Honda EU20 Safety

Submitted: Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 09:27
ThreadID: 110399 Views:4016 Replies:5 FollowUps:34
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G'day all,
OK Ive used the search function and cant find an answer and indeed prob more confused than before now...... so apologies if this has been answered before, I cant find the answer clearly.

I have an older van with NO electrical protection at all, 240v lights, grill fan, power points. If plugged into house or site, affords protection through same.

However if on my Honda generator would I be protected if a fault occurs? Ive read about rcd's but they need earthing, so what do people do?

What would a sparky do to protect his family, earth rod for gen and rcd on outlet from genny? If so how deep what material? Ive read of 8ft rods, this is hardly practical n youd never get it out.

Does the current sensing on genny itself suffice?

I'd be interested in hearing responses from those qualified in this area,

Rgds and Merry Xmas to all.
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Reply By: Ron173 - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 09:42

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 09:42
hmm cant find edit, not posted in a while, thought you used to be able to edit.. anyway.

Thinking about this and how people say RCD wont work without earth, is this really true? My belief is an RCD residual current device senses an imbalance tween active and neutral and if exists trips..

This compared with the older ELCB earth leakage circuit breaker which does need an earth to sense a fault condition...

Above said, my Honda with an RCD inline should be ok, Am I correct??

cheers
AnswerID: 542870

Follow Up By: K&FT - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 11:34

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 11:34
Basically Ron-No it wont work earthed or not.
The genset is current limited to about 7.5 amps and any load drawing more than that will trip the overload.

In order to protect yourself and family from faults I would point you towards an RVD which is marketed by safelec.com.au

These are a much better solution for isolated gensets like the honda and can be fitted to the genset and also to the caravan.

have a look for yourself but contact them to discuss what would be the best model for your situation.

hope that helps
frank
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Follow Up By: Ron173 - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 12:27

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 12:27
Thanks Frank,

Yes helps but doesn't, if you get my meaning,
helps with the info but not my situation.

Basically this means my genny (and potentially many many others) is/are dangerous and really shouldn't be used in present state.

Youd think it would be built into a quality genny.

In my older van I'm now very reluctant to use my honda until I can get some satisfactory protection in there.

And more alarming is how often I've used it with my child in van!!

(given wooden floors, framework etc., unlikely for accident, but unlikely isn't good enough for me, needs to be ruled out)
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 19:15

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 19:15
HI Ron
The old ELCBs & today's RCDs are basically the same thing
They both need , at least, an EN system to function.
That is the only way you can have an out of balance current between active & neutral.


PeterQ
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Reply By: Ron N - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 13:20

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 13:20
Ron - You Honda EU generator should be earthed, it's in the Honda instruction manual.

Here's a potential solution for your problem.

Powersafe

Always remember an RCD protects life, a circuit breaker only protects circuits.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 542887

Follow Up By: gbc - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 13:31

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 13:31
The earth electrode in a normal installation serves as part of the MEN system, it provides a path of return current in the event of a fault and a zero reference point for the system neutral.

In an isolated system, eg a standalone generator, there is no MEN system or zero reference on the neutral, in fact the neutral and active are both 'floating'. In this system it is advised to not connect the earthing conductor to the general mass of earth. In fact AS/NZS3001 Clause 3.5.1.1 (b)(i) specifically prohibits this (Portable structures, Earthing requirements).
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Follow Up By: gbc - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 13:32

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 13:32
^^^ copied from another conversation - hope it helps ^^^
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 17:35

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 17:35
Your Honda should not be earthed in Australia.
Motherhen

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 18:14

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 18:14
AS/NZS3001 does not "prohibit" an earthing connection to a portable generator.

What it says is that "An earth is neither required or recommended." That is not to mean that it is prohibited. The word 'prohibited' does not appear in the clause. Connecting the frame to earth is pointless in an isolated appliance.

Sitting the generator on bare soil is tantamount to connecting it to an earth stake of sorts and that is not addressed by the Standard.

