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Discussion Starter #1
This may be a dumb question, but what the hey....

We're going for our family holiday to Cumbria shortly. I was going to take our ICE diesel. But then I discovered that the first leg of our stay, in a hotel, has EV charging (ZCW). The second part of the stay is in a Haven caravan. I'm assuming I can just charge the car via a standard 3 pin plug trailed from the caravan interior. Would I be correct in my assumption?

If not, I'll take the diesel. But by my reckoning we'll be using at least £110 of diesel compared to about £30-£40 in the Ampera if I can charge at the caravan.
 

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Not sure about the electrics in the caravan. The sockets should be protected with at least a 16A MCB.

Plugging in your 10A EVSE should be fine... But maybe it's worth phoning just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My extension cable has an RCD if that means anything. Not sure there'd be any point phoning as I'm sure they won't understand or say an outright 'no' (because they won't know).
 

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This will become a more common question now that the Outlander is out and other SUV EVs are launched so it is a good question.

Of course, yes you can charge through a 3-pin socket but most definitely not through the caravan. The car will draw 10A continuous and the caravan circuits are not up to that load for that long. It isn't about overload... it is about overheating and there is a real fire risk.

There are ways to do it safely but it needs you to either unplug the caravan and plugging in the car directly into the hookup (best solution but inconvenient)... or if you are happy doing it you can make up a splitter cable that plugs into the hookup and then splits into two... one to a commando socket into which you plug your caravan cable, the other side you wold have a 13A socket into which you can plug in the car EVSE.

Just make sure that when the car is charging you don't use the kettle or electric heating or the MCB may trip.

This is what I have done and it works well but you must use cable and fittings that are rated for 13A continuous load and also create it with an in-line RCBO on the car side. If you don't feel confident making this splitter up then find someone who can do it safely won't you. If it goes bang and trips the caravan park's circuits the owners and other residents won't be happy :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Blimey...I hesitate at Ikea flat pack furniture Paul; I don't even understand what I've just read...never mind taking it on. Think it will be the ICE after all :-(
 

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LOL! Sure.

Sorry to be so techie... biut others might follow what I am saying :)

It is a real problem for us caravaners because the caravan sockets and wiring are often not designed for high loads continuously for so long yet they are still called "13A sockets".

Talk to the site owners and try to encourage them to let you use an unused hook up for the car or even better ask them to install dedicated charging post. Zero Carbon World might be able to help supply them with the charging station for free so all they would need is to get their electrician to install it and that could cost less than £100!
 

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Actually, if this is a caravan at a Haven park it us likely to be a static caravan permanently wired following the same IET regulations as a house. This should be the same as charging from a rented cottage. You would still need to work out if the wiring is safe before plugging in. The park may be able to offer you a separate hookup for charging the car - if so this would be ideal.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Fair do's... I'll give them a call.
 

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I think the Ampera has a setting to reduce it's draw down to 6 amps doesn't it?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think the Ampera has a setting to reduce it's draw down to 6 amps doesn't it?
Indeed it does...in fact it defaults to it. Given that I'd be charging overnight with nothing else drawing current, should I be ok and does an RCD offer any form of protection?
 

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It might be OK at 6A but I would check it out first with the caravan manufacturer or documentation to see just what the maximum continuous load should be on the caravan 3-pins sockets. Remember... you are likely to be asleep when charging and if a fire does start then it could be serious.

A MCB will only protect against circuit overload. If it is a 13A circuit then 10A and certainly not 6A won't trip the MCB but the wiring and connectors can still get very hot without the MCB tripping.

Be safe and if you are not certain it is safe then don't do it... it isn't worth he risk for a bit of electricity.

By far the best option on a caravan site is to use an unused hookup. Make sure it is 16A rated or else a 10A hookup might trip. Always ask beforehand as that is polite and be prepared to offer to pay for the electricity you use.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Indeed Paul...safety first.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Have spoken to both Head Office and the park...and they both said it's fine. HO said 'it happens all the time' yet the park said 'we've not been asked before'. They say there is no separate 'hook up' outside the caravan but it's ok to just plug in with a cable through the window.
 
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Does that mean through the window of the caravan? If so... are you happy with that because I wouldn't do that without first checking that the caravan electrics can cope.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I was pushing them to refer it to the Estates Manager. How else would I find out if they can cope? Guess I may just have to address it when I get there.
 

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Most holiday parks seem to change their static caravans every 5 to 10 years. I would be very surprised to find a socket in a modern unit unable to safely supply less than half of the rated capacity. As the park and the head office have both said it's OK, I would personally be happy to charge at 6A (though I would make a visual inspection first).
 

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With it set to 6 amps in a static caravan I would not be worried.

I mean, if it has an electric oven rather than gas then don't even think about it, it's fine. If it has electric heating, it's fine.

6 amps is vacuum cleaner or hair dryer category, and the ampera only takes a couple of hours to charge.
 

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6 amps is vacuum cleaner or hair dryer category, and the ampera only takes a couple of hours to charge.
The Ampera from empty (which it will be) takes about 5-8 hrs to charge... not a couple as you suggest.

That could be longer too as caravan site voltage is often below the 230V that is standard and a lower voltage will mean even longer charging.

It is very, very different to compare charging an EV with a domestic appliance such as a hair dryer or kettle. They are on for very short periods of time... there is little chance for the wiring to heat up.

I am concerned @Flaninacupboard that you do not seem to be taking this issue at all as seriously as it demands. An electric oven in a static caravan is likely to have its own 40A circuit and not use the 13A sockets. Just because there is an electric oven it does not then follow that it is safe to charge an EV on the 13A sockets!

With 6A you are likely to be OK but I would still take care. Caravans, even statics, are likely not to have wiring as robust as a house.
 

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With 6A you are likely to be OK but I would still take care. Caravans, even statics, are likely not to have wiring as robust as a house.
I'm not sure what gives you that impression - they are both covered by the same wiring regulations. In fact holiday park caravans have to be regularly tested and inspected (every 3 years). You should actually expect such wiring to be more reliable than an average home!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I will charge at 6A, during the day, whilst I'm present and I'll initially do it with nothing else running (other than the fridge). Apparently the park has 2014 model caravans. Where would the wiring be 'heating up'? Anywhere that I can check?

All the caravans now have electric ovens.
 
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