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Old 03-22-2014, 01:56 PM   #1
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Bleed Current?

Question for you electrical experts our there.....

I plugged my 1959 Trade wind into the outlet in the garage to let it charge.

I then took my multimeter, set it to ACV, stuck the black probe into the damp ground, and held the red probe up adjacent the outer aluminum skin. The multimeter read: 1.36 ACV.

Is this normal and is it a problem?

Should I be concerned?

Steve
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Old 03-22-2014, 02:03 PM   #2
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That amount of voltage is normal. If it were 10V then I might be worried.

Perry
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Old 03-22-2014, 02:50 PM   #3
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I forgot to mention....it also pops the GFCI outlet in the garage which is 15A.

Still not a concern?
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Old 03-22-2014, 03:19 PM   #4
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I forgot to mention....it also pops the GFCI outlet in the garage which is 15A.

Still not a concern?
Steve.

You must use a 3 prong connector, so that when the trailer is properly wired, the shell is grounded.

Any voltage reading says there is an issue of some kind.

Since you have a VOM, check it out.

Andy
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Old 03-22-2014, 06:45 PM   #5
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You need to measure between the neutral and ground and see if there is voltage. Does the breaker trip as soon as you plug it in or when you start the AC? I would check to make sure hot, neutral, and ground are wired correctly. The ground itself is not a good place to check. The three wires coming in are what you need to check. I would start with the plug in the garage and see if that is ok then go to the trailer plugs. You can get a plug checker that has lights that light up to tell you if the wiring is correct or you can do it with a DVM. You could have a flaky GFCI.

Perry
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:51 PM   #6
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The green wire is typically connected to a ground rod at the power meter. It is totally possible that the potential of the earth at the trailer is different from the potential at the ground rod. What you measure with a meter will depend on the meter as well as the object being measured. An analog multimeter (VOM) will read different values from a digital meter or a a vacuum tube voltmeter. (VTVM).
When installing communications trailers at semi-permanent locations it is common to have a ground stud connected to the frame and drive a ground rod.

That said, plugging in your trailer should not pop the GFCI. There is a problem in the house wiring, the GFCI, or the trailer.

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Old 03-22-2014, 09:28 PM   #7
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Question for you electrical experts our there.....

I plugged my 1959 Trade wind into the outlet in the garage to let it charge.

I then took my multimeter, set it to ACV, stuck the black probe into the damp ground, and held the red probe up adjacent the outer aluminum skin. The multimeter read: 1.36 ACV.

Is this normal and is it a problem?

Should I be concerned?

Steve
It depends on where the voltage is coming from. If there is voltage between the ground wire in your garage, and the soil, then you maybe have a site wiring problem, but stray voltage can have many causes, some of them neither serious nor easily correctable.

If your trailer doesn't have a good connection between the shell and the ground wire, that's a problem.

If your trailer pops the GFCI, that's also a separate problem, usually caused by shorts between neutral and ground in the trailer somewhere, or by accumulated dust and moisture in the outside outlet.
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Old 03-23-2014, 07:00 AM   #8
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Hot Ground?

Hi everybody, Thanks for all the input on this issue. I admit this is approaching the limit of my electrical troubleshooting skills so I'd like to be sure I understand the problem and solutions.

When I plug my 1959 Trade wind into the garage GFCI outlet the GFCI pops/off.

When I put an adapter without a ground (only two prong) into the trailer, the GFCI does not pop.

When I put the red probe on the airstream outer skin, and the black probe in the ground, I get 1.0 AVC on the multi meter.

Is this a problem? Does this mean I have a "hot ground" If so how can I use my multimeter to locate the issue?

Steve
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Old 03-23-2014, 07:39 AM   #9
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Bleed Current?

Checking against the damp earth is insufficient in determining if you have a serious problem IMO.

I think you need to check the voltage against a properly grounded appliance (or similar) outside of the trailer.

Keep in mind that the ground you tested against, dirt, may not have enough surface area to carry all that is bleeding, and putting one hand on the trailer, and the other on a good ground could lead to electrocution if indeed you have an issue.

Keep in mind also that the size of the bleed may be mitigated by what devices are turned on and how much power the trailer is consuming.


(I.e. It is possible that the more stuff that is turned on, the more dangerous the bleed )
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Old 03-23-2014, 03:00 PM   #10
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Making progress

Ok. I'm making some progress now.

I removed some excess and unneeded wiring form the fuse box area and here is what I'm left with. (see pic)

I located a copper ground wire which was connected to the lower right neutral fuse block and connected it to the grounding point in the bottom center of the fusebox. This line fed the forward outlets.

I reconnected the trailer to the GFCI in the garage and it did not pop the GFCI. Also, probing the outer skin of the trailer resulted in a 0.7 ACV reading as opposed to the 1.0 AVC reading I got earlier.

Everything inside still works. Any advice on how to clean up this fuse box? Can anyone offer some instructions or a diagram for a 30 amp system breaker box?

Steve
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Old 03-23-2014, 04:09 PM   #11
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First of all you need a bigger box. All connections need to be inside a metal box for fire prevention. All wires going into the box need to be go through Romex clamps going in and outside the box. Typically, the pig tail coming into the box would go to a 30A single pole breaker. Smaller single pole breakers would be used for the different items in the trailer. Usually, there is a 20A breaker for the AC and microwave and a couple of 15A breakers for all the plugs in the trailer. You may just need one 15A breaker. Most boxes now days are 220V boxes. There are two 120V sections. To make a box 120V you would short the two hots at the top of the box together. This energizes both rails in the box to 120V. Normally, the power would be connected to the two hot inputs on the box instead of the 30A breaker. The AC goes to the 20A breaker and the other stuff in the trailer to 15A breakers as many as you need to handle all the wall plugs etc. All of the ground wires and neutral wires (green and black) hook to the rails inside the box. The hot (black) from the pig tail goes to the 30A breaker. The hots from the wall plugs etc go to the 15A breakers.

Now you have 30A to protect the pig tail and house power and individual 15A and 20A breakers for the smaller items. If for some reason the total adds up to more than 30A the main will trip. If one of the smaller circuits overloads the smaller breaker will trip.

Perry
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Old 03-23-2014, 04:23 PM   #12
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I only know 3 things about electricity

  1. never stick a fork into an outlet
  2. that's not enough to know if you want to troubleshoot
  3. call a real professional and get it fixed RIGHT, it's cheaper than being electrocuted or burning up your trailer.

SINCERELY, Paula
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Old 03-23-2014, 04:38 PM   #13
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I agree with Paula. I would pay for a professional to be sure its wired correctly or become good friends with an electrician who would help me for free. Having said that, not all professional electricians know how RVs are wired and set up, but good ones should. Voltage coming in should only be 120v.
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Old 03-23-2014, 06:05 PM   #14
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I agree with Paula. I would pay for a professional to be sure its wired correctly or become good friends with an electrician who would help me for free. Having said that, not all professional electricians know how RVs are wired and set up, but good ones should. Voltage coming in should only be 120v.
'good' residential electricians are great with houses…..NOT SO GREAT with RVs. I have seen and experienced many times, where a 'qualified electrician' bonded the neutral to the ground; causing a 'hot skin' condition. THEY ARE NEVER BONDED IN AN RV!!!!

I have also seen many trailers and motor homes fry a good deal of their 120VAC electricals when the 'qualified electrician' wire them a 30 amp RV plug…..but wired it for 240VAC as in a residential clothes dryer and NOT the 120VAC that a 30 amp RV requires.

Be careful out there!!!
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