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Old 07-27-2020, 09:43 PM   #1
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Potential open ground / hot skin issue

The other day I was opening my water tank drain valve while my 2018 22MKSE was plugged into shore power and I felt a discomfort when touching metal parts on the trailer.

After readingthe pinned thread "I get shocked when touching RV" I went after to my RV storage place. I don't have shore power there so I took my generator with me - plugged it in and checked the internal outlets. All had an open ground; so I ran into the generator ground-neutral bond issue (Generator Ground-Neutral Bonding - No~Shock~Zone) Will fix that with the said adapter, even though I think a copper stake in the ground to provide actual grounding may be better.

However while the generator was running I used my power sensor and seen that it indicates power on the metal frame around the camper. The entry steps seem to be aluminum so there is no power indicated. It was especially strong around the area where my 30A connector is at the bottom frame and on the wheel mounts. I realize that forest river is obviously saving the black cable and run the black cable (-) from the battery to the chassis and tap it again at the back of the camper to run it to the internal power center. But I thought that should not be the reason why power is indicated on the chassis.

I believe that all my outlets showed open ground is the issue with the missing ground-neutral bonding of the generator. But should it sense some power on the chassis? It sounds like that should not be the case ... On the weekend I can trailer the camper home and plug it into a normal outlet to verify. I'd just like to know if I need to bring it in for a warranty repair or if I miss the obvious here.
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:50 PM   #2
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Do you have a detachable shore power cord?


Are you using any kind of adapter, either at your generator or the place where you first noticed the hot chassis?


Are you using any kind of extension cord?
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:56 PM   #3
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Yes, I have a 30A detachable cord which came originally with the RV (2018 22MKSE). I did not use any adapters or extensions that day. Just a Progressive Industries EMS-PT30X protector between the shore power outlet and the RV 30A cord.

Same with the generator. I plugged it directly into my 30A outlet of the generator then with my PI EMS to figure out the EMS would not turn on power due to the missing neutral-ground bonding (Spit Error E2 - Open Ground Protection).

What I couldn't test yet is the 30A cord with the adaptor to a 20A outlet (house outlet) and plug it into the garage. I have used that in the past with my EMS and it didn't error out. I checked the outlet with my outlet tester today and it says everything is okay. As I said I couldn't test for a hot chassis in that configuration.
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:02 PM   #4
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OK, what usually is the problem in these hot chassis conditions, as our resident guru on the subject Mike Sokol explains, is a faulty ground connection somewhere.


This could be in your shore power cord, the inlet where the shore power cord attaches to your RV, adapters, shore power outlets, etc. Could even be something wrong with your EMS connectors.
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:04 PM   #5
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Okay so the open ground fault has nothing to do with the neutral-ground bond of the generator. That's basically what I wanted to figure out. Assuming I plug it into shore power I have the same issue (open ground measured in outlets and hot chassis) and that's not how it's supposed to be.
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:21 PM   #6
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Okay so the open ground fault has nothing to do with the neutral-ground bond of the generator. That's basically what I wanted to figure out. Assuming I plug it into shore power I have the same issue (open ground measured in outlets and hot chassis) and that's not how it's supposed to be.

No, not necessarily. They could be related or separate as per the generator issue and it's floating neutral.


I would get it home, and find the grounding problem...then you can worry about the generators floating neutral and making a G-N bonding plug.


If your EMS actually detects an open ground, it's not supposed to allow power thru to your RV, for it to have a hot chassis. Since the EMS is allowing power to the RV... I'm thinking the problem is downstream of the EMS sensors (like at the EMS outlet where the shore power cord connects,the shore power cord, RV cord inlet, etc)


Many of the times, it will be in the shore power cord, or the inlet at the RV.
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Old 07-27-2020, 11:10 PM   #7
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If you have a multimeter, put one probe in a ground of the outlet, and the other on the frame/chassis - if you have significant voltage you might have a pinched or arc'd wire to track down (just read a post recently here about someone whose supply line got pinched and welded itself to the frame!). You theoretically should also have 0 volts between the neutral (large slot) and ground in the standard 110v outlet on shore power.

