Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Jimbo9997

New member - help needed please regarding electrics!!

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

Great forum! Glad to be a member. Have searched elsewhere on the forum but couldn’t find the right answer so hope this post is ok here

 

New to caravanning – just bought first one 2-3 week ago and have been cleaning it up etc. 25 years old Piper 515. Planning to take it away this weekend with the kids, but struggling to get all the electrics to work. Lights are fine, battery well charged and looks new. But although the lights inside all work, the fridge, or any of the sockets don’t work. The chap I bought it off said they all work when you connect to mains power at a site (he only had it for a short time, so this might be true but wont know for sure until we arrive on site on Saturday!) but I was wondering why that would be the case, and if there is a simple fix that would allow me to use the sockets and fridge from just the battery.

 

Any help on this would be gratefully received. Thanks in advance!!

 

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The battery wouldn't last even half an hour if it were powering the fridge.   The demand is just too much.   The fridge normally works on 23o volts or gas whilst on site.   If your car is wired correctly, it will also work on 12volts whilst it's been towed.

 

Most of the lights should work since they are 12volt.   Maybe two of them, usually at the front work off 230 volts.   All the square three pin sockets work off 230volts.   Presumably you have the correct mains cable to plug in.

Edited by Jaydug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jim, and :welcome:to Caravan Talk.

 

First off, if you mean 'sockets' similar to those at home, then they are 230-volts only, ie they should work once you attach the cable to the electic hook up point (EHU) on site (you may have to flick a switch on or check for circuit breakers if they don't).

 

Some vans do have 12-volt 'sockets' similar to car cigarette lighters where you can plug in 12v TVs etc.

 

Regards the fridge, they are usually 3-way, ie they can run off mains electric, gas or the battery. However, usually they only work off the battery if the car is attached and running, and even then it will only generally maintain temperature, it won't bring one down to fridge temperature.

 

Good luck with your 'new' van :).

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Hi and  :welcome: Jaydug and others beat me to it! I have been asked a few times, when stuck in traffic, if we could use our microwave to warm a baby's bottle. You wouldn't believe some of the reactions when we have to refuse :o

Edited by Flat_at
oops

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have a 12 v accessory socket in the van, like those in a car, then this should work. Alternatively you might have a 2 pin socket that has flat pins which is also 12v, but now out of favour, and again that should work.

You can buy a short adapter to connect your vans mains cable to a house standard 3 pin socket. This is useful to apply mains to the van, so the vans charger, mains sockets, and any mains spotlights will work, plus you can pre cool the fridge overnight before setting off.

However, with mains on, be sure to press the Test button on the mains unit to check the RCD is working

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all

 

Wow, what a fantastic set of replies in such a short space of time, I really appreciate this

 

Ah, so this makes things a lot clearer! So that makes total sense, about the Fridge draining the battery and so on. I will buy one of those adapters now and check at home before we go away (guess I could also hook up to my car and check too, didn’t think of that).

 

So all being well, when I arrive on site (it’s a powered site) it should be all fine.

 

As a matter of interest, what do people do (if anything) if staying in your van and wanting to keep food cold etc, but you are not at a powered site? I guess that’s not really an option?

 

Thanks again. Looking forward to getting away. Always wanted a van, have loved camping in the past but now have 3 kids youngest being 2 and like the idea of being able to get away on a Friday night and not have to get the tent etc up late at night with kids wanting their beds/food!

 

Thanks

Jim

14 minutes ago, David 38 said:

 

To save buying one, could i connect to my car (as if i was towing) and would this give me an indication of all is well?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Jimbo9997 said:

Hi all

As a matter of interest, what do people do (if anything) if staying in your van and wanting to keep food cold etc, but you are not at a powered site? I guess that’s not really an option?

 

Thanks

Jim

As we said above fridges fridges usually 3 way so gas is used, have you got a full gas bottle supplied with caravan?

Hot water and heating is usually gas or electric, you not mention that.

Cooking

usually gas only.

Edited by David 38

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

If you have a 3-way fridge you can run it on gas if there is no mains power on your pitch.

In fact, the fridge works better on gas than it does on mains electric, but mains electric is normally free.

 

Edited by onewheelonmywagon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, David 38 said:

As we said above fridges fridges usually 3 way so gas is used, have you got a full gas bottle supplied with caravan?

Hot water and heating is usually gas or electric, you not mention that.

Cooking

usually gas only.

 

Thanks again. Yes I have 2 gas bottles, one is relatively full (I think, need to check). Didnt realise at all the fridge could be run on gas, I will try that this evening. I guess just turn the gas on, and then turn the fridge on ( I think there is a switch to toggle between power sources) - is there anything else i need to do? Im clearly more of a novice than initially thought

 

Have tried the water, but only seems to come out cold, have run it for a few mins and was still cold. Is there something else I need to do to enable hot water?

