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Old 08-25-2016, 09:04 PM   #1
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To ground or not to ground

Am I better off telling everyone here that I am planning on grounding my breaker panel to the skin of the bus? Then wait for all the reasons not to?

Or would I get better results saying I have no plans to ground? Then wait for reasons to?

I have no clue on this. Can someone please steer me in the right direction. I'm forever
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:25 PM   #2
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When I mentioned using aluminum diamond plate for a shower pan to our electrical instructor at the technology center... I asked about grounding the pan, and he said in my situation (stick & air nailed storage building), a ground lug should be tig welded to the pan and bonded to earth ground.

When I read that article last night about "hot skin" on a bus, it really made me wonder about generator electricity! I know if my bus electrical is proper, it'll pick up the earth ground from the shore electrical pole at an RV campground, but what about generated electricity and rubber bus tires?

Sure would hate to pound in a ground spike at every campsite and clamp bus to ground.... But, I would if I felt I needed to!

What about the anti-static strip I've seen on some vehicles?
https://www.google.com/search?q=anti...9x-WJSJ4hGM%3A


I guess I could toss out my Danforth boat anchor on steel chain and get a good hold!

I'm also interested in this topic!

Here's some previous discussion
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f10/ho...ms-ac-448.html
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:29 PM   #3
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Begin your reading here.

No Shock Zone – RV Travel.

Once you have read this you will be better able to ask meaningful questions and get help with your electrical installation. Hope this helps. Jack
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:31 PM   #4
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Old 08-25-2016, 10:31 PM   #5
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This post has a very good write up of why and how you should ground your chassis:
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f10/ho...tml#post111489
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Old 08-25-2016, 10:41 PM   #6
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Definitely ground the AC panel to the skin. If you don't and one of your 120v hot wires gets loose and touches your bus body the whole body will be energized and the breakers in your power panel won't trip since they have no idea there's a problem in the wiring. Ground the body and now your breakers will trip when there's a short like they're supposed to.

Without that ground connection your steel body could be energized and no one would know about it until someone who's outside and grounded touches the steel. Maybe they feel a little tingle and maybe they get a serious poke. It all depends on how well they are grounded themselves.
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Old 08-25-2016, 11:04 PM   #7
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Grommets for wires passing through sheet metal holes would be wise investment too!

Or plastic conduit connectors & nuts
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Old 08-25-2016, 11:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piersg View Post
This post has a very good write up of why and how you should ground your chassis:
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f10/ho...tml#post111489
Very good post!
Some of this life/death stuff should be stickied!
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:41 AM   #9
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You need to make certain that the bonding screw (or similar) has been removed from your panel. You do NOT want neutral and ground bonded at the panel.

Make sure that neutral and ground ARE bonded in your generator. Every one that I have ever looked at has been but I am sure that there are exceptions. You don't want to find out the hard way......

Yes, ground the panel to the bus chassis.

Please....... Have an electrician look it over your electrical install when you are done.
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Old 08-26-2016, 12:33 PM   #10
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This is all still theoretical to me because I don't have a bus yet. But, I would guess that there is a main breaker at the top of whatever you can provision as an RV 120VAC panel, just like there is in a residential panel. Would it be a good idea to make that breaker a GFCI? Or is there code that requires the park operator to install one per-site?
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Old 08-26-2016, 02:14 PM   #11
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Never ever assume park operators have done anything electrical correctly. They are famous for jury-rigging their boxes...forget that "code" stuff. Only safe way to hook up to any of them is to test the outlet BEFORE plugging in. Way too many horror stories out there about folks being electrocuted or their rigs burning to the ground due to mis-wired electrical boxes.
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Old 08-26-2016, 02:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Never ever assume park operators have done anything electrical correctly. They are famous for jury-rigging their boxes...forget that "code" stuff. Only safe way to hook up to any of them is to test the outlet BEFORE plugging in. Way too many horror stories out there about folks being electrocuted or their rigs burning to the ground due to mis-wired electrical boxes.
AMEN Brother Tango!!!!!
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Old 08-26-2016, 02:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Never ever assume park operators have done anything electrical correctly. They are famous for jury-rigging their boxes...forget that "code" stuff. Only safe way to hook up to any of them is to test the outlet BEFORE plugging in. Way too many horror stories out there about folks being electrocuted or their rigs burning to the ground due to mis-wired electrical boxes.
So I'm supposed to schlep a megger around with me as I travel? Or is there a 50 amp equivalent to the little yellow Ideal tester? Or just stick a fork in it and see where the smoke comes out?
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Old 08-26-2016, 02:51 PM   #14
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There are a number of different testing devices made for RV park boxes. Their very existence a testament to how common big problems are.

Polarity, grounding, voltage, amperage...all of it. There have been a number of instances where "110" outlets were actually wired up as 220! Not very good for anything plugged into it.

