“The No Shock Zone may have saved my life! I never heard of a ‘hot skin condition’ until I read about it in the No Shock Zone section of RV Travel. When hooking up last year I received a slight shock when I touched my travel trailer. My rig was fairly new and I was quite alarmed. After no avail trying to figure out what might be the problem, I was lucky enough to get a mobile RV electrician to come out the afternoon of July 3rd!
“After he spent significant time problem solving with my rig, and almost giving up, through his determination he found a defective ground on my 30-amp power cord. Not having one on hand I raced into town and was able to purchase a replacement just as an RV dealership was closing for the holiday. Many thanks to Mike Sokol for this life saving information and RV Travel!” —Robb Drellich, Stuart, FL
You’re very welcome. And I’ve had a few hundred emails like yours over the last 8 years from when I first started writing about RV power and grounding issues. That’s when RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury and I ran our first survey together in July 2010 and asked this simple question: “Have you or anyone who has traveled with you been shocked by your RV or another recreational vehicle?” Here are the results from 2010:
• Yes, seriously: 0.68% (7)
• Yes, but not seriously: 21.10% (218)
• No: 78.22% (808)
Now let’s fast-forward to February 2018 and see how we’re doing – that is, are there fewer of you reporting getting shocked? I know this isn’t a statistically valid comparison, but at least it might show a trend.
From our February 2018 survey [this is a screenshot, not the active survey]:
So from almost 22% of you reporting ever feeling a shock from your RV back in 2010, we’re down to 11% reporting ever feeling a shock last month. That’s great because it’s at least hinting that my No~Shock~Zone articles and videos about how to avoid a hot-skin voltage are having an impact on the RVing public.
Here’s one of my articles about the differences between low-, medium- and high-current hot-skin conditions: Little Shocks.
Here’s how to use and where you can get a Non Contact Voltage Tester (NCVT), that’s the easiest way to detect a hot-skin voltage BEFORE you feel a shock: Mini RV Hot Skin and Klein NCVT-1. [If you click on the Klein link, it goes to the Amazon page and defaults to a Klein NCVT with Infrared Thermometer. There are four boxes near the top of the description – just click on the one you want to check out.] Fluke must be discontinuing the exact model VoltAlert I normally use, so until they send me some new test samples to evaluate I can’t recommend another of their replacements listed on Amazon. I use the Klein NCVT-1 as a backup and know that it also works great for this application.
And finally, even though I’ve written it a hundred times (at least), you should NEVER feel an electrical shock from any RV or electrical appliance. A little static shock is OK, and I’m sure you can tell the difference between a static jolt and a sustained shock you feel when touching something plugged into an electrical outlet.
So are we there yet? Do ALL of you understand how serious it is to feel a shock from your RV and know what to do about it? We’re not quite there yet, but at least we’re moving in the right direction. So if you’ve ever used one of my testing methods to discover a hot-skin voltage, please let me know below.
Let’s play safe out there….
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.