WHY DO I NEED AN AMPFIBIAN?
Ampfibian® is the only safe and legal way to connect a 15A RV, caravan, welder, or compressor to a 10A domestic outlet. Caravans, RVs and many trade tools are designed to be connected to dedicated 15A power outlets like those provided in caravan parks and on building sites. Ampfibian not only stops you overloading your domestic circuit, but it also has an additional Residual Current Device (RCD) for extra protection.
Many portable tools, for example welders, are rated at 15A, but can perform light-duty work at 10A. The Ampfibian gives tradesmen greater flexibility and convenience.
WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF I DON’T HAVE ONE?
If you have connected your RV/caravan’s 15A circuit to your home without using an Ampfibian or a designated 15A power point and overload the circuit, it may cause a fire. As it is illegal to connect a 15A caravan/RV to a 10A domestic socket, it may also invalidate your insurance.
DOES THE AMPFIBIAN MEET ELECTRICAL STANDARDS?
Yes, Ampfibian is approved under AS/NZS 3190:2011 “Approval and test specification – Residual current devices (current-operated earth-leakage devices)” which includes portable RCDs, and its use complies with AS/NZS 3001:2008/Amdt 1:2012 “Electrical Installations – Portable structures and vehicles including their site supplies” which covers caravans, campers and motor homes… beware cheap imitations that don’t comply with that one!
Best of all it is approved for member use by the “Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia Ltd”
There has been a lot of confusion about standards regarding caravans/RVs, extension lead lengths and capacities, portable RCDs, weatherproofing, impact resistance, etc., but after years of research and advice from standards experts and approval authorities, we can categorically state that the Ampfibian is the only legal way to connect your 15A RV/caravan to a 10A power supply in Australia.
The new and improved RV-02 MAX is tougher inside and out, and now carries a H-Class rating, allowing it to be used on construction and other commercial sites, mine sites, and for the heavy industries.
BUT MY POWER POINTS AT HOME ARE PROTECTED BY BREAKERS/FUSES… WHY DO I NEED AN AMPFIBIAN AGAIN?
Individual power outlets in your home are rated at 10A, but the breaker/fuse connected to the outlet is rated at 20A. This is because there are always several outlets connected to one fuse/breaker (this is called a circuit). It is therefore possible to draw 20A through a single power outlet without triggering a breaker/fuse.
SO I CAN JUST GET A DEDICATED 15A POWER OUTLET INSTALLED AT HOME?
Yes you can. You will have to pay for an electrician which can often cost more than an Ampfibian, but the real downside is that you can’t take it with you! Being portable allows you to hook it up to a friend’s house, and legally stay at show grounds and other places that don’t have dedicated 15A outlets.
WHY CAN’T I JUST USE A NORMAL POWER BOARD THAT’S GOT A BREAKER INSTALLED?
You can buy power boards that provide overload protection, but these are “for indoor use only” therefore not weather resistant, and don’t have 15A sockets, so are illegal for use with caravans and RVs. The Ampfibian provides weather protection (to IP55), has a cleat which stops the lead being pulled out, and a hook that provides strain-relief allowing it to be hung up. The orange safety colour warns people not to step or drive on it. It’s also tough-as: we drove our fully loaded 4WD over it (on purpose of course!) and although it did squash, no live wires were exposed… obviously not an official AS/NZ Standards test, but pretty reassuring!
I’VE NEVER HAD ONE AND MY MATE THE SPARKY SAYS I DON’T NEED ONE!
If you are connecting a 15A RV/caravan to a domestic 10A outlet by modifying an extension lead, then you are breaking the law as this contravenes standards governing mains voltage equipment. This may also jeopardise insurance claims for damage caused by using an illegal connection method. Standards can seem inconvenient, but they are there to stop people getting hurt. Modified 15A leads are often referred to as “death leads”…
WHY DO I NEED AN AMPFIBIAN NOW?
Modern caravans and RV’s draw more power and are more dependent on electricity than ever before. You only need to have your air conditioner running and pop something in the microwave and that’s enough to overload your powerpoint. That’s why RVs and caravans are connected to 15A circuits.
WHAT IS AN RCD?
A Residual Current Device is an extremely fast acting switch that cuts the power when it detects a difference in the power going into the circuit against the power coming back out. If a difference is detected then the RCD trips almost instantly as the power must have found a way to go somewhere else other then back to the supply. This path may be through a faulty appliance, faulty wiring, or at worst – through you! These devices have saved countless lives by cutting the electricity supply before it can cause severe damage. An RCD does not sense overload (i.e. total amount of power drawn) which is why Ampfibian does both.
Please note that RCDs do not offer protection when used with isolated supplies like small generators or inverters.
WHAT IS THE “A” YOU ARE REFERRING TO?
“A” is the abbreviation for Amperes (“amps”) which is the unit for measuring electric current. If you multiply Amperes and Volts (V) you get total power which is expressed in Watts (W). As most domestic appliances use 240V you need to supply more current (A) to keep more of them running. The more current goes through a wire, the hotter it becomes. Fuses and breakers are put into a circuit to protect the wiring from having too much current flowing through it. If this protection is not in place, then the wires can get hot enough to cause a fire.