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Over the last several years, I've come to realize the convenience of a portable 120V/240V EVSE but pairing one with a tiny quick240V device makes it the more useful. That is to say, I find combining these 2 separate devices helpful for travel and some have used it as a permanent solution:

1. a home built quick240V device that takes 2 non-GFCI 120V outlets on different phases and makes one 240V outlet (Amperage is limited to that of the original 120V outlets which is usually 15A or 20A).

2. a home built portable OpenEVSE that works on both 120V/240V or L1/L2. This can be used with the device above, a dryer outlet, welder outlet, RV outlet or any 240V outlet for L2 operation. If a 240V outlet isn't available, it will plug into any 120V outlet and charge at L1 speeds.

I think this is versatility. Below is the latest construction for my Volt.

While I've built a handful of these now for my family & friends who have bought Volts (on my recommendations, I might add), my favourite one so far has been this small no frills 120V/240V EVSE based on OpenEVSE running at 120V 12A and 240V 16A (enclosed in a 4x4x2 junction box). I've set it not to trip any of the GFCI circuits that you might find at a parking garage.

Pairing this EVSE with a small home made quick240V device is an even more useful combination. This one I made very small with a 3/4" PVC type T conduit body. Here's a quick photo of these 2 devices:



Another favourite is using the stock 120V EVSE and modifying it to 120V/240V but it's not as nice as this one I think. I also thought about putting an LCD to make the EVSE adjustable amperage similar to this one here but decided to keep it simple.

Here's a link to the small Quick 240V device construction: smallest Quick240V.

I hope you find this useful.

Addendum:
To get started go to the OpenEVSE website at http://openevse.com/ There you'll find more information including how to buy and build these devices. You'll even find information about how to make print your own boards and do through hole builds.

The history of OpenEVSE shows that it stems from mynissanleaf.com forum posts by Chris Howell:

1. the project was born in February 2011 with this post: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=2736
2. the current forum thread is: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=6546
 

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Thanks, eHelmholtz! Given you must plug into two separate, out-of-phase 120v outlets, how long are your 120V cords? And how do you determine the two outlets are out of phase?
 

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Thanks, eHelmholtz! Given you must plug into two separate, out-of-phase 120v outlets, how long are your 120V cords? And how do you determine the two outlets are out of phase?
Determining which are out of phase is easy. At least for my circuit breaker box it's numbered 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc on the left side and 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 on the right. Just imagine a checkerboard where 1 and 4 are red, 2 and 3 are black, 5 and 8 are red, 6 and 7 are black, then just pick any red and any black.

So 1 and 2 or 1 and 3 are valid. So are 2 and 4, 2 and5, 2 and 8, etc.

That said, I really don't like this approach to getting 240 volts to an EVSE. Because if you think about it, with a 30A or higher dedicated circuit, you have really thick wires for the two hot out-of-phase wires. In this two outlet setup, you've got some much thinner wires in the walls for your out-of-phase wires. I'm not willing to risk frying my $44K MSRP car and burning down my house to save a few bucks. If a commercial product causes my car to fry or my house to burn, I have some recourse to go after them to make things right, but if I build this contraption myself, I've only got myself to blame.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks, eHelmholtz! Given you must plug into two separate, out-of-phase 120v outlets, how long are your 120V cords? And how do you determine the two outlets are out of phase?
Hi Steve,
Usually, I'm able to find two out of phase 120V outlets not too far from one another especially in a garage but sometimes the outlets can be quite far apart; the outlets also have to be non-GFCI outlets. I've used 10 feet cords in other units that I've built but this one is longer. I bought a 50 feet extension cord and cut it in half so they are ~25 feet each (a little over kill really). To indicate when I've found the right 2 outlets that are out of phase, I use a green light which is only lit when 240V from 2 120V outlets are present. Others use an amber light like the commercial version seen here.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Determining which are out of phase is easy. At least for my circuit breaker box it's numbered 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc on the left side and 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 on the right. Just imagine a checkerboard where 1 and 4 are red, 2 and 3 are black, 5 and 8 are red, 6 and 7 are black, then just pick any red and any black.

So 1 and 2 or 1 and 3 are valid. So are 2 and 4, 2 and5, 2 and 8, etc.

