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gas & electric in europe


monty the motorhome

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Hi folks, really appreciated all the info received about driving down to portugal next month. You were all so fantastically helpful, I'm now going to pick your brains about reverse polarity, and different gas bottles!!

Bearing in mind that we plan to drive fairly quickly through France with a full bottle of UK propane, and will day trip/short trip in Portugal till April, then meander through Portugal, Spain and France during May to September, heading back (briefly) to the UK. So our time may be evenly spread between the three countries - how easy is it to get different types of bottle, or are adaptors better? (lol)

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Monty:

 

Here are three other threads that you may find useful:

 

http://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=17745&posts=24

 

http://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=2819&posts=1

 

http://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=16858&start=1

 

Variations of both your questions have come up regularly on this forum across the years. If you want to wade through the earlier stuff, you should be able to get at most of it via the forum's cantankerous SEARCH facility.

 

1. Go to the 'Welcome Box' at the top right of this web-page and click on "Search".

 

2. In the 'Keywords box' enter "gas in europe" (omitting the quotes).

 

3. In the 'Filter by author' box enter "Derek Uzzell" (omitting the quotes).

 

4. Select "All posts" from the 'Date limit' list.

 

5 Click on the 'submit' button.

 

This will retrieve a mass of earlier threads from which you'll need to select the ones that look most promising from their titles.

 

For earlier polarity-related threads, repeat actions 1 to 5 above, replacing "gas in europe" in the Keywords box with "polarity" (omitting the quotes).

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Actually having travelled in Europe for some three/four years reverse polarity, I have found, isn't as frequent a problem as it is made out to be and even then it is probably not as dangerous as it is made out.

 

Simply get a plug socket tester that shows lights to inform you if there are any faults in that plug socket, test your sockets AT HOME before going away so that you know they are right, then have a home made "reverse wired" conecting cable that fits onto the end of your normal caravan cable.

If the tester shows a reverse wire fault simply fit your reversed wired adaption to the end of your cable.

Dont forget to CLEARLY mark the reversed wired cable that you have made up so that you do not get it mixed up.

Also remember that some European POST conectiond are two pin not as in the UK so get a european conector too from any caravan shop

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Quick aside from this 'ere pedant:

 

Guys.......Britain IS IN Europe.

 

Albeit that it is a little island off the coast of mainland Europe.

Driving around in Britain is driving in Europe.

 

 

 

Maybe better to talk about driving in "mainland" or "continental" Europe?

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I'll get me coat........................)

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BGD - 2009-12-06 2:08 AM

 

Quick aside from this 'ere pedant:

 

Guys.......Britain IS IN Europe.

 

Albeit that it is a little island off the coast of mainland Europe.

Driving around in Britain is driving in Europe.

 

 

 

Maybe better to talk about driving in "mainland" or "continental" Europe?

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I'll get me coat........................)

 

Let me hand you your coat :D

Somebody in France(for instance) could raise exactly same question, i.e. "I wish to drive around europe what gas etc do I use when in other countries"

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BGD - 2009-12-06 2:08 AM

 

Quick aside from this 'ere pedant:

 

Guys.......Britain IS IN Europe.

 

Albeit that it is a little island off the coast of mainland Europe.

Driving around in Britain is driving in Europe.

 

 

 

Maybe better to talk about driving in "mainland" or "continental" Europe?

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I'll get me coat........................)

 

Great Britain is in the Europeon union, or at least it is until the whole shambles implodes, but it is not in Europe. In case you missed it in Europe they all drive on the wrong side of the road and use some 'funny money' called the euro.

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monty the motorhome - 2009-12-04 8:36 PM Hi folks, really appreciated all the info received about driving down to Portugal next month. You were all so fantastically helpful, I'm now going to pick your brains about reverse polarity, and different gas bottles!! Bearing in mind that we plan to drive fairly quickly through France with a full bottle of UK propane, and will day trip/short trip in Portugal till April, then meander through Portugal, Spain and France during May to September, heading back (briefly) to the UK. So our time may be evenly spread between the three countries - how easy is it to get different types of bottle, or are adaptors better? (lol)

To start at the end, the adaptors are an expensive waste of money.  What you can do will depend on the size of cylinder, and how many, your locker can accommodate.

