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Old 09-28-2004, 11:06 AM   #29
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Floating Ground

The AC should not be grounded to the Trailer in any way. The N and G should not be connected in the panel, thus you shouldn't get zapped. However, who knows what folks have done over the years. Someone may have attached the gound wire in a recept to the metal box which is attached to the metal skin. This is a common practise when three conducter wire is run to ungrounded recepticals and I've seen it done on grounded recept as well. People do all kinds of things when they don't know what they are doing. In a trailer it is a major problem. If you have any recept without the little ground hole pull them out and replace them with the copper wire to the little green screw on the recept.
Unplug the power.
If you have a meter check the resistance between the shell and the ground in the panel and Check between the external plug ground and hot, should be no connection, also the external neutral and ground. There are those who wrap the ground around a screw that connects the panel to the frame, bad, bad, bad.
If you get someone to look at it get a marine electrician, the floating ground stuff may be a mystery to someone who hasn't been formally trained in it or experienced. It is different from house wiring.

If your shell is hot don't plug into power and touch any metal.
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Old 09-28-2004, 03:00 PM   #30
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Can the lack of a neutral connection in a 30 amp plug cause the trailers skin to become electrified? If not, then they didn't fix the problem. Thanks, Joe
in a word NO!

if your trailer is wired properly you would get dim lights, if any at all from a bad neutral connection.

i still think they pierced a wire when they installed the antenna.

i wish i was there, ten min. with a volt ohm meter would be very revealing!

john
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Old 09-28-2004, 04:39 PM   #31
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Was that you?

I was in Camper Clinic today to pick up my AS and overheard part of a discussion on the phone about the owner getting shocked and factory modifications having been done. Either this is a trend or you were the caller. Based on the number of older units in for repair at CC, they must be doing some things right but I still find screws left off on reassembly.
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Old 09-28-2004, 05:15 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald Clay
I was in Camper Clinic today to pick up my AS and overheard part of a discussion on the phone about the owner getting shocked and factory modifications having been done. Either this is a trend or you were the caller.
I'm sure it was me. I talked to them three times today. They keep trying to convince me that if the neutral wasn't functioning properly that the skin of my trailer would become electrified. Not buying it. Now they are waiting on Airstream to send them a wiring diagram for the trailer. Told him to just look it up in my manual in the trailer and he told me he'd rather get something directly from Airstream.
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Old 09-28-2004, 05:59 PM   #33
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They keep trying to convince me that if the neutral wasn't functioning properly that the skin of my trailer would become electrified.
unless there is a malfunctioning appliance or lamp fixture in the trailer they are WRONG.

your trailer was fine before the factory screwed the antenna in place. right?

you got a spark at the ground terminal when trying to plug it in, that means there is a hot lead touching the skin.

i would suggest getting the factory to hire/pay for a licensed electrician to look at your trailer. get an outside opinion, then approach them with the findings.

john
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Old 09-28-2004, 06:03 PM   #34
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Talked to an Electrician

I finally talked to my friend the electrician and here's what he said. As suspected - it is NOT possible for a bad neutral wire to electrify the trailer. He said if the neutral went out you simply wouldn't have power. He said the sole purpose of the ground wire is to blow the circuit if a stray or frayed hot wire were to touch something else metal. Sometimes though the circuit doesn't blow when a hot wire touches a conductor and at that time I would get shocked. In order for me to get shocked the neutral would have to be functioning properly or at least in a dimished capacity. Might be a good idea for me to contact Airstream tomorrow and let them know what the dealer is trying to tell me and see what they say.
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Old 09-28-2004, 10:19 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barkingspider
I finally talked to my friend the electrician and here's what he said. As suspected - it is NOT possible for a bad neutral wire to electrify the trailer. He said if the neutral went out you simply wouldn't have power. He said the sole purpose of the ground wire is to blow the circuit if a stray or frayed hot wire were to touch something else metal. Sometimes though the circuit doesn't blow when a hot wire touches a conductor and at that time I would get shocked. In order for me to get shocked the neutral would have to be funcioning properly or at least in a dimished capacity. Might be a good idea for me to contact Airstream tomorrow and let them know what the dealer is trying to tell me and see what they say.
That sounds right to me. AC current works evenly. On an oscilloscope, (an instrument that shows the variations in a fluctuating electrical quantity as a visible wave form) AC voltage would appear as a Sine Wave, this would be equal above and below the 0 Line This is correct for Alternating Current, AC. If you removed the netural 1/2 of the connection is lost and you would have nothing at all. So this means that if your netural was failing to make contact you would not have been shocked as they have told you. You must have current present to have been shocked...............

