Shocked

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cwarner

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Aug 4, 2005
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This is my first post so I'll start by saying hello to everyone. Hello!

I was hand washing my TT today and could feel electricity when I touched a lot of the metal parts. I felt it the most in the awning supports and in the window casings, especially the exposed screw heads. Granted, I was soaking wet and standing on a soaked concrete pad, but is such a thing common or a major flaw in the wiring? When I was done and the surfaces had all dried up I couldn't feel the shock anymore.
I'm fairly new to the camper scene and was hoping some of you could enlighten me on this.
The TT is an '01 Jayco.
Thanks for any insight.

Chris
 

Tom

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If it was the other way around (you got zapped when it was dry) I'd have said it could be static discharge. Rubbing most platics dry will generate sufficient charge to give you a zap. When wet in the manner you descibe you, the body of the TT and the metal parts are effectively grounded all the time and you won't generate the charge.

Was the TT plugged into power? Do you have an inverter on board?
 

cwarner

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Aug 4, 2005
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Yes, the TT was plugged in with the a/c running at the time. Also, it was really more than just a shock. I could leave my hand on the metal and feel the current running. Not enough to hurt, but more of a tingling sensation. I don't know about the inverter. It is a pretty base level trailer. Do they usually come equipped with one?
Thanks for the reply.

Chris
 

Jim Dick

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Chris,

Get it checked out right away! Sounds like you might have the neutral swapped with the hot lead. If you have an A.C. tester with the three lights it should tell you if the wiring is reversed. It could be your source or the trailer. If you have it plugged in at home I'd check that first. Do not continue to use the trailer until you find the problem. It could be disastrous.

 

Tom

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Chris

I think Jim has hit the nail on the head. I didn't realize how literally you meant shocked.
 

John From Detroit

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Either like Jim said, you have some wires swapped in the plug (one of mine did) or you have a serious gound fault on the trailer

Either way.  Jim's advice GET IT CHECKED OUT NOW applies

If you do not get it checked out and repaired..... Well.... been nice knowing you.

One other posibility

Bad ground & Return leads on the power cord, if the leads are corrouded it can cause the body of many older trialers to "Float" a few bolts above ground.

Still... Check it out applies
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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And I suspect if you plug into a GFCI-protected circuit, the GFCI will open up.

But it is possible the circuit you were plugged into was at fault, not your trailer.  Test that with the $4 device with 3 lights that is available at any hardware store.
 

cwarner

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Aug 4, 2005
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I removed the battery last fall and put it back in just recently. If I have one of the wires hooked up wrong there could that cause the problem? And how exactly should I check it with a tester light? I have zero experience with any kind of electrical wiring.  I also had the fuse out of the battery lead in order to charge it. Could that have caused a problem in the ground?
Thanks again for all of the replys.

Chris
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The battery is not likely to cause the problem you are experiencing, though it is possible.  The negative terminal of the battery (it will have a "-" minus sigh on the case next to it) should be wired to "ground", which means connected to the chassis of the RV. Follow whatever wire is connecgted to the negative battery post and see where it goes.  Also, the red wire normally goes to the positive ("+") battery post, but sometimes battery cables get replaced with one of a non-standard color.

The fuse you disconnected is not related to this sort of problem.

The device we are talking about is for AC (110V) electric, not the battery (12V) system.  It plugs into an electrical outlet and has three indicator lights. Depending on how these indicators light up, it will show whether the circuit to that outlet is wired correctly or has one of several possible wiring flaws.  No skill required - just plug it in and compare the light pattern to the chart printed on the tester.
 

Jim Dick

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cwarner said:
I removed the battery last fall and put it back in just recently. If I have one of the wires hooked up wrong there could that cause the problem? And how exactly should I check it with a tester light? I have zero experience with any kind of electrical wiring.  I also had the fuse out of the battery lead in order to charge it. Could that have caused a problem in the ground?
Thanks again for all of the replys.

Chris

Chris, it does not sound to me like a DC problem. I'm betting it's the AC side. In many converters there are fuses in line in case you hook the battery up reversed. These fuses will blow immediately in which case you would not feel any current. It it's a tingling sensation then it's most likely AC.

 

Lou Schneider

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Any time you recieve a shock, even a tingle, from a metal part the cause needs to be investigated and corrected.? ?But before you get too involved, here are two possibilities with easy fixes.

1) The outlet your RV is plugged into is wired improperly.? AC wiring has two current carrying wires.? ?One is the "hot"
wire and has 120 Volts AC on it.? The second wire is called the "neutral" wire and normally stays at 0 volts.? ?If hot and neutral are reversed, full voltage can appear at unexpected places and this must be corrected.

2)? Your RV may have the neutral and ground wires connected together inside the breaker panel.? Normally the neutral and ground wires are connected in only one place, the MAIN power panel (in this case your home's or the campground's main electrical panel).? Any electrical panels downstream of that, including the one in the RV, are Subpanels, and the neutral and ground must remain seperate.? ?Occasionally mistakes are made, and the panel in the RV has the neutral and ground tied together, like a main panel.

The reason that ground and neutral are kept seperate in the SUB panels has to do with voltage loss along wires.? ?Any time you draw current through a wire, you develop voltage across the resistance of the wire.? ?This shows up as low voltage at the far end of the wire, in this case in your RV.? ?What is actually happening is half of that voltage is lost along the hot wire, the other half is lost along the neutral wire.? ?Since the far end of the neutral (the source end) is at 0 volts, the voltage "loss" at the far end of the wire causes it's voltage to rise above ground.

If turning on the air conditioner causes the voltage in the RV to drop by 10 volts, half of that voltage (5 volts) is lost along the hot wire.? ?The remaining voltage is "lost" along the neutral wire, causing the neutral at the RV to rise to 5 volts above ground.

The trailer frame and all the metal parts are connected to the ground wire, which is supposed to stay at 0 volts because normally there's no current flowing through the ground wire..? ?But if the ground is disconnected or faulty, or the neutral and ground are connected at the trailer panel, the "ground" voltage appearing on the metal parts of the RV can rise to the voltage on the neutral wire.? This may be enough for you to feel under the conditions you listed - wet ground, wet skin, etc.
 
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