What you will need will depend on weather, and whether you take every available opportunity for electrical hook-up, generally meaning sites, or rely on gas for all your heating refrigeration requirements.

Only you can answer both questions. 

UK exchange cylinders can only be exchanged in UK, and require UK connectors, and cylinders hired (you generally can't buy them) in other countries, can only be exchanged in those countries and require connectors suited to those countries.  You may be able to get UK cylinders re-filled in Portugal, but this in breach of your hire agreement with the UK supplier.

If your van has a 30mb bulkhead mounted regulator, only the flexible connecting hose needs to be changed to suit differing fitments, if the regulator is cylinder mounted, the regulator will also have to be sourced with the cylinder in whatever country - in which case the regulator pressure will also need to be checked.

However, on the basis that you stick to sites and use the site facilities to the maximum: if your locker will only take 7Kg cylinders, and if the weather is kind, you might, just about, get away on two of these - but I wouldn't count on it!  If the locker will take only one 7Kg, get a refillable replacement before you leave.  For two such, I'd still say get at least one refillable and install alongside one exchange cylinder.  One 13Kg, as with 2 x 7Kg will be tight, so you'll need to install one refillable instead.  If you can take 2 x 13Kg you will probably get away with just one UK exchange cylinder, with another as reserve just in case.  The alternative would be to leave UK with one 13Kg cylinder, and pick up a further 13Kg French Propane cylinder en route.  Butagaz is widely available at supermarkets, and the initial outlay is not too bad.  That gives you greater flexibility, since you will be able to exchange this, if necessary, as soon as you are back in France on your return leg.  A UK butane cylinder connector (pigtail) is the same as the French propane connector so, provided your van has a 30mb bulkhead mounted regulator, the only additional cost is just the UK butane pigtail.

If you intend not to use sites, you will need at least one refillable, and if your locker will only take the 7 Kg size, I'd say go for two, so that your aren't always on the look out autogas stations.  Otherwise 1 x 13Kg refillable and one 13Kg UK exchange cylinder should be OK, reserving the UK exchange cylinder as emergency backup.

Our experience, over the past four years, is that reversed polarity is about 50% on sites, whether two pin or blue CEE connectors are used.  If your van has miniature circuit breakers on its power circuits and an RCD as its main switch, reversed polarity shouldn't present a safety risk.  If it has a double pole RCD as its main switch, it is polarity neutral, and will be as safe as any other van on the mainland.  If it lacks an RCD main switch, it would be wise to get one installed.  As Syd says, testing is simple, and a home made connector will fix the problem, so for complete peace of mind, test, and reverse, as necessary.

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Hi Brian

 

You say

"To start at the end, the adaptors are an expensive waste of money".

 

But they are not a waste of money, if you tour Europe you WILL need differing fitments, I think we used two types but I currently have three (I think)

 

Further advice to the man asking the original question

Get the ACSI camp site book because electricity is usually FREE on their camp sites, just ask for it

 

 

 

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We may be at cross purposes, Syd.  I assumed the adaptors referred to were those "sets" of adaptors for different cylinders that were being advertised for an astronomic price.  All they achieve is what the correct pigtails achieve with fewer joints and at lower cost.  It is those adaptors I was referring to as a waste of money.  In truth, if buying/hiring exchange cylinders in various countries, I suspect that may be a waste of money as well, at least for motorhomers.  Refillable cylinders become more economical once your gas consumption rises above a certain level.  However, for many, whether the initial outlay is worth making depends on a number of factors, only one of which is cost.

Yer pays yer money, etc!  :-)

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Brian Kirby - 2009-12-06 6:41 PM
monty the motorhome - 2009-12-04 8:36 PM Hi folks, really appreciated all the info received about driving down to Portugal next month. You were all so fantastically helpful, I'm now going to pick your brains about reverse polarity, and different gas bottles!! Bearing in mind that we plan to drive fairly quickly through France with a full bottle of UK propane, and will day trip/short trip in Portugal till April, then meander through Portugal, Spain and France during May to September, heading back (briefly) to the UK. So our time may be evenly spread between the three countries - how easy is it to get different types of bottle, or are adaptors better? (lol)

To start at the end, the adaptors are an expensive waste of money.  What you can do will depend on the size of cylinder, and how many, your locker can accommodate.

What you will need will depend on weather, and whether you take every available opportunity for electrical hook-up, generally meaning sites, or rely on gas for all your heating refrigeration requirements.