 

Thanks again, and again apologies for the really simple questions. You've helped more in 5 mins than the progress ive made in the last 2 weeks

 

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jimbo I don't know if you are aware that regarding car electrics your caravan fridge will take its power from the 12S socket (white cover) but it should only be wired so that you get power when the ignition is on.  Also there should be a relay fitted in your wiring system that will not allow the fridge to be powered until your car battery has been charged.

Good Luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The fridge will have an igniter button. Tells us which fridge you've got or look it up yourself on google and download the instructions

 

Generally you have to turn the fridge onto gas, then hold in the control knob whilst operating the ignitor. Theres either be a tell tale window in the bottom of the fridge so you can see the flame or on later fridges there is a little meter that move a pointer to show that the pilot has lit. Hold the operaing button in for up to 30 secs to ensure that the flame has properly established. dont forget to turn the gas on at the cylinder and make sure that any isolating valves are open (look under the cooker to see if there's a gas manifold). Some fridges have an AA battery buit into the ignitor button and others just have a push button piezo which clicks. (same with the space heater)

 

It willi take at least half an hour to heat the water, so turning it on for two minutes wont tell you much. Most water heaters work from the gas supply and some will run from the mains as well.

 

Non of them will work from the internal battery so you need to make sure that the gas is turned on if runnig on gas or that the mains supply is connected and that any isolating switches are turned on. When on gas they do need the van battery connected to operate the gas valve.

Do not opertate the wter heater unless the water system is connected and it's been filled with water or you burn out the element/heat exchanger

 

Tells us a bit more about your van and what sort of heater, fridge and hot water system you've got and you'll get more help than us having to keep asking you questions.

 

The really easy way though is to find the manufacture's website for the fridge, water heater and heater and download the operating instructions as PDF's, you can then either print them or save them on a laptop, tablet or even your phone and take them with you

Edited by matelodave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Jimbo9997 said:

 

Thanks again. Yes I have 2 gas bottles, one is relatively full (I think, need to check). Didnt realise at all the fridge could be run on gas, I will try that this evening. I guess just turn the gas on, and then turn the fridge on ( I think there is a switch to toggle between power sources) - is there anything else i need to do? Im clearly more of a novice than initially thought

 

Have tried the water, but only seems to come out cold, have run it for a few mins and was still cold. Is there something else I need to do to enable hot water?

 

 

On a van of that age you will normally need to light the fridge and precise process varies according to type and model of fridge.

Typically there will be a little window inside the fridge near the bottom which will enable you to see the flame.

the process is something like:-

Turn on gas at bottle.

Turn fridge onto gas at the knob.

Press and hold the knob.

keep pressing the igniter button until you see the flame.

Continue to hold the knob in for about 10 seconds.

Release and see if it stays lit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, matelodave said:

The fridge will have an igniter button. Tells us which fridge you've got or look it up yourself on google and download the instructions

 

Generally you have to turn the fridge onto gas, then hold in the control knob whilst operating the ignitor. Theres either be a tell tale window in the bottom of the fridge so you can see the flame or on later fridges there is a little meter that move a pointer to show that the pilot has lit. Hold the operaing button in for up to 30 secs to ensure that the flame has properly established. dont forget to turn the gas on at the cylinder and make sure that any isolating valves are open (look under the cooker to see if there's a gas manifold)

 

It willi take at least half an hour to heat the water, so turning it on for two minutes wont help. Most water heaters work from the gas supply and some will run from the mains as well. Non of them will work from the internal battery.

 

Tells us a bit more about your van and what sort of heater, fridge and hot water system you've got and you'll get more help than us having to keep asking you questions.

 

The really easy way though is to find the manufacture's website for the fridge, water heater and heater and download the operating instructions as PDF's, you can then either print them or save them on a laptop, tablet or even your phone and take them with you

Thanks so much for this, this is really gold dust info

I will check out the make etc and post again on here, that would be extremely useful. Yes all makes sense now, there is indeed a lighter button on the fridge, dont ask me why but I assumed it was for lighting the cooker as just thought it looked like a gas lighting button and didnt once think it could be for the fridge. Looking forward to getting back and trying it out. I might just camp out there myself tonight now I know all this info and get a peaceful nights sleep :)

Hot water also makes sense, so need to wait to try this until I am connected to the mains at a sight basically. 

One question - you say it takes half an hour approx to heat the water, but heat the water from where exactly? Currently Im using my own water supply, and even if i am using water from a campsite, where exactly would the heating of the water take place? 

 

Thanks again!

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its a "25 years old Piper 515." OP said.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

You had better start with a look here, it may help explain some things for you

https://www.practicalcaravan.com/videos

you'll need something to store your water for the caravan, aqua roll or jerry can, and don't forget to pull it through and have both hot and cold running properly before turning on your water heater or it will burn out.

