GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I've had my Volt a couple weeks now and charge it overnight in my detached garage with its own 50A subpanel on a dedicated 15A circuit that has a GFCI receptacle using the charging cord that comes with the car. Twice now I have had my GFCI outlet trip in the middle of the night (after a couple hours of charging), leading to an incomplete charge. I always set my charge to begin immediately. I have never had an error message from the car, and all lights are always green on the charge cord once I restore power. Today I fired everything back up and tripped the GFCI the instant I unplugged the car. That was the first time that's ever happened. The main breaker has never tripped, and there are no other appliances on that line.

I use the same charge cord at work in another GFCI outlet there, outdoors no less, and have not yet had a problem.

I'm leaning toward a problem with the circuit or receptacle itself, but I'm curious how I should proceed.. this is relatively new electrical install (2009), everything was done up to code and fully inspected. Should I try to swap out the GFCI first with a new one and see if it keeps happening? I don't want to replace the outlet with a standard one for safety reasons. Any other ideas on what would cause just the outlet to trip?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,156 Posts
A GFCI is a fussy buzzard. Plus once they start tripping they will trip more and more frequently. My solution was not to use a GFCI outlet since the EVSE has one built in (I believe). If you're not comfortable with that replace the outlet with a high quality GFCI outlet. My guess is you'll be fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,188 Posts
The instruction manual for the volt says you are not supposed to use a GFCI outlet. However... outlets located in garages are required to be GFCI by code in most cities now. The 120 Voltec unit does have a GFCI built in. You have a couple of choices here:

1 Violate your local code and replace the GFCI outlet with a standard commercial grade outlet. (The charger has a GFCI detector built in.)

2 Try a different brand of GFCI outlet. Some may be more compatible with the Voltec charger than others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
915 Posts
I thought it required a dedicated 20amp (not 15) circuit. I Installed a dedicated 20amp with GFCI and haven't had the issue. Try changing the breaker to 20amp and installing a new socket.

Here is a general question, do you need a GFCI if the garage has its own dedicated panel its a dedicated line with a breaker?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I thought it required a dedicated 20amp (not 15) circuit. I Installed a dedicated 20amp with GFCI and haven't had the issue. Try changing the breaker to 20amp and installing a new socket.

Here is a general question, do you need a GFCI if the garage has its own dedicated panel its a dedicated line with a breaker?
Manual says 15A is ok for 120V (240V would require minimum of 20A).. I considered that too but figured if it was over current the main breaker would trip and not the outlet. I suppose at this point if a new outlet doesn't do the trick I may run a brand new 20A line just for fun. I still have some extra wire and conduit laying around.

As for the manual stating not to use a GFCI outlet - I couldn't find that anywhere - anyone have a reference?
Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,165 Posts
Manual says 15A is ok for 120V (240V would require minimum of 20A).. I considered that too but figured if it was over current the main breaker would trip and not the outlet. I suppose at this point if a new outlet doesn't do the trick I may run a brand new 20A line just for fun. I still have some extra wire and conduit laying around.

As for the manual stating not to use a GFCI outlet - I couldn't find that anywhere - anyone have a reference?
Thanks!

The statement was wrong. The manual explicitly calls for an GFCI outlet. (not disallowing them).
The ESVE does NOT have a GFCI built in to it. (easy to tell since there is no "reset" button on it).

P9-55 of the 2011 manual says (middle of page), P 9-51 left column of 2012 manual

The 120V AC outlet should be GFCI protected.
This is discussing extension cords, but it the only mention of GFCI. It says to never use a non-grounded outlet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,193 Posts
You also might want to look into the sensitivity of the GFI.

Your GFI receptical is likely a Class A GFCI which is considered personal protection and will have a 5mA leakage trip current. These devices can be very sensitive and can see false tripping especially under heavier loads or under inrush current events. Typically Class A units are only required in washrooms and near kitchen sinks in most applicable codes.

In your garage you might be able to use a less sensitve GFI with a 30mA leakage trip current (some times called ELCI's). These are seen as equipment protection. They won't protect you very well from a direct electrical shock but will protect any equipment attached to it in case of a fault. These devices are much less sensitive to false tripping. And under most codes are what is required from a fire safety standpoint.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,188 Posts
The statement was wrong. The manual explicitly calls for an GFCI outlet. (not disallowing them).
The ESVE does NOT have a GFCI built in to it. (easy to tell since there is no "reset" button on it).