As Ol' Trunt always advises on electrical devices..."You gotta be careful not to let all the smoke out".
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Old 08-26-2016, 04:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roach711 View Post
Definitely ground the AC panel to the skin. If you don't and one of your 120v hot wires gets loose and touches your bus body the whole body will be energized and the breakers in your power panel won't trip since they have no idea there's a problem in the wiring. Ground the body and now your breakers will trip when there's a short like they're supposed to.
Excellent summary of the risks. IMHO the main purpose for thoroughly bonding all the metallic (electrically conductive) building components together is exactly as roach711 described. If/when an electrical fault develops, we want the circuit breaker, GFCI, AFCI, fuse, etc to trip promptly. Oftentimes there isn't any immediate injury or damage when a fault develops. Think of electrocutions in marinas, loose connections that arc and heat for some time before igniting a fire. The fault exists for some time before anything serious happens. If we install the right kind of protection device we may detect a fault and interrupt the electricity before there's any injury or significant damage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmania View Post
When I read that article last night about "hot skin" on a bus, it really made me wonder about generator electricity! I know if my bus electrical is proper, it'll pick up the earth ground from the shore electrical pole at an RV campground, but what about generated electricity and rubber bus tires?
Another member wrote about generator ground bonding and suggested that generators usually are bonded. I trust his/her experience, but mine has been the opposite: I have two Honda inverter generators (different models) and previously had a Generac open-frame. None had built-in bonding, and I actually have caused some damage through my own inattentiveness in wiring combined with the generator's lack of built-in bonding.

I'm not sure the insulation factor of the tires comes into play with a generator (or inverter). If the generator/inverter is built-in then the world beyond the bus wheels is arguably not part of the picture. If the generator is sitting in the grass out behind the bus, then.. maybe. We could try to cook up some scenarios. If the generator did not have a bond between its chassis and neutral, and if it had some internal fault so that the hot side became connected to its chassis, no breaker would trip on the generator. Yet its chassis would be "hot" and, sitting on the earth/grass, I guess technically an inverse hot-skin condition develops because the bus skin is bonded to neutral through wire while the ground below is hot through the soil, the generator frame sitting on the soil, and the internal fault in the generator.

IIRC ground rods for portable generators are required by OSHA for movie productions on-location outdoors, for example. I'm struggling to construct a scenario in which the ground rod is an important part of the safety of the system though.
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Old 08-26-2016, 04:48 PM   #16
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not much to add except this, let your plug in (camp post or house post be your ground) kind of like an extension cord, per "mike" I tied ours in so 120V/240V/12V all have same common ground...no issues and when wet/snow whatever...no isseus..ALWAYS CHECK WHAT YOU PLUG INTO!!!! PERIOD, NO BS..TEST IT
buy a $20 fluke meter/tester and a $20 multimeter, always check for voltage,PROPER Wiring and a hot skin, we now both carry a fluke tester when we go camp to camp, too many tingles camper to camper (and we...err I tell owners about it and show them whats going on...be safe
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Old 08-26-2016, 09:11 PM   #17
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Here is what OSHA says about grounding generators:
https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hur..._generator.pdf
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:17 PM   #18
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If in doubt about whether your generator needs the ground/neutral bond:

http://www.generlink.com/CompatibleGenerator.pdf
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Old 08-27-2016, 08:35 AM   #19
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I recently installed one of these the50A model Progressive Industries RV Surge and Electrical Protection industry lea
they also have a portable model. I got it much cheaper at jet.com. If there is something wrong, or goes wrong with the power coming in it won't supply or unhooks power

I also carry one of these.
https://www.amazon.com/P3-P4400-Elec...-a-watt+device
It's real handy for checking voltage, also for checking current draw of a device.

I was recently at a campground and my surge protector shut down (low voltage) I checked four pedestals, with my Kill A Watt, that my 50 foot cord would reach without moving. Two read 108, one 118 and one 136. I took the 136 and my son used the 118. I noticed that the voltage fluctuated a lot all weekend, and my electrical stuff did odd things. The two that read 108 died an hour or so later.

Dick
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Old 12-17-2017, 05:34 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roach711 View Post
Definitely ground the AC panel to the skin. If you don't and one of your 120v hot wires gets loose and touches your bus body the whole body will be energized and the breakers in your power panel won't trip since they have no idea there's a problem in the wiring. Ground the body and now your breakers will trip when there's a short like they're supposed to.

Without that ground connection your steel body could be energized and no one would know about it until someone who's outside and grounded touches the steel. Maybe they feel a little tingle and maybe they get a serious poke. It all depends on how well they are grounded themselves.
This. We didn't realize our solar wasn't grounding properly until we noticed we had a really fantastic burglar alarm. At least 3 visitors got zapped in the doorway before we realized what was going on, lol. The first 2 times we thought they were just having personal problems.
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