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Reverse polarity in France


bill.elder

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New to this forum lark so bear with me.

 

Going on my first trip to France soon and have read about the mains connections sometimes being reversed and that leads are available to rectify.

Would appreciate any info as to where to purchase, preferably how to make my own and best ways to check before connecting. I do not require the square PP9 battery test thanks!!

 

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Buy a polarity tester from most good caravan accessory shops, simply plug into a socket in van and check indicator lights on tester against instruction label when you connect to mains supply.

I have two sets of continental adaptor leads both bought from an accessory shop, on one I reversed the live and neutral leads in the blue CEE connection and marked it reverse.

Change to reverse adaptor if tester indicates reversed polarity, re-test and all will be OK.

Its not the end of the world if you do connect up to reverse polarity but is considered safer if you use an adaptor to correct.

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Hi Bill & welcome to the forum.

Standard connection leads only are available.

We bought 2 and reversed the PLUG on one, then wrapped the cable in red & White tape.

 

Be aware that while it is permissible to make a reverse polarity cable, it is (was) illegal to buy/sell one.

 

Don't forget to make sure the lead is clearly marked to identify it is "Reverse Polarity"

 

Various sources sell the 3 pin (UK square pin) tester for around £10.

 

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If you are concerned just make up a short lead with a blue plug & socket. Wire either the pug or socket the correct way with the live & neutral as labeled. On the other plug/socket wire it with the live wire to the neutral connector & the neutral wire to the live connector. When you check with a polarity checker if it is ok with your lead then job done, if it shows the polarity reversed then plug in your short adapter cable & this should correct it.

We are on a site in Portugal at the moment & my neighbour had a problem with a short extension lead & while we were checking it out I put my polarity checker in his plug & it showed it reversed, where in my van which was on the adjoining outlet socket it was ok.

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Welcome to the forum Bill.

 

As you can see from Ed's post above and others the situation can vary not just from site to site but even on the same site - the french, it seems, are much more 'relaxed' when it comes to such things!

 

If you are intending to make up a lead with the polarity (live and negative wires) reversed on a blue CEE plug don't forget that some sites (getting less now) still have the old two pin plug type hook ups. I made one of each, both clearly marked 'reverse polarity' but, as rupert123 says the modern vans won't really suffer any harm from reverse polarity anyway.

 

Safe travels,

David

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Reverse polarity is not so dangerous as is often made out but there is another thing that you may not be aware of that could ruin your day and that is on European sites you Very often come across two pin sockets on the supply post so don't forget to get one of those short leads before you go abroad
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bill.elder - 2010-04-02 8:55 PM New to this forum lark so bear with me. Going on my first trip to France soon and have read about the mains connections sometimes being reversed and that leads are available to rectify. Would appreciate any info as to where to purchase, preferably how to make my own and best ways to check before connecting. I do not require the square PP9 battery test thanks!!

The above posts basically say it all.  As suggested, absolutely get the continental two male pin adaptor (most caravan/motorhome accessory shops will know what you want), as well as making the short polarity reversing lead if you wish.  No real need to mark the short polarity reversing lead with CEE plug/socket either end, it will be the only one of its kind you have!  Keep the flex length to around 300mm, and plug this into the van socket when required, then the connectors will stay clear of the ground.  This way, you can correct reversed polarity whether the other end is a CEE socket, or the older two pin type.  Either is liable to be reversed.  So, you need three leads. 

First, a standard electric hook up cable at least 25 M long (50 M if you can get one), with blue CEE plug one end, and blue CEE socket the other. 

Second, a two pin "continental" converter lead, with two pin plug one end and blue CEE socket the other. 

Third, your 300mm polarity reverser cable with CEE plug one end and CEE socket the other. 

In addition, it would be wise to get a tester, as suggested above.  More important that polarity, this will confirm there is an earth connection.  If one site socket shows no earth, try another.  That's where that 50M cable comes in handy! 

If you store the cable on a drum, be careful to unreel it before plugging in if your load will exceed 6-10 Amps, as the cable can heat dangerously if running near its capacity. 

Also be aware that very few continental site supplies are rated at 15A: many are limited to 10 Amps (say 2kW), rather more to 6A (say 1.4kW), and a few are as low as 3A (say 700W)!  You have to allow for your lighting, fridge, battery charger, and electrical toys from that, so make sure you take nothing you will rely on with a higher load than about 1kW.  Think kettle, that 3kW home one will be liable to trip site supplies all across France!

All sorted.  Have fun!  :-)

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Brian points out to unravel your lead if your load will exceed 6 - 10 amps.

 

I make a habit of doing this whatever the power is likely to be. I've had a whole drum melted together by drawing a high wattage so by default I lay out the cable in single lines what ever and wherever I am. Its a bit like the ferry/fridge discussion earlier, I dont aim to be caught out. And I suppose with a life time of using power cables its automatic.

 

I find it surprising when at sites to see so many cables in a knotted bundle or the roll unwound. I suggest this points to an untidy occupant.

 

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