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Mad Meg

Reverse Polarity

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So, if you have your reverse polarity tester, and it shows there is reverse polarity, what do you do? Advice suggests that you check another bollard in case it is just that one, but you could end up going round an entire site. And advice also says that if reverse polarity exists you shouldn't use the hook up. Which can be a major inconvience.

 

So I read that "competent people" make their own reverse polarity socket to rectify the situation. Not being such a competent person, what do I do? Surely there is a piece of equipment I can buy in my caravan shop that will do the job - and if not, why not?

 

Meg

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If encountered in the UK then I would not use the bollard,
as things are fundamentally wrong so it hints at more serious issues and
certainly uncertified equipment.


On the Continent it is far from uncommon and not a
fundamental issue, their switching conventions are different. With modern
caravans using modern appliances you might have these days things remain safe
to use.


Over there it is arguable if correction is really needed but
I always do, as it can’t be less safe to do so.


I correct for it with a short EHU lead I insert in the EHU
cable. This short lead has been incorrectly wired to reverse over just the “L”
live and “N” neutral at one end thus correcting the supplies reversal.


You have to make or have made by a friend this reversing
cable as no one legally could sell one to you. It’s very simply made by buying the readily available plug and
socket and a piece of cable. Mine is two metres long so when in use plugged
into the van side the coupling to the main EHU cable can be put under the van
out of the weather; I place that coupling on a block so it never gets in a puddle.


So in your case get the bits and ask some more electrically knowledgeable
friend to make you up a lead. Best to mark this with a label saying "Reversed" should anybody else ever use it unknowingly.

Edited by JTQ

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So, if you have your reverse polarity tester, and it shows there is reverse polarity, what do you do? Advice suggests that you check another bollard in case it is just that one, but you could end up going round an entire site. And advice also says that if reverse polarity exists you shouldn't use the hook up. Which can be a major inconvience.

 

So I read that "competent people" make their own reverse polarity socket to rectify the situation. Not being such a competent person, what do I do? Surely there is a piece of equipment I can buy in my caravan shop that will do the job - and if not, why not?

 

Meg

Hi Meg

 

Not sure where you are in North Derbyshire ! but you don't sound too far away, but if you want to get the bits I will show

you how to wire one up.

 

you will need these and a bit of wire, and some examples !

http://www. towsure. com/product/Caravan_Site_Mains_Electric_Hookup_Plug

http://www. towsure. com/product/Caravan_Site_Mains_Electric_Hookup_Socket

 

 

Radiotwo

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"you will need these and a bit of wire,"

To the same specification as your EHU lead please!

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We don't do anything at all - the same as many other caravanners. We have a modern caravan, with modern plug in appliances. If reverse polarity was such a danger to us British then it would be the same in French hotels, gites, and other accommodation - where the wiring conventions are exactly the same - and no one takes a 'reverse polarity lead' and tester to a French hotel (or do they?????). My take is that if it was dangerous it would have to be labelled with a 'Danger de Morte' sign by the EU Bureaucrats, and one of Sarkozy's ex-mates would have made a fortune from producing the labels and from selling reverse polarity leads to British campers!

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"you will need these and a bit of wire,"

To the same specification as your EHU lead please!

Sorry you are right, but the "bit" was ment to be the length not the quality

 

Radiotwo

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ValA,

you probably don't find many hotel clients taking an aging UK toaster, kettle, bar heater or iron for example or the outcome could be very different.

As said if all the kit is modern its hard to see a real life issue but nevertheless it still makes sense to use electrical equipment as intended.

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In UK only the only the live side is switched so it is important which way the live and neutral are connected otherwise when the equipment is off electricity can still flowing through it. In the rest of the EU double pole switches (which disconnect both live and neutral) are used so it matters not which way round the live and neutral are connected you cannot get a shock if a fault develops.

 

I've never taken a tester to a French hotel as we never take UK electricals with us otherwise I would.

 

Steve

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We don't do anything at all - the same as many other caravanners. We have a modern caravan, with modern plug in appliances. If reverse polarity was such a danger to us British then it would be the same in French hotels, gites, and other accommodation - where the wiring conventions are exactly the same - and no one takes a 'reverse polarity lead' and tester to a French hotel (or do they?????). My take is that if it was dangerous it would have to be labelled with a 'Danger de Morte' sign by the EU Bureaucrats, and one of Sarkozy's ex-mates would have made a fortune from producing the labels and from selling reverse polarity leads to British campers!

The issue is that a user throws the switch to turn something off, except that it isn't really off as the user would expect, but still live. Take for example a toaster - slice of bread jams in it, so the user turns it off at the socket then attacks it with a knife to clear the bread out, but the thing is still live.

