Our Review of the Progressive EMS Surge Protector

Let me start out by saying that Tempo and I practice safe RV’ing so ample protection is a “must have”. Upon buying our first RV we did a lot of research regarding necessary equipment for the newbie RV’er, reading blogs, forums and the like. One of the safety items that continued to come up is the surge protector. I find this confusing. All RVs could include surge protectors as a built-in item to mitigate the risk of high or low voltage to the rig’s systems and appliances. Unfortunately this is not the case.

RV electrical systems and appliances are negatively impacted by a number of events, some obvious, others are not. We all know about damage caused by lightning strikes and electrical grid power surges. Lesser known events include grid switching (when the electric company reroutes their system due to a problem), ring wave transients (a series of internally generated micro surges which, over time, can cause appliance, computer and TV damage) or even low voltage. Not all surge protectors protect your investment effectively against all potential threats.


Our research led us to a number of reputable companies’ websites where we looked at hard-wired surge protectors as well as the “plug and play” portable models. We chose a Progressive Industries product; the Portable Electrical Management Systems (EMS)  PT 50c, a plug and play model. We chose the plug and play model for to reasons; first, I’m not good at installing electrical items and would probably burn down my rig; second, plug and play is just what it sounds like, plug-in the surge protector into the 50 amp power source and plug your rig into the surge protector, simple! Progressive lists this item for $431 on their website, however, we found it new on Amazon for $319.  We chose the Progressive EMS for the following reasons:

  • Portability – The Progressive EMS is fairly light and easy to store. It also comes with a method to lock the device to the power box using a bicycle type cable lock.
  • Available in both 50 and 30 amp
  • Digital readout – When plugged in, the EMS provides a rotating read out of codes giving you a constant status update. The lighted LED readout  is easy to read at night. I can even see it from inside of my rig. The face of the EMS holds the clearly printed code legend so no additional instruction manual is necessary.
  • Protection – This EMS protects my investment against all of the threats I mentioned earlier and more and has a lifetime warranty.
  • Made in the USA – I like that we still have companies making products and creating jobs here at home. JMHO.



We also invested in a Progressive extension plug ($41 with shipping). The Progressive EMS is a big box with a thick cord and plug sticking out of one end. Most campground outlets are big, rectangular boxes with a lid that flips up and receded electrical plugs an switches under the lid. When you plug the EMS into the campground outlet the box hangs at an awkward angle. If the campground plug is a little old, gravity and the force of the angle can cause the EMS to pull free. The Progressive extension plug goes into the outlet first allowing the EMS to hang straight down.

We have not been compensated by Progressive Industries for our review. No discounts nor freebies. We just believe in this product. I recently had a run in with low voltage and had to change sites. How did I know? The Progressive EMS! So, our faith in this EMS is proven. Safe RV’ing to you all!

May 3, 2016 Update:

IMG_4010IMG_4011IMG_4013We are currently in the Grand Canyon National Park area and have used the Progressive EMS in a number of State parks along the way from Dallas, TX. This device has come through like a champ! While in Red Rock Park, New Mexico, we experienced heavy rain then snow. During the night (2:30 AM) I woke up freezing and realized the external power to our rig was shut completely off…and Tempo had all of the blankets! We were on battery power so I broke protocol and fired up the generator so we could get some heat in the rig. The next morning I looked at the status codes on the EMS and realized it had shut us down due to a faulty ground (no doubt revealed by the heavy rain) and low voltage. Using this device may very well have saved us from personal injury or serious equipment damage. Better safe than sorry!

You can purchase the Progressive by clicking the Amazon link below. You pay the same low Amazon price and we receive a small commission from Amazon which we use to offset the cost of this blog!


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Hi, I'm Gonzo (call sign "Ironman"). I like to think of myself as an ordinary guy making the "next thing" happen now. I live and work in Texas with my wife, call sign "Tempo" and our fur babies AussieOne, Red and Griz (call signs of course). Together we make up a merry band of travelers wandering in search of extraordinary experiences, good wine and the occasional craft beer. Thank you for your interest in our blog! Cheers!

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