RV Electrical Safety now available in Paperback and Kindle formats

Jun 18th, 2014 | By | Category: General, RV Safety

UPDATE: This book is now available in paperback as well as Kindle formats. Order it in paperback for $14.95 at http://www.amazon.com/No~Shock~Zone-Electrical-Safety-Michael-Sokol/dp/0990527913/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

And, of course, you can order it in Kindle format below. You can get a free Kindle e-book reader for any computer (Mac or Windows) and any tablet including Apple iPad and even most smartphones. The paperback version is great for home reading, while the Kindle version is great if you’re in an RV going “paperless” to save weight and space.


Now you can take No~Shock~Zone with you on your Kindle or iPad. The complete NSZ RV Electrical Safety series is now available as an eBook for $9.99 on Amazon in Kindle format. It includes extended info and graphics in a non-technical style that’s easy to read and understand. Download it to your e-reader in minutes and you’ll always have it as a reference guide while enjoying your adventures on the road.

Please read the forward by Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor) below to see why this is an important eBook that every RV owner, technician and campground operator should have in their library. You can purchase it by clicking http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L2DWBD8








Forward By Gary Bunzer
the RV Doctor

Not many areas within the RVing realm are more mysterious and confounding than the 120-volt AC (alternating current) electrical system, common in one form or another, to just about every one of the 9 million RVs on the road today. Some RVs are actually equipped with three separate sources of this mystifying commodity that can further confuse the casual RVer! Many RV owners mistakenly equate the 120-volt AC system in their RV to be exactly the same as the electrical system in their residential dwelling. Simply put, the 120-volt AC system in an RV is similar in one respect, but vastly different in what one would find in a residential house or apartment. Similar in that they may plug the same appliances or devices into identically looking receptacles in the RV as they use at home; that much is indeed common. But the differences lie in just how the 120-volt AC system is electrically configured inside the RV.

Mike Sokol has created what I consider the very best explanation of RV electrical systems in this very easy to read eBook. Working with Mike over the years has revealed to me just how adept he is at explaining the details of 120-volt alternating current, breaking down topics into small enough bites that will not overwhelm the reader. The astute diagrams further clarify and reduce the mystery involved with grasping not only the safety aspect of properly using off-board and on-board electricity, but how to recognize potential issues that, quite frankly, can be lethal if left unaddressed.

One important reason why I feel this book should find itself in the hands of every single RVing family is the fact that the cause of most 120-volt electrical anomalies has nothing to do with the RV itself. Follow my logic. An RVer plugs the RV into a 120-volt pedestal at a campground or at the daughter-in-law’s house, or into any other electrical source providing power from the grid. They touch a metallic component on the RV and feel a slight “tingle” and assume it’s the RV causing the shock. So an appointment is made at an RV service facility and the pro RV technician runs tests, takes measurements and declares there is nothing wrong with the RV itself. And at that point, troubleshooting and rectification come to a screeching halt. Rarely, if ever, will the pro technician go out to that campground to further diagnose why his customer received an annoying buzz while plugged into the campground’s source of pedestal electricity. The fact that most electrical shocks are caused via the “source” of the electricity rather than the where it is actually manifested not only further compounds the issue, but it typically results in the faulty “source” being left as is for some other unfortunate RVer to come along and experience the same exact scenario.

Absorbing the true value of the book you are reading mandates not only using Mike’s work as a reference tool for future use, but also as a tome for understanding the intricacies of the 120-volt AC system and being prepared before experiencing negative happenings. Measuring for proper voltage and verifying the proper polarity of that voltage prior to plugging in your RV, as detailed within, can only lead to safe, satisfying and trouble-free RVing excursions. I highly encourage all RVers to download, study and ingest what Mike has prepared for you in this No~Shock~Zone presentation.


Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor (www.rvdoctor.com)


31 Comments to “RV Electrical Safety now available in Paperback and Kindle formats”

  1. Jesse Martinez says:

    Are you going to offer your book in hard copy?

