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Alternative Mains Inlet Socket


sacko

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I have to park my caravan right up against a wall at home which means that I then cannot access the battery box / power inlet. To get the caravan into position requires quite a bit of manoevering using the motor mover, which takes a lot out of the battery. This gives me problems after a few weeks when the battery charge is insufficient to run the alarm system (which lets me know by making loud clicking noises!).

 

I would like to install a second mains input socket inside the van so that I can charge the battery without moving the van.

 

I'm very much aware that if I just connect it to the other socket, then the socket which is not in use would be live when the other socket is connected. I've seen 'transfer switches' for sale which would allow me to isolate the other socket but these seem rather expensive.

 

Is there any cheaper alternative solution ?

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Make up a short extension with a blue plug at one end and a blue socket at the other. Plug the extension into the caravan socket and close the locker, you can then plug the main cable into the extension plug and stow it in the front locker to keep it safe, dry and off the ground. And as I'm sure you turn off the gas at the cylinder when the van is stored you shouldn't have any problems. (I had to put that in before the elf'n safety brigade started jumping uop and down)

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Mine sits up close to a hedge with the same problem that I cant get into the battery box.

 

I have installed a mains hook-up point on the side of a shed at the opposite side of the van and use a short length (about 10m) of mains cable.

 

As I back the van up with the mover, I stop it just before the battery box disappears and connect the "van" side of the cable and leave it at the side and to the front of the van. I then back it to where it needs to go and bring the cable across the front of the van before dropping the legs and connect it to the hook-up point on the side of the shed.

 

Works well until I forget to connect it and have to drag it all out agin to do it. Wife's fault - she should remind me when we get home!

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Why not clip a shortened cable to the underside if your van before you park it up and then connect up in the normal way - plug your normal cable into this and you are sorted.

The only problem I can see here is how to temporarily retain the cable to the van so that it can be quickly detached when you take it out again.

Maybe twist ties.

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Fit an additional Caravan Socket on the clear side and wire under the floor in a conduit to the other existing socket?

 

The new one could be screwed under the van floor? Forward of the wheels?

 

As Springtime said 'Fit a short trailing lead from the battery box with a plug and socket on.'

 

If it is laid along the wall it would be clear of the wheels.

 

 

You say

I'm very much aware that if I just connect it to the other socket, then the socket which is not in use would be live when the other socket is connected.

 

But the other live is not accessible is it?

Ford C-Max and Coachman Festival 380/2 SE 2006    Motto  Carpe Diem

Still trying to find the perfect pitch. ..110 amp Battery+ 65 watt roof mounted Solar and 25 watt Wind Turbine. LED lighting. Status Aerial 315. Loose chattels marked with UV,. Safefill Gas Fitted.

 

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As the OP said, that would make the original socket live and potentially dangerous.

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As the OP said, that would make the original socket live and potentially dangerous.

 

 

Why would it be dangerous,all the sockets in your house are all live at once so is the external socket when the original power lead is connected. I might be dense but I can't see why there is a problem.

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I am referring to the concept of having two power plug in sockets on the van, either of which could be plugged into the mains.

As the pins on these sockets protrude there is a likleyhood of electric shock if fingers are poked inside.

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You could put a plug in the socket if you considered that route and then fingers couldn't get in there as well

The same plug would do both sockets at different times

I park against the garage wall but plug the mains lead into the van first

Some years ago on a C & CC rally we were asked to help a newcomer to set up. We got to the pitch just in time to stop him from picking up his homemade hookup lead which had a blue site plug at one and and a UK domestic 13 amp plug at the other end

He had plugged into the site supply and was about to insert the 13 amp plug into the awning 230V out socket to power up the van

We then asked where the lead that came with his brand new Avondale caravan was and he then produced it

It takes all sorts :unsure:

I just wonder how you switch off the mover power switch if you can't access the battery box B)

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You just need a 5 metre long 16A plug to 16A socket extension lead. Connect it to the current van socket and put the rest onto the A frame whilst you park the van. Once it is in position hook up to the extension lead.

 

http://www. amazon. co. uk/camping-outdoor-Commando-extension-Connectors/dp/B001F44OK2

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As has been suggested a short 16A male to female lead prefitted into the battery box prior to positioning the van would solve the problem.

 

Please remember however the blue sockets are not completely waterproof so make sure the loose end is not allowed to lay on the ground where it can get wet. A simple solution would be to screw a couple of cup hooks into the floor under the van so you can hang the plug/socket coulpling between them.

