Grounding the rig

Shortest Straw

Caught In A Mosh
I just had a very stern fella tell me that the snap pads on my rig need to be removed because they are dangerous. He also stated that putting any rv on blocks was dangerous as well. The danger is that the landing gear helps ground the rig so that you do not have a chance of electrical shocks. He said that you take away the ground for your rig by not letting the metal pads rest on the ground. As I have never heard of this nor have I ever received a shock simply by touching my rig, I thought I would see what you folks thought here, if he knew what he was talking about or if he was just paranoid.
 

AAdams

Well-known member
When I was i kid visiting my Uncle's farm in Southern MO we stayed in a travel trailer. The old trailer was on blocks, had the metal siding that many had back then. During one particularly nasty storm when the lightning was striking close and we could see a few tree tops blowing in the valley the dog was standing on the ground and the last step of the trailer. Now the dog was not allowed in the trailer, but when lightning struck, he yipped and ran in the trailer, got on my uncles bed.. So, to answer your question yeah it is possible if the conditions are just right, you could get a static discharge... but with the fiberglass sides, better standards in building.... I doubt you would EVER have a problem... BTW I have Snap Pads on my rig and we Full Time.
 

danemayer

Moderator
Staff member
The trailer frame is grounded back to the power pedestal, and earth ground is back there. Could there be a circumstance where it helps to have earth ground through your jacks - like a direct lightning strike? I don't know.

Did he have anything to say about the rubber tires on your truck?
 

Shortest Straw

Caught In A Mosh
Did you pee your pants while you were rolling around on the ground laughing?


I was trying to be respectful to the guy so I acted like he was giving me the best info ever. But keeping from laughing was extremely difficult. My take on it is that if his story is true, we would all need to pound a stake in the ground and run a wire from the chassis to it everywhere we go. I didn't think to ask him about my pickup. If he comes by again I will.
 

LBR

Well-known member
I was trying to be respectful to the guy so I acted like he was giving me the best info ever. But keeping from laughing was extremely difficult. My take on it is that if his story is true, we would all need to pound a stake in the ground and run a wire from the chassis to it everywhere we go. I didn't think to ask him about my pickup. If he comes by again I will.
I chuckle envisioning this guy with rubber soled shoes on and a ground strap dragging the ground talking to you...
 

BigGuy82

Well-known member
So, that stern falla may have actually had a point. If you are plugged in, no problem - you're grounded. If you're boondocking in the middle of a violent electrical storm, I'm not so sure. Certainly, you're not grounded. But, does an RV act like a truck that is insulated by the tires? I don't know. I do know that my brother in law had a 43' fiberglass sailboat that was struck by lightning and it was not properley grounded using ground plates from the rigging to the water line. The radio antenna atop the mast vaporized. The hull above the water line and the rudder looked like swiss chees, with thousands of pinholes.

Any electricians or electrical engineers out there who can educate the masses?

Also, grounded or not, I'll never own an RV without Snap Pads. They are the best solution for weight distribution. Period.
 

Mattman

Well-known member
Electrician's thoughts.
Lots of factors here. Your camper is bonded when plugged into the pedistal. I think the pedistal should have a ground rod drove in. Have to check. This is putting the ground, your camper, and pedistal frame all at about he same potential.
I only see a shock possible from a fault in the electrical that is not going to ground (like energizing the hand rail of your camper and it's isolated from the electrical system) and you touch the hand rail. Bam. You gave the current a pathway from the rail to the ground. But how resistive you are determins the shock.
But with most campers being aluminum frame and newer ones well bonded. I find a fault like that hard to see. Unless the camp ground has bad wiring. Contact of the out riggers would help bring the trailer and ground to same potential. So there is some truth. But you would have to scrape the paint off the bottom of them and really dig them into the ground. Concret conducts some but would need good contact. I doubt manufactures count on this for bringing everything to zero potential.
 

Apropdoc

Utah Chapter Leaders-retired
So, that stern falla may have actually had a point. If you are plugged in, no problem - you're grounded. If you're boondocking in the middle of a violent electrical storm, I'm not so sure. Certainly, you're not grounded. But, does an RV act like a truck that is insulated by the tires? I don't know. I do know that my brother in law had a 43' fiberglass sailboat that was struck by lightning and it was not properley grounded using ground plates from the rigging to the water line. The radio antenna atop the mast vaporized. The hull above the water line and the rudder looked like swiss chees, with thousands of pinholes.

Any electricians or electrical engineers out there who can educate the masses?

Also, grounded or not, I'll never own an RV without Snap Pads. They are the best solution for weight distribution. Period.

