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Old 04-12-2008, 12:28 PM   #1
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Unhappy Frame electrified ... BAD?

I was installing a new city water inlet (with SeaTech PEX fittings on my copper, which work great!) at the back of my Argosy. It was one of those 90-degree deals that you can screw to the frame. Well, as I was drilling I kept feeling a little vibration whenever my wedding ring touched the screwdriver chuck. It was a familiar feeling but I ignored it and just changed position.

A couple minutes later it dawned on me that the drill bit, attached directly to the frame as I was drilling, was conducting electricity and grounding through me. It wasn't 110, but I'm not sure I'd be able to tell the difference between 110AC and 12VDC by how it felt coursing through me. I touched my tongue to a 9V battery and I've certainly been woken up by a 110V surprise. It felt like something in between and I don't have a sophisticated tester.

When I used a standard 110 tester with those 2 needles and touched them to the 2 screws, it didn't register as 110 voltage, even when I touched one end to the ground.

I'm just not sure what this electrification is, nor whether or not it is a bad sign.

HELP. Should I worry about it?
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So...you bought a vintage trailer, did you, honey? Good deal, was it? Oh, just a couple of repairs, huh?

Drat, now our little Argy is starting to grow on me. I guess you were...were...were...right, honey.
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Old 04-12-2008, 01:19 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OregonArgy
...HELP. Should I worry about it?
I would.

You need to figure out if it is the drill motor or the Argosy.

Does your drill motor have a three-pronged cord? Your Argosy does, and you should verify the outlet it is plugged into is wired correctly. Then verify the Argosy's wiring is good. Same for the drill motor.

In the past, I have stuck my tongue through my wedding band for a low-cost circuit tester... (just kidding; Don't try that at home)

Tom
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Old 04-12-2008, 01:20 PM   #3
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Angry Hi

Worry, Worry. You are lucky that you were not standing in water or you were not grounded well. Find the short and fix it before you take your trailer anywhere where it is wet. You may light up like a candle when you step out of the trailer and step on wet ground.
Regards Russell:sa d:
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Old 04-12-2008, 01:31 PM   #4
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electric shock! = BAAAD

Any electric shock is bad. I would think it is probably 110. If you were grounded better, you would have probably felt more shock. I suggest you buy a polarity tester. They are cheap from Wal Mart. You plug it in each socket and the lights tell you if it is properly grounded and polarized. Check your source of AC as it could just be improperly wired. We had a problem with this last summer in Arizona; shocked the dogs, my wife, and when the rains came there were dead frogs everywhere. Turned out to be improperly grounded. The plug in the building we were plugged into was improperly grounded. Good luck. Phil and Sam Oregon Natives!
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Old 04-12-2008, 02:42 PM   #5
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The first thing to check, is do you have a "reversed polarity" light on the Argosy? If so, an incorrectly wired shore power recepticle will put hot 110V on the frame through the filament of that bulb.

The bulb is wired from trailer neutral to trailer ground, so if the neutral is connected to hot through a bad recepticle, the bulb should light up, but the recepticle needs to have a good ground. Without a ground in the recepticle, you ground the frame when you are standing on the ground and touch the frame.

Quote:
When I used a standard 110 tester with those 2 needles and touched them to the 2 screws, it didn't register as 110 voltage, even when I touched one end to the ground.
You need to touch a known good ground (not in the trailer, on the shore power side) to make this test. You may not have a ground at all in the trailer.

Zep
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Old 04-12-2008, 02:52 PM   #6
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Interesting results

I've got a plug-in circuit tester. Some interesting findings...

The plug at the house I've got it plugged into isn't grounded. That I can fix. First I'll plug it into a grounded plug around the corner, then I'll check the outlet. My house wiring isn't the point for Airforums, though, so back to my pride and joy.

Once I start plugging the tester into plugs around the inside of the trailer, I'm getting all sorts of weird readings. Well, last night I had turned on my Dometic refrigerator on the electric side to check it out for the season. Once I turned that off just now while I was testing, all the readings on the inside plugs turned into "correct."

That's interesting because the source electricity is NOT grounded, but the power to my inside outlets IS grounded. WHAT!?!

I'm no electrician so all of this is frying my brain. How come the frig is messing up my circuits? How come my frame is sending electricity through my arm?

...thinking...

You know what? My trailer is on steel stabilizer jacks connecting the frame to the ground. That may be why the frame is having some power run through it (in addition to having no ground back to the house). I'm going to go change source outlets right now.

