jgra1 blog

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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CitroJim
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by CitroJim »

Yes, always a good idea to get the infrastructure in whilst you can John...

Under-slung has got to be a good way to do it ultimately... Nice low C of G and all that...

How do you fill them? From a LPG pump at a garage? Or are there proper duty-free filling points for such tanks?
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by jgra1 »

yep fill from normal LPG pumps.. 4 advantages really.. tank is secure, as you say lower, lpg is about half the price of a normal bottle (even with tax) and of course you can fill it anytime, it doesn't have to be empty :)



have decided on a middle road.. A single 'Gasit' bottle.. for now..

basically an internal locker refillable gas bottle, with an LPG remote filler on the outside :)
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CitroJim
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by CitroJim »

jgra1 wrote: basically an internal locker refillable gas bottle, with an LPG remote filler on the outside :)
Now that’s a good idea and compromise John ;)
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by elma »

If you're planning European travel the underslung tank can be a burden, they aren't big on LPG over the water. Theres no perfect solution so just get what makes sense to you. If you're doing just the UK a refillable bottle will be absolutely brilliant and an underslung tank even more so.

The gas regs that have been mentioned are one of not many rule books that are worth following. I've seen so many motorhomes with unsecured gas bottles stuffed into a cupboard with no floor vent, thankful I don't know of any going up but it's a recipe for disaster.
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CitroJim
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by CitroJim »

elma wrote: The gas regs that have been mentioned are one of not many rule books that are worth following. I've seen so many motorhomes with unsecured gas bottles stuffed into a cupboard with no floor vent, thankful I don't know of any going up but it's a recipe for disaster.
Indeed, especially when you consider you go to sleep in it on regular occasions!
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by jgra1 »

thanks both.noted..

will be taking all care but:
I have an electric question.. I bought a mini consumer unit with only space for 2 mcbs.. I threw away the double mcb in there as it was a voltage reduction trip (the unit had been used in an inverter system)

can I buy 2 single pole mcbs eg a 16amp for sockets and fridge, and the same dedicated for just a heater ? I suspect my 240v socket usage equates to around 1500 to 2000 watts but may also include a kettle sometimes..

the heater I haven't decided on yet..a flat panel one came from an old caravan I destroyed..

the question is more about double pole .. the rcd is a double pole but single mcbs are not..do I lose any safety at this point by fitting singles? hope that makes some sense

john
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by elma »

By space for 2 mcbs do you mean 2 mcbs and an RCD? I would not advise running with no RCD. You can swap a double MCB for 2 singles safely. Mcbs only cut out for overload, an RCD will cut out if you have an imbalance between live and neutral, eg if you chop through a cable. RCD will cut out in 40ms which will save a person.
You could fit rcbo's instead which are single MCBs with individual RCDs built in.
I'd be happy to draw you an ideal wiring scheme if you list everything you want in the van.
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by elma »

A 240v socket at 13amps draws about 3kw but a 13amp fuse doesn't actually blow until 26amps.
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by xantia_v6 »

If you intend to use the installation on the continent, beware that in some countries (e.g. France), all breakers should be double pole, as it is permissible for phase and neutral to be swapped upstream.
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by elma »

Worth bearing in mind you get type a/b/c breakers. I do industrial mostly and can't remember which ones you want. Will check and let you know later.

I had no idea about that requirement for France Mike, worth factoring in though. Maybe a bigger consumer unit would be a good buy.
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by jgra1 »

thanks both and especially James.. a diagram would be handy ;) .will get back to you on that ..I have most of the wiring in my head for the 12 and 240 ..

xantiav6, reverwed polarity? yes knew of that..one unofficial 'norm' is a small adapter between hook up and supply post , which reverses polarity back to normal.. and a method of checking which way around it is before using ..however double pole fuses may make this system redundant ?

the consumer unit has 4 spaces on the bar.currently it has a :
hager mz206 linked to a hager nc106

and a double unit that is a cd225u (with test button)
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by jgra1 »

am I over thinking this a bit? all I really want is a small ring main.. nothing I am running is major wattage or amps.. and if there is a trip I am not bothered if all the 240v goes off .. can I not run everything off 1 twin pole mcb and distribute the power from it onwards...?
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by CitroJim »

jgra1 wrote:am I over thinking this a bit? all I really want is a small ring main.. nothing I am running is major wattage or amps.. and if there is a trip I am not bothered if all the 240v goes off .. can I not run everything off 1 twin pole mcb and distribute the power from it onwards...?
It's not that John, it's all down to regulations, which are very strict. You'll need to have a read of 17th Regs and how they relate to mobile vehicles...

If it's not done to regs and there's an incident then insurance may be invalid as a result regardless of the cause of the incident...

Best to play very safe here. Ditto with the gas installation.

You know what the world is like these days...
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by jgra1 »

will have a read jim ..sounds like 240v and gas may be out of my reach :(
and I can't really afford for someone to do it for me.. can I fit 12v at least I wonder..
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Re: jgra1 blog

Post by white exec »

Sounds as if you might need a slightly bigger consumer unit, which are very cheap if bought empty.

Reversed polarity (L-N) is still common outside UK. As you say, a simple plug-in 'reversing lead' will sort that, and it's important that you do . . . even with double-pole breakers, many of the devices (and the socket-outlets) you will use in the van will only have single-pole switches, and could end up only interrupting the Neutral. Fortunately, a good caravanning stockist will have a 13A UK plug-in (polarity and continuity) tester. These usually have three neons, all of which should be lit if socket and supply is correctly wired/switched. Common brand name was 'W4'.

RCD essential, also because some campsites do not have (actually connected) Earths! The W4 tester will also show this up.

For heating a van, a mains fan heater gets heat distributed quickly, but is less safe than a panel heater (careful what sort of surface you mount one of these on: fire risk) if you want to leave it on overnight while asleep. Gas (convector) heaters good too, if the proper caravan sort.

Keep an eye on the individual wattage of the devices you take with you. Some campsites provide only 5-10amp at their supply outlets, which means that just one 2400W kettle could cause a problem. Again, caravanning shops will be able to provide kettles at 1200W, and even low-power heaters. Microwaves not usually a problem.

There is, I think a rather good Haynes manual - yes, really - (by John Wickersham?) covering vans, which includes fitting them out, improvements, regulations, etc. Recommend it.
Last edited by white exec on 27 Jan 2017, 13:40, edited 2 times in total.