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Old 03-23-2014, 06:30 PM   #15
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Please see post 3 in this thread for a dire warning by a Certified Tech about tying neutral and ground together in your A/C circuit.

Paula's advice is spot on. A qualified electrician will not only check your pictured connections, but verify that the wiring in the trailer hasn't been modified incorrectly, attacked by rodents or corroded over the decades.

IMHO, some of the electrical advice on this forum is well-meaning, but dangerous.
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Old 03-23-2014, 06:32 PM   #16
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That's funny, Lewster. I was just linking to one of your warnings as you posted.
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Old 03-23-2014, 06:48 PM   #17
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I have posted advice many times on these forums that those who are not specifically trained to deal with the type of electrical circuits that they are having trouble with, are best to leave it to professionals. However the advice generally seems to be disregarded, so I've stopped bothering.

However, Lewster's posts point out a danger that might seem more significant to some than the danger of electrocution. So, to those people: Keep in mind that your attempt to save tens of dollars can easily, with just one small oops, end up costing you, or perhaps your survivors, hundreds of dollars .

My universal advice for electrical matters. If you have to come here to ask about it, you probably shouldn't be doing it.

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Old 03-23-2014, 06:49 PM   #18
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I stand by my statement in my previous post. A good electrician will know the correct way to wire and check out an RV. If he doesn't know that he is not a GOOD electrician. There are jake legs in all professions.
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Old 03-23-2014, 07:53 PM   #19
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I still don't know what the issue is. The neutral and ground have to be connected together somewhere. Someone explain it to me. I read the previous post and it said don't use the same ground for the 12VDC as the AC. I don't think I suggested that. If you wire your pigtail backwards the hot will go to ground and the breaker will trip.

Perry
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:18 PM   #20
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The neutral and ground are supposed to be tied together in only one place, the house breaker panel. If they are tied together on the load side of a GFCI, it will trip.

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Old 03-23-2014, 11:42 PM   #21
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I still don't know what the issue is. The neutral and ground have to be connected together somewhere. Someone explain it to me. I read the previous post and it said don't use the same ground for the 12VDC as the AC. I don't think I suggested that. If you wire your pigtail backwards the hot will go to ground and the breaker will trip.

Perry
My son, a Master Electrician, explained this to me when we redid the Overlander. I am not an electrician, but I understand the issue as follows.

If the polarity is wrong, hot is connected to neutral and neutral is connected to hot. If the ground is properly connected at the post and properly bonded to the trailer, you have a degree of protection.

Here's the really dangerous scenario: If the improperly wired "neutral" -- really hot -- is bonded to ground in the trailer AND the post is not properly grounded, your trailer frame and shell are HOT. This is what Lewster refers to as a 'Hot Skin' Condition.

Imagine standing in a puddle of water and inserting your metal key in the door in that situation.

To reiterate -- nothing in this post is intended as electrical advice. I am not an electrician.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:30 AM   #22
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If the GFCI is popping then there is enough current flowing to ground that could kill you! If that much current is in the skin then it could be relatively easy for you to become the "short circuit."

Pay attention to Paula's #3 on the list: the photo you posted is the kind of thing that shows up in my weekly "code violations" emails.

In your photo, I only see part of one green wire so it appears that grounding is not correct. The house wiring needs to meet code before you pursue any issues with the trailer. It sounds like you are plugging in to 120vac, but if you need 220 or need an rv plug (not the "standard" house plug) then Lew's cautions also apply.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:00 AM   #23
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Ok I see the point about the GFCI tripping because the neutral and ground are tied together. The neutral and ground can be bonded together but if they are, the GFCI won't work. The shell should always be grounded no matter what. I try not to use GFCI circuits because they don't like inductive loads and the cheap ones the builders put in don't hold up. So should there be two separate grounding bars in a trailer box, one for the neutral and one for the ground? and only the ground bar should be hooked to the box? The ground bar should also be hooked to the trailer shell.

I am going to look at the Airstream schematics and see how it was originally wires at least for a 70's model trailer.

Ok here is an electrical breaker box schematic on page 8-35. It does show two separate bars with the neutral bar separate from the grounding bar.

http://www.motorcycleproducts.org/AS...Electrical.pdf

Perry
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:19 AM   #24
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Ok I see the point about the GFCI tripping because the neutral and ground are tied together. The neutral and ground can be bonded together but if they are, the GFCI won't work. The shell should always be grounded no matter what. I try not to use GFCI circuits because they don't like inductive loads and the cheap ones the builders put in don't hold up. So should there be two separate grounding bars in a trailer box, one for the neutral and one for the ground? and only the ground bar should be hooked to the box? The ground bar should also be hooked to the trailer shell.

I am going to look at the Airstream schematics and see how it was originally wires at least for a 70's model trailer.

Perry
Perry, ALL recreational vehicles have separate neutral and ground bus bars (remove the cover of your trailer's AC breaker box when off-grid and you can see the separate bars). The neutral is NEVER bonded to the ground within the vehicle. Any neutral to ground bonding takes place at the source of the power: within your house. In a house, this is a safety to allow any stray current to pass to ground (which is usually attached to the re-bar in your foundation, a long grounding rod pounded into the earth, or deep cold water copper or metallic pipe).

If the two were connected together in the RV, the neutral would then be passing thru your frame via the grounding bond and would energize your frame (and the entire trailer in an Airstream) with the potential to shock or kill you!. While the AC and DC grounds are bonded at the frame, the neutral must never be included in this.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:24 AM   #25
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I got it Lewster. The neutral never touches the shell. I am learning how it is done and why it is done. I think we are all on the same page now.

Perry
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:01 AM   #26
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Listen to the advice. You're in over your head.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:19 AM   #27
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At least he knows what to tell the electrician to do and he has some schematics to back it up.

Perry
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:03 PM   #28
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At least he knows what to tell the electrician to do and he has some schematics to back it up.

Perry
If he needs to tell the electrician what to do, he needs a different electrician.

Ken
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