GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
970 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Low Cost DIY SPX L2 EVSE Plug-In Install "Sharing Dryer Outlet" - Instructions & Pics

Ok, if you’ve followed my other threads you know last weekend I picked up my Volt and also installed my SPX Power Xpress L2 EVSE. My install took about 3hrs and cost me $182 in parts. I could have done it for less, but as you’ll see I went for a somewhat elaborate solution. I created a detailed account of my installation and made procedures attached below that I hope will be useful for others. What makes my installation unique is that I used a 30A DPDT AC switch allowing me to “share” my dryer outlet with my EVSE and this could help others who find themselves in a similar situation.

If you don’t want to read my long post, skip down to the pics. For those interested, here’s the background of how I arrived at this solution (my EVSE story). I first tried for the SPX “free” Coulomb CT-500 unit. While the charger was free, I wasn’t very thrilled with the idea of having it linked to Coulomb’s network so they can track my usage. Then when the quote came in at almost $11k from SPX just to do the install, it made my decision pretty easy. I’m fairly certain I hold the record for the highest SPX quote to date. See this thread for more details on that experience: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?9360-Duped-by-SPX&p=90868#post90868

Instead, I bought the Power Xpress for $750 + tax and shipping (note this price is only good through 10/31 and then goes up to $950). I already had a 240V 3-prong 10-30 dryer receptacle in my garage. The only problem is I need it for well um – my dryer! I don’t have any space left in my sub-panel to add additional breakers and even if I did, my house is only good for 100A service and adding another 30A circuit puts my load over 110A (per the SPX electrician). Hence the incredibly high quote from SPX. So I thought to myself why couldn’t I just put a 10-30 plug on my Power Xpress and simply unplug my dryer and plug in the EVSE when I need to charge? The dryer is only used 1 or 2 days a week in my house so it wouldn’t be too much of an issue to have the dryer unavailable when charging, especially at night time.

After doing some research, I learned that 10-30 receptacles (and 14-30 4-prong outlets for that matter) are not designed for repeated plugging/un-plugging so this would not be a good idea. Besides, my wife would not be too thrilled about having to plug in the dryer if I forgot. My next thought was to make a “splitter” or Y-cable coming off the outlet and plug the dryer into one end and the EVSE into the other solving the plugging/un-plugging problem. But this is also a bad idea because 1) it allows the possibility of using both the dryer and EVSE at the same time and overloading the circuit and 2) could create strain on the cable from holding its own weight.

I finally decided to run the dryer circuit into a 30A DPDT AC switch and install 2 surface mount receptacles allowing me to alternate between the dryer and the EVSE with the simple flip of a switch (see wiring diagram below). This would provide the cleanest “professional” appearance and be easiest for my wife and I to use when switching back and forth. Plus the switch features a center off position allowing me to de-energize both outlets if I wish and gives me a quick and easy way to de-energize the EVSE if ever needed.



It works great so far with absolutely zero issues. My total cost for the EVSE and installation parts is $1015 (including tax and shipping) so after the 30% tax incentive my out-of-pocket expense will be about $710. One could also opt for the Voltec EVSE instead and the final installed cost after the tax incentive would be about $510. Plus I am able to bring the Power Xpress with me to work and L2 charge there as well which I couldn’t do with a permanently wall-mounted unit. And, if I ever move, I can easily bring the Power Xpress with me which I couldn’t have done with the Coulomb unit.

Before anyone jumps me, let me throw out some disclaimers. First “I am not a licensed electrician”. And I am not claiming this solution is NEC compliant. I did my own research and felt very comfortable with this solution for myself. I would recommend that anyone attempting their own install be knowledgeable about electricity and comfortable doing this type of work. I’m a manufacturing equipment engineer and prior to that worked for years as an equipment repair technician so I am comfortable with my abilities to do this kind of work. I would also recommend prior to doing your own install you read NEC Article 625 specifically for EVSE installations. Consulting with a licensed electrician is always a good idea, but for me this was a difference of almost $11k vs. <$200.

