Reverse Polarity Issue

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Reverse Polarity Issue Empty Reverse Polarity Issue

Post by Maasai Warrior on Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:01 am

Hi everyone, can anyone offer advice.
We have been on a site in Austria for a couple of days and I just noticed that we have a reverse polarity issue, ie the light is on. We haven't had a problem on other sites but this is the first time I have had to use the two pin mains adapter for the connection to the site box (connected by site maintenance guy - a locked box). Despite the reversed polarity everything is working as it should. I have checked the manuals and it says RP light must not be on, but it does say that 'if the vehicle is being used outside the UK this light may illuminate when no fault exists', ands suggests consulting the warden. Well our German isn't great and I can't see what they can do.

Should we switch everything off until it's sorted? If so what can be done? Another thought, when we move onto another site will the fridge refuse to work on mains power, as some have experienced? As I have said everything is working normally at the moment! We have Sargents phone number but it's a bit expensive from here, though we will ring them as a last resort as we don't want to damage anything,

Any advice/suggestions would be welcome. The site WiFi connection isn't great at the moment. I am resorting to an early morning posting!

Hoping for some replies, Pete
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Post by ajrm on Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:15 am

We carry a short cable with male and female 16a plugs that have been reverse wired for just such a problem. If the site wiring is reversed, we plug the ehu cable into this cable and plug the other end into the van.
We used to change the wires around on sites with reversed polarity, which was a pain, so made up this cable.

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Post by roli on Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:23 am

We too carry a reverse polarity wired adaptor lead but your Broadway "may" have a reverse polarity switch on your mains unit worth a look or have a read in your handbook if in doubt

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Post by Maasai Warrior on Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:56 am

Thanks for your replies. I am using my short cable at the moment so I can use the 16a plugs from my large cable to create a reverse polarity adapter lead. Then as you suggest connect it to the end that connects into the van. I don't seem to have a switchable reverse polarity switch, just the fixed light. The only way I can switch off the RP light is by switching off the green charge switch on the PSU.
ajrm, I assume that when I connect in my newly created RP adapter I won't cause any electric problems? Thanks for all your help.

Pete
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Post by oldfred on Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:26 am

Show the guy your warning light and ask him to turn the plug round in the locked box would be the easiest. Even if your German isn't that good there must be someone on the site that speaks English.

With modern circuit breakers I think the danger of electrocution is minimal. Any discrepancy between live and neutral or earth leakage (ie you touching a live wire) should trip the switches. (IMO)

Wish we were in Austria
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Post by ajrm on Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:02 am

Pete, we spent 3 weeks on hook up with the RP light on and didn't suffer any damage to anything. Mains current is A/C so it doesn't matter which way round you have the wires most of the time for appliances to operate. It's really only the safety aspect when things could still be live when turned off, but, caravans and motor homes built after 1992 should have double pole circuit breakers that will trip if anything live is touched.

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Post by Cymro on Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:55 pm

ajrm wrote:We carry a short cable with male and female 16a plugs that have been reverse wired for just such a problem.  If the site wiring is reversed, we plug the ehu cable into this cable and plug the other end into the van.
We used to change the wires around on sites with reversed polarity, which was a pain, so made up this cable.

I thought this was such a good idea that I made one this morning.

Someone suggested simply turning the continental 2 pin plug upside down into the site's socket, but that sometimes won't be possible if there's a projecting earth pin in the socket.

On my old Clubman, I had a RP alarm / switchover fitted by Dave Newell, and that worked a charm (with one exception).

The only time when the RP warning switch didn't work was last autumn, in Belgium. I plugged in as usual, and the RP alarm screeched; I flicked the toggle switch - but the alarm continued to screech. I unplugged and tried different sockets, and even moved pitches to use different distribution boxes, with the same result. In the end we didn't use mains (fortunately my wife's CPAP air pump can work on 12v). I've no idea what was wrong, but we only stayed one night!

Does anyone know whether it is possible / desirable to fit a RP alarm / switch in a modern motorhome which has a Sargent sytem?
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Post by ajrm on Fri Jun 05, 2015 1:21 pm

That sounds like a faulty electrical supply, you did the right thing by staying one night!
Years ago, when we had an old VW camper, most campsites in Europe had their own ways of wiring things up and with no RP light to rely on, we bought one of these and plugged it in everytime we used an EHU.
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We had the reversed plug in cable with us and used that most of the time, but we did find a few sites with dangerous or damaged wiring, it could be that is what caused your screeching alarm.
Not sure what benefit an RP alarm would be, I rely on the red light on the Sargent panel to tell me if somethings wrong, but I am all for safety, so why not?
Allan


Last edited by ajrm on Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Cymro on Fri Jun 05, 2015 2:36 pm

ajrm wrote:
Not sure what benefit an RP alarm would be, I rely on the red light on the Sargent panel to tell me if somethings wrong, but I am all for safety, so why not?
Allan

That's what I propose to do, Allan: if the Sargent alerts me to RP, I'll disconnect from EHU; and my RP-corrected 1meter extension between the motorhome and the female end of my long cable, and reconnect the male end of the long cable to the EHU (using a blu-to-Continental-2-pin adapter if necessary).

