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Old 10-20-2020, 12:58 AM   #1
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Truck running connected to RV shock when touching ground!!

This is no word of a lie!!! I was checking into the campground after driving 400 miles today. The truck was running and I reached over to grab an envelope at the entry and touched the metal box while I was touching the truck. I GOT SHOCKED!!! Way more than a shock like I get while dragging my feet against a carpet; I could feel the electricity. I walked back to the 5'er and touched it while touching a steel sign. Same thing!!! Could that have just been a ton of static electricity built up? Has anybody experienced a "electrically charged rig"???
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Old 10-20-2020, 06:44 AM   #2
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Did it feel like current was flowing? Or just the single zap of a static electricity discharge?

If it feels like current flowing, I would be more concerned, since what you are experiencing sounds like a “hot skin” condition, which is normally caused by plugging into a miswired AC source (such as a faulty campground pedestal).

Since you were not hooked into a campground pedestal, I am at a loss as to the source of the current electricity (if that is what you felt). Others here can walk you step-by-step through the process of finding it.

Of course, the first step is to let us know if this was static electricity (one short, large burst) or current electricity (continuous). NOTE: I am not asking you to shock yourself again! Just, from your memory, how did the electric shock feel?
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Old 10-20-2020, 06:49 AM   #3
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Did you have an inverter running in the truck or camper?
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Old 10-20-2020, 09:33 AM   #4
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Did you have an inverter running in the truck or camper?
Nope. The truck was connected and we had just gotten off the road from our trip across Wyoming. We pulled off the highway and into the park.
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Old 10-20-2020, 09:39 AM   #5
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Did it feel like current was flowing? Or just the single zap of a static electricity discharge?

If it feels like current flowing, I would be more concerned, since what you are experiencing sounds like a “hot skin” condition, which is normally caused by plugging into a miswired AC source (such as a faulty campground pedestal).

Since you were not hooked into a campground pedestal, I am at a loss as to the source of the current electricity (if that is what you felt). Others here can walk you step-by-step through the process of finding it.

Of course, the first step is to let us know if this was static electricity (one short, large burst) or current electricity (continuous). NOTE: I am not asking you to shock yourself again! Just, from your memory, how did the electric shock feel?
It felt like it was continuous. Strangely enough, the refrigerator was dead when we slid out after setting up at camp. (12V and 120V) It is still dead and I've ordered thermal fuses in hopes that is the problem with the refrigerator.
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Old 10-20-2020, 09:45 AM   #6
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No idea why you got shocked.
It's worrysome and possibly dangerous.
As far as thermal fuses those can be checked with a meter.
They could be temporarily jumpered out to test the fridge.
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Old 10-20-2020, 12:20 PM   #7
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When you turned the truck off did you still have the electric shock?
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Old 10-20-2020, 12:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Daddy Dan View Post
This is no word of a lie!!! I was checking into the campground after driving 400 miles today. The truck was running and I reached over to grab an envelope at the entry and touched the metal box while I was touching the truck. I GOT SHOCKED!!! Way more than a shock like I get while dragging my feet against a carpet; I could feel the electricity. I walked back to the 5'er and touched it while touching a steel sign. Same thing!!! Could that have just been a ton of static electricity built up? Has anybody experienced a "electrically charged rig"???
So... what were the metal box and steel sign part of?
Were they part of something that had electric running to them?
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Old 10-20-2020, 01:04 PM   #9
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There is no way a 12 volt system would give you a shock like you are talking about.
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Old 10-20-2020, 01:16 PM   #10
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If you had the inverter running in the trailer it could be backfeeding 120Vac to the truck via a short or incorrect wiring; possibly even thru the hitch. Be very careful with this as it can be deadly if continuous. I'd have a reputable RV tech check this out rather than do it yourself unless you are very familiar with electrical systems and have the proper equipment to diagnose the problem.

Also, pickup a "hot skin" tester, they are available on Amazon and cheap.
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Old 10-20-2020, 01:20 PM   #11
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Nope. The truck was connected and we had just gotten off the road from our trip across Wyoming. We pulled off the highway and into the park.
This doesn't answer the question cboss posted. All of what you said could be true and an INverter still be on. cboss wasn't asking about your CONverter.
Now... see post #10.
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Old 10-20-2020, 01:21 PM   #12
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Static electricity instantly discharges and does not continue to flow. IMO the common denominator here is that you touched two metal items, the metal box and the metal sign while your feet were on the ground. There is a greater possibility that CG entrance infrastructure is the hot skin culprit, not your TV.

You stated you then setup camp. Did the fault (shock), duplicate itself? You can use one of these to test your rigs electrical system while plugged in to shore power. It will tell you if you have electrical problems.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Gardner-...3501/202867890
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Old 10-20-2020, 01:25 PM   #13
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It felt like it was continuous. Strangely enough, the refrigerator was dead when we slid out after setting up at camp. (12V and 120V) It is still dead and I've ordered thermal fuses in hopes that is the problem with the refrigerator.
Since you relate that the shock seems to be current (and not static) electricity, and since you report it between two different spots on you rig and two different metal objects outside your rig, it sure sounds very similar to a “hot skin”.

