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Old 01-15-2014, 11:30 AM   #15
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Mike Sokol

I enjoyed reading your excellent article. You hit the nail on the head re leakage and grounding. Great writeup and illustrations in the magazine. I have two NCVT units, carry one in my RV all the time so I won't be entering the contest, but I think that is a MUST/SHOULD read for even those with savvy in the subject areas....

Again thanks Mike, good to see info like that written. A lot can be learned from RV101 courses.
Thanks very much. I'm writing Part II of this article for the RV Education 101 February issue which will introduce my simple method to current test all safety ground connections in an RV's shore power feed using nothing more than a brake light bulb and a voltmeter. Stay tuned.
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:58 PM   #16
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IMHO, It is just a good idea to do periodic inspections that includes checking all connections - everywhere you can get access to. As a very long time aeronautical engineer, who lived with and directed strict inspection procedures applied in that industry, I carry out similar inspections on my RV.
I've proposed that very idea to RVIA and RVDA, and would like to see periodic electrical inspections of all campground pedestals. But so far I've received zero support for these inspection articles from the RV manufacturers and trade organizations. In fact, I've been shouted down a few times by RV manufacturers who think that promoting electrical safety inspections will cost them RV sales since it hints that RV's can be dangerous. But my spin is that ANY RV that's not properly maintained is dangerous, starting with the tires and brake systems. To me, electrical safety is just as important as propane and tire safety.

So just as Mark Polk and Gary Bunzer recommend yearly "unmothballing" inspections of your RV's propane, water, brakes, tires, roof, etc... a simple yearly electrical grounding test should also be performed. I'm searching for any kind of government or industry training grant that would allow me to produce more safety articles and videos for the RV industry. If anyone knows of such a grant, please contact me directly at mike@noshockzone.org
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Old 01-15-2014, 01:18 PM   #17
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We had this problem last year, you could feel the current running through the coach if you touched anything metal...turned out was my plug on the power cord...all three wires had worked their way loose from the connectors inside the yellow housing, not enough not to supply power to the rig, but enough to be causing a problem...I replaced the housing and problem fixed...felt bad, because I insisted it was a bad pedestal even after the park technician had checked it and verified that eveything was working accordingly...I sent an apology email after I discovered it was my high faluting coach that was the problem after all...doh!
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Old 01-15-2014, 01:54 PM   #18
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I sent an apology email after I discovered it was my high faluting coach that was the problem after all...doh!
Even the most expensive coach can be brought down by a broken $50 extension cord. That's why I think that periodic inspections are such a good idea. And don't think that a surge-protector will prevent an RV hot-skin. They're only there to stop electrical spikes/surges from nearby lightning strikes and big pump motors shutting off.

One final thing to be aware of is something I've named an RPBG miswiring condition (Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground). This RPBG condition can occur when an older "ungrounded" outlet has been "upgraded" to a grounded outlet without properly running a new safety ground wire back to the service entrance panel. I've seen dozens of RPBG outlets in older churches, homes, and garages. So plugging your RV into a friends garage outlet could cause a hot-skin voltage, even though the outlet tests as OK using a 3-light tester or even a voltmeter between H-N, H-G, and G-N. And the most expensive RV voltage/surge protectors on the market won't discover or disconnect your RV from an RPBG outlet. This will create a high-current hot-skin voltage condition 100% of the time on any 20 or 30 amp shore power connection, and your RV and all appliances will appear to operate perfectly. The only indication of an RPBG outlet is typically getting shocked for what appears to be no logical reason.

But a basic $20 Non Contact Voltage Tester will easily find this dangerous RPBG miswiring condition. How often do RPBG's occur in campgrounds? Nobody knows... but I have heard of at least one boat dock that had dozens of dock outlets mis-wired that way. Talk about REALLY dangerous. See my articles on RPBG outlets at:

The RV Doctor: Friends of Gary - Mike and

Failures in Outlet Testing Exposed | Contractor content from Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Magazine
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:51 PM   #19
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You have one problem for sure: Open safety ground.

And you may also have a problem with a hot-chassis short, possibly water in an outlet (Patio) though this SHOULD trip a GFCI on that outlet.

