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Author Topic: CATV/RV Grounding Issue  (Read 1744 times)

Stephen Swaffer

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Re: CATV/RV Grounding Issue
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2017, 03:17:12 pm »

One of my electrical inpsectors points out that an inspection is only a point in time.

OSHA has a concept called "assured ground conductor testing".

Considering the wear and tear and constant connecting/disconnecting of "electrical systems" of unknown condition that have the potential to affect other campers, it would seem to make sense for campgrounds to do regular (end of season and start of season??) testing of grounding systems and bonding.  Of course, not many businesses are looking to spend money to prevent things they do not understand.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: CATV/RV Grounding Issue
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2017, 03:42:30 pm »

One of my electrical inpsectors points out that an inspection is only a point in time.

OSHA has a concept called "assured ground conductor testing".

Considering the wear and tear and constant connecting/disconnecting of "electrical systems" of unknown condition that have the potential to affect other campers, it would seem to make sense for campgrounds to do regular (end of season and start of season??) testing of grounding systems and bonding.  Of course, not many businesses are looking to spend money to prevent things they do not understand.

To paraphrase someone else (read it from Nathan Lively's little book on audio)  "electricity is difficult to explain because it's invisible."

If this were a water or sewer leak the campground owner would *probably* fix it because the failure is obvious and the fault is certain in its causality.  In the case of the electrical problem I can see an RV campground owner saying "it's YOUR camper/appliances/accessories and not MY electrical service" and the typical RV owner would be totally unequipped to respond.  Hell, even many licensed electricians would be unable to adequately define and locate the fault(s).

When it comes to infrastructure my take (as a recent RV owner) is that most campgrounds are slums.  The landscaping may be pretty, the pool may be clean but the key service every unit needs is the most suspect because it's invisible and the RVers don't have the knowledge base to effect a change from campground owners.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Mike Sokol

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Re: CATV/RV Grounding Issue
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2017, 03:52:24 pm »

If this were a water or sewer leak the campground owner would *probably* fix it because the failure is obvious and the fault is certain in its causality.  In the case of the electrical problem I can see an RV campground owner saying "it's YOUR camper/appliances/accessories and not MY electrical service" and the typical RV owner would be totally unequipped to respond.  Hell, even many licensed electricians would be unable to adequately define and locate the fault(s).

It would only take a Ground Impedance Tester such as an Amprobe INSP-3 or SureTest Analyzer and a few 50-amp and 30-amp adapter plugs to test every pedestal once a year for ECG ground continuity. But that's $400 worth of gear and 5 minutes per pedestal to test. And then you know about and have to fix the offending receptacles. I've suggested this test procedure to the RV industry governing boards many times, but they don't want to hear about anything that suggests someone could be shocked, and they certainly don't want to tell any campgrounds that they should test their pedestal receptacles. But I keep working on them...  ;)

Tim McCulloch

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Re: CATV/RV Grounding Issue
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2017, 04:02:50 pm »

It would only take a Ground Impedance Tester such as an Amprobe INSP-3 or SureTest Analyzer and a few 50-amp and 30-amp adapter plugs to test every pedestal once a year for ECG ground continuity. But that's $400 worth of gear and 5 minutes per pedestal to test. And then you know about and have to fix the offending receptacles. I've suggested this test procedure to the RV industry governing boards many times, but they don't want to hear about anything that suggests someone could be shocked, and they certainly don't want to tell any campgrounds that they should test their pedestal receptacles. But I keep working on them...  ;)

When Grandma gets electrocuted while boarding her Monaco and there is a multi-milion $$$ lawsuit, the RV campground industry will finally acknowledge that there is far more maintenance to do than mowing the grass, cleaning the pool and keeping the laundry room open.

But nothing will happen until - as we used to say in college debate - there is blood on the flow sheet.  Without victims with pictures, names and surviving family then nada, zilch, nothing will be done by the *industry* to fix the problems.  When you factor in that many RV camps are in places with non-existent Code enforcement or that have been "grandfathered in" since Edison built his first power plant, it will take a significant loss of life.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Mike Sokol

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Re: CATV/RV Grounding Issue
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2017, 04:24:42 pm »

When Grandma gets electrocuted while boarding her Monaco and there is a multi-milion $$$ lawsuit, the RV campground industry will finally acknowledge that there is far more maintenance to do than mowing the grass, cleaning the pool and keeping the laundry room open.

