Jump to content
BOAC

Reversed polarity on EHU?

Recommended Posts

I should think its not often encountered in the UK, but what about on the continent. Do you find it necessary to carry a reverse polarity checker and reversed lead just in case?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you do a search on the Holidays Abroad forum, you will find that this topic has been discussed ad infinitum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes.... It is common.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, always carry them - just in case.

We rarely book ahead so need to cover all eventualities.

  • +1 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, BOAC said:

I should think its not often encountered in the UK, but what about on the continent. Do you find it necessary to carry a reverse polarity checker and reversed lead just in case?

Yes, I still have my made up cable and mains plug in tester in the van after spending 20+ years going to France, but the past 5 years my wife has decided she has had enough of going so now we spend our time in GB. :rolleyes:

Edited by kiaboy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reversed polarity is VERY common in France. I do have a polarity tester plug and I do carry a very short “polarity reversing”  cable. 

 

I know its not vital but as I have it I can see no sense in not using it! 

 

Andy

 

p.s. Was once on a campsite in Norway where there was no earth!! EHU lead was very quickly removed from the socket and we reverted to 12v overnight. 

Edited by Mr Plodd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In a French marina the boat indicated polarity incorrect but swapping phases made no difference.  Both phases were live!  It was a 55-0-55 supply.  Caravan sockets really ought to be double pole switched.  So unplug stuff not in use!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

Reversed polarity is VERY common in France. I do have a polarity tester plug and I do carry a very short “polarity reversing”  cable. 

 

I know its not vital but as I have it I can see no sense in not using it! 

 

Andy

 

p.s. Was once on a campsite in Norway where there was no earth!! EHU lead was very quickly removed from the socket and we reverted to 12v overnight. 

 

Statistically, it should be 50% - it's just a choice of two!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone. What other electrical items / spares do you advise to have for UK use and the continent?

Share this post


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

Thanks everyone. What other electrical items / spares do you advise to have for UK use and the continent?

multi meter is now on the list having connected up and had no power.

couple of screw drivers, pliers, strippers, cutters, insulation tape, matches, wet and dry, cable tie, jubilee clip, few screws and washers.

 

macafee2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Mr Plodd said:

Reversed polarity is VERY common in France. I do have a polarity tester plug and I do carry a very short “polarity reversing”  cable. 

 

I know its not vital but as I have it I can see no sense in not using it! 

 

Andy

 

p.s. Was once on a campsite in Norway where there was no earth!! EHU lead was very quickly removed from the socket and we reverted to 12v overnight. 

 

I think you will find Norway has its own unique electricity distribution system. It would be your polarity indicator that could not cope with it rather than there being no earth. See below:

 

image.thumb.png.f9417729591fcd50989313580a57b93e.png

4 hours ago, kelper said:

In a French marina the boat indicated polarity incorrect but swapping phases made no difference.  Both phases were live!  It was a 55-0-55 supply.  Caravan sockets really ought to be double pole switched.  So unplug stuff not in use!

 

Seeing most caravan sockets have no switches,  it doesn't matter whether they are single or double pole.

 

The only precaution you need for reverse polarity is to unplug something if you are going to take it apart or stick a knife into a part which may be live.

Edited by thebriars

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely a multimeter, screwdrivers (pozi & slotted to fit electrical connections) , insulation tape, strippers, cutters, cable ties and some terminal strip (chocolate block) to make emergency repairs (enough to repair the towing electrics).

I usually have a crimp tool and terminals as well as a few fuses.  Small spanners to fit stuff (battery cables, motor mover connections etc).

 

I've also got a spare 13-pin plug, just in case. I've witnessed two instances where the car has been driven away with the cable still connected and it's torn the cable out of the plug - a spare plug or even a prewired one with some chocolate block  to bodge onto the the pulled out end would have made for an easy repair

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Plodd said that reversed polarity is very common in France. I don't see how anything can be reverse polarity if there is no polarity definition in the first place. Schuko sockets are not specified as live and neutral because (a) all appliances that you buy in France (actually in most of Europe) are double insulated and use double pole switches and (b) the supply protection is often a double pole MCB. We only worry about polarity because our BS1363 socket design relies on defined connections so that we can be cheap and get away with a single pole switch and breaker!

 

On the very few sites in France that use blue sockets I have only ever found one incorrectly wired . Funnily enough in The Netherlands I have only ever come across one that was correctly wired - and blue sockets do define live and neutral connections!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In 10 years of touring through France, I have never yet met reversed polarity!

Always check though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On a site in Serignan I found my ehu had no earth. Reverse polarity is something I've encountered every trip to France but not on every site.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BOAC said:

Thanks everyone. What other electrical items / spares do you advise to have for UK use and the continent?


We have a reverse polarity tester and reverse neutral/ live plug but this summer I found the live and neutral the wrong way around, used the plug and somehow ended up with a live earth so figured it was safer how we started so long as I wasn’t planning to rebuild the microwave whilst it was connected to the mains.

