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Old 04-24-2010, 08:31 PM   #11
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Re: 110/120V Wiring

Yes, the ground wire should go to all the boxes and devices, and since they are attached to the bus frame, the bus is in effect grounded.

DO NOT bond the shoreline neutral to the shoreline ground. The campground provides this tie where the commercial power comes in. You can have a neutral to ground bond in your genset when it is connected instead of a shoreline.

It would be good practice (though rarely if ever done) to drive a ground stake at the campsite and connect it to the bus frame before plugging in. This would drain off any voltage induced into the campground ground, so touching the bus will not be a memorable experience.
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Old 04-24-2010, 09:11 PM   #12
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Re: 110/120V Wiring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
. . . . If I were to ground the panel to the frame, and plug into shore-power at a CG without checking the polarity, what's preventing my bus from being "hot"? lol....today is slow-Saturday for me (so be gentle) ...what am I missing here?

Smitty
You are missing absolutely nothing. Plugging into a mis-wired pedestal can kill you, and can kill you faster touching a metal skoolie than the walls of a plastic product. Isolating your electrical system can help, because unless you have outside outlets, or the battery negative attaches to ground through the AC charger, it is unlikely you can stand outside and touch something electrical. It still is a danger inside if the bus is connected to a water supply with high mineral content.

The answer, of course, is never plug into a pedestal without checking the wiring connections. Or buy one of those in-line analyzers that checks the power and voltage for several minutes before flowing it to your bus.
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:43 AM   #13
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Re: 110/120V Wiring

The point I was trying to make about campground mis-wiring is don't use it! Find another site with a properly wired pedestal. There are other ways to find your body connected across the power feed besides standing on the ground with your hand on the bus door handle. Trying to "live with" the wrong set up, such as employing ground isolation, is asking for trouble.

FWIW, Our radio trucks have a ground rod aboard with a wing nut top to attach a wire to the frame, but I've never seen one of the drivers set one up.
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:43 PM   #14
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Re: 110/120V Wiring

You are correct. Extra protection from shocks is provided by having all the grounded electrical components mounted on non-metallic parts of the conversion, such as wooden studs, etc. It is sort of like using the double-insulated power tools that only require 2 prongs instead of 3.

The problem I worry about is allowing a sense of complacency to develop, having the idea that "I can't get a shock no matter what I do, because the bus chassis is isolated." There are ways, such as the water supply I mentioned, that can provide grounds which are acceptable targets for alternate circuit paths.

If there is a chance for an accidental ground path, like through an inverter-charger negative, or an outlet box with a mounting screw sticking out the back scratching through the paint, then I would suggest installing a deliberate and quality bond that you control. Most conversions will have something in the electrical system mounted to the frame. Perhaps it could be one of the appliances, so the bus chassis to third wire ground connection will be present through the appliance, and isolation will be lost.

I have two images when you mention "ground fault." One is a loose hot wire inside a piece of equipment contacting ground, or water getting inside some wiring. If the connection is good and draws high current, it will trip a standard breaker. If a poorer, high resistance connection is made, it may heat up and maybe start a fire, and may make the case electrically hot to touch.

The other image of "ground fault" is completing a circuit outside of the wiring components, like grabbing a hot wire in the breaker box while standing on wet concrete in your bare feet. This can kill you before you are able to draw enough current to trip the breaker.

If you have GFCI "ground fault" breakers, they will trip first. Based on the way they are wired to both hot and neutral, I presume they measure the current going out the hot, and compare it with the current returning on the neutral, and shut off the power right away if any of the current is missing, such as going through your body. I do know from experience that if you so much as put a meter between the hot and ground, they shut down the power. My problem is that some of them can also shut down falsely in the presence of radio transmitters, so there are places I would like to use them and can't.
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Old 05-14-2010, 03:20 PM   #15
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Re: 110/120V Wiring

If I can jump in here...Redbear is right. RVIA requires that all RVs have the AC panels tied to chassis since the ground plane is the alternate return path to the pedestal. ABYC requires boats to do the same. In case of a short (hot touching the body of the bus), the breaker trips as it should. If your chassis is completely isolated from the pedestal, and a hot wire touched the body, you'd have a hot skin that would not trip the breaker, but still bite you when opening your door. Admittedly, if a pedestal were reverse wired hot/ground, it would create the same issue IF the ground wire were not bonded to neutral. If all three wires are connected to the receptacle, and the hot were not in the right location, nothing would work and the first camper would report it, and it would get changed.

You're probably okay now, but a few years down the road as your electrical system ages, you're probably better off rolling your dice toward the campground being wired correctly, than your electrical system never scuffing a hot wire.

Dozens of comittees on the subject couldn't be wrong...oh...wait...nevermind that part.
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Old 05-15-2010, 09:59 AM   #16
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Re: 110/120V Wiring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greeper
. . . Dozens of comittees on the subject couldn't be wrong...oh...wait...nevermind that part.
HMMMM . . Dozens of committees stacked with people who make stick 'n staples for a profit? HMMMM . . . . .

By the way, (no personal experience since we boondock) based on family members' experiences, I would trust my wiring more than that of an average campground. Even if it started out right, campground wiring is subject to insect nest infestation inside the panels, sockets fatigued from repeated plugging and unplugging, breakers switched too many times or loaded with dew. All these possibilities could all cause less than stellar electrical performance. Plus, the Mom & Pop campgrounds with reasonable rates may have been wired as a favor by old Uncle Harry, who LOOKED like he knew what he was doing.
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Old 05-15-2010, 10:55 AM   #17
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Re: 110/120V Wiring

Here is a link to a site that explains RV electrical very well. Especially how to test the campgrounds pedestals. I have read through it a few times and it still amazes me how dangerous it can be to hook up to a worn out or improperly wired outlet. Great info about making a tester too. HERES THE LINK
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Old 05-15-2010, 11:50 AM   #18
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Re: 110/120V Wiring

Great Site! I love this line, repeated on multiple pages:
Quote:
DO NOT TRUST anyone, yourself, friends, relatives or ANY Professional Electrician. ALWAYS check out all RV Electric Service BEFORE plugging in the first time.
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