Power Polarity Reversal in Europe
who travel to Europe often discuss the subject of reversed polarity,
and how you can correct this.
Reverse Polarity Kit comprises three cables and a polarity
Cable A - is
the standard electric hook up cable you use in the UK, a 25 metre
length of 16 amp 240 volt cable with the blue ISO water resistant
plug and socket.
Cable B - is
a 1 metre length of identical electric hook up cable and the blue
ISO plug and socket. But with the live and neutral wires crossed.
This is the polarity reversing cable.
Cable C - is
a 1 metre "continental adapter" as sold in caravan shops.
It allows you to hook up at those European sites that have a CEE
7/7 socket rather than the blue ISO socket.
Use Cable A
or Cable A+C (as appropriate) to connect your Eriba to the site
power, and check polarity with the tester. If the polarity is reversed,
unplug and include Cable B. Reconnect and retest, everything should
is the polarity reversed?
appliances and installations in Europe are required to switch both
the live and the neutral supply wires, effectively totally disconnecting
the appliance when you switch off - and it is not necessary to worry
about which wire is live. So plugs and sockets are randomly wired
- the appliance doesn't care which way the power flows.
Note: All Eriba
Touring caravans have double switched MCB and RCD devices in the
power panel - so if the supply trips - both wires are safe.
In the UK (and
other countries that use the 13 amp 3 pin socket) only the live
wire is switched, leaving the neutral permanently connected. Compared
to the European system this is less safe.
But when you
take your Eriba caravan to Europe, and connect up, then 50% of the
time the neutral wire is actually the live. This is OK, the appliance
doesn't care, and nor will you until it develops a fault.
But if you are
using UK electrical appliances, which only switch the live wire,
then it may matter.
If your UK appliance
develops a fault and the plug fuse blows, then with normal polarity
it will cut off the power in the plug. If the fuse blows with the
polarity reversed, it will still cut off power, but now on the way
out of the appliance. If you start poking about inside the appliance
and haven't pulled the plug out of the socket, this is potentially
So if you take
your caravan to Europe, you need to take a reversed polarity kit
with you. Or do as we do, we asked for our Eriba to be supplied
with CEE 7/7 sockets, and we use European appliances in the caravan
- so we don't need to worry about polarity reversal.