 

Wiring regulations preclude the installation of cabling into the gas locker irrespective of the gas being off or not but if you are looking for an installed option then there is no specific reason why you could not move the input plug into a more suitable location such as a different locker on the other side. Fitting the socket actually inside the van would mean having to leave a door or window open to run in the cable.

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Where is your mover switch?

You would need to disconnect the mains before using the mover.

If the mover is operated with the mains connected it could "blow" the charger due to the volt drop in the battery when the mover operates.

My Mover switch is in the battery box and the mains cable prevents inserting the mover key until the mains cable is removed

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Maybe the mover isolation switch needs moving as well?

Ford C-Max and Coachman Festival 380/2 SE 2006    Motto  Carpe Diem

Still trying to find the perfect pitch. ..110 amp Battery+ 65 watt roof mounted Solar and 25 watt Wind Turbine. LED lighting. Status Aerial 315. Loose chattels marked with UV,. Safefill Gas Fitted.

 

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Thanks for your suggestions. I'm still digesting these but to clarify a couple of points raised:

 

- the motor mover switch is inside the battery box and has to be removed to connect the mains hookup

 

- I have to leave the motor mover switched on (which doesn't help the battery charge)

 

- the easiest place to install a 2nd socket would be inside the van under the seating (but would be live when connected through the original socket)

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You need to clarify?

 

The switch to operate the movers has a red key and this prevents connection of mains plug from being fitted with the key in place.

Ford C-Max and Coachman Festival 380/2 SE 2006    Motto  Carpe Diem

Still trying to find the perfect pitch. ..110 amp Battery+ 65 watt roof mounted Solar and 25 watt Wind Turbine. LED lighting. Status Aerial 315. Loose chattels marked with UV,. Safefill Gas Fitted.

 

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Why would it be dangerous,all the sockets in your house are all live at once so is the external socket when the original power lead is connected. I might be dense but I can't see why there is a problem.

 

Two reasons not to.

 

Power to the sockets goes from the EHU socket through a distribution board which includes circuit breakers. Put the power directly into one of the 13a sockets and you loose that protection and in the case of a fault it would be extremely dangerous.

 

If the battery charger is on a different circuit from the sockets (and from memory I think it probably is, then you won't get any power to the charger anyway.

 

poolebob

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I have to park my caravan right up against a wall at home which means that I then cannot access the battery box / power inlet. To get the caravan into position requires quite a bit of manoevering using the motor mover, which takes a lot out of the battery. This gives me problems after a few weeks when the battery charge is insufficient to run the alarm system (which lets me know by making loud clicking noises!).

 

I would like to install a second mains input socket inside the van so that I can charge the battery without moving the van.

 

I'm very much aware that if I just connect it to the other socket, then the socket which is not in use would be live when the other socket is connected. I've seen 'transfer switches' for sale which would allow me to isolate the other socket but these seem rather expensive.

 

Is there any cheaper alternative solution ?

 

.

If yours is similar to most, then under the seating, where the cable is connected to the Female blue plug, it is easy.

 

Simply cut this cable, and then reconnect it with a male and female blue plug and socket, similar to whats we all use at camp sites.

The piece of cable that runs to the caravans distribution box, you must fit the male plug.

The piece that comes from the original outside socket, you fit a female plug.

Then I have run another cable from the front locker, to that area.

On the end of the new cable in that area, I have fitted a female socket.

On the other end, in the front loaker, I have fitted a standard 13 amp plug, with sufficient cable to run into my house.

 

When in a camp site, the male / female connections are pluged together.

Then when at home, I lift the seat up, and pull the male and female apart, then connect the front locker cable to the cable that is running to the caravan dist. box.

 

I hope that makes sense.

Just remember to get the new male and female plug and socket the right way around, under the seats.

ie the lead that go's to the caravan dist. box, must have the male plug. as this will never be live, and can be exposed pins.

The 2 power suppling leads, ( the original, and the new lead you put in) must have the female socket, as these can be live, so need the shrouded pins.

 

Graham

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Very well put Graham

i would prefer to have the cable plugs joint under a bed locker to comply with the no electric power in the gas locker safety consideration regulations being as they are these days :unsure:

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I have read the various ‘solutions’; suggested above, and most in my opinion fail to address the problem fully.

 

On the assumption that the caravan cannot simply be parked facing the other way without obstructing the caravan entry door, then the obvious solution is to relocate the battery box and EHU inlet on the other side of the caravan. By doing this you would overcome all safety and convenience issues, but what to do with the old box? Personally I would leave it where it is after removing the battery and all wiring, as it will be difficult to disguise the aperture in the caravan wall. Fitting an external access locker lid may be an option, but most lids utilise the original caravan wall section to infill the lid frame.

