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  • Progressive Industries EMS-HW50C failure

    Coming out of a long winter's hibernation, and I found that Progressive Industries EMS-HW50C has failed. Symptoms were a dead remote display and no shore power input to my main distribution panel and anything downstream of the panel -- including the 120V input to my inverter/charger. Indeed, I was inverting and had run down my batteries big-time.

    I emailed Progressive Industries and they suggested I initiate a warranty claim. Remembering the wrestling match I'd already had with the 6 AWG wires from the shore power receptacle to the EMS to the distribution panel inside the belly of the beast, I asked for help diagnosing and repairing problems with the existing unit.

    The tech advised me to take the EMS cover off and check voltage between EMS inputs L1/L2 and L3/L2. Should be 120ish volts. Said if there was no power to between L1/L2, the EMS wouldn't power on.

    But if I had voltage at L1/L2/L3, then I should check that the red LED on the internal circuit board was lit. If not, the circuit board should be field replaced. . .

    With that trouble shooting advice in hand, I started the process. Unplugged shore power and disconnected the battery. I got the cover of the EMS unit off and peered inside. What I observed was a burnt looking L1 wire and terminal. Hmm. That didn't seem healthy.

    Next, I plugged shore power in in preparation to check voltages. Surprisingly, the red LED light on the internal circuit board lit up and I had good voltage at L1 and L3. And the remote display was working and reporting good voltage and no errors. I was now getting power to my main distribution panel and everything seemed to be functioning well. Hmm.

    Well everything was working well except my inverter charger. I had forgotten that I had disconnected distribution panel power from the inverter/charger and hooked up a remote line to bring my batteries back to life. That remote input was not powered, so I was inverting. I unplugged the remote input to the inverter/charger and plugged in the distribution panel power input -- just to test that the whole system was functioning. As soon as the inverter/charger detected a 120V power source from the distribution panel, it switched from invert to charge -- but only for about 10 seconds. After about 10 seconds, the EMS failed. Pretty sure L1 and its terminal connector were much blacker than before. See attached picture. I checked voltage, and L1/L2 had 0 volts, L3/L2 had 120ish volts. The red LED light was not on.

    So I emailed the Progressive Industries tech the picture and asked his opinion about what just happened. He didn't answer. I filed a warranty with Progressive, and they have indicated they will be replacing the unit free of charge. That's great, but I want to know what might have caused the EMS to fail -- especially if it might have been caused by a problem with my inverter/charger.

    Anybody have ideas?

    Thanks.Click image for larger version

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    -Steve




    2018 Solitude 310GK, disc brakes
    Morryde SRE4000/XFactor with heavy duty shackles, V-Brackets in spring hangers
    2012 Ram 3500 SRW 6.7 Diesel, air bags
    18k B&W Companion, non-slider
    640 watts solar, 400 amp-hour Lion Safari UT 1300 battery bank
    Aims 1500 watt inverter/charger with ATS
    Somerset, WI

  • #2
    steve&renee -- do you have a diagram of your setup, including the components in the system? (If it's here on the forum please point me to it.)
    Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

    2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

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    • #3
      Originally posted by howson View Post
      steve&renee -- do you have a diagram of your setup, including the components in the system? (If it's here on the forum please point me to it.)
      Nothing high fidelity, but this is the basic layout:

      Click image for larger version

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      2018 Solitude 310GK, disc brakes
      Morryde SRE4000/XFactor with heavy duty shackles, V-Brackets in spring hangers
      2012 Ram 3500 SRW 6.7 Diesel, air bags
      18k B&W Companion, non-slider
      640 watts solar, 400 amp-hour Lion Safari UT 1300 battery bank
      Aims 1500 watt inverter/charger with ATS
      Somerset, WI

      Comment


      • #4
        Clearly, there was a lot of heat on your black wire (Hot, Line 1). The neutral and red have no evidence of being burned. Therefore, I'd be willing to bet that the heat was not generated by an over-current situation.

        It is likely due to a loose connection. Either the screw terminal holding that black wire was not completely tight, or the relay inside the EMS was not making a solid connection to that black line. Check to see whether that screw terminal to the black wire is tight. If you can turn it to tighten it, that's what caused it.
        Home Base: Fairfax, Virginia
        2021 Grand Design Reflection 315RLTS Travel Trailer
        2002 Ford F350 7.3 Diesel 4X4 SRW

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        • #5
          steve&renee -- nothing jumps out at me. Speculation? Just like I showed in another post today, if the L1 relay contacts got corroded due to the environment, that corrosion would be "felt" by the electrical system as a resistance. Resistance = heat. It's obvious there's heat damage to that wire's shielding, but you didn't mention circuit breakers opening.

          The color of the L1 wire screw (almost looks like rust but probably the result of heat) is also evidence.

          If the inverter/charger is a concern it is easy enough to test. Take out the EMS and (safely) bridge the 6ga wires using mechanical splices (something like what's shown below). If it's not obvious, cover with heat shrink or electrical tape so nothing shorts out. Then put an amp clamp meter on L1 (the black wire) and switch on the charger to monitor the draw. I doubt the charger is causing the problem but testing it will take out the worry.

