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Apologies for a lengthy first time post! Tl;dr: Trying to figure out why my EVSEs are all dying due to cord faults and seek alternate charge methods

I drove a 2017 LT and *love* it. But I've run into an issue with my current housing that seems to make at-home charging complicated at best.

I live and work at a boarding school that provides employees with housing (in exchange for dealing with rowdy teenage boys at all hours), which is a wonderful arrangement. That said, I'm currently living in a very old home that does not have a driveway or a garage. I park in a shared parking lot that is roughly adjacent to the house.

Because the house is old, it had no outside outlets when I moved in. I had the school install a 120V outlet, which they placed on the back porch right by the fuse box, which is about 25 feet from the closest parking spot. (All of this is under a roof and out of rain, but still outdoors.) Since moving in, I have used a 10-gauge outdoor-rated extension cord out to the parking spot and then plugged my EVSE into it. Unfortunately, over the last 4 months, I've now gone through two of the stock L1 EVSEs, both of which had the solid green/flashing red cord fault indicator.

Dealership has replaced it twice under warranty (yay!) but they speculated that the EVSEs are crapping out due to the extension cord. The EVSE stays plugged in to the extension cord 24-7, more or less, and is exposed to the elements. In both instances, the fault showed up when I unplugged it for a road trip and attempted to plug it in elsewhere.

Issues I face:
- The school is kind enough to provide housing, but doesn't really do a lot of custom maintenance sort of work. Getting the 120 outlet added felt like a huge win, so the odds of them running a line out to the parking lot are zero.
- There's an outside chance they may upgrade the outlet to 240, though I haven't asked yet.
- I don't want to buy/install an EVSE that's built-in because there's a real chance I'll change houses in the years I'm here.

Questions I have:
- Could the extension cord be the culprit in causing the cord fault?
- Could it be that the EVSE is plugged in and exposed to elements?
- I've seen some portable EVSEs with long cords (25 or 30 feet) on Amazon, but they have the patina of "shady Amazon item" in a way that makes me question whether they're legit. Has anyone used them or have recommendations?

Thanks, and apologies again for the small novel of a first post!
 

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I have used 10 gauge extensions outside running from outdoor outlets exposed to elements but with connections protected by a connection protector for 3 years no issues on both 120 and 240. Is the outlet a standard 120? I have had my dual voltage duosida Evses locked in a shed with the extensions and cords coming in and out of it. When I had a 120 clipper creek evse it was totally exposed outside however and never had a problem.


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To be clear, an EVSE is sort of an extension cord that connects the source of grid electricity to the car (that could be a wall plug, or an extension cord plugged into a wall plug). It contains safety circuits that prevent current from flowing until the circuit between the plug and the car is complete. The charging equipment itself is under the hood.

You indicate your charging arrangement is to have an extension cord plugged into a wall socket, and the EVSE plugged into the extension cord and into the car.

Please clarify the order in which you connect and disconnect these items. It’s important that the last thing to be plugged in is the EVSE into the car. It’s also important that you unplug the EVSE from the car before you unplug anything else.

I don’t know why unplugging the EVSE cord from the extension cord should cause any faults in the EVSE... unless you’re unplugging the extension cord end of the EVSE first (or the extension cord from the wall socket) while the other end is still plugged into the car.

Also, it’s unclear what you do with the EVSE when it’s not being used to charge the car. Is the end that plugs into the car kept in a weatherproof container near the parking spot (or perhaps moved closer to the house), with the EVSE still plugged into the extension cord, and the extension cord still plugged into the wall socket, or are some or all of the cords unplugged between charging sessions?
 

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I also don't see how the cord could harm the EVSE. I would suspect exposure to rain. I would want to have the evse housing off the ground and inside a weatherproof container (there are some creative cheap easy ideas for this posted elsewhere). I would also want the connection between the extension cord and the evse cord inside a waterproof enclosure, and also the outlet on the house should have a weatherproof enclosure box over it in addition to the roof overhead. How do you currently have these set up?
 

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I agree that using a 10 gauge extension cord has nothing to do with your problems - Many thousands of EV's are recharged every day using extension cords without any issues. Leaving it plugged in 24/7 while exposed to all sorts of weather is probably not a good idea. I would store the EVSE and the cord indoors when not in use

Don
 

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Likely not the extension cord. Have the outlet checked - it has to be able to supply 15A, since the charger uses 12A. But - the default setting is to charge at 8A. So has to be something else.

