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Lazarus

Electrical confusion!

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Morning! Ive just become a member of the site although ive been here often lurking in the background. Im hoping somebody van shed some light on my electrical problem. Me and my better half decided a month or so ago to move into a 'van due to financial issues, we bought an old avondale panthere and have happily moved in. Last night however, on getting home from work she decided to put on the kettle, oven and heater all at once.....wiping out the electrics, shes done it before and thrown a trip so easily remedied. But......last night no trips were thrown,  either inside or at the EHU. Ive tested the sockets with a multimeter and theyre all showing 240 volts however absolutely no appliance or light will work. Ive tried a lamp in the neighbours 'van and it works fine,  tried it in one of my live sockets and it wont work. Does anybody have any idea at all what the problem could be? I cant see how i can have power to the sockets yet no appliance will work in them......

Thankyou in anticipation

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8 minutes ago, Lazarus said:

I've tested the sockets with a multi-meter and they're all showing 240 volts however absolutely no appliance or light will work.

I can't see how i can have power to the sockets yet no appliance will work in them......

240V relative to what? Go back to basics, and with the power disconnected check for continuity from the supply cable to a 13A socket for each of the three wires individually, then check for short circuits between any two cables.

Post the results here and the information may help in diagnosing your problem.

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Hi Gordon, ill see what i can do and post it up, im no sparky and new to caravanning also, unfortunately financially i cant get a sparky in to check it out so am learning all of this from scratch, beginning with deciphering your message 

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Welcome and how exactly are you testing that a 240V socket is live and  has 240V to it?

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Posted (edited)

Thankyou, im Using a multimeter, on each individual socket, one pin on the earth and one on the live, then also one on the earth and one on the neutral, every socket has 240v going to it

Edited by Lazarus
Typo

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3 minutes ago, Lazarus said:

Thankyou, im Using a multimeter, on each individual socket, one pin on the earth and one on the live, then also one on the earth and one on the neutral, every socket has 240v going to it

The test with a multimeter for a socket being live is one pin on live and one in neutral. You will need a dummy pin in earth to open the gates.

There should never be a significant voltage between earth and neutral, but this is complicated to explain why any at all.

From what you describe you could have a fault in the neutral.

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Hi Stevan, ive just tested again and i have 0v between live and neutral but 240v between earth and neutral?

Not sure if it is of any relevance but the test button on the rcd isnt working at all, there is power getting through it though. 

Apologies to everybody for being such a newbie, we did get the 'van cheap and expected problems but i wasnt expected this when usually if we overload the electrics they trip out, unfortunately last night they didnt

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Posted (edited)

The hook up lead has possibly pulled out of the plug or socket and is causing a short or wrong connection.  Is it OK at the hookup point?  I suspect the lead itself.

 

Please be very careful as metal parts in or on the van may be live.  If in doubt get a mechanic or electrician to have a look.  

Edited by kelper

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1 minute ago, Lazarus said:

Hi Stevan, ive just tested again and i have 0v between live and neutral but 240v between earth and neutral?

Not sure if it is of any relevance but the test button on the rcd isnt working at all, there is power getting through it though. 

Apologies to everybody for being such a newbie, we did get the 'van cheap and expected problems but i wasnt expected this when usually if we overload the electrics they trip out, unfortunately last night they didnt

Nail hit firmly on the head!

Either you have a faulty RCD, or a fault causing it to trip instantly when you reset it. On some designs of RCD it can require a sort of double push to get the switch to go up fully and stay up.

  • I agree completely 1

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You infer that previously every thing did work OK, but now doesn't.  Has anything changed? (other than it not working), where is the van connected to?  Are there other vans on the same supply.

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1 minute ago, Stevan said:

Nail hit firmly on the head!

Either you have a faulty RCD, or a fault causing it to trip instantly when you reset it. On some designs of RCD it can require a sort of double push to get the switch to go up fully and stay up.

