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Could anyone who owns both a Volt and Pacifica confirm if you can use either charger with either car? I've read on the Pacifica forums that "it should work" but I'd prefer to hear from someone that's actually tried it. Also is either charger any better than the other?
 

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Could anyone who owns both a Volt and Pacifica confirm if you can use either charger with either car? I've read on the Pacifica forums that "it should work" but I'd prefer to hear from someone that's actually tried it. Also is either charger any better than the other?
Any EV or Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) that has a J1772 port can use any Level 1 (120V) or Level 2 (230V) charging station equipped with a J1772 charging connector. Where I work there is a row of Level 2 charging stations. I charge my Chevrolet Volt using the same General Electric (GE) Level 2 electrical vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) where others charge their Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Plug-In Prius, Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Energi, Honda Clarity, Nissan Leaf and Tesla vehicles (Tesla vehicles require you to use a J1772 to Tesla charging plug adapter that is provided by Tesla with each vehicle.)

The equipment commonly referred to as the charger is actually just a smart power cord with a special J1772 plug. The EVSE and the vehicle hand shake, negotiate a maximum charging voltage and amperage (limited by the EVSE) up to the maximum that the vehicle can draw. The charger is on-board each vehicle, responsible for converting 120V or 230V AC voltage to DC voltage.

As in most things, you get what you pay for. Some EVSE are high quality and come with a 3 year warranty, other EVSE have just a 1 year warranty. A few models of EVSE have extra features such as WiFi connectivity and can be programmed to delay charging to when electric rates are lower (off-peak charging) but since most EVs have these features too it is largely unnecessary for the EVSE to do so. Besides quality and features some of the less expensive EVSE shave cost by providing a short charging cable. 25ft minimum length is what you want, a few less expensive EVSE only provide a 16 to 20 ft charging cable and the extra length can make plugging in easier.

Each vehicle will have a maximum charging rate, expressed in kilowatts (kW) that determines how quickly it will recharge the vehicle's lithium battery pack. A generation 1 (Gen 1) Volt can charge at a maximum of 3.3kW, a Gen 2 Volt is limited to 3.6kW. The Volt can fully recharge in ~4.5 hours using a Level 2 EVSE. The Pacifica, although it has a larger capacity lithium battery pack (30kWh) than the Volt (18.4kWh), is capable of charging at higher power (6.6kW) versus the Volt (3.6kW) so the time needed to fully re-charge the Pacifica's battery pack is about the same amount of time as the Volt. The Pacifica will also charge with an EVSE that is limited to less than 6.6kW but charging will take longer. If you connect a Volt to an EVSE that can charge at 6.6kW, the Volt won't charge any faster and will still only charge at its maximum of 3.3 kW or 3.6kW. To charge at home using Level 2 you would need a dedicated 230V circuit of at least 20 amps, but higher amperage for a higher power EVSE such as the 6.6kW charging rate that can be fully utilized by the Pacifica would require a 40 amp dedicated circuit.

If you plug a J1772 connector into an EV/PHEV and the vehicle does not start charging then there may be a problem with the EVSE. If this happens at several different EVSE locations and also at home then there is a problem with the vehicle's J1772 port, wiring or charging system.
 

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In theory, they're all compatible. In practice, not always. In the early days, the Volt wouldn't charge from Leaf EVSEs because the Volt initially didn't fully comply with the J1772 spec - it didn't wait quite long enough for the EVSE to switch. GM updated firmware with a service bulletin in 2012 and those two work fine now.

A bigger surprise was when my then brand new Tesla refused to charge from the upgraded Leaf EVSE. I eventually learned online that there's a negative half to the pilot signal shift the Nissan and many others never bothered with - but the Tesla insisted on.

So yes, it "should" work, but you're wise to ask for an actual user report. I think folks are respecting the details of the spec better now than they did in the early days (and the Leaf EVSE in the second story was from 2011, even if I didn't have the problem until 2016,) but I have no proof of that.
 

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Any EV or Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) that has a J1772 port can use any Level 1 (120V) or Level 2 (230V) charging station equipped with a J1772 charging connector. Where I work there is a row of Level 2 charging stations. I charge my Chevrolet Volt using the same General Electric (GE) Level 2 electrical vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) where others charge their Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Plug-In Prius, Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Energi, Honda Clarity, Nissan Leaf and Tesla vehicles (Tesla vehicles require you to use a J1772 to Tesla charging plug adapter that is provided by Tesla with each vehicle.).
Interesting, where I work the vehicles sharing the lone Schneider Electric EVSE are a BMW 5 series iperformance, a Volvo XC90 and a Tesla Model X. No Leaves, energis, Pacificas, or even other Volts to be found. i did see a PiP using the EVSE once but they must have been passing through, not an employee of the research park.
 

