Electrical hook-up advice

Here at Coast, we’re huge fans of Practical Motorhome magazine as it’s full of useful tips on buying, maintaining and travelling in your motorhome or campervan.

As well as reading the magazine every month, we regularly check the magazine’s website, which is filled with up-to-date information and advice.

Recently, we read an interesting article on tackling electric hook-up problems – there’s nothing more frustrating at the end of a long journey than not being able to plug in, make a cup of tea and tune into your favourite television programme!

For starters, if you’re travelling abroad, some sites still use old-fashioned connectors. The best way to deal with this potential problem is to purchase an adaptor before you set off.

You will also need to purchase a hook-up lead with an adaptor to three pin domestic sockets, as some sites might use this as a mains source and it’s not safe to trail a household extension lead outside. Practical Motorhome recommends you invest in a 25 metre hook-up lead in case the power source is located far away from your motorhome.

In order to avoid connection and overheating problems, make sure all sockets, plugs and adaptors are in perfect condition. Any joins between two leads must be raised off the ground and cables should be loose – not coiled up – as it keeps it cool. 
When setting up your electrical supply, plug the lead into your motorhome before pushing the other end into the electrical socket. Purchase a mains tester and check for polarity and earth faults once the supply is connected.

The most common problem that causes an electrical hook-up supply to shut down is overloading. You might need to make a coffee while you’re partner is drying their hair and the children are watching TV, but this will draw more power than the maximum current of your feed, which will cause your circuit breaker switch to trip.

Practical Motorhome recommends you start by familiarising yourself with all the electrical appliances you are likely to be using and the amount of energy they require to operate. Purchasing camping/travel versions of domestic appliances such as irons or kettles will help as they use less power. Then when you reach your site, find out how much power is emitted from the mains supply – it could range from 4 amperes to 16 amperes – so you can work out the limit for using appliances simultaneously.

As most appliance energy demands are calculated in watts, you can purchase plug in meters that monitor their requirements in amperes – a great way to see how much strain you’re putting on the electrical hook-up supply. 

If you do encounter a fault with the supply that isn’t due to overloading, Practical Motorhome advises you firstly to unplug the lead and ask the site manager to reset the power supply. Should this fail to work, there are a number of tips here to diagnose the problem.

Before you set off on your travels this summer, don’t forget to ensure that your motorhome insurance or campervan insurance is up to date. Coast can offer you a competitive quotation on your renewal by calling Freephone 0800 614 849.