IF YOU TEND TO use a lot of electricity on site, you may have found the mains supply cuts out. Reader Ron Horniblew explains how to fit a miniature circuit breaker to solve the problem.
TOOLS: Screwdrivers. Electric drill. 20mm-diameter drill bit. Stanley knife. Wire cutters. Wire strippers.
FITTINGS: Wylex fuse box with blanking plate; one MCB each 6,10 and 16A; One 20A junction box. All available from good DIY superstores. Total price around £45.
WARNING: This project involves electricity, so disconnect the supply first. If you are in any doubt about your competence to do the work, contact a specialist.
[tl:gallery size=200×133]1 I took the mains (orange) cable connecting the inlet socket to the van’s consumer unit, cut it in two, then stripped the live, neutral and earth cables, which I then connected to a second 16A cable (long enough to reach the intended fuse-box site) via a junction box.
[tl:gallery size=134×201]2 I removed the plywood cover in the corner of the wardrobe and fed the new length of cable, plus the original, from the consumer unit into the space, to allow me to fit the fuse box on the cover. This allowed me to hide the cables behind the cover.
[tl:gallery size=134×201]3 I drilled a 20mm hole in the front of the cover and fed the two cables through. I then refitted the cover, screwed the fuse box on and connected the cable from the inlet socket to the input terminals on the fuse box, and from the consumer unit to the output terminals.
[tl:gallery size=134×201]4 Once the wiring was complete and checked against the unit’s instructions, I refitted the front of the fuse box. But, as you can see, the terminal into which the MCB is plugged was still exposed.
[tl:gallery size=134×201]5 To prevent anyone from touching the terminal, each MCB has a cover plate, which has to be screwed to the fuse box before the MCB is plugged in. Each plate will only accept its own, unique MCB.
[tl:gallery size=200×133]6 Based on the amperages available on both UK and Continental campsites, I bought a 6A, a 10A and a 16A MCB. The only situation which is not now covered is when I’m on a site which supplies less than 6A. Luckily these are few and far between — even on the Continent.
Since fitting the fuse control I have never had to reset the MCB at the site bollard. On the odd occasion when either my wife or I has overloaded the circuit, the fuse control has done its job and it has taken a few seconds to switch off the appliance which caused the circuit overload, and switch on the MCB. So both my wife and I are very pleased with my DIY!
There is, however, one slight downside to this, which is worth bearing in mind before you go ahead: if anything goes wrong with the MCB, the complete unit has to be changed because there are no serviceable parts.