Caravan powered with generator

Submitted: Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 at 00:10
ThreadID: 110560 Views:3268 Replies:7 FollowUps:20
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Does anyone know if there is a device, similar to an RCD, that would be suitable for generator power connected to a caravan ?
There is no earth to the Honda generator or caravan.
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Reply By: oldtrack123 - Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 at 00:53

Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 at 00:53
HI Yes
A RVD available from "Safelec technologies"
Contact them & they will advise on the best model
Most likely a RVD-EMR[ 16Amp]
It can replace the existing RCD & does not destroy the isolation of the generator supply

PeterQ
AnswerID: 543500

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 at 07:58

Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 at 07:58
Ian at info@powerstream.com.au
There are several versions for specific applications. Ian will advise.
Just installed one in the OKA.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
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Follow Up By: Member-George (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 13:46

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 13:46
Hi Peter, are you located in WA ? Cheers
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 19:53

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 19:53
George, PeterQ is a banana bender.

PeterD
Retired radio and electronics technician

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

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Reply By: Member-George (WA) - Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 at 18:31

Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 at 18:31
Thanks to Oldtrack123 and Ian, I will follow up with both suggestions. Cheers
AnswerID: 543526

Follow Up By: Member-George (WA) - Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 at 18:32

Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 at 18:32
Sorry, that should be Oldtrack123 and Peter
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 at 23:47

Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014 at 23:47
Hi
Either link gets you to the same company
PeterQ
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Reply By: Kevin.Hutch - Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 19:01

Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 19:01
An RCD will work fine with a generator as it is a "Residual Current Device" that reacts to a current differential between the two live wires (four in a three phase).

In an isolated system there is no Active or Neutral until a fault or connection creates a path from one of the live legs and earth, as is the case in a Grid wired system with MEN (Multiple Earthed Neutrals) in the VAN parks. This is why all switches in a VAN must be double pole by law, to isolate the risk.

Active is defined as relative to ground and Neutral is defines as at earth potential.

Only then can touching one of the live wires conduct through a person to ground.

Therefore the RCD in your VAN will provide the SAME protection it would at home.

An RCD does not protect from getting across both live wires in either case.

The real issue is how will you plug your 15amp plug into the 10 amp from the generator.

If you have a way, illegal cord or filed down plug, how did you get it tagged and tested?

I use a power block that has a 10amp plug a 10amp RCD and a 15amp outlet readily available from Jaycar for about $70.

Kevin H

AnswerID: 543799

Follow Up By: Member-George (WA) - Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 19:26

Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 19:26
Thanks Kevin, I appreciate your detailed advise, all makes sense to me now, Cheers
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Follow Up By: TomH - Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 20:01

Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 20:01
Perhaps you should read this thread about non compliant Jaycar products

http://www.caravanersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=36007


The ampfibian is the only device approved for use with mobile structures (Read Caravans)

The Jaycar one is for indoor use only and is complied to a different standard
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FollowupID: 830840

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 21:00

Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 21:00
swerID: 543799 Submitted: Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 09:21
Kevin.Hutch replied:
[1]
An RCD will work fine with a generator as it is a "Residual Current Device" that reacts to a current differential between the two live wires (four in a three phase).

[2]
In an isolated system there is no Active or Neutral until a fault or connection creates a path from one of the live legs and earth, as is the case in a Grid wired system with MEN (Multiple Earthed Neutrals) in the VAN parks. This is why all switches in a VAN must be double pole by law, to isolate the risk.

Active is defined as relative to ground and Neutral is defines as at earth potential.

[3]
Only then can touching one of the live wires conduct through a person to ground.

[[4]][Therefore the RCD in your VAN will provide the SAME protection it would at home.

[[5]]
An RCD does not protect from getting across both live wires in either case.

[6]
The real issue is how will you plug your 15amp plug into the 10 amp from the generator.

[7]
If you have a way, illegal cord or filed down plug, how did you get it tagged and tested?


[8]
I use a power block that has a 10amp plug a 10amp RCD and a 15amp outlet readily available from Jaycar for about $70.