I have no idea why Honda (or anyone else) would recommend using an earth stake. It is pointless and most would be ineffective anyway. But it would do no harm in normal operation, nor would it provide protection in abnormal operation.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 18:30

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 18:30
"Sitting the generator on bare soil is tantamount to connecting it to an earth stake of sorts and that is not addressed by the Standard."

Probably not in the case of a Honda EU20, Allan. It has a plastic base with rubber feet.

I don't know enough about this subject to be able to evaluate replies and opinions. What I would like from an authority is a definitive answer as to what is required to provide in a caravan under generator power the same protection you get in an up-to-date house.

Even Ron N's Powersafe link left me unsure. If that makes me slow, then I'll wear that on the chin.

I think what we need here is a link to a no ifs, buts or maybes answer, that says "You need this".

Is there any such thing?

Cheers
FrankP

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 18:41

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 18:41
Frank, I intended that remark to mean with a generator with metallic frame of course.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 19:07

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 19:07
Allan, I understood the Honda instructions as recommending the use of an earth on the genset when the building or structure being supplied with power is also earthed.
This seems to indicate the Honda is earthed to the frame. I don't have a wiring diagram for the Honda.

When we used to set up small minesite camps, we'd set up portable skid-mount 12KVA Ruston/Dunlite gensets and connect them to seatainers, transportable buildings, huts and caravans and earth out the genset, as well as the buildings and vans.
This seemed to work O.K., we had no electrocutions despite the normal amount of equipment failures.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 19:51

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 19:51
The current edition of Standards is less specific than previous editions that specifically forbade connecting any portable source of supply to earth.

because things have got more complicated.

BUT
what remains is.

ALmost without exception.....unless the generator has an earth leakage circuit breaker on board......there WILL BE NO earth neutral bond and there will be no electrical connection between the earth connection in the mains socket and the metal case If there is a metal case.....in fact mostly there will be no earth connection on the mains socket at all.

These devices are intended to operate as isolated floating supplies and should not be earthed unless they are connected to a permanent installation...and it will provide the earth.

AND damn straight.....you RCD in you van will not work.

How do you protect yourself......well you don't.

While there is some protection inherant in the floating supply configuratiuon...you are totally dependent on care and good practice.

If anybody doubts me...get out your multimeter abd check.

As far as sitting the generator on the ground giving an earth connection.
My 80's era generator that has no earth neutral bond and no connection of earth to the outer case allso is mounted in its frame on rubber mounts.

DO not try to earth your generator....just be carefull.

cheers

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 22:40

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 22:40
Bantam – as an unqualified electrician you shouldn’t be giving advice on safety issues such as this – it’s too dangerous.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 10:06

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 10:06
I think I am sufficiently qualified and licenced to comment on the matter.
....How about you.

If you have any hard information about the facts...please share.

I have the current version of AS3000 open in front of me.
And I have the previous 2 versions available to me.

Unfortunately I do not have a current copy of AS3010, though I do have AS3001 and AS3002 .....when I recently baught new standards I stopped at $1200.

The fact remains.

Non quilified electrical workers ...do not have the understanding to put an earthing system in place.

There is more to putting an earthing system in place than driving an earth stake.

If a complete earthing system is not implimented, arbitarily connecting an earth to a generator or inverter may actually make the situation more dangerous.

The facts are...

If you are operating equipment or a caravan off a portable source of supply...that is a generator or an inverter, much of the electrical protective system most take for granted in their homes simply does not work....in particular RCD earth leakage devices.

The only time that alll those protective features we have, will work is when there is a connection to a permanent installation with a fully implimented earthing system.

It is absolutely impertive that people understand, that unless either their generator or their caravan is connected to a perment installation with a full implimeted earthing system.

They must be very carefull because most of the protective measures WILL NOT WORK.

This means being absolutely sure all electrical equipment is in perfect condition.

They do not take any risks involving cables and sharp edges or jamming in metal framed doors.

No more than one, non double insulated metal cassed appliance is used with a generator or inverter....preferably onlly double insulated appliances used........in the case of a caravan.....that is the one metal cassed appliance...and all further appliance should be double insulated.

