A newbie's nieve electrical question

Discussion in 'Motorhome Accessories' started by euphony290, May 27, 2013.

  1. euphony290


    May 2, 2013
    Normandy, France
    Our first M/home arrives next week and we've been busy buying bits of extras and accessories in readiness.

    My question is (and I apologise for my ignorance here):
    What constitues a reverse-polarity cable or detector?

    I think it may be that, whereas the Live cable (Brown) is usually off to the right inside a UK plug (often under the fuse), there may be variations on this on mainland Europe. If this is so, even though we live in France, I always connect the brown wire to any electrical plugs I fit and there has never been a problem here even though there are also no ringmains in normal household elecrics.

    I would sincerely appreciate any help and advice and, again, apologies for my ignorance!

    Thank you and regards
  2. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

    Sep 23, 2008
    roche cornwall
    mainly sold for use abroad . they use a two pin plug that can sometimes go in either way . some do some dont . but over there it doesnt matter . many find it doesnt matter anyway . are you going to use campsites abroad?
    i dont so never used mine .
  3. John745

    John745 Funster

    Jan 10, 2012
    live tester

    hi I have two leads that I have made up one wired correctly (1) with a two pin plug at one end and a standard blue socket at the other and another the same but the live wire swapped over with the neutral (please mark this one clearly - REVERSED). To go with this I have a lead (2) that has a blue plug at one end and a 13 amp socket at the other (into which) I plug a ring main tester (£4 - @£14 you chose).
    Now plug item (2) into the correct lead (1) if all three LEDs light up your onto a winner and can plug up as is.
    If however less than 3 LEDs light, plugin the reversed lead in (2) now all three LEDs should light, again all is OK so use this one.
    I do understand that some MHs don't mind reversed live and compensate, but do you know if it has, or do you want to risk it.
    I also use lead (2) even in the UK (just in case).

    Hope this is off some help.
    I purchased euro plugs in France for @2 euro in hardware shop.
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  4. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Aug 26, 2007
    YO11 2BD
    many european sites are now using the standard blue 16amp euro plug which has different wiring pins to the European house plug or the UK equivalent 3 pin plug.

    the pins will be marked L (or P), N and E....live (Phase), neutral and earth.

    to covert a lead to use in reversed situations you remove the live and neutral wires from the plug OR socket and swap them over...live to neutral, neutral to live....then mark the lead 'reversed' so you dont use it by mistake.
    earth always remains as is.

    In my opinion there is no need to have a reversed lead as European countries use double pole breakers and switches, which isolates both live and neutral wires when turned off or in a fault situation.
    in the UK only live is switched.

    no earth is far more dangerous than revered wiring and if no earth is found then use another hookup post.

    to check for reverse polarity or lack of earth you need one of these or similar,,,,,


    Last edited: May 27, 2013
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  5. SomeoneElse

    SomeoneElse Funster

    Apr 22, 2013
    Its a Brit thing, every snotty nosed electric apprentice and every drunken electrical student in the UK has it hammered into them that getting the live and neutral connection the right way round is important.

    It aint so on the continent and they just don't care. I have had to take electrical equipment to a German test lab for certification and raise this issue. They just mutter "Englander" and scoffed. Their point is that the internal are live at some point and have to be safe. So if some bits are live when the switch on the device is off it doesn't matter, its safe anyway. Adding if you want to work on the internals you unplug it and its all safe then.

    There is a move to standardise the plugs prewired to appliances but there isn't a standard for the sockets, at least in Germany the plugs can be reversed so appliances, to EU standards, must work with either order of live/neutral connections.

    This Wikipedia page gives more than I ever wanted to know about plugs and sockets:

    This year I have been give a bagful of connectors by a retiring MH'er, he claimed it had covered everything he'd found in France. All I can say is all my house sockets and EHU leads are wired "correctly" having used his tester on them all.

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