Why does a house only need 10A power but a van need 15A?

Submitted: Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 08:22
ThreadID: 137790 Views:1362 Replies:8 FollowUps:14
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A normal house using heaps and heaps of items often at the same time require a mere 10 amp wiring system, yet a caravan using hardly anything compared to a house requires a 15 amp system. Why is it not the other way around? Or am I the only one that wonders why? It seems totally stupid and a waste of money having to purchase 15 lead to run less items that a house.
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Reply By: Griff61 - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 09:41

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 09:41
Its more for the Aircon than any thing else. If you look at home your Aicon will be on a 15amp Breaker or even a 3phase circuit.
AnswerID: 623752

Reply By: Athol W1 - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 09:42

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 09:42
A normal house has multiple 15A circuits that are fitted with 10A outlets. The theory behind this is that you are extremely unlikely to be using sufficient high powered devices at the same time to cause an issue.

in addition they normally have more than 1 light circuit AND THEN separate circuits for the water heater, stove and built in air conditioner.

With your caravan it is quite reasonable to expect that you will be using the air conditioner and the water heater at the same time,.

It is also quite possible that you will park in a CV park and immediately on connecting the 240v power lead and on opening the van switch the air conditioner on (as the van is hot inside) and also boil the electric jug for that essential cup of tea or coffee, and at the same time the water in the heater is cool so the heater starts to heat that water. With just those 3 units operating you may have already exceeded the 15A maximum power draw that is the rated capacity of the electrical connection.

Hope this answers your question.
Athol
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 09:50

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 09:50
A household's wiring is divided into several circuits.
Heavy current items such as airconditioners, stoves & ovens run off dedicated 15A or 20A circuits. 10A power circuits are usually divided into two separate runs to different parts of the house and the 8A lighting circuit separate again.
The feed into the House can be rated at 50A or more, so it is able to carry the heavier load a household may require.
A caravan has only the one flexible lead to supply the entire load requirements and 15A is the minimum adopted. Many caravans have heavy load items such as airconditioners and a 15A circuit is required to support them.
Apart from the standard 10A power outlets to run toasters, etc., all other appliances such as ovens and fridges are either run on LPG, or limited to a 10A maximum load.
Bill


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AnswerID: 623754

Reply By: ILovecamping - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 10:17

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 10:17
My old van is a popup Sunwagon, no air con, no heated water, kettle is on the stove as is toaster. No heater either. the most things on at the same time would be the fridge , lights and a phone charger, maybe, my phone will last almost a week.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 11:25

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 11:25
The current draw in your van may be small or not happenng at all. Who knows what will be connected to the outlet post in a cvan park. As mentioned by others, ALL possible current draw is going through just one cable and 3 pins plugs of 15 amp rating.
Your house has various heavy current circuits and separately they should be less than 10 amps each. collectively more of course.
With a wired in aircon in a house it has it's own dedicated fuse/breaker to suit and nothing else runs off that circuit.

Friends recently had the plug of their old heavy draw aircon, a plugged in model, suddenly explode the wall GPO as it got tired of delivering heavy current and got hot and let the smoke and flames out. Not good.

In answer to your first question, Yes, you have it all wrong with the concepts of power usage and delivery. Very Frack to Bunt.
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Reply By: ILovecamping - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 10:19

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 10:19
Sandman, that 50A coming in, that alone explains why and answers my question perfectly, thank you.
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Reply By: Ron N - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 12:25

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 12:25
Electric kettles usually draw 1800 to 2400 watts. That's 7.5 to 10 amps straight up.
You may be using a gas stove to heat water, a lot of caravanners use an electric kettle.
An electric toaster can draw 800 to 1500 watts. The average is 1200W. That's 5 amps.

A microwave is only around 50% efficient. The "power rating" of the microwave is only the power put out by the Magnetron, not the power draw from the plug.
So, if your microwave power setting is 1200W, it will be drawing around 2400W (10A) from the plug.

Add to the draw, 2 or 3 lights, a charger, and the microwave on standby, an electric clock - and before long, the total draw on the caravan power point in the park is over 10 amps.

More than 2 people in a 'van, the more likely the chances of multiple electrical devices being used at once.

Finally - the lead-in cord to a 'van is usually 10M minimum, some caravan cords are 15M, to allow for plugs on the opposite side of the 'van, or an inability to get close to the power point due to obstructions.
Some caravanners have been known to connect 2 or 3 extension leads to get power to their 'van.

Long extension leads lose current transfer ability due to wire resistance. A 15M, 15A extension lead is a basic requirement, to reduce voltage drop, which can damage sensitive electrical items.

A power supply to a house has a short lead-in to the meter box - from which, the 10A wiring is distributed from room to room, via wiring that is designed to be heavy enough to cope with the total draw (number of plugs) in that room.

Cheers, Ron.

AnswerID: 623761

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 13:11

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 13:11
Until recently it was legal to have a 10A inlet to a caravan. That made a lot of sense for those without high current draw devises on board and meant it could be easily connected to any 10A supply.

