Update to Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C RV Surge Protector Review

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I have a couple updates to my original review post for the hard wired Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C  RV surge protector.

1) I was able to break it!

I was messing around with one of my Champion 2000 watt generators during a recent boondocking adventure and decided to try and see if I could fire up the 13,500 BTU Air Conditioning unit. This is most definitely at the extreme max of the generators performance specs and was very unlikely to work. But that didn’t stop Captain Curious. So I fired up the generator, went inside and turned on the AC’s fan, so far so good. Now time to hit compressor on button. A big groan could be heard from the AC unit then a loud Click! Click! Click! from the location of the surge protector.

EMS-HW30C Surge Protector Installed
EMS-HW30C Surge Protector Installed in my trailer

My wife Anne looks at me and asks, “What was that”!? Oh I just overloaded the circuit and blew the surge protectors breaker. No biggie. Then Anne gave me the look. Guys who do a lot of fixing and tinkering will know it well. Actually it was a biggie because my little experiment rendered our brand new Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C  RV surge protector stone dead. I could not even see the error light lit up on the control board inside the unit.

I had heard that Progressive Industries had great warranty service. I figured this would put it to the test. I emailed the tech support detailing what had happened, that I had no power, no display and even the error led wasn’t lit up. They replied the same day saying the control board was at fault and they would send out a new one free of charge. Then I had to send back the dud within 30 days. But we were boondocking and far from home? No problem, they just shipped it to the nearest postal outlet. I was relieved that I would have my surge protector back functional again soon. The board swap was very simple, just unscrew the top, unplug the the board connectors and then one screw that holds it in place.

EMS-HW30C Surge Protector
EMS-HW30C Surge Protector

[box] Tip – If you own a hard wired version of the Progressive Industries Surge Protector carry a handful of wing-nut type wire connectors that are suitable for the power cords gauge of wire. That way if your surge protector fails you can easily bypass the unit and still power the RV.[/box]

2) I found about something the EMS-HW30C doesn’t protect us from.

It’s called a RPBG (Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground) outlet. Now this type of defective outlet is very rare to find especially in modern RV parks, but it’s fairly easy to mis-wire an outlet with an RPBG in pre 1970’s buildings and RV parks. That means you should be especially careful plugging into any older garage or basement outlets when you’re driveway camping at a friends or relative’s house.  However, RPBG’s are very easy to test for and it only takes a few seconds to check using a Non Contact Voltage Tester. Place it near the ground contact of the electrical pedestal’s plugin outlets and if it lights up and sounds off you likely have encountered a RPBG (Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground) outlet.

Klein No Contact Voctage Tester
Klein Tools NCVT-2 Dual Range Non-Contact Voltage Tester
Bootleg Ground Demo
Mike’s Bootleg Ground Demo Image

I found out about this little know possible electrical fault from Mike Sokol of http://www.noshockzone.org/. “No Shock Zone” has a terrific RV Electrical Safety Section. He is extremely knowledgeable with regards to electrical circuits and alerted me to the fact that none of the (that he is aware of) RV Surge Protectors on the market today can detect this particular fault. If you would like more in depth information about this type of fault, Mike has authored an excellent article in the EC&M electrical trade magazine.

Video by Mike Sokol explaining the fault.

3) I’m extremely pleased with the EMS-HW30C

After using it now for 7 months I’m very happy with the unit. I love the little remote LED display panel that gives me the current voltage and amperage in real time. So far I haven’t busted it again, but if I do I’m confident now that Progressive Industries will fix me up in a timely manner. Thanks PI. It’s nice to know the electrical systems in the rig are safe from most nasty electrical miswirings, surges and even me!

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