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Old 06-14-2019, 10:41 AM   #161
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I sent the editor an email not to complain or ask for reimbursement, but to let him know that this issue could be the downfall of an event like this. This is how a lot of Airstream events are set up. It probably is better for him to revisit this wiring before more damage is done or someone gets hurt. An injury or death is not the time to react to this. Out of the five trailers damaged, not one person was vindictive or angry over the incident. Airstream stepped up to the plate and covered everyone. No one wants to shut this event down.

My email was very positive. I can post it here if you like! Well, maybe after he reads it.

I actually taught an RV Electricity class to the Airstream technicians at the plant about 5 years ago, but they've never asked me back for a refresher even though I offered it. But I'm offering it again right now. I'm not only an expert on RV Electricity, I also have a lot of expertise in portable power distribution for events like large rock concerts (my day gig, as it were). I'm sure I can help make this event safe if Airstream will contact me.


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Old 06-14-2019, 02:10 PM   #162
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Codes vary per state.
Yes they do, which I know a lot about since I manage power distro for big concerts all around the country. I guarantee there’s no state or county authority that will allow this sort of wiring.
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:12 PM   #163
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Running Romex solid conductor wire on the ground is a serious code violation. Using non-weatherproof boxes on the ground with buckets over top is a code violation. Running 20-amp outlets outside without GFCI protection is a code violation. Virtually everything that was described is in direct violation with the NEC and would NEVER have passed even a rudimentary inspection by the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction).

Do I need to go on?
Wow. Such attitude. I just asked a simple question. The proper answer was apparently "Yes, from second hand reports you can tell there was a code violation." I guess I am done trying to ask questions and learn as this is the second similar response I have received in this thread. AirForums used to be a nice place, but it seems that snarky answers are now the norm here just like other social media outlets.
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:18 PM   #164
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My apologies if I offended you, but someone could have died as a result of this wiring fault. That was my electrical engineer voice speaking, not my teaching voice. Did you attend my seminar last week at Alumapalooza? If so you’ll see that I’m pretty low key most of the time,
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:23 PM   #165
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. . .
It probably is better for him to revisit this wiring before more damage is done or someone gets hurt. An injury or death is not the time to react to this.
. . .
Your entire comment is well said.

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. . .
I'm sure I can help make this event safe if Airstream will contact me.
. . .
It will be interesting to see if Airstream does anything about this SNAFU.

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I am sure if you complain enough this event will end. Is that what is wanted? One personpulling too many amps because he cannot follow instructions.
If someone had been electrocuted, would you feel the same way? This was way more than too much amperage draw. There was line voltage going where it did not belong. Please read this entire thread from the beginning.

Times change, and people and companies mature. Does someone have to die first, before the next setup is done safely?




PS -- In the last year or so, Airstream has been posting replies about new owners' warranty issues, asking them to contact the company in one way or another. It would help clear the air, if Airstream could reply here, and say in effect, "we get it," and we will make sure that all event wiring in the future will be done safely and up to code." [IMO]
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:23 PM   #166
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My apologies if I offended you, but someone could have died as a result of this wiring fault. That was my electrical engineer voice speaking, not my teaching voice. Did you attend my seminar last week at Alumapalooza? If so youíll see that Iím pretty low key most of the time,
Thank you for your apology. No, I was not at Alumapalooza.
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:30 PM   #167
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Old 06-14-2019, 03:32 PM   #168
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Thank you for your apology. No, I was not at Alumapalooza.
You all have to understand that I get calls and emails from reporters, sheriffs offices and lawyers every time thereís an electrocution death involving an RV. The most heartbreaking ones are the little children who are killed by their parentís negligence. Iím doing all I can to educate manufacturers, dealerships, campgrounds and owners how to manage electricity safely. But itís a big job, and Iím only one guy with zero budget to do it. Please invite me to any regional rallies you might have, and help me find a budget. Thanks... Mike Sokol
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Old 06-14-2019, 07:39 PM   #169
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You all have to understand that I get calls and emails from reporters, sheriffs offices and lawyers every time thereís an electrocution death involving an RV. The most heartbreaking ones are the little children who are killed by their parentís negligence. Iím doing all I can to educate manufacturers, dealerships, campgrounds and owners how to manage electricity safely. But itís a big job, and Iím only one guy with zero budget to do it. Please invite me to any regional rallies you might have, and help me find a budget. Thanks... Mike Sokol
Hi Mike

Your seminar was the one I wanted to go to at Alumapoloza. I had to stay at the trailer (Holloway) as the maintenance guys from Airstream were coming to check my trailer for damage. I missed it! Darn!
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Old 06-15-2019, 08:18 AM   #170
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Hi

Hang on a second here.... we toss "code" around like it's some sort of magic single piece of regulation that covers everything and anything you might ever wonder about. There are multiple regulatory agencies out there. They each put out their own rules. If you are hard wired into the electric grid, one set of rules applies. If you connect with a plug ... geee ... I wonder what happens then (rule wise) ...???? .... oh, look, those rules don't apply any more.

