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Portable EVSE: 120V only, 240V only, or 120/240V auto switching

  • 120V only EVSE

    Votes: 17 6.1%
  • 240V only EVSE

    Votes: 9 3.2%
  • 120/240V auto-switching EVSE

    Votes: 253 90.7%
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
evseupgrade.jpg Mark at "EVSE Upgrade" seems to think that the 240V only upgrade is more popular than a 120/240v auto-switching upgrade. I can't believe it...so I decided to see if he is right.

Specifically, which portable EVSE option would you PREFER, 120V only, or 240V only, or 120/240V auto-switching.

It really is a no-brainer.

Update: Turns out the 2013+ stock EVSE had the ability to do 120 *and* 240 switched charging all along (see thread below), which is exactly what i was saying. In fact, i believe i had a thread proposing this long ago, and i just didnt have the electrical know how to follow it through (i do software, not hardware).

Thread with youtube showing how easily it is to convert 2013+ stock EVSE to 120 and 240 charging:

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread...-how-to-modify-Voltec-L1-EVSE-to-do-L1-and-L2
 

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View attachment 14049 Mark at "EVSE Upgrade" seems to think that the 240V only upgrade is more popular than a 120/240v auto-switching upgrade. I can't believe it...so I decided to see if he is right.
I don't think that I voted correctly...120V/240V auto-switching. I charge 120V at home and 240V at work.
 

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The question is not stated clearly.

Are you asking if people wish they had a 120/240V auto switching EVSE?

Are you asking if you own one one of the above?

What are you asking? Be specific.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The question is not stated clearly.

Are you asking if people wish they had a 120/240V auto switching EVSE?

Are you asking if you own one one of the above?

What are you asking? Be specific.
Which you prefer. I edited the post explaining the poll (first post) to make it more clear.
 

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If I had to choose only one voltage for a PORTABLE cord, it would have to be 120v. 120/240 auto switching gives the option of also being able to utilize 240v at random points of opportunity. It's not worth the hassle of hauling around a dedicated 240v portable charger for how infrequently a random far-end 240v outlet is available. When I know I'm going to have a 240v outlet at the far end, I just unhook my homemade Open-EVSE from the garage wall and toss it in the trunk. For the most part, 120v charging at the far end is adequate, but it would be nice if my stock EVSE was auto switching to avoid unhooking the one in the garage. I'm just crazy enough to rip out the guts of mine and install an auto-switching homemade PCB to make it a reality. If it works out, I might provide some competition for EVSE Upgrade...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If I had to choose only one voltage for a PORTABLE cord, it would have to be 120v. 120/240 auto switching gives the option of also being able to utilize 240v at random points of opportunity. It's not worth the hassle of hauling around a dedicated 240v portable charger for how infrequently a random far-end 240v outlet is available. When I know I'm going to have a 240v outlet at the far end, I just unhook my homemade Open-EVSE from the garage wall and toss it in the trunk. For the most part, 120v charging at the far end is adequate, but it would be nice if my stock EVSE was auto switching to avoid unhooking the one in the garage. I'm just crazy enough to rip out the guts of mine and install an auto-switching homemade PCB to make it a reality. If it works out, I might provide some competition for EVSE Upgrade...
Exactly!! That's what i keep telling Mark and EVSE Upgrade! That it doesn't look that hard to rip out the guts of the stock EVSE, and replace them w/ OpenEVSE.
 

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Most of the time I am content with 120v charging overnight in my garage. Once in a while i'd like to be able to do 240, like for weekends if I'm running errands; and if the same EVSE could plug into my dryer outlet I'd do that for those few times I need to charge faster. I'm not interested in purchasing an entirely new 240v EVSE and rewiring my home to accomplish it though.

So, long story short- yes I am one of those people who would love an automatically switching EVSE but not looking to invest a ton into it.
 

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I started a thread on this. I do think GM should offer a portable 120/240 version at least as an option even if it increases the buyer cost in future versions of the Volt. I have both 240 and 110v outlets I could use at work and am stuck using 110 until I buy something portable, though I already bought an indoor 240 charger for home. At the time of that purchase, I didn't know about evseupgrade.com

I wouldn't have had to buy anything extra if I could have payed more up front for a portable that would do both voltages, and I would be able to charge 240 in both locations. I've had to use gas a couple of times because of the limitation and it sucks seeing the 240v outlet I can't use right next to the 110.

I will probably eventually make an attempt at building an open-evse charger.
 

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View attachment 14049 Mark at "EVSE Upgrade" seems to think that the 240V only upgrade is more popular than a 120/240v auto-switching upgrade. I can't believe it...so I decided to see if he is right.

