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Hi,

I've had my 2017 Volt for 3 days, so far so great. Using the supplied 120V charging cable so far at home and work once, 8 amp and 12 amp respectively. Planning the Level2 home charging station... Things to note

1) no garage
2) yes, off street driveway parking, in "T" shape so 2 cars park side by side parallel to the house's facade and street
3) layout is conducive to putting the charger at the base of the T between the noses of the 2 parked cars, so i can charge regardless of which spot my spouse chooses, and it's < 13' to the front edge of house which is direct line to electrical panel above a guest room ceiling with floor joists parallel to wire path
4) I have 2 breaker spots unused in our panel from a heavy-draw device that is no longer installed in our house, so these can be popped and a 240V breaker installed.

This was a very helpful post: (h t t p : / /) gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?8669-Charging-your-VOLT-for-long-battery-life&p=1579730#post1579730 (my post count is too low to link)

So if the Volt is limited to 3.3kw...


3.3kw @ 208V = 15.86 +20% safety factor = 20amps, but still seems too low
... very safe at 40amp breaker (6.6kw with 20% safety factor)
... 60 amp breaker overkill?

One of my friends is a licensed electrician in our muni/juristiction. I'll run the plans by him and have him do the work at the panel and install the cable into non-fused breaker box (pull down handle) etc, I'll pull the 6/2 cable from the panel, through the wall, to the "mailbox post" site and mount the box and EVSE. Can you sanity check this for me, with what's the norm/good for Volt owners, before i have him vet it for legality/safety in our neck of the woods?

  • 2 full sized breaker slots for either a 40A or 60A 240V breaker
  • 6/2 outdoor rated (direct burial) cable
  • proper wall penetration with sleeve and hole-filling-putty
  • concrete base in ground mailbox like post, with 2 items installed on it:
  • SIEMENS LNF222R 60 Amp, 2 Pole, 240-Volt, Non-Fused, Outdoor Rated breaker (with locking breaker arm)
  • above that on the post, the GE EVDSWGH-CP01 EV Charger Indoor/Outdoor Level-2 DuraStation Wall Mount with 18 ft. Cord - I have proper pole-mount clamps to convert to post/pole
  • possibly a shade hood for all

This GE EV J1772 EVSE is rated to 7.2kw, and is less $$ than the Siemens ones, but our cars have the smarts to control when to charge, so I don't want to re-buy that functionality in EVSE

Thoughts/comments?
 

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You could just get a Level 2 adapter for the EVSE that comes with the car. If you have a 240V outlet like for a dryer or welder, just get the Level 2 adapter that matches your outlet and charge your battery from empty to full in ~5hrs. All that stuff you mentioned above might save you 30 minutes at most, per charge.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You could just get a Level 2 adapter for the EVSE that comes with the car. If you have a 240V outlet like for a dryer or welder, just get the Level 2 adapter that matches your outlet and charge your battery from empty to full in ~5hrs. All that stuff you mentioned above might save you 30 minutes at most, per charge.
Thanks but I have no garage. Our stove/range is gas so its plug us unused, but it's on the far side of a walk out basement stair case and hardscape area from the driveway. Our drier is gas, so the 240V outlet behind it is unused, only a 120v is used, but I'd basically be running an "extension cord" from this outlet in the basement, up past the breaker panel, basically along the same path as above, within my ceiling/walls. Wouldn't I still want the "disconnect" shown in the picture above, or do people doing what you're doing simply "unplug" the hypothetically malfunctioning/troublesome charge cable from the extension cord when needed?

I thought 240 volt stuff was supposed to be hardwired? (code wise). Not sure i want to run this "plug-in extension cord" through my basement guest room ceiling and out through an exterior wall. I guess if i had a garage with a drier outlet "right there" it would be different.

so it's not about saving the 30 min, it's about not causing a fire hazard with 3 kids at home with us... I just measured, it'd be 44'-47' of "extension cord" between the basement drier outlet and the location of the looped EVSE post.

the hard part is running the 6/2 wire frankly, and that's needed with either idea. might as well make it hardwired to avoid issues at time of sale with home to explain why a 6kw extension cord is running through our ceiling/walls ;)
 

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Thanks but I have no garage. Our stove/range is gas so its plug us unused, but it's on the far side of a walk out basement stair case and hardscape area from the driveway. Our drier is gas, so the 240V outlet behind it is unused, only a 120v is used, but I'd basically be running an "extension cord" from this outlet in the basement, up past the breaker panel, basically along the same path as above, within my ceiling/walls. Wouldn't I still want the "disconnect" shown in the picture above, or do people doing what you're doing simply "unplug" the hypothetically malfunctioning/troublesome charge cable from the extension cord when needed? As for the distance, I've made 12AWG Level 2 adapters, 50 feet long and the unit doesn't get any hotter than if it was plugged into a 1ft adapter.

