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post #1 of 109 (permalink) Old 31-12-2019, 13:01 Thread Starter
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Reversed polarity

How do I get over the reversed polarity I have in the storage place, it seems to happen with all the German sockets, Jürgen had to do a lot of fiddling with the wiring here to get a proper connection. Is there something that needs to be done in the van?

I have looked online for remedies they say the 2 wires are reversed, but as the plug can be used either way and I tried turning it and no different still shows reversed polarity.

The hookup I am using is not the big blue connection its the usual for the van and then a normal house plug for the socket. Which wires need to be changed, in the van plug or the normal one ?
Like this but 2 pins and a long cable.
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post #2 of 109 (permalink) Old 31-12-2019, 13:09
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanHank View Post
How do I get over the reversed polarity I have in the storage place, it seems to happen with all the German sockets, Jürgen had to do a lot of fiddling with the wiring here to get a proper connection. Is there something that needs to be done in the van?

I have looked online for remedies they say the 2 wires are reversed, but as the plug can be used either way and I tried turning it and no different still shows reversed polarity.

The hookup I am using is not the big blue connection its the usual for the van and then a normal house plug for the socket. Which wires need to be changed, in the van plug or the normal one ?
Like this but 2 pins and a long cable.
Perhaps the problem is the supply not being a genuine Live And Neutral system but possibly a balanced 220v transformered supply? What are you using for checking for reversed polarity?
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post #3 of 109 (permalink) Old 31-12-2019, 13:12 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rayc View Post
Perhaps the problem is the supply not being a genuine Live And Neutral system but possibly a balanced 220v transformered supply? What are you using for checking for reversed polarity?
It´s on the Sargent in the van Ray, there is an orange light for reversed and a green for OK.
I am only using the hookup to charge the batteries, but don´t like leaving it on reversed in case something happens.

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post #4 of 109 (permalink) Old 31-12-2019, 13:14
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I Didnt think reverse polarity was anything to worry about on modern vans. Seems to have been the general view for some time.


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post #5 of 109 (permalink) Old 31-12-2019, 13:25 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by barryd View Post
I Didnt think reverse polarity was anything to worry about on modern vans. Seems to have been the general view for some time.
I have just read different barry. https://twerntontour.wordpress.com/2...erse-polarity/

In yet another forum topic that I had read in the lead-up to full-timing there had been a piece from an electrics expert stating that it is OK to be on Reverse Polarity insofar as appliances will still operate OK – just don’t mess with them by exposing wires and fiddling around, etc.

I therefore took the view that we would be OK (as we had been for one week or so) plus it would now be a hassle to call the site geezer back to re-connect the 2-pin Euro plug the other way round.

WRONG!!!!!

What the forum ‘expert’ had failed to mention and what I had failed to consider was the impact on the Leisure Batteries from the Sargent PSU Charger which, in essence, reverse the polarity over time in the batteries and render them pretty much useless.

That had to be what happened!!

I’m not sure what else was happening when the solar was supplying a charge to them through the Fox Regulator!!

It really doesn’t bear thinking about – it is possible for batteries to explode when subjected to this kind of treatment – we had been lucky (as had our pitch neighbours no doubt!).

I am no electrics expert but had trusted in what I had read from a forum expert – lesson.

Leisure Batteries are silly money in Spain – saw them @ €275 …..each!! – I had paid something like £220 for both (actual amount is in the ‘Set-up £’s’ page of this blog.

The decision was made to buy a decent sized car battery and operate with that until we get back to the UK.

I sourced one at the AlCampo Supermercado in Motril and chose the top one that they had – @ 91.5Ah – and paid €94.95 for it – fitted it to Twernt today and tested everything out in isolation and all 12v lights, etc. are working hunky-dory.

The goosed Varta batteries are staying with me as I’ve also read that, in some cases, it may be possible to take them to a battery centre where they have specialist chargers that can recover batteries from this type of cock-up.