 

It was fine. From now on I will plug it in and start waiting for the beer to cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Woodentop said:

Schuko sockets are not specified as live and neutral because (a) all appliances that you buy in France (actually in most of Europe) are double insulated and use double pole switches and (b) the supply protection is often a double pole MCB. We only worry about polarity because our BS1363 socket design relies on defined connections so that we can be cheap and get away with a single pole switch and breaker!

 

Remember that UK plugs also have a fuse. This is supposed to be rated to protect the cable. i.e. a UK ring main would be protected by a 30A MCB but if the cable on say a kettle was shorted, without a fuse it could pull 30A before the MCB disconnected. The cable wouldn't take 30A without smoke and flames, hence a 13 Amp fuse to protect the cable. 

BS1363 was introduced in 1947 before RCD so a fused plug  was safer than the older system.

 

While double pole switching is safer, it's not safer than unplugging something before you work on it!!!

Reverse polarity isn't as iffy as it was in days gone by. I would guess most caravans now have RCD (Residual Current Device) which should disconnect the supply should a small current  (30mA or 10mA usually) leaks to earth from either live or neutral conductors.

 

Never work on an electrical system or item unless you have tested to ensure there is no voltage. Don't rely on switches working, always better to be safe than sorry.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we travelled around France, we did the following:

 

Blue normal 3 pin (as in the UK):     normal plug + another plug with reverse polarity

Black 3 pin:                                                    normal plug + another plug with reverse polarity

 

So we had 6 plugs, but it was worth it.  We had a tester, which we used on each site we visited, and just swapped over the correct plug.  Easy.  Done in 10 seconds:D, you can't then go wrong

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In France I reckon reversed polarity is a 50 - 50 chance, so I always carry and often use my 'reverse polarity correction lead'. It's also worth carrying an adaptor for the continental 2 pin sockets which are still encountered occasionally  .

    John.

  • Like 1
  • +1 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, PR1 said:

In 10 years of touring through France, I have never yet met reversed polarity!

Always check though!

Don’t think I have ever met anyone who could say that - guess you must be a very lucky guy 😀

  • Like 1
  • +1 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, PR1 said:

In 10 years of touring through France, I have never yet met reversed polarity!

 

In 14 years of living here, neither have I but I understand he's a 'top bloke'.

 

I really wish people wouldn't use the term 'reverse polarity' with regard to continental mains supply, as has been said most mainland European sockets aren't polarised and they were not designed to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Lost in France said:

 

In 14 years of living here, neither have I but I understand he's a 'top bloke'.

 

I really wish people wouldn't use the term 'reverse polarity' with regard to continental mains supply, as has been said most mainland European sockets aren't polarised and they were not designed to be.

 

All the 16 Amp three pin 240 Volt blue sockets and plugs I have purchased, including one from a French Marina, had the pins identity markings moulded into the plastic.

So these were most definitely designed to be polarised, it is just that some installers don't make the effort to do so.

  • +1 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, JTQ said:

 

All the 16 Amp three pin 240 Volt blue sockets and plugs I have purchased, including one from a French Marina, had the pins identity markings moulded into the plastic.

So these were most definitely designed to be polarised, it is just that some installers don't make the effort to do so.

 

OK, 220V domestic plugs and sockets then.

Edited by Lost in France

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Babstreefern said:

When we travelled around France, we did the following:

 

Blue normal 3 pin (as in the UK):     normal plug + another plug with reverse polarity

Black 3 pin:                                                    normal plug + another plug with reverse polarity

 

So we had 6 plugs, but it was worth it.  We had a tester, which we used on each site we visited, and just swapped over the correct plug.  Easy.  Done in 10 seconds:D, you can't then go wrong

 

 

 

Err why six??? That over complicates matters a lot!

 

A short length of cable with Male and female ends “cross wired”    Blue connectors (So that on ONE end the + is wired as the - and the - as the + that “reverses” the polarity) is all that’s required in the event of “wrong” polarity.

If the polarity is the “wrong” way round simply use that short length at the caravan end to sort it out. You then only need one “standard” (long) EHU cable with Blue connectors at either end and a  (short) two pin French plug  with a blue female socket for use at the bollard if required. A total of just three (one standard 25m EHU cable and a couple of short ends) NOT 6 !

 

Payload dear chap, payload :rolleyes:

 

Andy

 

Edited by Mr Plodd
  • +1 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

Err why six??? That over complicates matters a lot!

 

A short length of cable with Male and female ends “cross wired”    Blue connectors (So that on ONE end the + is wired as the - and the - as the + that “reverses” the polarity) is all that’s required in the event of “wrong” polarity.

If the polarity is the “wrong” way round simply use that short length at the caravan end to sort it out. You then only need one “standard” (long) EHU cable with Blue connectors at either end and a  (short) two pin French plug  with a blue female socket for use at the bollard if required. A total of just three (one standard 25m EHU cable and a couple of short ends) NOT 6 !

 

Payload dear chap, payload :rolleyes:

 

Andy

 

 

Same here, my reverse cable is only 8" long and strangely enough is red :blush:

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.


×
×
  • Create New...