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Power To Your Awning.

John

John

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Having mains power to your Awning gives you a big boost in versatility when camping with mains hookup. With a heater you now have a space for drying clothing, if the weather has not been so kind to you. Or with a table, a electric kettle, and even a electric toaster etc., your awning can become a useful galley space. :D

When powering the Awning you will want to also power your Cali and it may be tempting to just make up, or buy, a splitter lead with a ordinary mains trailing socket on the end. Although this may be cheap to make or buy it wont be very safe. In the external possibly damp environment of a Awning you need more protection, not only surge protection from contact breakers, but also a RCD that will protect you if the line neutral or earth lines are shorted out. :thumb

If you are still tempted to go down the cheap route have a look at this;

http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/articles/view.asp?id=81

Mobile mains units with hookup leads for tents have been around for some time now and the cost of buying them has come down. I got hold of a Crusader Mobile Mains Unit for under £40 on Amazon and Go Outdoors were selling them in their recent sale for under £26.

The Crusader unit needed to be modified with a feed off to my Cali and this was my solution.

First a health warning we are dealing here with a high voltage device with potentially lethal voltage so if you are not qualified leave the modification to a electrician. Having said that the modification is not that much more difficult than wiring a plug.

The Crusader unit comes with a very good quality 20 metre extension lead so it seemed a shame to cut this lead up. Instead I removed it from the unit and added a female plug to the end to modify it into mains hookup lead.

To convert the unit I got hold of 6 metres of cable, a cable gland, one male, and two female plugs (one of these was for the hook up lead).

First I dismantled the Crusader unit and removed the 20 metre extension lead noting where the wires were connected in the unit to the RCD and earth on one of the mains sockets. Then I removed the white blanking plug, at the top of the unit, and fitted the cable gland (black one in the picture) I also added a rubber O ring to get a good waterproof seal. Next I cut the 6 metre cable into 5 and 1 metres lengths then striped the ends to fit into the Crusader unit, using the original cable for reference. I then fed the short 1 metre lead through the bottom cable gland and the longer 5 metre lead through the top cable gland into the unit. Both of the line and neutral wires were connected together onto the RCD connections and the earth wires were connected to two of the earth connections on two of the mains sockets. After tightening the cable glands and reassembling the unit I added a male plug to the 1 metre lead and a female plug to the 5 metre lead.

The completed modification can be seen here with the short 1 metre lead connected to the mains hookup lead. I found the 5 metres lead was long enough to go from the Crusader unit in the Awning around the rear wheels and connect to the Cali power socket. However you could make this lead longer to suit your own needs.

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Finally as a bonus I had a short off cut left over, from the orange 20 metre extension, so I made up this neat little adaptor using a female plug and ordinary mains plug, I can use this, in conjunction with the mains hook up lead, to power my Cali from my garage to charge the battery’s. You could alternatively make a polarity reversing adaptor if you wish for some continental sites where you may find the voltage is reversed. :thumb

006-1.jpg


John
 
MichaelB

MichaelB

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T6 Cali On Order
John

Good post.

I have a question. The Cali is protected by an RCD when on hookup internally. Could you run an extention leed from your Cali out into your awning and still be protected by RCD?

I think your solution looks safer but I just wondered.
 
S

Stu

Guest User
Those extions have an RCD in I think Michael. Mine is a Crusader similar to that.

John - Did you not fancy a 'Y' Piece to plug your crusader into?

multi-outlet-socket-98.jpg
 
John

John

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MichaelB said:
John

Good post.

I have a question. The Cali is protected by an RCD when on hookup internally. Could you run an extention lead from your Cali out into your awning and still be protected by RCD?

I think your solution looks safer but I just wondered.

Michael you are correct in that the Cali has a combined residual-current circuit breaker with overload protection (RCBO) which combines the functions of overcurrent protection and leakage detection.

The automatic personal protection circuit-breaker S59
(also known as a residual-current-operated circuitbreaker)
is located at the back of the cupboard in the
middle compartment. It is used to protect people and
also the electrical cables. For personal protection, it
shuts off the 230 volt power supply when there is a
fault current over 10mA and, for line protection, at a
load of 13A or short-circuit.

