Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Much Dewchurch, Herefordshire
My Motorhome: Pilote Galaxy G781GJ Emotion
Thanked 21 Times in 7 Posts
I am open to correction but I was always taught that in the UK the "Neutral" is earthed at the sub-station and that is why all UK plugs etc. have Live, Neutral and Earth marked. When I was re-building barns in France a few years back and working alongside french artisans, I was told that that was not the case in France. The "Neutre" was not earthed at all. They couldn't understand why it should be! Hence or maybe as a result they don't show which terminal in a plug or socket is "Phase", "Neutre", or "Terre". There was talk of always using the left terminal as "Phase" but no-one would say from what direction the "left" was viewed. All the cables were colour coded but some even allowed "black" to be "phase"!!
So when you plug into many French campsites or aires you can find that the Live and Neutral is reversed as checked by your (UK) tester.
When I last had a UK built motorhome it would tell me to disconnect immediately and rectify the issue. I used to think that there would be catastrophic results if I didn't. I had a "euro" plug and socket with reversed connections (suitably marked with red warnings) in order to correct things. I have since had three continental built motorhomes with the same makes of electrics as the UK one and I have not had any problems.
At one aire at which I had found the Live and Neutral to be reversed, I later found a chap from the local Commune working on it. I commented on the reversed polarity. He just said "So What". "Just make sure that you have both poles disconnected before you try to dismantle anything." How sensible even if you are not in France!!
PS The same school taught me "Volts shock but Coulombs kill" (1 Coulomb = 1 Ampere in one second). But I guess the practical difference is academic if you will excuse the pun!
Last edited by HyFy; 15-08-2019 at 20:55.