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Old 06-30-2013, 08:37 PM   #15
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Wow great info, great video and well done.
Thanks very much. I'm snooping around looking for a grant that would allow me to teach NoShockZone seminars at campgrounds and RV trade shows around the country. But for now, all I can afford to do is produce these videos and write articles. Hope they help everybody be a little bit safer.
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:49 PM   #16
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Thanks very much. I'm snooping around looking for a grant that would allow me to teach NoShockZone seminars at campgrounds and RV trade shows around the country. But for now, all I can afford to do is produce these videos and write articles. Hope they help everybody be a little bit safer.
One thing that you can add to your class would be the use and training in the use of an AED. For those who don't what an AED is, it is an automatic defibulator that can be used by just about any trained first responder. Training takes about an hour and usually is included in CPR training. CPR will sometimes fail to start a heart after an electrical shock. The AED usually will. They should be at all campgrounds as a liablity reduction at the least.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:22 PM   #17
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One thing that you can add to your class would be the use and training in the use of an AED.
It's already in the plans to train on AED usage. I'll also add a compression-only CPR demonstration, which is what the Red Cross recommends for untrained rescuers. Thanks for your input.
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:03 PM   #18
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I had the same problem and found that the ground prong on my drop cors had broken off. $3 plug fixed the problem
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:21 AM   #19
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I had the same problem and found that the ground prong on my drop cors had broken off. $3 plug fixed the problem
Glad you found and fixed this.

Remember, if you have a broken shore power ground connection, and if any appliance in your RV develops an internal current leakage to chassis ground, it will elevate the entire RV's chassis and skin up towards 120 volts above earth ground. Anything over 30 volts AC can be deadly if your hands and feet are wet, so NEVER accept getting a shock from any RV or appliance.
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:41 AM   #20
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I had the same problem and found that the ground prong on my drop cors had broken off. $3 plug fixed the problem
Probably the best $3 investment you'll ever make!!!
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:59 AM   #21
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Probably the best $3 investment you'll ever make!!!
Absolutely!
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:07 AM   #22
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I had the same problem and found that the ground prong on my drop cors had broken off. $3 plug fixed the problem
TravisNuwa81

I'm curious as how you discovered your RV hot-skin condition. We're you feeling a shock first and then found the broken ground prong, or did you use a Non Contact Voltage Tester (NCVT) as a maintenance test to find it BEFORE anyone was shocked? I ask because I'm pitching the idea to RVIA that they recommend the NCVT "proximity" test as a standard RV maintenance check.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:02 AM   #23
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TravisNuwa81

I'm curious as how you discovered your RV hot-skin condition. We're you feeling a shock first and then found the broken ground prong, or did you use a Non Contact Voltage Tester (NCVT) as a maintenance test to find it BEFORE anyone was shocked? I ask because I'm pitching the idea to RVIA that they recommend the NCVT "proximity" test as a standard RV maintenance check.
I kept shocking myself when id touch anything attached to the chassis so I called an automotive electronic shop and he cut me off and told me to check my drop cord
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:47 PM   #24
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I am a big believer in Ground Fault Interrupters in preventing lethal electroshock accidents. I went as far as finding a 30 amp corded GFI for the 30 amp RV service. I use a standard 15 amp GFI on all outside, or near water, electrical circuits at home.
If you understand how a GFI measures the balance of current going out and coming back to an outlet, and how it immediately shuts off the current if there is an imbalance in the thousands of an ampere (assumed cause of the imbalance a current going through your body to ground) you would realize what a quantum leap in electrical safety these are.
When I was a kid, reading in the local papers about people being electrocuted was not an uncommon event. Now in the GFI era, it is an uncommon event.
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:57 PM   #25
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I am a big believer in Ground Fault Interrupters in preventing lethal electroshock accidents. I went as far as finding a 30 amp corded GFI for the 30 amp RV service. I use a standard 15 amp GFI on all outside, or near water, electrical circuits at home.
If you understand how a GFI measures the balance of current going out and coming back to an outlet, and how it immediately shuts off the current if there is an imbalance in the thousands of an ampere (assumed cause of the imbalance a current going through your body to ground) you would realize what a quantum leap in electrical safety these are.
When I was a kid, reading in the local papers about people being electrocuted was not an uncommon event. Now in the GFI era, it is an uncommon event.
Agreed. But many campers will bypass the GFCI because of "nuisance" tripping that shuts off power to the refrigerator or whatever. I think that most every GFCi trip is actually due to a real ground leakage condition, but that it's often confusing to identify the actual source of the leakage. And yes, it's exactly that leakage that can kill you if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. Most excellent point.
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:27 PM   #26
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Agreed. But many campers will bypass the GFCI because of "nuisance" tripping that shuts off power to the refrigerator or whatever. I think that most every GFCi trip is actually due to a real ground leakage condition, but that it's often confusing to identify the actual source of the leakage. And yes, it's exactly that leakage that can kill you if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. Most excellent point.