That you are not hooked into a pedestal is puzzling. As someone else asked, are you running an inverter? It is hard to fathom how that could have been wired to create a hot skin, but miswired AC electricity could theoretically do that, regardless of source.

Use a proximity meter to check for current on your RV “skin”. If there is current, disconnect (or turn off) your inverter and check again. If there is then none, the current would be coming from your inverter.

I can’t believe that is what is happening, but let’s eliminate that possibility.
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Old 10-20-2020, 02:01 PM   #14
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An inverter or generator would not cause this unless they were grounded, I doubt if you have a ground strap hanging so it is either an issue at the campground gate or static.
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Old 10-20-2020, 05:22 PM   #15
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An inverter or generator would not cause this unless they were grounded, I doubt if you have a ground strap hanging so it is either an issue at the campground gate or static.

And more importantly an inverter can't shock one who is standing on the "earth" unless the inverter has one leg connected to an earth ground like the neutral in a normal power system.

My vote is for whatever else was touched being "hot" due to defective wiring.
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Old 10-20-2020, 06:34 PM   #16
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Huh?

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Static electricity instantly discharges and does not continue to flow. IMO the common denominator here is that you touched two metal items, the metal box and the metal sign while your feet were on the ground. There is a greater possibility that CG entrance infrastructure is the hot skin culprit, not your TV.

You stated you then setup camp. Did the fault (shock), duplicate itself? You can use one of these to test your rigs electrical system while plugged in to shore power. It will tell you if you have electrical problems.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Gardner-...3501/202867890
Huh? You're kidding, right? A traffic sign on a metal stake (second thing he touched) pounded into the ground is GROUND. How could it possibly give the OP a shock when he is also standing on GROUND?
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:00 PM   #17
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Actually an inverter or a generator that has a floating neutral can shock you if you connect to earth. Touching earth means that your at earth zero and the inverter or generator is at some potential between 0 and 60 volts rms, so there's a potential to be subjected to up to 60 volts or more depending where earth zero falls in the cycle.
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:08 PM   #18
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Huh? You're kidding, right? A traffic sign on a metal stake (second thing he touched) pounded into the ground is GROUND. How could it possibly give the OP a shock when he is also standing on GROUND?
This may explain somewhat.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stray_voltage

Stray Voltage made the news a few years back when some midwest farmers found their cows were getting shocked as they walked in some areas.

In that case, if I recall correctly, it was related to a single wire earth return power supply. I remember our farm having this setup with only one wire running some distance from the power poles on the highway to a single transformer near our buildings. The triplex then ran from buildings to transformer pole.

Never remember getting shocked though.
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:43 PM   #19
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Could be more than that

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Originally Posted by Bama Rambler View Post
Actually an inverter or a generator that has a floating neutral can shock you if you connect to earth. Touching earth means that your at earth zero and the inverter or generator is at some potential between 0 and 60 volts rms, so there's a potential to be subjected to up to 60 volts or more depending where earth zero falls in the cycle.
If it's truly floating, it could be at any potential at all with respect to earth ground. But the connection would be high-resistance and current would be limited.
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:58 PM   #20
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Ground here is not the same as ground there

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This may explain somewhat.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stray_voltage

Stray Voltage made the news a few years back when some midwest farmers found their cows were getting shocked as they walked in some areas.

In that case, if I recall correctly, it was related to a single wire earth return power supply. I remember our farm having this setup with only one wire running some distance from the power poles on the highway to a single transformer near our buildings. The triplex then ran from buildings to transformer pole.

Never remember getting shocked though.
That's a "Ground here is not the same as Ground there" situation.

In this case ground at the gate and ground at the sign were at similar potentials, since (1) they were nearby, and (2) they both resulted in a shock

In this case, the truck was floating. Rubber tires are a good insulator, even if they have steel belts. A lot of static charge was built up from driving all day (a dry day?). This is similar to the charge you build up on your body in the winter when you scuff leather shoes across a wool carpet and then touch a ground, like the screws on a light switch cover plate.

The charge was partially discharged at the first contact, and further discharged at the second. Because the connection was high-resistance the charge wasn't completely drained in the first contact. Maybe the OP was wearing high-resistance rubber-soled athletic shoes or neoprene-soled work boots.

He probably can't reproduce this situation now--lowering the stabilizer jacks would have drained the remaining charge directly to the earth--but if it happens again, he should repeatedly test to see if the charge is completely drained after 3-4 contacts. Or drape a piece of metal chain from truck/trailer to gate/sign.

Since you're mentioning old-timey stuff, do you remember when building up static charge like this was so common that cars had a metal strip hanging from the rear cross-member or bumper that dragged on the ground to dissipate the static charge? Same situation.
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