Specifically, which portable EVSE option would you PREFER, 120V only, or 240V only, or 120/240V auto-switching.

It really is a no-brainer.
I would like to make a correction to this statement. We have never believed the majority of Volt owners would prefer 240V operation only, in fact we know this is the opposite as it is common sense and more practical. We no longer offer the 120/240v upgrade because of the high cost of parts and labor to do this type of upgrade properly. We do our upgrades to a "factory" level and do not shoe horn parts that result in non-compliant or unreliable operation, because of this we will not compromise to offer 120V functionality. The prohibitive cost to add the 120V operation is why we stopped offering this option as it did not make sense for us or our customers. The vast majority of our Volt customers purchase new upgraded Nissan units from us because the unit has proven to be the most reliable and durable portable EVSE on the market and our upgrade supports both 120/240V operation and even an option for over 16A. Those that have upgraded their Volt units for 240V only operation have chosen to do so because it meets their needs and they do not require the 120V functionality.

I hope this clears thing up:)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I started a thread on this. I do think GM should offer a portable 120/240 version at least as an option even if it increases the buyer cost in future versions of the Volt. I have both 240 and 110v outlets I could use at work and am stuck using 110 until I buy something portable, though I already bought an indoor 240 charger for home. At the time of that purchase, I didn't know about evseupgrade.com

I wouldn't have had to buy anything extra if I could have payed more up front for a portable that would do both voltages, and I would be able to charge 240 in both locations. I've had to use gas a couple of times because of the limitation and it sucks seeing the 240v outlet I can't use right next to the 110.

I will probably eventually make an attempt at building an open-evse charger.
As has been pointed out on here many times, big players like GM cannot do portable 240V, because of (idiotic) US electricity regs (NEC). However, the little guys, like EVSE Upgrade and OpenEVSE, obviously can.

EVSE Upgrade offers one already for Nisson/Mitsu/etc. Mark from EVSE Upgrade claims he used to offer one for the Volt...for a year. Did anyone ever see that? Did anyone get one? He claims it was only $287! At that price, I would assume it would be hugely popular. If they ever offered this, I believe it was early on, when the Volt sales had not yet caught on, and when the original (recalled?) EVSE was prevalent. In fact, EVSE Upgrade has multiple statements on their FAQ denigrating the Volt's stock EVSE. However, all of these are based on the original EVSE, which is long gone.

I believe EVSE Upgrade should re-evaluate providing a 120/240V switched option, but they are set against it, because of those early troubles and what appears to be a stong anti-GM bias. The alternative is for someone else to step up, since it has already been proved that OpenEVSE hardware can be retrofitted to work in the stock enclosure:

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread...-to-do-L1-L2-using-Open-EVSE-components/page4

From EVSE Upgrades FAQ (** are from me):

Will the upgraded EVSE work with the Chevy Volt?
This used to be problematic, due to picky timing on the Volt's SAE J1772 Charging interface, but GM has since corrected this with a software upgrade in the Volt. If you have had the dealer installed upgrade, your Volt is now compatibile with our upgrade! All recent Volts are delivered with this installed from the factory now. Our unit will now properly charge a Volt at 120 or 240 volts, and in addition it is built much more ruggedly and heavier-duty than the original Voltec unit. Our unit is equipped with 12awg cable whereas the Voltec only has 16awg! (same size as standard lamp cord!)**

Are you also offering an upgrade for the Chevy Volt EVSE (Voltec)?
No, we don't feel this is a safe or viable option. We recommend our upgraded Nissan EVSE to Volt owners, as is much more rugged and better built than the Voltec unit, and in addition is more efficient. The Voltec is equipped with #16 AWG** cable throughout, while the Nissan/Panasonic unit uses #12 AWG. We do not feel the Voltec unit is reliable and safe enough, and in addition, the Voltec unit is ultrasonically welded together, so it is difficult to open without damage.

Can you upgrade my Fisker Karma, Chevy Volt, or BMW Active-E EVSE?
All of these units are manufactured by Lear and are intended for emergency use only**. Due to the lack of UL Listing and the use of very marginal 16AWG** cable, we strongly recommend you avoid using these units if at all possible. If usage must be attempted it is recommended to keep a vigilant watch while charging, and also fully uncoil the cord and allow plenty of airflow. If you intend to charge from a portable unit often, We recommend the purchase of one of our new upgraded Nissan units which is much more safer and more reliable.

