Welcome to RV Daily

Are you hungry for the latest in RV news, reviews and travel?

At RV Daily, we’ll give you up-to-date news, reviews and videos on the latest caravans, campers and motorhomes.

Why you shouldn’t tamper with

CARAVAN ELECTRICITY

WORDS AND IMAGES GRANT HANAN AND LINDA BLOFFWITCH

Or, put simply, 15 amps into 10 amps won't go!

Playing with your RV’s 240-volt power isn’t a hobby you dabble with on weekends. Yet some people apparently think it’s fine to tamper with RV connections, leads, plugs and powerpoints. And worse still, they happily tell others that it’s okay to do so. Let’s assure you it’s not. It can be dangerous, and it’s illegal. It’s time to set things straight once and for all.

GUIDE Caravan power safety

NEW
MODEL
ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

WHAT'S ALL THE FUSS?
Australia has comprehensive standards for RV electrics that covers double pole wiring, appliances, safety switches, circuit breakers and electrical leads. These standards have been put in place to protect us all. Take things on yourself and in the unfortunate situation something goes wrong, you’ll likely find you void your insurance and are unable to make a claim. The bottom line is – unless you’ve got the authority to issue electrical compliance certificates, leave it alone.

ABOVE This plug has overheated and begun to melt. Homemade leads like this are illegal; risking everyone's safety

“Unless you’ve got the authority to issue electrical compliance certificates, leave it alone”

Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.

BELOW The best scenario at home is to have a 15 amp caravan lead going into a 15 amp powerpoint

ABOVE An RV inlet will only accept a 15 amp plug

HOUSEHOLD VS RV POWER SUPPLY
Powerpoints in a normal house are rated at 10 amps and supply 240V power using multiple circuits from a fuse board. This is vastly different from an RV which uses a single 15-amp connection on both the male and female plugs. And if you’re wondering why they’re different, it was designed this way to stop anyone from wrongly connecting a 15 amp into a 10-amp powerpoint.

PLUGS & LEADS
Despite what some older vanners say (and might have done), it’s not okay to file down the 15-amp earth plug pin to insert it into a 10-amp powerpoint. It’s illegal and potentially dangerous. The majority of earth pins on the market aren’t solid brass, but made of thin brass that’s been folded to achieve an earth pin’s dimensions. The brass can weaken when filed and can lose shape and strength, causing an unreliable connection. This earth pin is your only device earthing your RV to the ground.

If you’ve got your RV plugged into a 10-amp powerpoint and tried running your air-conditioner, hot water service, three-way fridge, electric hotplates, battery charging inverter, washing machine, and perhaps a toaster plus a kettle, you’re likely to be above 10 amps. This is where things can start to melt if they’re not protected correctly. While you might not notice anything visually, it’s a completely different matter inside the modified plug and lead.

It’s also not okay to make your own leads. If you were to look inside a 10 amp and a 15-amp lead, you’d find the 15-amp lead has thicker copper wire. It needs to be thicker as it carries 1.5 times more current than a standard 10-amp lead. Australian standards apply to leads as well. First, the leads need to have the same amp-rated plugs and sockets. Second, approved leads must have the correct cable size for their length. The next time you find yourself heading to the local hardware store, go and take a look at the leads. You may come across some heavy-duty 10-amp leads that look identical to their big brother. But don’t be fooled into thinking they do the same job. It’s only their outer sheath that’s thicker and not the internal copper wire.

BELOW RVs require a double pole breaker – these ones have RCDs included

CARAVAN PARKS
Right or wrong, the caravan parks you stay at have a duty of care (and the right) to inspect your power leads. They also reserve the right to refuse permission for a lead to be plugged into their power supply if it’s deemed unsafe. And there’s also a slow push by some caravan parks for leads to undergo authorised annual test and tag procedures. Although this hasn’t been made law just yet.

HOW TO SAFELY PLUG YOUR RV INTO A 10-AMP POWERPOINT
The safest way to do this is to use a converter. This accessory accepts a 15-amp plug at one end and a 10 amp at the other. But the unit also comes with some current amp breakers that are approved to Australian Standards. It’s been designed to prevent your RV drawing too many amps by limiting the current amp draw from the 10-amp powerpoint. The converter comes with an internal breaker switch that disconnects the power supply if it detects a high current amp draw from the 15-amp side. This high current draw will need to be rectified before resetting the switch or it will continue to trip the unit. You could find it’s something simple tripping it like the RV has too many high current devices working at once.

These days, there are a few converters on the market with the most well-known and recognised being the Ampfibian. Look for features like waterproof ratings and an earth leakage detector (a safety switch) as well as warranty and back-up.

Remember this … electricity is dangerous. Unless you’re qualified, leave it to the experts. It’s not the type of thing you should ever be mucking around with (no matter what the Facebook experts tell you).

