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Old 09-05-2005, 07:14 AM   #1
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While parked and pluged into a 110v at home, I get a small shock when I touch certain metal surfaces on the exterior. I am told this is either the water heater or a damp extention cord connection. The caor is compleatly off the ground, so that leaves the water heater. Has anyone had this problem, a "hot-shell", before?

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Old 09-05-2005, 07:14 AM   #2
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While parked and pluged into a 110v at home, I get a small shock when I touch certain metal surfaces on the exterior. I am told this is either the water heater or a damp extention cord connection. The caor is compleatly off the ground, so that leaves the water heater. Has anyone had this problem, a "hot-shell", before?

2000 Newmar Kountry Star 36RLFB 1999 Ford F350 Power Stroke Accompanied by Lizzie, the undefeated, killer Dachshund.
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Old 09-05-2005, 07:22 AM   #3
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It might be reversed polarity in the receptacle you're plugged into making the rig's skin hot in relation to the ground. If so, you have a potentially lethal situation and the rig should be unplugged until it's resolved.

Be extremely careful until the cause of the shocking is determined.
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Old 09-05-2005, 08:15 AM   #4
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Get a little gadget at Radio Shack for about $5 called a GFCI Tester. When plugged into an outlet it tells if there is a good ground or if polarity is wrong. When we moved into our new home I found 5 outlets with reversed polarity. I'll be bold and say I think every household should have one. Be safe!
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Old 09-27-2005, 10:01 AM   #5
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Yes...we had the same hot water heater problem....Actually we had both problems that are mentionned above.......the minor shock was the reversed polarity on the shore power line and the fact that the extension I was using didnt have the ground connected in the plug.....both have been rectified. The hot water heater.....when we set up for the first time on our snowbird trip last year, I fired everything up,,,(i forgot to flip the hot water tank bypass over to fill instead of pass) the element burnt out but the breaker did not blow...I cut the power as fast as I could, flipped the bypass and then powered up when it was full.........no hot water.....so I used the propane instead......the breaker was still on providing power to the element......it wasnt until the dog came home with wet feet did we discover the problem.....when i replaced the element i found it to be blown apart and in effect it was a dead short into the water...

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Old 09-27-2005, 12:54 PM   #6
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The reverse polarity is the most probable cause of receiving shocks from such things as outside hardware or floor vent covers for heating ductwork etc.. In the master panel of a unit hooked up to a reversed polarity outlet, the ground now becomes the neutral (white) and will now use the body of the coach to complete the circuit for any turned on item. This leaves the grounding circuit incapable of providing any safety to siphon dead shorts off to ground as it is already "live". The outlet polarity tester mentioned above is the cheaapest insurance you could ever buy and can test any 110V outlet with adapters for up to 30amp outlets.
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Old 09-27-2005, 04:41 PM   #7
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It could also be a loose wire in an electrical box where the ground may be touching just slightly a hot line. You would be surprised how little it takes to have current jump from one leg to another. It sounds like it is only at home then you should check into your wiring at home from the electrical panel to the plug. Maybe a screw or something has nicked the insulation on the wore in your home.
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Old 10-14-2005, 05:42 AM   #8
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Just to add my $.02. In a previous life, long ago, whenever I had a service call in a "Mobile Home" or trailer I had to test the "Skin" for potential voltage. As some of the previous posts have stated, there are many causes of this. The real danger comes from grabbing a metalic door handle, or assist handle. At this point while you are still standing on the ground, and grabbing something on the trailer, you are a potential path to ground for any stray voltage present on the skin to seek. A slight tingle could just indicate you are a poor path ( high resistance) to "Ground". A rainy or even humid day would be much more hazardous than a tingle. Even life threatening. Anyway, this is nothing to fool around with. I check my TT routinely for any electrical potential. Most GFCI outlets will protect from this, but anything is possible. I also recommend excersizing breakers and GFCI resets once a year.
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Old 02-20-2006, 02:41 AM   #9
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Another cause to look for is a loose neutral in a power outlet or the main power cord for the rV. If a neutral wire comes loose the ground becomes the return for the voltage and because the ground is bonded to the frame of the trailer you can become the replacement for the ground when you touch anything metal. You can buy a plug in device at Lowe's or Home Depot (yellow three prong plug with three lights on it)for about 6 buck. When you plug it in it will tell you if there is a loose ground or loose neutral or all is well. Do that for every outlet. It is a cheap insurance policy.
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Old 02-20-2006, 03:29 PM   #10
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I think Hitchhiker is right on.

Let me try to explain.

House wiring is basically 2 wire with ground. 1 hot, 1 return and ground. It is common for devices (charger boxes, microwaves, toasters, electric tools, etc) to have a dedicated ground wire within the device that usually connects to the chassis of the device.

Not all house wiring is perfect - nor is all trailer, modified extension cords, etc. When 1 or more of these are not properly wired, the potential exists for wires to get crossed - like a plug being turned 180 degrees (when non-3 prong), or a modified extension cord not wired correctly, or ...

When this happens, the hot line brings power to the device as expected. Within the device the ground wire can become a current carrying wire and causing the chassis or case to be come a hot line when you get between it and ground.

I have seen this with a low budget copy machine before the 3 prong plugs were required. The unit was plugged in with the plug in upside down (no way to tell with 2 wire plugs). Simply turning the plug over and re-plugging it solved the problem.

Hope this makes sense
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Old 08-24-2006, 05:00 AM   #11
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You may also have a bad connection to where the main panel grounds to the trailer chassis. Clean this and put some di-electric grease on it to keep it from rusting.
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Old 09-11-2006, 06:39 PM   #12
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Our camper had a "hot shell" caused by a short in the A/C unit. The printed circuit board inside had fallen off it mounts and was allowing the AC relay to touch the metal housing which was in turn sending AC voltage through the camper when the A/C would run.

My wife was severly shocked to the point where she had fallen on the steps and was paralized by the shock until my brother recognized the problem and pulled her off. She had wet socks on from the morning dew. It left her scared to enter the trailer for weeks after that.


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