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Topic Title: Caravan Adaptor.
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Created On: 17 January 2019 04:44 PM
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 17 January 2019 04:44 PM
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Zoomup

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Is it illegal to make or sell an adaptor for caravan use with a B.S. 546 240 Volt 2 Amp 3 pin plug at one end of a flex, and a 12 Volt circular car cigar lighter trailing socket at the other please?

Z.
 17 January 2019 05:05 PM
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broadgage

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I cant see any illegality for your own use.

For sale, then it depends.

If the 2 amp mains type plug is intended to be inserted into a mains voltage socket outlet, and if the lead incorporates a SELV converter with a 12 volt/13.8 volt output, then it might be acceptable provided that all components are CE marked and that the assembly is done properly.

If however the intention is to insert the plug into a mains type socket energised at 12 volts, perhaps in a boat or caravan, then I would be very doubtful.
Too much risk IMO that an unskilled person would insert the plug into a live 240 volt outlet with severe shock risk from the vehicle type trailing socket or items connected thereto.
Also, even used as intended, I see considerable risk of overloading the 2 amp socket. Many 12 volt appliances use a lot more than 2 amps.
 17 January 2019 05:42 PM
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Weirdbeard2

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Originally posted by: Zoomup

Is it illegal to make or sell an adaptor for caravan use with a B.S. 546 240 Volt 2 Amp 3 pin plug at one end of a flex, and a 12 Volt circular car cigar lighter trailing socket at the other please?



No.
 17 January 2019 05:56 PM
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chrispearson

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Originally posted by: Zoomup

Is it illegal to make or sell an adaptor for caravan use ...


Potentially!
 17 January 2019 06:26 PM
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AJJewsbury

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Interestingly BS 7671 requires that sockets for SELV/PELV only be dimensionally incompatible with those used for any other system in the same premises. (my emphasis). So using a 2A round pin socket for 12V might be in accordance with BS 7671 as long as none of the same are connected to LV in the same caravan (or building or whatever).

There does seem to be a huge variety of plugs/sockets pressed into service for 12V systems on caravans, boats and so on - something looking very similar to a US mains plug is also common, as are variations on the cigar lighter theme and various proprietary standards. Presumably an (international) standard for something suitable is lacking.

- Andy.
 17 January 2019 06:48 PM
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broadgage

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USA type mains plugs are indeed very popular for 12 volts.
They have the merits of being cheap, readily available, reasonable current carrying capacity, and not being readily interchangeable with any UK mains voltage connectors.

I strongly suspect that I am responsible for this popularity !
Decades ago I worked for a small firm that manufactured specialist or non standard electrical equipment to order.

We received an order from a large brewery for several hundred small transformers with 12 volt outputs, for the lighting of the then new keg beer taps.
Multiple output sockets were required "not interchangeable with any UK mains voltage outlet"

I selected USA 2 pin mains outlets, rated at 15 amps, 125 volts, largely on the grounds of price and availability.
Each transformer had an output of 60 watts at 12 volts and was equipped with 6 outlets.
Other suppliers then used similar connectors in the interests of interchangeability.
 17 January 2019 08:27 PM
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Fm

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Originally posted by: Zoomup

Is it illegal to make or sell an adaptor for caravan use with a B.S. 546 240 Volt 2 Amp 3 pin plug at one end of a flex, and a 12 Volt circular car cigar lighter trailing socket at the other please?



Z.


Is there more to this short story that will provide additonal info on why this has been carried out?
 18 January 2019 09:41 AM
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Zoomup

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Originally posted by: Fm

Originally posted by: Zoomup



Is it illegal to make or sell an adaptor for caravan use with a B.S. 546 240 Volt 2 Amp 3 pin plug at one end of a flex, and a 12 Volt circular car cigar lighter trailing socket at the other please?







Z.




Is there more to this short story that will provide additonal info on why this has been carried out?


Hello Fm,
yes there is additional info.

We recently condemned the practice of having a 13 Plug connected to a flex with fuse in situ, connected to an open ended flex. This potentially dangerous lead could be created if a 13 Amp plug is cut off from an appliance flex for any reason, and the fuse not removed. Children may then plug the plug into a live socket thus creating an uninsulated live end of the flex. There is a shock risk if the open end of the flex is touched.

I was in a caravan/camping parts suppliers recently and saw on display an adaptor with a 3 pin 2 Amp mains plug on one end of a flex and an open 12 Volt trailing car cigar lighter socket on the other. It is possible to put a thumb into the 12V trailing socket end.

I know that 3 pin 2 Amp mains sockets are used less and less as time goes by but they are still currently made and stocked.

My concern was that if misused the adaptor could cause an injury or death.

Here is a link to a picture of the type of offending beast that I am referring to. http://www.towsure.com/adapt-it-2-12-volt

Z.

Edited: 18 January 2019 at 09:49 AM by Zoomup
 18 January 2019 10:10 AM
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mapj1

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I have seen those with the 'earth' and "neutral" pins reused as + and - 12 v on canal boats. In that case it's not quite as bad as using the 'live' pin, and in practice the risk seems to be small, but yes, it is a shame there is not a better 12V standard that is not compatible with mains connectors.
I'd be happier if it had a label for 12V systems only, or not mains use, or was bright red, or anyting making it look non-standard.