 

I accept that this is not a cheap option, but it is the correct approach as this way the mover isolation key remains mechanically interlocked with the EHU inlet, thus ensuring that the mains inlet cable is removed before operating the mover, and the system connections are all safely located, as now. It also permits the mover to be isolated at all times when not in use. The original, and now redundant, battery box could become a small external storage locker for such as a spare/additional mains lead, a submersible water pump and hose, or leveling blocks.

 

As the OP said, that would make the original socket live and potentially dangerous.
You could put a plug in the socket if you considered that route and then fingers couldn’t get in there as well.

The same plug would do both sockets at different times

The OP understand that you should not connect two inlet plugs in parallel, but the suggestion to place a dummy; free socket over the unused inlet, would rely on remembering to do this. It is not acceptable under any circumstances, to make the exposed pins of a plug live, and this action is fraught with danger.

 

Some years ago on a C & CC rally we were asked to help a newcomer to set up. We got to the pitch just in time to stop him from picking up his homemade hookup lead which had a blue site plug at one and and a UK domestic 13 amp plug at the other end

He had plugged into the site supply and was about to insert the 13 amp plug into the awning 230V out socket to power up the van

We then asked where the lead that came with his brand new Avondale caravan was and he then produced it

It takes all sorts :unsure:

This is another example of where a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I have come across similar situations whilst carrying out safety checks at work, and I would not only confiscate and destroy any lead with a plug at each end, but also explain to the owner why! Education is the key, and not only did the Avondale owner above (presumably) manufacture a potentially lethal lead, but he also misused it by powering it before connecting to the load (the caravan). Only ever use an approved lead (usually supplied with the caravan) first to the caravan, then, and only then, connect it to a live supply. Once connected, your first action should be to check the safety trips for correct operation both at the bollard, and inside the caravan.

 

Gordon

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan and Motorhome Talk.

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Hi John,

 

Thank you.

 

My plug connections are under the front off-side seating area.

I did this recently when I was on campsite in Spain, with loads of spare time.

 

I may consider changing it next year, and fit a 2 pole, 3 posituin rotary change over switch

Position 1 (turn to anticlock) = from forward. live supply,

Posiion 2 (center up position) caravan isolated.

Position 3 (turn to clockwise0 from original side supply.

 

It also actually enable me to pull up in the service area, and use TV an microwave etc.

I have a 2kW (9 amps) inverter fitted in the rear of my LC. , so easy to plug lead into Inverter sockets.

 

Graham

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. If yours is similar to most, then under the seating, where the cable is connected to the Female blue plug, it is easy. Simply cut this cable, and then reconnect it with a male and female blue plug and socket, similar to whats we all use at camp sites. The piece of cable that runs to the caravans distribution box, you must fit the male plug. The piece that comes from the original outside socket, you fit a female plug. Then I have run another cable from the front locker, to that area. On the end of the new cable in that area, I have fitted a female socket. On the other end, in the front loaker, I have fitted a standard 13 amp plug, with sufficient cable to run into my house. When in a camp site, the male / female connections are pluged together. Then when at home, I lift the seat up, and pull the male and female apart, then connect the front locker cable to the cable that is running to the caravan dist. box. I hope that makes sense. Just remember to get the new male and female plug and socket the right way around, under the seats. ie the lead that go's to the caravan dist. box, must have the male plug. as this will never be live, and can be exposed pins. The 2 power suppling leads, ( the original, and the new lead you put in) must have the female socket, as these can be live, so need the shrouded pins. Graham

 

I like it - the simple solutions are often the best!

 

Only concern now is whether it is OK to conect up the mains with the motor mover switch still switched on or whether I should add another switch inside.

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Why cant you just plug the mains cable in before finally parking the van? - :unsure: It seems a lot of effort for something so simple

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Why cant you just plug the mains cable in before finally parking the van? - :unsure: It seems a lot of effort for something so simple

 

As qlready stated in this thread, he wants to uee his motor mover and it is not recomended to use a mover whilst connected to ehu.

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I put a couple of extra direct battery 12v sockets into my caravan for non EHU use. When I lay the van up for winter I put the EHU lead in through a window and use a blue plug to 13amp socket into which I plug my CTEK smart charger and connect this into one of the direct battery 12v sockets.

 

This keeps the battery in tip top condition during storage and means I do not need to keep the caravan mains power unit on (which in my manual says it is not recommended).

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