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Old 07-31-2013, 06:16 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Swamp Man View Post
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.
That's a GREAT idea. I've seen GFCI's that have NEVER been tested since the original installation (if even then) and it's been 10 years or more. As the rest of you should know, a GFCI can fail to trip during a ground fault for a variety of reasons, the most common probably being a nearby lightning strike that takes out its internal electronics. Also, excessive moisture can damage them, as well as being miswired initially. I'm also guessing that vibration could be a failure factor, and GFCI's in RVs certainly qualify for vibration. Even if you don't do a monthly test, at least test every GFCI in your RV at the beginning of every camping season. Make it part of your springtime DE-mothballing list so you won't forget.

I'm also working on a experiment to see if it's possible to miswire a GFCI during installation so that it will pass its own "self-test" but fail to trip during a shock/electrocution event. It's only in my mind's eye right now, but I'm hypothesizing that could have been the cause of the girl being electrocuted in Orlando last year while picking up a golf ball from a water fountain. But that's another experiment.

Stay tuned for that one...
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:51 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by SoundGuy View Post

I'm Mike Sokol, writer of the NoShockZone articles noted above. Thanks for posting the link to No Shock Zone. I think it's sometimes difficult to measure an actual chassis to ground voltage because of paint and corrosion issues. However, a Non Contact Voltage Tester (NCVT) such as a Fluke VoltAlert doesn't care about paint or corrosion and will beep/blink if the RV chassis/skin is at least 40 volts. That's about the threshold of feeling a shock if your hands are dry, so it's a very good "quick" proximity hot-skin test. Please see the video below where I electrify a 40 ft RV with various voltages and test it with a Fluke VoltAlert. Hot Skin RV proximity test full scale - YouTube

Mike Sokol
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No Shock Zone
what model do you recommend. I am a bit confused about the voltage ranges. One has a 90-1000 range and I was thinking we would want much lower.
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Old 08-17-2013, 02:27 AM   #31
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what model do you recommend. I am a bit confused about the voltage ranges. One has a 90-1000 range and I was thinking we would want much lower.
Actually, what you really want is the 90 to 1,000 volt range. That's exactly what I use in all of my demonstrations. Surprisingly, even though it's listed for 90 volts on the low side, that sensitivity is for Romex cable without a lot of surface area. As soon as you electrify something large (like a guitar amp or an RV) there's so much square footage that a 90-1,000 Volt NCVT will work down to 40 volts AC. And none of the NCVT manufacturers I talked to seemed to be aware of this face. Pretty interesting, isn't it.

They do make low-voltage NCVTs that read down to 20 or even 5 volts AC. However, they're too sensitive to tell the difference between the hot and neutral contacts in an outlet. They beep if you get anywhere near the front of a hot outlet, so they're not useful for polarity testing.

However, if you want to be able to detect lower voltages on your RV while still retaining the ability to check absolute outlet polarity, Klein makes a dual-range tester called an NCVT-2 which can be set to high or low voltage ranges. It's a little more complicated to operate, but offers more flexibility since there are two voltage ranges. It will find RV hot-skin conditions down to 20 volts or less.

Let me know what Non Contact Voltage Tester you end up with.
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Old 08-17-2013, 08:12 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by SoundGuy View Post

Actually, what you really want is the 90 to 1,000 volt range. That's exactly what I use in all of my demonstrations. Surprisingly, even though it's listed for 90 volts on the low side, that sensitivity is for Romex cable without a lot of surface area. As soon as you electrify something large (like a guitar amp or an RV) there's so much square footage that a 90-1,000 Volt NCVT will work down to 40 volts AC. And none of the NCVT manufacturers I talked to seemed to be aware of this face. Pretty interesting, isn't it.

They do make low-voltage NCVTs that read down to 20 or even 5 volts AC. However, they're too sensitive to tell the difference between the hot and neutral contacts in an outlet. They beep if you get anywhere near the front of a hot outlet, so they're not useful for polarity testing.

However, if you want to be able to detect lower voltages on your RV while still retaining the ability to check absolute outlet polarity, Klein makes a dual-range tester called an NCVT-2 which can be set to high or low voltage ranges. It's a little more complicated to operate, but offers more flexibility since there are two voltage ranges. It will find RV hot-skin conditions down to 20 volts or less.

Let me know what Non Contact Voltage Tester you end up with.
went with the 1AC. Simple and and dependable, I hope.
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