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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In order to do as many of my miles as possible in electric, I want to be able to "destination charge" as much as I can, but since most of the holiday homes, friends' houses, restaurants and camp sites etc that I'll be visiting won't have proper chargers for a few years yet, I have prepared my own socket surfing kit! I just thought I'd share it on here in case it helps anyone (or more likely so that people can opinionate on it!).

So basically this is what I bought:

20180506_132102.jpg


-20m 'site lead' with 16A commando plug and socket as used for caravans
-UK 13A moulded plug and lead
-Weather-proof UK 13A trailing socket
-European Schuko/hybrid IP44 plug
-Fused 4-gang UK trailing socket (since I'm essentially carrying around an extension lead, I may as well give it the option of having multiple sockets for when camping etc!)
-European Schuko/hybrid angled plug to 3-gang socket (again to make the lead more multi-purpose)
-A bunch of slim in-line IP68 connectors that can fit through a letterbox


And from that I made this:

20180507_153640.jpg


So I have 4 inlets:
-Angled Schuko/hybrid for use in most European countries
-UK 13A plug
-16A commando plug for campsites and other places with industrial sockets
-IP44 Schuko/hybrid for continental outdoor sockets

And four outlets:
-UK weatherproof trailing socket to plug my granny lead into
-UK 4-gang trailing socket for when camping or other general use
-16A commando socket (can feed a caravan or campervan inlet)
-Continental 3-gang socket (useful for when friends and colleagues from other countries need to plug in, and can also serve as a polarity reverser)

And I have a 6m cable and a 12m cable which of course I can use together for an 18m cable.

I reckon all that, along with the fact that the slim inline connectors can fit through a letterbox, should allow me to charge in most places I find myself!

Here it all is under the boot floor of my Passat Estate GTE:

20180507_174003.jpg



Some points about component selection for those who are interested:

The cable is 1.5mm² arctic cable so it can carry 16A at ambient temps of at least 40C. It has voltage drop of 29mV/m/A so an 18m run at 16A loses 8.3V. So it covers everything I need, and if I do want to run it on black tarmac in the full heat of a sunny Spanish day or run it off a supply that only just meets voltage requirements then I'd just have to keep my charger to 10A or 6A. I therefore didn't see any point in making my cable unnecessarily heavy or bulky by going for 2.5mm² cable. Some people say that rubber cable is better because it's tougher than arctic cable, but I've been dragging a length of arctic cable around my garden and every DIY job I've done for the last 15 years and it's still fine, so I'm pretty sure it will stand up to my socket surfing needs for the foreseeable future!

The UK weatherproof trailing socket is a Masterplug one that is widely available - I got mine from eBay. It can take 1.5mm² cable, and the grommet for the outgoing cable can take the very thick cable on my VW granny lead. The UK moulded plug and cable is one I chopped off a high-power appliance I was throwing out. The cable is only 1.25mm² but that's fine since a UK plug is fused at 13A anyway.

The Schuko plug and lead are available on eBay in the UK but they're a bit pricey from UK sellers, so it's best to pick these things up on the continent if you have the opportunity. I got mine nice and cheap from a big DIY store near Budapest which I just happened to be passing! Make sure that the plugs are the hybrid type with the German style side contact earths and the French style earth pin hole. The IP44 variant of the Schuko plug has an extra ring around it which mates with the matching ring on an IP44 socket (not obvious to the untrained eye!). If buying an extension lead to get you both a plug and a trailing socket for very little money as I have done, then make sure you get one with 1.5mm² cable (it will be marked 3G1.5mm²) because most of them only use 1mm² cable which can only take 10A. Aside from being able to supply my German friends and colleagues with electricity, having this lead also means you can use it as a polarity reverser (albeit not waterproof) if you're on a dodgy French campsite where the commando sockets have the wrong polarity and your EVSE is fussy about polarity (although I found that my Volkswagen granny lead doesn't care about polarity).

For the UK 4-gang trailing socket I would strongly recommend that you get one with a built-in 13A fuse, as my setup allows it to be fed from 16A sockets that would be on circuits only protected at 20A, whereas any socket designed for UK use will be designed on the assumption that it can only be fed with 13A and therefore can probably only safely take that much. I got a Masterplug one from Screwfix.

