Electric sockets

Mar 8, 2019
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Hi, just registered today, think this fits into 'technical'.
We're looking at a used caravan tomorrow, a Compass Rallye 540. It's in storage with no access to electricity. The owner says most things will work from the battery, but the electric sockets will need us to bring a generator!
I thought everything worked from the battery?
I'm very confused, any help gratefully received.
Sep 29, 2016
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Items likely to work from the battery include the interior lights, TV (from the 12v accessory socket) radio, water pump and toilet flush.

You can tell us later what type of heating system you have as there may be a relevance there.

Fridge can work of gas or EHU (electric hook up - be that mains or generator), gas hob for gas burners- oven -toaster, heating on gas or EHU, and all 220-240v sockets on EHU or generator, microwave on EHU 240v.

It will all become all too easy and familiar to you very soon, without EHU or generator then you will be unable to test 240v systems unfortunately.

Oct 8, 2006
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You can of course hire a generator by the day - such as a Honda 400W invertor unit. (Invertor means much more stable and clean mains out.)


Nov 12, 2009
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Hi Winnie, welcome to the forum :cheer:
Caravans use two electrical systems, one works on 12v from the leisure battery.
This will provide power to the water pump, toilet flush, some lights, the aerial booster and the awning light.
The 230v electrics work from an ehu (electric hook up) lead which connects to a bollard containing electrical sockets on campsites.
The 230v electrical system will power 230vsockets, some (but not all) lights, the water heater, space heater and fridge.
The heaters and fridge are normally dual fuel and can use lpg from calor gas bottles normally stored in the gas locker. The cooker uses lpg, some are also fitted with one 230v electric hotplate.
The onus is on the vendor to show that all systems are working correctly, he wants to sell his caravan so he should be prepared to show that everything is in order. Be extremely careful if a generator is used, electronic circuitry can easily be damaged with expensive repair bills if a two stroke generator is used, any generator needs to be a sine wave type so make sure that the vendor hasn't used a two stroke one previously.
If the prospective caravan is ok in all other respects and there is evidence to show that the caravan has been regularly services and has a recent damp report, get the vendor to sign a note which states that the 230v electrical systems are all in good safe working order to enable you to obtain a refund if this isn't the case.
If the vendor doesn't want to prove that all is well, walk away! There are plenty of good used caravans for sale ;)

Have a browse through the Caravan Buyers Guide which will show what to look for in order to avoid the more obvious pitfalls.
May 24, 2014
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Forgive me, this has nothing to do with electrics. But as it appears to be a new venture and one that you have little experience in, I personally would stop off on the way to see it and buy a £10 damp meter. Electrical problems are far easier to repair than damp.

Do a quick swot up on where to test for damp and what are acceptable levels. As it is winter and the van is stored, the readings may be a little higher that summer readings. A tell tale sign too may be a strong smell of air freshener.
May 24, 2014
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You may find this link helpful.
Oct 3, 2013
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Sockets aren't the only thing to work from 230V ac.The heating for the van (space heater) and water heater + fridge should also be worked off 230V.
First off get assurances from the seller that everything that is mains operated works ok.If it worked last time when connected to mains the chances are they will work ok,but don,t part with any money until you have witnessed mains operation of these items.If the seller wants to sell the van he should provide mains power. Remember the ball is on your foot !
May 7, 2012
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I am afraid if you cannot get mains power to the caravan buying it is too great a risk and I would avoid it. If you do see it I agree take a damp meter and check all the seams and window frames.


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