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Old 07-04-2016, 02:13 PM   #1
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Electrical Charge on Trailer Frame?

I've just recently noticed a small electrical charge on my trailer. Never noticed it before but the last two trips to the storage facility and it's noticeable. About like the zap you get from someone that shuffles on the carpet or a doorknob in your house in the winter. Tingles and startles me when working on the trailer, especially when it hits me on the arm. I disconnected the battery, both pos and neg terminals, still there. The trailer is parked directly underneath some high voltage lines. There is a utility high voltage tower run that goes directly over almost the entire storage lot. I assume that my trailer is picking up an induced voltage from the overhead lines? I measured it with my meter and it's about 3 to 4 volts AC between the trailer and my body. Not high voltage but enough to give you a zap/tingle, especially since the trailer would be able to hold quite a charge capacity. I never noticed it before but, the humidity is much higher now than earlier in the year when I first started keeping it there so perhaps that contributes to the effect? Anyway, thinking of putting a nail in the ground through a crack in the pavement with a wire clipped to the trailer frame to perhaps dissipate the charge. Anyone ever heard of this before? Picking up a charge from overhead lines?

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Old 07-04-2016, 02:46 PM   #2
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Never heard of that. I assume you are not connected to shore power. In theory I can see how it's possible. The nail idea just might be enough to solve the problem. Let us know how it works out.

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Old 07-04-2016, 02:51 PM   #3
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I've never heard of an induced charge on a RV. Sure you don't have a short somewhere?
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Old 07-04-2016, 02:58 PM   #4
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No shore power and battery disconnected (pos & neg) so no source of charge or power in or connected to the trailer. Been reading online to see what I can find. Seems not uncommon for a charge to be created under or near high voltage lines. Articles I've read give examples that sound just like what I am experiencing. It can vary based on direction of the wires relative to the metal structure and atmospheric conditions. Not dangerous but they call it a "startle/nuisance" shock. They recommend grounding the structure (fence, metal building, etc) to discharge it. Will try grounding the trailer and see however, not sure if the charge is in the trailer or me. I read one example where the charge would build up in the person and then discharge when they touched ground, or another person that was grounded. I wear rubber soled shoes and the trailer jacks are down so could be the charge is me, not the trailer, and it is simply a source to ground for me. Not sure how I could fix that one.
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Old 07-04-2016, 03:45 PM   #5
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Try one of these... May work to discharge your TT. It would be better than driving a nail into your driveway..

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Old 07-04-2016, 04:21 PM   #6
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There is a significant static charge that will be near high voltage power lines. It is possible to pick up a static charge from this. You can use a rubber strap that contacts the ground to dissipate the charge.
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Old 07-04-2016, 04:52 PM   #7
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Wow, that's really interesting. I've heard of folks ripping off the power companies by placing coils under the high voltage lines but not of folks getting shocked by induction into a trailer/RV. Sounds totally plausible from here.

The KOA at Delaware Gap has high voltage lines running right through the middle of the campground but I'm guessing humidity could also assist with the induction. It would also be a function of how high the voltage of that particular line is so conditions there weren't right for getting tingled.
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Old 07-04-2016, 05:28 PM   #8
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I would say the voltage you are feeling is much much higher than a few volts but there is no power there because it's gone in a millisecond. But since you said you are wearing rubber sole shoes I think you are the source and the frame is grounded by the front stabilizer. I would try it bare footed just to see if I am right.
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Old 07-04-2016, 08:41 PM   #9
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That's my plan, ground myself first then see if I still get zapped. Since it's very noticeable now and I have not noticed it before I suspect the air humidity and other conditions contribute to it. You're likely right re the voltage. I'm sure my little radio shack analog meter is not the most accurate way to measure it. I bit my lip and tried to get it to dissipate a couple of times by holding on for a bit but it never seemed to go away. Will report back after more tests, unless of course the unique conditions change and it goes away on it's own.
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Old 07-05-2016, 01:49 PM   #10
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Problem solved. Went back today and trailer still zapped me when I touched it. I drove a long nail into a crack in the pavement under the edge of the trailer and clipped a wire lead from the nail to a bare metal strap attached to the underside of the trailer that was screwed into the frame. No more charge or zap and the voltage reading on the trailer dropped to 0, no movement of the needle on my meter. I disconnected the wire for a test and sure enough, as I grabbed the end of the clamp to put it back on the nail it zapped me. One of those problems that I could analyze all day but, if a nail and a small piece of wire fix it then I'm moving on.

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