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I'm trying to charge away from home at my parents house and multiple outlets give "house not properly grounded" warning when I attempt to charge. The only one that worked was a GFCI outlet. Why is this? I was easily able to charge back home without any issues.
 

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I'm trying to charge away from home at my parents house and multiple outlets give "house not properly grounded" warning when I attempt to charge. The only one that worked was a GFCI outlet. Why is this? I was easily able to charge back home without any issues.
How old is their house?...Was it wired back in the day of knob-and-tube?
 

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Well, the obvious question - is their house properly grounded? :)

How old is the house? It might not actually have grounds.
It might be working with the GFCI because that makes the EVSE think the outlet has a ground (?)
I know GFCI's are often used to improve safety in homes without a ground, and they can be installed without a ground wire.

EVSEs are extremely picky about the quality of the circuit - even ones with a ground can fail.
 

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Go to the main electrical distribution panel. Check that there is a relatively thick bare copper conductor going from inside the panel and that that wire goes to a proper ground rod (often this might be just the main water service pipe). Check the connections from that bare copper wire to the box and the ground rod (or pipe).
 

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Get one of these to check the grounds and polarity: http://a.co/idZVIr0

It’s not uncommon to find poor wiring, especially in older houses. Back in the day normal outlets didn’t even have a ground, just hot and neutral blade slots.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, the obvious question - is their house properly grounded?


How old is the house? It might not actually have grounds.
It might be working with the GFCI because that makes the EVSE think the outlet has a ground (?)
I know GFCI's are often used to improve safety in homes without a ground, and they can be installed without a ground wire.

EVSEs are extremely picky about the quality of the circuit - even ones with a ground can fail.
House was built in 1997 in California. I highly doubt it wasn't grounded. As far as circuit condition, I can't tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, the obvious question - is their house properly grounded?


How old is the house? It might not actually have grounds.
It might be working with the GFCI because that makes the EVSE think the outlet has a ground (?)
I know GFCI's are often used to improve safety in homes without a ground, and they can be installed without a ground wire.

EVSEs are extremely picky about the quality of the circuit - even ones with a ground can fail.
What about the poor circuit does the EVSE not like? Is there a way to fix this without re-wiring?
 

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Easiest first step is to replace the outlet, and cut the wire and re-strip to get a good, clean connection.
Assuming it's not an issue with the main house ground (see earlier comment on what to check for), you'd probably need to rewire the circuit.

Depending how far the panel is from the vehicle, I would run a test circuit by stringing wire from the panel to the car, connecting an outlet on one end and energizing the circuit.
If it works, I'd know the issue is with the wire in the walls or the terminations.
If it fails, I'd know the issue is with the house supply.
 

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House was built in 1997 in California. I highly doubt it wasn't grounded. As far as circuit condition, I can't tell.
Has there been any repair work since it was originally built?
Someone may have detached the ground during that work
Any seismic activity in the area that has detached the ground wire OUTSIDE the home?

Otherwise, you may be having to have an electrician visit their home and check
 

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Discussion Starter #10
House was built in 1997 in California. I highly doubt it wasn't grounded. As far as circuit condition, I can't tell.
Has there been any repair work since it was originally built?
Someone may have detached the ground during that work
Any seismic activity in the area that has detached the ground wire OUTSIDE the home?

Otherwise, you may be having to have an electrician visit their home and check
My parents installed solar a few months ago and upgraded the panel. Just realized that could have incorrectly reconnected the wires in the garage.
 

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My parents installed solar a few months ago and upgraded the panel. Just realized that could have incorrectly reconnected the wires in the garage.
A few months ago? In that case, you could probably take it up with the city/county inspector who OK'd the work. They're supposed to make sure contractors do the job right... I wouldn't hold my breath, but it was a solar contractor that made your home unsafe, you have a point to argue. Whether the inspector will own up to this is unlikely, but you never know. I'd be TO'd that something as fundamental as a ground was ruined by a contractor. I don't expect so much from an inspector, unfortunately.
 

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Disconnecting or changing the grounding when adding solar doesn’t seem likely to me. Anything is possible I guess. When I added solar to my home, using Enphase micro inverters, the only ground work at the panel was connecting the ground for the 240v AC solar circuit. Additionally, I added external ground for racking, but that would have no relationship to the panel grounding.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
House was built in 1997 in California. I highly doubt it wasn't grounded. As far as circuit condition, I can't tell.
has the house been subjected to DIy electrical work?
No DIY. Had my dad buy a circuit tester to see what exactly is going on. I took off the face plate on a few outlets and found only one receptacle without a ground
 

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No DIY. Had my dad buy a circuit tester to see what exactly is going on. I took off the face plate on a few outlets and found only one receptacle without a ground
But is the ground grounded? A ground wire at the receptacle means nothing if it doesn't eventually lead to a grounding rod, water pipe, etc. Have you tested with a plugin circuit tester? They are like $6 and the light pattern will indicate if the ground is missing or not, among other things.

120V circuit tester.jpg
 

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When my EVSE was installed, the city inspector just drove past my house. I guess he has some amazing remote test equipment.
 

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It’s almost impossible not to have a ground path, even if there isnt a house grounding rod or water main tie. All neutrals and grounds come together in the house’s main panel. That neutral in the panel connects to the neutral at the utility pole, which must be grounded or no one would have working 120V service. So, even if there is no house ground, there is a ground path via the utility. It’s just not optimal.

So, my guess is that the ground to your parents garage circuit is either not connected, or there is a wire break.
 

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It’s almost impossible not to have a ground path
Had a Volt/Holden owner that solved his ground problem by pouring water around the ground rod outside his house. The soil was apparently bone dry so he was having weak or no ground as a result.
 

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You said your parents house and you mention the garage as the problem. Our house was build in the mid 1950's and there are only two wires (hot , neutral) going to the garage, No third ground wire. Our garage outlets are all GFI's. Most everything works fine plugged into garage BUT my Volt 120 volt charger does not like that there is not a real ground. Works fine on all house outlets, they all do have ground wires. Problem might be out of date building codes. Might need to run new three wire cable or add grounding rods at garage.
 
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