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Discussion Starter #1
I live in Miami and hurricanes and power outages are a concern here. I tried charging my 2016 Volt and my Fiat 500e using the 110v charging cables that come with each car but each cable refused the power from the generators.

I tried a 4500 watt Yamaha, a 3500 watt champion and a 2200 watt Generac inverter generators and none of them put out power that that cable would accept.

Any ideas?
 

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You need to setup the ground on the generator.
 

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I agree with the wizard. Each generator should have a ground attachment lug and it needs a wire going to a good ground. If the power is "floating" the EVSE will not accept it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Making a ground will be easy enough. I can make a wire to go from the ground lug of the generator and plug it into a household outlet, just connecting the wire to 110v plug and plugging it into a wall outlet.
 

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Floating ground. Need to tie the neutral and ground from the generator together. Preferably also tie them to a good ground (ground rod).
 

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I live in Miami and hurricanes and power outages are a concern here. I tried charging my 2016 Volt and my Fiat 500e using the 110v charging cables that come with each car but each cable refused the power from the generators.

I tried a 4500 watt Yamaha, a 3500 watt champion and a 2200 watt Generac inverter generators and none of them put out power that that cable would accept.

Any ideas?
In your home, the Neutral (white) and ground (green or copper) are tied together inside the circuit breaker box. Your EVSE (L1/120V or L2/240V) are checking to see if these are connected together. This is a standard start-up check.

With the Volt, you can start the car, and pop the hood - this causes the engine to start (normal maintenance mode) and generate power, charging the battery. This charges the battery from 40% to over 90% in about 25 minutes. I don't know what happens when the battery reaches full charge.

I don't know why you'd charge a Volt from a generator when you basically do the same thing in maintenance mode, and faster than the generator&L2EVSE could ever achieve.
 

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With the Volt, you can start the car, and pop the hood - this causes the engine to start (normal maintenance mode) and generate power, charging the battery. This charges the battery from 40% to over 90% in about 25 minutes...
Just to confirm, is this the High Voltage Battery you are talking about?
 

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I'm surprised no one has brought up the point of "Why are you trying to charge a Volt from a generator?"
The Volt has it's own built in generator that is FAR more efficient than any portable or standby generator.
 

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I'm surprised no one has brought up the point of "Why are you trying to charge a Volt from a generator?"
The Volt has it's own built in generator that is FAR more efficient than any portable or standby generator.
Yes, exactly! OP, do not do this, there is no reason to. The manual even says not to (at least my 2013 one does).

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With the Volt, you can start the car, and pop the hood - this causes the engine to start (normal maintenance mode) and generate power, charging the battery. This charges the battery from 40% to over 90% in about 25 minutes.
In gen1, popping the hood to run the engine does NOT charge the traction battery. I'd be very surprised if it did on gen2, but don't know for sure.
 

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For the Volt, just leave it in Mountain Mode if you want to keep it charged. It'll maintain the battery at about half full, and you can switch to electric when you want by putting it back into normal mode. It really doesn't make sense to use a potentially limited supply of gasoline during a natural disaster to charge the car as you would with the grid. Essentially, the energy conversion would look like this:

Gasoline energy -> Electrical energy (120v AC) + wasted heat -> Electrical energy conversion (120v AC to 360v DC) + wasted heat + battery charging efficiency loss

Whereas you could put the gas directly into the car and reduce the number of steps (more steps = more wasted energy)

Gasoline energy -> Electrical energy (360v DC) + wasted heat + battery charging efficiency loss)

If gasoline is in limited supply, you're much better off just putting it in the car.

In my experience, the Volt works better as a kind of generator. Leave it in mountain mode, then connect a 12v to 120v inverter to the 12v battery to power appliances. It'll cycle the engine as needed, and overnight you can switch it to normal mode and the traction battery will supply the power to the inverter letting you run overnight without needing to run an engine (until the traction battery is low enough to start the engine again). Rinse and repeat!

For your Fiat 500e, though, I agree with everyone else. Ground the generator properly and you shouldn't have an issue.
 

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In gen1, popping the hood to run the engine does NOT charge the traction battery. I'd be very surprised if it did on gen2, but don't know for sure.
Correct, popping the hood does not charge the battery, it simply runs the engine for troubleshooting. Not sure bout Gen 2 Volts, but they likely work the same.
 

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I have a 14kW standby generator for my home. The generator has its own ground connection separate from the house ground. I have never tried charging my Gen 2 Volt while the generator is running but I don't see why it would be a problem. I have not observed the status lights on my ClipperCreek LCS-20 while the generator was running. I have to remember to do that the next time the power goes out and the generator takes over.
 

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I'm surprised no one has brought up the point of "Why are you trying to charge a Volt from a generator?"
The Volt has it's own built in generator that is FAR more efficient than any portable or standby generator.
That was my first reaction. Simpler to just put the gas in the Volt. Then you just have to figure out how to charge the Fiat.
 

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My experience is that "Mountain" mode will only charge the bottom 2/10 of the battery.
 

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My experience is that "Mountain" mode will only charge the bottom 2/10 of the battery.
2/10ths for Gen 2, 4/10ths for Gen1. As Gen 2 has more capacity it's pretty close to the same. As an aside I ran my battery to the end last night, just needed ICE for last few Km. Display read 10.5 Kw (or was it 10.4) used. Not too shabby for a 2013 battery.
 

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Not sure about generators or if they are all the same but things like battery backups surge suppressors generate a square wave not a sin wave. Lighting a light bulb doesn't matter but some electronics don't like a square wave. Might this be a problem?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The big issue was charging the Fiat vs the Volt but if the generator is running already for other items, I figured why not tap it for charging the Volt.
 
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