I charge my 2018 LT using a 25 foot, 10 gauge extension cord, outdoors. No problems so far. Have the car for about one month.
 

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A few questions --
1) Any idea how far the run from your breaker to the new outdoor outlet is?
2) What gauge wire did they use? I'm not an electrician, but from my research it seems like #8 copper should support a L2 30 Amp charger, and you may be able to get away with #10 if a short run. (Please advise if I'm mistaken)

I tried to find some longer length L1 EVSEs, but can't seem to find a reliably well-reviewed one anywhere. I think your best option, pending looking into the above, may be to convert that outlet to a dryer plug and get a plug in level 2 system -- there are options made by reputable manufacturers that have 25 foot cords.
 

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The weak points are the plugs. As the outlet is outside (right?) I would have some sort of weatherproof box covering it. I would also have some sort of weatherproof box protecting the extension cord to EVSE plug connection. I've seen smaller ones for regular sized plugs that are really meant to prevent the plugs from separating but they could easily be made weatherproof if they aren't already. The other factor is: is the 120V outlet dedicated (no other outlets on the line)? If not, even 8 amps could be stressing it (EVSE) depending what else is there.
 

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Maybe you can find a better charging situation. Does your school have anything like a parking deck with an electrical outlet? That might be better (newer) wiring and be out of the weather.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
All,

Thanks for your responses!

To answer your questions:

- The 120 outlet is about 4 inches from the fuse box and is definitely done with the right gauge of wire.
- Nothing else plugged in that outlet, and it's on a 15A circuit.
- I do *not* have the connection between extension cord and EVSE in a waterproof housing. I bought one, but the L-shaped pigtail on the EVSE wouldn't fit inside. I do have the connection and the EVSE itself raised off the ground on a garden hook.
- When the EVSE isn't plugged into the car, it's not covered or housed. Extension cord still plugged into outlet, EVSE still plugged into extension cord, all elevated off the ground.

Please clarify the order in which you connect and disconnect these items. It’s important that the last thing to be plugged in is the EVSE into the car. It’s also important that you unplug the EVSE from the car before you unplug anything else.

I don’t know why unplugging the EVSE cord from the extension cord should cause any faults in the EVSE... unless you’re unplugging the extension cord end of the EVSE first (or the extension cord from the wall socket) while the other end is still plugged into the car.
I think this may be it, @wordptom. I don't recall how I unplugged it the first time this happened, but I definitely remember unplugging EVSE from the extension cord before unplugging it from the car the most recent time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Maybe you can find a better charging situation. Does your school have anything like a parking deck with an electrical outlet? That might be better (newer) wiring and be out of the weather.
I wish - all of our parking is outdoors! My best long-term hope would be getting into one of the two houses with a garage, but that would require a pretty significant promotion, too. :)
 

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https://www.amazon.com/Made-While-W...keywords=greenfield+weatherproof+outlet+cover

This box has been excellent for me. Nice big outlets on the bottom to fit 10 gauge cord, deep cover to fit the plug, and you can lock it if you want to deter theft (likely will not help you with your extension cord setup, but may help you remember not to unplug at the outlet first!)

I don't use this second product, because I don't use an extension cord, but it seems like it would fit your application well:

https://www.amazon.com/SockitboX-We...keywords=weatherproof+extension+cord+box&th=1

Good luck!
 

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...
- The 120 outlet is about 4 inches from the fuse box and is definitely done with the right gauge of wire.
- Nothing else plugged in that outlet, and it's on a 15A circuit.
If there is room in the panel for a double pole breaker, I'd definitely run the circuit at 240v with a 6-15 or 6-20 receptacle. Especially considering your Vermont winters, and the Volts capability to pre-condition the car while still on 'shore power'. Buy (e.g., from Chris Tx's etsy store) or build your own 6-15P to 5-15R adapter cable, and run your factory charge cable at 240v.

Perhaps you could also have them dig a trench for some conduit and run the circuit out to the parking area. Then you wouldn't need an extension cord at all.

...
I think this may be it, @wordptom. I don't recall how I unplugged it the first time this happened, but I definitely remember unplugging EVSE from the extension cord before unplugging it from the car the most recent time.
Always plug into the car last, and unplug the car first.
 
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