I agree with John in that the problem surfaced only after they installed the antenna bracket on your unit. This makes full sense. They probably pinched or pierced a hot wire and it's connection to the shell of your unit is completed when they tightened the screw. They should have used rivets, but sloppy drill work could have also torn the insulation from the wire and now it is just barley touching the screw when you are being shocked. You would still have the problem with rivets too if sloppy drill work is the case. Anyway this loose or intermittent connection may also allow your breaker not to trip as it should when a short of this nature is encountered.

I do have one simply question, did they inspect the antenna mount to see if that was what was causing the short or did they just say, no that's not it?

Keep us posted because this one is gonna be interesting.............
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Old 09-29-2004, 08:26 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by JohnG
I do have one simply question, did they inspect the antenna mount to see if that was what was causing the short or did they just say, no that's not it?
No they did not inspect the antennae mount. They simply said "We looked at the 30 amp plug and thought it looked corroded so we replaced it."
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Old 09-29-2004, 11:04 AM   #37
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Thumbs down Camper Clinic horror stories

I have to tell ya - between this and the nightmarish floor "repair" stories I've heard, I would be disinclined to use Camper Clinic II in Buda for anything other than an occasional parts resource. Too much "Slap-Dash Sally" for me!
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Old 09-29-2004, 08:06 PM   #38
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Problem Found - Screw in a hot wire

First let me say I truly appreciate all of you on the forum. The knowledge and experience you share with fellow Airstreamers is a tremendous resource.

Second let me say....The problem has been diagnosed!!!! Airstream drove a screw into a hot wire while installing the support bracket for my Winegard antennae. Camper Clinic will take a picture of it tomorrow and email it to Airstream to ask them how they would like to handle it.

If you still want to read on I'll tell you the chain of events leading up to it being diagnosed this evening............

I drove out to Camper Clinic this evening to talk with them about my trailer and to have them show me how they planned to access and check the hot wire in the ceiling without removing the center panel.

After I got there we discussed a few things and I suggested we ohm the plug to see if everything was hooked up correctly. When they did this they couldn't get a proper reading from any combination of hot/neutral or hot/ground connections on the 30 amp male plug.

I then drove home and got a call from them about an hour later. They said after I left their shop they decided they really needed to get this figured out and went back inside to discover the GFI breaker had tripped again. So they started going through the breaker box one connection at time. Everything looked good. After that they enlarged the hole above the light in the shower stall where the 12 volt lead comes through and they were able to get up there and see that Airstream had actually driven a screw threw one of the hot wires in the ceiling while installing the support bracket for my antennae. They also mentioned that the end of this screw had burned/melted from the electricity and wasn't keeping a constant connection with the hot wire and that's why it was now happening intermittenlty.

Joe
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Old 09-29-2004, 08:31 PM   #39
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Argh!

All I can think of is the liability that they had, NOT checking with an ohmeter to see if they had fixed it the first time..... who replaces a plug and does not check it!

I'm glad you're alive.
Marc
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Old 10-12-2004, 11:52 AM   #40
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Chaulk up another correct diagnoses for the Airstream Forums.

Well what kind of repair did they finally do to correct the problem?
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Old 10-12-2004, 12:04 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barkingspider
First let me say I truly appreciate all of you on the forum. The knowledge and experience you share with fellow Airstreamers is a tremendous resource.

Second let me say....The problem has been diagnosed!!!! Airstream drove a screw into a hot wire while installing the support bracket for my Winegard antennae. Camper Clinic will take a picture of it tomorrow and email it to Airstream to ask them how they would like to handle it.

If you still want to read on I'll tell you the chain of events leading up to it being diagnosed this evening............

I drove out to Camper Clinic this evening to talk with them about my trailer and to have them show me how they planned to access and check the hot wire in the ceiling without removing the center panel.

After I got there we discussed a few things and I suggested we ohm the plug to see if everything was hooked up correctly. When they did this they couldn't get a proper reading from any combination of hot/neutral or hot/ground connections on the 30 amp male plug.

I then drove home and got a call from them about an hour later. They said after I left their shop they decided they really needed to get this figured out and went back inside to discover the GFI breaker had tripped again. So they started going through the breaker box one connection at time. Everything looked good. After that they enlarged the hole above the light in the shower stall where the 12 volt lead comes through and they were able to get up there and see that Airstream had actually driven a screw threw one of the hot wires in the ceiling while installing the support bracket for my antennae. They also mentioned that the end of this screw had burned/melted from the electricity and wasn't keeping a constant connection with the hot wire and that's why it was now happening intermittenlty.

Joe
Joe
In post #2 of this thread, that is what I said happened, being that I am not a Warranty station for Airstream, I will bill seperately from the others, LOL.

I'm sure glad you finally found the true cause.

This is really important: once it is repaired have a full test of your wiring performed. Make sure it includes at least a 500VAC Megger check of your wires insulation, 2500volts would be better.
This is the only way to really know if it is fixed.

This is even more important: Make sure all appliances and electrical equipment is disconnected from the trailer wiring before the test. Don't want to damage your equipment.

Good Luck
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