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Old 11-20-2010, 06:47 PM   #1
kcv
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Electrified SMB

After dealing with a plethora of battery related issues, I was plugged into shore power and was checking fuses under the dash. Lo and behold, when I touched the metal frame under the dash I was surprised to find my van was electrified. I'm basically a novice still with electricity, though I've learned a lot after replacing batteries, separators, and soon-to-be Solara solar panels.

How would someone go about tracing the problem of an improperly grounded vehicle?
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Old 11-20-2010, 08:57 PM   #2
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Re: Electrified SMB

AC power is polarized. Make sure your shore power is set up correctly. On a 110 outlet one side is ground and the other is hot. Many AC items don't care what side is ground or what side hot to work. But it does matter in some circumstances. I'm not saying this is your problem but sounds like it. They make testers that you can purchase at a place like Radio Shack which tells you the polarity is wrong in an AC receptacle.
http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/acpolarity.html
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:31 PM   #3
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Re: Electrified SMB

It sounds like you got a shock when you touched the metal frame under the dash. Is that right?

In order to get a shock, you must touch 2 things at different potentials, the dash metal and ???? What else were you touching when you felt the electricity? Chances are the dash metal is grounded, and you touched some other voltage source to get a shock.

Do you have an inverter in your van? Was it turned on or off?

Is your shore power and cord grounded?

Did you have a drop light or any other AC powered device in the van?

Mike
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:12 AM   #4
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Re: Electrified SMB

IT sounds like your neutral and hot are swaped on the plug or receptical.


You can get a potential tester that when next to the body will light up.
http://www.pronto.com/mpm/compare/green ... 1501036603

with this you can fallow you problem by unpluging from shore power. If it goes away theys it.

Turn on inverter and if it comes back its the van.
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:24 PM   #5
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Re: Electrified SMB



I carry one of these in the van- shows all kinds of problems easily. I have 2 in the house too, useful for testing and verifying outlet work!
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:56 PM   #6
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Re: Electrified SMB

Electrical jobs are not something to teach yourself on. Get some good help to begin the learning process. Shock, no matter how small, needs to be taken very seriously. It can cause your heart to skip beats, get off rythm, any number of disfunctions that you might not notice at first. This can lead to death by heart attack. Don't discount it. Just because you didn't get a flash burn or worse, doesn't mean you aren't playing with fire (DC or AC).

Next thought. Did you test the GFI outlet? Since you mentioned use of shore power, that's the first place I would expect you to get protection from shock. If you don't have one, you need one. I've heard from at least one person regarding the GFI device being damaged and initiating all sorts of other electrical system problems.
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:12 PM   #7
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Re: Electrified SMB

Great theft deterent system if you could get a little more shock going to all parts of the body of the van.
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:54 PM   #8
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Re: Electrified SMB

Yeah if you're getting shocked be careful so the basic rule applies...if you don't know how to handle AC voltage, find someone who does.
Fluke makes a great little probe that lights up red and supplies a audio tone when AC voltage is present. It even can tell you something is hot (like an extension cord) through the insulation.


Fluke 1 AC-A1-II

After you rule out the shore power (or the shore power cord) is not the problem, kill all the breakers and see if the voltage is still there. If not, turn on each breaker and test for voltage. Rated electrical gloves should be used but a dry pair of leather gloves at minimum should be worn. Something as simple as a crushed or bare wire may be touching the van chassis. Youíll have to use a process of elimination.
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Old 11-22-2010, 04:09 PM   #9
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Re: Electrified SMB

Dave,

I'm going to repeat what I said above:

- Even if the van chassis is hot (120V), he still needs to be touching a ground. Not going to have the van chassis be hot and ground at the same time. Where is the other potential coming from?

- Most likely the van chassis is at ground and he touched some other source of power.

Mike
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:30 PM   #10
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Re: Electrified SMB

I agree Mike and that's possible but he has not told us what kind of shock he got, if any at all, only that it was hot. AC, DC??? If the Van isn't grounded properly and the plug polarity is backward, touching the van might wake you up if the chassis is hot (120v). The other potential is the earth. But yes, he should have felt it in the door handle like Roonie was thinking about. I can handle a hot 120 leg with tennis shoes on, but put my knee on the ground...Yikes. Kcv wasn't too explicit on what is happening. I think a good point you made was if the inverter was on but he might be talking about a DC problem as well.
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