Only you can answer both questions. 

UK exchange cylinders can only be exchanged in UK, and require UK connectors, and cylinders hired (you generally can't buy them) in other countries, can only be exchanged in those countries and require connectors suited to those countries.  You may be able to get UK cylinders re-filled in Portugal, but this in breach of your hire agreement with the UK supplier.

If your van has a 30mb bulkhead mounted regulator, only the flexible connecting hose needs to be changed to suit differing fitments, if the regulator is cylinder mounted, the regulator will also have to be sourced with the cylinder in whatever country - in which case the regulator pressure will also need to be checked.

However, on the basis that you stick to sites and use the site facilities to the maximum: if your locker will only take 7Kg cylinders, and if the weather is kind, you might, just about, get away on two of these - but I wouldn't count on it!  If the locker will take only one 7Kg, get a refillable replacement before you leave.  For two such, I'd still say get at least one refillable and install alongside one exchange cylinder.  One 13Kg, as with 2 x 7Kg will be tight, so you'll need to install one refillable instead.  If you can take 2 x 13Kg you will probably get away with just one UK exchange cylinder, with another as reserve just in case.  The alternative would be to leave UK with one 13Kg cylinder, and pick up a further 13Kg French Propane cylinder en route.  Butagaz is widely available at supermarkets, and the initial outlay is not too bad.  That gives you greater flexibility, since you will be able to exchange this, if necessary, as soon as you are back in France on your return leg.  A UK butane cylinder connector (pigtail) is the same as the French propane connector so, provided your van has a 30mb bulkhead mounted regulator, the only additional cost is just the UK butane pigtail.

If you intend not to use sites, you will need at least one refillable, and if your locker will only take the 7 Kg size, I'd say go for two, so that your aren't always on the look out autogas stations.  Otherwise 1 x 13Kg refillable and one 13Kg UK exchange cylinder should be OK, reserving the UK exchange cylinder as emergency backup.

Our experience, over the past four years, is that reversed polarity is about 50% on sites, whether two pin or blue CEE connectors are used.  If your van has miniature circuit breakers on its power circuits and an RCD as its main switch, reversed polarity shouldn't present a safety risk.  If it has a double pole RCD as its main switch, it is polarity neutral, and will be as safe as any other van on the mainland.  If it lacks an RCD main switch, it would be wise to get one installed.  As Syd says, testing is simple, and a home made connector will fix the problem, so for complete peace of mind, test, and reverse, as necessary.

All this confirms to me why we installed a gaslow system and purchased the neccessary adaptors for refilling on our present travels in Spain Portugal and France. The convenience alone is worth it. We also have a separate lead (yellow) wired up the wrong way for reverse polarity. So far we have been on 8 sites and experienced it three times. Not all ACSI sites have electric included, and rates vary. We are currently paying 0.15€ c/Kwin SpainRoy Fuller
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Unless you are going for a very long time it might be just as easy, as long as you are using sites with ehu, to calculate your predicted gas usage and carry a spare Calor bottle or two to see you through - although this also depends on your payload and available space?

 

If we used sites with ehu and used the electric as much as possible we know that a full Calor 6kg propane would last at least 3 and probably the better part of 4 weeks when used for cooking only.

 

Carrying enough gas is the ultimate self sufficiency as you don't have to faff about with odd sized bottles, adapters, pigtails or finding an Autogas garage or Gas depot.

 

It works for us with 3 x 6kg Calor propane easily lasting 10 weeks.

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If you use sites with electric hook-up then why not consider using an electric ring either inside or outside of your van. We and a lot of continentals use a small tent for cooking when on site for a reasonable length of time. Ours is 2m x 2m base and 2m height, also saves smells in the van.

 

For the electric we use one lead from the site into the cooking tent and plug a 3-way adaptor/splitter (from Towshure) into this lead. from 1 of the outlets we take another lead into the van as normal. I then made up a 2m lead with the blue socket one end and a British square multi adaptor on the other. This goes into the 2nd outlet in the adaptor and let you use your electrical equipment as you would at home (supply capacity permitting). The 3rd outlet is spare (and no Towshure do not supply a 2 way splitter).

This way our 13Kg calor has lasted for 3 x 6 week trips to France/Spain. Leaving us with another 13Kg still full.

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