-------------------------
regards Mike
 19 January 2019 10:39 AM
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sparkingchip

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Consider reg 411.7.5
 19 January 2019 11:15 AM
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AJJewsbury

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Consider reg 411.7.5

Aren't caravan etc electrics more likely to be SELV/PELV rather than FELV?
- Andy.
 19 January 2019 11:29 AM
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sparkingchip

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More to the point it says that the extra low voltage connectors should be unique within the premises, now if it is a caravan and it is towed onto a pitch surrounded by other caravans there's no saying what other types of connectors are in use within those.

So when a friendly person who is someone's short term neighbour for the holiday lends an appliance to someone complete with an adapter there isn't any real control over what it is plugged into if a mishmash of 240 volt fittings have been used for 12 volt supplies in that caravan.

Same with 24-volt gear in horse boxes and the like.

Andy Betteridge.
 19 January 2019 11:41 AM
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AJJewsbury

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More to the point it says that the extra low voltage connectors should be unique within the premises, now if it is a caravan and it is towed onto a pitch surrounded by other caravans there's no saying what other types of connectors are in use within those.

But the caravan is likely to have a different owner to the pitch & other caravans - thus would be different premises (if I understand the usual definition correctly).

So when a friendly person who is someone's short term neighbour for the holiday lends an appliance to someone complete with an adapter there isn't any real control over what it is plugged into if a mishmash of 240 volt fittings have been used for 12 volt supplies in that caravan.

Same problem between householders - yet BS 7671 only requires uniqueness within the one premises - not street, district, county, country or even across a single organisation with multiple sites.

- Andy.
 19 January 2019 11:52 AM
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Weirdbeard2

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These adaptors are usually purchased for a particular purpose where it is desirable to retain the manufacturers fuse incorporated in the cigar lighter style plug , so the socket is likely to largely occupied by a specific appliance, the chances that the adaptor will be taken from a caravan and plugged into a mains powered socket must be staggeringly remote.
 19 January 2019 12:50 PM
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Zoomup

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These adaptors are usually purchased for a particular purpose where it is desirable to retain the manufacturers fuse incorporated in the cigar lighter style plug , so the socket is likely to largely occupied by a specific appliance, the chances that the adaptor will be taken from a caravan and plugged into a mains powered socket must be staggeringly remote.


Unless an inquisitive child removes the adaptor from a caravan at home, whilst the caravan is parked on the drive, and then takes it into the house and plugs it into a mains' socket.

Z.
 19 January 2019 12:59 PM
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Zoomup

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Originally posted by: sparkingchip

Consider reg 411.7.5


Perhaps 414.4.3 applies. It is very similar.

Z.
 19 January 2019 02:30 PM
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Weirdbeard2

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Originally posted by: Zoomup

These adaptors are usually purchased for a particular purpose where it is desirable to retain the manufacturers fuse incorporated in the cigar lighter style plug , so the socket is likely to largely occupied by a specific appliance, the chances that the adaptor will be taken from a caravan and plugged into a mains powered socket must be staggeringly remote.




Unless an inquisitive child removes the adaptor from a caravan at home, whilst the caravan is parked on the drive, and then takes it into the house and plugs it into a mains' socket.



Not very many houses typically have 2 Amp mains sockets, and those that do would be very likely to have light fittings connected from which the bulb is easily removed revealing live and neutral parts that are not finger proof.
 19 January 2019 02:48 PM
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sparkingchip

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Is it alright to run a 12.5 amp kettle on a 2 amp plug and socket for quarter of a hour?
 19 January 2019 02:49 PM
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Zoomup

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Originally posted by: Weirdbeard2

Originally posted by: Zoomup



These adaptors are usually purchased for a particular purpose where it is desirable to retain the manufacturers fuse incorporated in the cigar lighter style plug , so the socket is likely to largely occupied by a specific appliance, the chances that the adaptor will be taken from a caravan and plugged into a mains powered socket must be staggeringly remote.








Unless an inquisitive child removes the adaptor from a caravan at home, whilst the caravan is parked on the drive, and then takes it into the house and plugs it into a mains' socket.







Not very many houses typically have 2 Amp mains sockets, and those that do would be very likely to have light fittings connected from which the bulb is easily removed revealing live and neutral parts that are not finger proof.


2A 3 pin sockets are used less these days but in the 60s and 70s they were used more in a lounge for a lighting supply around the room with a switch by the entrance door. The use of 2A 3 pin sockets prevented 13 Amp plugs being plugged into them as the circuit was only fused at 5 Amps or less. A sort of switched lighting circuit for table lamps and standard lamps positioned around a room. The 2 Amp 3 pin plugs being unfused of course. It was very impressive to be able to switch on the lights around the room from just one door switch.

These days there are alternative methods to obtain the same results. But there must still be houses with 2 Amp 3 pin sockets in use.

Z.
 19 January 2019 03:24 PM
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Fm

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2amp sockets quite common around my area.
Lots of houses have them fitted to switch table lamps on from the door switch location
IET » Wiring and the regulations » Caravan Adaptor.

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