Caravan 15amp Leads

Submitted: Friday, Feb 27, 2015 at 22:52
ThreadID: 111262 Views:2730 Replies:5 FollowUps:22
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There seems to be a numbers laws have changed that not many people know about.

When you look these laws up on the net they dates that go back 6 to 7 years and probably are out of date.

I heard this yesterday that a 15 amp lead used for connecting power to your caravan has be tag tested.

Has anyone heard of this?
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Reply By: TomH - Friday, Feb 27, 2015 at 22:58

Friday, Feb 27, 2015 at 22:58
You heard wrong and has been a thread recently all about it.

Between this and D Shackles and over weight blitzes has been a month of rumour and supposition.

A Camp owner could have the right to insist it was but so far no one can verify it having been done
AnswerID: 546700

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 12:46

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 12:46
Agree with TomH.

Every few weeks or so a thread appears here or Caravaners Forum about everything from power leads, rated D shackles, the coppers blitzing towball loads, etc, etc, etc.
While the general idea of using rated D shackles, having power leads tested, making sure your tow ball and all other weights are correct and legal, every time someone is asked to post a personal experience it always turns out to be something heard around a campfire and reported by a very reliable source.
Usually like the old cousins/brothers/best mates barber said.....

The only time I have ever been told by the person who actually had the experience, rather than about 6th versions later, was a guy in a CP in the north of WA who got pulled into a weight checking station in Newman on the Great Northern Hwy. No trucks in at the time and when asked how often vans get weighed, the scaleys told him that as no trucks were passing at the time and they were getting a little bored they decided to pull a van or two over just for something to do.
The inspector apparently said they were usually way too busy with the truckies to bother with caravans.
Not to say it wouldn't or couldn't happen, they have every right to do so but it sounds like the truckies normally give them enough business to keep them occupied.

After 8 years of van ownership, many caravan parks and station stays and including our just completed 6 month lap of the block using CP's all the way, we never got asked once. Never even spoke to anyone in all that time who had been asked by a CP owner to have a look at the leads.

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Follow Up By: BunderDog - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 22:13

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 22:13
Well this appears to be pretty specific......................

Safety Chain Connections (Shackles)
TMR requires that “D” Shackles, used to connect a trailer safety chain(s) to the towing vehicle, must have
strength that is compatible with the safety chain (fit for purpose). This can be ensured in a couple of ways:
1. Use of “D” Shackles that comply with AS 2741-2002 “Shackles” and having the appropriate
markings is one way. TMR recommends this method.
2. Another way of ensuring that the “D” Shackle used is of appropriate strength is to select a “D”
Shackle of reputed brand (for example, a towbar manufacturer) so the part has its brand
name/model permanently marked on it.
“D” Shackles that do not have any markings make it difficult to identify there source and strength and may
raise questions during any roadside audit by enforcement officers.

Safety chain strength is specified in terms of minimum Proof Load in kN. Proof load is defined in AS
4177.4-2004 as “The load which chain must be able to withstand, while remaining in service”. D shackle
strength is specified in terms of Working Load Limit (WLL) in kN. Working Load Limit is defined in AS
2741-2002 as “The maximum load that may be applied to the shackle, which may be re-rated for particular
conditions of use”.
As you can see, the definitions for Proof Load and Working Load Limit (WLL) are similar. In other words,
WLL is to D shackle what Proof Load is to safety chain
FollowupID: 834527

Reply By: Garry E1 - Friday, Feb 27, 2015 at 23:09

Friday, Feb 27, 2015 at 23:09
Tom H thanks for reply. D shackles is what else I am referring to.

I heard about this at the recent Adelaide Caravan & camping show & when I went on the net I cannot find where this law.
At the local hardware store I asked about it and the answer was oh yes police are booking for not having rated D shackles.