So the Cali would give you protection as it incorporates a RCD device that disconnects a circuit whenever it detects that the electric current is not balanced between the energized conductor and the return neutral conductor. Such an imbalance may indicate current leakage through the body of a person who is grounded and accidentally touching the energized part of the circuit. A lethal shock can result from these conditions. RCD's are designed to disconnect quickly enough to prevent injury caused by such shocks.

I guess the down side to running an extension lead from your Cali out into your awning is that you are restricting the total current drawn to 13A. for the awning load, devices used in the Cali, and Cali battery charger combined. So you are more at risk of tripping your mains power to both your Cali and Awning.

The Crusader unit is fitted with a 25A. RCD and double pole 10A circuit breakers so I guess in total with the Cali you could be drawing up to 23A. This figure may be academic thou as campsite hook ups can be the limiting factor as they tend to be between 10 and 20A maximum depending on the site.

John
 
John

John

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Stu said:
Those extions have an RCD in I think Michael. Mine is a Crusader similar to that.

John - Did you not fancy a 'Y' Piece to plug your crusader into?

Stu yes that is another solution plugging in the Y Piece and running both a mains hookup lead and the Crusader from the campsite outlet.

But the advantage of using the 20 metre orange cable from the Crusader is that I have gained a good quality, high current, mains hook up lead and also a adaptor for a small additional cost. The second advantage is that It is also less bulky to pack into my Cali as I now only need to carry one long lead. :thumb

John
 
S

Stu

Guest User
How about the longer lead running from the campsite supply to the Y piece located near the van connection point and then a small 2-3 metre lead to both the van and to the awning. You could then have power to the awning without powering from the van (freeing up the van socket and removing any concern of over loading the van circuit) and would also have power to the awning/tent whilst having the van door shut.


Not criticising your solution at all just throwing some other idea's out there :thumb

I have a crusader myself from when we used the tent and you've given me a good idea on how to put it to good use :thumb
 
John

John

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No criticism taken Stu,

as I get older my hair gets more grey and so does my view of the world.

When you are young it is all black or white and there is only one right way to do things. When you are older you realise there are many solutions.

Keep those ideas coming Stu :thumb

John
 
vwanorak

vwanorak

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003-2.jpg




John

Fantastic - I could make great use of one of these units.

I don't suppose you would be interested in knocking me one up, for a fee of course?

Many thanks

Andy
 
John

John

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vwanorak said:
John

Fantastic - I could make great use of one of these units.

I don't suppose you would be interested in knocking me one up, for a fee of course?

Many thanks

Andy

Andy it would be cheaper for you to source the bits yourself. Try a Google search for the crusader first, also try Go Outdoors. The plugs were only £3.45 from a camping shop and the 6 metre of cable and cable gland were also not that expensive from my local electrical shop.

The plugs are easy to fit and you could just get some one who is qualified to either fit or check the connections in the crusader for you.

If you have any problems just add another post and I will help. :thumb

John
 
vwanorak

vwanorak

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Thanks John

I'll gather the bits and give you a shout if I get stuck..... which is inevitable :grin:

Thanks
 
NickE

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I have one of these Crusader units. I agree, for the money, they appear well made with a good thick lead. I wonder why they didn't turn the sockets through 90 degrees for easier plugging in? Still works fine though.
 
S

Stu

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I had mine apart shortly after buying it to see if anything could be done to rotate the sockets but sadly no. Very questionable design.
 
NickE

NickE

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Stu said:
I had mine apart shortly after buying it to see if anything could be done
I did exacly the same thing!
 
Ch1pbutty

Ch1pbutty

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John

Good post.

I have a question. The Cali is protected by an RCD when on hookup internally. Could you run an extention leed from your Cali out into your awning and still be protected by RCD?

I think your solution looks safer but I just wondered.
Yes, you can. You are already protected by the RCD in the van, and the RCD on the campsite hook up post.
 

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