I thought 240 volt stuff was supposed to be hardwired? (code wise). Not sure i want to run this "plug-in extension cord" through my basement guest room ceiling and out through an exterior wall. I guess if i had a garage with a drier outlet "right there" it would be different.

so it's not about saving the 30 min, it's about not causing a fire hazard with 3 kids at home with us... I just measured, it'd be 44'-47' of "extension cord" between the basement drier outlet and the location of the looped EVSE post.

the hard part is running the 6/2 wire frankly, and that's needed with either idea. might as well make it hardwired to avoid issues at time of sale with home to explain why a 6kw extension cord is running through our ceiling/walls ;)
No, you don't have to hardwire 240V EVSEs. You can have a simple 240V outlet called a NEMA 6-15, which is just like a regular 120V outlet except it's got a dual pole breaker at the other end. It uses the same wire, as well. Your Volt isn't going to pull more than 15.8A, total even with the biggest, baddest EVSE so 6/2 or 6/3 is crazy overkill.

As for the adapter, if your unused oven or dryer outlet is close enough to where you park your car, the adapter can be made longer and with a locking receptacle. Locking, as in it can only be unplugged with the proper combination or with a key.

If you're wanting to hardwire something and have the means to do it, I recommend a Clipper Creek LCS-20. It will max out the charge rate on your Volt, and you don't have to go overboard on the copper. Having a disconnect is overkill for a home installation, unless for some crazy reason your local municipality makes you use it for their electrical code.

You could be using a ~$100 Level 2 adapter. The EVSE that comes with the car also has Clipper Creek internals, which are top notch.
 

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Bigger breaker does not mean safer. In fact it's very much so the opposite.

If your looking to meet the Volt's needs then a 20A breaker is more than enough.
Also the Gen II Volt will charge at 16A at 208 or 240V (Gen I was limited to 3.3KW).

If your looking to future proof for a future EV then a 40A circuit (8AWG wire) should cover you. But what ever EVSE you buy make sure that the breaker you install matches what they call for in their instructions. GFI safety standards test short circuit ratings based on breaker size to make sure contacts don't weld during a fault. Over sizing the circuit to the EVSE could negate the safety equipment in the EVSE.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all. here is where i'm at:

1) i'm sticking with the 6/2 wire, it's only $150 for a 150' spool of direct burial wire, and again, running this means an exterior wall penetration, cutting 2-3 access holes in finished basement ceiling to get it to our panel, and trenching 16' as the ant walks from "charging post" to exterior wall --- so "cry once" so that the copper is capable of handling future EV's possibly higher current draws.

2) my 240v circuits are outputting less than 240v now, so is the gen 2 draw capped internally at 16A max, or will it pull more amperage to make up for my supply not being at 240 (to get to 3.3+kw? (I get the idea of a too big breaker reducing the safety factor, so I will size "as small as practical, without tripping under normal use")

3) non-fused outdoor interrupter - I'll check with my electrician if it's needed. I've never seen another home charging station so don't know the norm, obviously every 'commercial' free or paid charger i've seen either in person or pictured on the plugshare app have them but again not residential.

4) I'll check out the Clipper Creek LCS-20 same price as the GE, which isn't 16A limited; so a known quality item in the former vs. possibly 60A compatibility in the latter, via dipswitch settings (for the next EV), but unlike the copper wire, this is easy to change later.

again, thanks for the info
 

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I just converted a dedicated 20 amp 110 outlet to 240 at 20 amp. Same wire, just a new breaker. Then adapt the 240 outlet to the 110 for the standar evse which will charge at 12a on 240. Cut charging time down to a reasonable time and was very inexpensive.
I also added a 50 amp circuit for my bolt as it will charge at 32 amps.

The used amps should be 80% of the breaker rating. So a 50 amp breaker to pull 40 amps or 20 amp for a circuit that will see 15 used.
 

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1) I agree, if you have the extra cash and are going to the trouble of installing all of this already, why not future proof it. You may decide to one day purchase another PHEV or BEV that may benefit from more. Happened to me!
2) Yes, the Volt's charger will pull around 13.75(G1) / 15(G2) amps at exactly 240. A little more on amperage if the voltage sags, a little less if the voltage goes over 240, but there are limits. I've seen my 2013 Volt vary the current draw from 13 amps to a little over 15 amps depending on the voltage the charger is receiving (before taper).
3) If you go with a hardwired EVSE solution, I believe code does call for a outdoor disconnect. Even if not, it is still a good idea for the occasional reset situations you may encounter. Its a lot easier to pull the plug from the disconnect and reinsert than to walk back inside, cycle the breaker and hope that did the trick before walking back outside. High amperage, 240 volt plugs are allowed outside with the appropriate housing; think RV park. Just note that if you ever sell the house, you will need to either leave the EVSE, or finish it out with an outlet, or remove the wire.
4) Clipper Creek makes the HCS-50, which supports 40 amp charging. Just set the DIP switches to whatever capacity the wire/breaker combo can handle, which is 80% of the the rated current (don't use a 6-15 outlet on a continuous 15-16 amp circuit, use a 6-20). This way you don't have to open it again; whatever car plugs into it will pull what it needs. The DIP switches are meant to allow for use of a high-amperage EVSE in a smaller amperage circuit. I see 40 amps (50 amp breaker) as the max as far as the current production EV lineup goes; Tesla's new single chargers handle a little more.
 

