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Old 07-20-2005, 11:32 AM   #1
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Shocking Touch

When I touch the door latch sometimes I feel a tingle.

I assume there is voltage leakage and I am the ground.

Needless to say; the power cord is disconnected.

Where do I start to locate the probem?

If it is a power cord ground failure is there a secondary problem?
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Old 07-20-2005, 12:05 PM   #2
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If your power cord isn't plugged in, I don't see how it could be a 110vac problem and usually 12vac isn't enough that you can feel it. Did you mean that the power cord is unplugged NOW and the problem occurs when the unit is plugged in? If it's NOT plugged in and you're getting shocked, it's probably static discharge? Do you have one of those "astroturf" patio mats outside the door? If so, that, and a pair of rubber shoes, is probably your problem.

If the problem only occurs when you have the unit plugged in, then you've got a hot wire shorted to the chassis somewhere. Do a continuity check (with the unit unplugged) from the hot side of one of your AC outlets, to the door. If you have continuity, then that's your problem. From the twisting and torquing of the unit going down the road, you have worn through the insulator on a hot wire somewhere. If that is indeed the problem, I'd start by removing the recepticle closest to your converter thereby taking all other outlets out of the circuit and see if the problem persists. If it's not there, then you know it's on the outlet side and not the converter side. If it IS there, then it's on the converter side (if you're lucky). You can further narrow it down by continuing to remove outlets, but if the problem is in the bulkhead, I'd take it somewhere to fix it.

I've noticed recently that when I touch the edge of my credenza to change channels on my TV, I get the crap knocked out of me, but it's only static shock. Good luck trying to find the problem.

Ben
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Old 07-20-2005, 01:11 PM   #3
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Hi, Fast Rob,

I get the tingle, too, especially if the ground is wet and I'm not wearing shuz. I got very concerned about this a couple of (wet) months ago and had a local electrician out to check the wiring. He found a splice in the line under the pedestal box that had a corroded, loose neutral. He fixed that, checked the connections in my roller box (retractible cord reel) and installed an earth ground for my electrical box.

Walking around the trailer park, we found that only three other pedestals out of thirty was grounded. He said that apparently the old park had all the circuit grounded at the pole -- what he called a "floating ground" -- and that's not an accepted practice today.

He then warned me that I might still see some voltage between the trailer and ground when things were soggy. I said, "Err?"

He said, "You know, just a few volts. Nothing to knock you on your butt or cause palpitations or anything."

Since then, I've bought an Autoformer, installed a Belkin splitter with power good and ground good lights, and indeed I still can sometimes feel the throbb when conditions are just right, but it hasn't... knocked me on my butt.

Lamar
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Old 07-20-2005, 01:19 PM   #4
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Way to take one for the Stream Lamar!
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Old 07-20-2005, 04:11 PM   #5
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Thumbs down

About 2 years ago - my then 3 year old son mentioned that he felt "funny" when he touched the skin of our trailer. Upon the advice of this fine forum - I kept the trailer unplugged and started investigating. My digital voltmeter was showing 96 volts on the skin!! At first I thought I had a bad extension cord with reversed polarity. BUT, I eventually tracked it down to the exterior AC outlet on the side of the trailer. Judging by the price tag in it - the outlet had been replaced at some point and one of the screws holding it on had pierced the romex. The contact was intermittent but enough for my son feel through his fingers with his barefeet standing on dirt. Could have been deadly if it was raining.

You should take this very seriously and don't plug in your trailer until you have it solved.

Virginia
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Old 07-20-2005, 04:40 PM   #6
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But he said that the trailer was not hooked up to shore power. What would cause that?
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Old 07-20-2005, 04:59 PM   #7
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I think he meant it as in, "As soon as I discovered this I disconnected the power." Which would be a very safe and reasonable thing to do!

We had a similar thing happen this year. It becomes a big problem when the ground is wet and you're not wearing shoes. Just ask my dog

In our case it wasn't the power we were plugged into with the trailer, or the trailer, but something else that was "Y"'d in on the same extension cord. As soon as I unplugged the "Y" the problem was solved.

In most cases our Airstream trailers have a polarity light which functions to warn you when the skin could be 'hot'. Ours did function correctly in our 1978 coach! I was pleasantly suprised.

In our '72 the light's located in the rear comparment door on an electrical box. On our '78 it's a small jewel lamp located on the curbside rear corner. Everyone should familiarize themselves with the location and keep an eye on it. In our case, the problem only happened intermittantly because of moisture.

When I went looking for the problem it happened to be at night otherwise the light is very hard to impossible to see in the daylight.

I always check polarity and voltage before I plug in at a campground. We toasted an IntelePower last year by accidently by plugging into 220V at a 30amp plug that someone wired like a dryer outlet!
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Old 07-20-2005, 05:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPeakMD
...I always check polarity and voltage before I plug in at a campground...
I understand what you are saying.

Out of curiosity, if you have have ever had bad polarity at a campground, what did you do? If not, what do you plan to do when it happens?

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Old 07-20-2005, 05:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Rob
When I touch the door latch sometimes I feel a tingle...Where do I start to locate the probem?
More details.

Are you at home, or a campground?

The shell of your Airstream is tied to Earth ground at the power cord. There are several voltmeter checks that can be made to isolate the problem, but the solution starts with providing more detail with respect to when the tingle occurs.

Tom
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Old 07-20-2005, 07:20 PM   #10
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Polarity Light Works

Yes, When I discovered that the power was going to the skin the shore power was disconnected.

The polarity light works when I switch the plug.

Should the light be off or on?

I know there are other problems that will be addressed when I win the Inland RV makeover contest.

Actually, while winning would be great doing and learning on my own feels good when not too shocking.
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Old 07-20-2005, 07:30 PM   #11
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the light should be off!

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Old 07-20-2005, 11:14 PM   #12
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Oh what memories this brings back!

"Electrically Charged Trailer - Help!"

Any recent installs that would of required a screw going into the skin?
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Old 07-21-2005, 09:06 AM   #13
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Polarity checker

All new Airstreams come with a plug-in neon polarity checker. The neon polarity checkers are just a few dollars at most any RV store and everyone should have one as well as a plug-in voltmeter, either digital or analog.

On the way to the International, I stopped at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Preserve near Eureka Springs, AR. They have 8 RV hookups and I was the only trailer there. I immediately found with my polarity checker that ground and hot were reversed at the 30amp outlet. I had the option of moving to another spot, but I found that the 50amp outlet was wired correctly, so I used my 50amp to 30amp adapter to hook up and stayed where I was. I reported the bad 30amp outlet to the park staff. I didn't want to move since I had the prime end site with two tigers and a lion caged within 20 feet of my trailer.
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Old 07-21-2005, 10:06 AM   #14
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Polarity OK, Confusion Reigns

Thanks, what does the polarity have to do with anything? The light is off.

I think there is an electron leak from a hot wire to the skin.

When the circuit is complete from ground to person to airstream a tingle occurs, a potentially revolting situation we all agree.

How does polarity get into this? I think my understanding of ac current is lacking. How could disconnecting a y plug stop a shock?

A sine wave indicates alternating current. I believe the electron flows from negative to positive. Sufficient amperage means death.
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