For the inline connectors I chose Knightsbridge JB0011 connectors. These are IP68 (when mated) and 16A rated, and at only 24mm diameter they easily fit through a letterbox (although you could go up to 32mm and still fit through most letterboxes). They're a reasonable price and suit what I need, but I will say they are by no means heavy duty - if you want something that can stand up to abuse or be used by ham-fisted people then maybe go for something else.

Everything is designed to handle 16A, except of course the UK plugs and sockets which are limited to 13A (and of course have fuses to govern that). So if I got a 16A EVSE I could use it at 16A with these leads as long as I was supplying it from a commando or Schuko socket, and would have to switch it down to 13A if supplying it from a UK socket.


To do an extreme test of my kit I daisy-chained all of it together (UK plug - inline connectors - commando socket - commando plug - inline connectors - 3-gang Schuko socket - Schuko plug - inline connectors - 6m cable - inline connectors - 12m cable - inline connectors - weatherproof UK socket - VW EVSE brick - Passat GTE. I put it all in the sun on the hottest May Day bank holiday in recorded history and set my car for a full charge. My VW granny lead only takes 10A, but all the 16A connectors remained cool as cucumbers, so I'm confident they'll be happy with 16A if I ever get a 16A granny lead. The two UK plugs got warm, but not hot, and the temperature monitor in the VW plug never complained, even though it was housed in that weatherproof socket sitting in the sun.

So it's all in the back of the Passat now and I'm ready to socket surf!
 

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The cable is 1.5mm² arctic cable so it can carry 16A at ambient temps of at least 40C. It has voltage drop of 29mV/m/A so an 18m run at 16A loses 8.3V. So it covers everything I need, and if I do want to run it on black tarmac in the full heat of a sunny Spanish day or run it off a supply that only just meets voltage requirements then I'd just have to keep my charger to 10A or 6A. I therefore didn't see any point in making my cable unnecessarily heavy or bulky by going for 2.5mm² cable.
8.3V means you are losing 3.6% of the total energy in the lead - and for BEV drivers the charging rate is so low that this begins to matter (it's an extra 45 mins on a 20-hour charge, for example). Still, it's marginal anyhow and with the lower capacity of your Passat even less of a consideration for you.

Some people say that rubber cable is better because it's tougher than arctic cable, but I've been dragging a length of arctic cable around my garden and every DIY job I've done for the last 15 years and it's still fine, so I'm pretty sure it will stand up to my socket surfing needs for the foreseeable future!
The rubber cable is more robust generally, but particularly performs better at low temperatures.

For the UK 4-gang trailing socket I would strongly recommend that you get one with a built-in 13A fuse, as my setup allows it to be fed from 16A sockets that would be on circuits only protected at 20A, whereas any socket designed for UK use will be designed on the assumption that it can only be fed with 13A and therefore can probably only safely take that much. I got a Masterplug one from Screwfix.
Your logic is probably good in theory; in practice, cheap "pound shop"/eBay 4-way strips are not adequate even at 13A (and a 13A fuse takes forever to blow at a small overload above 13A). So the important thing really is to get a better quality unit (which your one probably is). A lot of these 'portable' 13A socket strips suffer from being made of relatively soft plastics (for damage resistance, or just cheapness), and readily go out of shape, making poor contacts.

Personally, I like to use metal-clad sockets intended for fixed wiring - fitted with a decent gland and rubber cable they can make very hard-wearing extension leads - but not without compromise (some metal-clad back boxes are full of holes rather than knock-outs, and also having the exposed (earthed) metalwork is in some respects less safe than all-insulated).

Another issue for a kit of bits like this is how you can do routine testing on them for earth continuity etc. I suppose if they all plug together to make one long cable, as you mentioned, then that simplifies testing.
 

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Its a nice kit. Your granny charger looks half decent too.

When i got the B250e i had instantaneous rage at the useless granny charger that it came with. It has a stupidly short mains lead (about 30cm) leading to the brick itself, then the actual type2 side has one of those really annoying curly flexes, which despite being "4 meters" long was essentially completely useless beyond about 1.5m as it would otherwise end up strung out like a piano wire between the 13a socket and the car. It also had two settings. Glacial 8A, or socket melting 13A.

So i built my own "granny" lead using the 5m lead i removed from my rolec (i needed a longer cable) and some standard electrical bits (RCBO, contactor etc) with a viridian EPC.

