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Old 09-26-2003, 07:54 PM   #1
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Why is my Airstream electrifying?

Why did I receive a shock the other day when I touched my Airstream exterior? I was barefoot and it had rained earlier when I brushed up against the exterior of my Airstream and received a shock. It was more than a simple static electricity shock and not as electrifying as finger-in-the-socket shock but still it was a jolt to receive.
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Old 09-26-2003, 08:18 PM   #2
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Ground and neutral are reversed or ground and neutral are not separated. Get one of the plug in testers or check plugs, power cord, and the main box.

John
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Old 09-26-2003, 08:21 PM   #3
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Good question, I get shocked everytime I get out of my truck and touch it during the winter.
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Old 09-26-2003, 08:34 PM   #4
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Greg ,your problem is from static electricity , the interior parts of cars and trucks seem to cause a great deal of static when you slide across the seat to get out .This compounded with the fact that people are wearing more rubber soled shoes these days .I work for a major auto mfg. and have learned that if you keep your hand on a portion of the car or truck body as you get out of your vehicle, you can avoid those nasty shocks.
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Old 09-26-2003, 10:26 PM   #5
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YK,

You need to check the condition of your wiring as soon as possible!! Like John said, get a polarity tester from the your local hardware store and check your shore power outlet and your trailer outlets. It is a small plastic device with three indicator lites on it, the instructions will tell you how to interpret it. As far as reversed polarity, while not healthy for some electronics and other devices, it will not lead to shocks on an otherwise properly wired and grounded trailer.

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Old 09-27-2003, 12:23 AM   #6
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hey yuk,

john and chas are correct, get it checked.

most likely the device your trailer is plugged into is wired incorrectly.

-or- you have a bad extention cord and/or adaptor. how do you have it plugged in now?

i still think as often as this happens to people, the factory should bring back the "reverse polarity" indicator light that was once mounted on trailers.

john
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Old 09-27-2003, 04:18 AM   #7
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I don't think the problem lies with my extension cord/adapter as the problem doesn't occur most of the time nor when I use shore power at home. This has happened to me twice before but only at campgrounds including at International this past year.

What is the best thing to do when this situation is encountered when camping? Should I just not hook up the electric?
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Old 09-27-2003, 04:56 AM   #8
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Yep it checked, something is not right , I had a similar problem ,mine was due to out side util. 110 outlet was corroded and was not grounding properly. I cleaned everything really good replaced it with a GFI .But given the age of trailer I think I would still take it in and let the dealer look at it .
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Old 09-27-2003, 06:46 AM   #9
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As far as reversed polarity, while not healthy for some electronics and other devices, it will not lead to shocks on an otherwise properly wired and grounded trailer.
I disagree. Neutral is the return path for AC. At a house or building where neutral and ground are combined there is a ground rod and it won't matter because earth ground is so close it should be 0 ohms return. In a trailer or mh neutral and ground are separated. The frame and shell should be ground, neutral and hot only to plugs, appliances, etc. If you put neutral to a ground screw and touch the shell (especially after a rain when resistance will be low and/or a long distance to earth ground, corrosion, etc.) you will be the ground rod.

John
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Old 09-27-2003, 07:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by yukionna
I don't think the problem lies with my extension cord/adapter as the problem doesn't occur most of the time nor when I use shore power at home. This has happened to me twice before but only at campgrounds including at International this past year.

What is the best thing to do when this situation is encountered when camping? Should I just not hook up the electric?
hey yuk

you don't think it is the problem?

you cannot "think" through electrical problems, (not trying to be rude). you need to go through the system starting with the source outlet and check everything with a volt/ohm meter.

it is the only way to find out why you are getting a tingle!

john

ps, what do you have in the trailer for 120 volt appliances? lamps toaster coffemaker etc. the problem could be as simple as one of these malfunctioning.
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Old 09-27-2003, 07:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by john hd
you cannot "think" through electrical problems, (not trying to be rude).
No offense taken! You just witnessed an example of my "logical" mind trying to make sense of a situation that I have no prior knowledge of!

Anyhow, I plan on picking up one of those polarity testers this weekend and will let you know what I find!
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Old 09-27-2003, 10:08 AM   #12
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my experience

I had the same experience recently. I had replaced the umbilical cord with a 35' replacement, replaced the junction boxes with weathertight ones and replace the outdoor 110 outlet with a GFI version. After traveling to the destination, and with it raining, we set up. After plugging in, I casually put my hand on the side of the trailer and wham! Surprised the sh#t out of me!
Short answer, the CG outlet was faulty. My buddy has an infrared camera that he uses for woRk with us and we were able to look at the CG outlet and actually see which leg was hot (short).

AftER returning, my trailer had no power, 12v or 120. Short answer: a wire had come loose from the new GFI outlet and had shorted to the box.
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Old 09-27-2003, 11:32 AM   #13
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This is probably not the answer to your problem but it will explain why you may sometimes draw an arc from your trailer.

I hunt in Harney and Malhuer Counties in Eastern Oregon. Each of these counties is bigger than some states. The area we hunt is high desert with very few trees. In order to clean and hang our deer, we generally park near Bonneville Power Administration Towers. Each tower leg will hold one deer.

When I park my Airstream directly under the power lines, I often can draw an arc six inches long when I approach the trailer. This is especially dramatic after sundown. You do not want any propane leaks under these circumstances.

Without grounding your trailer, you may have some AC induced charge to your trailer skin. When parked or selecting a parking area, be aware of high tension power lines in the vicinity!
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