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French EHU


athiest

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Hi all, I have done a search on this subject but nothing came up though I imagine lots has been said already. Being quite new to MHing we intend to visit France soon.Can you tell me exactly what sort of Electric hookup plug sockets I am likely to encounter on French sites and the type of adapters that I need to take? Thanks, "A"
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Guest pelmetman
We take a two pin adapter which is available from most Caravan shops, but have noticed recently our standard blue plug has started to appear :D
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Guest pelmetman

Not the type you would use in a hotel to work your hairdryer/razor :D

 

You can buy the adaptor from most camping shops, one end has our EHU blue female connector and the other has a 2 pin continental plug :D

 

You can buy them online easy enough ;-)

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Whilst the standard 16 amp sockets seem to be appearing in more and more places on the continent, you need to carry a "continental hookup adaptor" which almost any caravan or camping accessory shop will sell you (albeit at vastly differing prices).

 

It will serve you well for many (but not all) continental european countries.

 

This link (which is simply an example, not a recommendation) will show you what you need, and its function should be pretty obvious - it attaches to one end of a standard 16 amp lead that you hopefully already have for UK use.

 

http://www.camping-online.co.uk/mains-electrics/electrical-hook-up-leads-and-accessories/continental-hook-up-adaptor-1.html

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Take a look at the recent thread about "reverse polarity" too.

 

To sum it up briefly, since Continental devices usually have double-pole switches, it doesn't make any difference to them which is "live" and which "neutral," so the EHU points may be wired either way round.

 

I think I remember you mentioning you're a bit of a gambler :D , so weigh up the odds and decide whether this bothers you. If so, as well as your "continental adapter," take along a polarity tester and a "reversing adapter," comprising a plug and socket on a bit of cable, with one of them wired wrong way round.

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Tony Jones - 2011-03-18 10:36 PM

 

Take a look at the recent thread about "reverse polarity" too.

 

To sum it up briefly, since Continental devices usually have double-pole switches, it doesn't make any difference to them which is "live" and which "neutral," so the EHU points may be wired either way round.

 

I think I remember you mentioning you're a bit of a gambler :D , so weigh up the odds and decide whether this bothers you. If so, as well as your "continental adapter," take along a polarity tester and a "reversing adapter," comprising a plug and socket on a bit of cable, with one of them wired wrong way round.

 

It's possible to buy a set of adapters + a tester from:

 

http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/forsale/v/Continental-Hook-up-Adapter-Set-w/Tester/4872

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Hi, pelmetman, Keithl, Robinhood, thanks for the help,Tony Jones, as a retired Electrician I would never takes chances with the evil stuff. That is why I am asking all these questions, and will use the advise offered by all you knowledgeable people. I will be buying everything on your' lists to make sure that my loved ones and I are safe. Derek, thanks for the link, this looks like a one stop place to buy. Once again thanks to all who offered their help. "A"
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Hi Tony, wasn't misunderstanding you, or taking your' comments the wrong way, you seem to be one of the most helpful people on here and seem to have all the time in the world to put us newbies straight. This is certainly appreciated by me. Thanks, the same goes for all the experts that have helped me over our first years MHing. "A" PS Who's this God?
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Posts on "Reverse Polarity" regularly fill the Motorhome Forums, and seem to "polarise" (if you'll pardon the pun) opinion.

 

I fall into the camp of not worying about, or making extra provision for it. I do understand the potential issues, but choose to accept what I believe is (for my own particular circumstances) absolutely minimal risk.

 

I appreciate that other people feel differently, and respect their opinion.

 

If you are a retired electrician, then you should be able to make your own judgement.

 

The point of this additional post, however, was to add some extra info on site electricity in France, which may be useful if you've never been before.

 

In the UK, it is common to see hook-ups rated at the full 16 amps (or possibly down to 10 amps).

 

In France, (and a number of other Continental countries) it is common for ratings to be lower (in some cases much lower) than this. Indeed, I've still recently been asked on a number of sites what particular amperage I would like (with higher rating attracting a higher charge). I've seen a good few hook-ups down to 2 amps!

 

If you assume 16 amps, and then use higher-rated equipment, then you may find that you trip the supply, it actually being rated somewhat lower.

 

This is not too bad when the trip is readily available for reset, but if, as is often the case, it is locked away in a box, it can be rather inconvenient to go looking for someone to reset it (let's face it - the law of sod dictates that it will always happen after the office has shut *-))

 

It's even more embarrassing when the site uses the older system of putting a specifically rated fuse across the supply, and you actually blow it - though sites using this system are rare nowadays.

 

On any Continental site, I always try to ascertain the amperage before using; sometimes it's easy as you can see the MCB, sometimes you just have to ask.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having camped for many years in France I would go along with all that has been said. We used to carry 2 adaptors wired in opposite ways and used which ever suited the result of the polarity tester. However, it should not make any real difference unless you have a fault inside your rig where the return, which could be live, comes into contact with you. Your equipment will all work normally whichever way it is wired. But do take care if the polarity tester indicates a bad earth, which can happen, as this is very dangerous. We had it on 1 site in Provence and decided to not use the EHU, just in case. We also left the site quickly as if the EHU was bad, what else was likely to be wrong.

 

The other comments I would add are do not always believe what the site states is the available current. Sometimes older sites are not too efficient and what should be 8 may trip at 6. Then it is a case of getting the 'monsieur' out to reset the bollard. Some even have you limited to 5 amps.

 

Also although you plan on France do take an adaptor with a Shoko connection, just in case you decide to visit Spain or Germany or any other EU country or like us, you will be sitting there with lots of French connectors, and none that fit.

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we take a selection of various cables/adaptors - whilst there are a lot of sites now on the standard blue Euro type, even some of these are wired incorrectly - hence whatever type we hook up to we use a polarity tester.

We also take leads with the older type 2 pin plug, and one with a 'twisted' lead, (ie wired up the 'wrong' way) plus a standard EU one wired in a similar.

The first thing we also ask when checking in at recpetion is what amperage is available? 5 or 6amp is still pretty regular, or even 4amp..and that doesnt run a great deal , so its useful to know jest wat has tp be switched off to prevent the socket overloading. we also use a low wattage 800w max kettle and similar external grill.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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