That said, I really don't like this approach to getting 240 volts to an EVSE. Because if you think about it, with a 30A or higher dedicated circuit, you have really thick wires for the two hot out-of-phase wires. In this two outlet setup, you've got some much thinner wires in the walls for your out-of-phase wires. I'm not willing to risk frying my $44K MSRP car and burning down my house to save a few bucks. If a commercial product causes my car to fry or my house to burn, I have some recourse to go after them to make things right, but if I build this contraption myself, I've only got myself to blame.
Please see my response above; it's really a lot easier to find 2 out of phase outlets then what you do.

The second part of your post suggests that the device is somehow less safe. This is simply not true. I do agree that for your permanent setup, it is much more elegant to use a dedicated 240V outlet but this is meant to be used at a temporary site. For example, I use this at my grandparents place. Regarding thick/thin wires, let's clarify that if you have a 20amp 240V outlet the wires would be the same caliber as a 20amp 120V outlet. Therefore, this device is limited to being used at 12A for a 15A circuit or 16A for a 20A 120V circuit. There's nothing inherently unsafe about it. In fact, if you want to buy one instead of making one, you can do it here at Quick220 Systems; you can blame them. Of course, this device costs a lot more to buy than build. Many people have used similar devices daily for the last few years on the LEAF forum.
 

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Hi Steve,
Usually, I'm able to find two out of phase 120V outlets not too far from one another especially in a garage but sometimes the outlets can be quite far apart; the outlets also have to be non-GFCI outlets. I've used 10 feet cords in other units that I've built but this one is longer. I bought a 50 feet extension cord and cut it in half so they are ~25 feet each (a little over kill really). To indicate when I've found the right 2 outlets that are out of phase, I use a green light which is only lit when 240V from 2 120V outlets are present. Others use an amber light like the commercial version seen here.
Yes, my question has to do with using this as a traveling EVSE, rather than one at home (I have a 240V unit in the garage). So you have a green light that goes on. But how does the green light know? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Yes, my question has to do with using this as a traveling EVSE, rather than one at home (I have a 240V unit in the garage). So you have a green light that goes on. But how does the green light know? :)
Ah, it's trial and error until the green light comes on and it is a 240V neon light so it only comes on when it sees 240V. I have a schematic of it here - Phil Sadow first posted it on the LEAF forum.
 

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Please see my response above; it's really a lot easier to find 2 out of phase outlets then what you do.

The second part of your post suggests that the device is somehow less safe. This is simply not true. I do agree that for your permanent setup, it is much more elegant to use a dedicated 240V outlet but this is meant to be used at a temporary site. For example, I use this at my grandparents place. Regarding thick/thin wires, let's clarify that if you have a 20amp 240V outlet the wires would be the same caliber as a 20amp 120V outlet. Therefore, this device is limited to being used at 12A for a 15A circuit or 16A for a 20A 120V circuit. There's nothing inherently unsafe about it. In fact, if you want to buy one instead of making one, you can do it here at Quick220 Systems; you can blame them. Of course, this device costs a lot more to buy than build. Many people have used similar devices daily for the last few years on the LEAF forum.
I have a 30 amp circuit and 8 gauge wire in the walls. My EVSE is 30 amp even though my car can't use all of it. I can concede that a volt probably won't pull enough current to be a problem with this contraption, but I'd be worried with the next EV which would most certainly pull more current. Hindsight being 20/20 I should have had a 50 amp plug put in in case I get a windfall and buy a tesla.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have a 30 amp circuit and 8 gauge wire in the walls. My EVSE is 30 amp even though my car can't use all of it. I can concede that a volt probably won't pull enough current to be a problem with this contraption, but I'd be worried with the next EV which would most certainly pull more current. Hindsight being 20/20 I should have had a 50 amp plug put in in case I get a windfall and buy a tesla.
Good points. My EVSE is limited to 16A and if you want more peace of mind, you can limit it to 12A; this is the flexibility of OpenEVSE. Incidentally, I would recommend that you should have a 40 amp circuit for a 30 amp EVSE since a 30 amp circuit is only rated for 24A. Of course, you're still OK because the Volt can only pull 16A but if another car tries to pull more, you might be in trouble with your setup. With this portable traveling setup of mine, it doesn't matter whether a car tries to pull 30 amps or 40 amps like my Rav4 does because the EVSE is limited to 16 amps. Also, the quick240 device has an L6-20 plug which is limited to 16amps on a 20amps circuit.
 

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clue less

I would love to get one of these cords... but I couldn't make one.... can I buy one? I have looked online and can't find one.. Only the Turbo cord which just has an adapter to use on both not a Regular plug doing 240.
 