I am also thinking that the Oxford Maximiser battery charger that I have may do a similar job – it is designed to restore lead-acid or gell batteries from an almost write-off position back to a usable state. Motorcycle intelligent trickle charge batteries are clever little things so this must be worth a try when we’re next on EHU – better still, let’s wait until we’re back in the UK and can then place the battery 50 yards away from anything an explosion could do damage to.

Should be fun.

I have recorded the above in the hope that it may trigger something for all other newbies to check for whenever they are on EHU.

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post #6 of 109 (permalink) Old 31-12-2019, 13:30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanHank View Post
It´s on the Sargent in the van Ray, there is an orange light for reversed and a green for OK.
I am only using the hookup to charge the batteries, but don´t like leaving it on reversed in case something happens.
As I said I suspect that the supply is not a genuine Live/Neutral system. It could be two phases of a 3 phase supply which gives 220v between the two Live phases.

I doubt anything will "happen" if it is left alone. When I worked in Saudi Arabia we used 110 to 220v step up and down transformers extensively and none of these use a Live and Neutral in the real sense of the word.
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post #7 of 109 (permalink) Old 31-12-2019, 13:36 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayc View Post
As I said I suspect that the supply is not a genuine Live/Neutral system. It could be two phases of a 3 phase supply which gives 220v between the two Live phases.

I doubt anything will "happen" if it is left alone. When I worked in Saudi Arabia we used 110 to 220v step up and down transformers extensively and none of these use a Live and Neutral in the real sense of the word.
Ah yes, but was it charging batteries, see what I copied above.

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post #8 of 109 (permalink) Old 31-12-2019, 13:59
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Jan, the problem you are seeing is effectively a UK one, the way UK electrical wiring and control circuitry is configured relies on the live wire being connected to the live side of the supply and negative / neutral to the neutral side because historically all UK single phase switches are single pole i.e. only switch the live.
In Europe for a very long time all switches have been double pole i.e. they switch (turn on or off) both live and neutral at the same time.

Whilst all of your consumers will work if connected to reverse polarity on a live isolated only system, there is the potential for injury as it is possible for you to think an item is safe as is "switched off" whereas in reality only the neutral side is switched off and the consumer, kettle, toaster etc. will still be live, if you then proceed to touch part of the item that is live you will likely complete the circuit through your body to earth, with nasty consequence.

Most modern European vans will be fitted with an RCD on the incoming supply which is a safety electrical device, RCDs are designed to disconnect the supply (trip) when seeing a fault quickly enough to prevent serious injury.

If your van is equipped with an RCD you really don't need to be concerned by reversed polarity, however for peace of mind swop the live and neutral wires in the plug you are using to connect to your source in the storage shed.

There are different answers if referring to different countries but the above is basically why the Europeans don't get concerned over reverse polarity.

Quick thought as to why you had the previous problem, maybe one part of the system you were trying to connect (van or house) had the earth and neutral crossed.

.
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post #9 of 109 (permalink) Old 31-12-2019, 14:05
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Jan,

Fairly detailed and lengthy explanation here:
https://caravanchronicles.com/guides...erse-polarity/

If you want extra reassurance scroll down to the last question and answer at the end of the piece.

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John

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post #10 of 109 (permalink) Old 31-12-2019, 14:07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanHank View Post
Ah yes, but was it charging batteries, see what I copied above.
Ac does not directly charge the batteries that is done by a dc charger. In my opinion it would be a very poor charger that did not isolate it's ac supply side from it's dc output stage. I rarely bother to do anything about reverse polarity on my jaunts to France and Spain but one thing I do know is that the dc output remains at the correct dc polarity whatever the polarity of the ac supply to the Schaudt Electroblock.
Perhaps Sargent could provide a reason why their charger apparently can reverse the battery voltage?

I am not a disbeliever but it is not easy to reverse the voltage of a battery.
https://www.batterystuff.com/blog/ba...-polarity.html
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Last edited by rayc; 31-12-2019 at 14:17.
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