  2. Beverly Manley says:

    Morning Mike,

    I show dogs so need to be able to use a hairdryer when I’m at a dog show.. Is there some way to calculate the amount of amps my HVAC unit is pulling and the amps the hairdryer or microwave is pulling to know if both can be used at same time? My RV is a Thor ACE and has 30 amp power. Would hate to fry my power cords if I can avoid it.

    Beverly Manley

  3. Mike Sokol says:

    No~Shock~Zone RV Electrical Safety is now available in paperback as well as Kindle versions. You can order the aperback version at http://www.amazon.com/No~Shock~Zone-Electrical-Safety-Michael-Sokol/dp/0990527913/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

    Thanks for your support of the No~Shock~Zone.

  4. tom says:

    Can I simply download the ebook to the hard drive of my computer?

  5. John Fawcett says:

    I am trying to understand why a volt meter will not show an RPBG outlet?
    If both the neutral and the ground are hot in this condition, why won’t the test meter indicate voltage from G-N??
    Could you test the ground and neutral to the service housing? If you see voltage then it would prove the wiring error?

    • Mike Sokol says:

      You need an external reference to earth potential to really know if you’ve got an RPBG. So if you have a grounded conduit you can reference to, then that’s a good test. However, most older buildings don’t have conduit, so you would need to run a test lead to a water pipe or the service box for the test.

  6. Jonathan Johnson says:

    I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know if this is covered there…

    One important safety step is to ensure that the breaker feeding the RV pedestal is turned OFF before plugging in or unplugging the RV cord. The reason is that if there is any load connected in the RV, there can be arcing when the connection is made or broken, and neither the plug nor the receptacle is designed to handle arcing. The circuit breaker is designed to handle arcing, and the arc is contained. Better yet, ensure that all loads (lights, heaters, air conditioner, etc.) are turned off before plugging in and turning on the breaker.

    In a worst-case scenario, such as if you plug in an RV with a heavy load connected (such as a heating appliance turned on), the arcing can be significant enough to spray molten metal (arc flash) and cause injury. The larger the load, the bigger the arc.

    If course, I know YOU know this, Mike, I’m just pointing it out for your other readers.

    • Mike Sokol says:

      Yes, that point is in the book and I’ve written about it multiple times in many of the other RV publications. But it’s always good to repeat. So don’t plug and unplug shock power under load. Always turn off the pedestal circuit breakers before connecting or disconnecting power. RV connections have enough amperage available that it’s possible to create a moderate arc flash condition that can cause extensive injuries. An arc flash is actually more dangerous than being shocked, since it creates a plasma fireball that’s hotter than the surface of the sun traveling faster than the speed of sound. Even a small one can burn your hands if you plug in under load. But a big one can cause extensive 2nd and 3rd degree burns as well as impact damage from flying metal particles. ALWAYS shut off the main circuit breaker before plugging or unplugging shore power.

      • Mel Goddard says:

        I have been to a number of ‘campsites’, where there is NO C.B. at the tower.
        Apparently, there are a number of site outlets, ganged into one master C.B. So……..
        Turning off the ‘switch’ is not possible. One just has to ‘rapidly install’ the plug.

  7. Chris Gough says:

    Will your book instruct how to wire a residential breaker box to a 50 amp service connector?

    • Mike Sokol says:

      While the book does show how to measure all RV power outlets, it’s not an electrician’s guide. To wire a 50 amp RV service outlet you’ll need to know length of run , wire gauge required, and NEC codes that apply to your location. There’s no way for me to show that for every possible situation. Better to call a local electrician familiar with code in your area.

  8. I read this intro, may download but the intro is very misleading! What is described here briefly is “hot skin”. It is almost always caused by an issue inside the RV. Simple troubleshooting: turn off all individual breakers, put a meter (light tester will suffice) at shock point, then start turning breakers on one at a time. Viola, source found. 99% of the time it is a water heater bad ground or a bad motor (typically the AC). I have seen this hundreds of times in the last 20+ years when an RV site is fine for everyone before and everyone after that RV. When you help them walk through it they finally understand that it IS the RV, not the pedistal. The RV banging down the road is more likely to jar something lose than the fixed site.

