Mains Electric Wiring

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by IrasciBill, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. IrasciBill

    IrasciBill Funster

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    Been doing some re-wiring of the mains electric wiring on my son's camper van. Think the existing installation was done by Heath Robinson when on turbo-enthusiasm! :Eek!: The entire system needs tidying up and a large measure of thought given to the safety side of things. (It had a battery charger in the gas cupboard!) :Eek!::Eek!:
    The existing set-up has an earth bond from the mains earth terminal to the van body. Is this normal? Is it a good idea? I would value your thoughts. :Smile:
     
  2. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hi Bill

    More than a good idea, the earth bonding from the mains earth terminal to the van chassis/body is essential ..

    Here are the regulations for a caravan. same as a motorhome , should keep you right

    http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Book/7.9.2.htm
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010
  3. IrasciBill

    IrasciBill Funster

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    Thanks

    Many thanks Jim. The link is really useful.
    When it comes to electrics, I'm a competent amateur (my background is mainly in mechanical engineering, hydraulics and pneumatics)- sadly the person who did the conversion must have been at the loo when the competent bit was being given out.
    Most of what I've been doing this weekend was getting the main circuit breakers and several other components away from the gas cupboard and fitting an external hook-up connection.
    So far all I have done is in accordance with the regs you linked to. :thumb::thumb:
     
  4. Wintonian

    Wintonian Read Only Funster

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    While making a few changes to my UK bought Hymer in order to get it registered here in France, I decided to change all the 13 amp UK sockets for European sockets. The previous owner was clearly not even a competent amateur. He had installed a nice shiny brass double socket next to the kitchen area and connected it using table lamp flex, taking that through the wardrobe to the consumer unit. The thought of connecting a 2Kw fire, and, perhaps an electric kettle to that is not good!:Eeek:

    I replaced the cable with 2.5sq mm French cable and did the same with the other sockets.

    The French regs are very tight for old Camping Cars and the gas and electrical installations were checked thoroughly by Bureau Veritas (at a cost to me of 250 Euros!).:Angry: That is mandatory for older imports. At least the gas installation was thoroughly checked in my presence.
     
  5. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    My thoughts are simple but not what you would like to hear. You are obviously not qualified to undertake the work you are proposing which raises 2 questions,

    1) the legality of you actually doing the work and
    2) the advisability of you doing it. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. It is not your life you could be putting at risk.

    Most of us have undertaken these jobs in the past but the elf and safety issues have tightened up. If you need to be qualified to wire a house then the same applies to a motorhome.

    sorry if it is not the sort of comment you were looking for.
     
  6. teensvan

    teensvan Read Only Funster

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    Hi.

    Sorry to put a downer on it if you have to ask any questions on the subject of rewiring you should not be doing this type of job. Leave it to an expert.

    steve & ann ---------- teensvan
     
  7. Wintonian

    Wintonian Read Only Funster

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    This is the sort of comment that generally comes from an electrician, most of whom are well qualified in their trade, but, unfortunately, not in the law.

    I am not a qualified electrician and yet, three years ago, did a complete re-wire of my son's house in England. Every piece of wiring was taken out and I re-did the whole 3 bedroomed, two storey house.

    Prior to starting the work I notified the Local Authority Building Control department and paid them a fee (only £129, which covered all the subsequent inspections). All councils are obliged, by law, to do this. My plans and circuits were first inspected by their appointed inspector who then told me to proceed. He was kind enough to offer some valuable advice.

    After I completed all the work two inspectors came to do a thorough test of the installation, which it passed with zero faults.

    All this was legal, despite me not being a qualified electrician. The law actually only requires work to be carried out by "a competent person".

    Provided you do your homework (I bought a copy of the IEEE Regs) and are proficient with the use of tools there is no reason why any competent and intelligent person should not be able to do any of the jobs required on a Motor Home.
     
  8. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    a useful post and the reason for my query is defined in the last paragraph.

    The law actually only requires work to be carried out by "a competent person".

    a competent person would not need to ask about earth bonding so I still stick to my original statement.
    Plus you had the work checked by a qualified tester. Full marks to you. I have been pilloried in the past for mentioning various qualifications so will not do so again.
    However I do know what I am talking about.
     
  9. bevo

    bevo Read Only Funster

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    mains electrics

    hi bill
    i too rewired my house, easy peasy (as long as your not colour blind)
    have added extra sockets in the van (7) no problem.
    if you feel your confident enough go for it.
    but the main earth for the van has to be through the outside socket to the sites electric box.
    i would have trouble finding an earth through my tyres.
    my take on the qualified people doing it is that if someone does is for you they need to be qualified.
    but if you do it yourself it don't count.
    just use flexible 2.5 sq cable in the van.
    good luck
     
  10. shortcircuit

    shortcircuit Read Only Funster

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    This type of posting has been done to death on various forums. However I would suspect the inspectors report would have been filled with the usual disclaimers as "After I completed all the work" they would have no idea as to how you had carried out the work and would provide a report to keep themselves clean. Insurance companies love the DIYs as they can walk away.
     
