Reverse Polarity Doubts

Jul 10, 2011
Am I missing something about the Great Reverse Polarity debate.
I am new to motorhoming but not new to European electrics. I lived in Holland for three years and Hungary for 20. I have recently returned to the UK after a 9 month trip around Europe, stopping in 11 different countries. I have never had any problems with reverse polarity. My computers never broke down, my cooker worked, the TV worked, the video worked, in fact everything worked.
After all, the polarity changes 50 times a second with mains electrcity. That's how it works.
When repairing a deveice sensible people simply unplug the item or turn of the electricity at the mains. In the case of a motorhome, disconnect the hookup.
Don't worry. Do not buy any silly reverse polarity detectors or make your own "reverse polarity reverser". There's no need.
Go abroad and relax in the knowledge that the many millions of people living on the mainland of Europe do not have reverse polarity problems.
Nov 19, 2010
"Reverse polarity" is something of a misnomer; as you rightly point out, the "polarity" (+ or -) of AC mains current is irrelevant.
However, on UK appliances, the "Live" and "Neutral" sides of a circuit CAN matter in some situations, since our on/off switches are usually only single-pole - switching off only disconnects the Live side, not the Neutral. This means that, if the supply is "reversed," an appliance which has been switched off is still live, and could potentially be dangerous.
On the continent, the norm is for on/off switches to disconnect both sides of the circuit, so "off" really does mean "off." So they don't bother too much (or at all!) with which terminal of a plug is Live, since whichever it is everything dies when the switches are off. Most continentals don't understand what on earth we're talking about when we try to explain why we use a "reversing" connector!
I agree the risk is slight, and nothing will burn out just BECAUSE the connections are reversed. But if there IS an electrical problem, an important safeguard is missing. For the small trouble in detecting, and correcting, reversed connections I'd rather have the peace of mind - and I'm not usually the over-cautious "H&S" type!
Nov 6, 2010
Now I'm really confused, spent ages yesterday sorting out clocks n timers only to come here and find the
'first call of Spring' posts
Never known the dreaded polarity debate crop up at this time of year.
Must be down to global warming and climate change ;)

Keep taking the tablets B-)
Jan 27, 2013
The Contenentals also manage without a switch on the wall socket just unplug the appliance
, The Earth leak cut out on UK vans are also single pole so that could be of concern


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