Electric Shock

Sep 28, 2016
Hi Brains trust,

Just wanted to run something past you all. I was under my van today doing some work and I touched the rear bar with my knee and got a zap! Just a little one, so tested again sure enough another zap.
The van has been used as our bathroom for the last 4 weeks as we renovated our bathroom at home and has been plugged into mains for some time and was plugged in when I was zapped. Turned power off no zap. Turned power back on and there was no zap. I am guessing that I have a short somewhere, anyone come across this sort of thing before?

Interestingly I did pull our van cover off just prior to getting under van and I wondered if perhaps this generated a bit of static power?

Thanks n advance Sean
Jan 21, 2018
Shailer park
A bad lead can deff cause this.
Also, as you mention renovating, interesting ...
what can also happen, is a bad neutral connection upstream from you van or upstream from your switchboard like a mains connection box etc can cause current into the earthing system of you house via the MEN link in the switchboard and then you can feel tingles on metal structures like water pipes etc. people also tend to notice tingles when having showers etc, mainly due to poor earth electrode at the house or highly resistive ground between house and the transformer.
Can be dangerous as upstream from RCD's then they won't work. You could have a bad neutral somewhere in your house and some current could be flowing back in your earth lead and into your vans metal structure then through you.

This problem can be erratic in showing itself sometimes as when there is high load on in the house like ovens pools and Ac etc then a bad neutral join( high resistive) struggles with current return and can heat up arc and /or melt etc , causing more issues like fires, eccess current then flows through MEN into the earthing system as the electricity tries and finds its way back to the transformer out in the street.

The problem then disappears when the load in the house drops off and the bad neutral return can cope with the current flow back therefore the voltage level of earth to neutral drops back to safe level or under touch sensitivity.

The issue can also be worse as a lot of domestic earthing systems like the stake in the ground have not been done properly , old or of dry high resistive ground etc causing the voltage to start to rise in other earthed systems like your metal chassis in your van , then you touch it and the electricity jumps through you to ground.

If you replace the lead, and get tingles still, get an electrical contractor in to check your house system .
Especially if been doing renovations etc as the problem could be there or upstream more.

The problem may not even be at your house, I have heard of neighbours houses with very poor main neutrals and the current has flowed into their earth and some has made its way into the neighbours earth system causing tingles next door.

I'd recommend getting it checked out . Your local power authority like Energex we have in SEQ etc can be contacted if you keep getting tingles and report a possible bad Neutral somewhere like in you home, or even coming from a neighbouring property.

This May or may not be what's happening at your place , but I have seen it several times in doing electrical works for my job.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
Cooloola Coast, QLD
Thats excellent information @Coldspace , we had to construct a new fence around a mains power transformer station once, as people walking by were getting zapped, moved fence out another few metres with copper strips buried in the ground ,silver soldered together and to the fence, big earth stakes attached to the old fence. We had to be carefull when picking up and moving the metal around, an eerie feeling.


Active Member
Nov 17, 2016
So I've been zapped twice from my van. We went away for a few hours and tied the dog onto the front of the van. Came back and I over heard one of my kids say "wow this feels funny - you touch this (the front tow bar)" he was saying to his brother. I touched the tow ball and got a zzzzzzz. The bloody dog had chewed through the power cable and only the brown wire in the power cable was left untouched. God knows how the hell he didn't not kill him self. The worst thing is that the dog was chained up to the frame of the van. Poor bugger got some shock therapy.

Second time the earth cable came dislodged out of the plug (the one I replaced after the first shock). I stepped on the step with no shoes got another zap.

Now - all new cable. Problem fixed. Plus the dog doesn't chew my crap anymore so 2 problems fixed!