Take absolutely no risks with water, wet or damp situations.


Further proofs from the standards.

In past editions of the standards most of this was dealt with pretty simply in a couple of pages in AS3000, Theearthing issue was deakt with in a single short clause......the whole issue has expaned and combined with a number of related issues to a whole chapter with external references.

Regarding special case installations.

clause 7.3.6
The system of protective earthing in the electrical,installation shall be in accordance with section 5 of this standard as an MEN system.

Exception: where the output of the electricity gereration system does not exceed 25KVA, the output may be arranged as a seperated supply in accordance with the requirements of clause 7.4.


Because with most portable generation equipment we are unable to guarantee they will be connected to a fully implimented MEN system according to section 5 of AS3000.
The output of generators and inverters are " arranged as a seperated supply"

clause 7.4.5
Where a seperated circuit supplies a single item of electrical equipment any exposed conductive parts of the electrical equipment SHALL NOT BE CONNECTED TO THE EXPOSED PARTS OF ANY OTHER CIRCUIT, INCLUDING OTHER SEPERATED CIRCUITS OR EARTH.

further

clause 7.4.5
Where a seperated circuit supplies more than one item of electrical equipment, the following shall apply:

(a) Any exposed conductive parts of the seperated circuit shall be connected together by an insulated equipotal bonding conductor THAT IS NOT CONNECTED TO.
(i) EARTH
(ii)a protective conductor or exposed conductive parts of another circuit, including another seperated circuit
(iii) any extranius conductive parts.

there are parts b, c,d, e...that lay firthe requiremenst of an installation.



The standards clearly state that you SHALL NOT drive an earth stake for your portable generator or inverter...nor shall you connect them to any earth or exposed metal.

good enough

cheers
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:46

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:46
Hi Bantam,
List your email address and I will send you a copy of my qualifications.

Some people on this site are obviously trained electricians and others are obviously not.
I have employed enough electricians and engineers in my working days to know the difference.

I’ve also seen your past posts where you admit you have tried to get an electrical apprentice but failed.

You seem to pick up your knowledge from the internet, and I’ve seen your past posts where you didn’t even know about the lack of a bond between earth and a neutral on portable generators.

But now you do, having picked up that information from this site.
Not an ideal method of training in my view.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:52

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:52
Totally agree Dennis.
Bantam's assertion of .... "I think I am sufficiently qualified and licenced to comment on the matter." is not a clear expression of appropriate qualifications to be giving advice on matters of electrical rules and safety.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:15

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:15
Yep Allan,
I just trying to be the policeman
There are those out who realize they lack the electrical knowledge and admit it, but then there are those that don’t even know they lack the knowledge, but blunder along in blissful ignorance – these are the most dangerous ones.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:21

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:21
Dennis, Even worse maybe are those who know damn well that they are not qualified but will pose as such and influence unwary readers.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 15:02

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 15:02
Enough crap.....

Dennis you are not a policeman......I don't give a toss about your qualifications or anybody elses for that matter......what matters are the facts.

As far as picking up knoweledge from the internet.....well chum appart from the overpriced australian standards there is not much that is not on the internet these days including ALL state and federal legeslation.
Of course most government safety warnings and cautionary bullitens are published on the internet.

If you want a policeman.....the propper authorities are the state electrical departments......get a ruling from them.

That ruling, will probaly come via email.....over the internet.

The facts are

The standards forbid the connection of isolated power sources such as portable generators and inverters to earth by any other means than via a properly constituted earthing system installed by a licenced electrician......in partical terms that means a permanent fixed installation.

AND most of the safety devices people take for granted in their homes will not work on an isolated power supply.

This means people should be especially carfull when using electrical items on generators and inverters.


If you have anything to say that contradicts the above 2 facts and verbatum quotes from the standards and my single major assertion of caution.. cough up.

Some of us learn......others don't.

As for being qualified to comment........it is a #$@!&$ internet forum......if anybody wants advice that is legally worth having......speak to the electrical safety authority in your state.

