Repeated ground faults from evse

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Bombastinator2

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2024
Messages
286
So I had an electrician put a new charger in my underground parking lot stall. The p
Base plug on my included charger is nema 14-50. The new line won’t stay straight with out tripping the ground fault for more than 30 sec. or so. Charging on 110v phase1 seems to be fine. Is this an installation issue? A charger issue? A vehicle issue?, an unavoidable issue (in which case I’m basically hosed)
 
Lets be clear:
There are circuit breaker GFI's that mount in the C/B panel and protect the whole circuit. There are Ground fault outlets that have the GFI in them and protect that outlet and any down stream of that outlet. However I have never seen a GFI NEMA 14-50 outlet. There are devices that have a GFI in them and only provide protection for that device.
So what tripping and where is the tripping GFI? Once you get above the std 15 amp outlet, a GFI breaker is the common way to protect 20,30, 40, or 50 amp circuits.
GFI's can go bad and they can send you chasing your tail looking for the leakage. I had one on my well pump circuit, every once and a while it would trip and I could find nothing wrong. Then it started tripping every night, so I moved the well pump wires to a non GFI breaker temporarily, and re-set the GFI breaker. It tripped with no load lines connected to the breaker at all! Yeap, bad GFI breaker. New one installed and switched the pump feed back to the new GFI, problem solved and pump circuit with a GFI. Moral of the story, GFI tripping is a symptom, you must determine the cause yourself.
 
So C/B is circuit breaker in this instance then.
When nothing is plugged in the breaker does not trip. When the charger is plugged into the nema 50 the breaker does not trip and the charger’”ready” green light is on but no others. When the charger is then plugged into the car the yellow “charging” light goes on too, then after a few seconds the red “fault” light goes on and the breaker trips. If the charger is plugged into the 110v 20amp receptacle it works normally and only the green and yellow activate. When a Tesla charger is plugged into the nema 50 the breaker does not trip (at least within in the 30sec or so) and the charger seems to charge a Tesla normally. The circuit and charger did once charge the leaf normally, though the plug was upside down. After the plug was flipped is when the problem started happening.
 
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Lets be clear:
There are circuit breaker GFI's that mount in the C/B panel and protect the whole circuit. There are Ground fault outlets that have the GFI in them and protect that outlet and any down stream of that outlet. However I have never seen a GFI NEMA 14-50 outlet. There are devices that have a GFI in them and only provide protection for that device.
So what tripping and where is the tripping GFI? Once you get above the std 15 amp outlet, a GFI breaker is the common way to protect 20,30, 40, or 50 amp circuits.
GFI's can go bad and they can send you chasing your tail looking for the leakage. I had one on my well pump circuit, every once and a while it would trip and I could find nothing wrong. Then it started tripping every night, so I moved the well pump wires to a non GFI breaker temporarily, and re-set the GFI breaker. It tripped with no load lines connected to the breaker at all! Yeap, bad GFI breaker. New one installed and switched the pump feed back to the new GFI, problem solved and pump circuit with a GFI. Moral of the story, GFI tripping is a symptom, you must determine the cause yourself.
Well this made me look into the GFI requirement. " If the unit is hardwired, there is no need for a GFCI breaker. However, sockets installed for EV charging need GFCI under NEC 2017. NEC 2020 expands this to all sockets anywhere an EV might be plugged in". Is the charger plugged in or hard wired?
 
The plug geometry between the Tesla plug and the Nissan plug may be slightly different and causing a connection issue at the plug. I'd check for loose connections at the plug since it has been recently rotated, I assume to make the plug orientation better. If the connections are tight, I'd replace the plug. If you're not comfortable with doing this work, have an electrician do it.
 
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Hi, I had the same problem with the work charger after they changed it.(~2013)
I contacted Siemens who manufactured the charger, and the knowledgeable tech said that old leafs and chargers tested for ground faults before charging up to 20 milliamps, and the newer chargers allowed up to 5 milliamps. (The tech said the solution was to change to an older circuit board in the charger)
This was not possible, as Siemens discontinued manufacturing chargers.
Luckily, there had been lots of rain and the charging cable finally dried out, and the new charger started functioning again.
It had something to do with ground faults above 5ma on the new charger.
 
So C/B is circuit breaker in this instance then.
When nothing is plugged in the breaker does not trip. When the charger is plugged into the nema 50 the breaker does not trip and the charger’”ready” green light is on but no others. When the charger is then plugged into the car the yellow “charging” light goes on too, then after a few seconds the red “fault” light goes on and the breaker trips. If the charger is plugged into the 110v 20amp receptacle it works normally and only the green and yellow activate. When a Tesla charger is plugged into the nema 50 the breaker does not trip (at least within in the 30sec or so) and the charger seems to charge a Tesla normally. The circuit and charger did once charge the leaf normally, though the plug was upside down. After the plug was flipped is when the problem started happening.
Ok, it sounds like we can eliminate the wiring from the C/B panel to the outlet, and the EVSE as far as the contactors from being the problem. If they were they would trip the unit even if not connected to the car.
Because the 120 cord can charge the car and not "report" a ground fault, it would suggest the section between the EVSE and the car is where the problem most likely is.
The plug from the EVSE into the car's charging socket is the most likely place for a problem to be. Since you say the charger works on a Tesla (do I have this correct?) then it is either the cars socket or the EVSE's pins are either making contact where the shouldn't or not making it where they should. Take a hard look at the plug for bent pins or pins that are shorter or pushed further back in the assembly. Also make sure the plug is firmly installed in the cars socket.
 
The circuit and charger did once charge the leaf normally, though the plug was upside down. After the plug was flipped is when the problem started happening.
That's a good clue to help solve this problem.