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Old 06-15-2019, 09:13 AM   #171
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Hi

Hang on a second here.... we toss "code" around like it's some sort of magic single piece of regulation that covers everything and anything you might ever wonder about. There are multiple regulatory agencies out there. They each put out their own rules. If you are hard wired into the electric grid, one set of rules applies. If you connect with a plug ... geee ... I wonder what happens then (rule wise) ...???? .... oh, look, those rules don't apply any more.

Bob
Not to mention that short-term temporary conditions often have exclusions from code (i.e. - construction power at a home being built vs. the power distribution in a home.) I have no idea what codes apply in that jurisdiction, but using non-UV, non-armored cable in a power situation that only lasts a couple of days may not be a code violation even if it would be on a long-term installation.

I suspect, because of the short-term nature of the event, that the code stopped at the main supply panel. Everything after that is up to the event.

I know I attend an event in Oklahoma every year that has special needs for power. The City owned park just mandates that a qualified electrician make all of the changes and that the power is put back in it's original condition afterwards. There is no code that applies, no inspections and no government oversight. They use bare romex zip-tied to support structures for the temporary power runs. The event lasts a week, but the setup team is there three weeks prior. The city officials visit regularly and nary a word is said.
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Old 06-15-2019, 10:06 AM   #172
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Not to mention that short-term temporary conditions often have exclusions from code (i.e. - construction power at a home being built vs. the power distribution in a home.) I have no idea what codes apply in that jurisdiction, but using non-UV, non-armored cable in a power situation that only lasts a couple of days may not be a code violation even if it would be on a long-term installation.

I suspect, because of the short-term nature of the event, that the code stopped at the main supply panel. Everything after that is up to the event.

I know I attend an event in Oklahoma every year that has special needs for power. The City owned park just mandates that a qualified electrician make all of the changes and that the power is put back in it's original condition afterwards. There is no code that applies, no inspections and no government oversight. They use bare romex zip-tied to support structures for the temporary power runs. The event lasts a week, but the setup team is there three weeks prior. The city officials visit regularly and nary a word is said.

So the interesting thing is that the National Electrical Code is not an actual law at all. In fact, it's just a really good set of suggestions that can be accepted or rejected by each state. Then each county in a state can choose what parts of the code to accept. And each city can do the same thing. This works all the way down to the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) who is your local inspector. He or she has ultimate control over what they will or will not allow to happen in their jurisdiction. But they can be held legally liable is they allow something dangerous in their jurisdiction to occur that results in a loss of life or property. So yes, there are specific sections of code that specify temporary wiring for constructions sites. Also, there are tons of other agencies such as UL who control how generators work, the DOT who controls how big your RV can be on the road, etc... But your local inspector can choose to allow nearly anything to happen temporarily. However, this can have dangerous and deadly consequences if not carefully managed. It sounds like the Alumapalooza event had some dangerous consequences simply because wiring best practices were not followed. For example, you never want to build a power distro system that can become dangerous if someone draws too much amperage. That's what circuit breakers and wire gauge is all about.
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Old 06-15-2019, 11:55 AM   #173
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Portable generators connected only to a single RV are generally not grounded.

Any more analysis than that is "analysis paralysis" to this brain.



FWIW


IMHO, when running on a generator, the safety reason for grounding the trailer, and even for bonding the neutral and ground at the source, is for all practical purposes eliminated.
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Old 06-15-2019, 12:11 PM   #174
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IMHO, when running on a generator, the safety reason for grounding the trailer, and even for bonding the neutral and ground at the source, is for all practical purposes eliminated.


Respectfully disagree from the point of view that Ďfield expedientí power supply setups for events such as Ham Radio Field Day have to be set up for safety. That includes grounding, bonding and proper wiring and circuit protection to generators and loads. Mickey Mousing it is an easy way to kill people.

That said, on a single generator to a single trailer, the main reason I use a bonding plug is to make sure a hot line shorted to trailer shell fault will blow the breaker somewhere instead of potentially zapping me or my family or bystanders.

If I was out for an extended period on generator power, or using my radios a lot, a driven ground to tie down AC power and RF would be the way to go. That gives you safety on the AC power, RF to the antennas, and some electrostatic discharge (read lightning) protection in a field situation.

Iíve also used, seen, and documented how the military does it, and a driven ground rod is part and parcel of Ďdoing it rightí. It saves you from miswired stuff, and trust me, it happens all the time in the field.
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Old 06-15-2019, 12:42 PM   #175
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I think what it boils down to is the wiring at Holloway field was not safe. They eventually corrected it, but due to a mishandled hair dryer, the wire nut melted and the box became live. I guess the breaker didn't trip as the hair dryer did not pull over the 20 amp. The short made it trip! Why the wiring smoked is beyond my knowledge, but it did and it damaged 5 trailers. It could have caused more issues.