Useful notes on the Power Xpress:
1)Amongst other restrictions, per NEC 625 its not allowed to use a plug-in L2 (240V) EVSE outdoors. The SPX Power Xpress is rated for outdoor use, but only if hard-wired. Plug-in use has to be indoors to be “code legal”. Same would go for the modified Panasonic Nissan Leaf L2 EVSE, technically it’s no longer to code if used outdoors. Just be aware of this if you intend to use any L2 Plug-In EVSE outdoors in a “portable” fashion as I do.
2)I learned only after purchasing my Power Xpress that while it is “capable” of supporting up to 32A (using a 40A breaker and 8AWG wire), this requires upgrading BOTH the input plug/cable (you have to use 8AWG wire and a 50A plug such as a 6-50 or 14-50) as well as the output J1772 vehicle side cable/connector. I don’t think many folks realize they need to upgrade the output cable/connector on the vehicle side, but the cable only uses 10AWG wire and the J1772 connector made by Rema is also only rated to 30A. This is why the SPX default amperage is set to 24A not 32A and also why the label on the side of the EVSE lists the device at 30A. For me this wasn’t an issue since the Volt only pulls 16A, but you should be aware of this before buying the Power Xpress if your intent is to “future proof”.
3)The cable on the Power Xpress is 18’ and the supplied plug is 1’ so if you add in the length of the EVSE itself and J1772 connector the total length is about 21’. I installed a 6’ plug in place of the 1’ plug giving me an extra 5’ of range. This helps when I use the Power Xpress in a “portable” manner and allows me to plug in at work with the EVSE on the ground rather than straining the plug and cable with the 14lb load of the EVSE.

I hope this information is useful. If you don’t like my solution, I’m okay with that as well and respect the opinions of others on this forum.

View additional pics/info in my album here: http://gm-volt.com/forum/album.php?albumid=53

Thanks!







 

Attachments

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,582 Posts
Thanks for the details and pics!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
A very clean install! That looks great. It's clear that you think like I do in this regard. It's permissible where I live for the homeowner to do electrical. If you're comfortable with your knowledge and limits there is nothing wrong with working with electricity despite the fact that it scares the daylights out of alot of people. My Voltec Level 2 just got here today and I'm going to put a cord and plug on it this weekend and power it up. For various reasons that's the best solution for me right now and I've got all the parts to do a quality job.

I have to think that the NEC's disapproval on outdoor plug connected 240V chargers is related to the rarity of 240V GFCI protected plugs. I'm not even sure what the code says about outdoor 240V receptacles at all but it strikes me that the US could use some standardization around 240V receptacles in general now that EVSE's have entered the scene.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,694 Posts
2)I learned only after purchasing my Power Xpress that while it is “capable” of supporting up to 32A (using a 40A breaker and 8AWG wire), this requires upgrading BOTH the input plug/cable (you have to use 8AWG wire and a 50A plug such as a 6-50 or 14-50) as well as the output J1772 vehicle side cable/connector. I don’t think many folks realize they need to upgrade the output cable/connector on the vehicle side, but the cable only uses 10AWG wire and the J1772 connector made by Rema is also only rated to 30A. This is why the SPX default amperage is set to 24A not 32A and also why the label on the side of the EVSE lists the device at 30A. For me this wasn’t an issue since the Volt only pulls 16A, but you should be aware of this before buying the Power Xpress if your intent is to “future proof”.
Where did you find out the output cable/J1772 is only 10 gauge? I couldn't find it in any of the materials. That is a major bummer for me since I was counting on future proofing my installation (not installed yet, waiting for November). Now I am wondering if I should return it and just get the Voltec.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
970 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Where did you find out the output cable/J1772 is only 10 gauge? I couldn't find it in any of the materials. That is a major bummer for me since I was counting on future proofing my installation (not installed yet, waiting for November). Now I am wondering if I should return it and just get the Voltec.
Hey MTN Ranger, I suspected this thread might catch your attention :) ChuckR is correct, this is now stated in the updated "Features-Benefits" and also "Specs" PDFs on the SPX website. I say updated because this information was not there when you and I ordered our units around the same time, I noticed SPX updated these after the fact. I have the copies of the older PDFs which DID NOT have this information.

