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Old 09-16-2021, 05:06 PM   #1
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Voltage leak

I was under my Phaeton the other day laying flat on my back on the concrete lubing the chassis. Every time I would touch metal with my forearm I would get an electrical jolt. I didn't feel it in my hands but did in the more tender skin.

The rig is plugged into my 15amp garage current. Everything is turned off but drawing current is two TV's a microwave and Xantrex inverter.

I'm not sure where to start looking? Water leaks are easy but voltage ugh!

This is what my Watchdog surge protector is reporting.
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Old 09-16-2021, 05:12 PM   #2
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Voltage leak

Try getting a non-contact probe to detect the stray voltage (safer for you).

I would turn off all the breakers, then turn on one at a time and see when you detect current leaking. This should help you find which circuit has a problem.

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Old 09-16-2021, 05:41 PM   #3
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Which Hughes EMS do you use? If it's a protecting one, an "EPO", it should kill the power if the safety ground is open. The ground wire should keep you from ever getting a shock or a tingle.

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Old 09-16-2021, 06:21 PM   #4
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Turn the main off and check the RV skin with the non-contact tester to see if it's still hot. The problem could be a bad neutral bond in your house panel. You could also use a volt meter to check the voltage between the ground pin and the neutral at the receptacle. It should read less than a volt if working correctly.
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Old 09-16-2021, 06:26 PM   #5
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Attached or detached garage? How old? GFCI outlet or breaker?

It's likely a grounding issue with your electrical system in your garage or main panel. People jump to say it's hot skin, but energizing the chassis requires two failures: A missing ground connection in the wiring to the coach and a short between the hot side of the electrical system and the chassis of the coach.

First thing is to see if the outlet you are plugged into is a GFCI or has a GFCI breaker. If it is, odds are it's a system side grounding issue. Essentially the concrete is at a different potential than the ground wire in the system. This should be prevented by the grounding electrode at the panel or subpanel, but these are sometimes omitted, inadequate or deteriorated.
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Old 09-16-2021, 06:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim18655 View Post
Turn the main off and check the RV skin with the non-contact tester to see if it's still hot. The problem could be a bad neutral bond in your house panel. You could also use a volt meter to check the voltage between the ground pin and the neutral at the receptacle. It should read less than a volt if working correctly.
You won't get any indication from a non-contact tester unless the skin is REALLY hot (electrified).

I'd check the grounding of whatever "dog bone" adapter(s) you are using to go from a duplex outlet (I assume) to your shore power cord.
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Old 09-17-2021, 05:51 AM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestions posted. I won't have time to work on this until tomorrow but can answer some of the questions asked.

The surge protector is brand new and installed after the electrical problem was discovered. It is a "EPO" protector. My dog bone is also new and is 50amp straight to 15amp. Prior my system stepped down from 50amp to 30amp to 15amp. Both of these upgrades were on my bucket list so I just went ahead and did them.

My garage is a free standing 4,000 sq ft building with 6 roll up doors. It is about 100 yards from my house and the Sea of Cortez. We built it 20 years ago and being that close to the ocean and salt air always cause for concern.

My shore power outlet goes straight to an electric panel with breakers. That goes straight to a 100amp breaker at the meter. The garage is wired with single phase 220.

For me the shore power is suspect. My home is in Los Cabos Mexico where they never heard of codes. Frustrating to me is the surge protector has not detected a ground fault. Maybe the current is not leaking now. Guess I need more shock therapy to find out.
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Old 09-17-2021, 06:44 AM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions posted. I won't have time to work on this until tomorrow but can answer some of the questions asked.

The surge protector is brand new and installed after the electrical problem was discovered. It is a "EPO" protector. My dog bone is also new and is 50amp straight to 15amp. Prior my system stepped down from 50amp to 30amp to 15amp. Both of these upgrades were on my bucket list so I just went ahead and did them.

My garage is a free standing 4,000 sq ft building with 6 roll up doors. It is about 100 yards from my house and the Sea of Cortez. We built it 20 years ago and being that close to the ocean and salt air always cause for concern.

My shore power outlet goes straight to an electric panel with breakers. That goes straight to a 100amp breaker at the meter. The garage is wired with single phase 220.

For me the shore power is suspect. My home is in Los Cabos Mexico where they never heard of codes. Frustrating to me is the surge protector has not detected a ground fault. Maybe the current is not leaking now. Guess I need more shock therapy to find out.
The distance from the house and lack of response by the EMS/Surge protector would make me suspect a lack of or an inadequate grounding electrode at the garage. A simple test is to drive a metal stake into the soil (a foot or so of rebar is fine) and measure AC voltage from the rod to the ground pin of an outlet or extension cord. Check your cords first though for continuity on the ground wire.
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Old 09-17-2021, 07:48 AM   #9
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The distance from the house and lack of response by the EMS/Surge protector would make me suspect a lack of or an inadequate grounding electrode at the garage. A simple test is to drive a metal stake into the soil (a foot or so of rebar is fine) and measure AC voltage from the rod to the ground pin of an outlet or extension cord. Check your cords first though for continuity on the ground wire.
OK, it is one of the things I will do tomorrow. Thanks. I didnít mention the garage is on its own meter which is just about 10 yards away. My house is on a different meter next to the garage service but the house is on the beach about 100 yards away. So many moving parts itís hard for me to explain it all
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Old 09-17-2021, 08:16 AM   #10
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sounds like a great way to prevent catalytic converter theft(if you had one )
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Old 09-17-2021, 05:17 PM   #11
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Found something shocking

My gear head brain can't rest when my equipment isn't operating properly. Came home this afternoon and popped the plate off my shore power receptical. To my surprise the ground wire isn't even hooked up. Tomorrow I will turn off the power and connect the ground. The thing I still don't understand is why the Watchdog EPO surge protector didn't detect the problem and allowed current to pass to the motorhome.
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Old 09-17-2021, 05:27 PM   #12
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Still have a leak, there shouldn't be current on the ground conductor.
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Old 09-18-2021, 04:43 PM   #13
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Connected the ground wire in the shore power receptacle and no more shock. Poking around I find the whole wiring setup is very strange.

The building is I beam construction. It has a very simple electrical system with a few florescent lights switched on two circuits and four 110V receptacles in various locations. Three of the receptacles are on one breaker and my RV shore power on a separate one. There is a sub panel in the garage that the meter feeds. Opening the sub panel I find it is NOT grounded.

So what the heck is going on. Looks like the three receptacle boxes are welded to the I beams so I am assuming that is where they are grounded. The shore power receptacle is mounted on a block wall so it had no ground. I am assuming that was the stray current. The ground wire I hooked up is connected to a near by I beam and now I'm not getting jolted.

The system is kinda half baked so I hope it is okay. The burning question is how this got by the surge protector and it provided power to my RV without a ground? "Protector" being the operative word here.
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Old 09-18-2021, 06:44 PM   #14
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Email Hughes and ask: Brett T [brett@autoformers.com] - This fellow is General Manager and responded to my tech support request.

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