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Old 07-26-2020, 04:18 PM   #1
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2012 1208 Electrical Issue

Hello. I am looking for a little guidance on a electrical issue I am having with my 2012 1208. Whenever the camper is plugged in and I go to touch the metal plating on the front or back of the outside of the camper and I donít have shoes on I get a shock. Itís not a terrible one but definitely enough to let you know itís there. Has anyone else run into this issue? I am sure itís some sort of grounding issue, but I have no idea where to start. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:22 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forum from Western New York State!

That's a very dangerous situation that has to be addressed ASAP! If you feel a shock, then something has failed in the RV’s grounding system. It could be caused by a broken off ground pin in an extension cord or dog bone adapter, or maybe a failed ground-bond in the outlet you’ve plugged your shore power line into. In the right combination of circumstances, it can kill you. It may be best to call a licensed electrician right away. Good luck, and let us know what's found.
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:30 PM   #3
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You have what is called a hot skin condition. It is NOT a DIY project. It is dangerous. Call an electrician NOW. Does not need to be an RV Tech.
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:44 PM   #4
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Best guess is that you unit is not grounded. There isn't much going on in a ground circuit. First off the outlet you are plugged into must be properly grounded. You didn't mention what outlet you are plugged into: 50 amp, 30 amp, or 15/20 amp. Also, does this happen on all outlets you have tried?

If by chance you are testing on a standard wall outlet, you can easily test it to see if it is properly wired. I have attached a picture of a properly wired outlet which can be tested with a multimeter, unless you happen to have an outlet tester. You should read zero volts from neutral to ground.

If the outlet is good the problem is with the ground wire somewhere from the power plug to its connection on the chassis. If your plug looks good with no loose or burnt prongs, odds are the chassis connection may be at fault.

With the rig unplugged look at where the power cord comes into the rig. If it is hardwired look for a wire connected to the frame. It needs to be a solid connection. Maybe the wire broke or there is corrosion at the connection. Either is easily fixed.

Another test is to ohm out the ground wire in the cable. Using a multimeter set for resistance and the cable unplugged, touch one lead to the ground lug and the other meter lead to the wire attached to the frame. Should read pretty much zero ohms. This is just testing the physical wire running inside of the cable. If it reads open, replace the cable (or if you are lucky it could be a problem in the plug end which can be replaced by itself).

If you have a rig where the power cable is not hard wired but plugs into a connector, you can still ohm out the cable as mentioned by unplugging the power cord. You can also test the ground connection between the frame and the connector that the cable plugs into.

If you are at all not comfortable with these tests, find someone who is or get an electrician. As previously mentioned THIS IS A DANGEROUS ISSUE! Do not plug in until the problem is resolved. Someone could get seriously hurt.
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Old 07-26-2020, 07:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFlightRisk View Post
Welcome to the Forum from Western New York State!

That's a very dangerous situation that has to be addressed ASAP! If you feel a shock, then something has failed in the RVís grounding system. It could be caused by a broken off ground pin in an extension cord or dog bone adapter, or maybe a failed ground-bond in the outlet youíve plugged your shore power line into. In the right combination of circumstances, it can kill you. It may be best to call a licensed electrician right away. Good luck, and let us know what's found.
The problem is not a missing ground. The problem is a hot wire is in contact with the metal frame of the trailer. There my be a ground problem but the first the to do is find where the frame is getting hot.!
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Old 07-26-2020, 07:21 PM   #6
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The problem is not a missing ground. The problem is a hot wire is in contact with the metal frame of the trailer. There my be a ground problem but the first the to do is find where the frame is getting hot.!
If you don't think the problem is a missing ground, how can you explain a breaker not tripping or wire melting if a hot wire is contacting metal?
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Old 07-26-2020, 07:28 PM   #7
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With a good ground path, a hot short to the frame will trip the corresponding breaker.
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Old 07-26-2020, 07:31 PM   #8
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If you don't think the problem is a missing ground, how can you explain a breaker not tripping or wire melting if a hot wire is contacting metal?
the lamps in your house work very well with no ground. The metal should not be hot at anytime ground or no ground!

your RV will work very well with no ground. I would not recommend it but it will work. Remember your granddaddy's house with only two wire outlets??
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Old 07-26-2020, 07:40 PM   #9
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With a good ground path, a hot short to the frame will trip the corresponding breaker.
yep, that's the theory. 50 years experience has tough me it does not always work. loose connections happen very easy in an RV.
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Old 07-26-2020, 09:17 PM   #10
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I am not an electrician but rather an electronics tech so I will bow to your expertise. The problem here may be two fold with an open ground and leakage between hot to ground.