Besides that I physically verified this on my Power Xpress, the J1772 cable has 10AWG printed on it and if you look at the Rema label on the J1772 connector it clearly says it's only rated to 30A. Sorry for the bad news, when you consider the cost of upgrading this cable and replacing the J1772 connector which isn't cheap, the entire "future proofing" value proposition is severely diminished.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,632 Posts
I say updated because this information was not there when you and I ordered and I noticed that SPX updated these after you and I both ordered our units
Perhaps you can hit them with a claim of false advertising, which you'd forgive if they shipped you the materials needed to make their product perform as was claimed?

Trivial expense for them, considering the number of units they probably shipped before they realized their error. But if they sold you on future proofing, with a product which did not safely performed as they represented to you, I would think you'd have a pretty solid basis. Not that you'd want to take it to court if you could at all avoid it. Then again they would probably want to avoid that even more since you'd be filing in small-claims, were a default award would be almost certain.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,582 Posts
P.S. The PDF's for download are amazingly well done and very professional.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,876 Posts
Where did you find out the output cable/J1772 is only 10 gauge? I couldn't find it in any of the materials. That is a major bummer for me since I was counting on future proofing my installation (not installed yet, waiting for November). Now I am wondering if I should return it and just get the Voltec.
If the insulation is rated at 90C then NEC says 40 amps is acceptable on 10 AWG copper. Try and google "wire gauge ampacity"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,694 Posts
{Smacks hand on forehead}
I just looked at the J1772 cable and it does indeed say 10AWG and the label says 30A max. My Power Xpress is still sitting in the box. I'm going to email SPX and see if I can get an equitable solution. Thanks again for the info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
970 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
{Smacks hand on forehead}
I just looked at the J1772 cable and it does indeed say 10AWG and the label says 30A max. My Power Xpress is still sitting in the box. I'm going to email SPX and see if I can get an equitable solution. Thanks again for the info.
MTN Ranger, did you get a response back from SPX yet? Let us know how it turns out, perhaps we could get a group of Power Xpress buyers (including Leaf owners) who bought before SPX released the updated info and see if they're willing to either provide us an 8AWG cable and 40A J1772 connector OR reimburse part of our purchase.


P.S. The PDF's for download are amazingly well done and very professional.
Thanks, I guess that's years of manufacturing beat into me :) I hope they find some use, I would love to hear back if anyone is able to use them or if my installation method helps someone implement a similar idea. It would also be great to see some other DIY installs on this thread. Fight the power! DON'T overpay for your Volt OR your EVSE install!!!

- JT
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
Thanks for the PDF's. I also used the L6-30's, but didn't use the transfer switch. I had an extra dryer outlet on a dedicated circuit, and basically made a long extension cord using the about 20 feet of the #10 wire. It will suffice until I can update my main panel from a 30 slot to a 40 slot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
The SPX Power Xpress EVSE uses the industry standard SAE J1772 connector. At the time of SPX product launch, the only available SAE J1772 connectors were certified at a maximum of 30 amps capacity rating. The limiting item for output current is the certification rating on the industry standard SAE J1772 connector. All EVSE manufacturers using the SAE J1772 connector have similar output current limitation. The SPX Power Xpress unit is compliant with published standards including the NEC Article 400 table 400.5 which dictates that 10 gage wire conducts up to 30 amps maximum. The Power Xpress unit is at the maximum allowable output setting of 24 amps based on these published standards and the cable has 10 gage wire which is the correct size for this output current. Please contact us at 1-800-877-EVSE if you have additional product questions.

