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Old 02-21-2016, 10:35 AM   #1
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Electrical shock

Was doing some maintaince on our motorhome yesterday Sunseeker 3010DSF.
I had leaned down to pick something up off the ground and put my had on the corner of the rear bumper and got a slight jolt . Thought it may just be i had hit a nerve in my hand i checked it again and yes getting a slight jolt. It is plugged in to a 30 amp with progressive dynamics surg protector and can not fugure out why its doing this, Nothing on the readout of the surge. All shows ok. Any thoughts ?
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Old 02-21-2016, 10:59 AM   #2
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You should not ever feel a shock when touching your RV. I advise getting the site maintenance to check for proper ground at the plug. Also take a voltage reading between your RV and ground at the power post-- should be zero.
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Old 02-21-2016, 11:04 AM   #3
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The plug has been checked, Was there when the electrician pulled it and checked. It is correct, If this was the case wouldnt the surg guard detect it, The read out show all is fine everything workg correctly.
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Old 02-21-2016, 11:25 AM   #4
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The plug has been checked, Was there when the electrician pulled it and checked. It is correct, If this was the case wouldnt the surg guard detect it, The read out show all is fine everything workg correctly.

Somewhere there is a reverse polarity in the supply, at the pedestal, in the RV cord or recept. They sell plug in testers that locate the fault. Now you have the live side of the 110 volt connected to the "safe side" of the circuits. You as ground become the path of electricity on grass or soil. If your not confortable with repairs get a qualified, the situ can be harmful.
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Old 02-21-2016, 11:49 AM   #5
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Kevin and Judy, please read this sticky that we made from a fellow member who is the de facto expert on your situation. Mike Sokol has a great website dedicated to this, and is one heckuva nice guy, with all the time he spends with members here trying to help them determine what is wrong with their RV's and this dangerous situation.

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...-rv-89191.html

As always, I will send him a PM informing him of your problems, but please read the above link IN IT'S ENTIRETY with video , as well as the links to his website, where he explains how to test for this situation.

Your situation can be deadly and needs to be fixed ASAP.
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Old 02-21-2016, 01:05 PM   #6
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You should not ever feel a shock when touching your RV. I advise getting the site maintenance to check for proper ground at the plug. Also take a voltage reading between your RV and ground at the power post-- should be zero.
All true. But realize that most site maintenance guys really don't know how to check for proper grounds. So let's review the basics.

1) If you have a proper, lo resistance ground connection (called the EGC or Equipment Grounding Conductor) connected from the frame of the RV all the way to the campground service panel's neutral-ground bonding point, then it's impossible for any voltage to exist on the frame/skin of your RV. Rusted hot water heater elements won't cause a hot skin voltage if your EGC ground path is good. Nor will reversed polarity of the Hot (black) and Neutral (white) wires in the outlet. In order for there to be a hot-skin voltage condition, there MUST be a failure in the EGC ground path.

2) The EGC ground can fail in two basic ways. Either there's a rusty or loose connection in a plug somewhere, a loose ground-bonding screw inside of your RV's breaker panel, or something really scary has happened to the ground wire in the pedestal due to a mis-wiring condition I call a RPBG (for Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground).

3) In the first EGC ground failure in #2 above, the loose or broken ground wire will allow any leakage currents inside your RV to create a voltage on the skin of the RV. This can either have a little shock current available, or a LOT of shock current available. You can't tell without sophisticated testing, but know that ANY more than 2 or 3 volts between the frame of the RV and the earth is an indication that the EGC ground has failed somehow.

4) In the second EGC ground failure in #2 above, something I've discovered and named a Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground has been created by an electrician trying to run a grounded outlet without a ground wire. It will test as perfectly OK using all standard tests, including things like the Progressive Industries PMS Surge Guard. See my latest article on it at http://livesoundadvice.com/noshockzo...-rpbg-dangers/

5) Also know that products such as the PI Surge Guard can't detect a broken ground downstream of themselves. So if you use a portable Surge Guard plugged into the campground pedestal, it can't alert you to a broken ground wire between the Surge Guard and your RV. So you could sill have a broke EGC ground wire in the extension cord plugging into your RV, or even a loose ground-bonding screw inside of your RV's circuit breaker panel.

6) The easiest way to test for a hot-skin voltage is with a NCVT (Non Contact Voltage Tester) such as a Fluke VoltAlert or Klein NCVT-1. See my video at

7) The gold standard test for hot-skin voltage is using a DMM (Digital Multi-Meter) between the frame of the RV, and a ground rod. In this case, a long screwdriver stuck in the damp earth will suffice. You should not measure more than 2 or 3 volts AC between the frame of the RV and the earth itself.

