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Thursday, March 17, 2011

More about a dangerous RV hot skin condition

We received a lot of response after last week's posting of Mike Sokol's video about testing for an RV "hot skin" condition. In that video, Mike showed you a simple device that can alert you if your RV is "electrified." If so, you could be shocked, even killed, when you try to enter your RV. You can watch that video here. Mike posted this short video in response to a few questions he received about that previous video.


  1. I disagree about plugging into shore power then checking the voltage in the RV. Check the power pedistal or what ever before you plug in your power cord.

  2. Well, I'm not sure I ever said to plug into shore power and THEN check the voltage. If you review any of the articles I've written on, you'll see several pieces about how to check for proper pedestal voltage and polarity BEFORE plugging in. The proximity hot skin test is for use AFTER you verify the pedestal voltage is OK, and want to confirm that your RV chassis is properly grounded all the way through. For instance, it's possible to meter a campsite pedestal and have have it show as correct voltages, but then plug in using a mis-wired entension cord which can cause a hot-skin condition on your RV. It's also possible that a campsite pedestal may measure the correct voltage, but not have a true low-impedance ground back to the main panel distribution box ground plane. In that case, it's possible for one mis-wired RV in that loop of the park to hot-skin electrify a dozen or more properly wired RVs, all withoug warning or tripping any circuit breakers. Yikes!!! That's why a quick proximity test with a VoltAlert or similar non-contact tester is cheap insurance. You don't need to do it every time you walk into your RV, but certainly should do it every time you plug into a new power pedestal. And if you feel the slightest tingle, that's the time to do a proximity hot-skin test. If it shows voltage on your RV skin, then turn off the circuit breaker until you get an electrician to verify what's causing the problem. But certainly, never ignore getting shocked from your RV. There is no condition under which a properly gounded RV should ever shock you, except for the occasional static shock on a dry day. And the non-contact AC tester will ignore static and only trigger on AC voltage. Does that make sense?


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