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A Guide to Motorhome Electrics

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  • Motorhome Electrics
  • Posted date:
  • 11-10-2018
A Guide to Motorhome Electrics

A Guide to Motorhome Electrics 

There are two main electrical systems installed into a modern motorhome. These are the 230V AC which is for the mains and the 12V DC for smaller facilities and outlets within the motorhome. These two have different roles but need to work together in a number of instances. 

The 230V is mainly used to power heavy electrical items in the house such as the fridge, heater, battery charger and the hot water boiler. The 12V, on the other hand, is used to provide power for control of the systems. The sockets in the interior of the house run on 12V too. Additionally, extractor fans, toilet flush pump, tank level indicators, lighting, fresh water pumps and cooker flame ignitors all run on the 12V power. 

What is a motorhome leisure battery?

A leisure battery is much like the battery which is in your car, it runs on 12V and is one of the essential items in a motorhome. It powers the living area by providing enough energy. It also provides power to start the engine and the electric systems in the vehicle, such as dashboard lights and exterior lights.

What is a hookup lead?

When you get to a campsite location, there is a chance that you will find a bollard that has main sockets. This will supply your motorhome with 230V of electricity. To connect your motorhome to the bollard, you will need a cable which is known as a hookup lead. It is usually orange in colour and obviously different from a domestic extension lead. The connection is made through blue plastic plugs. The blue colour signifies that they are designed to connect to a power of 230V up to a maximum load of 16A. 

motorhome hook up lead

Powering a motorhome fridge

There are two types of motorhome fridges. These are; the three-way and the compressor type. A three-way fridge uses more heat for its functionality. The heat makes the refrigerant gas to circulate properly. It can be powered in three ways hence its name. When driving the vehicle, the 12V element powers it. When it is hooked up to the mains, it used the mains equivalent, and when camping away from the mains, a tiny gas flame provides the heat. 

How a Chasson circuit breaker protects passengers

A new Chasson motorhome leads the way for electrical safety in motorhomes. Each new Chausson motorhome includes a 30 mA differential circuit breaker as a standard feature. 

Where a traditional circuit breaker is designed to protect equipment, the differential circuit breaker also protects people. It will automatically shut off the current if it detects a loss of current corresponding to defective insulation. The differential circuit breaker in a Chausson motorhome will automatically shut off if there is any detection of defective insulation causing loss of current.

Heating and hot water in motorhomes 

There are several types of heating and hot water systems to choose from. Most of the heating systems produce heat in the form of hot air. This is then distributed throughout the interior of the motorhome using a fan and a ducting system. The commonly used brand is the Truma and its Combi unit. It combines a 10-litre storage hot water boiler with the blown air heater function.  

The gas supply in the van fundamentally powers these heaters. In the UK, both energy sources can be utilised when you need to quickly warm up the interior. The older units have a manual control panel which is different from the fully programmable unit that is being used these days. It gives you an option to set on and off times, hot water and room temperature and the energy sources more efficiently.