By Mike Sokol
Since this is Chuck Woodbury’s 1,000th issue of the RV Travel Newsletter, and I’ve probably been around starting with issue 500 or so, now is a good time to circle back to where I first started writing electrical articles for RVtravel.com.
From the beginning it’s been about electrical safety
I became interested in RV electrical systems more than 10 years ago when a sound engineering colleague of mine complained about feeling a shock from his Prevost Tour Bus for some Rock Star. He couldn’t understand why he could possibly be shocked from a million dollar tour bus (essentially a very expensive Class A RV), so I began snooping around on the Internet looking for information.
Hard to believe, but it’s been more than 10 years since I first started writing for you. Now, 10 years ago there was a lot of misinformation about what this shocking voltage was, but I did learn that the RV industry called it a Hot-Skin condition. And since my background is in power distribution for industrial power plants, then later in calibrating missile guidance systems, then even later in concert power systems, I was quickly able to spot a lot of websites and blogs with information that just seemed wrong to me. I was also trained by OSHA in electrical safety for the teams of electricians I supervised in my various jobs, so I was pretty sure I understood this Hot-Skin thing.
Enter the RV Doctor …
It didn’t take me long to find Gary Bunzer (aka the RV Doctor) and get in contact with him. I explained my conundrum of seeing very little correct information about RV Hot-Skin Shocks, and he patiently listened for over an hour while I explained my basic theory to him. So Gary, seeing an opportunity, asked if I knew how to write technical articles.
Later on Gary would kick-start my RVelectricity seminars at major RV events like the Hershey RV show, by allowing me to use his time slot to try out my electricity seminars on his audience. For that I will be forever grateful. Boy, I sure miss that guy…
Enter the technology writer (me) …
Well, I had already been publishing technical ad electrical articles for the pro-sound industry for more than 25 years, with hundreds of articles on all levels of electrical technology for rock concerts, church sound systems, even DJ sound and lighting. And I had also done hundreds of technology seminars on advanced sound system installation and operation, so it was easy to say “yes” to Gary regarding writing technical electrical articles, since I knew what I was getting into.
Enter Chuck Woodbury …
Gary recommended that I contact Chuck Woodbury from RVtravel.com, to see if he would be willing to carry some of my RV electricity articles. I originally named my series No~Shock~Zone, as in creating a safe zone around yourself to protect you from shock. I remember Chuck said if Gary recommended me, then he would publish what I wrote – no matter how good or bad it would make the RV industry look. So I said that I would write a 12-piece series on RV electrical safety for RV owners and run it weekly in the RV Travel Newsletter.
Enter my first survey regarding electrical safety …
The first thing Chuck and I did was ask a simple question to his RV Travel readers about how many of them had ever felt a shock while touching an RV. The numbers were astounding! Of the 1,100 readers who answered this poll, some 21% reported feeling a shock at one time.
- Yes, seriously: 0.68% (7)
- Yes, but not seriously: 21.10% (218)
- No: 78.22% (808)
A little ciphering on a calculator provided a SWAG (Scientific Wild A** Guess) that over 1 million RV owners in the U.S. alone had probably been shocked at some time. Admittedly, there are “only” a handful of RV deaths from electric shock every year. But there are around 1,000 deaths from electrocution every year. Many of those electrocutions are from the trades like painting contractors who get their aluminum ladders tangled in power lines and fall off the roof. But I think that every single death from electrical shock is one too many, so I continue to write about RV electrical safety for you all. I must have at least 1,000 articles and posts published on all aspects of electricity over the last 10 years since I average at least 2 articles per week.
Yes, I wrote a book about RV electrical safety
I’m very proud of my first book on RV electrical safety, titled “RV Electrical Safety“. See a theme here? I’ve previously published a book on sound system techniques with a Prentice Hall, but I decided to publish this one on my own using Kindle, and it continues to sell over a thousand copies every year.
So, I thank all of you who purchased my book and have used it as your own guide on RV electrical systems and electrical safety. I’ve even encountered a few RV technicians and manufacturers who use it as a reference book, which is really cool.
Where am I going from here?
Well, this summer I’m taking on Electric (EV) Tow Vehicles for RVs. I’m calling it GoGreenRV, since it will be demonstrating renewable energy for use in electric tow vehicles, and eventually electric Class C and Class A RVs. But for now I’m taking baby steps with the new all-electric SUVs and pickup trucks being offered this year by large auto makers.
Please stand by, for science …
I will have an official announcement in a few weeks. But if all goes well, this will be the ultimate cross-country road trip to see just how far you can tow an RV trailer with an all-electric EV tow vehicle.
I’ll be reporting on things like miles per battery charge with and without an RV trailer behind me, charging times and availability of charging stations, and even comparing the refueling and recharging costs of gasoline vs. electric SUVs and Trucks.
What does it all mean?
I’m not sure. But I’m reasonably certain I’m going to learn a few interesting things about EVs and RVs. And, yes, I’ll be taking plenty of pictures and writing lots of articles about charging an RV in a campground, electrical safety around EVs, and lots more.
Think of this as RVelectricity 2.0
Yup, while I’ll continue my normal writing about all things relating to RV electricity for RV Travel, and moderate my ever-growing RVelectricity Facebook Group, this new GoGreenRV program will be one more thing I can do to help educate you all about electricity, and show you ways to use it safely and effectively. It’s going to be a wild (but always safe) ride, so watch for it.
Let’s play safe out there….
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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