When I asked a particular tow bar company the answer was the police didn't know anything about having to have rated shackles & were trying to what the law was
AnswerID: 546701

Follow Up By: TomH - Friday, Feb 27, 2015 at 23:30

Friday, Feb 27, 2015 at 23:30
Is absolute rubbish to put it plainly

Read this Did it to death
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Reply By: SDG - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 01:16

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 01:16
The only time I know of that a 15amp cord needs to be tested, is if your using it, to run a business. So unless your van is being used for business you should be right.
AnswerID: 546703

Follow Up By: Dingojim - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 12:27

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 12:27
Hi all. Some of the furphys that bob up from time to time must cause some uncertainty in the minds of many. As 15 amp leads are used only for connecting RV's to 240v, and not as a general purpose extension lead, then if there was a legal requirement for them to be T&T they would have this done prior to sale one would think. I think I'll start a rumour along the lines " All tyres to be checked for concentricity prior to departure". Cheers.
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 12:39

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 12:39
Leads and power tools are not sold T & T and proof of purchase date equates to being tagged for the standard tagging period of the relevant industry you are working in

In our industry that would be either one or three months before T& T was required again

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Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 12:28

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 12:28
Garry, there is no official requirement for private caravan power leads to be tagged and tested.
The tagging and testing is required under OH&S laws, where the operation of the cord is in a work environment, and employees are involved.

It is advisable to have your cord tagged and tested, to ensure that any damage from being run over is picked up.

The following site gives excellent advice re caravan power cords.

Caravan Power Cords

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 546722

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 13:23

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 13:23
I find that article very poorly written. The author starts something and then often does not finish it.

He also does not seem to know the regs very well to boot, eg "You can use 10A power cords but there are a few restrictions. The length cannot exceed 10m unless a 1.5sq mm conductor is used, and the inlet socket on the RV and the circuit breaker must be rated at 10A only." The Table of Maximum Lengths of Flexible Cord in AS/NZS3001 clearly indicate that 10 A cords constructed with 1 mm2 cable can be up to 25 metres. That means hat if your van is properly constructed with a 10 A input then you can run a lead with conductors or 1 mm2 up to 25 meters to supply your van.
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 16:45

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 16:45
PeterD ,has it right .
THe best place for that article is the rubbish bin!!
Totally misleading.
To even suggest that a home made adapter 10<15A is ok is unbelievable!
I wondere if the writer realy understood his own article.& on what basis he has made many of his comments
[a]There is no requirement under any Standard or regulations for an extension lead of any rating to be tested & tagged when used with a van etc in a CP
However the CP may ,as a condition of use ,require such.
It may be a condition in THEIR insurance,

[b]The Standards set & give a table of approved sized cables & max lengths & current ratings that each size can be used for
Any extension lead that does not comply to that Standard cannot be approved & SHALL NOT BE USED
[c] The Standards clearly state that "An extension lead SHALL have the same rated plug as socket "
Any lead no matter how short or long that does not comply to that , cannot be approved and SHALL NOT BE USED

[d]APPROVED 10A to 15A adaptors are available.
The ONLY one fully approved for caravan use in Cps ,Showgrounds etc is the Ampthibian .
THey should be FIRST in line [no 10A extension lead] plugged direct into the 10A socket

[e]By agreement , vans etc can be fitted with a 10A inlet socket & be used with an APPROVED 10A extension lead
However the van must be fitted with a current limiting overload circuit breaker rated @10A

[f]I doubt you will find ANY AUS made vans with single pole switching
Double pole throughout has been an AUS requirement for a very very loooong time
In fact ,applied to ANY switch on ANY device connected by plug & socket[ tools , appliances ,power boards ,Transportable structures etc]
BUT New zealand is a different matter vans there can have either ,subject to certain other requirements.

