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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I lease a 2013 chevy volt and I love it. I have moved to an apartment complex and they have one outlet and I have worked out a deal to use their outlet for a fixed monthly fee. It is a three pronged outlet, but I found out that a ground wire has not been run to the outlet and this outlet is about 50 ft from the building and conduit is run underground. I dont think I can convince the land lord to run a ground for me even after I offered to pay ( it would be just more of a hassle for them ). This leads me to my question!!

If I can verify that neutral is bonded to ground at the panel. Can I use a cheater plug that I will short neutral and ground together with a piece of 12awg wire. Now remember there is no ground wire landed on the landlords outlet itself ( but it is a three pronged plug ). So what I am essentially doing is putting neutral on both ground and neutral of the chevy volt. Now since ground and neutral are essentially the same point and have the same potential and the chevy volt is floating I do not see how this could be dangerous. since if there is a fault inside the volt and a high voltage wire touches the chassis, and the chassis is grounded to the neutral then the fault current will still flow to ground and the breaker at the panel will trip.

does anyone have any reasons why this wouldn't work?
 

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First off, have you confirmed that the outlet and wiring is rated for at least 15A? And there is nothing else on the same circuit that would interfere?

If you are good there, then your idea could potentially work. I'm not sure if the EVSE would be able to tell if ground and neutral are on the same wire, but I don't think it would, since as you said, they are typically bonded at the panel anyway.

You'll probably get a fair number of people telling you this is very dangerous and such, but Europe uses 230V ungrounded, and they don't have issues.
Disclaimer: I am in no way advocating your ideas.
 

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No, this is a very bad idea. It could create a voltage potential between your fake ground and the real ground if someone touched a supposedly grounded component while the outlet was being used during active charging. This is much less of a problem with old-style 3 wire dryer outlets being used for 240v EVSE charging because they are on a dedicated circuit and neutral isn't used for anything during charging (only the 2 hot leads are used). On a real dryer, the high energy heating elements only use the two hot leads but some very low power timer circuits, or a 'finished' buzzer might use 120v across one of the hot wires and the neutral but not enough to create a safety hazard if someone touches the neutral-grounded dryer metal cabinet.

Where is this outlet located? Would it be easy to drive a grounding spike near the outlet and run a ground wire from that to the outlet? Also, if the conduit for the wires leading to the outlet is metal then the conduit should have been hooked up to ground where it originates and you might be able to hook a ground wire from your outlet to the conduit. You should have a real electrician look at it and evaluate what options you have. Remember that anything you do is likely to be used by others either now or in the future. Do it right. Otherwise, you could be ethically or legally responsible if someone else is harmed by any dangerous changes that you make.
 

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You say it is in conduit. Does the other end of the conduit go to the breaker box? If so it would be pretty easy to pull in a ground wire and then know everything is up to code after you also install a GFI. I agree with Jeff, it isn't what you do that is the problem it is what others might do and now your name is on it. There are lots of things I might put up with in the safety and privacy of my own environment that I wouldn't want to if I knew others would be using it. $30 worth of green wire and you have the problem fixed if you know what you are doing or call and electrician maybe $100. The peace of mind alone is worth it. Maybe after you point out just how dangerous an ungrounded non-GFI outside outlet is your landlord will spring for the fix.

I should add that I am an electrical engineer and have done all kinds of things others would consider very dangerous. And there is no way I would allow an ungrounded non-GFI outlet to be used by anyone outside...
 

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I'm hardly an expert like Ron, but I agree that you don't want to connect the ground and the neutral. When a load is connected, voltage will appear on both the neutral and ground wires, and any noncurrent-carrying appliance or tool case will become energized, allowing the user to function as the ground. Not good.

Even though there isn't a ground wire, the box may be grounded by the sheath if it's metal and not plastic. You may not have the problem you think you do. Before going further why not test?

I also believe you can install a GFCI outlet on a two wire ungrounded line since a GFCI will offer protection without a ground. Just leave the grounding terminal unattached and then attach the label that says "No Equipment Ground" as a warning that the box won't protect more sensitive electrical equipment. Also note that your EVSE has a ground fault.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No, this is a very bad idea. It could create a voltage potential between your fake ground and the real ground if someone touched a supposedly grounded component while the outlet was being used during active charging. This is much less of a problem with old-style 3 wire dryer outlets being used for 240v EVSE charging because they are on a dedicated circuit and neutral isn't used for anything during charging (only the 2 hot leads are used). On a real dryer, the high energy heating elements only use the two hot leads but some very low power timer circuits, or a 'finished' buzzer might use 120v across one of the hot wires and the neutral but not enough to create a safety hazard if someone touches the neutral-grounded dryer metal cabinet.

Where is this outlet located? Would it be easy to drive a grounding spike near the outlet and run a ground wire from that to the outlet? Also, if the conduit for the wires leading to the outlet is metal then the conduit should have been hooked up to ground where it originates and you might be able to hook a ground wire from your outlet to the conduit. You should have a real electrician look at it and evaluate what options you have. Remember that anything you do is likely to be used by others either now or in the future. Do it right. Otherwise, you could be ethically or legally responsible if someone else is harmed by any dangerous changes that you make.
Thank you for your reply, I am not sure though how a voltage potential could be formed between my fake ground ( I assume you mean the chassis of my car) and real ground since.