I'm trying to think of anything else that could cause this. How about if the outlet or wiring had hot and neutral reversed AND the neutral was bonded to ground in the rig? That would put 120 on ground with no breaker tripping and 120 volt items would work. Just pondering.

In any event it should be fixed before the rig is ever used or plugged in. I would think any competent electrician (or even us electronic techs) armed with a multimeter could easily tell what the problem is as long as they knew what was suppose to take place.
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Old 07-27-2020, 02:05 AM   #11
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I am not an electrician but rather an electronics tech so I will bow to your expertise. The problem here may be two fold with an open ground and leakage between hot to ground.

I'm trying to think of anything else that could cause this. How about if the outlet or wiring had hot and neutral reversed AND the neutral was bonded to ground in the rig? That would put 120 on ground with no breaker tripping and 120 volt items would work. Just pondering.

In any event it should be fixed before the rig is ever used or plugged in. I would think any competent electrician (or even us electronic techs) armed with a multimeter could easily tell what the problem is as long as they knew what was suppose to take place.
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Old 07-27-2020, 12:24 PM   #12
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For some reason I have a hard time shutting my mind down while trying to sleep. So at 4am this morning it came to me. Rather than sleeping I am awake thinking about electrical issues. I am indeed a mutant.

What came to mind is that I saw this once before in my early days of being a field tech. Yes electricity was in use back then. Anyway I responded to a service call where it was reported that people would receive a shock if they touched our equipment and other metal at the same time. I went in thinking there was no way this could happen as our unit was fed 24 volts DC from the power transformer plugged into the wall. But I was wrong.

I indeed found that you could get shocked as they had told me. Of course I used a voltmeter to verify that rather than using the touchy feely method. I also don't stick 9 volt batteries on my tongue to test them.

I was measuring 50 volts from our metal chassis to other metal in the area. Holy crap (technical term)! This problem was easily isolated by measuring the standard power outlet we were plugged into. The ground connection measured 50 volts above actual metal ground in the area. There were a few outlets in the area measuring the same while all others were fine. I assumed they were all on the same circuit.

Anyway, my job was done. I unplugged our unit and advised the customer of the safety issue and told them to have an electrician fix the problem. Never did wonder what caused the issue, that is until now. Ah, the memories that come back.

Now that I am in the twilight of my years (isn't there a song about that) I am scratching my gray haired head thinking about what may cause that type of problem. I have a theory and it comes back to an open ground which was my first thought in this post.

If the ground were to open up say at the panel, you would have a nice long wire running in the same conduit as the other wiring. The current flowing in the other wires could inductively couple a voltage into the ground wire, much like a receiving antenna, since it is just sitting there. This voltage would carry down the line to the outlet.

If this could happen then my next logical (?) question would be, how long would the open wire have to be for a voltage to be induced on it. Would an open ground connection at the power outlet feeding the RV, leaving say a 20-30 foot wire open in the power cable, be enough to induce a voltage to the metal ground. Inquiring minds want to know.

Anyway, this is all theoretical. Where is Scotty when you need him? So for all that you who were wondering (OK, so none of you were wondering), I was finally able to go back to sleep.

PLEASE LET US KNOW WHAT THE PROBLEM TURNS OUT TO BE. I don't want any more sleepless nights.
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Old 07-28-2020, 08:26 AM   #13
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Loss of ground may not be the root cause of the problem but that is why you have the hot skin condition. Here is the best online source of information I have found relative to a hot skin condition: No Shock Zone Here is a post there asking about the same question you have: Are “Little” Shocks OK? - No~Shock~Zone

As others have said, if you are not sure of what to do call an electrician!
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