It's reassuring to know that you (and no doubt others) overcome RP in the same way. Will save £100 or so for having a RP alarm / switch fitted - the only additional benefit of which would be to overcome RP by flicking an internal toggle - rather than doing what I described above (no doubt in the rain). I'll save the money!
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Post by rogerblack on Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:09 pm

Our Pollensa has no built-in tester so we did what has been suggested: I made up a short reversed wire cable with male/female caravan connectors either end and marked with red Dymo tape " Reverse Polarity - use with care".  We have a socket tester, similar to the one mentioned earlier;

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which goes on the socket by the hab door and as soon as I connect to the hook up I get a call from Mrs B advising one or three lights and so know whether to use the reversor or not.  I also have a short caravan to Schuko two pin connector lead for use if required.

Interestingly, at the last site we were on in France earlier in the week, the post on the pitch the had a caravan connector socket and a Schuko socket immediately below; the former gave a reversed polarity warning but the latter was wired fine ...

Reversed polarity is of course a misnomer when talking about alternating current and I know there is a school of thought that says it's unlikely to cause a problem but for the sake of some relatively inexpensive kit to test for and correct it, peace of mind counts for a lot.

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Post by Dave 'R' on Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:53 pm

The problem with reverse polarity is that the appliance could remain live if the fuse in the equipment blows due to a fault but the van circuit breakers do not.  The problem is purely a safety issue in the event of a fault as, as stated previously, the equipment will still continue to work irrespective of the AC polarity.

Due to the relatively low price of a tester and lead against the consequences of any potential problem I feel it is worth taking the corrective actions on site by correcting the polarity prior to the van EHU connection (basic risk control principles).
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Post by Cymro on Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:56 pm



Due to the relatively low price of a tester and lead against the consequences of any potential problem I feel it is worth taking the corrective actions on site by correcting the polarity prior to the van EHU connection (basic risk control principles).[/quote]

Agreed wholeheartedly!

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Post by Dutto on Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:55 pm

Hi there,

Will one of these do the trick??

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Best regards,
drinksallround

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Post by Dave 'R' on Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:22 pm

Ideal Dutto.  I used one of these for a number of years on previous vans where a built-in reverse polarity warning light was not fitted.
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Post by Dutto on Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:15 pm

Thank you.

One on order and I will "reverse wire" a couple of spare connectors for when I need it. allthumbz

Best regards,
drinksallround

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Post by Maasai Warrior on Sat Jun 06, 2015 7:45 am

Hello, this is Masai Warrior's daughter, Kat. My dad dropped me a text as he couldn't get on the wifi and see all of your helpful responses :-) He is very grateful for all comments and advice and has created a reverse polarity connector and connected it this morning. The warning light has now gone out and all is fine. Thanks again for your help 
Kat
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Post by Dutto on Sat Jun 06, 2015 8:26 am

Masai Warrior wrote:...... My dad dropped me a text as he couldn't get on the wifi ..........
Kat
Kat,

Maybe it worked better with the polarity reversed!! lol4 lol4  lol4

Best regards,
drinksallround
Ian

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Post by Maasai Warrior on Sat Jun 06, 2015 3:46 pm

Hi all, thanks to Kat sending us a string of emails will all your welcomed responses (not all could be copied and pasted!) our poles are now the right way up!allthumbz It's an interesting topic. Having been caravanning for 20 years and motorhoming for 8 years, with several trips abroad, we've never needed to consider reversing our poles! Anyway thanks for all your helpful replies, what a brilliant forum this is. As you can see our site Wifi is working at the moment!!!! Maybe it was down to the polarity, Ian:hugegrins:hugegrins

Thanks again, a grateful Pete.
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Post by terry chapman on Sun Jun 07, 2015 7:25 am

We still use one of the plug  in testers and carry a clearly marked reversed adapter which has been used on 3 occasions.
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Post by Peter Brown on Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:49 pm

I'm on a site in Fleurie, I've no idea whether the live and neutral are crossed and I don't care as its not a danger issue. I have a cross over lead and up till last year always used it to correct crosses even though I knew it wasn't necessary. All I'm bothered about now is a good earth. When I get home I'll tell you about how a French camper connected his electrics!!!!

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Post by bikeralw on Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:04 pm

I'm in France at the moment and although seldom use sites, of those that I do about one in 4 has reversed polarity, especially municipal sites. Like Peter says, although I carry a reverse lead I seldom bother to fish it out as it's never been an issue. I've been to sites in Switzerland that still use their own unique socket/plug, which doesn't seem to be available anywhere, luckily they provide an adaptor, invariably reversed.
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Post by Quilter on Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:09 pm

Remember that the cheap little 3 light polarity testers also indicate other connection oddities, including whether there is an earth or not. Not as common a fault as it used to be but, in some parts of the world, almost the norm !

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Post by Dutto on Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:26 am

Hi there,

Magic Plug arrived ten minutes ago and the house is okay!! allthumbz

"She of little faith" immediately despatched me to check that the conservatory I built and wired up four years ago was okay; and it was! allthumbz

Knocking up the "reversed polarity" pig-tail is now "Job of the Day!" tap_fingers tap_fingers

Many thanks to all concerned. allthumbz

Best regards,
drinksallround

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