P9-55 of the 2011 manual says (middle of page), P 9-51 left column of 2012 manual
tboult... I stand corrected. I was loking at the instructions for a 240 volt charger... Not the 120 Voltec. You are right. It is supposed to have a GFCI. He probably should check the grounding connections or try another GFCI outlet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,165 Posts
The SAE J1772 spec calls for a GFI in the EVSE cable. GFI's need not have a reset button - they merely should. My 120v cable does have something like a GFI in it, and refuses also to run if neutral is floating off ground.
I'll take your word on the inline GFCI (I've not read the spec). But if itas a GFI and no reset.. then how does one reset it if it trips? The ESVE's circuits could be detecting floating ground, or just sensitive to it and not initiating the connection. Either way that is not really the same as GFI.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
1,308 Posts
The ESVE does NOT have a GFCI built in to it. (easy to tell since there is no "reset" button on it).
All modern J1772 EVSEs have a built-in Charge Circuit Interrupting Device (CCID) which is essentially another name for GFCI.

Some EVSE manuals recommend connecting to a circuit which is not already protected in order to avoid potential interference between the two but this is impractical for 120V in many newer buildings. I have been charging using the GM 120V EVSE cord on a daily basis for over a year connected to a GFCI-protected garage socket without any problem.

Here is an overview of EVSE design and charging safety from the ChargePoint folks presented at an IEEE meeting:

http://ewh.ieee.org/r6/scv/pses/ieee_scv_pses_jun10.pdf
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,156 Posts
You also might want to look into the sensitivity of the GFI.

Your GFI receptical is likely a Class A GFCI which is considered personal protection and will have a 5mA leakage trip current. These devices can be very sensitive and can see false tripping especially under heavier loads or under inrush current events. Typically Class A units are only required in washrooms and near kitchen sinks in most applicable codes.

In your garage you might be able to use a less sensitve GFI with a 30mA leakage trip current (some times called ELCI's). These are seen as equipment protection. They won't protect you very well from a direct electrical shock but will protect any equipment attached to it in case of a fault. These devices are much less sensitive to false tripping. And under most codes are what is required from a fire safety standpoint.
Really interesting information. I've always had problems with GFCIs with just about anything with a motor -- power washer, etc. This sounds like a possible solution. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,193 Posts
Thanks, 5mA leakage is personal protection because the theory is it only takes 6mA to stop the human heart. But if your in a situation where your not concerned about personal electrical shock then 5mA protection is overkill. 5mA and 30mA are the most common protection levels for GFI's but our company has programmable controllers that can vary the protection level from 5mA to 500mA depending on the application and need.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,193 Posts
I'm curious, if one is not concerned with personal protection, what are they trying to protect with a GFCI?
In a sense they are both personal protection one direct and one indirect. A class A GFCI protects a person from a direct electrical shock (to ground). Equipment protection GFI will sense a ground fault and stop the power before something bad happens to that equipment (like catches fire).

If you have a system were all the live electrical components are protected from people then personal protection is not an issue. But if internally one of those live components creates a ground fault event without a GFI it's possible that the product might over heat and possible start a fire (equipment protection).

I'm an engineer with wire and cable products. Large and long cables can have a lot of natural current leakage and could be prone to false tripping on a class A GFCI. As long as the cable is properly protected from an electro shock standpoint a Class A GFCI is not needed and an ELCI will protect all the equipment and cables from a damage stand point.

On the Volt the potentially dangerous live area's are well protected so that there is very little in the way of a direct shock hazard. So in my opinion an equipment protection GFI would be sufficient protection.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,165 Posts
In a sense they are both personal protection one direct and one indirect. A class A GFCI protects a person from a direct electrical shock (to ground). Equipment protection GFI will sense a ground fault and stop the power before something bad happens to that equipment (like catches fire).

If you have a system were all the live electrical components are protected from people then personal protection is not an issue. But if internally one of those live components creates a ground fault event without a GFI it's possible that the product might over heat and possible start a fire (equipment protection).

I'm an engineer with wire and cable products. Large and long cables can have a lot of natural current leakage and could be prone to false tripping on a class A GFCI. As long as the cable is properly protected from an electro shock standpoint a Class A GFCI is not needed and an ELCI will protect all the equipment and cables from a damage stand point.

On the Volt the potentially dangerous live area's are well protected so that there is very little in the way of a direct shock hazard. So in my opinion an equipment protection GFI would be sufficient protection.

Thanks.. great to have resources like this provide the strait facts. Learn something new every day :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Yes, thank you all for the great feedback - as much as I searched I didn't find a similar thread in the archives that approached this problem from quite the same angle. I am on my way to Home Depot right now to look into both 5mA and 30mA GFI outlets and report back if I keep having issues.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top