Extra power sockets

Jul 22, 2005
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I'm sure this has been covered before but i cant find the thread, so apologies in advance. We have a 2003 Bailey Ranger with 2 electric sockets place on each side in the middle. I would like to add another 2 - one at the top end and one at the bottom end of the caravan. Does it only have 2 for a specific reason and is it advisable to add more in?

Yvonne G
 
Nov 6, 2005
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It will only have 2 sockets to save weight and money. Even Pageants only get 3.

I use a 4-way extension block with a short lead for the low current items like TV and phone charger. As this takes one of the sockets we get a net gain of 3, which isn't enough but we manage. When we really need ALL our home comforts, I'll sell the caravan and buy a bungalow!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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As Roger says its down to cost

You can add extra sockets if you know what you are doing.

They are readily available to match from dealers which tells you something.

I always put in a few extra colour matching ones but use the cheaper white normal ones where they are out of sight.

Use white flexible cable like the van is wired with as twin and earth cable is not so good for taking the vibration en route in a caravan

A 12V cigar socket (or two) is more handy than using adaptors from the 12V two pin sockets as well.
 
Oct 27, 2005
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We have three sockets in our Lunar Quasar but would like more. Can I use one of the plug in adaptors that give you two more sockets. I can't get my head round the electrics and whether you can have lots of appliances plugged in. For example do people watch TV boil a kettle, have the heating on all at once. Don't laugh everyone! My husband has been on the 1 1/2 day CC course last weekend and he did learn a lot but nothing about electrics etc. For anyone that is interested he thought the course was worthwhile and that he feels a lot more confident about towing and reversing now. Denise
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I wouldn't use multi-plug adapters or extension blocks for appliances that draw a lot of current like an electric kettle but we use a five-way extension block for all the following relatively low power usages, all at the same time:

1. TV

2. Video recorder

3. Satellite receiver

4. Headphones

5. Mobile phone charger or laptop

Whether the electric of the site can withstand further higher loads from other sockets is, however, another question.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Denise most appliances have a rating plate that tells you how much current they use.

If its rated in Kw then its a good idea to only use one item at a time.

For example a 2kw heater and a micriwave at the same time would almost certainly trip out the site box.

Its an eye opener to look at the electric meter and get someone to switch on different appliances .The faster it goes the more current its using.

It gives a good idea what is high consumption and what isn't
 
Mar 14, 2005
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As Roger says its down to cost

You can add extra sockets if you know what you are doing.

They are readily available to match from dealers which tells you something.

I always put in a few extra colour matching ones but use the cheaper white normal ones where they are out of sight.

Use white flexible cable like the van is wired with as twin and earth cable is not so good for taking the vibration en route in a caravan

A 12V cigar socket (or two) is more handy than using adaptors from the 12V two pin sockets as well.
Hello John,

Vibration should not be a problem provided the wiring has been installed according to the wiring regs.

The cable should be securly clipped to support it.
 
Dec 12, 2005
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Hi Yvonne

there is an artical in the current edition of PC that deals with adding extra mains sockets and the thing to consider when doing so.

Tankie
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Denise,

An easy rule of thumb on power consumption is:- if it has a heater ie. kettle, water heater, fan heater etc. it uses loads of power and in many cases should only be used one at a time.

Although a microwave doesn't have a heating element as such, I would include it in the above list.

Anything with a motor ie. pumps, fans etc. use much less and will not be a problem on mains hookup but will drain a battery fairly quickly.

All the other stuff, lights, radio, tv is low consumption and, apart from prolonged use of a TV on battery, will not cause any problems.

If in doubt do as Watson(JohnG) suggests and look on the rating plate.

Hope that simlifies things a little and is clear.

Clarky.
 
Jul 22, 2005
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The reason for my initial request was one of the power points is above the fridge and that is the only place for the tv to sit. i was hoping to place a socket beside the console at the front of the van in order to place it there. Apart from the kettle and microwave its the only other electrical appliance we take.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello John,

Vibration should not be a problem provided the wiring has been installed according to the wiring regs.

The cable should be securly clipped to support it.
Hello John that may well be true but I have never seen a caravan wired with twin and earth single strand cable from the factory.

I would always use flex as its just as easy to do the job with it as with cable
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello John that may well be true but I have never seen a caravan wired with twin and earth single strand cable from the factory.

I would always use flex as its just as easy to do the job with it as with cable
As an aside John Wickersham in his Caravan Manual says that connections from the consumer unit to appliances must be made with 1.5 mm flexible cable so who are we to argue
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello John,

Regardles of the form of the cable (flex or T&E) it should be clipped or secured against sag, snag and exposure to other mechanical forces.

I am not familiar with Mr W's manual, but according to IEEE and the interpretation of the requirement in the caravan build regs is that all electrical cables (12 and 230V) must be a minimum of 1.5csa.
 
Dec 19, 2005
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I'm an NICEIC electrician, I try to use professional blinkers on holiday, I used to spend time in restaurants looking at the lighting etc...

There has been quite a lot of talk on this site of electrical problems (I've been trolling through old threads) I am increasingly worried at the 'iffy' additions people will make and the cavalier attitude towards electricity. Our caravans are 'probably' the most dangerous places you will use 240 (well 230 if we're going to be EU PC). You in a wet grassy field in all weathers rain and shine using as much current as you can!

Now RCD's do fail as do MCB's. I bet your dealer does not have the facility to test them There is also an RCD protecting the EHU, but these fail too.

Take my 1996 Swift, it's got a sealed ESM module with the charger, RCD and MCB's yes the test button on the RCD works but this is only a 'dead short' test. Being as I don't 'like' Hagar components how confident can I be certain that it will trip at it's rated 30ma?

I looked at a 2 year old caravan for a friend, I did a test on the RCD, the button worked but it did not trip until 80ma, almost 3 times the correct rating! And most would have become progressively lethargic until it would not trip at all!

There are some basic tests that can be carried out without removal or disassembly of any part of the caravan :-

Ramp test of RCD: Tests at what point the RCD operates, it could fail, by being over or under sensitive. A ramp test introduces fault current in steps until the rcd trips or fails to trip at the correct rating (or too early).

Trip speed: If it does trip is it fast enough to stop a fatal electric shock or fire?

Earth loop impedance test: Now this is tricky as your also testing the point your connected to, plus the hook up cable, but using your hook up cable to a known source you can take a measurement of the the quality of the earth within the caravan. This is particularly important as you want the earth cable to be the the first choice to ground for fault current....not you

So much equipment is used outside or within reach of water within the caravan that correctly operating RCD's are critical to your safety. Also with all the transit movement in a caravan any fault within the wiring of the caravan that could cause fire will be picked up early by the RCD.

So having ranted on, I'm willing to do something about it!......

If anyone would like a free informal test on their caravan, I would be happy to oblige. You would just need to get it to me (5 mins from J2,M40 or J7,M4). Contributions to caravan drinks cabinet would be gratefully received
 

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