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Discussion Starter #1
So. from reading the manual I have deduced that I need a 15 amp minimum circuit for best 110V charging.

"The following are the minimum
requirements for circuits used to
charge this vehicle:
. 120 volts/15 amps"


All my breakers in the panel are 20 amps.(except for the 50 amp dryer breaker).

Does this mean I can charge my Volt at 12 amps instead of the snail-slow 8 amp?
 

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Yes. Safe to charge at 80 percent continuous load so max on 20 line is 16 amps. So 12 amps is fine with plenty of margin. On a 15 amp line 80 percent is 12 amps.


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The breaker is fine for 12 amps, but what about the rest of the line and receptacle? Doesn't the manual still suggest you have an electrician inspect it?

At 240 VAC you can do even better. The electrician can help you with that too.
 

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Yes, but make sure you have a good tight connection in the receptacle you plug it into. Also, it should not be in a GFI receptacle or one that gets it's power from a GFI, as those can be unreliable with something that draws a full 15 amps.
It is best to plug the EVSE into the receptacle and leave it permanently connected. Removing the plug every time will weaken or loosen the connection, which w3ill overheat the receptacle and plug.
Also It is a good idea to remove the receptacle cover, and make sure it has the wires fastened to the screws on the sides, as the push-in wire ones are very poor for high current loads and will burn out.
 

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So. from reading the manual I have deduced that I need a 15 amp minimum circuit for best 110V charging.

"The following are the minimum
requirements for circuits used to
charge this vehicle:
. 120 volts/15 amps"


All my breakers in the panel are 20 amps.(except for the 50 amp dryer breaker).

Does this mean I can charge my Volt at 12 amps instead of the snail-slow 8 amp?
It is good that you checked, found that all of your 120V circuits are setup for 20 amps. If you can determine that there is not another high electrical load appliance on the same 20 amp circuit as you plan to use with your Level I EVSE at 12 amps you should be fine. High power 120V appliance to make sure are not on the same circuit would include:

Automatic garage door opener mechanism
Refrigerator or freezer
Toaster or toaster oven
Microwave oven
Dehumidifier
Washing machine
Gas dryer
Laser printer/copier

I used my Level I EVSE on a 20 amp circuit that was also shared with half my kitchen for several months before I got my 240V 50 amp circuit installed. The refrigerator and the toaster oven were on this same circuit but the breaker never tripped while I was charging at 12 amps. I made sure not to try and use my toaster oven while charging as that would have likely caused an overload. I was relieved when I was finally able to use a dedicated circuit to charge my Volt.

As previously stated in another response, check the wiring of the outlet you plan to use with the EVSE, make sure all of the connections are to the screw posts and are tight. If the receptacle at the outlet is old, replace the receptacle it with a new one before using the EVSE. You want the connection to be clean and tight as possible. Also, don't let the EVSE hang from the power cord as this will eventually cause the power cord to fail. If you don't want to permanently mount the EVSE to the wall you can wrap a bungee or velcro wrap around the EVSE and hang it from a hook, nail or similar to support its weight.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the quick replies y'all.

I am actually getting a 220V, 50 amp dedicated line installed on Monday, so I guess I don't really need to charge at 110/12. It was more of a "I need to know" question in case I have to use 110 in the future for whatever reason.

I will definitely check to see what other (if any) items run on the outdoor 110 plug circuit, and check for tight screw fittings.
 

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It is good that you checked, found that all of your 120V circuits are setup for 20 amps. If you can determine that there is not another high electrical load appliance on the same 20 amp circuit as you plan to use with your Level I EVSE at 12 amps you should be fine. High power 120V appliance to make sure are not on the same circuit would include:

Automatic garage door opener mechanism
Refrigerator or freezer
Toaster or toaster oven
Microwave oven
Dehumidifier
Washing machine
Gas dryer
Laser printer/copier

I used my Level I EVSE on a 20 amp circuit that was also shared with half my kitchen for several months before I got my 240V 50 amp circuit installed. The refrigerator and the toaster oven were on this same circuit but the breaker never tripped while I was charging at 12 amps. I made sure not to try and use my toaster oven while charging as that would have likely caused an overload. I was relieved when I was finally able to use a dedicated circuit to charge my Volt.

As previously stated in another response, check the wiring of the outlet you plan to use with the EVSE, make sure all of the connections are to the screw posts and are tight. If the receptacle at the outlet is old, replace the receptacle it with a new one before using the EVSE. You want the connection to be clean and tight as possible. Also, don't let the EVSE hang from the power cord as this will eventually cause the power cord to fail. If you don't want to permanently mount the EVSE to the wall you can wrap a bungee or velcro wrap around the EVSE and hang it from a hook, nail or similar to support its weight.
I would add a hair dryer to the list. I discovered our bathroom outlets are on the same circuit as the garage. Wasn't a frequent problem because I usually charged the car, a Fiat 500e in my case, overnight. Did pop the breaker twice when I charged during the evening when the wife showered. Caused me to get a L-2 setup.
 

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Just curious, was the circuit that included the bathroom outlets a 20 amp circuit or 15?
 

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I charge at 8amps unless I know I need to have my car charged faster. I've charged at 12amps on my 20amp garage circuit perfectly fine. I've only tripped the GFI once in my one year of ownership and have never tripped a breaker. I'm able to safely close my garage doors without issues to when charging at 12.
 

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I have charged my car from a variety of outlets (I live in Vermont, so distances are relatively long, and friends' houses have some wonky outlets). I've never seen one that won't give 12 amps all day long. I can see two potential problem cases (there may be others I'm not thinking about).
1.) Outlet that shares a breaker with a kitchen outlet (or trying to charge the car with an extension cord running in the kitchen window). The good news is that an outdoor or garage outlet sharing a breaker with a kitchen outlet is almost certainly not to code (I don't think kitchen outlets are even allowed to share breakers with outlets outside the kitchen, let alone outside the house). The bad news is that if you're somehow on a kitchen breaker, there are LOTS of 110v appliances in the average kitchen that could draw enough power to pop a breaker if they're sharing with a Volt. The obvious one is the microwave(800-1200+ watts, once you include the magnetron plus other power draws), but any heating appliance like a toaster oven, a coffee maker or an electric teakettle is basically a short circuit in a box. All of those heating devices are rated over 1000 watts, and any one of them plus a car will pop a 20 amp breaker (probably the most common way to pop a breaker in the average house is to try and use two of them at once). The other surprising power draws in many kitchens are significant motors - food processors, blenders and even large mixers are notable draws.

2.) Tools plugged in to a garage outlet - many larger power tools are 220v, but hand-held tools and smaller bench tools are not, and are very likely to be plugged into a garage outlet. Most power saws are over 1000 watts (essentially any bench saw, plus hand-held circular saws or Sawzalls - not sure about jigsaws). Even apart from saws, most bench tools are significant draws (planers, fixed sanders, etc.) and shop heaters are big draws if they're electric. A bunch of outlets in the garage are likely to share a breaker, because nobody uses several tools at the same time (the outlets were likely put in before cars had plugs, so the electrician didn't think "continuous draw from a car plus intermittent draw from a saw"). Use the table saw while the car's charging, and the breaker goes "pop"...
 

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I would add a hair dryer to the list. I discovered our bathroom outlets are on the same circuit as the garage. Wasn't a frequent problem because I usually charged the car, a Fiat 500e in my case, overnight. Did pop the breaker twice when I charged during the evening when the wife showered. Caused me to get a L-2 setup.
And vacuum cleaners!
 
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