Edited by flashgordon
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Jimbo9997 said:

 I might just camp out there myself tonight now I know all this info and get a peaceful nights sleep :)

 

Hot water also makes sense, so need to wait to try this until I am connected to the mains at a sight basically. 

One question - you say it takes half an hour approx to heat the water, but heat the water from where exactly? Currently Im using my own water supply, and even if i am using water from a campsite, where exactly would the heating of the water take place? 

 

Thanks again!

Jim

 

Careful you don't run down the caravan battery using lights and other equipment. You really do need a mains lead adaptor as shown earlier to allow you to check out the 240v sockets, water heater etc, and also to keep the battery charged up.

Edit: You can use a normal car battery charger to recharge the caravan battery, and you don't need to disconnect the battery from the van.

 

The water will be heated within a boiler somewhere in the caravan - usually under the seats, but with a flue extending outside the van, probably the roof but may be out through a side wall. The quantity of hot water will not be huge so won't give you continuous showers, so you need to wait as it reheats.

Edited by onewheelonmywagon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Water heater flue if on side of caravan might have a removable cover to take if when used on gas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a Haynes manual available for caravans and the early editions regularly appear on the likes of Ebay.

There is a lot of useful info in there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

You need to look under the seats to find the water boiler unit - have a look outside to see what sort of flue its got and the heater will be inside. Check what the grill looks like, probably either a Carver Cascade or a Truma - they look different. As said make sure that any flue cover is removed.

 

There will be a controls inside the van - have a look to see whats written on them and even what colour they are. Takea photo

 

Have a shufti here to see if there's anything that you recognise https://www.olearymotorhomes.co.uk/carver--truma-products-37-c.asp

 

Edited by matelodave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Jimbo I don't know if you are aware that regarding car electrics your caravan fridge will take its power from the 12S socket (white cover) but it should only be wired so that you get power when the ignition is on.  Also there should be a relay fitted in your wiring system that will not allow the fridge to be powered until your car battery has been charged.

Good Luck

Great thanks, yes the chap did mention that to me - so in theory if everything is switched on i can charge the fridge during my journey so its sort of up (or down) to temperature when I arrive?

10 minutes ago, onewheelonmywagon said:

 

Careful you don't run down the caravan battery using lights and other equipment. You really do need a mains lead adaptor as shown earlier to allow you to check out the 240v sockets, water heater etc, and also to keep the battery charged up.

 

The water will be heated within a boiler somewhere in the caravan - usually under the seats, but with a flue extending outside the van, probably the roof but may be out through a side wall. The quantity of hot water will not be huge so won't give you continuous showers, so you need to wait as it reheats.

Great thanks yes this makes sense, I think I've found this as I have removed all the seats to give it a bit of a spruce up 

Ah, so that external adaptor that was posted earlier will in fact charge the battery? Thats great if its the case, as I thought I would need to get a trickle charger and bring the battery home to charge (the caravan ultimately will be stored away from where I live)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't expect the fridge to cool very much when being powered from the car during towing. It will simply maintain an already cooled down fridge. One solution is to pack the fridge with frozen icepacks, 2 litre water bottles, whatever.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Jimbo9997 said:

Great thanks, yes the chap did mention that to me - so in theory if everything is switched on i can charge the fridge during my journey so its sort of up (or down) to temperature when I arrive?

That is correct Jim, but when you arrive at a site you need to plug in your hook-up cable (if you have mains on site) and change the fridge to mains or run it on gas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Jimbo9997 said:

Great thanks, yes the chap did mention that to me - so in theory if everything is switched on i can charge the fridge during my journey so its sort of up (or down) to temperature when I arrive?

TBH the fridge supply from the car will just about keep it cool if it's already cold but dont expect it to cool the fridge down. You need to run it on gas or mains leccy to get it cold.

 

Likewise the cars doesn't really charge the van battery so make sure that it's fully charged by plugging in the mains overnight when the van is at home. It will take at least ten hours to charge a flat battery so don't just put it on for an hour and hope that it will be enough.

 

MAKE SURE THE WATER SYSTEM IS FULL OR SWITCHED OFF BEFORE CONNECTING THE MAINS CABLE. I forgot once and it cost me £70 for a new water heater element

Edited by matelodave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Jimbo9997 said:

 you say it takes half an hour approx to heat the water, but heat the water from where exactly?

 

 

Before you turn on either gas or electric to heat the water, make sure the boiler is full.   Plug in the pump which is submerged in the water barrel and allow the boiler to fill.   Open the hot kitchen tap and allow it to run until it stops spluttering.   Only then, after the pump has switched off, is the boiler full.   To do otherwise, will probably burn out the electric element.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...