Leisure Electrics 230v (Hook Up)
Following on from 12v leisure electrics thread
You have you now have a leisure battery but you need more power for those essential hair straighteners.
Taking the decision to install mains electrics into a camper is not to be taken lightly Do you really need it? unless you are parked up on site for more than 4days or you have lots of power hungry equipment your battery should cope.
So you still want mains electric
Most commercial campsite offer electric hook-ups and provide a RCD protected 230V supply (I would not rely on their RCD as on sites I have tested I have had 50% fail), which can power most of the appliances you might use at home.
However, campsites tend to have restricted supplies (they are generally rated at 16A or 10A, sometimes as low as 5A on campsites abroad), so you need to be careful what you use to avoid ‘tripping out’ the system.
Tripping the electrical supply can make you unpopular on site. The least you will need to do is contact the site manager to ask him to reset the system. In some cases you will also have stopped the electricity supply to your neighbours’ pitches and on a cold winter’s night this will not go down well…
So what can you use.
Remembering you ohms law Amps = watts/voltage
so a small 2kw fan heater is 2000/230 = 9amp
So what are the dangers and what do the regulations say.
Installing electrics is not about making it work its about making it safe to use and if that fails that there is protection is in place.
Anyone can install 230v in to a van but if something goes wrong you will have to demonstrate that you are competent.
Mains voltage can and does kill every year along with increasing risk of fire.
Campers are particularly vulnerable and as such have there own section in the electrical regulations along with swimming pools and saunas.
Your van is a metal box insulated on each corner (tyres) if a fault occurs the metal work may become live and you won’t know until you step onto the damp grass while still holding the van BANG !!
The van metal parts must be earthed within the van (The leads with a socket and RCD on a lead and passed through the window DONOT comply as if there is a fault the metal could become live and still not trigger the RCD and are for tents and awanings.)
A RCD rated at 30ms must be provided that disconnects both live and neutral poles and the test button must be tested each time you hook up.
Each circuit is to have a correctly rated fuse or mcb that also disconnects both line and neutral .
The internal cable for the individel circuits used must be flexible type rated correctly at least 1.5mm 3 core flex (not the gray flat cable used in your house).
Cable must be protected from vibration and maniacal damage ( Where it passes through metal use a grommet or bush must be used, the cable needs securing at least every 25cm)
Cables should not be run in the gas locker.
All lighting should be fixed or if pendants should be secured for travelling.
The inlet should be instead no heigher than 1.8m above the ground and be accessible (some people put it in the engine bay but you run the risk of the lid damaging the cable so protect it or put it some where else I put it by the rear jacking point if you dont want to cut a hole in the side of the van)
The metal work of the van must be earth bonded to the main earth terminal using a cable with a min cross-sectional area of 4mm2
The inlet plug and socket must be of the blue round 3 pin 16amp type.
The hook up cable and the cable to the main box must be 3 core 2.5mm and 25m long.
So whats the best way to fit a mains system
Pay me and I will issue a safety certificate.
Get a electrician (although a lot wont want to touch a van as its out of there comfort zone)
Buy a kit like this and do it yourselves but I would recommend that you get a electrician to test the RCD yearly)
Or a all in one unit like a PMS3 or sargent
I have tryed to keep it simple but feel free to ask questions
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