Amiel
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Home outlet for Level I: better to be GFCI outlet...or not?

Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:57 pm

My utility (Portland General Electric) recommends only using GFCI outlets for charging my new Leaf using Level I charger.

The electrician I called, who specializes in electric car charging, recommends that the outlet NOT be GFCI because GFCI trips the circuit and therefore halts the charging.

I'd appreciate your help in deciding what is best.

FYI my current outlets are not-GFCI. They are also on the side of the house (not under a garage or cover).

Glad to be part of this forum (110 miles on the odometer so far!)

Volusiano
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Re: Home outlet for Level I: better to be GFCI outlet...or n

Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:36 pm

If you're using the Panasonic L1 EVSE that comes with the LEAF, I believe it already has a built-in GFCI inside. So no need for another one outside.

kubel
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Re: Home outlet for Level I: better to be GFCI outlet...or n

Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:38 pm

I charged with a 50ft extension cord on a GFCI outlet for the first few months of ownership, putting about 55-60 miles on the car every day. Only had a problem with GFCI tripping when I was using a wimpy extension cord.
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keydiver
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Re: Home outlet for Level I: better to be GFCI outlet...or n

Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:50 pm

To elaborate on Volusiano's comment, ALL J1772-compliant EVSE's include GFI protection, so an external one is redundant, and could just be a point of failure, as your electrician says.
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davewill
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Re: Home outlet for Level I: better to be GFCI outlet...or n

Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:02 pm

I would note that many, many owners are using GFCI outlets with no problems. My understanding is that it's only a problem with old or worn out GFCI outlets. In a lot of places, garage outlets are required to be GFCI, anyway.
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Reddy
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Re: Home outlet for Level I: better to be GFCI outlet...or n

Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:20 pm

I have had a couple of problems charging on GFI's out in the wild. Yes, when they trip, the charging stops. Not a big deal, but you're left without a charge unless you have a smart phone and the Carwings notifications (which I don't).

Also, I have noticed some weird behavior while charging at home on the GFI. Every once in a while, the GFI does NOT trip, but the LED light on the garage door sensors go out (the light beam that's suppose to make the door go up when someone or something gets in the way). When this happens, the door doesn't go down anymore without reversing. The circuit is still live, never tripped, and the car still charges. It was perplexing the first time or two, but then realized that I had changed the plug to GFI. Press "Test" and then "Reset" on the GFI and everything is back to normal.
Reddy
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Nubo
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Re: Home outlet for Level I: better to be GFCI outlet...or n

Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:30 pm

Amiel wrote:My utility (Portland General Electric) recommends only using GFCI outlets for charging my new Leaf using Level I charger.

The electrician I called, who specializes in electric car charging, recommends that the outlet NOT be GFCI because GFCI trips the circuit and therefore halts the charging.

I'd appreciate your help in deciding what is best.

FYI my current outlets are not-GFCI. They are also on the side of the house (not under a garage or cover).

Glad to be part of this forum (110 miles on the odometer so far!)


The EVSE has its own ground fault detection, but imho these exterior outlets should have GFCI for safety with other outdoor uses (electric hedge trimmers, etc...). Somewhere on the forum, folks have discussed the milliamp threshold where nuisance trips occur with the LEAF equipment. You could look for outlets that specify a threshold above that.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

MikeD
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Re: Home outlet for Level I: better to be GFCI outlet...or n

Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:39 pm

The point of GFCIs is to protect users from being electrocuted. They are generally required/recommended in sites around a residence where the probability of being shocked is highest, i.e. where the resistance to ground potential is lowest (usually because of the increased exposure to water) -- which would be bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and outdoors. A GFCI is designed to reduce the possibility of a lethal electrical current from passing through the heart or damaging other body parts.

Without saying more about how a GFCI operates, there is no question that 1) it is much safer to not use a plug-in EVSE, but to use a direct wired EVSE instead and 2) it is safer to use a plug-in EVSE to a GFCI receptacle than to a non-GFCI receptacle. Any built-in GFCI protection in an EVSE only protects past the control box (like at the J1772 connector), not at the plug. If a GFCI trips without clear reason, unless the GFCI is faulty there is usually current leakage somewhere in the wiring that needs to be corrected (probably by rewiring). Also you are unlikely to have nuisance trips if your EVSE is plugged into a dedicated circuit (preferably 20a btw because of the likely thicker gauge wire used is less likely to overheat).

Do not use extension cords for charging your EV, and especially not around water!

I am not a licensed electrician, so please feel free to correct me...

smkettner
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Re: Home outlet for Level I: better to be GFCI outlet...or n

Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:13 pm

I would trust the electrician with no GFI for charging indoors. Outdoor GFI is required anyway.
As long as the electrician is pulling wire I would suggest a 240v circuit. You need 20 or 40 amp rating depending on the evse.
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Re: Home outlet for Level I: better to be GFCI outlet...or n

Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:46 pm

posted in error
Last edited by SSS on Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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