Canadian wiring and a block heater

Discussion in 'Canada' started by TheIronDuke, Nov 5, 2010.

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  1. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Hello my Canadian chums. One hates to intrude, but one could use an assist?

    I've just bought a Canadian engine block heater. Which came with a Canadian plug which is useless to me. So I have cut it off to fit an English plug. I assume your 220v system has the same wiring colours as us, ie: Brown = Live. Blue = Neutral. Yellow/green = Earth?

    Also, never having used one, how long does it have to be switched on for?

    Let us assume 10C below freezing on a 4 litre aluminium V8?

    Thanks in advance for any help. And we always liked you better than the Septics.
  2. Google is your friend

    Canada: Canadian wiring is governed by the CEC (Canadian Electric Code). See Table below. The protective ground is green or green with yellow stripe. The neutral is white, the hot (live or active) single phase wires are black , and red in the case of a second active. Three-phase lines are red, black, and blue.

    Canada AC power circuit wiring color codes.
    Function label Color, common
    Protective ground PG green or green-yellow
    Neutral N white
    Line, single phase L black or red (2nd hot)
    Line, 3-phase L1 red
    Line, 3-phase L2 black
    Line, 3-phase L3 blue

    Reference the timing required depends on the design of the heating system. alot of these are left on over night plugged in to the mains to ensure that it doesn't freeze, as it is practically easier to maintain the temperature at a required temperature than it is to raise it.

    Being a heating element it doesn't normally matter which colour is live and which is neutral as its likely to be a series circuit element.
  3. Apology in advance for appearing to be a fuckwit, I was under the impression that the blockheaters we use over here operate on a 110v circuit, the only thing that I have ever used 220/40 is a clothsdryer, mig welder, or electric stove.

    NB. Only needs to kick in about 20 minutes before use, one can source a timer.
  4. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Thanks for that (and the post above for the gen on the wire colours). That was a concern - the 110v vs the 200v thing because when I've been in Canada, its 110v. But I bought it off of a UK supplier who stated it was 220v
  5. I'd just sense check what the tag says on it.

    The major problem is that if you plug it in and its rated for 120 it'll get HOT HOT HOT :) about 4 times its rating which if it doesn't pop the element could expose the oil to high temperatures.

    Whats the rating and I'll do a quick sum for you?
  6. I'd say try to source the original specs from the manufacturer web site to be 100%. But if it came with the NEMA 5-15 plug, then 99% sure it is low voltage
  7. When I used the block heater in Canada it was always left on all night.

    If the coldest you expect to experience is -10C then I doubt you need one.
  8. Same here.

    The best bit was the blow heater in the cab which prevented ice on the windscreen from forming.
  9. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    I wouldnt, and they are rare in the UK. But the car is all LPG. Not start on petrol then switch to LPG. There is no petrol in the car. It starts and runs on liquid gas. And starting an LPG when the temp drops below zero is an issue.

    My mech chum, who works on everything from Lambo's to FC 101's has never seen one before. Hence my asking for help here.
  10. Used to leave the block heater on all night, and the cab heater timed to switch on an hour before I needed the car. The only time I forgot to plug the block heater in I blew a core plug, but it was -30 that night. Oh how I miss living on the prairie
  11. Agreed, I don't put mine on until it's hitting the -20 mark, even then I have a timer that switches it on a couple of hours before I know I need to go out. I wouldn't need it at all at home if I bothered to measure my pickup truck before buying it. Took it home and the fooker doesn't fit in the garage. Bugger.
  12. If it's LPG the the block heater may not help you?

    Remember the block heater is to keep the oil fluid in the sump so it doesn't cause too much pressure on the engine. LPG is different as the gas itself is effected by low temperatures

    Sent from my iPhone using ARRSE
  13. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Yeah, I suspect you are right. It's the tri-point gas system getting cold that is the problem. But if the block is warm, it will take little time for the gas system to get warm. Until now, if it's below zero I start it, then sit with it running at 2,500rpm for five minutes till it gets warm, then it's OK.

    I'll try it when it gets cold here, then report back. Unless you have lied to me about the colour codes on the wires. Then I will blow up and die and Canada will be forever cursed.
  14. The problem is the gas doesn't flow correctly when it's cold anyone who's tried to light a gas burner on Brecon will know this.

    A system that trace heats the line and the gas bottle will sort most of your issues out even keeping the gas bottle inside would help but that's not practical depending on it's size

    As I mentioned neither Colour really matters, use an ohm meter to check the resistance dependent on the wattage for example if it's 1000w it'll read around 12.1ohms so this will be correct for 120v if you whack 220v on it you'll be in the region of 4000w which will get the block nice and warm :D

    Sent from my iPhone using ARRSE
  15. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Thank you for all your help. I'll plug the beast in next time it gets cold, and we'll see what happens.