Any more thoughts? Thank you!
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So...you bought a vintage trailer, did you, honey? Good deal, was it? Oh, just a couple of repairs, huh?

Drat, now our little Argy is starting to grow on me. I guess you were...were...were...right, honey.
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Old 04-12-2008, 03:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium
The first thing to check, is do you have a "reversed polarity" light on the Argosy? If so, an incorrectly wired shore power recepticle will put hot 110V on the frame through the filament of that bulb.

The bulb is wired from trailer neutral to trailer ground, so if the neutral is connected to hot through a bad recepticle, the bulb should light up, but the recepticle needs to have a good ground. Without a ground in the recepticle, you ground the frame when you are standing on the ground and touch the frame.
Is your battery at the roadside rear end of the trailer? There could be a round red bezeled light on the sidewall above the battery/univolt area. As Zep says you have a bad ground if this light is ever lit when you plug into 120 volts AC. Are you seeing anything like this indicator lit?
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Old 04-12-2008, 04:35 PM   #8
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Well, my battery is at the front, roadside. There is a jewel-looking light at the rear, roadside. I always wondered what that was. It is not currently lit, but I have changed the source power and it is now grounded. I will keep an eye on that indicator light. Thanks !!!
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So...you bought a vintage trailer, did you, honey? Good deal, was it? Oh, just a couple of repairs, huh?

Drat, now our little Argy is starting to grow on me. I guess you were...were...were...right, honey.
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Old 04-12-2008, 11:27 PM   #9
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What is the 110 voltage?

What is the 110 voltage coming off the breaker? And do you have the thin breakers? Two differant times I have seen 35 to 50 volts coming off those breakers when they got old and worn.
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Old 04-12-2008, 11:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanoeStream
...As Zep says you have a bad ground if this light is ever lit when you plug into 120 volts AC...
Not quite, but this is confusing for everyone.

The light won't come on at all if you don't have a good ground. It comes on when the hot and neutral is reversed AND you have a good ground. If you don't have a ground and the hot and neutral are reversed, that's when you get shocked stepping off the stairs to the wet ground and you're still holding on to the handle by the door....

Zep
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Old 04-12-2008, 11:41 PM   #11
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Argy,

First, do a 'hot skin test' on your trailer. Using your meter, put one test lead on the trailer skin (bare metal preferrable) and the other to a known good ground (like an extension cord plugged into your house....use the ground pin ONLY!). Try both the AC scale and then the DC scale. See if you get any readings.

If you do.......you have a hot leadhitting the skin of your Argy...either 120VAC or 12VDC and it shoud be located and fixed (as in properly connected and insulated). This is a MUST as any hot voltage flowing thru the skin of your trailer is unacceptable and DANGEROUS!!!!!!!
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Old 04-13-2008, 12:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OregonArgy
The plug at the house I've got it plugged into isn't grounded. That I can fix. First I'll plug it into a grounded plug around the corner, then I'll check the outlet. My house wiring isn't the point for Airforums, though, so back to my pride and joy.
Any more thoughts? Thank you!
Hi, OregonArgy. You just answered you own problem. If the plug at the house isn't grounded you will get a feed back through the body.

Next: as a mechanic for many years, and watching my boss try to change a side marker bulb on a new Chevrolet, [1969/1970] as he reached between the fender and battery, His metal watch band touched the fender and positive battery post at the same time. His watch band exploded and his wrist was instantly burned and blistered. From that day on, when working on anything, with any kind of tool, all rings, watches, and Etc. were removed.

For that reason, my wife understood why I seldom wore my wedding ring; and for those women that can't understand why their man took his ring off, ask them if it would look better to have that finger missing?
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:11 AM   #13
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Same thing happened to me with the AS: Hot skin (and everything else). I traced the problem to the three-prong plug to park power, which was shorting out. New plug; problem solved.

Well, almost. The new plugs then available were junk with a set screw designed to crack the plastic housing. In that way, you buy one, break it up, and then buy another. And then use glue rather than force in order to hold the set screw in place.


Lynn
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Old 04-13-2008, 11:25 AM   #14
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Mr Sunrus raises an important point. Metal watch bands and finger jewellry are something that should bear safety warnings, like power tools, screwdrivers, pocket knives and so forth.
I took my wedding ring off after I was standing on a ladder reaching up to open a basement window and slipped. The ring caught on the sill and nearly tore my ring finger off. After I got the ring off, it went into a box and has never been worn. My wife was never happier. Also, since then, I've always bought cloth watchbands or watches with cloth bands.
regards
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