1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

URGENT!!! 240v advice needed

Discussion in 'Kombi Club' started by emby, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. emby

    emby Active Member

    Messages:
    2,006
    Location:
    Wights Mountain, QLD
    Hi,

    Wonder if someone with 240v experience can help?

    Dad just had an electrician wire in the 240V system in his kombi, including an RCD. On a recent camping trip they couldn't get anything working as it kept tripping the camp site board and not the RCD. I just did a test here at the house and it does the same thing, trips out the house board and not the RCD.

    I couldn't help myself but I had to unscrew what the sparky had done and had a look at it. Bearing in mind that the sparky admits he's never wired a campervan before.

    What I found was:-

    The earth wire from both the input and output side of the RCD were joined together and joined to the black / neutral wire on the input side of the RCD (where power comes into the bus from the external socket).

    I was convinced this what was was causing the trip, so disconnected the earth from the neutral input of the RCD and used a protected joiner to connect the two sides of the earth together, bypassing the RCD. When we tried plugging in an electrical appliance now it worked perfectly and didn't trip.

    Also, there is a power point adjacent to the RCD. The input and output earths were connected in the socket but had a third earth wire connected. This third wire had a ring connected and was screwed to the body of the kombi.

    The question is, was what the electrician installed correct into the RCD? and, should the earth wire be removed from the socket that connects it to the body, or should it be connected to something sturdier like the chassis?

    Cheers for any advice

    Matt
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  2. VeeWee

    VeeWee Member

    Messages:
    373
    Location:
    Emerald, VIC
    Umm, I know NOTHING about this sort of thing, but perhaps an automotive electrician might be the best person to ask...??
    I'd be very nervous about using the sockets/electrics if someone without The Knowledge wired me up!! (Especially when it was short-circuiting so much...)

    Just my two-bobs worth...
     
  3. Greg N

    Greg N Member

    Hi Matt,

    You need to find an electrician with experience in campervans/caravans. In NSW we have to have the wiring certified for a first rego. There is obviously something the electrician has done isn't right. I wouldn't be using the 240v until you can get it looked at.

    Auto electricians are licenced to do automotive/marine only not 240v

    Greg
     
  4. emby

    emby Active Member

    Messages:
    2,006
    Location:
    Wights Mountain, QLD
    Cheers. The guy was a domestic sparky that did the install, not an auto electrician. We found a circuit diagram on caravan world that seems to confirm that the earth should bypass the rcd but a separate earth should be run from the external mounted input socket to the chassis.

    I agree about not using it until its checked out. I've recommended they go down to the local caravan / rv shop and get the name of their sparky and get him to give it the once over before they plug anything in.
     
  5. syncro

    syncro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,999
    Location:
    Southern Highlands
    An auto electrician is not authorised for 240v.

    Only the active and neutral should go through the RCD. This is the same for house wiring.

    Tell the electrician that wired it to find his qualifications, take them back to TAFE, and tell them that he is too stupid to be an electrician!
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  6. Alpal

    Alpal Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,322
    Location:
    Melbourne Bend of Islands
    Go back to the sparky with an angry face and ask him! He needs to know so he does not do it again.
     
  7. leithbro

    leithbro Member

    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    Cairns
    Mate not sure on the intricacies, but as far as the house tripping before the RCD, it may just be that the house is more sensitive.

    But... I know from work (small boats) that we often run inverters, and had an RCD on board - until we got a RCD tester and found it did nothing. No earth - it's a boat of course. It may be possible that this is an issue in vehicles as they are insulated from earth with rubber (although as soon as you hook up external mains you have ground).

    Sorry about the vagueness, not sure if it is a help at all, but we rang a bunch of marine sparkys and auto sparkys and couldn't get a definitive answer.

    Clear as mud?
     
  8. syncro

    syncro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,999
    Location:
    Southern Highlands
    Mark, the RCD was wired incorrectly.

    You are correct about inverters as they are not earthed. That is why it is dangerous to use more than one appliance per inverter.
     
  9. leithbro

    leithbro Member

    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    Cairns
    Gotcha.

