Question for the Electricians...

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Forum topic by JasonIndy posted 05-05-2010 04:43 AM 1779 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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187 posts in 2858 days

05-05-2010 04:43 AM

I’ve noticed when my jointer or planer is plugged in, I get a little bit of a tickle any time I touch the metal on either tool. I’m using a short extension cord with a ground to get from one end of my garage to the other. My planer sits on the ground until I can build a stand, but my jointer has rubber feet which I thought would serve as an insulator. I’m running it out of a conventional outlet (I’m sure if it was wired for 220 it would be more than a tickle.) I’m more worried about a fire than getting shocked or anything because I always unplug my tools when they’re not being directly used. What can I do to stop this and how worried should I be?

My old freezer in the basement used to do this every time I grabbed the handle too, if that helps :)

30 replies so far

View bayspt's profile


292 posts in 3127 days

#1 posted 05-05-2010 05:06 AM

Don’t touch it and you won’t get the tickle. lol Sounds to me like you have voltage leaking to ground at some piont in your system. Could be faulty wiring or a faulty piece of equipment on the circuit. Just my .02 sure you will get more, maybe enough to make a dollar

-- Jimmy, Oklahoma "It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing milkbone underwear!"

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3316 days

#2 posted 05-05-2010 05:10 AM

try licking it ?

seriously, I wouldnt use it until you have it figured out

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Luke's profile


545 posts in 2716 days

#3 posted 05-05-2010 05:43 AM

You need to have an electrician look at your circuits. Or if you feel confident enough. I’d check the breaker box first, Seems like it might be from there. Be careful, you HAVE to already know what you’re doing.

-- LAS,

View JasonIndy's profile


187 posts in 2858 days

#4 posted 05-05-2010 06:17 AM

That’s the odd thing, it’s both my Ridgid planer and Ridgid jointer, which were brand new out of the box as of two months ago. It just seems weird they would both have electrical issues, you know? I wasn’t sure if it could be a setup problem, or maybe I’m just really unlucky. I’ll have somebody who knows more than me take a look at it. Thanks.

View wichle's profile


96 posts in 2369 days

#5 posted 05-05-2010 06:21 AM

Your breaker box needs to be grounded to a ground rod, drivin in the grount outside. If not available, then to a copper cold water pipe that runs directly to the inbound main. These checks at nthe breaker box in the house. Sounds like the neutral, probably white) wire is “above ground at the box.

-- Bill, Michigan "People don't come preassebled, but are glued together by life"

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2903 days

#6 posted 05-05-2010 10:59 PM

This doesnt sound like its your tools. I bet, like others have said, that you have a floating or leaky ground. Also, have you tried a different extension cord?

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3098 days

#7 posted 05-05-2010 11:31 PM

You most likely have a stray voltage in your ground system. It needs to be found and corrected.

BTW, Most peole who think they are bit on 220 are only getting 110 to ground.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View SKFrog16's profile


661 posts in 2623 days

#8 posted 05-05-2010 11:55 PM

Try a new extension cord. The old one may have a compromised ground in it. Also, check the ground at the outlet to make sure you have one.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2380 days

#9 posted 05-06-2010 12:18 AM

Definately a bad ground;the power goes in and needs to get out just as efficiently. A dirty or loose ground won’t allow the voltage to pass cleanly, causing you a minor shock. GFCI outlets “read” that leakage and cut the circuit. If you are just using a light bulb, it usually doesn’t get you; higher amp useage, such as your planer, will cause a voltage “back-up” and let you have it. This is usually an annoyance, but then again how many chances do you want to take before getting a real shock? By all means, get it looked at before you use it further, and make sure the “safety ground” or green wire ground is just as good as the white. Electricians are expensive, but safety should be deemed priceless.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View doyoulikegumwood's profile


384 posts in 3415 days

#10 posted 05-06-2010 01:37 AM

one thing i have found and really don’t like, is allot of times folks will put all the neutrals and the grounds onto the same termination block in the panel.

I’m not sure if this is standard practice or not i tend to put them on to separate blocks. i could be totally wrong

-- I buy tools so i can make more money,so ican buy more tools so I can work more, to make more money, so I can buy more tool, so I can work more

View Knothead62's profile


2581 posts in 2383 days

#11 posted 05-06-2010 01:56 AM

Even if the tools are on rubber or synthetic pads, you are acting as the ground and carrying the current. Have it checked out before it can get worse.
DYLGW has an idea. Louisiana allowed it in a new house we built in 1983. Not really a good idea. That’s not the way I was taught to wire a house or electric ranges.

View JasonIndy's profile


187 posts in 2858 days

#12 posted 05-06-2010 03:11 AM

Thanks for all the replies, looking at the outlet it looks as if some kind of after-market work was done. It’s an older house and I’ve always had electrical problems to various degrees. I didn’t feel any current at all through either of them today but it sounds serious enough that it should get looked at. My father-in-law does a little contracting work and his father was an electrician so I’m going to have him take a look at it this weekend (the price is always right.)

I’ll also try a different extension cord and see if that helps.

Knothead, thanks, I got a C in physics and electrical work has always dumbfounded me.

Topamax, the in-law used to be a ‘volunteer apprentice’ for his father before they had child labor laws. He said you can definitely tell the difference when it comes to 110 and 220. He was the canary.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


2620 posts in 2531 days

#13 posted 05-06-2010 03:30 AM

Rubber is an insulator and does not make a ground at all unless it’s got a piece of metal sticking through it to complete the circuit. You’ve obviously got a bad ground, if the fridge has been doing it, too. Get that fixed ASAP! The only thing a bad ground does is get worse.

I USED to work on 110 without turning the breaker off, back when I was young and immortal. I crossed up 220 ONCE. That really smarts, and I got MY smarts and now I turn off the power (lock-out and tag-out) whenever I work on electrical things.

The different extension cord is a waste of time if the fridge has been doing it. Play safe! Especially if you have children in your workshop. Does this problem only exist in the garage? Maybe you haven’t noticed it in the house due to most appliances having plastic covers. This problem has potentially lethal outcomes for people. Please, get it fixed right away!

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View PASs's profile


587 posts in 2521 days

#14 posted 05-06-2010 03:49 AM

Sounds like the ground isn’t.
New code allows/requires the neutral (white) wire and the ground (bare) wire to tie in to the breaker box, just not to the same block.
For a few bucks you can go to the HD or Lowes and get an outlet tester plug. Stick it in the receptacle (or the end of the extension cord) and the lights will tell you if there is an obvious problem (hot/neutral reversed, no ground, etc…)

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3098 days

#15 posted 05-06-2010 04:09 AM

Anything over 120 to ground will definitely get your attention! :-)) Good thing you can’t get 220 to ground in a house!! Eurpeans must be more careful after they get their first one than we are.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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