Can you be shocked by camping near high power lines?

Is it dangerous to park your RV beneath or even near high power lines? Could you or your RV be electrified to the point of causing potential danger? RV electricity expert Mike Sokol explains that, yes, your RV could indeed be electrified — up to 10,000 volts or so! Sound scary? Well, watch the video to learn the rest of the story.

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9 Thoughts to “Can you be shocked by camping near high power lines?”

  1. Birdie

    Having a pacemaker should make you not stop at these type of locations as the RF can cause serious problems. These power lines near stop lights are also of concern for us pacemaker users. But then really old microwaves and new induction cooktops aren’t RF friendly either.

    1. Mike Sokol

      That’s a great point. I have a family friend who’s a heart surgeon, so I’ll ask him for a contact at a pacemaker manufacturer. That way I’ll get some real info on if and how they can be disrupted by overhead power line. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to be my lab rat and run around under high tension lines until you fall over…????

      1. Birdie

        I have given this a lot of thought. I am thinking you could probably find a real rat near a lot of these power lines. Alas, it won’t have the required electronics! I once asked a Medtronic tech, assisting the lab where I was for testing, had he ever heard of a user (pacer) having problems with near by voltage. His response was a patient standing in a casino doorway that was outfitted for metal detection was adversely affected. I read the warnings about staying away from high voltage, massive generators, hand scan at airports, old microwaves, and new induction cook tops. As a HAM operator I also am aware of those RF traps. Mike keep up the good work.

  2. chuck kiefer

    What are the human health issues with respect to any effects of being exposed to those electromagnetic fields on a long term basis?

    1. Mike Sokol

      Of course, there’s been lots of conjecture about this topic for decades. I do know that exposure to high level RF (Radio Frequencies) can be dangerous. But I’ve never read anything definitive about exposure to moderate levels of 60 Hz having any measurable physiological effects. But this is interesting enough that I’ll snoop around a bit for any white papers on the dangers of living under high-tension power lines. This may take a while, so don’t hold your breath for anything in my next newsletter. But I’ll start reading up on it.

  3. Mike Sokol

    I’ve talked to my local Potomac Edison Power linemen about this, and they tell me that if you park a bucket truck under high tension lines, that you better jump free of the cab before you touch the ground or you’ll get a pretty good shock. According to my engineering contacts at Bonneville Power, the max current in this situation should be less than 5mA which is not dangerous, and the electrical potential could be up as high as 10,000 volts. So if I connected a spark plug between a ground rod and the bumper of a big RV parked under 500,000 volt power lines, that it could cause the plug to spark continuously. that suggests that under the right conditions of high tension power lines hanging low enough to the ground, and a large RV parked directly under them, you could potentially get a shock like touching a lawn mower spark plug. That will get your attention in a hurry.

  4. Dave Miner

    Ow, Mike you nailed it! I was parked at a BJ’s in Waterford CT and it is located directly under high power lines. Great job and excellent information. Thank you!
    Dave M.

  5. Joel Lefkowitz

    If I store my RV under a high tension line. Can the electricity transmitted by those lines damage or shorten the lives of my batteries or any other electric device. Everything in the coach is shut off when I store it including the inverter and battery disconnects but the Ford E450 chassis has a few things going on a trickle current.

    1. Mike Sokol

      No, it shouldn’t hurt a thing or shorten the life of any of your electronics. That’s because all of the different devices in your RV will be at the same voltage potential, elevated as they might be. Add to this the fact that your RV’s chassis and body will act like a Faraday cage which shields your internal electronics from outside voltages, and you’ll see that it’s not an issue for appliances and things like house batteries. However, don’t be pulling out circuit boards or removing microprocessor chips from your computer while you’re sitting under high-tension lines, since that’s likely to cause internal PN Junction failure. Yes, that’s a real thing….

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