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Discussion Starter #1
So the owners manual says no extension cords. But in a pinch, how bad is it really to use an extension cord of proper gauge (say 12/14)?
 

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So the owners manual says no extension cords. But in a pinch, how bad is it really to use an extension cord of proper gauge (say 12/14)?
It should be no problem at all. I would want an extension cord where the ends have screw on terminal connectors. No crimped on connections.
 

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I've been using an extension cord for one and a half years every night to a plug outside my house since I have no garage (25 foot, 14 ga I believe at home, and 50 foot 14 ga for road trips to charge at hotels). I charge at 110 volts and 12 amps. On some cords the internal crimped connectors on the male end gets warm or hot to the touch so I cut off the plug it comes with and screw on one from Home Depot. If you look at the imprint along the actual Volt charge cord, its not as heavy gage as the extension cord I'm using. I think the Volt wire is only 16 ga (thinner than 14 ga).
 

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I use a 12 ga extension whenever necessary. Even with the Gen2 240v adapter.

The manual will have to stick with no extension cords, because the general population would have no idea how to qualify an extension cord for the job. The wise who understand the problem will also know the solution.
 

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I've done it a few times, and keep a 25' cord in Hal for the purpose. The larger risk is in ground fault protection. The EVSE cannot protect you from getting zapped when plugging/unplugging the extension cord, typically in wet conditions. This in the case where the outlet itself is not ground-fault protected. But hey, it's only 120 volts! lol
 

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Used a 25' 12ga cord dozens of times at 12a with no issues. Used a 100 foot 14ga several times as well with no issues. I think by proclaiming " no extension cords" they are implying don't use the cheap crap found at some flea market. Shop for quality.
 

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As others have said, do not use cheap cords. Get 12 gauge or higher. Keep the length low too. The longer the cord, the more power that has to be drawn to overcome the internal resistance.
 

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That statement was written by a lawyer not an engineer. As everyone has said a heavy duty outdoor 12 gauge extension cord is fine. A 12 guage cord is rated at 20A, the car draws 12A maximum so you have plenty of margin.
 

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Take a bucket, fill it with water, take off your left shoe and sock, put your bare foot into the bucket, drop a plugged in EVSE J1772 charging cord end into the bucket - don't worry nothing will happen, the juice won't flow. Repeat using the hot end of an extension cord (mic drop).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the good replies. I was not expecting the positive response. I have a couple of good outdoor cords (I think only 14g). I tried to use my 25ft cord, but it wasn't quite long enough, so I had to go with the 100ft. The 100ft is only rated for 10amps so I backed the car down to 8amps to be on the safe side. It will still be done by the time I leave in the morning.
 

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Thanks for all the good replies. I was not expecting the positive response.
You'll get that from people who use extension cords. There are other experiences, such as this:

When I charge at my parents' house, I have such trouble getting the 120v charger to work. Most of the outlets in the house (yes, running extension cord to the inside of the house), are not grounded at all, and the outlet in the carport is kind of worn out. I think the solution will be to buy and install a new outlet for their carport.

Everywhere else I plug in it works fine, except that the 100' 12 gauge 15 amp rated extension cord can't really handle the 12.3 amps my Kill-A-Watt says the Volt charger is drawing. The plug side of the extension cord doesn't warm up much, and the cord itself only warms up a little, including where it is coiled up. Moving the kill-a-watt from one end of the cord to the other shows that about 10 volts are being dropped across the extension cord when it is charging at 12A. Where the charger plugs into the extension cord it gets very hot and has melted and scorched some of the plastic.



If I unplug it after it has cooled down, I have a hard time getting it apart because the 2 pieces have melted together a little bit. I burned myself a little once when I accidentally let one of the prongs of the charger touch my skin.

This cord handled fine during the winter but now that I have been charging in the sun in 100+° weather, it's too much for the extension cord. :mad:

So, I cut the end off the extension cord and went to Home Depot and for $13 got a 20A receptacle to install to the end of the cord. Immediately after it finished charging at 12A for several hours, I unplugged it and touched the metal of the charger plug and it wasn't very hot at all this time.


It looks like this new receptacle will work out great for me now. :cool: The only downside is the cord is probably no longer UL approved especially considering it will now let you plug in a 20A appliance with the sideways neutral plug into an outlet and the cord that is otherwise rated for 15A.
I have used an extension cord too. It was a 10/3 SOOW cord with an industrial grade plug and socket. As beefy as that is, I still monitored it until my L2 Clipper Creek was installed. Now the OEM 120V EVSE sits in a box in my basement.
 

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With a good quality outdoor outlet, good connectors at each end ( I was able to buy hospital quality connectors ) and a good 12 gauge 100' cord, I charge in Florida without problems. I wish I was closer to the outlet, but I touch the ends and they do feel warm, but never hot. If I had to do it over, I might go for 10 gauge wire.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You'll get that from people who use extension cords. There are other experiences, such as this:



I have used an extension cord too. It was a 10/3 SOOW cord with an industrial grade plug and socket. As beefy as that is, I still monitored it until my L2 Clipper Creek was installed. Now the OEM 120V EVSE sits in a box in my basement.
It sounds like this guy was playing fast and loose, rather than playing it safe.
 

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Thanks for all the good replies. I was not expecting the positive response. I have a couple of good outdoor cords (I think only 14g). I tried to use my 25ft cord, but it wasn't quite long enough, so I had to go with the 100ft. The 100ft is only rated for 10amps so I backed the car down to 8amps to be on the safe side. It will still be done by the time I leave in the morning.
You must have chosen to ignore my response.... please scroll back up and re-read it.
 

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llninja, would it be the same with the right foot? lol. Exactly what I was talking about. Now, if the male end of that extension cord was plugged into a GFCI outlet, you probably wouldn't get zapped. But try it with the cat first.
 

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I used an extension cord for several years until I got a level II EVSE. I found that the quality of the build was as important as the gauge of wire used. I got a 12 gauge extension cord from a big name Chinese tool importer that melted down at the female end where the EVSE was plugged into it, where as a 14 gauge cord from a famous big box home improvement store did fine. I would check that connection after a half hour and then an hour to make sure that it wasn't getting warmer than what I could comfortably hold on to. I then ran across a 10 gauge cord from a warehouse club that ran so cool that I stopped checking up on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I used an extension cord for several years until I got a level II EVSE. I found that the quality of the build was as important as the gauge of wire used. I got a 12 gauge extension cord from a big name Chinese tool importer that melted down at the female end where the EVSE was plugged into it, where as a 14 gauge cord from a famous big box home improvement store did fine. I would check that connection after a half hour and then an hour to make sure that it wasn't getting warmer than what I could comfortably hold on to. I then ran across a 10 gauge cord from a warehouse club that ran so cool that I stopped checking up on it.
That makes good sense. My cord is only a 14g, rated at 10amps. Once I backed the car to 8amps, both the female and male connections of the cord were only mildly warm to the touch. I only need to do this for the next 2 days.
 

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llninja, would it be the same with the right foot? lol. Exactly what I was talking about. Now, if the male end of that extension cord was plugged into a GFCI outlet, you probably wouldn't get zapped. But try it with the cat first.
Works with any appendage, even the fifth one. I sense a Darwin Award winner somewhere on this thread - lots of people risking their lives, houses, and cars.
 
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