Turn off the Circuit Breaker, then remove the screws to the outlet and inspect the wiring. Are there 4 wires coming into the outlet or did someone just use 3 with a jumper wire between 2 of the terminals? Are the wires stretched and straining from the rotation of the outlet? Any nicks or cuts in the insulation?
 
Sounds like my solution is another charger. Any reason I shouldn’t buy this one?
Ok, it sounds like we can eliminate the wiring from the C/B panel to the outlet, and the EVSE as far as the contactors from being the problem. If they were they would trip the unit even if not connected to the car.
Because the 120 cord can charge the car and not "report" a ground fault, it would suggest the section between the EVSE and the car is where the problem most likely is.
The plug from the EVSE into the car's charging socket is the most likely place for a problem to be. Since you say the charger works on a Tesla (do I have this correct?) then it is either the cars socket or the EVSE's pins are either making contact where the shouldn't or not making it where they should. Take a hard look at the plug for bent pins or pins that are shorter or pushed further back in the assembly. Also make sure the plug is firmly installed in the cars socket.
going for known good I ordered a cheap charger off amazon
 
I may be mis reading what he wrote, but I thought he said a tesla has been charged off the same set-up, and not triggered a fault. I could be wrong, but that would tend to indicate a problem between the EVSE and the car.
Nope. The Tesla is a bit of an unknown still though because it wasn’t left in long enough. I ordered Amazon’s cheapest EVSE to test with.
If it works I’ll just keep it though. I also found out the building power doesn’t run the full 240v, so it could well be the charger doing what it is “supposed” to do. I can also set it to input a certain amount of power and stop which gives me “run it to 80%” capacity. Sort of.
So the EVSE is high probability. The “new” one will work between 200 & 250 though for all it costing a third what good ones do.
 
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I also found out the building power doesn’t run the full 240v, so it could well be the charger doing what it is “supposed” to do. I can also set it to input a certain amount of power and stop which gives me “run it to 80%” capacity. Sort of.
So the EVSE is high probability. The “new” one will work between 200 & 250 though for all it costing a third what good ones do.
Do you mean the building provides 220 v or 208 v? If so, this will increase the amperage drawn on the circuit. What I don't understand is that the problem didn't start until the plug was turned over which would not change anything regarding the voltage or amperage?
 
Sage Brush posted a link from Idaho Labs that showed the Leaf will pull a max of around 30 amps on a 208 volt circuit. Most commercial buildings run 120/208Y 3 phase while most homes will be 120/240 single phase. The 120 side of things is no different, but the higher voltage (either 208 or 240) is. Almost anything that runs on 240 will run on 208 with a little reduction in output. Some motors are picky, but most other loads don't care. The EVSE is one that doesn't care. There can be all kinds of three phase, but for light commercial 120/208Y is the most common.
We have had a problem where someone had set the adjustable EVSE to 30 amps on a 30 amp circuit and had it shut off on them, and worked fine when it was set to 24 amps (which is the correct setting for a 30 amp branch circuit).
My car came with the Nissan 120 volt unit and a Primecom adjustable 240 volt unit. While I will not be an advertisement for them, I will say it works well for me.
With my experience over the last several months of owning/ charging, I would recommend if you are going to buy an EVSE, you buy on that is adjustable. They aren't that much more expensive, and if your situation changes, allows more adaptation than a fixed rate EVSE can. That way if you suddenly find you need to charge off a 30 or even lower amp circuit you can properly. I also find that it allows for "fine tuning" of charge amounts when trying to charge to less than 100%. At full 27.5 amps the timer steps in minutes, when compared to percent of charge, is a lot larger than at say 16 amps.
 
Do you mean the building provides 220 v or 208 v? If so, this will increase the amperage drawn on the circuit. What I don't understand is that the problem didn't start until the plug was turned over which would not change anything regarding the voltage or amperage?
Yup. It’s weird. Might be a thing in the EVSE or something, hence the test. The charger I ordered came but it’s only the empty case. I am beyond pissed.
 
Sage Brush posted a link from Idaho Labs that showed the Leaf will pull a max of around 30 amps on a 208 volt circuit. Most commercial buildings run 120/208Y 3 phase while most homes will be 120/240 single phase. The 120 side of things is no different, but the higher voltage (either 208 or 240) is. Almost anything that runs on 240 will run on 208 with a little reduction in output. Some motors are picky, but most other loads don't care. The EVSE is one that doesn't care. There can be all kinds of three phase, but for light commercial 120/208Y is the most common.
We have had a problem where someone had set the adjustable EVSE to 30 amps on a 30 amp circuit and had it shut off on them, and worked fine when it was set to 24 amps (which is the correct setting for a 30 amp branch circuit).
My car came with the Nissan 120 volt unit and a Primecom adjustable 240 volt unit. While I will not be an advertisement for them, I will say it works well for me.
With my experience over the last several months of owning/ charging, I would recommend if you are going to buy an EVSE, you buy on that is adjustable. They aren't that much more expensive, and if your situation changes, allows more adaptation than a fixed rate EVSE can. That way if you suddenly find you need to charge off a 30 or even lower amp circuit you can properly. I also find that it allows for "fine tuning" of charge amounts when trying to charge to less than 100%. At full 27.5 amps the timer steps in minutes, when compared to percent of charge, is a lot larger than at say 16 amps.
I got this one. Which apparently works from 200-240v according to my electrician. It was pretty cheap for a charger, but it theoreticallly will work. I’m a bit leery of the app because Chinese malware, so I may not use that bit. We shall see. It arrives on the 3rd from Amazon.
 

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