 

Just becuse the continentals mostly get away with it, is no reason to lower our safety standards to theirs.

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no reason to lower our safety standards to theirs.

As I understand it the problem is because their standards are higher not lower, if we used double pole switches there would be no problem

 

Steve

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I agree, safety is obviously important, but surely the advice should be not to poke about in an 'ancient' toaster with a knife whilst it's still plugged in - not whether French electricial installations need to be 'corrected' with a home made lead. Anyone who pokes about in toasters with knives surely shouldn't be making up their own leads????

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Please be aware that some electrical testers (mine) will not show a lack of earth (which is important) if showing reverse polarity, so that it is necessary to correct the reverse polarity in order to check for an earth connection

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Just becuse the continentals mostly get away with it, is no reason to lower our safety standards to theirs.

 

 

It's the difference in standards not lower standards.

 

National wiring regulations in the western Europe are no less safe than the U. K. version and it is arguable that the French norm is better.

 

French domestic plugs are not reversible whereas German Schuko plugs are but both types can have L and N either way round and sockets for both are not switched.

 

The blue CEE17 plug used for EHUs has got marked polarity so any site with reversed polarity has been wired incorrectly and will not comply with any national norm.

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Yeah, if you want to poke a knife into a toaster it would be a good idea to pull the plug from the socket first, even in the UK. :blink:

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It's the difference in standards not lower standards.

 

National wiring regulations in the western Europe are no less safe than the U. K. version and it is arguable that the French norm is better.

 

French domestic plugs are not reversible whereas German Schuko plugs are but both types can have L and N either way round and sockets for both are not switched.

 

The blue CEE17 plug used for EHUs has got marked polarity so any site with reversed polarity has been wired incorrectly and will not comply with any national norm.

Having worked in both the UK and EU electrical industries, I would certainly disagree. How can it be safer for installers not to bother too much about the actual polarity matching the marked polarity?

 

Yeah, if you want to poke a knife into a toaster it would be a good idea to pull the plug from the socket first, even in the UK. :blink:

Obviously, but not everyone, everytime will do the obvious steps.

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If you are using a two pin cable which quite a lot are on the continent, just turn over the plug and it should be fine.

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If you are using a two pin cable which quite a lot are on the continent, just turn over the plug and it should be fine.

That's what I've done in the past and it seems to satisfy the tester.

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Thanks everyone. Have pm'd RadioTwo. Think I can manage the connector myself now I understand it.

 

Having just become a grandparent, it could be my little grandson poking a knife in the toaster, so I'd rather be totally safe.

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Just a reminder to keep using the polarity tester, as it should earthing faults, which we have found on some sites. My only advice in such a situation is don't use the bollard and find another connection with an earth if possible. Don't try to earth your own caravan, it could be providing an earth for any number of bollards.

 

John.

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Thanks everyone. Have pm'd RadioTwo. Think I can manage the connector myself now I understand it.

 

Having just become a grandparent, it could be my little grandson poking a knife in the toaster, so I'd rather be totally safe.

For one moment I thought you were starting a crusade on the radio! :D

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I have 2 french two pin to blue socket adaptors in seperate colours - grey and black. One is wired up the "wrong way" round the other correctly. Socket tester goes in : if polarity is seen to be reversed than I use the black one, if not the grey.

 

If the site is blue connector only, rare in France in my experience, then the screw driver comes out and I re wire the polarity in EHU lead placing a band of red tape on it to remind me that it is wired up wrong.

 

Else you can put the cable away and next season use it forgetting it is wired up wrong.

 

Simple.

 

For posters who say this polarity thing is a non issue I think better safe than sorry especially with modern electronics all over modern vans - let alone the the H&S.



We don't do anything at all - the same as many other caravanners. We have a modern caravan, with modern plug in appliances. If reverse polarity was such a danger to us British then it would be the same in French hotels, gites, and other accommodation - where the wiring conventions are exactly the same - and no one takes a 'reverse polarity lead' and tester to a French hotel (or do they?????). My take is that if it was dangerous it would have to be labelled with a 'Danger de Morte' sign by the EU Bureaucrats, and one of Sarkozy's ex-mates would have made a fortune from producing the labels and from selling reverse polarity leads to British campers!

 

Hotels have double pole switching our caravans don't.

Edited by Fenester

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I alter the EHU lead, then alter it back when returning to UK. Or, at least I did on the only occassion I came across this.

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My polarity tester indicates when there is no earth and on a site in Spain last year our allocated EHU showed no earth. I reported it to reception and they sent up their site electrician who assured me he had grounded it himself so it was perfectly safe. When I asked in my clumsy Spanish would he pay for my funeral he eventually allowed me to use the socket on the next pitch, which tested OK. Fortunately my orange cable was just long enough.

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