Electric hookup at home

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Post by JSP on Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:55 pm

Hi,

Less than five weeks to go before we pick up our new Broadway and am wondering what's best regarding keeping everything charged up. I know it's got an 80w solar panel but not sure if that will be enough this time of year? I am thinking of fitting a weatherproof external socket on the side of the garage for an ehu. It would be an easy thing to do as we have an integral garage so can take a feed straight through the garage wall. I'll have a fused switch inside the garage so I can turn off power to it when not in use. 

Thoughts and/or suggestions?

Regards

John
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Post by Gromit on Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:59 pm

That's what I did John.

Also very handy for taking the vacuum cleaner into the van after a trip, or switching on the fridge overnight before a trip, or running a small oil heater during the cold weather if that appeals, or anything else that needs mains power.
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Post by Paulmold on Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:06 pm

I have an 80w panel and have had no problem keeping both batteries at full power for 2 years now. The only reason I hook up at home is to run fridge overnight before a trip.

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Post by -mojo- on Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:11 pm

Depending on how old your property/electrical installation is, you may have an RCD built into your house main consumer unit, or you may not. If you don't, I would strongly recommend putting one in the circuit to the external socket.

In theory, I suspect that the current rules will not allow an unqualified person to install an external power socket, so you may either want to engage the services of someone suitably qualified (assuming you are not) or you may want to practice the line "it was already here when we moved in"!

I have a Commando socket intsalled in the garage so that my van can be on hookup when not in use. Strangely, the rules for that are even more complicated than if you just want one sticking out of the side of your house!
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Post by Pete Taylor on Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:57 pm

Current(!) regulations would prevent an unqualified person from making a permanent fixture to their wiring as you describe- madness, of course. Here's a dodge, fit the 16A waterproof blue socket on your outside wall, cable through the wall with a 13A plug on the end, plug it into an RCD socket on your ring-main- job done, not permanent, not covered by the regulations.

Aside from charging the batteries (plus the fridge mentioned by Paul) I have also had the van heating switched on recently; with the thermostat set at about 6 degrees, it only comes on on the very coldest nights and airs things off nicely.

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Post by Heanorboy on Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:05 pm

Pete Taylor wrote:Current(!) regulations would prevent an unqualified person from making a permanent fixture to their wiring as you describe- madness, of course. Here's a dodge, fit the 16A waterproof blue socket on your outside wall, cable through the wall with a 13A plug on the end, plug it into an RCD socket on your ring-main- job done, not permanent, not covered by the regulations.
 Just what I have done, took the cable through the wooden door frame which made it easier. Using a plug also means that if you wish you can put it on a timer switch
David wave

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Post by Dave 418 on Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:51 pm

When we had house re-wired I had a waterproof socket fitted on the side of the drive. We use this for hedge trimmng and powering the van for the fridge pre-trip. It is on an RCD of its own in the main box in the house making it safe and legal.
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Post by daisy mae on Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:06 pm

We have two sockets just inside the garage, on the inside wall,  one for the caravan and one for the MH on hook up, the cables go outside through the bottom of the garage doors, two wooden ones. not up and over.

Been there for twenty five years.

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Post by rgermain on Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:29 pm

I completely agree with the above comments. I have a Blue external waterproof commando socket on my external garage wall, with a hole drilled through and a 13A plug fitted which I plug into the ring main which is RCD protected.

This I would consider is the same as an extension lead for regulation requirements.

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Post by Kingham on Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:31 pm

I fitted a double weatherproof socket, with built in RCD to the side of my last house, where the Motorhome was kept.

I didn't realise this was breaching any wiring regulations, as I thought a simple spur such as this was allowed. In any event, it wasn't picked up by the surveyor when we sold up.

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Post by Paramedic on Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:29 pm

Hi JSP, for your information, our van in outside storage facility was displaying input of 1.6 amps in uninterrupted sunshine last week from 80 watt panel. Of course as mid winter approaches, the Sun's rays will have a lesser effect on the panel however we endeavour to use the van on a regular basis to ensure batteries remain fully charged. If we were able to keep our van next to the house, the EHU option would be desirable due to shade from the property.

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Post by AndyLouch on Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:55 am

Using similar system to Daisy Mae and Heanorboy! However, hadn't thought about using a timer on the socket during the present cold nights - doh!! Will save me turning heating on/off when it gets warmer during daylight! A case of missing the bloomin' obvious!!
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Post by burlingtonboaby on Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:06 am

2nd RCD in the garage, van hooked up via a cable from the garage, keep batteries topped up as and when required.
Also handy for the oil filled radiator during these frosty nights.
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Post by matchlessman on Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:44 am

If you are only concerned with keeping batteries topped up, an 80w panel is more than sufficient. Even with an alarm the voltage drop is small. My batteries are always fully charged even with the winter sun. I previously had a 20 watt panel, sited inside the Heki, that was marginal in the winter.

It is important to ensure the vehicle battery gets some charge, not just the leisure battery. You may be able to use the solar regulator to charge both, some have two outputs. Alternatively, a batterymate which passes juice from the leisure to the vehicle battery when it is 1 or 2 volts higher is pretty good. 

If you want to run fridges and heating then a hookup is needed.
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Post by JSP on Fri Dec 02, 2016 9:49 am

Thanks for everyones replies.

