The RVers Corner

A user writes ...

I've just noticed something on my new-to-me '88 Lance camper:

When plugged in to shore power, if I touch something metal on the camper while being grounded outside the camper, I get shocked (feels like holding a hot 110v wire and ground, only a little less of a shock). Everything electrical that I've tried works on the camper. I'm no electrical wizard, but do own a multi-meter, anybody have advice where to start looking for the leak?

Answer ...

You are getting a shock from the campers metal skin due to incorrect wiring in some part of the system. You can purchase a 110 volt circuit tester for under ten dollars at a hardware store or electrical supply store. The device plugs into an electrical outlet and has three lights on it to tell you if there is a problem and where the problem is. Everyone should have one of these to test every campground shore power outlet BEFORE hooking up the coach to the power source.

Does this happen every time? Have you plugged in using an extension cord that may be wired wrong?
Or changed any receptacles or added anything that is screwed into the walls or ceiling?

Also, sometimes a staple or screw works it's way into a wire through road vibrations and shorts the wires to ground. This is a dangerous situation and must be corrected before any further use of the camper.

Reader follow-up ...

Thanks so much for the info and the warning (we just unwittingly used the camper this weekend!). I will disconnect the battery when I get home and pick up a tester on the way home to start checking with. The only thing electrical-wise I had done to this point was to put a new deep cycle battery in. I did try switching outlets and going with/without an extension cord. It sounds like I should start with the source circuit (as in maybe there's power in the ground wire already...)? Thanks again....

Follow up to my post last night: There's nothing wrong with the Lance; I picked up a $7 tester at Home Depot and plugged it into my garage outlet and found that the outlet has the hot and common wire swapped. Once I found a good outlet and plugged the Lance into it, the shocking was gone.

So now I'm wondering what other house problems I can get solved here...! Thanks again for the help...

Answer ...

Glad to hear you found the problem.

Take that $7 tester with you and test every campsite hookup. You never know who changed the last receptacle and if they did it right!


Three-Wire Circuit Analyzer

This device simply plugs in to any outlet. It is recommended that you plug it in to the power supply *before* plugging in your RV. Since the park supply may be the 30 amp plug, just plug in your 15 to 30 amp adapter, and then plug the circuit tester into the adapter.
Three-Wire Circuit Analyzer warns you of faulty wiring in three-wire 110V receptacles. See circuit tester at Camping World