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Electrical Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's electrical system.

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  #1  
Old 05-27-2009
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Default Electrical Shock

Ok, I was waxing my coach last Saturday and I was on an aluminum ladder. I moved the ladder to an area that the ground was wet and when I got on the ladder and started to put on the wax I got knocked almost on my butt.from a shock. I am hoping it was from a bad extension cord I had been using so I unhooked the cord from the shore power cord. Lightly touched the coach again and no shock. Have not tried another cord yet. Could it of been a bad cord or do I have a short somewhere in the coach and how do I find it if I do. It can't be the 12 volt side as if I do not have the 110 plugged in the unit isn't hot. This one's got me really concerned about the potential of a fire plus I like to have my life lite up but not this way..
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  #2  
Old 05-27-2009
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Steve,
Provided your shore line was wired correctly, you have a wiring problem in the coach. The neutral should not be straped to the coach body, and definitely not the hot. It could be a mis-wired appliance or other wiring in the coach.
Is your shore line connection properly wired. The coach body should be grounded via the shore line.
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Old 05-27-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slckpurdy View Post
Ok, I was waxing my coach last Saturday and I was on an aluminum ladder. I moved the ladder to an area that the ground was wet and when I got on the ladder and started to put on the wax I got knocked almost on my butt.from a shock. I am hoping it was from a bad extension cord I had been using so I unhooked the cord from the shore power cord. Lightly touched the coach again and no shock. Have not tried another cord yet. Could it of been a bad cord or do I have a short somewhere in the coach and how do I find it if I do. It can't be the 12 volt side as if I do not have the 110 plugged in the unit isn't hot. This one's got me really concerned about the potential of a fire plus I like to have my life lite up but not this way..
Sounds like a reverse polarity condition to me, sometimes called HOT SKIN, usually caused by a electrical outlet wired improperly. Read http://www.hometips.com/repair-fix/o...-polarity.html


Invest in a circuit tester, similar to the one below sold at http://www.tweetys.com/rvinstantreadcircuittester.aspx


You can also find them at home improvement stores like Lowe's. You plug them into the electrical outlet or adapter before plugging your shore power cord to see if the circuit is wired correctly. I have also plugged them into an electrical outlet inside the coach, but usually it is better to plug them directly into the shore power outlet.

The older 'Birds have a polarity indicator mounted somewhere on the coach.
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Old 05-27-2009
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Steve,
Some additional information. The RV hookups have hot(2 in 50 amp service), neutral and ground connections. The neutral and ground are tied togeather at the main panel in the RV park electrical system.

In the coach, the neutral and ground are NOT tied together in the coach electrical panel. The shore line provides a neutral, hot (2 hots for 50 amp service) , and ground to the coach. The coach body is grounded to the ground wire in the shore line which is grounded back at the RV park electrical panel. (your house should be the same).

Since you received a shock, the coach chassis is definitely not properly grounded. If you are not sure about electrical wiring, get an electrician or trustworthy RV service center to check things out.
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Old 05-27-2009
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Steve I've read and re-read your post. I'm going to make some assumptions here and yes I know how they can bite you but without more info I have to. From what I can tell you were waxing your coach with a power waxer plugged into the house circuit and all was fine until you moved into a wet area correct??? If all was fine at first and all that changed was you moved the ladder and the extension cord I would suspect the extension cord first and the motorhome wiring second. JMHO. Please let us know as this is a learning situation.
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Old 05-28-2009
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Gardner, couldn't the outlet be wired wrong so hot was going through the ground or neutral? In my coach that would produce red lights on the polarity sensors.
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  #7  
Old 05-28-2009
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Check the power cord first. & the shore power for ground.
Then use an AC volt meter between the coach metal skin and the ground terminal of the power source. This may save your Butt.
If a voltage is present start the search. Turn off the main circuit breaker in the Bird. Or unplug appliances one at a time, or turn off circuit breakers one at a time.
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Old 05-28-2009
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Crit,
Incorrect outlet wiring is a real possability. The most important conection is the ground which should prevent a 'hot chassis'.
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  #9  
Old 05-28-2009
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Steve,
Take an ohm meter and measure your coach's shore power cord between nuetral and ground. Set the ohm meter on it's lowest scale. You should NOT see any connectivity. If you do, start turning your breakers off one at a time until you do see an "open". When that occurs you've narrowed down the incorrect wiring by circuit and have eliminated a lot of work. If you have trouble finding things on that breaker you can buy a device at Home Depot to plug into outlets and can trace the power to breakers by an audible receiver. This device only works with all the power on to the coach.

The tool iamflagman showed is also a valuable tool. If someone replaced a bad outlet and wired it incorrectly this will show that problem as well. With this tool the coach must be powered up so be careful entering and existing the coach while powered up to prevent shock. FYI.. on an outlet the WIDE blade is always neutral, the NARROW blade is hot, ground goes on the third round hole. As stated earlier, ground and nuetral are NEVER connected together in the bus.

Just to cover all bases you can measure the chassis of your bus to ground and look for voltage there. With the bus powered up take your meter from a good ground on the bus (chrome bumber) to electrical ground and look for voltage. Set the meter to handle 120v. If you see any voltage (30-120) there is an issue. Sometimes you will see something less than 120 and that is still an issue.

Hope that helps...
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  #10  
Old 05-28-2009
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If you take a gander over at Ernie's site, you should be able to find an excellent writeup of a "Hot Skin Test" by Ralph Fullenwider. It's a very good writeup and explaination of how to troubleshoot what you're possibly experiencing. Everybody should do this test to their coach once a year just to stay on top of possible electrical problems.

After further consideration (and realizing how much of a dufus I probably was), I looked at the site here and found this:

http://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.com/downloads/PT-42%20Files/HOT%20SKIN%20TEST.doc

It's the hot skin test I was referring to.
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Last edited by fxdwg; 05-28-2009 at 02:46 PM. Reason: correcting info
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