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Old 08-30-2012, 10:33 PM   #1
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Exterior electrified, no joke!

So I've got my trailer plugged into the house charging it up for the weekend away and I go to touch the door and I get a gentle electric shock, The entire exterior is electrified. Kinda funny at first but now I realize theres got to be a problem. I have unplugged it from the house because im sure it could cause a fire.

I am no electrical whiz for sure, but I have a feeling its being caused by a ground being no good. Everything in the trailer works as it should.


Any input, anybody had this happen to them?


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Old 08-30-2012, 10:52 PM   #2
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I'm no electrical whiz either but the same thing happened when I purchased my 61 Avion. At first I thought that the wiring on the power cable wasn't correct but it turned out the wiring behind the fuse box wasn't correct. The live and ground were reversed.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:04 PM   #3
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You have more than ground problems.
The first thing to check is to make sure the outlet you are plugged into is wired correctly.
The next thing is to check the condition of the shore power cord and that it is wired correctly on both ends.
The trailer itself should be wired in such a manner that it has a floating neutral. In other words the neutral is NOT bonded to the ground buss in the trailer and should NOT not in any way be connected to the skin or frame of the trailer. The hot wires should be connected to the circuit breakers, thru a main and the thru branch circuit breakers.
The ground wires should be connected to the ground buss in the power panel and the ground wire from the Shore power cord as well as a bonding wire no smaller than a #6 should be connected between the grounding buss in the panel and the chassis of the trailer.
By the symptoms you describe the hot wire and neutral are reversed. If there is what is known as a "reverse polarity" light on the trailer, it may indicate this. The light itself is a hazard and should be removed and can cause problems with GFI circuit breakers.
If you are not familiar with 120 volt AC circuits. You should get experienced help.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:18 PM   #4
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Bonuts,
Have you had this trailer a while or is it new for you?

TG Twinkie,
Can you explain this a little more please?
Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
The light itself is a hazard and should be removed and can cause problems with GFI circuit breakers.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:25 PM   #5
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Since you say you are not that experienced working with electricity - I would recommend that you call an electrician. 30 amps of 120 VAC can easily kill you.

I started writing instructions for how to debug this problem, but I really do think it's wiser to get a professional to help - and whatever you do, please do not try to debug by wiggling things and then feeling the trailer to see if you still get shocked.

This can also be caused by things plugged into the trailer - if you plugged something in recently to one of your 120VAC outlets, that could be your culprit.

Given the symptoms you described, I don't think you have a grounding problem, or a neutral shorted to metal somewhere - I think you are feeling a hot conductor shorting to metal somewhere. This could also be caused if hot and neutral were reversed somewhere - either in your home, in your power cable or in your trailer - but it sounds like you've been plugged in before and not seen this problem - so I think the former is more likely, or you've got something plugged into the trailer that is being evil.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:10 AM   #6
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I have had the trailer for 6 months or so and have had everything apart in the interior, for a pretty extensive resto. All wiring was marked well and rewired the same as it came apart. I have used the trailer a few times and obvoiusly had it plugged into shore power many times, this is the only time this live exterior has come up. I will definitely have my electrician buddy have a look.

Only thing I have done to it recently was changing a bulb in the back and I'm sure that had nothing to do with this issue. Sounds like a nightmare to trouble shoot, but I'll start looking.


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Old 08-31-2012, 09:01 AM   #7
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GFI circuit breakers monitor the current balance between the hot and neutral legs of the circuit. If there is an imbalance, even a minor imbalance, the GFI will trip.
Back in the days before GFI breakers. There were a number of creative ideas to prevent shock hazards. The so called "reverse polarity" light was one of them. It's purpose was to give an indication that the hot leg and the neutral connections in the 120 volt circuit were reversed. The RP light would illuminate if this condition existed. Instead of being wired between the hot and neutral wires like all devices. The RP light is wired between the neutral and ground plane of the trailer.
There are circumstances where you could have an open neutral condition in the trailer and if the trailer is wired wrong, meaning the hot leg and neutral are reversed. It means the neutral side is now "hot". If along with this condition you have an open ground. Which, if the trailer skin is hot, you do. The RP light will not give you an indication of the problem. Giving one a false sense of security. Because there is no return path to earth ground the voltage is standing at the bulb socket. Since one side of the socket is wired to the ground plane in the trailer, that voltage is standing on the skin. When you touch the trailer, you complete the path to ground. That's when you feel the tingle.
The neutral and ground connection of the RP light can and does cause some GFI breakers to trip.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:16 AM   #8
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Back to the problem of the trailer giving you a shock. If the trailer is properly grounded and you have a hot wire touching the skin. You would not get a shock. Because the circuit breaker would trip.
Even though you put all the wires back just the way they were, doesn't mean it is wired correctly before. It just means that your body didn't provide a good path to ground until you felt the shock.
If you suspect that it is something you plugged in, as mentioned above. Unplug everything inside the trailer. Then using a meter, read between the skin of the trailer and a KNOWN good ground, check for voltage.
Again!!! If you are not experienced in troubleshooting electrical problems. Seek experienced help.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonuts
I have had the trailer for 6 months or so and have had everything apart in the interior, for a pretty extensive resto. All wiring was marked well and rewired the same as it came apart. I have used the trailer a few times and obvoiusly had it plugged into shore power many times, this is the only time this live exterior has come up. I will definitely have my electrician buddy have a look.

Only thing I have done to it recently was changing a bulb in the back and I'm sure that had nothing to do with this issue. Sounds like a nightmare to trouble shoot, but I'll start looking.

bonuts
Mine did the same thing. The plug in my garage was wired backwards. Mine only did it at home.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:41 AM   #10
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It sounds like the hot and neutral are reversed and the ground is not connected. A simple plug polarity checker will diagnose this problem. There are usually 3 lights on these things that tell you what is up. Start at the supply wall socket and work your way to the trailer.

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Old 08-31-2012, 11:55 AM   #11
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Sounds to me like it has to be the house, I have it plugged in, in a different place. I will give it a try when I get back home. Thought I would be in for another big project with this thing

Thanks a lot, hopefully this solves the issue


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Old 08-31-2012, 12:21 PM   #12
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Whatever you do DO NOT TEST THIS WITH YOUR BODY use a meter or it can KILL YOU!! And yes I am being dramatic because it can kill you. Please get someone who knows what they are doing to fix this.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:24 PM   #13
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I recently went through this, and I had gotten some GOOD shocks off of the skin... For me it was the house I had plugged into had a hot ground. I used an cheap outlet "sniffer" and stuck it in the ground on the house and it beeped like crazy. Plugged into a different outlet, no problem. I would start with the house before getting worried.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:49 PM   #14
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Thanks for the replies. The shop outlet was the issue.


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