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Old 08-21-2016, 10:32 PM   #1
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A "shocking" situation

So we got our new (to us) TT home yesterday and spent a great night of driveway camping to commemorate the occasion. Today was all about sorting thru all our camping stuff with the goal of paring it down to only what we will use, based on 3 years experience, and to decide where to put it all in the new TT.

Got that completed and was kneeling on the grass (bare skin, wearing shorts)putting things into the front pass thru storage compartment, when I touched some bare metal. Ever touch both poles of a 9v battery to your tongue? Well that's what my fingers felt, only a lot weaker, just a noticeable tingle. I disconnected shore power and turned everything off it the coach. Went back and touched the metal (standing, wearing tennis shoes) and felt nothing. Knelt back down in the grass with bare skin touching like before, and the tingle was back.

So I assume this is not normal and I have a bad or weak ground issue, which is why I got the tingle when touching skin to grass, but not when touching shoe to grass.

How do I troubleshoot this and then fix it? Any advice would be appreciated. Also, as I stated in a different post, my electric tongue jack, working at the dealer when I picked up the TT, would not work when I got home. Can these issues be related?

Thanks!
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:46 PM   #2
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No, it doesn't sound like the tongue jack issue. (BTW, did you check the fuse?) You have, as you surmised, a bad ground issue, specifically related to your 120VAC. Let's talk about how you are plugged in, i.e. curbside. I'll guess you don't yet have a 30 Amp RV outlet installed at your house, and are using an "adapter" plug to plug the TT into the house. Are you running all good, three-wire extension cords? No 2-prong "cheaters?" Is your house wiring up to snuff with at a minimum a 20 amp, 3-prong, grounded outlet? Have you checked voltage not only from hot to neutral but also from hot to ground?
Look into buying one of those amber/red LED plug-ins that check the polarity of your wiring.
In the mean time, be very careful.
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Old 08-21-2016, 11:03 PM   #3
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He disconnected shore power so it will not be 120 related.
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:38 AM   #4
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This is what Marty is referring to, (everybody should have one)

I agree with Mark It's not an AC issue. You can try finding where the ground for your battery attaches to the frame and clean it up good and use some dielectric grease when you put it back on.

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Old 08-22-2016, 09:30 AM   #5
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Even with everything shut off there are still several 12 v items consuming power, the radio and propane detectors at a minimum. I suspect you are acting as earth ground since the trailer may be completely isolated. I suggest you verify that you have a valid ground connection thru the house and power cords, then reconnect shore power but all 120 vac breakers off, then see if the issue is gone.
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Old 08-22-2016, 09:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark5w View Post
He disconnected shore power so it will not be 120 related.
You're right, Mark. I got confused with the shore power cut-off was intermixed with the "standing with shoes on" and the "kneeling in the grass" parts.
Such a "tingle" is unusual. It would seem to define a small voltage drop between the frame of the trailer and ground. Ground through the tongue jack (bolted to frame near battery negative) and the earth, while the trailer is probably grounded near the converter.
Hmm. Maybe his faulty tongue jack does have something to do with it. I'll be interested to find out after he gets the jack fixed.
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Old 08-22-2016, 11:50 AM   #7
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Status Update

OK all, I found the in-line fuse for the tongue jack and it was blown. Replace it and it now works just fine...

As far as the grounding issue, when I repeated my kneeling test this AM, the tingle was gone. I checked both before and after replacing the in-line fuse. I even put some water on my knee but could not feel anything. I visually inspected connections to battery terminals and chassis ground, and they are all clean. I reconnected to shore power same as yesterday, but the tingle is no more.

[QUOTE=Look into buying one of those amber/red LED plug-ins that check the polarity of your wiring.[/QUOTE]
I have one of these, it came in a "goodie bag" with the TT when we picked it up yesterday.

So I plugged it in to the house outlet I'd been using and it indicated an open ground. I tested a different outlet and it was good, so I plugged the TT into that outlet. Repeated tingle test and there is none. Everything is working fine now.

The only remaining question to me is why the tingle disappeared, when my first test today was before anything was changed from yesterday?
When I disconnected from shore power yesterday the tingle was still there, but it is now completely gone. That's good, but I'd feel better if I understood why. I will check this regularly in the future...

