Van shocked us. Literally. - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Van shocked us. Literally.

So the other day the van was plugged in and my wife went out to do something and said that the handle shocked her. I assumed she meant like a POW and you get the spark. She said nope that this was like current, not a quick discharge type of thing. Well today my kids were playing in the van and I went out to get them. My son slid out of the van from the front passenger seat and slid over where the molding joins on the floor and the frame for the edge of the door and jumped and said AHHHHhhh! I went to go touch that area to see if something was sharp at the molding and I got the same shock that my wife must have had. It is definitely current that you feel. I went and unplugged the van and touched there again and there was no current. I plugged it back in and there it was again. It has been raining out and the van is parked outside so thing are a little wet, but I looked at the charging port and there isn't any water in it.

This is mainly just to get a post out there so others can see. I'm going to call the dealer on Monday and see what they have to say about it and get the can in to be looked at.

EDIT: A little more info. It's the charging cable that came with the van. I went out and checked the lights and there were no weird lights on the box for the cable, though the cable had wiggled a little bit out of the socket. I think that perhaps the ground pin might not have have a good connection. Could this be something that would cause that? I reseated it and went and checked and didn't get a shock anymore.
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Last edited by Danmcg; 04-07-2019 at 07:00 PM. Reason: UPDATE
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 07:16 PM
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Hmm, this is a new one. The only suggestion that comes to mind is a grounding problem in your house. Although even that theory doesn't sound convincing. GFCI should be able to detect a bad ground. Get a simple non-contact voltage tester https://amzn.to/2WV3SUV and check if it shows.It is cheap and good to have around anyway.

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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 08:10 PM
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Is this a 220 volt setup?
You best get an electrician to check this, not an auto mechanic.
It is very doubtful you have a GFCI on a 220 volt circuit.

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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Lipster View Post
Is this a 220 volt setup?
You best get an electrician to check this, not an auto mechanic.
It is very doubtful you have a GFCI on a 220 volt circuit.
Nope not 220. It's a regular 110 garage outlet in my seperate garage.

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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by stop-eject View Post
Hmm, this is a new one. The only suggestion that comes to mind is a grounding problem in your house. Although even that theory doesn't sound convincing. GFCI should be able to detect a bad ground. Get a simple non-contact voltage tester https://amzn.to/2WV3SUV and check if it shows.It is cheap and good to have around anyway.
What would this do? I thought this would show if a line was hot? How would I use it to check for whatever issue might be present here?

Thanks.

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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 09:52 PM
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You should absolutely have a GFCI receptacle in your garage, whether or not the van is parked outside. It would have detected the current imbalance and tripped.
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danmcg View Post
What would this do? I thought this would show if a line was hot? How would I use it to check for whatever issue might be present here?

Thanks.
If the body of your car is energized it should light up as it does near a hot wire.

I think that chances of insulation failure in the van are minimal and your problem is probably outside. And the problem is hardly benign. As mainesail correctly pointed above, GFCI should take care of most issues. Although a minor leakage may be below its sensitivity. A hybrid certified dealer should have an insulation tester to check the charging port. Please keep us posted.

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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by stop-eject View Post
If the body of your car is energized it should light up as it does near a hot wire.

I think that chances of insulation failure in the van are minimal and your problem is probably outside. And the problem is hardly benign. As mainesail correctly pointed above, GFCI should take care of most issues. Although a minor leakage may be below its sensitivity. A hybrid certified dealer should have an insulation tester to check the charging port. Please keep us posted.
Okay so the house we are in is a rental, though it is a friend's old house so I can just tell him to make happen whatever needs to happen. So the plan of action is to replace the standard outlet in the garage with a GFCI outlet first. Second I should take the van by the dealer and have them check to port to make sure all is right with it to be sure. Correct? Also I should have a tester around regardless for when I do my basic electrical stuff just to be sure the wires are no longer hot. I guess hitting them with the back of my hand to be sure they are dead is frowned upon huh?

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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 11:35 PM
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You should absolutely have a GFCI receptacle in your garage, whether or not the van is parked outside. It would have detected the current imbalance and tripped.
The EVSE should have GFCI built into it. I’m not 100% sure about the OEM charger that comes with the van but most EVSEs should have GFCI built in. My Siemens unit does.

If you’re getting a shock from the body of the car then there is definitely a problem with the vehicle in my opinion. If everything was correctly insulated there would be no way for the current to travel from the charging port to the body of the car. But, it doesn’t take much current to give you a shock. So that’s why your EVSE has a grounding plug. The ground from the outlet on your house should connect through to the grounded body of your car. That way, if you have an even miniscule current leak it will be drained off to ground on a very low resistance path before it can travel through your body (which is a higher resistance path) and shock you.

So from what the OP said I would assume that his vehicle has a small current leak to the car body. Possibly if the ground on the EVSE plug was not making good contact with the ground in the receptacle, then the current could not take the easy route to ground. Instead, it took the next easiest path which was through your wife’s body.
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 11:47 PM
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Okay so the house we are in is a rental, though it is a friend's old house so I can just tell him to make happen whatever needs to happen. So the plan of action is to replace the standard outlet in the garage with a GFCI outlet first. Second I should take the van by the dealer and have them check to port to make sure all is right with it to be sure. Correct? Also I should have a tester around regardless for when I do my basic electrical stuff just to be sure the wires are no longer hot. I guess hitting them with the back of my hand to be sure they are dead is frowned upon huh?
Well, hitting with the back of your hand may be frowned upon but it does work. However, grabbing a door handle can be dangerous because if the current is strong enough it can cause the muscles in your hand to grip the handle even tighter.

My guess is that since it has been raining and the van was parked outside there was some moisture that created a temporary path between the hot side of the line and the body of the van. Even if you don’t see the water it maybe be a thin film that is difficult to see. In my mind the two most important things to do are:

1) Check the outlet in your garage to make sure that it is indeed grounded. You can get a little device that plugs into the outlet and will tell you.

2) Make sure that the EVSE is solidly plugged into the outlet such that the ground pin is making good connection with it. The EVSE passes the ground along through the J1772 connector (charge port) to the vehicle. If the vehicle is properly grounded then you won’t be able to get shocked by touching the car.

Installing a GFCI outlet in the garage is an extra safety precaution but is not as important as the two things I mentioned above.
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Last edited by PacDave; 04-07-2019 at 11:50 PM.
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