It is very much appreciated!!
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Old 02-25-2024, 10:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sydneymills View Post
I will try to make this as short and painless as possible.

My wife and I just got back from our maiden voyage in our (new to us) brand new 2022 Airstream Caravel 22FB. We had a fantastic time and are already planning our trip for next month.

We did encounter a problem on our first nights stay.........
Evidently I was not hooked up to shore power and.......

Does anyone else have any experience with surge protectors and Victron Energy 2000w inverters? Any info would be very helpful. I guess I need to only rely on the surge protector in the inverter?

Thank you in advance,
Monty
46° is cold, burr!

I looked at the owners manual for your trailer - look on 6-5 for reference.
You have a Smartplug for shore power. The plug which connects to the trailer has a LED light in it that will show blue when powered by 120 volt AC.

I always connect everything with the pedestal breaker off. I then switch the breaker on and read the front of the PI EMS while waiting for the contractor to close. I then go to the plug and confirm it is showing the blue LED.

PI has great customer support!
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Old 02-25-2024, 11:10 AM   #10
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What I am about to say is not meant to dump on the original poster.

I am astonished at the failure to verify that systems are working as they should be and at the lack of familiarity with those systems. Further, it also suggests that there is little or no training/orientation done by the seller, particularly if it's a dealer.

If you have a Victron Multiplus, you should have it configured/equipped (i.e. with a shunt and GX device) so that you can check the power state and confirm whether the power source is solely the batteries/inverter or whether there is shore power actually coming into the Multiplus.

Further, you should have alarm thresholds and rules set on your Victron system so that you will never damage your batteries; and in turn your batteries should have a smart BMS that acts as the last line of defense and prevents them from being damaged if something ahead of them fails.

Next, the inverter is not a charger. The Multiplus will typically have both and they can be turned on/off independently.

Never assume anything. Never rely on someone's opinion. Know your systems. Check your systems. Confirm for yourself.
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Old 02-25-2024, 11:37 AM   #11
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Ya know what...

I had a problem with my FC blowing out two converters one after the other! Had 2 RV techs and a master electrician confirm everything else is fine and we're looking at the PI as the only weak link that could have allowed a surge to pass.

I bought a Southwire and sending my PI in for warranty/analysis.

One question no one can answer is; how can you tell a surge protector is working? It could fail AND not flash an error code.....
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Old 02-25-2024, 03:06 PM   #12
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Ya know what...

I had a problem with my FC blowing out two converters one after the other! Had 2 RV techs and a master electrician confirm everything else is fine and we're looking at the PI as the only weak link that could have allowed a surge to pass.

I bought a Southwire and sending my PI in for warranty/analysis.

One question no one can answer is; how can you tell a surge protector is working? It could fail AND not flash an error code.....
Interesting!
Not sure I get what you are saying "one after the other". Was this two separate failure events? If so I think may be possible for damage from a surge to show up later. A big thing, but not the only thing with suppressing a surge is speed. How fast can the device detect and arrest a surge. Not showing an error code and PI not being damaged is curious. If you get feed back from PI please share.
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Old 02-25-2024, 04:55 PM   #13
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Nice trailer.
We also use the 2000 Watt Victron inverter. One of my favorites!

1) Your awesome batteries did a great job. Don't worry about them.

2) Always use your propane heater when below freezing outside. Its great you guys had an intimate night but use your heater. Another one of our favorite things (the heater).

In fact the colder it is outside the hotter we set the heater inside. We have been as low as 9F.

3) Things break. Our PI surge protector has also failed 2X. Actually just about everything has failed. So we carry all kinds of spare parts and tools.

4) Try to carry extra propane. It may save your life.
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Old 02-25-2024, 05:15 PM   #14
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Interesting!
Not sure I get what you are saying "one after the other". Was this two separate failure events? If so I think may be possible for damage from a surge to show up later. A big thing, but not the only thing with suppressing a surge is speed. How fast can the device detect and arrest a surge. Not showing an error code and PI not being damaged is curious. If you get feed back from PI please share.
First one a Boondocker blew a capacitor. I had the original never used WFCO and had that installed 30 minutes later. Turned it on and BANG same thing! Since had entire electrical system checked out by 2 RV techs and a 40 year master electrician and can't find anything wrong.

No clue if the PI but trying to send in to have them check it as it's the only thing we can't check.

I bought a Southwire as it will shut off with faults down stream whereas the PI only monitors upstream...
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Old 02-25-2024, 07:24 PM   #15
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The biggest waste of money and an outright Scam….is the popular opinion,…advice from fellow RV’ers…. and advertising…that RV owners DARE NOT connect to shore power without an EMS protection device.

