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Old 05-16-2013, 12:39 AM   #1
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Loose Wire or Security?

So tonight as I crawled under the camper to close the fresh water valve to fill my tank; I touched the frame under the camper and received a nice little jolt of electricity.

I have not found anything odd or any bare wires. Should I be real concerned with this? Enough to cancel my trip tomorrow?
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:51 AM   #2
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If you have a multimeter, put meter on AC 150 volt scale and measure from frame to ground. If you get 0, then put on DC scale 25 volts and measure same. If it happens when plugged to shore power and you get 120 or close (could be 75 volts for example) you need to find where the hot wire is touching the frame (could be in power center, shore power extension cord etc etc. If you can not locate, add a ground rod to the frame of your trailer and measure again for zero volts. This is only temporary and needs to be repaired. Also if you are using a 15 amps extension cord for shore power and the ground has been cut off, you might be able to plug in reverse polarity? or a miswired receptacle. That's a start.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:46 AM   #3
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Also if you are using a 15 amps extension cord for shore power and the ground has been cut off, you might be able to plug in reverse polarity? or a miswired receptacle. That's a start.
As Fonzie pointed out several possible causes, there are some that can be a common occurrence. If you were plugged into a form of shore power when you got shocked, I would definitely be checking for reversed polarity in the outlet or cord first.

I had read where you posted a question about an extension cord to your air-conditioner. Are you currently using one, when you noticed this hot skin condition?

Perhaps a silly question about A/C power

Here is more info on identifying and checking for RV 'hot skin".

RV Electrical Safety: Part IV

http://blog.rv.net/2009/10/rv-doctor...n-test-how-to/



Please keep us informed on what you discover is causing your problem, so other members may learn.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:47 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses! I did not think about the extension cord I was using between the house power and the 30amp extension cord. I know the 15 cord was re-wired. I am betting this is the case. I am hooking up in a few minutes and heading out to IN. I am going to stop and grab a meter to test this at the CS. with and without the 30amp cord. Nothing wrong with a stop at the hardware store.

I'll bet a 6pack that it is the 15amp cord!

Thank you, Fonzie and WM!!
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:50 AM   #5
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:32 AM   #6
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I'll bet a 6pack that it is the 15amp cord!
I think that would be a safe bet.

Once you test it, let us know for sure......and we'll move this topic to the solved status.

Since we are talking about reverse polarity, it's good for fellow RV'ers to have these $5 outlet testers in their bag. Not only can you check the 15/20 amp outlets and cords(when plugged in) with them..........you can also check the 30 amp outlet when used in conjunction with a 30 amp to 15 amp adapter.

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Old 05-16-2013, 04:33 PM   #7
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I would definitely be checking for reversed polarity in the outlet or cord first.
Just to clarify, a reversed polarity (swapped Hot and Neutral) should NEVER be able to cause an RV hot-skin condition as long as you have a low-resistance ground connected via the green "ground" wire. In order to have any kind of shock from an RV, you either need to have a compromised safety ground (broken connector, cut wire, busted dog-bone adapter, ungrounded power outlet, etc...) or be plugged into an outlet with something I call an RPBG (Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground). Note that an RPBG outlet cannot be found with any 3-light tester or even a voltmeter between H-N, H-G and G-N as one might suppose. You either need to measure the skin-voltage to a rod stuck in the ground (should be within a volt or two of zero) or use a Non-Contact Voltage Tester (Fluke VoltAlert or similar) to check the bias against ground. I think this was linked to earlier in the thread, but here's my article on RPBG's on Gary Bunzer's newsletter at http://www.rvdoctor.com/2001/07/frie...gary-mike.html

Most likely the cause of your hot-skin is a broken ground connection in the 15-amp cord, and any sort of appliance leakage to ground is elevating your RV chassis voltage to 60 volts or more. While not immediately deadly, a high-impdance hot-skin can go low-impedance in the blink of an eye, and that certainly is deadly. I think that EVERY RV owner should have a voltmeter and know how to use it. See RV Electrical Safety: Part II – Meters | No~Shock~Zone for my meter tutorial.

Note that ANY RV (no matter how expensive) can be electrically compromised by a broken extension cord or plugging into an improperly wired outlet. Incorrect outlet wiring does not discriminate, it's an equal opportunity shocker.

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Old 05-16-2013, 05:16 PM   #8
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I think it should be checked out as well.

The frame should never be at a higher potential than ground. Lying on wet earth (you said you drained your fresh tank) would reduce your resistance quite a bit as well making a "hit" more easily felt.

I used a metal box wall switch in the basement for 10 years with no issue before I touched the metal wall plate in bare feet. Knocked me into next week.

Discovered there was no ground wire and the switch was a leaker...
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:47 PM   #9
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I think it should be checked out as well.

The frame should never be at a higher potential than ground. Lying on wet earth (you said you drained your fresh tank) would reduce your resistance quite a bit as well making a "hit" more easily felt.

I used a metal box wall switch in the basement for 10 years with no issue before I touched the metal wall plate in bare feet. Knocked me into next week.

Discovered there was no ground wire and the switch was a leaker...
We can assume that a human body with wet hands and feet has somewhere around 1,000 ohms resistance. Note that as little as 10 mA of current across the chest cavity is painful and 30 mA of current for more than a few seconds generally causes atrial fibrillation (and heart stoppage). Since voltage divided by resistance equals current, then 30 volts divided by 1,000 ohms equals 30 mA (milli-amps) of current which is right at the danger threshold. You can feel 10 volts AC on wet skin very well which works out to 10 mA of current. While 10 mA of current is generally not going to kill you, but it's a big warning about possible electrocution (death). A little math shows you that 120 volts across a 1,000 ohm load (you, with wet hands) can dump 120 mA across your chest, which is almost certainly fatal without paramedic intervention and a big shock of DC current across your heart.

So the next time you feel a shock with dry hands and/or feet, it was probably at least 40 volts to punch through your dry skin. If you happen to wet your hands and touch the same appliance, it could be the last thing you do.

NEVER accept any sort of shock from an RV or appliance as normal. As the previous poster noted, (and I teach in all my NoShockZone classes), if your RV is more than a volt or two above earth-ground potential, then you need to get it fixed RIGHT NOW. I've heard way too many heartbreaking stories of consumers being electrocuted when everyone "knew" there was a shock potential and didn't do anything about it.

Mike Sokol
No Shock Zone
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:04 PM   #10
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NEVER accept any sort of shock from an RV or appliance as normal. As the previous poster noted, (and I teach in all my NoShockZone classes), if your RV is more than a volt or two above earth-ground potential, then you need to get it fixed RIGHT NOW. I've heard way too many heartbreaking stories of consumers being electrocuted when everyone "knew" there was a shock potential and didn't do anything about it.

Mike Sokol
No Shock Zone
Thanks Mike for the clarification... and for all the great videos and literature you have made in educating fellow RV'ers.
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