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Can I tie a ground to a neutral....

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by joebgd, Jun 1, 2019.

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  1. joebgd

    joebgd XS650 Junkie

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    There were 2 cabins each with own meter, one burned down the empty meter pan for that one is on the back side of existing cabin. I uncovered where the wires to feed non existent cabin are. I have a beautiful camper, where cabin was I have plastic box to extent wires to put a camper outlet but there are only the 2 hot legs and one neutral and my stuff is pvc electric grade boxes and pipe, I am going to put a break under the meter pan and the camper has a 30 amp main. I just want a camper plug receptacle right beside camper.
    If any other info is needed ask. Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Depends on the local building codes. Some want ground and neutral busses tied... some want 'em separated. Where I live, the busses are tied. Google electrical building codes in your locale and see what turns up.
     
  3. gggGary

    gggGary On the road of life I'm a speed bump. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    National code (from memory) sez only one central neutral to ground tie, at the first distribution box after meter. But if you don't have a separate ground wire from that box to your camper location service equipment I'd for sure drive a ground rod tie to the service box ground bar and camper outlet. I'm a bit undecided about whether to keep those grounds separated from the neutral at a remote box with no ground wire tied back to that central ground point. Personally I think I would jumper the ground bar to the neutral bar in that remote service equipment. Always keep ground wires on a separate bar from the neutral bar. VERY important to have great grounds for campers. Easy to end up with a hot camper chassis and get a nasty shock or electrocuted stepping out the door! Triplex (twisted service wiring) both above and underground acts as a transformer, Neutral wires can get quite "hot" having a surprisingly high voltage compared to ground.
    There was a guy on another forum, was a traveling campground electrical safety expert. Long runs of wiring in a harsh environment with constantly increasing electrical loads were (are) hotbeds of ground problems. He carried a tester that you could plug into the camper supply outlet that showed problems. He said bad grounds and "hot" neutrals were rampant in campgrounds and I completely believe him. I've never been an electrician but sold electrical supplies and did a lot of work with campgrounds.AND farmers through the "stray voltage" issues and lawsuit era, we learned alot about cause and effect of neutrals, grounds, establishing ground planes. Barefoot cows standing on wet ground with equipment attached to their teats are understandably sensitive about stray voltage!
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
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  4. gggGary

    gggGary On the road of life I'm a speed bump. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    note changes to post above. a qualified electrician should be consulted.
     
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  5. joebgd

    joebgd XS650 Junkie

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    The codes are pretty lax in the country, and I actually did by a ground rod and clamp, with everything plastic tho best thing I could think was ground to neutral in my pipes and boxes ground the camper frame to ground rod and yes the main one main breaker panel under the pan will be metal and ground that to an existing or add another rod.
     
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  6. gggGary

    gggGary On the road of life I'm a speed bump. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    The basic rule and why only one ground tie point in a system; is that neutrals carry electrical load (current and induced voltage) and grounds do NOT unless a fault exists. Tying ground to neutral at multiple points creates the possibility that ground conductors get pressed into service carrying load, if a neutral is compromised, defeating their purpose. Ground conductors also are not sized to carry load so will quickly end up with voltages above 0, creating dangerous conditions between any grounded metal and a person completing a circuit to earth. Grabbing an RV door handle while standing on the ground barefoot a case in point.
    Hint; GFI's that trip "without cause" is a good reason to investigate that neutral paths are functioning properly.
    PS Code is code, doing work according to code and enforcement may be lacking.....
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
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  7. joebgd

    joebgd XS650 Junkie

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    I was looking for a gfi camper outlet, couldn't find. What if I go with the camper plug to regular style plug adapter like we're using now and put a gfi receptacle.
    Really appreciate all your input here.
     
  8. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    This is NOT an area to experiment if you don't have a clear understanding of AC circuits, code, and whatever is in the campground wiring and distribution boxes.

    For starters, Google "ground fault wiring"...
     