Kevin H[End Quote]


Hi Kevin
I do not know where youi receved your infomation but most of it is totally incorrect

[1]
A RCD SIMPLY CANNOT WORK with an isolated supply /source ,such as most small portable generators & invertes sold in Aus Suich as most generators

[2]
Double pole switchs are required in AUSnot just on caravans etc but virtually all plug in device that have a swtch fitted .
The reason being that there is no way of ensuring a single poleswitch would be actually SWITCHING THE ACTIVE
[3]
I assume what you realy mean that a shock from "ACTIVE" to earth can only occur IF one line of what was an isolated supply becomes earthed due to a LINE to EARTH fault????
[4]
The van RCD only gives protection IF a neutral to EARTHbond has been made BEFORE the RCD AS in MAINS supplies OR IF a generator /inverter has been Permanently & CORRECTLY WIRED INTO THE SYSTEM.
IT CANNOT give protection from shocks to earth in the van or from the van to earthwith a generator plugged into the VAN inlet socket
[5]
Congrats ,You got that one right

[6]
Yes
& an often broken regulation/ rule

Home made 10to 15A adapters are illegal & shall not be used
[7]
[a]Only An approved adapter shall be used which shall have a IPX4 rating at leatT for use in outdoor situations ,such as CPs ,camping /show grounds etc
The Jaycar unit is not approved for use in CPs, Camping /show grounds
It's approval only covers indoor use[ IPx3 rating]
[ b]
The Ampfibian IS A FULLY APPROVED ADAPTERfor use in outdoor situations such as CPs camping /showgropunds etcd grounds etc
It has a IPx4 rating


PeterQ
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FollowupID: 830845

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 21:03

Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 21:03
Member-George (WA) posted:
Thanks Kevin, I appreciate your detailed advise, all makes sense to me now, Cheers
My faithfull Kelpie
Just Do It
VKS-737, Mobile 2131
Radio Operator
Member: My Profile My Blog My Position Send Message
Classifieds: AUSLIG TOPOGRAPHICAL MAPS, AUSTRALIA COMPLETE. Paperend quote]

HI George
Best ignored, full o incorect misleading advice!!!

PeterQ
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FollowupID: 830848

Follow Up By: Member-George (WA) - Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 22:43

Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 22:43
There appears to be a variety of opinions on this subject, here and also on the internet.
It would be helpful if the persons expressing their opinion could also qualify their expertise on the subject, i.e. licensed electrician, electrical engineer etc.
Thank you for all your interest in a fairly important subject, Cheers
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FollowupID: 830852

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 00:21

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 00:21
Hi George
Licensed electrician, Electrical contractor [ retired] with over 60years experience in a wide range of industial electrical equipment & industrial electronics

Worked with RCDs,[or ELCBs as the were first called ]Servicing & fault finding with them from when they FIRST came onto the Aus market around late 50s
I was head serviceman for the company that vitually inrtoduced them to QLD
I copuld add other quals but the above are the most relevent to this subject


PeterQ
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FollowupID: 830854

Follow Up By: Kevin.Hutch - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 10:05

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 10:05
Hi Kevin
I do not know where you received your information but most of it is totally incorrect.

>Peter, This is where you are wrong, I am actually I have many years of experience designing and correcting marine >low voltage systems and I stand behind all my comments. I have had these same discussions with >many "qualified" electricians in the Marine environment trying to fit MEN to ships generators.

[1]
A RCD SIMPLY CANNOT WORK with an isolated supply /source ,such as most small portable generators & inverters sold in Aus Such as most generators.

>This is because an RCD will not work unless there is a fault to create a residual current to trip it.
>It is not uncommon to have two faults first live to earth then one live is active.

[2]
Double pole switches are required in AUS not just on caravans etc but virtually all plug in device that have a switch fitted .
The reason being that there is no way of ensuring a single pole switch would be actually SWITCHING THE ACTIVE

>Single pole switches are regularly used in MEN systems, all my outlets at home are single pole as well as many of my old appliances, even a std power board has single pole switching.

[3]
I assume what you really mean that a shock from "ACTIVE" to earth can only occur IF one line of what was an isolated supply becomes earthed due to a LINE to EARTH fault????

>Without a fault there is no active without an active there is minimal risk.

[4]
The van RCD only gives protection IF a neutral to EARTH bond has been made BEFORE the RCD AS in MAINS supplies OR IF a generator /inverter has been Permanently & CORRECTLY WIRED INTO THE SYSTEM.

IT CANNOT give protection from shocks to earth in the van or from the van to earth with a generator plugged into the VAN inlet socket

>Doesn't matter where the earth bond is it will still will still create a differential from the source. Generators are not normally neutral earthed and it is recommended that they not be. The earth fault may occur within the van, however without some earth connection to the van there still is no active. An active van would trip its RCD if one touched it from outside on the ground.

[5]
Congrats ,You got that one right

>An important point that many people calling an RCD a safety switch do not understand.