Could you provide an example of how this could happen? I cant think of a scenario since neutral and ground come from the same point just one wire is green. ( I do understand that neutral is the center point in a wye transformer but that center point is bonded to ground) so all current goes back to that same point its just a matter of which wire it takes to get there green or white.
 

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Assuming you already tried the outlet as is and the EVSE is faulting...

Don't mess with their equipment. Build a short extension cord that bonds neutral and ground.

Or, remind the landlord that an outside outlet needs a ground.
 

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Does it have a ground wire, and that wire leads... nowhere, or is it not grounded, or is the conduit itself (assuming metal) being used as the grounding means?
 

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It should work in that it will trick the EVSE into thinking all is okay. However, there are potential safety concerns that exist, otherwise there would only be 2 prong outlets everywhere instead of 3.
 

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You could drive in an earth rod for the earth, but do NOT connect neutral to earth at the receptacle but there must be GFCI fitted at the panel to do this, it is all so needed for any outside supply. Note A GFCI is almost standard in electrical codes all over the world for an outside supply. Don't know of any EU 230v receptacle without an earth connection. The 7/7 plug has only 2 pins, the earth is a slider connection on the sides, so see how many may think no earth.

Thought if this receptacle is not earthed, what is the legal exposure of the landlord if anything happens as not to code.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You could drive in an earth rod for the earth, but do NOT connect neutral to earth at the receptacle but there must be GFCI fitted at the panel to do this, it is all so needed for any outside supply. Note A GFCI is almost standard in electrical codes all over the world for an outside supply. Don't know of any EU 230v receptacle without an earth connection. The 7/7 plug has only 2 pins, the earth is a slider connection on the sides, so see how many may think no earth.

Thought if this receptacle is not earthed, what is the legal exposure of the landlord if anything happens as not to code.
I wouldnt bond neutral to ground at the receptacle to avoid messing with my landlords property, but if I made a cheater plug (assume I know what I am doing and know how to size wire, crimp, solder, heat shrink ect..) In which neutral goes to both neutral and ground on the volt, I am unsure how this can be dangerous. How could a potential build on the chassis of my volt to earth ground if neutral and ground are the same potential?
 

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Thought if this receptacle is not earthed, what is the legal exposure of the landlord if anything happens as not to code.
If the outlet has been installed any time in the last 40 years it should be grounded, odd situation, as I stated though, not hard to correctly fix
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If the outlet has been installed any time in the last 40 years it should be grounded, odd situation, as I stated though, not hard to correctly fix
Part of the problem is getting the landlord to get an electrician to come run a ground for me, they just don't want the hassle. I have offered to pay, but I am still at my land lords mercy.
 

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.., I am not sure though how a voltage potential could be formed between my fake ground ( I assume you mean the chassis of my car) and real ground since.

Could you provide an example of how this could happen?..ite.
in a 2 wire plug, you have a hot line and a return. In case of a high resistance failure in the Return line (loose connection somewhere else in the circuit, oxidized wire nut, stab terminal shared outlet, etc) , if you also have no ground, then all the "grounded" parts of the device being powered can become live. if you tie the ground pin to the return line at the device in service, you are eliminating this safety.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
in a 2 wire plug, you have a hot line and a return. In case of a high resistance failure in the Return line (loose connection somewhere else in the circuit, oxidized wire nut, stab terminal shared outlet, etc) , if you also have no ground, then all the "grounded" parts of the device being powered can become live. if you tie the ground pin to the return line at the device in service, you are eliminating this safety.
Thank you for your example, and not to sound like a wise guy, but then what stops a high resistance failure on a ground wire that is at an appropriately grounded outlet? doesnt the same risk apply to ground wires in all other cases, if ground wire has a high resistance path, then all grounded components connected to that outlet could have a potential?

I am not trying to be a wise guy or pick apart your example, I just don't see the difference.
 

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The GFCI in the EVSE will measure the difference in potential between neutral and ground, find it infinite and trip. I do believe that binding the ground to neutral anywhere except the meter is illegal just about anywhere. And if someone is electrocuted or it causes a fire insurance companies tend not to pay claims and dump it all on you.
 

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Part of the problem is getting the landlord to get an electrician to come run a ground for me, they just don't want the hassle. I have offered to pay, but I am still at my land lords mercy.
I really hope you're not asking advice on how to violate electrical code on property you don't own. Your landlord has the work done and done properly or not. Don't try and end-around on it. Have you considered the legal consequences of this?
 

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MAIN QUESTION, Please answer: HAVE YOU TRIED THE EVSE ON THE PLUG AS IT IS???

Thank you for your example, and not to sound like a wise guy, but then what stops a high resistance failure on a ground wire that is at an appropriately grounded outlet? doesnt the same risk apply to ground wires in all other cases, if ground wire has a high resistance path, then all grounded components connected to that outlet could have a potential?.
With grounded tools and appliances, the third leg -- the ground -- would intercept the potential hazard and protect the user. If both ground and neutral are not connected properly, there would still be the potential for an electrical shock. Of course the appliance would not run, too, so you would know there was a problem.

I grew up on a farm, in a farmhouse built around 1950, and there were NO GROUND wires ANYWHERE. And I am living proof that one can survive with out that third wire. ;-) And by the way, I played with wiring all the time, got shocked a bunch of times. With 120 volts, it doesn't feel good, but it won't kill you unless there are some seriously extenuating circumstances, which I cannot imagine.
 
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