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  9. joebgd

    joebgd XS650 Junkie

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    Ya no, I do have a pretty good handle on it, I was just thinking out loud. I'm not going to do all this and still use an adapter.
     
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  10. gggGary

    gggGary On the road of life I'm a speed bump. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    An example of a camper pedestal with neutral problems.
    http://www.myrv.us/electric/Pg/open_neutral.htm
    I don't entirely agree with the conclusions :rolleyes:, but instructive as to what can happen.

    So you have 2 hot legs and a neutral of unknown size and condition.
    First is to confirm that's what you really have. Older metering for a light load like cabin may only be for 110 volt. 30 or 60 amp services were common. Buried? wires are old and unknown condition. insulation old, movement, damage somewhere along the length possible. This stuff could be 50? 70? years old. Well past the use by date?
    You will need a panel with two single pole breakers a 20 amp and a 30 amp. 30 feeds the 30 RV receptacle Keep and use the RV configuration plug- for RV use ONLY, then wire a separate 20 Amp GFI receptacle for any "outside" electrical needs. Make certain you wire so that the 20 amp GFI and the 30 amp camper plug are on different "legs" ie 30A on one hot wire 20A on the other. Use big enough wire! 10 gauge for the 30 amp, 12 gauge for the 20 amp and a minimum of #6 copper for the ground rod.
    Good luck.
     
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  11. gggGary

    gggGary On the road of life I'm a speed bump. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    from an electrician's forum.
    Re: rv park service and wire to pedestal??
    By active1: The pedestals had a neutral ground conductor. This was bonded to the equipment ground and ground rods. Each pedestal is treated like a separate structure.
    I don't think 551.76(A) in the NEC allows this, and (C) forbids the neutral to be used for a grounding conductor. And there is no exceptions.

    But I am surprised to see that the EGC is not required to be insulated as it is for manufactured housing.


    (C) Neutral Conductor Not to Be Used as an Equipment Ground. The neutral conductor shall not be used as an equipment ground for recreational vehicles or equipment within the recreational vehicle park.
    There is a very good reason for this. One is the fact that most sites will have a water supply and or other common metallic pathways. even earth could be dangerous if a heavy appliance was to startup and the voltage drop in the feeders was enough to cause a voltage potential between anything grounded to the neutral and Earth. Apply a short circuit load to these feeders and you would have a shock potential if a bare footed child happen to be holding on to the RV at the time the short circuit occurred. Remember a ground rod will have little effect on canceling this shock potential.

    And if the above ever happens since you were the last to work on the system, you could be held liable.
    Just something to think about.
    Wayne A. From: N.W.Indiana
    Be Fair, Be Safe
    Just don't be fairly safe
     
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  12. peanut

    peanut XS650 enthusiast & inveterate tinkerer Top Contributor

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    all this talk of getting electrocuted from the Neutral in campervans is very scary ! I am going to carry one of those plug in testers from now on

    Thie reminds me of the time I once showered in my neighbours flat .

    As I stood in the shower with the water running I reached out to the soap dish and a huge spark arced about 8" from my hand to the soap dish with a loud crack.! !:wtf::yikes:

    Not sure whether to stay in the shower and try to attract the neighbour to turn the electricity off or to take a chance and leap out of the shower ....I chose the latter and fortunately the floor was wooden.

    When I turned off the electricity and checked the main consumer unit I found that my neighbour had wired all the Live Brown wires to the neutral bus bar and all the Blue Neutral un-switched wires to the live bus bar .

    The effect of this was that all the 230v AC sockets and appliances around the house were constantly live ! even with the plug socket switches turned off because only the live wires are switched in consumer units and socket outlets .

    When I pointed this out to my neighbour he admitted that he was colour blind and couldn't tell brown from blue !........o_O
     
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  13. joebgd

    joebgd XS650 Junkie

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    You guys do not disappoint, thanks for all the info.
     

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