    • Mike Sokol says:

      With all due respect, turning breakers on and off will not find the cause of the hot-skin voltage condition. That’s because if you have a proper low-impedance connection between the frame of an RV and the incoming power panel G-N bonding point, it’s not possible to have a hot-skin voltage. What you’re likely seeing is small leakage currents that always occur in every device plugged into a power outlet PLUS a failed safety ground connection. If you have a failed ground connection (high impedance) back to the incoming service panel, then you can easily develop up to half of the line voltage on the RV chassis and skin, even if nothing else is wrong. For instance, even an iPhone plugged into its wall charger will have around 69 volts on its chassis due to the small but normal leakage currents (under 0.7 mA) that are allowed in all non-grounded electrical appliances. Since 1 mA is around the lower threshold of feeling a shock, you can get a ground fault current from any non-grounded and double-insulated appliance and never know it. But when something goes wrong and the leakage current goes up, that’s when you’re in danger.

      Ref you note about what causes most hot-skin conditions, it really tends to be dog-bone adapters and extension cords, as well as home electrical outlets in the garage. That’s from the hundreds of emails I get every year asking about this condition. I’ve seen perhaps a few dozen cases where this was caused by a break in the EGC bond within the RV itself, and dozens of improperly wired campground pedestals. But since extension cords and dog-bone adapters take such a beating, I’ve received hundreds of emails pointing to them as the source of the high-impedance ground bond.

      Again and I can’t stress this enough. A failed hot-water heater element CAN’T cause an RV hot-skin condition by itself UNLESS you also have a failure in the grounding system. And no, adding a ground rod to your RV definitely DOES NOT ground your RV. That’s because a proper EGC (Equipment Grounding Conductor) Ground needs to be less than 1 ohm to be effective and to code, while a ground rod can be between 25 and 100 ohms to earth and still be to code. The ground rod is not there to “ground” your RV from hot-skin leakage currents. It’s primarily there to provide a place for lightning strikes to go.

      Now, none of the above is simply my opinion. It’s all engineering facts as outlined in the NFPA-70E National Electrical Code, and proved in every electrical engineering project I’ve been in charge of. And everything I write about has been vetted by my engineering buddies around the world, some of whom design power substations and work on electrical systems of all kinds. In addition, I’ve designed and run all kinds of demonstrations proving my hypothesis as to the causes of hot-skin electrical shock. interestingly, I’ve had to prove this hundreds of times to RV technicians and electricians who don’t understand grounding. But virtually every engineer Iv’e discussed this with have been 100% i agreement with me.

    • Mel Goddard says:

      To date, after about ten years+, RVing, I have found four sites that have been miswired, Reverses etc. and one site where the complete campground gave everyone a ‘hot skin’.
      THIS, before entering my RV.
      Testing every circuit INSIDE the RV was not possible.

  9. Fred Porter says:


    Great book. Question. Just bought new Jayco TT with 50 amp service. Parked in driveway. Pulled out the 50A cord; attached to Prog Industries 30A adapter; then short Camco pigtail to 120 v GFI. Everything works fine in the trailer. After reading book and watching the HSCondition video thought I would take the Fluke and go to the trailer for the heckuvit. Guess what? Yep. Solid light all over the trailer. Moved plug to inside 120 v outlet. Same thing. Both outlets test fine. Continuity for the cords is OK. (Except for the 50A which I could not get my probes into…)

    I don’t get it. Fluke checks out. The big factory 50A cord??


    Fred Porter

    • Mike Sokol says:

      I’ve had a few brand new trailers that had a broken ground connection going into the trailer itself. One of them had the ground lug broken off on the incoming shore power socket of the RV. Another one had a break in the wire between that incoming shore power socket and the RV’s circuit breaker panel. You need to check the continuity between the ground pin on the shore power plug, and the chassis itself of the RV. Should read as a dead short (a fraction of an ohm).

