Why is My RV Shocking Me?

by Teresa
(Aurora Illinois USA)

How to Stop Your RV From Shocking You

How to Stop Your RV From Shocking You

I have just bought a 2004 camper.

I get shocked inside and outside. I have had all new breaker box put in outside at the pole. I notice that the 30 amp plug is taped up, and my receptacles all say hot/neu reversed.

Could that plug be wired in wrong?

Thanks, Teresa

ANSWER: Hi Teresa, the problem you are experiencing is known as "Hot Skin" when you get shocked by touching metal on the inside and outside of your RV. Depending on the cause, this condition can cause a dangerous, life-threatening electrical shock and should be fixed immediately.

A reversed polarity problem can cause these electrical shocks in the electric receptacle that your RV is plugged into, a polarity problem in the extension cord you are using to plug in your RV, or to a shorted wire somewhere in your RV's electrical system. An improper ground can also cause this problem in the receptacle, extension cord, or in the RV.

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Based on your statement "my receptacles all say hot/neu reversed" I am going to assume that you have already tested your RV's outlets using a Polarity Tester and found out that you have reversed polarity which is the most common cause of "Hot Skin" in RV's.

Now we need to determine which part of the electrical system is causing your problem. You can use your polarity tester to help determine the cause.

First, Unplug your RV from Shore Power and then plug the tester into the receptacle that the RV was plugged into. To do this test you may need a 30 amp male to 15 amp female electric adapter so that you can plug the adapter into the 30 Amp plug. You may find that the tester will
indicate that the polarity of the receptacle is reversed. To solve this problem, the electrical outlet needs to be rewired properly, or you will have to plug it into a known good receptacle.

If the outlet shows no problems, then we know that it is not causing the shocks. If you use an extension cord to plug in your RV, we need to check that next. Plug the extension cord into a known good outlet and plug the tester into the extension cord. If it indicates a problem with the extension cord, it needs to be disposed of.

In your case, the fact that the 30 Amp plug on your RV's electric cord is taped up may indicate someone trying to fix this problem. No matter what happens, you need to have that plug properly repaired as it is exposed to the elements when plugged in at a campground.

If both the receptacle and extension cord show OK, we know that the problem is in the RV's electrical system. The problem could be something as simple as a staple through an electrical wire that is shorting it onto the body or frame of the RV, or it could be an issue with the ground on your RV's electrical system. When you get to this point, it is advisable to take your RV in and have a Certified RV Technician tackle the diagnosis and repair of this problem.

The video below will give you more information on how to troubleshoot a "Hot Skin" RV.

I hope this helped.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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Comments for Why is My RV Shocking Me?

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Electric shock touching my rv
by: Roberto

My problem was that the rv was wet from raining and the power cord adaptor to use in the house outlet was missing the ground prong. Got new adaptor, problem solved.

by: Anonymous

I once repaired a travel trailer that shocked you when you grabbed the entry handle. It turned out to be a screw that pierced an electric wire. So long ago I can't remember how I traced it to the bad screw.

Surge Guard?
by: WhenInRoam

I've seen the Surge Guards advertised in the Camping World flyers. Wouldn't this help eliminate the shock, if tethered between the RV cord and the extension cord/electric pole, assuming the pole is causing the problem?

by: Nancy / Florida

You haven't really been shocked yet. Take it to the dealership for repair and when you get the bill - that is when you will be "really shocked"!

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