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The way you explained your inside connection, you need to be coming off of a breaker from your main panel and then to a 2 pole switch box? If so, you do not need the switch box inside as the breaker does the same thing. Also, your breaker in the panel probably needs to be gfi if using direct burial wire. I also highly recommend you consider putting protection over the 6/2 in the event some tries to dig over the wire. The breaker outside is not necessary and you can just use a weather proof junction box or some outdoor disconnect although with 6/2 that might be fun fitting the wires into it. You will need conduit coming out of the ground up the post unless you plan to run through the post somehow (hollow?). The breaker rule is to never over provision on the wire size and/or on the device requirements. My clipper creek for example recommends only a 25amp breaker and not a 30amp. A 30amp breaker would allow the device to pull too much current before the breaker would pop to protect an overdraw and could create a fire situation should the device malfunction.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks again for the info. Additional status updates:

* I think i'm going to use the outdoor disconnect (siemens lockable throw handle) on the exterior wall. (1) it will cover the hole inthe exterior wall, using the rear knock-out, (2) it will allow me to do work on the EVSE without needing to go downstairs and open the breaker, and (3) if ever digging around the bushes in the yard around the 'run' of the buried cable, it would be best to open the circuit using this non-fused interrupter to lessen the chance of a garden shovel making contact.

* having the siemens box also allows me to 'break' the long wire run into 2 pieces, the outdoor 16' run plus 3+2 feet up vertically into the box and the EVSE post, means i can more easily put this part into a conduit, as noted above. I thought about my wife putting a garden shovel into the ground, even tho the path will be very easy to follow, 6" aside from the edge of the driveway, and putting this outdoor leg into a conduit made sense. I will be using a conduit piece as well from earth up to the siemens box about 2' off the ground on exterior wall. The post I'm looking at may have internal wire raceway made for high voltage romex type wire, which the direct burial cable is.

Prohidium, no the idea internally was/is from main panel, from the new 240v breaker through the walls/ceilings through the exterior wall, then to the Siemens disconnect box. The mod now is to put the Siemens box on the exterior wall itself, and not the EVSE post as originally envisioned.

Siemens disconnect box and 6/2 wire just ordered. Going to weigh which CC unit to buy before ordering that. It will take several night/weekend days to run this 6/2 and trench and bury, so I have time.
 

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if I was going to the trouble of trenching a wire in I would agree of oversizing it . the breaker is to protect the wire, so to reduce the breaker now to a 30 ,no big deal. the up side is ,if you ever decide to get a vech with a bigger charger ,your not retrenching a bigger wire in
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
6/2 wire arrived, it's not overly thick but pretty wide (ground wire is in middle so a bowtie profile). Met with electrician friend, he said code doesn't require the conduit if direct burial grade cable, but it needs to be 18" deep. Will still see about a 1" conduit for the trenched section, "cry once" theory. He said to mark my desired path with dashed-white spray paint and all miss utiity to confirm clear path.

The disconnect box is also here, and the plan to put that on exterior wall is good with him. I ordered the LCS-20 for now, and their hollow box post mount, much nicer than a mailbox post and it should look clean with wiring internal and black powder coat finish:

LCS SLANT VIEW with text-800x800.jpg

since the mount can handle 2 EVSEs (front and back side) I will run 2x 6/2 cables inside the conduit and have the 2nd one unconnected, but coiled/capped inside the post, in case we later have > 1 EV in our household.

My panel is an older 150Amp panel from a company that went under, he says they call them "widowmakers" or "welders" since the breakers are notorious for not being very good and welding/shorting the cables on a short circuited branch. The breakers for this panel are $75-$95 a piece now, as they are refurbs. So we'll be swapping out our house's main panel for a new Siemens 200Amp unit, and new grounding to earth (using same path I'm opening in ceiling for the EV run) and another ground to water supply line shutoff valve location. Since this job is much bigger, and he'll be there anyways doing the panel, the charge for the EV branch connections is zero additional. Full permit and inspection ahead of us, which our muni let's us do, saving more money. We dislike our panel now, crappy breakers we've felt for years, turns out it wasn't in our heads, he knows and loathes these panels and sees them all over DC due to age of a lot of homes form the 60s/70s.

Plus, the solar project in our future could use some additional breaker spots for the utility tie...
 
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