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Old 08-11-2018, 04:32 PM   #1
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Are our 5th wheels grounded to the frame?

I have a RV 30 amp and regular 15 amp plug installed next to my driveway that my parents used 20 years ago to "camp" next to our driveway. I also use it for our 5th wheel. A few years back I had mice in the box that essentially destroyed the wiring for the 30 amp plug. I replaced all that wiring and better mouse proofed the box (steel wool). I didn't replace the 15 amp wiring as it looked fine at the time. We got back from a trip last Wednesday and are headed back out in less then a week so I wanted to keep the fridge on. I parked further away then I normally do and decided to use an extension cord in the 15 amp plug. I didn't notice but the fridge never went to AC. I had to replace a "Steadyfast" bracket and got a little tingle shock through the wrench when I started tightening the bolts . Upon further investigation I discovered the White wire had degraded significantly and was no longer providing a good circuit. The RV plug is mounted next to my electric meter and is grounded with a grounding rod pounded into the ground at the meter, with both white and green wires "grounded" to the rod, completing the circuit. So I believe I was providing the ground circuit when I was touching the frame. Does anyone have a wiring diagram that may show how our 5th wheels are grounded?
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by robkathybat View Post
I have a RV 30 amp and regular 15 amp plug installed next to my driveway that my parents used 20 years ago to "camp" next to our driveway. I also use it for our 5th wheel. A few years back I had mice in the box that essentially destroyed the wiring for the 30 amp plug. I replaced all that wiring and better mouse proofed the box (steel wool). I didn't replace the 15 amp wiring as it looked fine at the time. We got back from a trip last Wednesday and are headed back out in less then a week so I wanted to keep the fridge on. I parked further away then I normally do and decided to use an extension cord in the 15 amp plug. I didn't notice but the fridge never went to AC. I had to replace a "Steadyfast" bracket and got a little tingle shock through the wrench when I started tightening the bolts . Upon further investigation I discovered the White wire had degraded significantly and was no longer providing a good circuit. The RV plug is mounted next to my electric meter and is grounded with a grounding rod pounded into the ground at the meter, with both white and green wires "grounded" to the rod, completing the circuit. So I believe I was providing the ground circuit when I was touching the frame. Does anyone have a wiring diagram that may show how our 5th wheels are grounded?

There should not be any connection from green to white in the coach. The national electric code only lets the white and green to be connected at the first service disconnecting means. So for example as the power come into your house or building there is a main switch to disconnect the utility power from the building , at this location is the only place they can be tie together . If they have a connection after that it is possible for the ground to have voltage and current on it . This can possible cause a shock to you by touching a water faucet and a grounded appliance or tool. electricity take the path of the least resistance to get to ground , that why the ground is NOT designed to carry a load.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:58 PM   #3
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My house and RV plug are unique, in that I am on a well connected to the house by plastic pipe, therefore my Ground (and hence the white wire) are all connected to ground rods around the house. I know of 2 at the house and when the RV box was installed 1 was put out there. My meter and the RV connection are next to the transformer about 100 feet from the house. The transformer is fed underground and is about 400 feet from the pole with 1 wire connected to the overhead wire (2000 volts I believe) running down the pole into the ground. I understand that after the distribution panel the ground and white never touch. I see the red/black hot wires in the coach connected to the high side of the 2 pole 50 amp breaker, and the white wire coming in connected to the white distribution bar. I cannot locate the ground wire from the plug to the coach distribution panel, although I'm sure it's there. The ground and white appear to be separate, making the RV box the first service connection you mentioned. So it's possible that something weird was going on inside the 15 amp plug that I was using. I'm connected to the 30 amp RV plug now and plan on replacing the 15 amp ground fault before I use it again.
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Old 08-12-2018, 01:27 AM   #4
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[QUOTE=robkathybat;80764]My house and RV plug are unique, in that I am on a well connected to the house by plastic pipe, therefore my Ground (and hence the white wire) are all connected to ground rods around the house. I know of 2 at the house and when the RV box was installed 1 was put out there. My meter and the RV connection are next to the transformer about 100 feet from the house. The transformer is fed underground and is about 400 feet from the pole with 1 wire connected to the overhead wire (2000 volts I believe) running down the pole into the ground. I understand that after the distribution panel the ground and white never touch. I see the red/black hot wires in the coach connected to the high side of the 2 pole 50 amp breaker, and the white wire coming in connected to the white distribution bar. I cannot locate the ground wire from the plug to the coach distribution panel, although I'm sure it's there. The ground and white appear to be separate, making the RV box the first service connection you mentioned. So it's possible that something weird was going on inside the 15 amp plug that I was using. I'm connected to the 30 amp RV plug now and plan on replacing the 15 amp ground fault before I use it again.[/QUOTE


My best guess is the ground wire is connected to the frame of the coach close to where its entering from the cord or cord reel.

If you see more then 10 volts from ground to white I would start looking for where it grounded or run a #10 green to the frame from the cord enterance. 10 volts is on the high side of what I would call safe. 35 years as a licensed electrician in 4 states running multi million dollar job I have never see more then the 10 volt if the ground connections are clean and sound.


It also possible your house doesn't have a good ground at your RV outlet or the cord has a bad ground in it.
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:26 PM   #5
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Just remembered I had a picture of the mice. This was actually the second invasion that year that prompted me to try and mouse proof the box. These mice were not going to do any more damage.
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File Type: jpg Mice in RV box.jpg (36.6 KB, 14 views)
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Old 08-13-2018, 01:04 AM   #6
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Just remembered I had a picture of the mice. This was actually the second invasion that year that prompted me to try and mouse proof the box. These mice were not going to do any more damage.
Disconnect the jumper from the white bar to the grounds. That's why you have stray current . The white wire has voltage drop on the return path so its using the ground wire to get the current back to earth ground any way it can. You more then likely need a better grounding grid at the disconnect you have out side if its not grounded to the house. 1 -8' rod isn't enough in most soil conditions . Typically a 8' ground rod will NOT return 5 amps of current to the earth , dry soil or rocky soil will some time take 3 ~4 grounds to get 5 amps into the ground. Wet and salty soil is the best. the mice didn't stand a chance. RIP
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:14 PM   #7
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Probably not, but you may want to check.


Only time I've got a "tingle" off our RV was in Mexico when the 15 amp plug at the pedestal had black and white wires reversed. The grass was wet and I made a connection when I grabbed the RV with my hand.
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