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Old 09-07-2013, 04:54 PM   #1
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My new favorite test

We just spent a couple lovely nights at Inks State Park. I was standing barefoot in the dirt in front of the camper and my wife walked up, reached over my shoulders, gripped the zip dee awning and hung a big smacker on me.

We both stepped back and simultaneously said "you taste funny."

Actually, she tasted like about 6 volts. More than zero, but somewhat less than a 9V battery. I could recreate the taste by licking the camper directly, but this was less fun. The tung dolly and all four stabilizers were deployed, but they were on blacktop.

I thought about this on the way home and decided that those symptoms could be caused by a floating neutral on the incoming supply line if one assumes the black top was a good enough insulator to keep the trailer ungrounded. Bad grounds are all over in this part of the Texas Hill Country as the whole area is made of granite, which is a pretty good insulator.

When I got home I plugged the camper in and licked it and got nothing. I am not sure what to do with this information but it seemed like an interesting test that I will, with the help of my wife, repeat at every camp site we visit in the future.
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Old 09-07-2013, 05:15 PM   #2
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I want to make a series of wise-a$$ comments but you're all way ahead of me... :-)
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Old 09-07-2013, 05:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bbelk View Post
We just spent a couple lovely nights at Inks State Park. I was standing barefoot in the dirt in front of the camper and my wife walked up, reached over my shoulders, gripped the zip dee awning and hung a big smacker on me.

We both stepped back and simultaneously said "you taste funny."

Actually, she tasted like about 6 volts. More than zero, but somewhat less than a 9V battery. I could recreate the taste by licking the camper directly, but this was less fun. The tung dolly and all four stabilizers were deployed, but they were on blacktop.

I thought about this on the way home and decided that those symptoms could be caused by a floating neutral on the incoming supply line if one assumes the black top was a good enough insulator to keep the trailer ungrounded. Bad grounds are all over in this part of the Texas Hill Country as the whole area is made of granite, which is a pretty good insulator.

When I got home I plugged the camper in and licked it and got nothing. I am not sure what to do with this information but it seemed like an interesting test that I will, with the help of my wife, repeat at every camp site we visit in the future.
Not nearly as tasty, you may want to also invest in a polarity checker for your shore power. Could be that the polarity was reversed on the pedestal.
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Old 09-07-2013, 05:20 PM   #4
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Not nearly as tasty, you may want to also invest in a polarity checker for your shore power. Could be that the polarity was reversed on the pedestal.
Does that mean he has to kiss the polarity checker? Or the power pedestal?

Somehow, it just doesn't seem as much fun...
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Old 09-07-2013, 05:23 PM   #5
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Does that mean he has to kiss the polarity checker? Or the power pedestal?

Somehow, it just doesn't seem as much fun...
Why do you think I started out with "Not nearly as tasty…"?
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Old 09-07-2013, 05:34 PM   #6
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You need a chat with GCinSC2, he just might have the answers.

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Old 09-07-2013, 06:16 PM   #7
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I could recreate the taste by licking the camper directly, but this was less fun.

When I got home I plugged the camper in and licked it and got nothing.
i LOL'ed.

nothing more to contribute, sorry.
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:23 PM   #8
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I think this is what Sandlapper is refering to. I'm no electric expert, ran into this on a different forum. I really think BBelk you need to at least watch Mike Sokol's presentation.

Electricity ain't something to ignore when it ain't working right.
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:27 PM   #9
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Good stuff Gary.
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:35 PM   #10
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Not sure I am as brave or thrill seeking as you. Sounds like some sort or ground loop. Put a volt meter to ground and see if you can determine if it is ac or dc. If you had a real problem you would be dead.

I can see it now, man dies from licking trailer, details at 11.

You might be able to sell tickets to lick your airstream.

Please get it fixed or your next lick could be your last.

Perry
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:14 PM   #11
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Oh man what a bummer. You're telling me that old spark the electricity we felt as kids when we're in the stream camping is just a bad ground??? That's it I'm buying a Vet!
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:55 PM   #12
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Not sure I am as brave or thrill seeking as you. Sounds like some sort or ground loop. Put a volt meter to ground and see if you can determine if it is ac or dc. If you had a real problem you would be dead.

I can see it now, man dies from licking trailer, details at 11.

You might be able to sell tickets to lick your airstream.

Please get it fixed or your next lick could be your last.

Perry
I appreciate the concern, but its ok. There need be nothing wrong with the camper to get the symptoms I found at Inks State Park in Texas. The park is built on granite (read glass insulator) and power supply ground problems abound. It is nearly impossible to get a zero resistance ground anywhere in that country, hence there is often a slight voltage difference between the local green wire ground (the one connected to the skin of the trailer) and the ground that you are standing on.

Even knowing this (I worked for 32 years in the utility biddniss in Central Texas), when I got home, I stood on one bare foot and touched the trailer with the other after plugging it in. While I hate the thought of current running through my balls, it is less dangerous than through my chest. I then tested with my wrist, a wet wrist, then I really did lick it.

I am pretty sure my camper is ok.
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Old 09-08-2013, 03:17 AM   #13
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You might be considered half nuts testing electricity this way.
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Old 09-08-2013, 07:12 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bbelk View Post
We just spent a couple lovely nights at Inks State Park. I was standing barefoot in the dirt in front of the camper and my wife walked up, reached over my shoulders, gripped the zip dee awning and hung a big smacker on me.

We both stepped back and simultaneously said "you taste funny."

Actually, she tasted like about 6 volts. More than zero, but somewhat less than a 9V battery. I could recreate the taste by licking the camper directly, but this was less fun. The tung dolly and all four stabilizers were deployed, but they were on blacktop.

I thought about this on the way home and decided that those symptoms could be caused by a floating neutral on the incoming supply line if one assumes the black top was a good enough insulator to keep the trailer ungrounded. Bad grounds are all over in this part of the Texas Hill Country as the whole area is made of granite, which is a pretty good insulator.

When I got home I plugged the camper in and licked it and got nothing. I am not sure what to do with this information but it seemed like an interesting test that I will, with the help of my wife, repeat at every camp site we visit in the future.
BBelk,

I think you are offering some at best questionable advice, with your "lick test" to check the trailer for any power issues. You have stated that you were in "32 years in the utility biddniss" and the suggestion, frankly doesn't sound like it came from any utility business training manual on how to safety test the power to any RV or structure.

This could have been a good chance to educate about the proper way to evaluate and test then how to proceede to assure safely using your trailer.

Respectfully,

Gary
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