We were in tornado warnings the first part of the event week and the fields were soggy with rain. The rain was pooling in all the ruts and everywhere you walked it was wet. Not a great scenario for 20 amps laying on the ground.

I sometimes see temporary feeds at festivals and fairs. They use pretty bulky cable most of the time and you don't see Romex on the ground to be tripped on.

I also construct buildings as a land developer. One temp service pole can run $2800 to set up and they have to be inspected when they go up and when they come down. They are up high away from the public, have sealed boxes, and are installed by the electrician. He is responsible for all the issues. Heavy duty extension cords are typically used to run to the building. It cannot be overloaded as each run has a twenty amp circuit. This is much safer than what we saw at JC.
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Old 06-15-2019, 12:48 PM   #176
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IMHO, when running on a generator, the safety reason for grounding the trailer, and even for bonding the neutral and ground at the source, is for all practical purposes eliminated.
Correct... thereís no need to earth ground the generator or the RV, and G/N bonding the generator is optional. However electronics like EMS units, some refrigerators and an occasional furnace wonít operate properly with an unbonded neutral. Plus, GFCIís wonít trip without a neutral bond, and testing the 120-volt circuits becomes complicated. Since all RVs with an on-board generator have a G-N bond created by the transfer switch when in generator mode, this is the normal state of operation, and my G-N bonding plug isnít there to fool the EMS, only create the wiring condition itís expecting.
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Old 06-15-2019, 01:13 PM   #177
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I think what it boils down to is the wiring at Holloway field was not safe. They eventually corrected it, but due to a mishandled hair dryer, the wire nut melted and the box became live. I guess the breaker didn't trip as the hair dryer did not pull over the 20 amp. The short made it trip! Why the wiring smoked is beyond my knowledge, but it did and it damaged 5 trailers.
If there was a proper EGC (ground) in place, then the breaker should have tripped immediately and prevented a hot-skin/contact-voltage. Was this all powered by a big generator or connected to a service panel from the building?
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Old 06-15-2019, 01:23 PM   #178
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Respectfully disagree from the point of view that Ďfield expedientí power supply setups for events such as Ham Radio Field Day have to be set up for safety. That includes grounding, bonding and proper wiring and circuit protection to generators and loads. Mickey Mousing it is an easy way to kill people.

That said, on a single generator to a single trailer, the main reason I use a bonding plug is to make sure a hot line shorted to trailer shell fault will blow the breaker somewhere instead of potentially zapping me or my family or bystanders.

If I was out for an extended period on generator power, or using my radios a lot, a driven ground to tie down AC power and RF would be the way to go. That gives you safety on the AC power, RF to the antennas, and some electrostatic discharge (read lightning) protection in a field situation.

Iíve also used, seen, and documented how the military does it, and a driven ground rod is part and parcel of Ďdoing it rightí. It saves you from miswired stuff, and trust me, it happens all the time in the field.
Remember that you donít want to drive a grounding rod anywhere there could be underground wires or plumbing. Iíve heard of a few deaths from that sort of thing. Also, the military didnít earth-ground the shower generator properly at a base in Iraq about 10 years ago, so at least 18 servicemen were electrocuted. Gotta be safe around power. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/toll-rises--at-least-18-u_b_124863
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Old 06-15-2019, 01:26 PM   #179
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Correct... thereís no need to earth ground the generator or the RV, and G/N bonding the generator is optional. However electronics like EMS units, some refrigerators and an occasional furnace wonít operate properly with an unbonded neutral. Plus, GFCIís wonít trip without a neutral bond, and testing the 120-volt circuits becomes complicated. Since all RVs with an on-board generator have a G-N bond created by the transfer switch when in generator mode, this is the normal state of operation, and my G-N bonding plug isnít there to fool the EMS, only create the wiring condition itís expecting.


It's my understanding that GFI outlets work independent of the ground circuit.

https://www.ecmweb.com/basics/how-gfcis-work

I get that there may be some devices that may want to see the bond, but my trailer uses none of these.

In my thoughts, a trailer running an unbonded generator is actually overall safer than a bonded generator of on bonded shore power, as the chance of the trailer shell completing a circuit (on purpose or by accident) is MUCH reduced.
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Old 06-15-2019, 01:57 PM   #180
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It's my understanding that GFI outlets work independent of the ground circuit.
Yes, if you mean the EGC ground wire which they donít need at all to operate. But a GFCI does need an earth referenced power system to trip. On the other hand a fully floated neutral system like your RV on generator power is really quite safe. But once you distribute power to a second RV or even an electric drill or saw outside of the RV then all kinds of dangerous scenarios are possible.
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