I fitted it with a 16A commando plug, and the unit has two modes, 16A or 11A. I then made two short adaptor leads, one from 32A commando to 16A commando, and the other from 13A domestic to 16A commando. That way if commando is available i can charge at the full 16A rate, but if its a normal socket i can knock it down to 11A.

Where did you find those IP68 connectors, i cant quite read the writing on them but they look useful...
 

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Nice and modular.
One thing is the 4-way trailing socket. Most campsites would frown on that as it doesn't have an RCD.

My kit is -
20 metre - 16 Amp commando plug heavy gauge caravan hookup cable with an adjustable EVSE (6 Amp to 16 Amp) on the end instead of the commando socket.
10 metre - 13 Amp 3-pin plug heavy gauge caravan hookup cable to 16 Amp commando socket.
16 Amp commando splitter.
A very short commando to 3 pin socket and a polarity/earth checker plugged in so I can make sure that the socket I'm connecting to is correctly wired before I plug my expensive car into it.
 

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For the inline connectors I chose Knightsbridge JB0011 connectors. These are IP68 (when mated) and 16A rated, and at only 24mm diameter they easily fit through a letterbox (although you could go up to 32mm and still fit through most letterboxes). They're a reasonable price and suit what I need, but I will say they are by no means heavy duty - if you want something that can stand up to abuse or be used by ham-fisted people then maybe go for something else.
These look like an interesting option, for the reasons you say.

I worry a bit that they might not live up to the description; 16A max means something else in continuous current. I suppose the insertion life is going to be fairly insignificant as it is not a daily plug cycle you will need, in fact mostly I guess one connection will stay connected for most of the time. If you can, and have time to, down-rate to 6A then all the connections will have an easy time of it.
 

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I just asked the manufacturer about the current rating as I'm interested in these also and below is the response:


it is continuous 16Amp Max.
Kind Regards
Mike
Internal Sales
 

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Great idea to have such a versatile kit.
I would take issue on one point; to take such high loads, i.e. 10a/16a then 2.5mm² cable is the best. you may find 1.5mm² cable gets quite warm, especially if you have other appliances plugged into the trailing socket.
Wire it with 2.5mm² and have no worries.
 

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The 1.5mm^2 can take it but it needs a) a very good crimp/connection onto the back of the pins/receptacles and b) low heat generation at the pins. It is easier to achieve a good connection with thicker core.

I see what the connector manufacturer put, and as well it might be. Those look very slender pins for 16A continuous to me. Not saying they are not up to the job, but give it a good test, satisfy yourself it is all OK. The smaller cable cross section means more heat build up at the pins.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I do agree that the pins in the inline connectors look small, but it is rated to take 16A continuous and when I ran it at 10A there was no detectable warmth at all, so 16A should be fine.

Thanks for the comments everyone.
 

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In order to do as many of my miles as possible in electric, I want to be able to "destination charge" as much as I can, but since most of the holiday homes, friends' houses, restaurants and camp sites etc that I'll be visiting won't have proper chargers for a few years yet, I have prepared my own socket surfing kit! I just thought I'd share it on here in case it helps anyone (or more likely so that people can opinionate on it!).

So basically this is what I bought:

View attachment 93249

-20m 'site lead' with 16A commando plug and socket as used for caravans
-UK 13A moulded plug and lead
-Weather-proof UK 13A trailing socket
-European Schuko/hybrid IP44 plug
-Fused 4-gang UK trailing socket (since I'm essentially carrying around an extension lead, I may as well give it the option of having multiple sockets for when camping etc!)
-European Schuko/hybrid angled plug to 3-gang socket (again to make the lead more multi-purpose)
-A bunch of slim in-line IP68 connectors that can fit through a letterbox


And from that I made this:

View attachment 93257

So I have 4 inlets:
-Angled Schuko/hybrid for use in most European countries
-UK 13A plug
-16A commando plug for campsites and other places with industrial sockets
-IP44 Schuko/hybrid for continental outdoor sockets

And four outlets:
-UK weatherproof trailing socket to plug my granny lead into
-UK 4-gang trailing socket for when camping or other general use
-16A commando socket (can feed a caravan or campervan inlet)
-Continental 3-gang socket (useful for when friends and colleagues from other countries need to plug in, and can also serve as a polarity reverser)

And I have a 6m cable and a 12m cable which of course I can use together for an 18m cable.

I reckon all that, along with the fact that the slim inline connectors can fit through a letterbox, should allow me to charge in most places I find myself!