  11. olley

    olley Funster

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    It always gets my interest when people say that only qualified people should touch electrics. Having rewired and wired new builds, fitted kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, boilers and worked on vehicles its always been my opinion that household electricians are at the bottom of the pile.

    Plumbers and mechanics need to know far more about a greater variety of appliances/vehicles than electricians, and can by making simple mistakes cause greater danger to the public, while electricians almost have to make deliberate mistakes to cause any harm at all.

    If you shouldn't touch electrics then that goes double for you car.

    Olley
     
  12. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    You may be interested to know that I have just had my Rv electrical safety inspection and certification carried out as reqd every 3 years :RollEyes:
    yes a proper inspection and test, a hidden fault was found in the slide area cabling no trips being set off but a higher than acceptable resistance (fire risk?) without the fully qualifyed electrician it would have been the fire brigade who told me about it:RollEyes:
    How do you test for that type of problem Olley?the equipment used was extreamly complicated and exspensive, capable of testing even the breakers for the time they took to work, do your breakers work fast enough?or do they just work, or dont they work at all???
    How many diy ers inform their insurance of the modifications carried out
    Inspections and certification for Caravans European and American RVswill be on offer here very soon
    Geo
     
  13. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Dead easy - measure voltage. Plug in kettle, measure voltage.

    There are two ways - get a moron to use an expensive device that shows the obvious or get someone with a brain to use basic tools and fully analyse the results.

    You know PAT tests. Plug into meter press button issue sticker. BUT does the moron spot the loose screws, the kinky flex about to fail, the wrong fuse, the sign of a bit of heating, the smell ?

    It's the same with you Geo. The Moron in the main dealership - computer says replace, X, Y, Z. Geo says "useless twat all you do is clean that and adjust it, been doing it for 100 years".
     
  14. shortcircuit

    shortcircuit Read Only Funster

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    Sorry Brian but it is just not as simple as that. Your basic multimeter is unable to carry out the test properly. Not going into a technical debate but it is horses for courses and the tester should be competent along with the proper equipment
     
  15. olley

    olley Funster

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    Hi Geo quite likely a dirty connection, unlikely to cause a fire unless your fuses are incorrectly rated for the cable size. Much more likely that you would have trouble deploying your slides.

    Your right, your MCB's might not operate, and they aren't simple to test, but they are very reliable, I don't know the MTBF but it must be very high. Wire fuses are KISS proof by nature. You don't test the speed of MCB's operating, you test the amount of current going through them before they operate, and compare that with what type they are. A type "B" trips at between 3-5 times its rated current.

    Your overall electrical safety should be by RCCD and this can be tested by simply pressing the button.

    You obviously take your electrical safety very seriously, and are to be congratulated for that,:Cool: however I would guess most owners of caravans/motorhomes/RV don't have any testing done, as most home owners don't either, and fires from correctly wired and fused circuits are I would think very rare, its the incorrectly wired and fused circuits that cause problems.

    Olley
     
  16. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Explain please. You have already started a technical debate.

    Geo: "higher than acceptable resistance (fire risk?)" "How do you test for that type of problem Olley?"

    Brian: Load circuit and calculate resistance.

    Where have I gone wrong ?
     
  17. shortcircuit

    shortcircuit Read Only Funster

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    The test instrument required to carry out the test in accordance with the regulations needs to pass a current of 20mA through the circuit for continuity and 500volts for insulation tests .
     
  18. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    We are talking at cross purposes here. Geo asked a theoretical "how would you....high resistance" and I answered "load and calculate", leakage did not come into it. You are talking regs, which is fair enough in the context of a vehicle inspection but this is not what Geo asked.
     
  19. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    And where is your certificate of compliance at the end of all this testing:Doh:
    You will more than likely be asked for it before any claim is paid out and that applies to bricks and morter homes as well
    Caravans and Motor homes 3 yearly, Domestic Dwellings 5 yearly,
    Garages and Comercial premisses 5 yearly

    This believe it or not has come about at the shock horror reaction of my insurance company at my answer to their question "have any changes been made to the vehicle"
    I said yes Ive just changed the TV:Eeek::Eeek::Eeek::Eeek: and then followed the Inquisition.
    after that, I clamped up
    I did not volenteer any info about a 240v conversion untill I had a cert to prove safe installation
    I'm just closing as many Insurance get outs as possible:thumb:
     
  20. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    To get back to the OP , Bill is doing a rewire on a camper, he has identified several problems and has asked advice.

    The fact that he identified problems and sought advice shows a clear commitment to safety.

    He adds in his second post " When it comes to electrics, I'm a competent amateur (my background is mainly in mechanical engineering, hydraulics and pneumatics)"

    So he is competent to use hand tools, can follow schematics, understand maths, read and understand regulations and follow instructions.. Given his experience, rewiring a camper should be well within his capabilities.

    I gave advice and pointed to a site for further help and guidance.. he didn't come on here looking for a lambasting about his competency.. there is another site that dishes that out in shed loads. :RollEyes:

    The only decent piece of additional advice to come out of the thread is to have his installation inspected and certificated on completion which I fully endorse.

     
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