After all you comments.
 I reckon on the garage side I'll put a simple 13 amp plug and use it's own rcd. The fusebox has an rcd but I wouldn't want that to trip everything - will the 'new' rcd trip before it trips the fusebox or would they both go at same time?
Popped into dealers a couple of weeks ago to take a few measurements and some photos and there was no power on mh at all and was told there is a master switch which would have been off? Does this mean that the solar panel will not be doing anything in this state?
I'm hoping that the solar panel control system is intelligent enough to charge both batteries  - will try and remember to ask at handover.
Lots of questions keep popping into my head, maybe I'm over thinking things and will wait until we get it and take it from there.

Regards
John
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Post by Greyhound on Fri Dec 02, 2016 9:58 am

Pete Taylor wrote:Current(!) regulations would prevent an unqualified person from making a permanent fixture to their wiring as you describe- madness, of course. Here's a dodge, fit the 16A waterproof blue socket on your outside wall, cable through the wall with a 13A plug on the end.

Same here, have a hole drilled in the wall through to a room nearest where the van is parked. Took one end off the EHU cable and fitted a 13A plug and now that simply plugs into a wall socket.

I also only really use for the odd top up and to power the fridge a day before we leave as the solar keeps thing nicely ticking over. While this time of year doesn't yield a lot of sunshine, there's usually more than enough for keeping the batteries topped up (usually by 11am mine are showing fully charged so no issues at all).
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Post by -mojo- on Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:01 pm

JSP wrote:The fusebox has an rcd but I wouldn't want that to trip everything - will the 'new' rcd trip before it trips the fusebox or would they both go at same time?

Typically all RCDs sold for domestic use have the same level of sensitivity, so it will be pretty much pot luck - whichever one happens to get in first will trip. It's very unlikely that both will trip at the same time.

For commercial/industrial applications you can buy RCDs with different levels of sensitivity - so for example on a campsite, the RCD at each bollard will have been designed to be more sensitive than the one at their central power distribution point, so that a camper with an electrical problem will only take out their own supply and not the whole site.

JSP wrote:Popped into dealers a couple of weeks ago to take a few measurements and some photos and there was no power on mh at all and was told there is a master switch which would have been off? Does this mean that the solar panel will not be doing anything in this state?
I'm hoping that the solar panel control system is intelligent enough to charge both batteries  - will try and remember to ask at handover.
Lots of questions keep popping into my head, maybe I'm over thinking things and will wait until we get it and take it from there.

Your best bet would be to go onto the A-S website and download the manual for your new van. It should answer most questions like this.
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Post by rose49f on Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:32 pm

I never hook up at home. I do run the van once a month in Dec/Jan when I don't have time to go away. I have solar panel on the roof, 80w I think, and just gone off after eight weeks lay up due to op on a really frosty morning. Van started first time and hab battery was fine.
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Post by Guest on Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:37 pm

When I had an additional outside socket fitted, the electrician moved all the existing outside lighting and garage sockets and fuses to go through an RCD at the main fusebox, apparently this is now a requirement
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Post by m8form8 on Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:47 pm

Ive probably broken the rules then as bought a outdoor 16amp socket, drilled a hole from inside where a 13amp ring main socket was and wired it into the back of that. I have RCDs anyway and not much running off the 30amp ring it is on.  Whistle1
(Requirements are always changing not always for the better, and the amount of paperwork required to sell a house nowdays should you decide to move allows solicitors to charge an arm and a leg for conveyancing. Sold a property we rented out for a number of years last year, absolute nightmare over nothing made by the buyers solicitor. Lesson learnt = Just say things have been there 15 years and then the paperworks not needed. up! )
I leave a small electric heater on in ours during winter months just to keep the chill off whie not in use, I do not leave the panel and charger running though as solar panel covers that. gimmefive
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Post by Pete Taylor on Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:30 pm

m8form8 wrote:Ive probably broken the rules then as bought a outdoor 16amp socket, drilled a hole from inside where a 13amp ring main socket was and wired it into the back of that. ..............
Yes you have but I'm sure that you did that installation just before the regulations were changed. up!

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Post by Pete Taylor on Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:37 pm

Redwink wrote:When I had an additional outside socket fitted, the electrician moved all the existing outside lighting and garage sockets and fuses to go through an RCD at the main fusebox, apparently this is now a requirement
Not strictly true; the existing installations would have been compliant, however, all new installations need an RCD. Your man did the right thing, it would be daft not to.

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Post by m8form8 on Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:44 am

Pete Taylor wrote:
m8form8 wrote:Ive probably broken the rules then as bought a outdoor 16amp socket, drilled a hole from inside where a 13amp ring main socket was and wired it into the back of that. ..............
Yes you have but I'm sure that you did that installation just before the regulations were changed. up!

Thats my thinking too. allthumbz
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Post by Alf on Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:46 pm

One comment here under current electrical regulations it is illegal to connect a motorcaravan or caravan to a domestic electrical installation.


These are the current regulations
You are not to use the standard earth connection and must provide an earth spike for the external socket.
Chapter and verse can be supplied on request.
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Post by matchlessman on Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:52 pm

An English man's home is his castle. In our cases we have 2 castles and no beurocrat is going to tell me I can't plug my camper into my domestic electric supply...
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