[6]
Yes & an often broken regulation/ rule

Home made 10to 15A adapters are illegal & shall not be used

>The standard also call for one single >10Mtr lead to connect the van to the power, so a standard an adaptor is also illegal.

ASA 3001 - "A supply lead for connection to relocatable premises as per Section 3 or to the electrical equipment in a tent or non-rigid annex as per Section 4, shall be in one length (refer to Clause 5.2) and shall comply with Clauses 5.1.2 to 5.1.4."
and
"The length of any supply lead shall be not less than 10 m and not more than the relevant figure specified in Table 5.1 for the applicable conductor cross-sectional area."


[7]
[a]Only An approved adapter shall be used which shall have a IPX4 rating at least for use in outdoor situations ,such as CPs ,camping /show grounds etc
The Jaycar unit is not approved for use in CPs, Camping /show grounds
It's approval only covers indoor use[ IPx3 rating]

> Mine has been tested and tagged so is legal for use and yes it is not rated for use in the weather but nor is a generator.

[ b]
The Ampfibian IS A FULLY APPROVED ADAPTER for use in outdoor situations such as CPs camping /showgrounds etc grounds etc
It has a IPx4 rating

>yes an excellent product but how does it fit within the one cord rule.

Kevin H
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FollowupID: 830882

Follow Up By: Member-George (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 13:43

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 13:43
Hi Kevin, are you located in WA ? Cheers
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FollowupID: 830894

Follow Up By: Kevin.Hutch - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 21:18

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 21:18
No I am not in WA but in QLD however the standards are national.

I would like to retract my statement on item 4

"Doesn't matter where the earth bond is it will still will still create a differential from the source. Generators are not normally neutral earthed and it is recommended that they not be. The earth fault may occur within the van, however without some earth connection to the van there still is no active. An active van would trip its RCD if one touched it from outside on the ground."

I believe this to be academically correct, as a live van does not constitute an Active van, but it could be misinterpreted.

Whilst the original question was "Does anyone know if there is a device, similar to an RCD, that would be suitable for generator power connected to a caravan ?
There is no earth to the Honda generator or caravan"

There is no residual current without a separate path to the source, a generator normally will have a 10amp socket so the 15a plug from the van will need to be adapted.

An amphibian or a Jacar unit will fulfill this need in a safe, legal and responsible way, accepting that the Jacar unit is not weather resistant. Whilst acknowledging that it will not provide identical protection to an MEN based RCD it will provide much of the required protection.

The side issue of whether a Jaycar unit complies with 3001 is irrelevant to the question as the need for a 10a plug negates the compliance with ASA3001 as by definition all ASA3001 compliant connection points must be 15amp sockets.

The ASA3001 standard did and I believe still does not apply to the use of a generator, whilst I concede the risk is similar.

In my time on the electrical standards committee, generators, invertors and all other sources other than the Australian Grid were not made mandatory by legislative reference to the standard.

Kevin H
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FollowupID: 830913

Follow Up By: Member-George (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 22:07

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 22:07
To both Kevin and Peter, your time and detailed efforts with answering my question is very much appreciated by myself and, I'm sure, many other readers. Thank you. Cheers
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FollowupID: 830917

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 22:08

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 22:08
Kevin is starting to sound like Bantam .... except he can spell.

* ducks head *
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FollowupID: 830918

Follow Up By: Member - G.T. - Wednesday, Jan 07, 2015 at 20:18

Wednesday, Jan 07, 2015 at 20:18
Agree!! I don`t know why he did not respond, he usually is in boots and all. Regards G.T.
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Reply By: Kevin.Hutch - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 11:04

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 11:04
George as a HAM you would understand that on the top of an active commercial transmitter mast it is likely to be up to 4,000 volts, so how can I change the red light bulb.

Simple don't touch the ground as an active voltage is only relative to ground.

Kevin H
son of a VK2YP a Commercial radio operator.
AnswerID: 543823

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Wednesday, Jan 07, 2015 at 22:18

Wednesday, Jan 07, 2015 at 22:18
HI Kevin
I think you need to retrack MORE
[Quote Kevin}
.

[1]>Peter, This is where you are wrong, I am actually I have many years of experience designing and correcting marine >low voltage systems and I stand behind all my comments. I have had these same discussions with >many "qualified" electricians in the Marine environment trying to fit MEN to ships generators.

[[2]>This is because an RCD will not work unless there is a fault to create a residual current to trip it.
[3]>It is not uncommon to have two faults first live to earth then one live is active.