Capital “B” and Capital “S”…. after discussing this with my Electrical Engineer bro-in-law …. I QUIT using the $350 device RV-Dealers sell….and for 5 years now have NEVER HAD A PROBLEM!

I will happily SELL your the expensive $350 one I own and have NEVER found worth a single CENT. I’ll even pay the shipping to get RID of it.
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Old 02-25-2024, 07:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisH View Post
First one a Boondocker blew a capacitor. I had the original never used WFCO and had that installed 30 minutes later. Turned it on and BANG same thing! Since had entire electrical system checked out by 2 RV techs and a 40 year master electrician and can't find anything wrong.

No clue if the PI but trying to send in to have them check it as it's the only thing we can't check.

I bought a Southwire as it will shut off with faults down stream whereas the PI only monitors upstream...
That is mysterious! The PI EMS can't increase power or create a surge. Can't think of anything else in an RV that could make stuff smoke. If you find out what the cause is please share.
Thanks for the reply!
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Old 02-25-2024, 07:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
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The biggest waste of money and an outright Scam….is the popular opinion,…advice from fellow RV’ers…. and advertising…that RV owners DARE NOT connect to shore power without an EMS protection device.

Capital “B” and Capital “S”…. after discussing this with my Electrical Engineer bro-in-law …. I QUIT using the $350 device RV-Dealers sell….and for 5 years now have NEVER HAD A PROBLEM!

I will happily SELL your the expensive $350 one I own and have NEVER found worth a single CENT. I’ll even pay the shipping to get RID of it.
I kind of don't trust park wiring. Surges may not be that common but open grounds, and low voltage seem a bit more likely. And, I use a filter on my water hose too
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Old 02-25-2024, 08:25 PM   #18
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I kind of don't trust park wiring. Surges may not be that common but open grounds, and low voltage seem a bit more likely. And, I use a filter on my water hose too
I’ve never experienced bad park-power. I have a digital Volt-meter inside the trailer…above the ‘fridge…and entering the trailer I can see if the voltage is correct. It always is…. never a problem.

Open grounds…? That will not cause a problem inside your trailer.

The point is…. it’s all B.S. Send me $200….and I’ll pay the shipping to a $350 progressive EMS you will own.
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Old 02-25-2024, 08:53 PM   #19
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Did experience low voltage

Quote:
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I kind of don't trust park wiring. Surges may not be that common but open grounds, and low voltage seem a bit more likely. And, I use a filter on my water hose too
Dave, we did experience a low voltage trip on our Progressive PT-50X EMS at a state park in Colorado during the summer. I agree with you that you’re more likely to run into an under voltage situation than mis-wired pedestal.

That’s when an EMS pays for itself. Lower the voltage, the current goes up so running an AC unit can overheat the motor. I look at it like insurance or 4WD; you don’t need it - until you need it.

And yes, we use a water filter too!

BTW: After Boxite sells his Progressive EMS, I have a portable for sale! Switched to a Hughes WatchDog internal last year while installing a Victron MultiPlus II setup.
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Old 02-26-2024, 04:57 AM   #20
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I’ve never experienced bad park-power. I have a digital Volt-meter inside the trailer…above the ‘fridge…and entering the trailer I can see if the voltage is correct. It always is…. never a problem.

Open grounds…? That will not cause a problem inside your trailer.

The point is…. it’s all B.S. Send me $200….and I’ll pay the shipping to a $350 progressive EMS you will own.
Addendum: By the way @sydneymills ,,, it’s quite likely that your problem was NOT the Progressive EMS…but that the park power did indeed have an “open ground”. That’s one thing the EMS “guards against”…. and why the EMS cannot be used with a floating-ground generator …which virtually ALL portable gens have. An open ground or floating ground is not a hazard to your trailer.

Anyone using a common generator while boondocking is likely operating with an “open ground”….. completely harmlessly and without an EMS.

When people insist on using an EMS with their floating ground gen…they must by-pass the floating ground….using either a special grounding-plug or by internally re-wiring their gens. (which can lead to addt’l problems…an example might be experiencing an electric shock when stepping out of the trailer onto damp grass.)

If I understand the problem you experienced on your maiden trip… removing your EMS from the pedestal resolved the issue for you. If you had not had an EMS your batteries would not have been abused. A simple voltage-monitor plugged into one of your outlets in the trailer will assure you of correct voltage and, in-fact that method is more informative than the “dumb” EMS which simply prevents power from reaching the trailer.
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