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Old 03-23-2016, 08:36 AM   #1
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New Motorhome = New Gear Questions

Greetings! First off, I wanted to say a big thank you everyone out there. This forum has been a great help in deciding our new motorhome purchase.

We ordered a 2016 Greyhawk 31FK last year and we pick it up next Friday! We can't wait! Our previous motorhome was a 1989 Coachman of similar size that we used a ton for the last 8 yrs, so we are not new to RV'ing but definetly new to having some fancy!

I wanted to get everyone's feedback on a couple "safety" items that we feel are a priority for getting for our new RV. What brand do you have and what do you think of it?

1) Tire Pressure Monitoring System
2) Surge Protectors/Electrical Management Systems

Both of these are pretty pricey items, but with a new RV, I think they are worth the price to have some peace of mind.

I have done a lot of research on my own, but I wanted to hear your feedback.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to learning and helping to grow this great community/resource!
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Old 03-23-2016, 09:19 AM   #2
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Congratulations on your new Jayco and welcome to the forum!

I have a TireMinder TPMS and have been every satisfied. It has alerted me to issues several times before I had a major catastrophe. I use it to monitor the MH's 6 tires plus the 4 on the toad. It has a disconnect mode so if I had an older toad I could use it in that vehicle without getting "missing sensor" errors since it would not "see" the MH tires when apart. Likewise I can use it without towing and tell it to disregard the toad tires if that is how I am operating. Mine is not a flow-thru system so I do have to remove the sensors to add air, for me that isn't a big deal.

I have a Progressive Industries EMS-HW50C 50-amp hardwired power system protector. Like you noted in your question I didn't just call it a surge protector, since they do so much more than just surge protection. Lots of information about such devices here on the forum and on the internet in general. I installed mine myself and have it configured so I can quickly bypass it if necessary after a failure, at least until I get it repaired or replaced.

It won't let power connect if it senses a problem with shore power, I had that happen only once since I put it in due to an improperly wired pedestal at a state park in PA. It told me ground and neutral were reversed. I moved to a different site and all was well. It also has cut off when campground voltage sagged on a very hot summer night last year in Illinois.

I am a strong advocate for both and would not travel without them!
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:11 AM   #3
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I use a SurgeGuard on the pedestal. Its a EMS and a Surge Protector. I believe the Progressive Industries product is better, but I chose the SurgeGuard because it was cheaper and I also use a Hughes Autoformer. Low voltage is more apt to kill your electronics than is a surge (IMHO). Not that a surge can't fry you, but you are FAR more likely to encounter low voltage as opposed to a surge.

Now the EMS units will cut off your power beyond a certain threshold, but even if operating just above the low point its still not good for your electronics. Enter the Hughes Autoformer - keeps the low end healthy. I wouldn't camp without one.

Pedestal --> Surge Guard --> Autoformer --> Coach
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:24 AM   #4
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Pedestal --> Surge Guard --> Autoformer --> Coach
Just curious why you put the surge guard in line before the autoformer. Seems to me that you wouldn't want a low voltage shutdown to occur until the output of the autoformer had reached the critical voltage. Low voltage shutdown for the autoformer is lower than the low voltage shutdown of the EMS thus allowing you to stay operational for longer.
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Old 03-23-2016, 11:03 AM   #5
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Just curious why you put the surge guard in line before the autoformer. Seems to me that you wouldn't want a low voltage shutdown to occur until the output of the autoformer had reached the critical voltage. Low voltage shutdown for the autoformer is lower than the low voltage shutdown of the EMS thus allowing you to stay operational for longer.
Good question !!

I do it this way b/c in the event of a surge, the Surge Guard is toast first. The Surge Guard is cheaper then the Autoformer. So if I had to choose what to lose, I'll take the Surge Guard. If the Surge Guard ever cuts power b/c it gets below 102, than I can make the choice at the time to manually pull the Surge Guard off the pedestal until the voltage situation is corrected. Normally this would be during the day when its really hot outside and folks are spinning their A/C units.