[4]Single pole switches are regularly used in MEN systems, all my outlets at home are single pole as well as many of my old appliances, even a std power board has single pole switching.

[[5]>Without a fault there is no active without an active there is minimal risk.


[6]>Doesn't matter where the earth bond is it will still will still create a differential from the source. Generators are not normally neutral earthed and it is recommended that they not be. The earth fault may occur within the van, however without some earth connection to the van there still is no active. An active van would trip its RCD if one touched it from outside on the ground.

[7]
[a]The Standard also call for one single >10Mtr lead to connect the van to the power, so a standard an adaptor is also illegal.

[b]ASA 3001 - "A supply lead for connection to relocatable premises as per Section 3 or to the electrical equipment in a tent or non-rigid annex as per Section 4, shall be in one length (refer to Clause 5.2) and shall comply with Clauses 5.1.2 to 5.1.4."
and
[c]"The length of any supply lead shall be not less than 10 m and not more than the relevant figure specified in Table 5.1 for the applicable conductor cross-sectional area."


[[8]

[a]> Mine has been tested and tagged so is legal for use and yes it is not rated for use in the weather but nor is a generator.


[b]>yes an excellent product but how does it fit within the one cord rule.
[End quotes]

MY replies
[1]You may know a lot about ships & I really do not how any one could actually uses M. E. N.system on a ship !!So those electricians must have been prtetty dumb
E>N with eqipotential bonding throughout would surely be the norm??
MEN is for transmissiomn line systems were the NEUTRAL is earthed at many points on the transmission lines & at ALL consumer main switchboards

[2[ Have I said other wise ??
What it actually needs is an out of balance current between the ACTIVE & NEUTRAL lines IN THE RCD itself
CORE NOT BALANCED & IT TRIPS.
[3]Of course & when the first fault from a line to earth occurs you have an EARTHED NEUTRAL system
An E,N. system with NO RCD protection is the same as any M.E.N. system without RCD protection
POTENTIALLY DEADLY!!

[4]Of Course SP switches are standard for MAINS wiring simply because polarity can be gauranteed
No plugs /extension leads etc where polarity may be lost
Transportanbe structures as covered by AS/NZS3001 are a totally different situation .DOUBLE pole switching SHALL BE USED throughout IN AUS
AS far back AS I can remeber [some 60years] portable hand tools have required double pole switching, for the same simple reason a single pole switch may not be in the active ,[especially dangerous with ANY class 1 tool /device
I do not know how old that power board of yours is But it is now mandatory for ALL power boards portable outlet boxes[ Any sort that is plugged in] to have DP etc
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FollowupID: 831010

Reply By: oldtrack123 - Wednesday, Jan 07, 2015 at 23:45

Wednesday, Jan 07, 2015 at 23:45
Hi
Got called away & accidently hit the send key when I came back
[Quote Kevin]"[4]Single pole switches are regularly used in MEN systems, all my outlets at home are single pole as well as many of my old appliances, even a std power board has single pole switching.

[[5]>Without a fault there is no active without an active there is minimal risk.


[6]>Doesn't matter where the earth bond is it will still will still create a differential from the source. Generators are not normally neutral earthed and it is recommended that they not be. The earth fault may occur within the van, however without some earth connection to the van there still is no active. An active van would trip its RCD if one touched it from outside on the ground.

[7]
[a]The Standard also call for one single >10Mtr lead to connect the van to the power, so a standard an adaptor is also illegal.

[b]ASA 3001 - "A supply lead for connection to relocatable premises as per Section 3 or to the electrical equipment in a tent or non-rigid annex as per Section 4, shall be in one length (refer to Clause 5.2) and shall comply with Clauses 5.1.2 to 5.1.4."
and
]"The length of any supply lead shall be not less than 10 m and not more than the relevant figure specified in Table 5.1 for the applicable conductor cross-sectional area."


[[8]

[a]> Mine has been tested and tagged so is legal for use and yes it is not rated for use in the weather but nor is a generator.


[b]>yes an excellent product but how does it fit within the one cord rule.
[End quotes]


[4]--------- as far back asI can remember[ 1940s] portable electrical tools have been
fitted with DP switching, .
Simple reason ,there could be no gaurantee that a SP swtch was switching the active.