[g]Polarity of extension leads is a relatively new rquirement in AUS
However since unlicensed persons shall not make up ,repair leads that should not be a problem,
Approved leads will have correct polarity .!

ps There would be many many older homes throughout Aus, whose power outlets may not be polarised to TODAY'S Standards
But they do still have the ACTIVE switched

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Follow Up By: MactrolPod - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 21:18

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 21:18
"(g)" and "ps" have me confused as to what you mean. I am an electrician with 40 years experience, all outlets be they on a cord or fixed have a correct polarity and when tested must be correct before putting into service. Can you explain what you mean, thanks.
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 22:44

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 22:44
Hi Mac
Before combination power outlets became standard ,there was no rule regarding actual pin polarity of the socket
Switch & socket were individually wired by the electrician
It is those homes that I was referring too

The Actual Switch DID have to switch the active !!
Since there was no defined polarity of the outlet socket pins , the polarity the active & neutral of the extension lead plug & socket was of no importance

The requirement for DOUBLE pole switching for all plug connected devices ensured that the Active was always switched at the device .
That req still exists today .!!!
FollowupID: 834528

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 22:53

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 22:53
I cannot edit but to clarify
Testing ensured, as it does today, the the socket switch IS switching the active

All switches ,which are a part of a plug connected devices ,tools ,vans , etc SHALL',to this day, be double pole
{Aust VANS come under that}
So again incorrect polarity in either the extension lead or the tool etc is STILL covered


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Follow Up By: MactrolPod - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 08:07

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 08:07
In all my years in the trade I have never heard or seen this. Connection of sockets of all types the active has always been top left, neutral top right, earth bottom 6 o'clock. And yes I have used the old style mounted seperately.
I was told double pole switching in any plugin device be it a caravan or a rangehood was to protect the user if the plug was replaced and wired incorrectly. Same goes for a lead to a caravan, the person replacing it did not have to be a qualified electrician (that may have changed) so had a higher risk of wiring it wrong and even lesser chance of testing it. So switching both active and neutral gave a better chance the active did get isolated. If the earth go mixed up with the active... well that's another story.
I'm seeing our local installation inspector soon so will ask him if he knows about polarity of early power installations.
I'm struggling to believe what you say, but have an open mind and don't say you are wrong.
Regarding testing a lead as the original post, I would suggest it is a great idea for your personal peace of mind. dogs have been known to chew leads, a tooth hole is a path for electricity. Just one example of what could happen.
Get the van tested too, safety switches fail, cables fail or get eaten by pests, terminals can come loose. Why not be sure you kit is in good condition. Every year or two is probably a good idea, Moore often if you travel more.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 09:58

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 09:58
MactrolPod, you seem to have lived a sheltered life. I'm not sure of the exact dates but there was no official standard for the polarity of the wiring in power points. There was an understanding amongst tradesmen as to the way that the sockets should be wired. In the late 60s there was a regulation introduced that said that if the power points were marked by letters or colours that the power points must be wired according to the markings. Regulations were also introduced as to the way electrical components were to be marked.

At that time there were many of the older houses wired "back to front." No doubt many of these houses still exist in the older suburbs and out back. If you do plenty of upgrades to old cottages then no doubt you are likely to come across them. If you have only been in the game for 40 years then you are a bit younger than Peter and me.
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Follow Up By: MactrolPod - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 11:24

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 11:24
No need to be offensive, my life is far from sheltered and only 40 years is far from inexperienced. I respected your opinion up until then.
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 16:54

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 16:54
Hi Mac
I started my electrical apprentice ship in 1948!
The rule book then was about half the size it is now
Lots & lots of changes ,but none made retrospective
So I would suggest many of those pre 1940s & much later situations still exist

AS PeterD said there were "conventions" but not a RULE

That "convention" was looking at the socket with the "earth' on top
[yes ,in those days the convention was for the earth to be on top] the right hand was "ACTIVE" as it is now set.