To date I haven't been to a campsite yet where I've needed to do this. Also, as I mentioned earlier if the voltage is at 103 (for example) I'm still running a much healthier ~113 volts into the camper instead of scrapping along the bottom range of acceptable voltage.
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Old 03-23-2016, 12:43 PM   #6
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I do it this way b/c in the event of a surge, the Surge Guard is toast first.
Excellent Point! I'm using the Hughes autoformer also and you're right, it wasn't cheap. I'd also rather blow out my surge guard rather than the autoformer. I'll be reordering my hookup in the future.
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Old 03-23-2016, 09:10 PM   #7
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Congrats on the FK. We lived ours but needed more room. We installed a Progressive EMS. Mounted the remote in the foot of the bed to watch the amp draw. We also have / had the TST 507 system. Loved both.

We also installed a second smoke alarm in the electrical compartment under the bed. Added hinges for easier access.
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Old 03-24-2016, 06:59 AM   #8
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I love the idea of a hard wired EMS; but I can't get over the fact that its something else that could break and leave me w/o power. That's why I always leaned towards a portable unit. If it breaks or fries doing its job - I can just disconnect it and carry on. Oh, and Amazon next day ship the replacement !
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Old 03-24-2016, 03:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jopopsy View Post
I love the idea of a hard wired EMS; but I can't get over the fact that its something else that could break and leave me w/o power. That's why I always leaned towards a portable unit. If it breaks or fries doing its job - I can just disconnect it and carry on. Oh, and Amazon next day ship the replacement !
Not trying to hijack the thread but it does go to the point Jopopsy makes about having a fried suppressor ruin an outing.

My PI EMS unit is hardwired, mostly. I have a Seneca, so what I did may not be feasible in a smaller unit with less available working space. My transfer switch is located in an area under the wardrobe in the bedroom. There are two drawers there too, and when I take them out I have good access to that area. Lots of "extra" room to work with.

First a warning. Do not attempt this without being absolutely certain of your line voltage electrical skills. I would go so far as to recommend a qualified electrician be utilized. So endeth the lecture!

Bear with me now:
I took the shoreline cable out of the transfer switch and instead of wiring it directly into the EMS I installed a 4-wire 50-amp female range receptacle in a metal box on the end. Then I took a male range cord (larger gauge wire than even my shoreline) and wired the connection end into the EMS. The molded range plug plugs into the new shoreline receptacle. Out of my EMS I ran a length of the "excess" range cord wire to another identical 4-wire, 50-amp receptacle. Then I used another range cord and wired the connection end into the transfer switch. Both receptacle boxes are right next to each other.

Under normal (protected) operation power comes in the shoreline to the female receptacle, goes into the male plug and through a short cord into the EMS, out of the EMS to another female receptacle, into another male plug and through a short cord and into the genny transfer switch. The way the plugs and receptacles are oriented the male plug terminals are never "hot" if unplugged. Only the receptacles are live when a plug is out. Having live male plugs could be deadly.

If the EMS ever fails, you unplug both male plugs and then take the one now coming into the transfer switch and plug it into the receptacle coming from the shoreline. Then you have restored the electrical system to the way Jayco gave it to us, save a receptacle and plug in between.

I sourced all my materials from my local Home Depot and had it done in a couple of hours. Working with the stiff, large gauge conductors was the worst part. While I have put extra connection points into my system, they are inside where weather won't be an issue. And they also will seldom, (hopefully never) be repeatedly removed and reinserted which might cause wear and increased resistance. I even metered the resistance between the shoreline plug (extended it into coach!) and the EMS input after going through one plug. No change in resistance at all. I could not check all legs all the way to the generator transfer switch because the EMS won't close (create a connection) without seeing voltage and the correct electrical conditions. But I am certain resistance-wise I am just as good as stock.

This won't work for everyone and does entail some expense, but it does give me peace of mind that if my EMS does fail (protecting me?) I can still use shore power until I get it fixed.
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Old 04-01-2016, 08:20 PM   #10
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We had the same questions and went with the TPMS 507 from Truck Systems Technologies. The 4 boat tires plus 6 on the Class C show well on the TPMS monitor via a repeater connected to the bedroom fuse panel. I carry a 12v 100 lb. compressor to fill any tires at my convenience.
For the EMS we decided on the easily replaceable Progressive Industries EMS-PT30C. I also purchased a cable and lock to make it easy to secure the $230 EMS to the camp power post.
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