Electrical Conundrum - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-25-2015, 10:19 AM   #15
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The neutral and the ground are normally connected at the service entrance and nowhere else. The neutral MUST be solidly grounded there and this takes care of both phases of the 240 VAC as well.
Of course the trailer feed is 120 VAC and has the hot (black) neutral (white) and ground (green). The ground in the trailer should be solidly bonded to the frame and I guess a case for the breaker box (also a service entrance for the trailer) ground and neutral bonded as well. Perhaps Mike Sokol or some other person more familiar with the code could chime in here on this issue.
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Old 06-25-2015, 11:17 AM   #16
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Since a camper is normally sitting on rubber , the frame is not an alternative ground for the supply line . If the supply line ground is faulty the only ground available will be if you contact the frame and the ground , in which case you will become the ground .
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Old 06-25-2015, 12:00 PM   #17
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trailer grounding

Good.point Given that the shore power cord or even the hook up at the campground may have a compromised ground ,,does it make sense to have a portable ground rod connecting the chassis into the soil next to the trailer?. this would be redundant to the shore ground but would ensure that the trailer has a ground.
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Old 06-25-2015, 12:07 PM   #18
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Good.point Given that the shore power cord or even the hook up at the campground may have a compromised ground ,,does it make sense to have a portable ground rod connecting the chassis into the soil next to the trailer?. this would be redundant to the shore ground but would ensure that the trailer has a ground.
I know it's a bit confusing, but a ground rod really doesn't "ground" your RV at all. Your RV's ground wire needs to be connected back to the incoming service panel Neutral-Ground-Earthing point.

Mike SOkol
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Old 06-25-2015, 12:08 PM   #19
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The neutral and the ground are normally connected at the service entrance and nowhere else. The neutral MUST be solidly grounded there and this takes care of both phases of the 240 VAC as well.
Of course the trailer feed is 120 VAC and has the hot (black) neutral (white) and ground (green). The ground in the trailer should be solidly bonded to the frame and I guess a case for the breaker box (also a service entrance for the trailer) ground and neutral bonded as well. Perhaps Mike Sokol or some other person more familiar with the code could chime in here on this issue.
You're mostly correct, but the Neutral (white) wires must never be bonded (connected) to the chassis of the RV breaker box or frame. That Neutral-Ground bond is created externally by whatever shore power you're plugged into. And there will be times when your EGC ground isn't connected to the earth at all, that being when powered by a portable generator. You'll then have something we call a ground-plane, which is a local ground not connected to earth ground. However, with this sort of generator power, there may be times that a voltage monitor device in your RV could interpret that now floating neutral and shut down your power. If that occurs see my article on generator Neutral-Ground bonding at Generator Ground-Neutral Bonding | No~Shock~Zone

Mike Sokol
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Old 06-25-2015, 12:26 PM   #20
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Years ago, when I was a teen working at a Drive-In movie theatre, it was common to provide a portable heater on the speaker post that could be pulled into the car to keep everyone warm in cold weather.


On night a young man got out of his parents car to visit the loo, in bare feet at that. When he returned he grabbed a door handle and got a fatal shock due to a wiring error in a then new in-car heater that was in contact with an interior metal part.


If you have any "leakage" Stop and find out it's source before hooking up to shore power again and, if you have to depend on advice from a forum such as this one, advice what could lead to a fatal shock, hie ye to a licensed electrician to find the fault. This is not a task for the amateur.
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Old 06-25-2015, 02:52 PM   #21
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Mike Sokol has a RV Electrical Book for sale and I highly recommend it for those of you that are not electrically proficient.
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Old 06-25-2015, 04:26 PM   #22
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The neutral conductor supplied by the local utility
q is intentionally. grounded at the source . If you examine a utility pole , you will see a ground wire running from the base of the pole to the neutral point of the utilities transformer . The neutral conductor is again bonded to ground (ground rod
,ufer ground or underground metalic water system
at the buildings service entrance along with all metallic parts of your service equipment (breaker panel ,piping ,meter socket. The grounding at the structure is a reduntant ground to the utilities ground . The grounded conductor ( neutral) and the grounding conductor (equipment ground) are not the same after you leave the service . The neutral is a current carrying conductor and the equipment ground is only intended to carry current in case of a fault .Your trailer frame is bonded to the equipment grounding conductor. not the grounded conductor (neutral) and only carries current. under fault conditions. You want the 120 VAC power to go out on the hot conductor (black) and return on the grounded (neutral /white ) conductor. The equipment ground
ground (green / bare is normally not a current carrying conductor. It is obvious from many of these posts that many do not understand the code or electrical work and as Byron said need professional help.

I hold both a journeymans and masters electrician license from the State of Minnesota plus hold a Vocational teachers license in electrical and taught code to apprentices and journeyman for over 30 years so I am not just making an uneducated guess !
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Old 06-25-2015, 05:11 PM   #23
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trailer grounding

If you haven't taken a look at Mike Sokol's YouTube video I recommend that you do . It has some good information that is pertinent to this discussion. It also introduces simple test device that can keep you safe when entering your own or anyone else's trailer
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Old 06-25-2015, 06:32 PM   #24
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Since a camper is normally sitting on rubber , the frame is not an alternative ground for the supply line . If the supply line ground is faulty the only ground available will be if you contact the frame and the ground , in which case you will become the ground .
One thing I want to make very clear is that trailer jacks sitting on the dirt DO NOT ground your RV. In fact, I'm getting ready to run a few fall-of-potential tests on various ground rod configurations in my back yard, so I'll go ahead and mock up a test for the ground impedance of jack plates. I'll bet it's in the many thousands of ohms. According to the latest revision of the NEC, a ground rod needs to have no more than 25 ohms impedance to ground or else a second ground rod is required. Again, even a proper ground rod by itself really doesn't "ground" your RV's electrical system. As Steve Dunham has so correctly pointed out, the safety ground (green or bare wires) of your RV's shore power line needs to be connected between the RV chassis and the incoming service panel's Ground-Neutral-Earth bonding point with a resistance of less than 1 ohm. This is so that a hot-to-chassis fault in your RV creates enough current to trip the over-current device (circuit breaker) quickly.

I think what confuses many consumers (and some electricians as well) is that the same word "ground" is used for a lot of very different things. So the ground wire in your shore power connection doesn't really "ground" your RV chassis, it's supposed to "bond" it to the service panel's G-N-E bonding point.

Mike Sokol
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Old 06-27-2015, 07:12 PM   #25
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Electrical Conundrum

jadedave:I had a similar problem with a brand new trailer. The trailer developed a hot skin when plugged directly into the house socket after the surge protector detected an open ground and cut power to the trailer. At the time I did not realize what an open ground could be. On taking the socket out of the wall, I found current on the neutral wire, I found that the ground wire had broken off oh the receptacle. Once I restored the connection all was well. Close one. Glad it was a dry day. I always plug into a good diagnostic surge protector, whether at home or at a campground. Great investment.


Sent from my iPad using Fiberglass RV
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