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Old 05-07-2016, 01:57 PM   #1
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Any legit reason why my trailer shocks me when I touch metal skirting?

I know, the correct answer is NO!

Anyone else encountered this?

I noticed it when I was plugging a hole that has electrical power going up into the trailer, and when my wrist touched the frame or aluminum skirting, it shocked me. Not a POP, but a BUZZZ that wasn't really painful, but still made me pull away quickly, and cut a chunk out of the top of my hand.

This is really close to the front right leveling motor, and the running light on the front right side.

Any quick-fix suggestions?

Sorry...just being lazy. It is hot out there, and humid, and I don't want to spend anymore time than needed laying on my back in the grass while tracking down an item that someone may already have the answer for.
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Old 05-07-2016, 02:18 PM   #2
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Google: RV hot skin

You will find much information than we can post here.
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Old 05-07-2016, 02:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnmor View Post
Google: RV hot skin

You will find much information than we can post here.
OK, thanks! That will probably answer my question.

I assumed someone else had encountered this before.

I would have never known to use those terms.
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Old 05-07-2016, 02:40 PM   #4
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I am currently (no pun intended) hooked up to a 45 year old house, on a 20A breaker, with no grounding. When the house was built, all outlets only had two flat holes, no third hole for the ground wire.

Would THAT be the reason I am getting hot at the skin?

If so, what would happen if I connected a ground strap from the frame of the trailer to a metal rod sunk into the ground? Would that fix this issue, or make it more dangerous?

The trailer is here for the next 5 weeks. It has been on similar electrical connection out at the hay shed for the past year.

After 5 weeks, we are on the road permanently, and I assume the issue will disappear, as long as the power poles at our next stops are grounded appropriately.
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Old 05-07-2016, 03:36 PM   #5
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All I know about this is a shock coming from the surface of your RV is extremely dangerous. People have died because of this. I would disconnect from power until I traced down the cause. It could be a short in the wiring somewhere.
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Old 05-07-2016, 03:42 PM   #6
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I think there may be a polarity reverse somewhere in the trailer or in the plug in to the house. If you have a tester see which side is hot at the plug in.
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottandanna View Post
I am currently (no pun intended) hooked up to a 45 year old house, on a 20A breaker, with no grounding. When the house was built, all outlets only had two flat holes, no third hole for the ground wire.

Would THAT be the reason I am getting hot at the skin?

If so, what would happen if I connected a ground strap from the frame of the trailer to a metal rod sunk into the ground? Would that fix this issue, or make it more dangerous?

The trailer is here for the next 5 weeks. It has been on similar electrical connection out at the hay shed for the past year.

After 5 weeks, we are on the road permanently, and I assume the issue will disappear, as long as the power poles at our next stops are grounded appropriately.
Probably. Your neutral should be grounded to a copper clad rod driven into the earth by the service entrance. On old wiring your safety ground would be connected to your neutral. If all that is in place you should not get a tingle.

All things considered I would do two things:

1. Test for a low resistance between the camper shell and the safety ground. It should be zero or something in the low ohm range. If it is not you probably have a broken or missing chassis ground connection. With the trailer unplugged there should be low resistance between the safety ground pin and shell and high resistance to the other two pins unless you have an internal load connected.

2. Connect the shell or safety ground to a ground rod at the trailer connection. Code would connect the neutral and ground at that point. I would be careful if I decided to try it.
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:42 PM   #8
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If you touch something in your RV and you feel a slight shock, understand immediately that you have a potential problem that needs to be dealt with right away. That slight shock means a potentially dangerous condition exists in your RV.


Here is what to do.
First get everyone out of the RV as a safety precaution, including pets.
Remember that when you are standing on the ground and then touch the RV, the risk of a greater shock is higher. If the ground is wet outside the RV then the shock risk goes even higher and can be fatal.


Some reading might include;
RV Electrical Safety: Part IV – Hot Skin | No~Shock~Zone


Best of luck, as it sounds like you have multiple issues to deal with. Be safe!
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Old 05-07-2016, 06:33 PM   #9
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OK, here is what I did.

Tested the trailer to the ground, and about half a volt going down, and 36 mA or so.

Not a lot, and actually surprised I could feel such a small amount.

I have a pneumatic air hammer, so I took the long pointy attachment, and a chunk of 6 gauge wire, and hose clamped the wire to the pointy thing, drove it into the ground as deep as I could, and the other end is attached to a vice grip and clamped to the frame.

Then when I went inside the garage where I am wired into the house, I noticed that the green AND blue lights were on the surge protector. Before I grounded the trailer, only the green light was on.

I am going to assume it is now happy, and safe. I hope...

Anyway, not shocking me anymore.

I am wondering if maybe I shouldn't pack this little grounding strap in for the trip...might need it somewhere else, if we find bad wiring while traveling.
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottandanna View Post
I am currently (no pun intended) hooked up to a 45 year old house, on a 20A breaker, with no grounding. When the house was built, all outlets only had two flat holes, no third hole for the ground wire.

Would THAT be the reason I am getting hot at the skin?

If so, what would happen if I connected a ground strap from the frame of the trailer to a metal rod sunk into the ground? Would that fix this issue, or make it more dangerous?

The trailer is here for the next 5 weeks. It has been on similar electrical connection out at the hay shed for the past year.

After 5 weeks, we are on the road permanently, and I assume the issue will disappear, as long as the power poles at our next stops are grounded appropriately.
Yes, it is because you are not grounded...
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:09 PM   #11
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I used an extension cord once to plug my trailer into my house and received a similar shock. Turned out the extension cord was bad.
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Old 05-07-2016, 10:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottandanna View Post
I am currently (no pun intended) hooked up to a 45 year old house, on a 20A breaker, with no grounding. When the house was built, all outlets only had two flat holes, no third hole for the ground wire.

Would THAT be the reason I am getting hot at the skin?

If so, what would happen if I connected a ground strap from the frame of the trailer to a metal rod sunk into the ground? Would that fix this issue, or make it more dangerous?

The trailer is here for the next 5 weeks. It has been on similar electrical connection out at the hay shed for the past year.

After 5 weeks, we are on the road permanently, and I assume the issue will disappear, as long as the power poles at our next stops are grounded appropriately.
Yes, no ground wiring in the house is the cause. RV's are not grounded because they assume the main panel is grounded. RV's are treated like a sub-panel.
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Old 05-08-2016, 02:25 AM   #13
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"scottandanna".....Your fix obviously worked, but typically you would add the ground to your outlet. Do the same thing, but run the wire to the ground on your outlet.
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Old 05-08-2016, 02:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
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"scottandanna".....Your fix obviously worked, but typically you would add the ground to your outlet. Do the same thing, but run the wire to the ground on your outlet.
Right on,

The OP needs to make sure the outlet has a permanent ground, the fact that his spot ground works is proving the missing ground theory.

Ask the servitors of the KBR incident.

DTW
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