Mike: On GFI Trips - Internal ones within the RV when first arriving could be caused by mechanical shock during the trip. I have a GFI in an outlet box on a cord in my garage at home, and dropping or kicking that box will cause it to mechanically unlatch even if unpowered. Also, I had an external pedistal GFI trip when I stayed in what was a tent space in the Seattle area, due to the moisture built up in my microwave when cooking made a leakage path inside the microwave. Drying out the microwave resolved the problem. Removing a GFI and replacing it with a regular outlet is a bit of work, and requires some technical savvy; and I hope NO RVer does it. It's there to save you and your family's life.

Mike, you and I are most concerned with the danger of hot skin, usually caused by an electrical leakage source and bad or open ground from the RV chassis to the park's grounding system. You made a good device using the RV's 12 volt battery and a taillight for testing the RV's ground wiring. You still can't be sure of the park's outlet and grounding system, though. But I did want to warn our fellow RVers of what I consider the biggest probable source of electrical leakage to the chassis of the RV - the electric water heater element. These are usually shut off electrically, but can be easily miswired where they are neutral switched and the element is hot all the time. This element steadily corrodes an pits over time until water within the metal tank contacts the electrical heating element. Then you have a leakage path to the grounded RV chassis. Since this leakage path is through water the resistance may be high enough to not blow the circuit breaker protection for the water heater.
So check your grounding wiring regularly, along with your electric water heater element.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:28 PM   #27
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Removing a GFI and replacing it with a regular outlet is a bit of work, and requires some technical savvy; and I hope NO RVer does it. It's there to save you and your family's life.
While the 20-amp outlet in the pedestal is required by code to be a GFI (in new installations at least), there's no requirement that the 30 and 50 amp outlets have a GFI. So I've seen campers use a 30-amp to 20-amp adapter to plug their 20-amp RV into a 30-amp pedestal outlet. The reason they said was to avoid the GFI false tripping. So that's a pretty simple way around it, but not a good idea.

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But I did want to warn our fellow RVers of what I consider the biggest probable source of electrical leakage to the chassis of the RV - the electric water heater element.
Agreed. I've been doing some experiments with them, and a corroded element with a pinhole leak will pass about 1 to 2 amps of current into the "grounded" water. That's certainly enough current to be a shock hazard if your safety ground opens up. And yes, it can open anywhere from your own shore power cable, through any adapters, and be open at the pedestal outlet just from wear and tear or a broken ground wire inside the pedestal itself.

But here's another one I'll bet you haven't though of... Block heaters for diesel trucks. I was on a diesel truck forum last year where someone was complaining that his block heater would trip the GFI on his out building. Now a block heater is in fact a small hot-water heater element that goes inside the engine. I predicted there would be a corrosion hole in his element, and sure enough it looked like the end had been chewed off by a rat. While plugged into a non-GFI outlet with a solid ground he wasn't going to get shocked. But if his extension cord ground opened up for any reason, then his pickup truck and trailer would certainly have a hot-skin condition from a blown water heater element.

I experienced a leaking water heater element perhaps 40 years ago, and remember that I could hear the bubbles inside of the tank, even when the tank thermostat was turned off. That's because on a 240-volt element, only one side of the line is switched. I discovered that you could detect this leakage with a clamp ammeter, since it was an ampere or two of draw. So you could do exactly the same thing on an RV to check for hot water heater electrical leakage. By building a simple break-out cable for the shore power cord which separates the ground from the hot and neutral, you could clamp a meter around just the green ground wire to see how much current is flowing in it. Should be very small under normal conditions, perhaps a few mA (milliamperes) at most. But if the water heater element has a pinhole leak, then that safety ground wire will be doing its job by routing a few amps of fault current back to the service panel bonding point whenever the circuit breaker to the water heater is on and the thermostat is calling for heat. This would also check for any other not-so-obvious electrical leaks to ground.

How's THAT for a 5 minute test you could do once a season to confirm that your hot water heater element is still hermetically sealed and not leaking current into the water? I'm sure that RVIA and RVDA have never thought of that quick test. Maybe I'll do a demonstration later this summer.
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Old 07-31-2013, 05:00 PM   #28
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Mike,

One thing that I have done at work for 2 years now is to test the GFI outlets monthly on the pool deck, and the others twice a year. I built a small test device out of a plastic electrical box, oulet, cover, cord, and plug. I put a analog voltage tester in one opening on the outlet to tell me the voltage, and a wire test device with a GFI tester included in the other. I press the button on the wire test device and the GFI outlet trips. When first plugged into an outlet, the wire tester will also show if the outlet is wired correctly by the lights that are lit. The test results are logged. If any device fails the test, it is replaced immediate (usually right then and there as we keep several GFI devices in stock). The GFI device have a tester built into them, but I like to look at the wire tester and voltage also.
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