Thanks all of you for your help!
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Old 08-22-2016, 12:35 PM   #8
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please go to a local hardware store and buy a multi-meter to measure resistance and voltage. it is very dangerous to be troubleshooting via "this still tingles" method and you can get one for under $20.
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Old 08-22-2016, 12:55 PM   #9
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What he^ said !

some of those tingles have a tendency to become 'zaps' and shocks
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Old 08-22-2016, 02:08 PM   #10
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I don't have a good answer to your remaining question, but I do have two thoughts:
1. Fix that open-ground outlet. When you open the box you may find a broken wire, or no ground wire at all!
2. Your 240BH doesn't have an inverter, does it? (Expensive option, changes battery power to 120VAC when shore power is not available)
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Old 08-22-2016, 03:16 PM   #11
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Do you use a surge protector for the Rv?
They show an open ground, open neutral and reverse polarity.

The real good ones show:


  • High & Low Voltage Protection (Low <104, High 132>)
  • Lost/Open Neutral Protection
  • Frequency Protection (Low <51Hz, High 69Hz>)
  • Integrated Digital Readout
  • Open Ground Protection
  • Polarity Protection
  • Previous Error Indication
  • Remote Digital Display
  • Surge Fault Indication
  • Built-in adjustable time delay for A/C compressor
  • Voltage Meter
  • Frequency Meter
  • Built-in: Surge Fault Indication and Amperage Meter · Adjustable Time Delay
  • Thermally Protected
  • Weather Resistant
I recommend the Progressive Industry brands. Made in USA and lifetime warranty.
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Old 08-22-2016, 04:11 PM   #12
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Sounds like maybe a capacitor discharging to me. Lord knows where.
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Old 08-22-2016, 10:44 PM   #13
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I have a multimeter and agree it is a better option than the tingle test 😀
No, I don't have an inverter, but it is on my potential upgrade list.

Also, I learned that if yo don't stop raising the tongue jack before it reaches its limit, it blows the inline fuse. Did that today about 45 min after replacing the first blown one. Experience is sometimes worth more than a textbook 😉
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smw57 View Post
I have a multimeter and agree it is a better option than the tingle test 😀
No, I don't have an inverter, but it is on my potential upgrade list.

Also, I learned that if yo don't stop raising the tongue jack before it reaches its limit, it blows the inline fuse. Did that today about 45 min after replacing the first blown one. Experience is sometimes worth more than a textbook 😉
I watch mine carefully, and JUST before the rising part reaches the top, I let go of the switch. I like to hear that "grrr" when I know it's seated at the top, and wedged in place, but recognize that driving it up electrically has a blown fuse potential. The fuse is slo-blo, but that's like 1/4 second.
Glad you got this part of the puzzle put together!
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Old 08-23-2016, 05:36 AM   #15
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How about replacing the fuse with a thermal fuse/switch ? They blow from too much current/heat and reset automatically ?
that way you have the best of both worlds protection but yet full usage and no replacing fuses !
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:48 AM   #16
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That seems like a good Idea. Thermal fuse.
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:43 PM   #17
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In my mind, this almost has to be a 120V issue. Are you certain that the shore line was disconnected?

The reason I ask is that the 12v power has very little interest in going to ground through your body. About three failures would need to occur for that to happen, and even then it is unlikely.

The 120V really really really wants to go to the ground through your body. In the US we use the conductive mineral path as one wire that returns all the electricity back to the utility power plant. You were already touching one wire when you knelt down. Touching a camper with an electrical fault caused the second conductor to complete the circuit. The 12V doesn't care about the earth unless the earth is connected to the other post of the battery.

Which brings me to the next potential issue. Somewhere, you probably have a wiring issue that is connecting the frame of the camper to one side of the 120v source. This could take a while to track down. It could be a damaged flexible cord (shoreline or extension cord), a worn conductor in the walls, or a problem in a receptacle box. I suspect that power is "leaking" to the frame.

Plug the camper in to the shoreline (after fixing the ground) and measure the voltage between the grounding terminal of an outlet and the frame. If it is anything other than 0V then we have a problem.
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