I thought the death of this 3 year old boy from an hot-skin electrified Airstream in the family backyard would move the industry, and I even did a video about it and posted the link on a thread here: http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=150445.0

As soon as Airstream figured out his death was from an improperly maintained electrical outlet, they felt they were off the hook and refused to comment about it. The RV industry all about avoiding litigation, and they've asked me numerous times not to email them about any electrocutions since that would be discoverable if there were any lawsuits due to a death. They're kind of scared about who I might blame.

Frank DeWitt

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Re: CATV/RV Grounding Issue
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2017, 07:21:48 pm »

This begs another question.  Arriving at a new camp ground and standing plug in hand, what do you do next.  I am picturing pooring water on the ground and pressing a large screw driver into the ground and metering from ground to each conductor to find, hopefully, one hot wire. Then challenge that finding with a load such as a 100 watt bulb.  Next would be the challenge of finding which of the remaining two is the common.  Last. I think I would ignore the ground and drive my own ground rod or use the bed of nails ground.

This is incomplete.  Please add to it.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: CATV/RV Grounding Issue
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2017, 07:37:35 pm »

This begs another question.  Arriving at a new camp ground and standing plug in hand, what do you do next.  I am picturing pooring water on the ground and pressing a large screw driver into the ground and metering from ground to each conductor to find, hopefully, one hot wire. Then challenge that finding with a load such as a 100 watt bulb.  Next would be the challenge of finding which of the remaining two is the common.  Last. I think I would ignore the ground and drive my own ground rod or use the bed of nails ground.

This is incomplete.  Please add to it.

Here's how I do it as a initial test. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5pLlZm8O84

Once you do a quick test of the receptacle with a DMM and a NCVT, then plug in the RV and check for a hot-skin voltage with a NCVT. Checking the RV skin/chassis with a NCVT should find any open grounds since all RVs will have a small amount of leakage current sufficient to raise the hot-skin potential of a floating ground RV to over 40 volts. That's high enough to cause a standard sensitivity NCVT to alert.

The scenario of a non-technical RV owner plugging into a campsite pedestal which they assume is wired correctly is all the more reason that camground receptacles should be tested periodically, possibly yearly.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 08:29:39 pm by Mike Sokol »
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: CATV/RV Grounding Issue
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2017, 10:39:40 pm »

I don't have my 2017 code book yet, but I heard there are changes to GFCI requirements-specifically more 2 pole and 3 pole requirements.  If that applies to campgrounds that should help-at least on new ones (of course the irony here is that new ones that are inspected will be the ones with the GFCIs-but they will also have proper ground systems).

Maybe the most acceptable thing would be a third party rating that included safety as a significant factor.  Safety concerns seem to be fairly well accepted in industrial settings-it would be nice if people would transfer that awareness to their personal life.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: CATV/RV Grounding Issue
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2017, 01:12:04 am »

The scenario of a non-technical RV owner plugging into a campsite pedestal which they assume is wired correctly is all the more reason that camground receptacles should be tested periodically, possibly yearly.

Semi-related, how many people turn off the breaker on the pedestal before connecting or disconnecting the shore power plug? Seems to me that's a recipe for an arc flash if there's a dead short somewhere down the line (or a lazy camper that doesn't shut off appliances).

Perhaps a combined switch/receptacle could be designed that doesn't allow insertion or removal of the plug when energized? Not sure how you'd make that work with the plethora of different plug bodies out there.

Then you'd have the folks who can't read the label (that says to turn it off) so end up forcing it and breaking something.

Most plug/receptacle combinations aren't designed to be interrupting means.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: CATV/RV Grounding Issue
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2017, 01:20:22 am »

Semi-related, how many people turn off the breaker on the pedestal before connecting or disconnecting the shore power plug? Seems to me that's a recipe for an arc flash if there's a dead short somewhere down the line (or a lazy camper that doesn't shut off appliances).
The arc flash potential is fairly low in this case due to the long distance these pedestals are from the service panel (a lot of series resistance in those hundreds of feet of connecting wire limits the peak amperage). But many RV owners will pull the plug under load (not switching off the circuit breaker) which eventually causes a lot of pitting on the contacts of the plug/receptacle. This reduces contact surface area as well as increases oxidation of the brass, and that can result in overheating and meltdown of the shore power plug's insulating plastic. 
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