That was changed relatively recently and now means you MUST plug into a 15A outlet, or also use an approved converter at great expense.
I don't know why the change was made.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 14:00

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 14:00
I doubt that would be retrospective but aimed at new or refurbished vans.
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 18:37

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 18:37
If you have an older van with a 10A inlet, you can still use a 10A lead, which will still plug into the 15A outlet at the van park .
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 22:25

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 22:25
Thanks Peter - I didn't know regulations had that changed. In all states?
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Follow Up By: Genny - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 22:41

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 22:41
Less than $100 for an ampfibian.
Hardly great expense.
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 23:21

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 23:21
I think so MH, but that needs checking....
Genny, it is a wasted $100 and something else to carry if you never need more than 10A. Besides an Ampfibian with full capability is $200, not $100.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 23:41

Monday, Feb 11, 2019 at 23:41
I don't know what you mean by "Besides an Ampfibian with full capability is $200, not $100." They both have a 10 A output capability. The $200 is for use in industrial applications where the $100 one is for personal use with things like caravans. You were not thinking about the $80 one that can not be used in exposed locations?
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 14:45

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 14:45
.
Peter, the "change" was made in 2008 by the issue of Australian Standard AS/NZA 3001.

The reason for this standard is explained in my answer further below.

It was a matter of setting a standard to suit current van requirements and this then made the 'old' 10A vans a safety hazard if plugged into the new 15A pillar outlets in van parks.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 14:54

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 14:54
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Gronk, that is not true. only possible with 'special' arrangements as per my reply below.

MH, yes Judy, applicable in all States. It is an Australian Standard.

et al, generally, the use of an Ampfibian requires the weatherproof model when used in a van park unless it can be safely arranged to be in a weatherproof location which is not possible with the usual power pillars.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Gronk - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 17:31

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 17:31
Allan, I was not up with the standards, but what I said is still possible, but not "legal".
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 17:39

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 17:39
.
You are quite right Gronk. It can be done.
But I cannot endorse unlawful or unsafe electrical practices.

Simple to do that safely with an Ampfibian accessory.
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 15:25

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 15:25
.
There are some very comprehensive responses above that do not simply address the OP's question.

Firstly ILovecamping, houses do not "require a mere 10 amp wiring system". The house system is more complex than that but you are possibly confused by the "10A" rating of each power outlet.

Now, to the actual reason for 15 Amp supply in caravan parks:
Modern vans often require more than 10A for their appliances and outlets so the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 3001, 2008) was issued requiring a 15A rated pillar outlet for each van in parks and van wiring was also required to be 15A rated.
Older caravans were manufactured with wiring, inlet sockets and extension cords that were only rated to 10 Amps. However it was possible to connect multiple appliances within these vans which would attempt to draw in excess of 10 Amps and this would overload the 10A input socket / flexible cable and the 15 Amp circuit breaker in the park pillar may not interrupt the current. Accordingly it is not permissible to connect a 10A rated van to a 15A rated supply source unless special arrangements are made.

These 'special arrangements' are essentially the provision of fitting the van with a circuit breaker which will limit the current to no more than 10A AND having the flexible cable supplying the van terminated with a fixed connection at the van, that is without a plug-in input socket.
OR supplying the 10A rated van with its 10A rated input extension cable via a device (such as the Ampfibian) which limits the supply to the extension cable to 10A. There are constraints applicable there too and some van park operators do not understand either of the options above and so will require that only 15A wired vans be connected to their pillars.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: ILovecamping - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 18:38

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 18:38
My van even though it is a 1975 model, does have the 15A input on the side, but, On saying that, I've only ever used power at home. I had to go out and purchase the 15 Amp Extension lead lead, and the adapter for home use. On an extremely limited income this was an expense I could have happily done without. 1/4 of my fortnightly income on an adapter works out extremely expensive, maybe just small change for some, but not everyone has had the good income over their working years, unfortunately mine stopped early due to a work accident, and because China was involved, on our shores, workcover was completely useless for me. I have no intention of staying in a caravan park unless I absolutely have to.
But, you are correct in that my assumption is brought about by the 10 Amp power outlets in a house, and so many of them all running off the single input from the power pole.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 19:33

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 at 19:33
.
That's tough when working life terminates early.
It is also tough that the standards in our society are continually being raised and adding costs to living. A few years back a bit of handyman effort got most by at little cost.

Re: "so many of them all running off the single input from the power pole".
That is quite OK provided they are wired in accordance with the regulations.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Gaz@Midge Point. - Friday, Feb 15, 2019 at 22:34

Friday, Feb 15, 2019 at 22:34
Our 22’ 1976 Chesney and our 1978 24’ Windsor had a 15 amp inlet. The caravan parks we stayed at all had 15 amp outlets, these were in Qld. Those vans did not have aircon, hot water system, although the Windsor did have an inbuilt vacuum cleaner (awesome idea)
Mmmmmmmm, now where do we go next?

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