Thats what confused me last night, my other half has tripped out the mcb before by having too many electrical items on, we unplug everything then reset the mcb. The rcd itself has never tripped out and didnt last night, the electrics simply went out without tripping anything internally or at the ehu post

 

Hi Chris  yes everything was fine before last night.we havent changed anything else. I have tried different ehu points also and still no luck

Sorry for the replies merging, getting used to the site 

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Posted (edited)

The RCD test button won't work unless the input is live.  If live and neutral were reversed it would still work.  Are you on a site or getting power from the house?

 

If there is a high resistance somewhere you meter will still measure 240 as it draws so little current.  An led lamp might also work but not a heater or normal bulb.

Edited by kelper

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Check or recheck the RCD/MCB trips - some need to be pushed firmly off before switching back on

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We are on a site hooked up to an ehu post, 

1 minute ago, Black Grouse said:

Check or recheck the RCD/MCB trips - some need to be pushed firmly off before switching back on

Tried this several times and again just now but still nothing. My neighbour even quickly bypassed the rcd but still nothing so reconnected it all

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Can you contact the site operator/owner or other vanners?

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You should have  240VAC from live to neutral, and 240VAC from live to earth.

 

Sounds like your supply is reversed polarity.

  • I agree completely 2

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1 minute ago, kelper said:

Can you contact the site operator/owner or other vanners?

The site owners are self isolating and there are only 4 of us pitched up here,  the others are at work. Just wondering, where all the ehu's cables go into a large metal box at the edge of the site, are there trips in there by any chance?

2 minutes ago, Dave Capiro owner said:

You should have  240VAC from live to neutral, and 240VAC from live to earth.

 

Sounds like your supply is reversed polarity.

Dave, wouldnt this have affected it before now? We havent changed any electrics around anywhere and the van was on a site permanently for 4 years prior to us buying it

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Posted (edited)

Lazarus, please measure volts at the EHU L-N, L-E and E-N.  Then try at un-unoccupied EHU or at a neighbours EHU.

 

It seems, from what you have said that you probably had a reversed supply all along and this is not the problem and not unsafe.  I think the problem is a high resistance connection in the neutral or the live or both.

Edited by kelper

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If the RCD test button does not cause the RCD to switch off (down) you have a fault, either in the RCD, or nearer the supply.

With 230v between earth and neutral you have a significant fault and it would be dangerous to go poking around with your multimeter any further back down the supply unless you REALLY know what you are doing.

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2 minutes ago, Stevan said:

If the RCD test button does not cause the RCD to switch off (down) you have a fault, either in the RCD, or nearer the supply.

With 230v between earth and neutral you have a significant fault and it would be dangerous to go poking around with your multimeter any further back down the supply unless you REALLY know what you are doing.

Stevan, okay ill give the ehu post test a miss. What kind of significant fault am i looking at with voltage between earth and neutral? Would reversed polarity cause this? If so, how can i get around it and wouldnt it have caused a fault previously? I have a 1994 avondale panthere which was obviously built for the european market so im guessing it is a possibility

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Stevan said:

With 230v between earth and neutral you have a significant fault and it would be dangerous to go poking around with your multimeter any further back down the supply

If the neutral is live and the live is at neutral, it's not dangerous if the earth is correct.  And the RCD will still work.

 

It could be a faulty RCD as you say.

 

It is just possible that the RCD test button won't operate because of a very high resistance in series.  The voltage drops to almost zero when you push the button and not enough 'fault' current flows to operate the trip.

Edited by kelper

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3 minutes ago, kelper said:

If the neutral is live and the live is at neutral, it's not dangerous if the earth is correct.  And the RCD will still work.

 

It could be a faulty RCD as you say.

The rcd seems okay, we checked live and neutral going in and coming out and had power both ends, the neighbour also briefly bypassed it but it made no difference. 

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So, please check at the EHU as per my suggestion or try his hookup cable from his EHU to your van.

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I'm no sparky but, you mentioned an oven, kettle and heater being switched on. I assume they are now switched off? Sorry if its a silly question. 

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Posted (edited)

Switched off and unplugged where possible since, with a reversed supply the on/off switch on the socket won't work.

 

Once everything is off try one light

 

Edited by kelper

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