Your understanding of the reasons for double pole switching with plug in devices is correct
To ensure that the switch opens the "active "in all circumstances
I believe that is what I posted!
That has loooong been a requirement with hand tools [pre WW2]

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Follow Up By: MactrolPod - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 20:01

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 20:01
I got on the computer and found early power outlets, including using bayonet adaptors for light sockets. There were some examples of 2 parallel pin outlets in GPO's. So polarity was not a concern as the plug went in both ways. It was interesting about no earth and the reasons. We have come a long way
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Reply By: Member - BRAD n JENNY - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 17:25

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 17:25
I heard the same so I went to Bunnings and bought a packet of tags to do my own cost $20. No caravan park manager would know if there real or not. Besides that you shouldn't need to tag them as all outlets at parks have circuit breakers as well as your van so if the lead is crook it will trip the circuit breakers.
AnswerID: 546738

Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 19:56

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 19:56
all these rumours remind me of the year 2000 'Quote'
'Don't let the millennium bug bite your business'
all our computors were suppose to glag it over night there was going to be massive power failures at the stroke of mid-night new years eve rah! rah!
nothing happened except the rumours caused thousands of businesses and private owners to buy a lot of back-up and new equipment and back-up generators etc that gave those retail industries the greatest sales boost they ever had at the expense of the suckers who believed the b/s that was spread around
i did buy a gen'y but it was for power for my hobby farm as well
so i didn't really lose on the purchase
but the same gimmicks are still been used by certain retailers every so often when there are 4wd and camping shows and events coming up and people are still been sucked into to buying an updated version of whatever based on the b/s fear factor that is alive and well
and the internet is been used more so than ever before to spread these rumours via social media websites and forums
if it sounds too good to be true it usually is b/s
FollowupID: 834516

Follow Up By: TomH - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 20:04

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 20:04
Except if you are like some and use a joined cord and a kid picks it up near the join when its wet and kills itself.

What will happen if someone checks your tags. They have to have a registered number on them. Far better to not do when you dont actually need to than get done for an illegality.
FollowupID: 834517

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 00:55

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 00:55
Hi Tom

Using joined cords would be far more likely to get the caravanner charged than a meaningless tag. I do agree; why add a tag which means nothing when it is not required.


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Follow Up By: MactrolPod - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 08:20

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 08:20
Have chat with you electrician next time you see him. You lack of understanding the dangers of electricity could put you and anyone around you and your setup at a high risk. If a van park circuit breaker fails to operate, where does that leave you. To falsely say your lead is safe is going to be very serious if someone does get hurt due to it being unsafe. For less than $10 to take a lead in to be tested correctly... money well spent.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 09:45

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 09:45
MactrolPod how often will you get your lead tested? It is only as good as the moment it is tested as it could become damaged at any time after that. Testing should not be needed with a commercially purchased lead or one made up by an electrician. It may be needed (to check for incorrect wiring) with a home made on - but it is illegal to make up your own :O. It may be needed with a damaged cord - but far safer to replace the cord.


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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 17:09

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 17:09
While i would not discourage anyone from having their extension leads AND plug in appliances tested
It should be remembered that only indicated they WERE OK at the time of testing .
Proper care & treatment are far more important
One rule NEVER pull a plug out by the lead itself
Always hold the plug or the socket
Most lead failures are in the connections due to force being applied
The other problem I have is that much of the electrical testing is simply a continuity test ,not a current load test
The lead may only have a few strands intact yet will pass a continuity test.

A real test included a high current surge test based on cable current rating
That is more likely to show up cables with many broken strands
That WAS one of tests We did way back in the 50S

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Follow Up By: MactrolPod - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 18:46

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 18:46
You guys have valid comments about the test if done correctly being indicative of complying that day, who knows what happens straight after the test and the install not being correct then.
What it does do is pick up existing problems, so they can be rectified. And shows that all is well once faults rectified.
Motherhen, I do not test my gear as often as I should even though we have specific testers for appliances and RCD's that we use for our customers. Gave myself a tap on the head! Might do hem this week.
I still feel putting a test tag on equipment as Brad n Jenny said without testing is fraught with danger.
As for testing a brand new piece of equipment, that is frustrating. If it doesn't meet our Australian Standard then it should not be in our country.
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