If you are hit by lightning, the path it takes is going to be that of least resistance. I've seen F-15s take a strike...1st jet had the point of contact at the radome button (front of jet), traveled out of the left wingtip (blowing it out to make a big gaping hole in the wingtip) to the right wingtip of the jet next to it cooking that wingtip and then blowing out that jets left wingtip as it went to the masse ground directly below it. Both jets suffered a great deal of damage and it was all due to the electrical dissipation of the strike (transference of energy equals heat). One good reason not to go licking flagpoles in an electrical storm. :D
 

Bones

Well-known member
If you are hit by lightning, the path it takes is going to be that of least resistance. I've seen F-15s take a strike...1st jet had the point of contact at the radome button (front of jet), traveled out of the left wingtip (blowing it out to make a big gaping hole in the wingtip) to the right wingtip of the jet next to it cooking that wingtip and then blowing out that jets left wingtip as it went to the masse ground directly below it. Both jets suffered a great deal of damage and it was all due to the electrical dissipation of the strike (transference of energy equals heat). One good reason not to go licking flagpoles in an electrical storm. :D



Did you lick the flag pole? :angel: Remember not to stick your tongue on the pole either when freezing. J/K
 

wdk450

Well-known member
Although the guy talking to the original poster seems pretty ridiculous, the thread DOES bring up the importance of checking that your rig is well grounded by the shorepower electrical connection with a non contact voltage sensor. People have been injured and died from contact with an RV that isn't properly grounded, and that has a hot (AC voltage present) on the frame/skin of an RV. I bought such a sensor at Home Depot, and was just getting it into my camping routine when I stayed at a Thousand Trails park in Florence, Oregon. I neglected to check this when setting up that time, and got a shock from the center cap on the trailer wheels when I leaned on it during preparations to leave. My non contact voltage tester showed that there was live AC power on my trailer frame and skin, and live AC power on the metal enclosure for the park shorepower. The problem was a bad ground there. I lived in that situation for 2 weeks, and luckily didn't get shocked.
 

Apropdoc

Utah Chapter Leaders-retired
Although the guy talking to the original poster seems pretty ridiculous, the thread DOES bring up the importance of checking that your rig is well grounded by the shorepower electrical connection with a non contact voltage sensor. People have been injured and died from contact with an RV that isn't properly grounded, and that has a hot (AC voltage present) on the frame/skin of an RV. I bought such a sensor at Home Depot, and was just getting it into my camping routine when I stayed at a Thousand Trails park in Florence, Oregon. I neglected to check this when setting up that time, and got a shock from the center cap on the trailer wheels when I leaned on it during preparations to leave. My non contact voltage tester showed that there was live AC power on my trailer frame and skin, and live AC power on the metal enclosure for the park shorepower. The problem was a bad ground there. I lived in that situation for 2 weeks, and luckily didn't get shocked.

That is a lifesaving lesson for everyone to learn from!
 

JohnDar

Prolifically Gabby Member
I use a Delsar AC Hotstick on FD downed wire calls and a Sperry non-contact detector for our BH. It's cheap insurance, especially if you move a lot.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Bones

Well-known member
Maybe we can all get a voltage detector alarm installed in our rigs that would go off if this condition existed or came up while camping.
 

BigGuy82

Well-known member
Although the guy talking to the original poster seems pretty ridiculous, the thread DOES bring up the importance of checking that your rig is well grounded by the shorepower electrical connection with a non contact voltage sensor. People have been injured and died from contact with an RV that isn't properly grounded, and that has a hot (AC voltage present) on the frame/skin of an RV. I bought such a sensor at Home Depot, and was just getting it into my camping routine when I stayed at a Thousand Trails park in Florence, Oregon. I neglected to check this when setting up that time, and got a shock from the center cap on the trailer wheels when I leaned on it during preparations to leave. My non contact voltage tester showed that there was live AC power on my trailer frame and skin, and live AC power on the metal enclosure for the park shorepower. The problem was a bad ground there. I lived in that situation for 2 weeks, and luckily didn't get shocked.


I believe this accomplishes the same thing by merely plugging it in between the utility tree and your RV power line. Just read the LED's.
CAM55313_5_250.jpg
 

Apropdoc

Utah Chapter Leaders-retired
Another reason for the PI EMS system. It checks all that automatically. No remembering to check it.

I agree (the Hard Wired version), it detects over/under voltage and spikes. All components are user replaceable for the lifetime of the unit. Cheaper than replacing the power center or the whole rig.
 
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