Thanks,
Barth
SPX EV Support
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
239 Posts
Joule Thief,
This is great! I came up with the same idea after the SPX survey said I have a "Special" installation. Main breaker box far from the garage, no extra breaker slots in the box, etc.

My installation will be almost identical to yours, except that the laundry room is separate from but adjacent to the garage, and right by the corner of the garage where the Volt's front left fender sits. So I'll need to push the conduit through the wall, or maybe recess the Volt's outlet inside that wall. Either way, the principal is identical to yours, just differing in locations and lengths.

You have saved me a lot of time and probably money trying to figure out the best way to do this, what to buy and where to get it.

I'll report back here after I'm done, hopefully within a week or two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
970 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Daryl,

Sorry for the late reply here, I've been off the forum for about a month and a half as I've been transitioning jobs and moving from Cali back to Phoenix. That's great that my thread here helped you out. Did you finish your install? If so, post some pics and how it went for you! BTW, there are a couple other similar installs from this forum, see links below. Maybe I'll see you around AZ!

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?10227-SPX-Voltec-240v-Charger-Installed

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread...east-35A.-For-charger-installation.-Any-ideas

BTW, I'm about to go through the SPX process for the 2nd time! This time to see if I can manage to get a Blink unit installed at my new house in Ahwatukee. If it turns out to be another outrageous quote, then my laundry room is adjacent to the garage ;) And I've already got the parts so I'll just replicate my setup again. Plus the new house has gas and electric, so down the road if I want I can convert my dryer to gas and then just have a dedicated circuit for the EVSE and ditch the switch. Gas is supposed to be cheaper anyway.

And I'm looking forward to the lower AZ electric rates! Going from PGE in CA where I'm paying $0.19/kWh avg on the E9A TOU plan to SRP in AZ where I'll pay about $0.08/kWh on their EZ-3 plan. Should help offset the AC and pool!!!

JT
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
761 Posts
HEY WOW, we need a DIY category on this forum, and incredibly valuable posts like this need to be stickied in the DIY category! WOW. WOW. Those pdfs are REALLY well done. Thanks Joule Thief!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Finally got around to starting this project in my 1968 CA home.

Unfortunately I ran into a hitch that doesn't seem to have a simple solution, namely aluminum wiring.

There are several issues here: for 30A circuit the gauge is AWG8, too large for the double pole double throw switch and joining aluminum to copper brings some risk because of dissimilar metals.

Solutions are discussed here
https://www.joneakes.com/jons-fixit-database/1183-Aluminum-to-Copper-electrical-connectors

I thought the solution would a product called alumiconn from King but the max gauge aluminium wire it can take is AWG10.

Before I have to bite the bullet and get an electrician to do this with the professional tools mentioned in the article are there any other DIY solutions that are safe?

Right now I am alternating between dryer and EVSE by pulling plug from single outlet but its inside the house so inconvenient for charging the car and generally a pain.

I prefer not to have to replace the wiring to this outlet with copper, tricky job and probably little expensive, about 75ft run to the panel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Installation challenges: Aluminum wiring

Finally got around to starting this project in my 1968 CA home.

Unfortunately I ran into a hitch that doesn't seem to have a simple solution, namely aluminum wiring.

There are several issues here: for 30A circuit the gauge is AWG8, too large for the double pole double throw switch and joining aluminum to copper brings some risk because of dissimilar metals.

Solutions are discussed here
https://www.joneakes.com/jons-fixit-database/1183-Aluminum-to-Copper-electrical-connectors

I thought the solution would a product called alumiconn from King but the max gauge aluminium wire it can take is AWG10.

Before I have to bite the bullet and get an electrician to do this with the professional tools mentioned in the article are there any other DIY solutions that are safe?

Right now I am alternating between dryer and EVSE by pulling plug from single outlet but its inside the house so inconvenient for charging the car and generally a pain.

I prefer not to have to replace the wiring to this outlet with copper, tricky job and probably little expensive, about 75ft run to the panel.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top