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Old 02-03-2012, 01:17 AM   #1
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Electrified Metal Door


So imagine my surprise today....

Remodeling my master bathroom, I ran a new cold water supply line. When I hooked up the faucet, it didn't work. This is a double wide mobile home with water heater access on the outside. It had just started a light raining so I figured to run outside to check it out.

So I touched the door and got zapped. Not a bad zap, bout how it feels if you forgot to test an outlet before working on it. Just enough to get your attention.

I've done lots of work over in that area lately, and never got shocked before. So I figured the water helped me ground out. I was testing the idiot way. Flipping sets of breakers and testing if I still getting zapped. As I've got a ton of breakers between three panels, I narrowed it down to about 8 breakers (it's not the water heater circuit) before I got tired of getting zapped.

Since it has stopped raining,and will likely be mostly dry tomorrow morning, how do I test this out with a multimeter to see if the door is still hot?

Thanks,
Timothy

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Old 02-03-2012, 01:27 AM   #2
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So you got shocked by static electricity. It happens.

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Old 02-03-2012, 01:30 AM   #3
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If you don't think it was static electricity, go and get a small multi-meter. You can get a cheapy (but still UL listed) for $15 bucks.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:33 AM   #4
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I would find it hard to believe it's static electricity. With all breakers off, I get no shock. Thinking back, it might have been the better idea to flip the breakers on one by one rather than off in sets.


From experience, I know only the frame, door, and screws to hold it in place are metal. Everything else around it is wood and vinyl siding.

I figured the multimeter part, but where do I stick the neutral lead?

Thanks,
Timothy
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myowneq View Post
I would find it hard to believe it's static electricity. With all breakers off, I get no shock. Thinking back, it might have been the better idea to flip the breakers on one by one rather than off in sets.


From experience, I know only the frame, door, and screws to hold it in place are metal. Everything else around it is wood and vinyl siding.

I figured the multimeter part, but where do I stick the neutral lead?

Thanks,
Timothy
Stick one of your leads into the ground where you were standing. It may be that one of the screws holding the frame on has pierced a wire. If this metal door is purposely bonded to ground then you may have other issues.
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:38 AM   #6
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Measure voltage between the door frame and a variety of other places notably the screw holding the cover on a switch or receptacle, a water pipe, and the neutral prong hole (the larger of the two slots) of a receptacle, the metal frame or box for the electric meter, and a ground rod if there is one.
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:12 AM   #7
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Assuming the max voltage you'll see during testing is 120v it will be more informative to simulate your skin/body resistance by putting a 15K, 1W or 2W resistor across the voltmeter leads.
Assuming you got a >5 mA shock you'll be seeing >75 v across this resistor. Radio Shack can supply this part.

Be careful.
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myowneq View Post
As I've got a ton of breakers between three panels, I narrowed it down to about 8 breakers (it's not the water heater circuit) before I got tired of getting zapped.
Why three panels?
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:56 AM   #9
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First panel was installed outside under the meter. I have no clue why they installed that one outside. It provides power to main house panel, addition sub panel, and camper (installed by me).

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