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So, I have a 2012 Volt. I charge it using the 120 charger that comes with the car, plugged into a dedicated socket that is brand new in a brand new garage, and the breaker is a higher capacity breaker (according to electrician. And it looks bigger.)Brought the car into the dealership because a warning popped up that the High Voltage system needs to be checked. They checked out the car and said it was fine. Just needed to be updated, and I am good to go.

A few days later my wife says the car didn't charge overnight. I go to look at the charger, and it is off, and when I pull the plug it had melted and obviously had a small electrical fire.

I call the dealership and tell them, and they say they have no idea if that part is covered under the warranty, but for 140 bucks they will look at the car again and see if it is covered. I told them that I want to know if that charger is covered before I spend a good chunk of money that could be used to buy a new charger, and they say they don't know.

So I call GM. After 2 weeks of getting the run around, them promising to call at certain times and not, me calling them over and over and asking to talk to a supervisor, I finally get someone who has even heard of the Voltec warranty. They check and say nope, this isn't covered, it is covered under the bumper to bumper. But, they do get this complaint all the time. I ask if we can do something about it, since they get it all the time. Maybe it should be covered under the Voltec or something. He said that exceptions might be made, but I have to bring it into the dealership and pay 140 bucks to even find out. But not covered. And they probably won't make an exception. But I'll know that the charger might have an issue.

Frankly, this was an aweful experience. My first GM experience in general, and not great. I am amazed that nobody knows what to do with these cars. Nobody was trained on how to fix them, or what is included in the warranties, or even that they have different warranties. And on top of that, they got rid of the volt advisors, and nobody is replacing them. This sucks.

Just wanted to vent. Maybe someone at GM will see it and think, huh. Maybe we shouldn't treat people bad and make them work so hard to get answers.....
 

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A melted cord is a sign there was a high degree of resistance in the outlet.

What else is on the same circuit as the outlet you have the EVSE plugged into?
What is the breaker size?
Is the outlet connected by backstabbed wires or is it connected via the side screws?
 

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.....plugged into a dedicated socket that is brand new in a brand new garage..
That's known as 'builder grade', which is often the cheapest receptacle they can find. The fact that it's new doesn't mean it's a quality receptacle. The method of connection to the receptacle should be checked too.

If you were charging at 12 amps be aware that you were using the circuit at its maximum continuous load rating. When you do this the weak link (usually a connection point) is where it gets the hottest.

But, they do get this complaint all the time. I ask if we can do something about it, since they get it all the time.
Because people often don't know any better and just plug things in, run them at the maximum continuous load and expect everything to be fine.

Maybe the plug end is the bad point. Both the plug and the receptacle should be inspected to make this determination.
 

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So, I have a 2012 Volt. I charge it using the 120 charger that comes with the car, plugged into a dedicated socket that is brand new in a brand new garage, and the breaker is a higher capacity breaker (according to electrician. And it looks bigger.)Brought the car into the dealership because a warning popped up that the High Voltage system needs to be checked. They checked out the car and said it was fine. Just needed to be updated, and I am good to go.

A few days later my wife says the car didn't charge overnight. I go to look at the charger, and it is off, and when I pull the plug it had melted and obviously had a small electrical fire.

I call the dealership and tell them, and they say they have no idea if that part is covered under the warranty, but for 140 bucks they will look at the car again and see if it is covered. I told them that I want to know if that charger is covered before I spend a good chunk of money that could be used to buy a new charger, and they say they don't know.

So I call GM. After 2 weeks of getting the run around, them promising to call at certain times and not, me calling them over and over and asking to talk to a supervisor, I finally get someone who has even heard of the Voltec warranty. They check and say nope, this isn't covered, it is covered under the bumper to bumper. But, they do get this complaint all the time. I ask if we can do something about it, since they get it all the time. Maybe it should be covered under the Voltec or something. He said that exceptions might be made, but I have to bring it into the dealership and pay 140 bucks to even find out. But not covered. And they probably won't make an exception. But I'll know that the charger might have an issue.

Frankly, this was an aweful experience. My first GM experience in general, and not great. I am amazed that nobody knows what to do with these cars. Nobody was trained on how to fix them, or what is included in the warranties, or even that they have different warranties. And on top of that, they got rid of the volt advisors, and nobody is replacing them. This sucks.

