"Hot Skin" with Fiberglass? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-29-2016, 08:25 PM   #15
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Name: Ruth
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Yes! I think my question was answered very thoroughly. Thank you everybody!


Sent from my iPhone using Fiberglass RV
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Old 05-30-2016, 05:13 PM   #16
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Name: Steve Robison
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I still don't understand how the frame can be energized? For this to happen wouldn't a wire have to fall out of a receptacle then create a hole in the floor and touch the frame? I'm curious because I redid the electrical and didn't ground the frame due to the lack of reports of Scamp frames becoming energized. All I heard about this topic is better safe then sorry but that's about it.
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:50 AM   #17
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Name: larry
Trailer: Casita, but in the market for a bigfoot
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I still don't understand how the frame can be energized? For this to happen wouldn't a wire have to fall out of a receptacle then create a hole in the floor and touch the frame? I'm curious because I redid the electrical and didn't ground the frame due to the lack of reports of Scamp frames becoming energized. All I heard about this topic is better safe then sorry but that's about it.
wouldn't plugging your trailers 120 into a ground fault protected outlet check for a bad ground? If there was one wouldn't the outlet trip?
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Old 05-31-2016, 09:47 PM   #18
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wouldn't plugging your trailers 120 into a ground fault protected outlet check for a bad ground? If there was one wouldn't the outlet trip?
The 30 amp outlets most campers use, including most of our Scamps, don't have GFI's.

If everything is wired properly and all of the connections are in good condition, you won't get a hot frame. Also, a GFI can be mis-wired in such a way that it will not provide any protection.

We don't live in a perfect world. Be careful out there.

--Dan Meyer
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:01 AM   #19
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Name: Raz
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Originally Posted by Bluetang99 View Post
I still don't understand how the frame can be energized? For this to happen wouldn't a wire have to fall out of a receptacle then create a hole in the floor and touch the frame? I'm curious because I redid the electrical and didn't ground the frame due to the lack of reports of Scamp frames becoming energized. All I heard about this topic is better safe then sorry but that's about it.
The best argument I can give to grounding your frame is that it protects you and your family from harm. With a grounded frame any fault will activate the protection device; breaker or fuse. A far better outcome than trying to find the fault you didn't think could happen after someone has been hurt. Just a thought. Raz
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Old 06-04-2016, 09:38 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Bluetang99 View Post
I still don't understand how the frame can be energized? For this to happen wouldn't a wire have to fall out of a receptacle then create a hole in the floor and touch the frame? I'm curious because I redid the electrical and didn't ground the frame due to the lack of reports of Scamp frames becoming energized. All I heard about this topic is better safe then sorry but that's about it.
Code & safe practices require that the trailer frame be connected to the AC ground. Any high current fault to the frame will trip the circuit's breaker & low current faults will be less likely to shock a user who is between the frame & the earth. Just as important is that the neutral (the grounded conductor or white wire) IS NOT connected to ground or the trailer frame in the trailer.

A couple of examples of where faults that energize the trailer frame can happen:

The water heater electric element fails, allowing a connection between it & the water. While distilled water is an insulator, real water is pretty conductive. Any water in the trailer & metal fittings could become "live".

The 120V electric element in the refer fails, allowing a connection between it & the frame of the refrigerator. The propane connection to the refrigerator is usually conductive (copper tubing) which is often touching the trailer frame.

A fault in the converter that places 120V line voltage on the 12V system. Since the 12V system is often connected to the frame, this could put the frame at line voltage. (To help prevent some converter fault problems, NEC requires that there be a bond (electrical connection) between the converter case & the trailer frame).

I have experienced all these examples (although not always in fiberglass trailers) during my many years of electrical troubleshooting. Multiple faults in appliances, broken wires, etc can often combine in ways that are unexpected - a grounded frame (and, obviously, a good ground connection between the trailer & the AC service) is a critical safety factor.
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:06 AM   #21
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Thank you, Jon!! That's the first thing in this thread I actually understood!

You know, it's funny… some people avoid propane because of the dangers. I feel like I have a basic understanding of what those dangers are, I had my trailer checked by a technician, and I have no qualms using the propane systems.

But I've had my trailer 4 years and have never once plugged it in! And, quite honestly, not having much knowledge of electrical systems, I have been somewhat afraid to.

Anyway, keep the discussions coming. I am learning!
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Old 06-04-2016, 02:31 PM   #22
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Name: Kathy
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A couple of thoughts:

First, when I read the story in the link I realized that this child's tragic death was not a simple "accident". According to the article the trailer was plugged into a rusty outlet with a broken ground wire and "...from an external outlet on the trailer that was hanging by its wires." That's a recipe for disaster!

The author of the article recommends that "For $30 or less, RV owners can get a digital voltmeter or, even better, a noncontact AC tester, available at any hardware store. When pointed at the RV from up to a foot away, it will light up and beep if there’s a problem." That sounds like a handy gadget to have.

Before we plug into any campground pedestal we do the following: 1. turn off the pedestal so that it isn't energized, 2. plug in our Receptacle Tester (find them at any hardware store), 3. check that the proper lights are lit up on the tester (it can detect incorrect wiring, open ground, reverse polarity, open hot, open neutral, and reversed hot/ground), 4. turn pedestal back off, unplug tester and plug in our power cord, 5. turn pedestal back on.

Only once have we encountered a problem. I don't remember specifically what was wrong with the pedestal, but we decided to move to another site. When we told the campground staff why we were moving they seemed alarmingly unconcerned about the situation.
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