Reverse Polarity in French Marinas

G

Guest

Guest
A nice feature of French Marinas is that they do not charge extra for electricity. In Two harbours in Britanny this Summer I encountered sockets wired with reverse polarity. For some boats this was a problem and people were having to rewire their plugs. Although it did not cause me any difficulty on my Bavaria, should I be concerned? In fact, should I make up a connector to correct the polarity when I encounter it?
Comments please.
John


JohnH
 
G

Guest

Guest
Not too sure what reverse polarity is with an AC supply unless you are refering to Live and Neutral. So far as I am aware, AC power is fed via an isolation transformer to the pontoon so there should not be a reverse polarity.
 

ccscott49

Active member
Joined
7 Sep 2001
Messages
18,585
Visit site
Reverse polarity is a problem. I made up a european two pin and earth on the outside plug, as in Holland, with a socket, as a joining piece in my lead, if you get reverse polarity, you simply unplug the two pin, turn it 180 degrees and plug it back in. No more probs, you can get waterproof plugs and sockets. Some marinas have the isolating transformer do you know which ones? I dont! Colin.
 
G

Guest

Guest
No, sorry Colin I don't know which marinas have isolation transformers either. I have never had this reverse polarity problem in France, what happens?
 

rich

Well-known member
Joined
7 Jun 2001
Messages
3,078
Location
JERSEY
www.portofjersey.je
To start with, in England we only have a fuse on the live wire, but in France they have a fuse on the neutral and live sides, so it really isn't a problem. I am assuming that you have a plug-in which shows you have a reversed polarity, but it won't actually stop your electrics from working. The main thing you need is an RCD which is a cut-out mechanism should there be a problem, otherwise as long as your beer stays cold, you don't have a problem! The French fuse systems are good enough to withstand any short circuits - in many years of having the same thing happen to us we have had no problems.
 

jollyjacktar

New member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
359
Visit site
Sounds like a French plot.rinas

Damned frogs. Reversed polarity [I presume phase and neutral interchanged] may not stop things working, but can affect on which side of the switch remains live when the power is tuned off at the appliance. Whatever effect that has. I find it horriying utterly irresponsible and unbelievable that marinas have not installed isolating transformers or such other equivalent safety devices. Water and electricity.... fizzz, poof !!!******. If I was you I would not connect to any shore power that did not meet these safety standards. Cool beer is not very nice if you have fried yourself. Take care and watch the connections.
 

dick_james

New member
Joined
31 May 2001
Messages
114
Location
Middlesex, UK
Visit site
Not only do the french fuse both 'live' and neutral but all their switches are double pole, so when you switch an appliance off, both lines are interrupted. I think most of their supplies are isolated so they have no concept of 'live' or 'neutral'. you could argue that their system is intrisically safer than ours.
 

incognito

N/A
Joined
18 Apr 2004
Messages
0
Location
Italy
Visit site
Bad replies to this...

If you genuinely have reverse polarity (my boat and others I am sure have an indicator lamp wired to show) then you have a potentially dangerous situation.
The 'neutral' of a circuit is nominally at earth potential (isolating tranny or not) and equipment is designed on this basis - RCDs look for a leakage current between neutral and earth, their performance between live and earth is far slower and may allow fatal shocks.

Try reading here::: http://pages.eidosnet.co.uk/~ukdiy/electrical.html#earthing
 

kimhollamby

Active member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
3,917
Location
Berkshire, Somerset, Hampshire
www.kimhollamby.com
Having just returned from several Normandy harbours it was interesting to see that a few of them known for reverse polarity (Le Havre and Rouen being two of them) have recently spent money on the supply boxes and the pins are now wired as expected. We did however find reverse polarity in at least one place (the memory is already dulled but Dives-sur-Mer I think) where a dedicated 'reverser' lead made up of a blue plug and socket reverse-wired came in handy. If your boat doesn't carry reverse polarity/bad earth indicator lights, the kind of tester sold on the high street for a tenner or so is also handy; mine always goes in the shorepower outlet first, even in the UK.
 

Chris_Robb

Well-known member
Joined
15 Jun 2001
Messages
8,054
Location
Haslemere/ Leros
Visit site
My boats electrical systems - Built in Holland - has a double pole fused switches. I presume therefore that it does not matter which way round the current flow is?

I don't think my switches are RCDs but just plain overload switches. DO you think I should investigate more?
 
G

Guest

Guest
I don't want to raise hares but it may be helpful. I heard (at second hand) of a bavaria 34 that had to replace its battery charger for this reason. I was told the charger was fused only on its positive input and when a fault occurred the charger was damaged due to there being no protection due to the reversed polarity supply.
I have a Bav 34 and always check the polarity with a tester sold by caravan shops.
 

Colinh

New member
Joined
17 Jul 2003
Messages
0
Visit site
Having been warned about the French attitude to polarity of their wires, I always check with the aid of a multimeter which wire carries a voltage relative to the earth. Much to my surprise, Boulogne marina this summer came up with 220 volts on one core and about 140 volts on the other. Yet the difference between the two cores was about 220 volts. (All values now being approximate - senile decay and memory loss etc.)

Anyway, the boat was desperate for amps in her battery, so I chose the biggest potential difference, and the expensive battery charger worked OK. I did take the precaution of isolating the battery from the sea, as I could forsee expensive bits of kit going fizz quietly under the water as high speed AC galvanic corrosion set in.

Colin H
 
Top