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So yes, it "should" work, but you're wise to ask for an actual user report.
I suspected that the devil is sometimes in the details with these things but I couldn't wait. :) I plugged the Volt into the Pacifica charger and felt it after 10 minutes or so just to make sure it wasn't overheating or anything. Everything seemed fine and the Volt reported that it was charging @12A.
 

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I suspected that the devil is sometimes in the details with these things but I couldn't wait. :) I plugged the Volt into the Pacifica charger and felt it after 10 minutes or so just to make sure it wasn't overheating or anything. Everything seemed fine and the Volt reported that it was charging @12A.
So Level 1 charging at 12 amps. This is the Volt's maximum 120V charging amperage. If the EVSE is plugged into a 15 amp rated household circuit, when charging at 12 amps (for safety so the house wiring is not overloaded and overheats) it is important that no other home appliance, really nothing else drawing any significant power, is on the same circuit.
 

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I suspected that the devil is sometimes in the details with these things but I couldn't wait. :) I plugged the Volt into the Pacifica charger and felt it after 10 minutes or so just to make sure it wasn't overheating or anything. Everything seemed fine and the Volt reported that it was charging @12A.
All the compatibility problems I've seen or read about show up when you first plug in and the car tries to initiate a charge. Remember, the EVSE is a glorified extension cord - it switches power on and off, does safety checks, and tells the car the maximum amperage it can draw, but once the session is running, it is just providing a wall power connection to the car's internal charger module that does all the conversion and voltage management and how much to charge stuff.
 

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In my 5 years of volt ownership, i’ve Never encountered an incompatible EVSE. I’ve found a few broken ones where the Chargepoint lock would not unlock the J1772 or where it was completely dead, no lights whatsoever, but never an incompatible one (other than the obvoius ones with different plugs - Tesla, chademo, DC fast charging)
 

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So Level 1 charging at 12 amps. This is the Volt's maximum 120V charging amperage. If the EVSE is plugged into a 15 amp rated household circuit, when charging at 12 amps (for safety so the house wiring is not overloaded and overheats) it is important that no other home appliance, really nothing else drawing any significant power, is on the same circuit.
My experience before going to Level 2 is probably an example of what one can get away with at the upper limit charging @120 v 12a on a 15 amp circuit. Not recommended, but what worked, barely.

We charged exclusively with the factory evse, on the only circuit in our detached garage.

I switched out all lights to led, and avoided using the outlets while charging. We had one exterior light on all night at a low setting, so it was on while charging was taking place.

Being a brief overload, the garage door opener never blew the 15 amp fuse when used while charging, but it is a slow blow fuse. The fuse did get warm though, but never hot, while charging. The wiring itself never got more than slightly warm.

So there is my example of a not recommended, but what worked for 6 months anyway, upper limit.

Jon
 

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My experience before going to Level 2 is probably an example of what one can get away with at the upper limit charging @120 v 12a on a 15 amp circuit. Not recommended, but what worked, barely.

We charged exclusively with the factory evse, on the only circuit in our detached garage.

I switched out all lights to led, and avoided using the outlets while charging. We had one exterior light on all night at a low setting, so it was on while charging was taking place.

Being a brief overload, the garage door opener never blew the 15 amp fuse when used while charging, but it is a slow blow fuse. The fuse did get warm though, but never hot, while charging. The wiring itself never got more than slightly warm.

So there is my example of a not recommended, but what worked for 6 months anyway, upper limit.

Jon
If you have a fuse box instead of a breaker panel you need to replace it fast with a modern breaker panel. I had a 1960s breaker panel that my electrician has been telling me to replace for the last 25 years. When I got the Volt two years ago and needed a new 240V line for my Clipper Creek I took the opportunity to replace the whole panel, the job cost me $2800. The old panel was dangerous, my electrician said that he wouldn't be able to sleep at night if he had my old panel (it was a Federal which are famously dangerous). You have something that's even older, nobody uses fuses anymore, get a new panel and while your at it install a 50A 240V line and a Level2 EVSE.
 

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If you have a fuse box instead of a breaker panel you need to replace it fast with a modern breaker panel. I had a 1960s breaker panel that my electrician has been telling me to replace for the last 25 years. When I got the Volt two years ago and needed a new 240V line for my Clipper Creek I took the opportunity to replace the whole panel, the job cost me $2800. The old panel was dangerous, my electrician said that he wouldn't be able to sleep at night if he had my old panel (it was a Federal which are famously dangerous). You have something that's even older, nobody uses fuses anymore, get a new panel and while your at it install a 50A 240V line and a Level2 EVSE.
I've read extensively about fuse boxes vs breakers and there is nothing inherently less safe about a fuse box.