**New Volt EVSE is 14 AWG AND not intended for emergency use only!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
We do our upgrades to a "factory" level and do not shoe horn parts that result in non-compliant or unreliable operation, because of this we will not compromise to offer 120V functionality.
Why would you need to "shoe horn" parts? This thread, that I referenced for you multiple times, clearly shows 120/240V auto switching fitting just fine in the Volt EVSE:

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread...-to-do-L1-L2-using-Open-EVSE-components/page4

In fact, here are pic's of 120/240V auto switching FITTING in the stock enclosure:

OpenEVSEInVolt1.jpg OpenEVSEInVolt2.jpg

The prohibitive cost to add the 120V operation is why we stopped offering this option as it did not make sense for us or our customers. The vast majority of our Volt customers purchase new upgraded Nissan units from us because the unit has proven to be the most reliable and durable portable EVSE on the market and our upgrade supports both 120/240V operation and even an option for over 16A
Price is based on demand, and clearly this thread shows that the demand for an upgraded Volt EVSE with 120/240V auto switching is very high. I am sure that demand could easily stomach a higher price than the Nissan upgrade price ($239). Especially considering the fact that OpenEVSE has shown the parts to be no more than ~$180. Hence, an upgrade price of $300 to $350 makes perfect sense for both EVSE Upgrade and Volt owners.

It is key to note that just because the Nissan unit is supposedly the "most reliable and durable portable EVSE", doesn't mean the NEW Volt EVSE can't also be upgraded in a reliable/durable manner, at A FRACTION of the cost of switching to the Nissan unit ($979!!!)
 

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I am interested, but I have a few questions:
1)What does the male plug look like? A 240V 30A plug with an adapter piece when you want to plug in at a 120 V outlet or does it have two male plugs and you just use the one you need?
2) Is the unit outdoor rated. If so, where do you find a 240V GFCI plug and what kind of cover plate would be code legal? I could understand a buisness' concern with someone plugging in a 240V charge cord in the rain without the plug having a ground fault.
thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I am interested, but I have a few questions:
1)What does the male plug look like? A 240V 30A plug with an adapter piece when you want to plug in at a 120 V outlet or does it have two male plugs and you just use the one you need?
2) Is the unit outdoor rated. If so, where do you find a 240V GFCI plug and what kind of cover plate would be code legal? I could understand a buisness' concern with someone plugging in a 240V charge cord in the rain without the plug having a ground fault.
thanks
Jldewee, go to http://evseupgrade.com to see what Mark (EVSEUpgrade) is currently offering.

For some reason, he does not have a 120/240V switching option for the volt, unless you buy a Nissan unit for $979. Note, if he offered it, an upgraded Volt unit should cost at most in the $300 to $350 range.
 

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The open EVSE has built in GFCI. Therefore, the plug that you connect it to does not require a GFCI. The stock voltec EVSE is outdoor rated.
 

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i just got my Volt....Woo Hoo........

I got the dealer to include another charge cable......

SO with that i am going to send it it to be upgraded to the 240 for faster charging

Reading this thread looks like it would be a winner to have one unit be able to switch between the two different power sources...one cable.....fits in its hole......priceless

Gm take note......

no need for a home charging set up.....what........save money.....nice

So make sure when you get your new 2013 Volt...ask for a second charge cable......
 

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ScotMac, thanks for the info. I think this is a great idea.

Why can't they all be made as simple as the Leaf's, rated for 100-250 VAC and have different adapter options as shown based on the different plugs available? What is the downside?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
ScotMac, thanks for the info. I think this is a great idea.

Why can't they all be made as simple as the Leaf's, rated for 100-250 VAC and have different adapter options as shown based on the different plugs available? What is the downside?
The Leafs doesn't have all that. You give Nissan way to much credit. That is EVSE Upgrade's *upgraded* version of the Leaf EVSE, and his accessories for the upgrade.

And, YES, it is desirable to have 120/240V auto switching and all the plugs to allow it to work on the different 240V outlets.
 

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i just got my Volt....Woo Hoo........

I got the dealer to include another charge cable......

SO with that i am going to send it it to be upgraded to the 240 for faster charging

Reading this thread looks like it would be a winner to have one unit be able to switch between the two different power sources...one cable.....fits in its hole......priceless

Gm take note......

no need for a home charging set up.....what........save money.....nice

So make sure when you get your new 2013 Volt...ask for a second charge cable......
Congrats on your new Volt! Wow you scored if the dealer threw in a 2nd charge cord for free. Unfortunately I doubt most folks will be so lucky. Buying a 2nd L1 Voltec and then paying to upgrade it isn't that great of a deal, you'd be out almost $700.

I'm sure GM would offer a dual voltage charge cord standard if they were allowed.
 

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Ok so I have only one 2013 charger. (didn't think to negotiate for another)

Thinking about sending it in as it's the cheapest way to get to 240v and I don't see needing to charge at 120 that often if ever.

Thoughts? Feelings? Advice?

Can I trust this guy?
 
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