Its not like I am directing some one how to wire their caravan and encouraging them to do so.

cheers

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 15:44

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 15:44
Bantam
I do wish you would learn to use the spell checker.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:11

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:11
I can use a spell checker...I just don't bother......its an internet forum.

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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:19

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:19


Honestly, between Bantam, Kelpie, and oldtrack this forum is going to the dogs...... a few people around here need to take a chill pill....
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 18:33

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 18:33
Scott M - why denigrate oldtrack?
There is no better authority on 240 volt AC safety issues – certainly not on this website.
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 19:59

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 19:59
Dennis, you're probably right, bit hard on oldtrack. Just mindful of the recent spat on solar converters ... mind you most of these seem tio have one common denominator..... * cough *
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 20:40

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 20:40
Scott, when you say "going to the dogs", did you have any particular breed in mind??????

WOOOF

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 20:46

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 20:46
Ron N posted:
Allan, I understood the Honda instructions as recommending the use of an earth on the genset when the building or structure being supplied with power is also earthed.
This seems to indicate the Honda is earthed to the frame. I don't have a wiring diagram for the Honda.

When we used to set up small minesite camps, we'd set up portable skid-mount 12KVA Ruston/Dunlite gensets and connect them to seatainers, transportable buildings, huts and caravans and earth out the genset, as well as the buildings and vans.
This seemed to work O.K., we had no electrocutions despite the normal amount of equipment failures.

Cheers, Ron

Hi Ron
That is a different situation
Those units were no doubt hard wired to the buildings,& the generators became a part of the permanent instalation
The generator frame would be required to be bonded to the main earth & a MAIN earth stake would be required just as with any mains supply.
The RCD & EN bond could be either at tht the MAIN switch board.
Hire generators are mandatorily fitted with RCDs & have the EN connection made IN orAT the generator
However a "MEN" system is not mandatory in those situations
Just equipotential "earth" bonding with of all metal that could become live plus an Approved earth stake[[grounding system] at just ONE point
No need for MULTIPLE EARTH STAKES[ M,E,N] as long as each buidling's earthing system is directly bonded to the main earthing
Just like a shed or garage, some way from the main switch board, an earth is ran to that building
NO EN connection within that building

PeterQ
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 22:24

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 22:24
Peter, In the current (?) AS3000:2007 an outbuilding is NOT connected to the main building earth system, and if an earth conductor is included with the submains to the outbuilding it is NOT to be connected to anything there. The outbuilding must have its own separate earth system which is then bonded to the neutral in the outbuilding.

Reading the last bit of your post: "Just like a shed or garage, some way from the main switch board, an earth is ran to that building NO EN connection within that building" is a bit confusing without an "IF", but I'm sure we are the same page.
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 23:39

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 23:39
HI Zippo

AS/nzs 3000 Cl 5, 5.3.1 [a] covers the garage/ outbuilding situation type situation where circuits originate in the main switch board & the is no subboard in the outbulding
But if the outbuildings have sub boards then CL5.3.1[b] applies.
Would not like to go into too much detail on an open forum

PeterQ
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 00:57

Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 00:57
Peter, I had always understood the no-sub-board case to allow either (a) or (b) while presence of a sub-board required (b). Agree on your last sentence though.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 08:21

Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 08:21
Other way around Zippo.
Method (a) can be used with a sub-board or with final sub-circuits only. Method (b) is treated as a Separate Electrical Installation and requires a sub-board with an MEN connection.
But as Peter has said, we should not be discussing this in detail here.
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 18:49

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 18:49
Ron173,

Your Honda is an isolated source of supply because neither side of its live conductors are connected to the frame or to earth. This provides a protection from a fault current returning via an alternate path, possibly through a human body.

HOWEVER, this degree of protection only applies whilst the system remains isolated. This isolation can be defeated if the insulation of the circuit were to fail. The most likely possibility of failure is a fault in a connected appliance between a live conductor and the exposed metal body of the appliance. Initially, such fault would go undetected until the event of a similar fault in another connected appliance whereupon human connection between the two appliances would result in electric shock.