Just wanted to vent. Maybe someone at GM will see it and think, huh. Maybe we shouldn't treat people bad and make them work so hard to get answers.....
If the breaker is above 15 amps...then it was NOT doing its job...:(
 

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I think what you are seeing by these responses is that the cause was very likely NOT the EVSE, but what you plugged it into. In every case so far, it has been a low-quality or old outlet, a back-stabbed wiring job, a circuit with other things (refrigerator, freezer, etc.) also sharing the breaker in addition to the EVSE. And as pointed out above, a circuit with a breaker that is larger than needed can be bad, not good. Any or all of these can cause overheating, melting or worse.

Here's another thread on the subject: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?295625-Primer-Level-1-Volt-charging-and-your-home-electrical-system

"Yes, your EVSE must be the cause."
electric overload.jpg

I don't want to be harsh, but I think you unknowingly misused the EVSE and damaged it. Like putting the car in D instead of R as intended and crashing into your garage workbench. That's not covered under warranty either. You may need a new cord. How do the prongs look? Picture? Try plugging into another outlet (don't plug into car). Do the lights on the EVSE show green? If so, your unit's internals are likely fine. Hopefully you just smoked your wall outlet.

As far a "nobody knows what to do with these cars", the statement should be "my dealer is bad, I need to use a different dealer".

My dealer knows all about the Volt, how to diagnose and repair it. Regrettably, there are also clueless dealers.
 

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Two things here - first the fire wasn't in the car, it was in the house. Second, when you had that circuit installed did you spec it to handle multi-hour 12 amp charging. My guess is you didn't (I may be wrong here) and what you got was a punched in 15 amp circuit with too big a breaker on it. Also, 120v 15 and 20 amp breakers are in general physically the same size so if the breaker is larger you may have a 240v circuit at that point, which will fry the Gen 1 EVSE.

Sorry, but this isn't a GM issue.
 

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For continuous charging, you should really have a dedicated 20 amp breaker, 12 gauge wire, and a 20 amp outlet. It's not clear what you mean by higher capacity breaker. Hopefully you don't mean it's a 20 amp breaker with 14 gauge wire and/or a 15 amp outlet.

A 20 amp outlet has a sideways "T" opening for the left prong. 20 amp breaker says "20" on it. Wiring is harder to tell, though the jacket on any newer NM 12-2 wiring is yellow.

In any case, the cause was likely a low grade outlet that overheated.
 

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To all who responded to this thread. OP said that the plug melted, NOT the receptacle/outlet. A faulty receptacle would not cause a plug to melt without causing many other issues.

I've heard about of the plug melting before in some of the early Voltec EVSE's (AKA the "charger"). They had weak connections between the plug blades and cord which could heat up and melt the plug. The Voltec EVSE is covered under the Voltec warranty.
 

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To all who responded to this thread. OP said that the plug melted, NOT the receptacle/outlet. A faulty receptacle would not cause a plug to melt without causing many other issues.

I've heard about of the plug melting before in some of the early Voltec EVSE's (AKA the "charger"). They had weak connections between the plug blades and cord which could heat up and melt the plug. The Voltec EVSE is covered under the Voltec warranty.
You are wrong. A bad receptacle can cause the plug to melt if the contact points were dirty, creating a new low resistance to heat up (P=V^2/R). I have seen this happen many times , even when I was just a high school student. Anyway, the EVSE runs a constant current, so the outlet should be new or cleaned before plugging in.
 

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My new 2014 came with an old style charger from a 2011 or 2012. Dealership said the other one was broken. Anyway, the one that came with the car overheated and died. Lights would not come on and it was VERY warm when I found it. The car gave me the warning signal about the charge being interrupted. Dealer replaced the faulty charging cord under warranty.
 

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I've had poor quality outlets melt cords or themselves using:

Hair Dryer
Vacuum
Electric Lawnmower
Toaster
Microwave
Air Compressor

What do these have in common? They draw a lot of power.

Usually it happens on new outlets when there is a poor connection between the house wiring and the outlet. The metal in the outlet heats up, transfers to the plug, the relatively low melting point of the syn rubber on the plug is the weak temp link. Copper is one of the best thermal conductors, ie - it transfers it's heat quickly with low losses.