          Click image for larger version  Name:	splice.JPG Views:	0 Size:	25.2 KB ID:	83938
          Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

          2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

          Comment


          • #6
            There appear to be scorch marks on the label around that central rectangle feature. I would suspect internal contact failure.
            Ted
            2021 Reflection 310RLS
            2020 F350 PS,CC,LB,SRW

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            • #7
              It's great that Progressive is standing up and replacing it. When I bought my first one, I went and picked it up across their counter. One of the techs walked out and talked to me about the install. Then when I told him our shakedown was nearby, he told me that if I had any problems to bring it by and that they would look at it, or I could wait and install it in their parking lot and they would check it. I did learn first hand that I needed to periodically need to recheck the terminals when I ran out of power while at the Tampa Show and had to go digging in the dark.
              Jerry and Kelly Powell, with Halo, Nash, Reid, Cleo, and the new baby kitty Rosie..
              Pilot (Zebulon), NC
              2020 Solitude 390RK-R

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ThePowells View Post
                It's great that Progressive is standing up and replacing it. ...
                Yes. I agree. I was worried that they wouldn't honor the warranty. Someone on a forum somewhere else pointed out that the Progressive documentation says the warranty is only good if the installation was done by a dealer, and in fact the claim form required me to identify the installer. Since I did the install, I filled in my name and contact info. Apparently that was good enough.

                howson
                The more I think about it, the distribution panel is protected by 50 amp breakers, and as suggested by my component drawing, there's a 20 amp breaker between the distribution panel and the inverter/charger. There's no way the inverter/charger operation resulted in too much current flow in the L1 circuit. I'm liking the explanation offered by TedS . There was a contact failure in the EMS unit itself. The rest of the system is fine. I just need to replace the EMS.

                -Steve
                2018 Solitude 310GK, disc brakes
                Morryde SRE4000/XFactor with heavy duty shackles, V-Brackets in spring hangers
                2012 Ram 3500 SRW 6.7 Diesel, air bags
                18k B&W Companion, non-slider
                640 watts solar, 400 amp-hour Lion Safari UT 1300 battery bank
                Aims 1500 watt inverter/charger with ATS
                Somerset, WI

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TedS View Post
                  There appear to be scorch marks on the label around that central rectangle feature. I would suspect internal contact failure.
                  I'm thinking the same thing, but the insulation on the wire indicates a LOT of heat, so it might have been hot enough to reach over the case an inch or two. I'm wondering with that much current why didn't the 50 amp main or the breaker at the supply panel trip?
                  2020 Reflection 273MK
                  2005 Dodge Ram 2500 CTD

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jimmer View Post
                    Clearly, there was a lot of heat on your black wire (Hot, Line 1). The neutral and red have no evidence of being burned. Therefore, I'd be willing to bet that the heat was not generated by an over-current situation.

                    It is likely due to a loose connection. Either the screw terminal holding that black wire was not completely tight, or the relay inside the EMS was not making a solid connection to that black line. Check to see whether that screw terminal to the black wire is tight. If you can turn it to tighten it, that's what caused it.
                    This would be my guess too. Based on your sign up date and assuming you installed the EMS when new it has been at least a few years since it was installed. I check my connections at least once a year to be sure all are tightened down. It might be another thing to add to your storage check list.

                    It is reassuring to hear Progressive is replacing your unit.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      steve&renee and plastictires -- after reviewing the installation instructions for the EMS-HW50C installed in my 315RLTS it was noted there are multiple references to, Torque down set screws and ground nut to secure connections. The set screws the instructions are referring to are the L1, L2 and L3 set screws on both the input and output side of the contactor.

                      There are several versions of the EMS' manual in my library, but none of them specify the torque so I called Progressive and was informed the contactor OEM specifies 50 in lbs. I didn't have a torque wrench that went down that low so went out and bought a 1/4" drive click type (inexpensive Harbor Freight). After confirming the torque wrench worked correctly (practiced on a bolt and nut) the set screws were checked in the EMS. It was a surprise that on each one there was a minimum of 1/4 turn to almost 3/4 of a turn on two of the screws. None were "loose", but they definitely weren't 50 in lbs, either.

                      I'm not suggesting loose screws caused the failure documented in this thread, but for anyone that has this hard-wired unit an occasional check of the set screws should be considered using a torque wrench.

                      Howard
                      Forum moderators are not GD employees--we are volunteers and owners presumably just like yourself. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, we have nothing to gain should you choose to purchase a product or engage a service we discuss on this forum.

                      2017 Ford F-350 DRW, '19 315RLTSPlus

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by howson View Post
                        It was a surprise that on each one there was a minimum of 1/4 turn to almost 3/4 of a turn on two of the screws. None were "loose", but they definitely weren't 50 in lbs, either.

                        I'm not suggesting loose screws caused the failure documented in this thread, but for anyone that has this hard-wired unit an occasional check of the set screws should be considered using a torque wrench.

                        Howard
                        Remarkable timing on your post. Thanks for the timely info. I *just* removed the bad EMS to prepare for installing the new one when it arrives. The set screw on L1 was not particularly loose (probably didn't turn easily because of the burn damage/corrosion) but it definitely wasn't very tight. And with the unit out on my table, I see burn damage on the two 12 awg wires mounted below the 6 awg shore power wire.

                        Think I'll be heading over to Harbor Freight pretty soon. Just wish my unit was mounted in a place that made for easier installation and maintenance access.

                        Click image for larger version

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                        -Steve

                        2018 Solitude 310GK, disc brakes
                        Morryde SRE4000/XFactor with heavy duty shackles, V-Brackets in spring hangers
                        2012 Ram 3500 SRW 6.7 Diesel, air bags
                        18k B&W Companion, non-slider
                        640 watts solar, 400 amp-hour Lion Safari UT 1300 battery bank
                        Aims 1500 watt inverter/charger with ATS
                        Somerset, WI

                        Comment

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