The simplest method to avoid such a situation is to not use any Class 1 appliances (those with metal bodies) and use only Class 2 appliances, usually referred to as "Double Insulated". Appliances furnished with an attached cord having a plug with no earth pin are Class 2, although some Class 2 appliances do have an earth pin but it is not connected. Obviously, the appliances need to be maintained in good condition to be confident of remaining safe.

RCD's cannot protect in the situation I have described above but voltage-sensing protection devices such as the Powersafe can.

To answer your specific other questions:
An earth rod of any sort, connected to the metal frame or the "Earth" stud of your gennie would provide no protection.
"Current sensing" on your genny has no relevance to faults to "earth".

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 19:22

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 19:22
HI
Allan has pretty well said it all
THe earth rod or any conection to earth serves no useful purpose
& "IS NEITHER REQUIRED OR RECOMMENDED" irrespective of what any makers instructions may say

A van RCD if fitted is not functuinal with an isolated genertaor or inverter plugged into the van power inlet socket
The safety recommendation is"Never connect more than ONE class1 device at any time to an isolates supply"[ Class 1 have
3pin plugs]
If you connect to the van ,the van itself is that ONE class 1device

I would suggest anyone who is concerned get a RVD installed in the van
I would further suggest anyone ordering a van specify that they want a RVD not a RCD


PeterQ
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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:02

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:02
Can I add that personally I would be having the van wiring checked & tested regularly by a qualified electrician. Including both visual and using test equipment such as a Megger to test for insulation breakdown as the wiring is subjected to movement and causing such a situation as Alan has pointed out.

cheers
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:50

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:50
HI Cookie
While regular test is a good idea,it only indicates there is no problem AT THE MOMENT OF TESTING

Good full time protection does a far better job.

That is why RCDs are now mandatory in virtually ALL situations

But why a RVD/RCD combo is far superior especialy in cases where an ISOLATED supply may be used.


PeterQ
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:59

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:59
Hi
Just an addition to the above:
BARE section of cables may not be in contact with exposed metal at the time of testing
It would be a long job to check every nail, screw or other fixings that may have penetrated cable insulation ,yet THAT is a common problem with vans, etc.[A small live metal area just waiting for someone to finish the connection to the frame or earth.]


PeterQ
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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 18:52

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 18:52
Hi Peter,

the type of testing I am referring to is Mandatory testing on installations and must be done for new or additional works, in fact I have witnessed many prospective electricians fail there Electrical Practical through not undertaking it correctly.

You are correct that if there are bare conductors that are no where near the metal components of the van or between each other, throwing a 1KV megger may not pick it up, but it is far better than waiting for the kaboom, prevention is far better than cure.

Indeed any portable devices used in commercial premises must be tested regularly and tagged.

cheers

A Class Sparky / Contractor
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Reply By: Tony F8 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 18:11

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 18:11
Allan and Dennis, the electronics dynamic duo, exploroz's answer to Batman and Robin, Startsky and Hutch and The Green Hornet and Kato. But seriously they are a pair of gurus when it comes to electronics, keep up the good work fella's.
Cheers.
Tony F8
AnswerID: 542949

Reply By: Ron173 - Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 17:41

Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 17:41
G'day all,

Well what a response!
Ive been away in my van all weekend.

Didn't mean to open a can of worms, but seriously a huge thanks for all the replies.

I have read them all and taken onboard a LOT.

Wether bantam is a qualified sparky or not doesn't matter, his advice was decent and genuine, and I appreciate it and ALL the others also.

The bottom line is that of ensuring all equipment used is in good nick. I don't do dodgy things with powerboards overloaded n cables through doors etc. My gen runs an ac unit, and some lights mainly.

I try to run from batteries, MORE SO now, that's on 12v lighting etc, so charge up from Honda during day n run at night on batts.

I also have an inverter, which I use occasionally to be quiet, but I'm assuming the risks are the same as with the genny.

As said my van is a bit of an old girl, but when I get round to buying a decent one for retirement, I'll be better informed to ask for RVD fitment.

Thanks again guys

Top info

cheers

Ron
AnswerID: 542991

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