Do some troubleshooting and let me know what you find out. But don't believe anyone at the campground who tells you that feeling a shock is normal. It's not normal and an indicator that your RV's EGC ground path has failed.
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Old 02-21-2016, 05:11 PM   #7
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Certified master electrician installed and re.checked. Not a maintaince man, Have pluged in to other sites, not at the same park, and the problem is still there, He points to a problem in the coach, have had the coach 2 yrs and never had the problem, Surg guard is hard wired in the system, Will perform some other checks in the next few days, Thanks for all the ideas,
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Old 02-21-2016, 05:21 PM   #8
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Certified master electrician installed and re.checked. Not a maintaince man, Have pluged in to other sites, not at the same park, and the problem is still there, He points to a problem in the coach, have had the coach 2 yrs and never had the problem, Surg guard is hard wired in the system, Will perform some other checks in the next few days, Thanks for all the ideas,
If all of that is true, then you must have a high-resistance connection feeding or inside the RV's circuit breaker panel. Check to make sure the G-N bonding screw hasn't vibrated loose (seen that a few times), and that you have a low-resistance connection on any connector feeding the service panel.

Also, I had an RV last year with a factory run wire that was pinched between the floor and a crossbeam. After 2 years it rubbed through the insulation and made a line-to-frame short circuit. Because the ground wire was also trapped, it burned through. So the incoming hot wire from the pedestal was short circuited to the frame of the RV, while the ground wire of the RV was burned open. This effectively created a natural RPBG that was AFTER the Progressive Industries Surge Protector. So the Surge Protector knew nothing about it. I've designed a really simple ground fault impedance tester that costs about $10 to build and is the best thing I've ever seen to check for proper low-resistance EGC Ground paths in an RV. If you guys like, I'll post plans for it here.

When it comes to electricity, assume nothing.
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Old 02-21-2016, 05:23 PM   #9
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I've designed a really simple ground fault impedance tester that costs about $10 to build and is the best thing I've ever seen to check for proper low-resistance EGC Ground paths in an RV. If you guys like, I'll post plans for it here.

When it comes to electricity, assume nothing.
I would like that Mike, would you care if we also put it in our library for downloads?
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Old 02-21-2016, 05:32 PM   #10
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I would like that Mike, would you care if we also put it in our library for downloads?
That will be fine. I'll find the plans tonight and post them here. The design is so dumb-simple, it's brilliant. Basically, my ground current tester is one-half of something called a Kelvin Bridge, which I used in the 80s' to measure resistors for the nuclear missile guidance systems we were building. (No kidding).
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Old 02-21-2016, 05:48 PM   #11
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Thank you.
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Old 02-21-2016, 06:54 PM   #12
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Here's the Ground Current Test I designed. As you can see it's just a standard automotive 12-volt test light being used "backwards". So instead of grounding the clip and using the probe to look for 12 volts DC. You put the clip on the positive battery post and use the probe to check for ground on your shore power cord. This performs a fairly complicated test very simply. Since it pushes an ampere or two of current through the entire ground path, the light bulb will be dim or not glow at all if you have a loose EGC connection anywhere in your RV's electrical system.

You should start the test on the shore power line itself, then add any adapters or extension cords one at a time, checking each of them for continued ground continuity. Plus you can flex each connection while watching the light to make sure it doesn't blink. I bought my tester with a little alligator clip on the nose for about $10, and it works great for this test.

Note that this test is done with your RV's shore power cord DISCONNECTED from any 120-volt AC power. That's makes this perfectly safe and shock-free, even if you do find an open ground.


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Old 03-15-2016, 01:47 PM   #13
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Finally got back to the campground, figured out the problem, Some goofy neighbor had tied an old extension cord to bottom of my bumper to keep it out of the dirt, It was a bit bare on one side causing the problem, Promptly removed it and delivered to his front door, Thanks for all the help.
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Old 03-15-2016, 04:04 PM   #14
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Wow that is scary..

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Old 03-15-2016, 04:11 PM   #15
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We normally hear about various electrical/electronic testers on this forum. What we also need is a "Goofy Neighbor Tester" (a GNT).
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Old 03-15-2016, 04:22 PM   #16
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Think I'd want a new neighbor as well...

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Old 03-15-2016, 04:37 PM   #17
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Finally got back to the campground, figured out the problem, Some goofy neighbor had tied an old extension cord to bottom of my bumper to keep it out of the dirt, It was a bit bare on one side causing the problem, Promptly removed it and delivered to his front door, Thanks for all the help.
Did you super glue the ends together first?

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Old 03-16-2016, 07:34 AM   #18
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wish i had thought of that. LMAO
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:35 AM   #19
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Sometimes simple is best.
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:39 AM   #20
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I believe a good lesson may have come out of this - maybe an addendum to our procedures.

"If you touch your bumper and it shocks you, look on the other end of said bumper and see if someone has attached an extension cord to it."

This procedure addendum might save a life!
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