The ground needs to be grounded though.

For now, if you do not wish to change sites, and till a technician can get to you drive a long rod into the ground, I have some screwdrivers with like 3 foot long shafts.. And use a good clean jumper cable to "jumper" the chassis to the shaft. This may help.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:23 PM   #20
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This is not a no trouble found situation so DO NOT let anyone tell you otherwise.

This is why I suggest you measure first and sneak up on it.

But in this case where safety is first you did the best thing for your situation.

My guess is when you unplugged you caused something to move.

It could have cleaned a connection or caused wires to touch.

Now you need to hunt it down and break it again.

Your electrician should know how to do this, simply attach a voltmeter at certian points and stress the connections that you touched and see if he can make the readings change.

It is simple to do and many of us have spent much time doing this.

It may be just at the end of the cord next to the plug.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:38 PM   #21
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Thanks very much. I'm writing Part II of this article for the RV Education 101 February issue which will introduce my simple method to current test all safety ground connections in an RV's shore power feed using nothing more than a brake light bulb and a voltmeter. Stay tuned.

Good article is there a way to print or obtain a printed copy of the article for future reference, thanks
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:47 PM   #22
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Adonh

I just downloaded the magazine in PDF. No problem and I put the file in my RV tech folder. Although I had come across this circumstance before, the writeup was technically sound, well written and articulated with great illustrations, I though it was a good document to retain. Looking forward to the next article.
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Old 01-15-2014, 05:23 PM   #23
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I just downloaded the magazine in PDF. No problem and I put the file in my RV tech folder. Although I had come across this circumstance before, the writeup was technically sound, well written and articulated with great illustrations, I though it was a good document to retain. Looking forward to the next article.
I must be missing something i don't see an option to print in pdf
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Old 01-15-2014, 05:47 PM   #24
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I must be missing something i don't see an option to print in pdf
This is embarrassing, Right there in the middle of the screen, "You can download a PDF File format of this magazine: Click here,

Oh well time so get new glasses. Thanks
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Old 01-15-2014, 06:45 PM   #25
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It is an intermittent problem because it took 1/2 hour or so before my husband got shocked. He has reset at the outside pedestal and also inside the RV. It has not tripped any breakers which he finds usual.


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Thanks everyone for your help in advance!
The answer to this is VERY IMPORTANT

Troubleshoot/repair a hot chassis if you know how to do this. If not, it is dangerous to try to coach someone through this. A fraction of an amp, across the chest cavity, will kill you.

If you can not troubleshoot/repair, disconnect power to RV and get a knowledgeable repairman.

If I seem gruff about this, it is because it is important. Some call it tough love.
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Old 01-15-2014, 07:07 PM   #26
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:11 PM   #27
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Troubleshoot/repair a hot chassis if you know how to do this. If not, it is dangerous to try to coach someone through this. A fraction of an amp, across the chest cavity, will kill you.
All very true. While many non-engineeering folks will accept feeling some kind of voltage shock as normal, for those of us in the business we know that's a VERY bad situation that can kill you. And there's few things more unsettling than an entire RV chassis/skin biased to 120-volts AC. While working on live circuits I take all kinds of precautions that the casual DIY guy won't be aware of. And I'm totally focused on what I'm doing since one wrong move can be deadly. That's why I recommend that RV owners only use a Non Contact Voltage Tester to check an RV for a hot-skin voltage. Even metering between the RV chassis and a ground rod can put you at risk if you don't do it exactly right. So PLEASE, if you're not qualified to work on live 120-volt circuits, find an electrician or RV technician to help you with finding the source of an RV hot-skin voltage. Let's stay safe out there...
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:29 AM   #28
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I had this problem on our previous MH, but didn't realize it. When I worked in my power cpmpartment, my forearm would get a shock . It felt like hitting a sharp object, and I thought it was the sharp edge of the compartment. It was ony later when I was having some other electrical work done that it was discovered the transfer switch wes not wired properly and had contributed to this shocking scene. I guess I never noticed when entering the MH because the steps were covered, the sidewalls were fiberglass, and the ground was rarely wet. This was a potentially (pun intended) dangerous situation.
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