For caravans, motorhomes, camper vans, 5th wheelers and camper trailers you will need a 15 amp, 3 pin plug electrical extension cord/lead. These 15 amp cords are mostly a different colour (usually orange) than the 10 amp (usually grey) household electrical extension cords and can also be identified by a wider earth pin.
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What Is A ‘Mushroom’?
The extension cord connects from the ‘mushroom’ as it was once known, or mains power supply box /pillar (female power inlet connection) at the caravan/trailer park to the external (male power outlet connection) plug on your RV.
Electrical Supply Cord Care And Maintenance
Care should always be taken when dealing with electricity and power cords and the power cords should be regularly inspected for any wear or fraying. It is important to replace worn, damaged or frayed cords.
Your RV will most likely have an earth leakage circuit breaker. To avoid electrical shock never modify lighting outlets, plugs or cords. All electrical work should be undertaken by a licensed electrician.
15 amp electrical cords usually come in 10, 15 and 20 meter lengths. The extension cord supply lead must be one continuous length and the cord should be fully unwound before use as a wound cord may overheat and catch fire.
For safety reasons there are maximum lengths (including in line length combination of cords).
Extension cord recommended lengths:-
Set Rating (amp) Conductor
Area (mm) Maximum Length
Flexible Cord (metre)
15 amp 1.5 mm 25
15 amp 2.5 mm 40
Some caravan parks or tourist parks have conditions of use or ‘park rules’ relating to the recommended maximum length of power cords to 15 metres.
To prevent overload, larger caravans and RV’s with air conditioners and 240V hot water systems running consistently would be best suited to use a shorter 15A ‘contractors’ heavy duty (heavier conductor area) electrical lead. These electrical cords are normally blue in colour and your can pick them up at Bunnings or other tradesman type stores.
What Lengths Of Extension Cord Do I Need To Carry?
In some caravan/trailer parks the power supply box can be some distance from your RV so it is recommended you carry different length cords for this purpose. Obviously the shorter one for when your RV is closer to the power supply box and the longer one when it is further away. For easier convenient storage, purchase a reel on which to store your extension cord. Please note – The extension cord must not be connected to the supply while it is coiled up.
If you need to maintain a state of charge for your RV batteries whilst your motorhome or caravan is stored at home it is recommended you get an electrician to install a 15 amp power point at your residence. The 15 amp power extension cords are not suitable for use for standard domestic power points as your residence is rated 10 amps.
Amp-FibianAmp-Fibian ™ have an Australian Standards approved portable adaptor to easily, safely and legally connect your RV 15 amp to any 10 amp domestic power supply. The adaptor is made from industrial grade components, weather resistant and comes with a 10 metre lead. It also comes with a 12 month warranty.
The Amp-Fibian uses a 10 amp domestic combination circuit breaker and a residual circuit device (RCD) which allows a safe amount of power to be drawn and trip it off if it becomes overloaded.
Surge Protectors/Safety Switches
From May 1993 new power outlets supplying caravans or similar accommodation in caravan parks are required to have safety switch protection. Your caravan must be wired to Australian New Zealand Standards AS/NZS 3001.
What Is The Difference Between A Surge Protector And A Safety Switch?
Surge protectors and safety switches play entirely different roles. Surge protectors protect electrical appliances and safety switches protect people.
Safety switches or Residual Current Device (RCD) provide a fast cut-off of power when electricity ‘leakage’ to earth is detected at a level which may be harmful to anyone using electrical equipment.
Safety switches are not the same as fuses or circuit breakers but rather an additional form of protection to be used with circuit breakers and fuses. Safety switches monitor the flow of electricity and automatically shut off the electrical supply when current is detected leaking from faulty wiring, switches or electrical appliances. Portable safety switches are available.
Surge protectors safeguard your wiring and electrical appliances for voltage surges such as lightning strike.
What Is A Circuit Breaker?
Circuit breakers cut the power off when the wiring has too much electrical current flowing through it. Circuit breakers and fuses do not provide personal protection against electrical shock.