You have a legitimate complaint with your builder, and a serious one. Which other outlets are poorly installed or used inferior materials?

Trivia - I had a GFCI wall outlet nearly catch fire, (melted big time, filled room with smoke).
The building was 1 month old and the outlet was never used once. It melted with nothing plugged into it. Did not trip the breaker, either at the panel or GFCI circuit.
 

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...Trivia - I had a GFCI wall outlet nearly catch fire, (melted big time, filled room with smoke).
The building was 1 month old and the outlet was never used once. It melted with nothing plugged into it. Did not trip the breaker, either at the panel or GFCI circuit.
The circuit breaker is there to protect the wires in the wall, NOT what is plugged into the outlet.

An 'appliance', (whatever it may be), that is plugged in, can easily make smoke and fire at an easy 5 amps or less.
Circuit breakers do not sense 'smoke and fire'.....

A circuit breaker is sized to match the wire that is in the wall.
For example, a 20A CB should not be used with 14 ga. wire in the wall.
A 15A CB could be connected to 10ga. wire, but that is not ideal either.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So, I'll try to answer all the comments and questions.

It was the plug that melted, and I did notice the ground prong was slightly loose. Can't remember if it was loose before. The socket does have scorch marks and is slightly melted, but the majority of the damage is in the plug where the prongs connect, and it appears that the socket damage is due to heat from the plug, since it is just on the outside, not inside.

As far as the socket install, it wasn't builder grade, because it was specifically put in for this purpose. The socket was side-wired, higher end socket to handle higher voltage.

Now, I'm looking at it, it may be a 240v circuit, which I think is a problem. I think the thought was to have a circuit that can be upgraded if I wanted to, but that is an issue.

Wire is black, not orange.

As far as the dealership goes, I literally called every dealership in my area (St. Louis) and all of them said the same thing. We don't know alot about these cars. I am pretty frustrated that this seems to be the standard response, and am not confident with the dealerships. If anyone here is in the STL area and knows a better dealership, I'd love to hear it. It would be worth the drive for someone to actually know what is going on.

Also, the GM guy I talked to on the phone says he gets this call a lot. If this is a common problem, you would think there would be a nicer solution. Frankly, even if the socket is builder grade, well, that's the common socket out there. Its what builders use putting homes together. This thing should work on that socket without frying the socket and/or the plug. my .02

I think I answered everything. Did I miss something?
 

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If it's a 240V circuit, that would be an issue. But, no competent electrician would install a standard outlet with a 240V circuit. Plus the EVSE wouldn't even function.


If the wire on the EVSE is black, then it's not the recalled one from 2011-12.


I realize this stinks. But, it's almost impossible for this to be the EVSE or car's fault. It is most likely a poor/defective outlet that didn't make good contact with the prongs on the EVSE's plug. That created resistance, and possibly arcing, which generated heat and scorched/melted the plug.


As for GM saying it's a common issue, that's because a lot of people try charging using bad outlets and this happens. They lowered the default 120V amperage in 2013 from 12amp to 8amps because of this issue. Your 2012 pulls 12amps by default. Again, that's only an issue if the outlet isn't up to the task.


Look at the link below. Which looks like your outlet?


https://kyledesigns.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/duplex_15amp_20amp.jpg
 

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I realize this stinks. But, it's almost impossible for this to be the EVSE or car's fault. It is most likely a poor/defective outlet that didn't make good contact with the prongs on the EVSE's plug. That created resistance, and possibly arcing, which generated heat and scorched/melted the plug.
It is entirely possible that the bad connection is in the plug on the EVSE. For just a few dollars you can cut off the damaged plug and replace it with a high grade one with screw connections. If this is the only problem the EVSE will start working again. I would also replace the wall socket since it has now been heat damaged.
 

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It is entirely possible that the bad connection is in the plug on the EVSE. For just a few dollars you can cut off the damaged plug and replace it with a high grade one with screw connections. If this is the only problem the EVSE will start working again. I would also replace the wall socket since it has now been heat damaged.


It's possible that it's an issue within the molded plug on the EVSE. But, it's less likely than the outlet being the cause. Especially if it's low-grade 15A outlet.
 
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