  10. Mel Goddard says:

    Greetings Mike;
    On page 97 of your book, “No shock……..” you illustrate three outlets, two of them miswired .
    The centre outlet depicts a ‘bootleg jumper’ between G & N.
    You say that this is a ‘no-no’. and yet; they are connected at the Service Panel.
    I don’t get it!
    If they care connected at the outlet; they are in the same ‘circuit’, (for lack of a better word), as the connection at the panel.
    What gives??

  11. Jerry Bormann says:

    Just finished reading your book. Because the pictures are black-white it is sometime difficult to follow your color comments. I am confused by the statement on page 99 that “a Klein NCVT-1 (tester) can be used in conjunction with a 3-light outlet tester to identify a rogue RPBG outlet. It’s as simple as poking the non-contact tester at the outlet contacts and making sure it doesn’t light up on the ground or neutral contacts.” On the next page you show the tester in the three different outlets. The tester is lit up for all three outlets. The only difference I can see is that for the RPBG outlet the indicator light seems to be in a different position. Having never seen an NCVT-1 tester, I cannot tell what is being indicated. Furthermore I don’t see where the 3-light outlet tester comes into play. You previously stated on page 98 that a 3-light tester WONT find an RPBG. Please clarify!
    Thanks in advance.

  12. Karin Stauder says:

    I purchased your ‘No Shock Zone RV Electrical Safety’ book last year (via Santa) . Wow, have my eyes been opened. At your suggestion, I purchased the 3 tools to check the electrical pedestal at the campground as well as checking for the ‘hot skin’. On my first trip of the season last month, I did the three tests to make sure all was safe. I felt very empowered. I do have the Progressive hard wired surge proctector, but I still think its a must to test the pedestal. If anything, I may help the camper who does not do this by reporting an issue to the campground host. My question for you is, is there a different book where your graphics are in color? My paperback book is in black and white and I had to study a little harder to make sure I understood your diagrams. Having the graphics in color would be way easier for me. Thank you in advance, Karin.

  13. Dave B says:

    Hey Mike,
    I was just wondering if I order your book No-Shock-Zone RV Electrical Safety in Kindel format,would I be able to use it on two separate devices ? ie; my tablet and also a computer both ?!?
    Thank you,

    • Mike Sokol says:

      Yes, as long as you have linked all your media devices in Kindle you should be able to download them to each device via Kindel’s whispernet. I do it all the time with my wife’s Kindle and my computer or iPad, so it should work for you.

      • Dave B says:

        Thank you for a very fast reply (literary within minutes). I will defiantly purchase one now.
        Also I don’t notice a link from your site to Amazon directly did I just overlook it or ?!?
        Thank you,

  14. Phil Atterbery says:

    I like your initiative to detect & report defective equipment in parks. Along that line of thought, How about old installations. Recently stayed in a county campground in West Central Indiana, just south of Terra Haute. Very nice CG, one of those parks that have many destination coaches & golf carts. The electric posts maybe from another era.
    The spot we rented for 4 days was to have 50A service. As it turned out, it was a 30A. No problem. Park supervision allowed us to move one spot. Great, problem solved, so I thought. The receptacle was correct for a 50A, The breaker for it was a single toggle 50A device. How old is that? Once plugged in my surge guard did it’s thing with no problems. Inside the coach, an ’04 Fleetwood Bounder Diesel 38N, the Intellect EMS indicated I was plugged into a 30A service. What? The EMS acted as if connected to a 30A service, selectively shutting down things as needed.
    So, what did I get connected to? One hot leg dead? One hot leg supplying both pins in the recepticle? The surge guard didn’t show an issue. I did mention the issue to the park maintenance folks but I don’t think anything was done as nothing changed while we were there.
    Thought my experience might be of interest for your “funny you mention that” file. Keep up the great articles.

  15. James Garner says:

    Hello, Mike

    Would thee n-g bonding apply to a DC to AC inverter? I have a PI hardwired 50 amp ems.


    • Mike Sokol says:

      Many times that won’t work because many inverters have a 60/60-volt output structure with 60 volts on the neutral and 60 volts on the hot. In that case, you really can’t bond the neutral to the ground because it’s not floating.

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