We have a well regarded Wadsworth box which has been updated with all safety fuses. That means its impossible to replace a lower amp fuse with a higher amp fuse. That was always the danger with fuse boxes. People would get tired of a fuse blowing and replace it with a higher amp fuse, creating a fire hazard.

I have lived in this house for over 30 years with this fuse box with never a hint of a problem. We very rarely ever blow a fuse either. The total load is also now less than when we moved in. All lights are now either led or CFL instead of incandescent, and all appliances tv's, computers etc. have been replaced with more efficient ones.

The electric dryer, which drew more current than our Volt draws, has been replaced with a gas dryer. In fact I am now using the circuit breaker protected sub- panel that was installed for the dryer, for our Clipper Creek LCS-20.

The sub-panel was wired for 30 amps, 240 volt with a 30 amp breaker, which I replaced with a 20 amp breaker. I did that because it's just 12 gauge UF running to the garage for the dedicated evse circuit. That was my lucky break, discovering this unused 12 ga. UF line to the garage from the house. Someone future proofed about 35 years ago when the garage was built. Wish I knew who to thank.

We will be moving from this 105 year old house before we will need more than a 16 amp charging rate too. I'm not interested in the unnecessary expense of replacing the panel, and an 85' run of underground heavier gauge cable to the detached garage.

We live in a neighborhood where nicer houses than ours are being torn down and replaced by McMansions. A major electrical upgrade is quite likely to just get buried under a pile of rubble.

I appreciate your concern though. We will be fine as is. Let's just say I have a unique situation where the usual rules don't apply.

Jon
 

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I've read extensively about fuse boxes vs breakers and there is nothing inherently less safe about a fuse box.

We have a well regarded Wadsworth box which has been updated with all safety fuses. That means its impossible to replace a lower amp fuse with a higher amp fuse. That was always the danger with fuse boxes. People would get tired of a fuse blowing and replace it with a higher amp fuse, creating a fire hazard.

I have lived in this house for over 30 years with this fuse box with never a hint of a problem. The total load is also now less than when we moved in. All lights are now either led or CFL instead of incandescent, and all appliances tv's, computers etc. have been replaced with more efficient ones.

The electric dryer, which drew more current than our Volt draws, has been replaced with a gas dryer. In fact I am now using the circuit breaker protected sub- panel that was installed for the dryer, for our Clipper Creek LCS-20. It was wired for 30 amps, 240 volt with a 30 amp breaker, which I replaced with a 20 amp breaker.

We will be moving from this house before we will need more than a 16 amp charging rate too. I'm not interested in the unnecessary expense of replacing the panel, and an 85' run of underground heavier gauge cable to the detached garage.

We live in a neighborhood where nicer houses than ours are being torn down and replaced by Mcmansions. A major electrical upgrade is quite likely to just get buried under a pile of rubble.

I appreciate your concern though. We will be fine as is.

Jon
My experience with an aged fuse box (50 years old) was it was perfectly safe, until one day it wasn't. Over time the metal tab at the back of the panel where the neutral wire connects to the panel broke off. Household voltage became unbalanced with one side much too low < 80V and the other side dangerously high > 145V. Only the force of the other wiring in the panel was making the connection. Had a few surge suppressor power strips overheat and one exploded. Lost an expensive computer UPS. It was not until I replaced the fuse panel that the electrician showed me the broken tab.
 

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My experience with an aged fuse box (50 years old) was it was perfectly safe, until one day it wasn't. Over time the metal tab at the back of the panel where the neutral wire connects to the panel broke off. Household voltage became unbalanced with one side much too low < 80V and the other side dangerously high > 145V. Only the force of the other wiring in the panel was making the connection. Had a few surge suppressor power strips overheat and one exploded. Lost an expensive computer UPS. It was not until I replaced the fuse panel that the electrician showed me the broken tab.
I appreciate your concern. I've done a few small wiring jobs over the years that have required me to pull the cover off the main panel, including recently. I've checked connections as extensively as possible in a box with live current running to it. Of course it would not hurt to have an electrician come in for an inspection, who will then try to talk me into a bunch of expensive work no doubt.

I should also add that we have a 100 amp 12 circuit box, plus the sub-panel makes 13. This is larger than many typical older fuse boxes, and is plenty of amps and circuits for this small house and our modest electrical needs. Our 100 amp 3 wire service even meets the minimum standard for new construction.