Just an FYI - aluminum does conduct electricity - be careful with pets around the stairs (well, the whole trailer really!) until you figure it out

Depending on your model, you should/might have a junction box underneath near the front of the trailer where the 7-pin connector is spliced. My trailer has a large ground lug with a spaghetti mess of like 7 or 8 wires next to the box where all the white ground wires are connected. My trailer's only a couple years old but just by looking at that mess I'm certain that's going to be one of the first failure points.
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:43 AM   #8
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I'd just like to know if I need to bring it in for a warranty repair or if I miss the obvious here.
If you have a warranty on the unit, please take it in for warranty repair. A hot skin on an rv is not something you need to be trying to repair yourself.
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:49 PM   #9
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https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electric...onding-basics/

I believe a small, stand alone generator needs a bonded neutral plug to be able to provide power to an RV. Check the link.
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:52 PM   #10
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If you have a warranty on the unit, please take it in for warranty repair. A hot skin on an rv is not something you need to be trying to repair yourself.
Its not the RV's problem. There should be no connection between neutral and ground on the RV itself. The ground to neutral bond needs to be at the main electrical panel.
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jkoenig24 View Post
https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electric...onding-basics/

I believe a small, stand alone generator needs a bonded neutral plug to be able to provide power to an RV. Check the link.
I've been using our Honda 2000i inverter generator for 15 years, to power our RVs. NEVER needed a bonded neutral plug.
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:58 PM   #12
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I've been using our Honda 2000i inverter generator for 15 years, to power our RVs. NEVER needed a bonded neutral plug.
The only reason people tend to use them is so that the EMS doesn't detect an open ground connection. There actually is no additional safety added by using a bonding plug other than to get an EMS to work.
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:05 PM   #13
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The only reason people tend to use them is so that the EMS doesn't detect an open ground connection. There actually is no additional safety added by using a bonding plug other than to get an EMS to work.
X2, and the OP is using an EMS as stated in post #3 . Mike Sokol has a great video explaining this.

https://youtu.be/M-bTLdMjuqU
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:27 PM   #14
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X2, and the OP is using an EMS as stated in post #3
Missed that part.
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Old 07-28-2020, 04:25 PM   #15
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Missed that part.
Since OP's EMS is passing power to the RV, the hot skin condition is definitely a problem within the rv's electrical system, power cord included.
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Old 07-28-2020, 04:57 PM   #16
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Since OP's EMS is passing power to the RV, the hot skin condition is definitely a problem within the rv's electrical system, power cord included.
Yep...you are likely correct. Time to open up the electrical panel and measure voltages between hot and ground. Then measure the shore power cord the same way where it plugs into the RV.
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Old 07-29-2020, 05:09 PM   #17
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Yep...you are likely correct. Time to open up the electrical panel and measure voltages between hot and ground. Then measure the shore power cord the same way where it plugs into the RV.
I have an extended warranty and they would likely cover the repair. As it's a couple hours driving time for me (~4 round trip x2) I'd like to confirm I really have the hot skin issue. I'm planning to bring the TT home tomorrow night and use my volt meter to measure the voltage on the chassis.

Is there a best practice method? Just wondering how to best measure the voltage on the chassis (if there is some). I red someone saying to stick one end of the meter into the ground / soil ... Assuming you're saying to measure between hot and ground in one of the outlets in the RV?
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Old 07-29-2020, 05:19 PM   #18
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Its not the RV's problem. There should be no connection between neutral and ground on the RV itself. The ground to neutral bond needs to be at the main electrical panel.
X2!
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:47 PM   #19
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X2!
Correct. I did bring the RV home and measured everything. No hot skin condition - don't know what the non contact tester measured with the generator. I tested all conditions (plugged into outlet, into generator with neutral-ground bond with and without 12V battery connected) with the non contact tester as well with a volt-meter. No voltage between the chassis and the ground. All the outlets are okay too - no open ground here.

I guess I did learn a lot and I found and fixed my floating neutral issue with the generator.

Thanks for all the help!
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:49 PM   #20
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Correct. I did bring the RV home and measured everything. No hot skin condition - don't know what the non contact tester measured with the generator. I tested all conditions (plugged into outlet, into generator with neutral-ground bond with and without 12V battery connected) with the non contact tester as well with a volt-meter. No voltage between the chassis and the ground. All the outlets are okay too - no open ground here.

I guess I did learn a lot and I found and fixed my floating neutral issue with the generator.

Thanks for all the help!
Still, you should be careful. You said you felt a discomfort and your non-contact tester sensed a problem, maybe whatever was the cause temparily corrected itself when you were bringing it home.
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