Here it all is under the boot floor of my Passat Estate GTE:

View attachment 93265


Some points about component selection for those who are interested:

The cable is 1.5mm² arctic cable so it can carry 16A at ambient temps of at least 40C. It has voltage drop of 29mV/m/A so an 18m run at 16A loses 8.3V. So it covers everything I need, and if I do want to run it on black tarmac in the full heat of a sunny Spanish day or run it off a supply that only just meets voltage requirements then I'd just have to keep my charger to 10A or 6A. I therefore didn't see any point in making my cable unnecessarily heavy or bulky by going for 2.5mm² cable. Some people say that rubber cable is better because it's tougher than arctic cable, but I've been dragging a length of arctic cable around my garden and every DIY job I've done for the last 15 years and it's still fine, so I'm pretty sure it will stand up to my socket surfing needs for the foreseeable future!

The UK weatherproof trailing socket is a Masterplug one that is widely available - I got mine from eBay. It can take 1.5mm² cable, and the grommet for the outgoing cable can take the very thick cable on my VW granny lead. The UK moulded plug and cable is one I chopped off a high-power appliance I was throwing out. The cable is only 1.25mm² but that's fine since a UK plug is fused at 13A anyway.

The Schuko plug and lead are available on eBay in the UK but they're a bit pricey from UK sellers, so it's best to pick these things up on the continent if you have the opportunity. I got mine nice and cheap from a big DIY store near Budapest which I just happened to be passing! Make sure that the plugs are the hybrid type with the German style side contact earths and the French style earth pin hole. The IP44 variant of the Schuko plug has an extra ring around it which mates with the matching ring on an IP44 socket (not obvious to the untrained eye!). If buying an extension lead to get you both a plug and a trailing socket for very little money as I have done, then make sure you get one with 1.5mm² cable (it will be marked 3G1.5mm²) because most of them only use 1mm² cable which can only take 10A. Aside from being able to supply my German friends and colleagues with electricity, having this lead also means you can use it as a polarity reverser (albeit not waterproof) if you're on a dodgy French campsite where the commando sockets have the wrong polarity and your EVSE is fussy about polarity (although I found that my Volkswagen granny lead doesn't care about polarity).

For the UK 4-gang trailing socket I would strongly recommend that you get one with a built-in 13A fuse, as my setup allows it to be fed from 16A sockets that would be on circuits only protected at 20A, whereas any socket designed for UK use will be designed on the assumption that it can only be fed with 13A and therefore can probably only safely take that much. I got a Masterplug one from Screwfix.

For the inline connectors I chose Knightsbridge JB0011 connectors. These are IP68 (when mated) and 16A rated, and at only 24mm diameter they easily fit through a letterbox (although you could go up to 32mm and still fit through most letterboxes). They're a reasonable price and suit what I need, but I will say they are by no means heavy duty - if you want something that can stand up to abuse or be used by ham-fisted people then maybe go for something else.

Everything is designed to handle 16A, except of course the UK plugs and sockets which are limited to 13A (and of course have fuses to govern that). So if I got a 16A EVSE I could use it at 16A with these leads as long as I was supplying it from a commando or Schuko socket, and would have to switch it down to 13A if supplying it from a UK socket.


To do an extreme test of my kit I daisy-chained all of it together (UK plug - inline connectors - commando socket - commando plug - inline connectors - 3-gang Schuko socket - Schuko plug - inline connectors - 6m cable - inline connectors - 12m cable - inline connectors - weatherproof UK socket - VW EVSE brick - Passat GTE. I put it all in the sun on the hottest May Day bank holiday in recorded history and set my car for a full charge. My VW granny lead only takes 10A, but all the 16A connectors remained cool as cucumbers, so I'm confident they'll be happy with 16A if I ever get a 16A granny lead. The two UK plugs got warm, but not hot, and the temperature monitor in the VW plug never complained, even though it was housed in that weatherproof socket sitting in the sun.

So it's all in the back of the Passat now and I'm ready to socket surf!
 

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Genius. I like the idea of using the IP68 connectors to thread through my letter box in winter whilst waiting for my home charger install..thank you.
 

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I've been using powercon true-1 connectors for 2 years now, in all weathers. No issue with the IP65 rating outside in rain/snow...
 

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This is what I plan on using when we go camping in the e-golf. I already have a breaker with UK plugs for the tent. So just run the granny into the tent and ta da.
 
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