    So inverter no tripski with RCD.
     
  10. syncro

    syncro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,999
    Location:
    Southern Highlands
    No it's RCD no tripski with inverter.
     
  11. leithbro

    leithbro Member

    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    Cairns
    Yeah that! Too much calc today is making my head spin...
     
  12. VeeWee

    VeeWee Member

    Messages:
    373
    Location:
    Emerald, VIC
    So the red wire goes on the red button... the green wire on the go button... and the pretty stripy one goes....???
    ;):p:lol:
     
  13. cruzr944

    cruzr944 Member

    Messages:
    299
    Location:
    Miranda
    Heres how the RCD works , it looks for a balance between the power Active and neutral as it is Alternating A/C Current, if this balance is interupted and current and voltage take a shorter circuit to Earth ,ground through a person or bad appliance the Residual Current Device will trip at maybe 16milli amps. The power turns off.
    All main points of supply eg your house have main Earth Neutral point, that is where the bonding of the earth and neutral occurs. Only at this point and not again.
    The Earth of your van should go to your chasis and have a star washer to bite in and give a good conection, the paint should be removed at this point and the earth connection made here. than paint over the top to prevent rust. To test what you have changed you really need a RCD tester. This slowly leakes current through the earth until it trips the rcd in your van and it will give a readout.
    A course way of testing it is with a set of 240 v testlamps. It is a lamp with two insulated leads connected. The test is between the active and neutral top left and top right slots as you look at a power point. Light should turn on. Top left slot Active and bottom slot Earth : light should not turn on and RCD should trip.
    Im in Sydney but Im sure another Kombi Club member is also a sparky should be able to help you. You had two MEN points and your Van was tripping at its supply "your house etc".
    Glen
     
  14. t4camper

    t4camper Active Member

    Messages:
    330
    Location:
    rainy Maleny
    Matt, Get you Dad to take the van back to the installaing electrician and tell him to test and fix his work.
    He is also required to issue a certificate of testing and safety to the owner.
    That must include exactly what he has installed and tested, along with his electrical contractor's licence number.
    If the fellow is not a licenced electrical contractor in Qld he his breaking the electrical safety regulations.

    He has already made some serious errors including obviously failing to test.
    He created a MEN link by joining the earth to the neutral within the van.
    The earth to the body should have come from the inlet socket, it only has to go to a fixed part of the body, it does not have to go to the chassis. It does need to be treated as described earlier.
    If you want professional help in sorting this out, give me a PM, electrical safety inspections is what I do for a living.

    Neil
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  15. emby

    emby Active Member

    Messages:
    2,006
    Location:
    Wights Mountain, QLD
    Thanks for all you advice everyone. Dad isoff tomorrow to get the thing checked as advised, and get that certificate as I don't think he got one. He's in NSW, are the regulations the same regarding certification?
     
  16. syncro

    syncro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,999
    Location:
    Southern Highlands
    They are even stricter in NSW.
     
  17. emby

    emby Active Member

    Messages:
    2,006
    Location:
    Wights Mountain, QLD
    I'm presuming that means he definitely means he needs some sort of certification, for insurance purposes at least. Does anything need to be fixed to the kombi?
     
  18. syncro

    syncro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,999
    Location:
    Southern Highlands
    I am not sure, but I think that he needs a sticker on the van. Have a look at any caravan.
     
  19. oldman

    oldman Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,025
    Location:
    Avalon Beach NSW
    mmm....another can'o'worms for camper owners.......I have my camper insured with Shannon's, sent heaps of pics. & spoke with a rep. describing all the inclusions - power,gas, r'n'r etc. & we came up with an agreed value - there was no mention of any proof of compliance for the existing electricals in the bus.
    Again, I think it depends on who you get on the day.....
    I've read through the policy docs. & there was no mention of additional power certification requirements.
    Cheers, Mark
     
  20. leithbro

    leithbro Member

    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    Cairns
    Hmmm... PITA I guess as there are all those NO DIY on electric signs popping up everywhere now.
     

Share This Page