We don't have central air, and everything that can be natural gas is, except for the oven. Our stove top is natural gas as is our water heater, dryer, and boiler. Previously the range was 100% electric as was the dryer. Just those two changes alone, more than offsets the added load from charging our Volt. And as I previously stated, everything else is more efficient than when I moved in 30 years ago.

Also I checked the voltage on both sides when installing the evse, and it was between 118-120, both sides. I'm not sure why a tab would break over time. Did it corrode, was there some movement for some odd reason?

I'll take my chances, but thanks all for your concern. If we ever have a problem, and I'm still alive to tell about it, I'll let you all know and you can have the last laugh.

Jon
 

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I appreciate your concern. I've done a few small wiring jobs over the years that have required me to pull the cover off the main panel, including recently. I've checked connections as extensively as possible in a box with live current running to it. Of course it would not hurt to have an electrician come in for an inspection, who will then try to talk me into a bunch of expensive work no doubt.

I should also add that we have a 100 amp 12 circuit box, plus the sub-panel makes 13. This is larger than many typical older fuse boxes, and is plenty of amps and circuits for this small house and our modest electrical needs. Our 100 amp 3 wire service even meets the minimum standard for new construction.

We don't have central air, and everything that can be natural gas is, except for the oven. Our stove top is natural gas as is our water heater, dryer, and boiler. Previously the range was 100% electric as was the dryer. Just those two changes alone, more than offsets the added load from charging our Volt. And as I previously stated, everything else is more efficient than when I moved in 30 years ago.

Also I checked the voltage on both sides when installing the evse, and it was between 118-120, both sides. I'm not sure why a tab would break over time. Did it corrode, was there some movement for some odd reason?

I'll take my chances, but thanks all for your concern. If we ever have a problem, and I'm still alive to tell about it, I'll let you all know and you can have the last laugh.

Jon
Metal fatigue over time, there were no obvious signs of corrosion.
 

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I want to clarify my position. It's not that fuses can't work and be safe it's what a fuse box says about the age of your wiring. Circuit breakers replaced fuses in the early 1960s which dates any fuse box to the 1950s or earlier. If the case of your 105 year old house it's theoretically possible that the fuse box might be as old as the house. BTW 105 is a new house by my standards, mine was built in 1820. I have no idea when my house got electricity but I suspect it was very late because I see no evidence that there was any knob and tube wiring but there is some BX. When I moved in the heat was from a coal furnace that had been converted to oil. Coal doesn't require electricity, you just shovel the coal, so for all I know the house only got electricity in the 1950s.
 

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I want to clarify my position. It's not that fuses can't work and be safe it's what a fuse box says about the age of your wiring. Circuit breakers replaced fuses in the early 1960s which dates any fuse box to the 1950s or earlier. If the case of your 105 year old house it's theoretically possible that the fuse box might be as old as the house. BTW 105 is a new house by my standards, mine was built in 1820. I have no idea when my house got electricity but I suspect it was very late because I see no evidence that there was any knob and tube wiring but there is some BX. When I moved in the heat was from a coal furnace that had been converted to oil. Coal doesn't require electricity, you just shovel the coal, so for all I know the house only got electricity in the 1950s.
We have knob and tube wiring to NM and everything in between. No aluminum wiring though thankfully. The first thing I did before buying this house was to have it professionally inspected, including the wiring. Furthermore, I contacted the fire inspector regarding the knob and tube wiring.

The knob and tube is mostly on our 2nd floor. Previously it handled lights of 60-100 watts each, a computer with a 250 watt power supply and a window ac drawing 7.5 Amps. All with no issue. Now those same light fixtures draw just 8-12 watts each, my laptop computer, about 100 watts, and the window ac 5 amps.

This is a 20 amp circuit and the gauge of the knob and tube is appropriate for that load. In fact knob and tube wiring is typically of larger gauge than modern wiring.

I was assured by both the home inspector and the fire inspector that as long as it has not been improperly messed with or overloaded , which it has not by all indications, the wiring is all perfectly safe.

Not only have we not overloaded the wiring, we have reduced the load on the wiring. Also I've added a ground wire to all the upstairs outlets. Its needed for the ac and a few other things. The downstairs and basement is mostly grounded bx and nm.

I've lived here since 1985 and have covered all possible bases in regards to assessing the safety of our wiring.

As for the age of our fuse box, it can't be nearly as old as our house. It's a 100 amp 12 circuit box, and even as late as the mid 1960's, 60 amp service with far fewer circuits was the norm. I grew up with 60 amp Type T, fused service. Maybe that's why I'm not terribly concerned about 100 amp service with safety Type S fuses.