I do not know how old your power board is or who tested & tagged it ,but all powerboards even the elcheapo from chain stores SHALL be fitted with DP switching That is also a "shall be "with any portable outlet BOXES/board including those by Clipsal, Arlec & from Bunnings & such hardware stores

[5]Yes ,
It is save until it is no longer an '"isolated "system.
Isolation lost due to a line to eath faultANYWHERE in the system [wiring ,aplliances etc]
It is then as potentially deadly as any domestic supply not fitted with a RCD

Deaths have occurred ,many shocks recieved due to loss of isolation
So many, that it is now mandatory for ALL generators in the bulding ,construction ,mining industries &for HIRE
to no longer be isolated but to be fitted with a fully functional RCD[A E.N bond made internally]

[6]
I suggest you sketch up a few situations before you repeat that statement
I
You will soon find that without a EN bond upstream from the RCD it connot function on a downstream fault!!
Very simple reason, the current going through each leg of the RCD remain in balance

The rest of [6] is just twaddle as you do not understand basic RCD requirements
You do not seem to undertstand, when the comments is made "An earth istake is neither required or recommended" They mean do not connect the generator to mother earth or any Structure which is earthed to mother earth
But the generator frame SHALL be equipotentially bonded to the "Transportable structures "earthing system"ie the VAN frame & all earthed devices in ,.on the van.
That bonding is done by means of the EARTHING cable in the extension lead.
[7]
[a]AS/NZS 3001 does not limit the extension lead to 10M All the extension lead must do is complywith the requirements of AS/NZS 3199
That stipulates cable sizes for different lengths of extension for both normal & high surge current applications
It also says the extension lead SHALL have the same rated PLUG & SOCKET
It does not call for 10M extension lead
All the extension lead has to do is comply withAS3199

An "APPROVED "dapter can only have a specified SHORT cable
It is not classed as an extension lead
The 10M is in the CP power supply part,NOW required that all CPpower outlets beable to supply a van by a 10M extension lead.
The an onwer can use longer leads as long as they comply to AS3199!!
] YES it shall be in ONE piece,no joining of EXTENSION leads I wonder if you know why ??
If you know the answerto that you will understand why the use of an "approved "adapterdoes not contravene the rules

[8 ] [a]
Since I do not know what your is Icannot comment
Except to say,if it is not IPx4 rated IT SHALL NOT be used in public places,CP Showgrounds ,camping grounds

[b]YES it does comply It is an APPROVED adapter with anIPx4 rating.

PeterQ
AnswerID: 543900

Follow Up By: Kevin.Hutch - Thursday, Jan 08, 2015 at 09:33

Thursday, Jan 08, 2015 at 09:33
Peter I acknowledge your expertise and point of view on this subject, my copy of 3001 has obviously been superseded.

I consider it inappropriate for us to continue this discussion at this depth as points are obviously misinterpreted (live vs active, MEN vs EN, TT vs IT, Earthed vs Equibonded etc) could all be misunderstood/misapplied by readers less knowledgeable of the subject.

Context is a wonderfully thing when used in debate as is the common misuse of terminology.

Suffice to say I have ordered an RVD-EMR, I advise others to do the same and will continue with my travels using my Jacar MS4044 out of the weather where appropriate.

Kevin H
0
FollowupID: 831025

Reply By: oldtrack123 - Thursday, Jan 08, 2015 at 16:08

Thursday, Jan 08, 2015 at 16:08
Hi Kevin
I am very pleased to see that you are getting a RVD -EMR
Now you can keep your generator as an isolated supply ,no need to create an EN link in the generator.
Knowing that when you plug it into the van inlet socket, that when/ 'IF a fault developes ANYWHERE to earth in the system the RVD will sense that & you then have protection from shocks to earth with both mains supply[ M.E.N ] & generator[isolated ] supply .

PeterQo
AnswerID: 543930

Follow Up By: pete p1 - Friday, Jan 09, 2015 at 13:42

Friday, Jan 09, 2015 at 13:42
Hi Guys remember that and RCD will not protect you from a shock if you come in contact with both supply wires at the same time, so don't play or try and repair faulty 240 appliances kettle toaster griller etc unless you really know what you are doing. RCD's are not fool proof

pete
1
FollowupID: 831093

Reply By: oldtrack123 - Friday, Jan 09, 2015 at 23:51

Friday, Jan 09, 2015 at 23:51
Hi P1
Yes, You are so right
There is NO device that can protect from shock or electrocution if one gets across the two lines of an isolated supply [generator or inverter]or ACTIVE & NEUTRALl of a non isolated supply

Always remember that like fire, Electricity can be a good servent ,but if not handled with care can get nasty & KILL
THAT means follow the rules & regulations
Do not do work that is legislated to be LICENSED work !

PeterQ
AnswerID: 544007

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