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Determining which are out of phase is easy. At least for my circuit breaker box it's numbered 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc on the left side and 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 on the right. Just imagine a checkerboard where 1 and 4 are red, 2 and 3 are black, 5 and 8 are red, 6 and 7 are black, then just pick any red and any black.

So 1 and 2 or 1 and 3 are valid. So are 2 and 4, 2 and5, 2 and 8, etc.

That said, I really don't like this approach to getting 240 volts to an EVSE. Because if you think about it, with a 30A or higher dedicated circuit, you have really thick wires for the two hot out-of-phase wires. In this two outlet setup, you've got some much thinner wires in the walls for your out-of-phase wires. I'm not willing to risk frying my $44K MSRP car and burning down my house to save a few bucks. If a commercial product causes my car to fry or my house to burn, I have some recourse to go after them to make things right, but if I build this contraption myself, I've only got myself to blame.
I take back what I said with the checkerboard concept. I took the cover off my breaker box and it is striped. So 1 and 2 are the same phase, 3 and 4 are the other phase. So every other row is a phase. So I could connect 1 or 2 to 3 or 4 or 7 or 9, but not 5 or 6 or 9 or 10 etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I would love to get one of these cords... but I couldn't make one.... can I buy one? I have looked online and can't find one.. Only the Turbo cord which just has an adapter to use on both not a Regular plug doing 240.
Hi, these are really easy to build if you're at all comfortable with electricity. I think you're referring to the EVSE and not the quick240. The general links for building your own EVSE are here:

1. Project Home: https://code.google.com/p/open-evse/ -for schematics and instruction.
2. OpenEVSE store: http://openevse-store.myshopify.com/

The history of OpenEVSE shows that it stems from mynissanleaf.com forum posts by Chris Howell:

1. the project was born in February 2011 with this post: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=2736
2. the current forum thread is: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=6546

If you want to buy one built, GlennD on the LEAF forum regularly puts it together and sells it for a reasonable price. If you need help, you can ask here or PM me. Incidentally, the Turbocord is exactly what this OpenEVSE that I built is; my one is just not as pretty looking but I think the specs are the same 120V at 12A and 240V at 16A. Both EVSE requires a 240V outlet.

The second device I posted makes a 240V outlet from 2 120V outlets which can be used with the OpenEVSE that I built or with the Turbocord with the appropriate plug. Just follow the links on my first post and they will give you more details for the quick240 device.
 

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That is a pretty cool setup!

To make sure I am reading all of this right, you are combining two 110 outlets on different circuits to create a 240 volt outlet to enable the rapid charging on the Volt?

I'm not very good with electricity so do you know where I could purchase a kit with everything needed to provide charging for the volt through this fashion?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
That is a pretty cool setup!
To make sure I am reading all of this right, you are combining two 110 outlets on different circuits to create a 240 volt outlet to enable the rapid charging on the Volt? I'm not very good with electricity so do you know where I could purchase a kit with everything needed to provide charging for the volt through this fashion?
Yes, that's right. It's actually 2 devices. one is the quick240 to make a 240V outlet from 2 120V outlets and two is the portable EVSE that is both L1/L2. While building them is pretty easy by following links that I've listed, you can buy already built commercial ones:

1. Quick220 from Quick220 Systems for $250-$300
2. A range of EVSEs are possible but the most portable is the AV TurboCord Dual 120V/240V for $650. Another portable option is the Tesla UMC conversion that Tony Williams sells for $999 which he has named the Jesla. GlennDD on the NissanLeaf forum sells homemade OpenEVSE devices similar to mine regularly.

If you're very keen and want more options, send me a PM cos I know someone who will build both but doesn't advertise because he does them only sparingly.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Very interesting..I saw your check-in on plug share where you used a quick 220 in the parking garage...neato.
Yes, that was my favourite 2x120V charging even though the quick240 was an older version that I made with a bigger box and green cables!:

It's at the Downtown Parking Structure in Brea, CA. the location has 2 J1772 EVSEs and several paddle chargers but when I arrived the spots were taken. I noticed two 120V outlets next to the EVSEs and I plugged the Quick240 device in and used my own EVSE. I came back a second time and there was an available EVSE but I was driving the Volt so I did the same trick, leaving an EVSE open for others to use.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I recently built another portable OpenEVSE but this time decided to make it a little bigger (in a 6x6x3.5" enclosure) and with more bells and whistles. It works on 120V/240V with current adjustable from 6A in 1A increments up to 42A. Here's a couple of photos:
 

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Pretty cool. I'm working on one too. Is that the quick charge power flexible J1772 cable? If so, did you get the led option?
 
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