Yes, ideally, much of the house should be rewired. Then when we sell it within the next several years, and a developer tears it down, they can sift thru the rubble and salvage all that wonderful new wire if they care to.

I trust my judgement, and am willing to live with the consequences if I am wrong
Thanks again for your concern though.

Jon

PS: The kitchen has all the 20 amp circuits, with the required # of tamper resistant gfci outlets, a dedicated dishwasher circuit etc. All with NM wiring and all up to code. So we are fine there too.
 

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My house is old too (1834). I have a lot of ungrounded (but not knob and tube) wire that is nearing 100 years old, but it's in good condition and is properly sized. My circuit breaker box has been upgraded and all my circuit breakers on old wiring are combination AFCI/GFCI breakers. The AFCI so that any shorts or arcs will shutdown the circuit, and the GFCI let's you put 3 prong grounded receptacles on 2 wire non grounded wire (per National Electrical Code). Everything running to my kitchen, bathrooms, and garage is new stuff though, including my level 2 charger.
 

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My house is old too (1834). I have a lot of ungrounded (but not knob and tube) wire that is nearing 100 years old, but it's in good condition and is properly sized. My circuit breaker box has been upgraded and all my circuit breakers on old wiring are combination AFCI/GFCI breakers. The AFCI so that any shorts or arcs will shutdown the circuit, and the GFCI let's you put 3 prong grounded receptacles on 2 wire non grounded wire (per National Electrical Code). Everything running to my kitchen, bathrooms, and garage is new stuff though, including my level 2 charger.
Using a gfci outlet or breaker instead of having to ground an outlet is something I just learned about recently. I ran ground wire down thru the walls from our attic to all the upstairs outlets about 25 years ago. I was able to use a iron pipe that runs from the basement to the attic for my ground. I grounded the pipe to the box in the basement and also to the copper cold water line.

The pipe is disconnected at both ends and was perhaps originally a gas line for lights upstairs. It's the same kind of iron pipe typically used for natural gas. Wish I knew about the gfci option back then.

It sounds like you are in good shape all around and well protected from any problems with old wiring. If I wasn't such a cheap bast$%& I would do the same thing, and would probably be wise to do so. Even if this old house ends up a tear down when we sell.

Everything running to our detached garage is "relatively" new, as in when the garage was built around 1980 I would guess. It's before I bought the house in '85. The wire is NM underground feeder buried two feet down, which avoided the need for conduit. This means I can't pull a heavier gauge wire thru conduit to future proof. I'm just glad they ran an extra line of 12 ga. which I just put to good use for Level 2. It was previously not being used for anything.

Jon
 

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Using a gfci outlet or breaker instead of having to ground an outlet is something I just learned about recently. I ran ground wire down thru the walls from our attic to all the upstairs outlets about 25 years ago. I was able to use a iron pipe that runs from the basement to the attic for my ground. I grounded the pipe to the box in the basement and also to the copper cold water line.

The pipe is disconnected at both ends and was perhaps originally a gas line for lights upstairs. It's the same kind of iron pipe typically used for natural gas. Wish I knew about the gfci option back then.

It sounds like you are in good shape all around and well protected from any problems with old wiring. If I wasn't such a cheap bast$%& I would do the same thing, and would probably be wise to do so. Even if this old house ends up a tear down when we sell.

Jon
After dealing with all sorts of issues with a purchase of an older home in Atlanta, yes a GFCI can be used in places where there isn't a dedicated ground, and other outlets downstream can be used with no ground pin, but the national electric code requires those outlets to say "GFCI Protected, no ground wire"

I would not plug an EVSE, microwave, air conditioner, dehumidifier, or anything with 3 prongs into this. Only 2 prong stuff stuff like phone chargers, lamps, video game consoles, box fans, etc. I would replace knob and tube and fuses with romex and a circuit breaker panel ASAP. Why risk burning down the house, frying the car, or your lives over money? Life is too precious.
 

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I would not plug an EVSE, microwave, air conditioner, dehumidifier, or anything with 3 prongs into this. Only 2 prong stuff stuff like phone chargers, lamps, video game consoles, box fans, etc. I would replace knob and tube and fuses with romex and a circuit breaker panel ASAP. Why risk burning down the house, frying the car, or your lives over money? Life is too precious.
All electrical wiring is safe until it isn't. I couldn't agree more. Get 'er done! Home wiring isn't rocket science. Any one that's handy can do it with a code book, help from your local electrical inspector for those odd situations where the code book isn't clear. Get the permit, get the inspections, keep it legal. For those who don't have the time or the confidence, pay the man.
 
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