This is one style of 10 amp to 15 amp converter with an in-built RCD

The Ampfibian is another style of 10 amp to 15 amp converter

GUIDE Caravan power safety

Why you shouldn’t tamper with

CARAVAN ELECTRICITY

Despite it being unsafe, it’s completely illegal – plain and simple

Playing with your RV’s 240-volt power isn’t a hobby you dabble with on weekends. Yet some people apparently think it’s fine to tamper with RV connections, leads, plugs and powerpoints. And worse still, they happily tell others that it’s okay to do so. Let’s assure you it’s not. It can be dangerous, and it’s illegal. It’s time to set things straight once and for all.

NEW
MODEL
ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

WHAT'S ALL THE FUSS?
Australia has comprehensive standards for RV electrics that covers double pole wiring, appliances, safety switches, circuit breakers and electrical leads. These standards have been put in place to protect us all. Take things on yourself and in the unfortunate situation something goes wrong, you’ll likely find you void your insurance and are unable to make a claim. The bottom line is – unless you’ve got the authority to issue electrical compliance certificates, leave it alone.

ABOVE This plug has overheated and begun to melt. Homemade leads like this are illegal; risking everyone's safety

“Unless you’ve got the authority to issue electrical compliance certificates, leave it alone”

Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.
ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

HOUSEHOLD VS RV POWER SUPPLY
Powerpoints in a normal house are rated at 10 amps and supply 240V power using multiple circuits from a fuse board. This is vastly different from an RV which uses a single 15-amp connection on both the male and female plugs. And if you’re wondering why they’re different, it was designed this way to stop anyone from wrongly connecting a 15 amp into a 10-amp powerpoint.

BELOW The best scenario at home is to have a 15 amp caravan lead going into a 15 amp powerpoint

ABOVE An RV inlet will only accept a 15 amp plug

PLUGS & LEADS
Despite what some older vanners say (and might have done), it’s not okay to file down the 15-amp earth plug pin to insert it into a 10-amp powerpoint. It’s illegal and potentially dangerous. The majority of earth pins on the market aren’t solid brass, but made of thin brass that’s been folded to achieve an earth pin’s dimensions. The brass can weaken when filed and can lose shape and strength, causing an unreliable connection. This earth pin is your only device earthing your RV to the ground.

If you’ve got your RV plugged into a 10-amp powerpoint and tried running your air-conditioner, hot water service, three-way fridge, electric hotplates, battery charging inverter, washing machine, and perhaps a toaster plus a kettle, you’re likely to be above 10 amps. This is where things can start to melt if they’re not protected correctly. While you might not notice anything visually, it’s a completely different matter inside the modified plug and lead.

It’s also not okay to make your own leads. If you were to look inside a 10 amp and a 15-amp lead, you’d find the 15-amp lead has thicker copper wire. It needs to be thicker as it carries 1.5 times more current than a standard 10-amp lead. Australian standards apply to leads as well. First, the leads need to have the same amp-rated plugs and sockets. Second, approved leads must have the correct cable size for their length. The next time you find yourself heading to the local hardware store, go and take a look at the leads. You may come across some heavy-duty 10-amp leads that look identical to their big brother. But don’t be fooled into thinking they do the same job. It’s only their outer sheath that’s thicker and not the internal copper wire.

BELOW RVs require a double pole breaker – these ones have RCDs included

CARAVAN PARKS
Right or wrong, the caravan parks you stay at have a duty of care (and the right) to inspect your power leads. They also reserve the right to refuse permission for a lead to be plugged into their power supply if it’s deemed unsafe. And there’s also a slow push by some caravan parks for leads to undergo authorised annual test and tag procedures. Although this hasn’t been made law just yet.

HOW TO SAFELY PLUG YOUR RV INTO A 10-AMP POWERPOINT
The safest way to do this is to use a converter. This accessory accepts a 15-amp plug at one end and a 10 amp at the other. But the unit also comes with some current amp breakers that are approved to Australian Standards. It’s been designed to prevent your RV drawing too many amps by limiting the current amp draw from the 10-amp powerpoint. The converter comes with an internal breaker switch that disconnects the power supply if it detects a high current amp draw from the 15-amp side. This high current draw will need to be rectified before resetting the switch or it will continue to trip the unit. You could find it’s something simple tripping it like the RV has too many high current devices working at once.

These days, there are a few converters on the market with the most well-known and recognised being the Ampfibian. Look for features like waterproof ratings and an earth leakage detector (a safety switch) as well as warranty and back-up.

Remember this … electricity is dangerous. Unless you’re qualified, leave it to the experts. It’s not the type of thing you should ever be mucking around with (no matter what the Facebook experts tell you).

This is one style of 10 amp to 15 amp converter with an in-built RCD

The Ampfibian is another style of 10 amp to 15 amp converter