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Ok, I have not run my Bolt to zero energy left yet, but I often wonder what I'll do if that happens. I'd prefer to not have to call a tow truck to haul me home. So I got to thinking, can the Bolt be charged from a generator? The generator itself is an inverter style with a 240 volt output to power travel trailers. I would need to use an adapter to connect the generator to my Chargepoint charger and then plug that into my Bolt. This would sure beet the 110 volt charger supplied with the car. If I was 20 miles from home it would take me 5 hours to get enough juice to get home, versus the half hour it would take on my plug in Chargepoint. Anyone ever done this? Anything I need to watch our for?
 

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I'm mostly worried I could mess up the charging unit. It doesn't seem like this process would send bad electricity to the car from the charger. Seems more likely if there were to be a problem it would be from the generator to the charger.
 

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The manual from the car says not to power it from a generator.

That said, if you had a generator with pure sine wave output and proper grounding, the car will not be able to tell. However most inverters don't produce pure sine waves because that's more expensive; instead they produce a “modified sine wave” which is basically a square wave. Many kinds of electrical devices are unhappy if run from a “modified sine wave”, but from my understanding of the Bolt's power-conversion electronics (which doesn't care much if you give it 120 volts, 208 volts, or 240 volts), it ought to be okay. (Again, provided the grounding is good, because the car will try to check that the grounding looks good.)

But would I try my Bolt on a cheap inverter-based generator. No.
 

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Really helpful answers. I have an e-mail into Chargepoint to see what they think. I'll update as soon as I hear back. Thanks!!
 

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I have had success with charging the Focus EV with a generator multiple times with the included 120V ESVE.

I tried the same generator and ESVE with Tesla and no luck...apparently Tesla checks for grounding and that was the cause.

I was however able to charge with a 1000W inverter (had to lower the charge current to 7A)...was like a 2 mile of charge per hour. I had to bring my mini cooper to feed inverter and not sure how large an inverter could be driven from the alternator.

Will try the Bolt as well as I bought a 9000W generator with 120V and 240V...would be nice to do L2 at 30A.
 

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The problem is not the ChargePoint charger. It is just a simple relay that sends power to the car when plugged in and car sends signal back that it is ready to accept power. There is no power conditioning in the charger.

The problem is the electronics in the Bolt that converts the 120/240 VAC power to 300+ VDC to charge the battery pack. Damage that internal converted in the Bolt and you are in for an expensive repair. Proceed at your own risk.
 

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Assuming that generators or inverters could be bad is quite a stretch. For example if you have a backup generator or solar PV (inverters) powering your house how often have you seen damage caused by them?
Note the Bolt manual telling you to avoid stationary generators which I would assume are used in many businesses in case of outage. The manual would also state that Solar Panels are not to be used as it is not utility power.

Similarly what about a power surge or lightning and the Bolt is plugged in?

We have to assume that they have designed it all in... Not sure I have heard of any failures in Tesla or Bolt Forums.
 

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Assuming that generators or inverters could be bad is quite a stretch. For example if you have a backup generator or solar PV (inverters) powering your house how often have you seen damage caused by them?
Note the Bolt manual telling you to avoid stationary generators which I would assume are used in many businesses in case of outage. The manual would also state that Solar Panels are not to be used as it is not utility power.

Similarly what about a power surge or lightning and the Bolt is plugged in?

We have to assume that they have designed it all in... Not sure I have heard of any failures in Tesla or Bolt Forums.
For pretty much any solar installation, the inverter will be a pure sine wave one, which is going to be fine.

It's less clear that a random portable generator will have a pure sine-wave output.
 

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The manual from the car says not to power it from a generator.

That said, if you had a generator with pure sine wave output and proper grounding, the car will not be able to tell. However most inverters don't produce pure sine waves because that's more expensive; instead they produce a “modified sine wave” which is basically a square wave. Many kinds of electrical devices are unhappy if run from a “modified sine wave”, but from my understanding of the Bolt's power-conversion electronics (which doesn't care much if you give it 120 volts, 208 volts, or 240 volts), it ought to be okay. (Again, provided the grounding is good, because the car will try to check that the grounding looks good.)

But would I try my Bolt on a cheap inverter-based generator. No.
Most "contractor grade" generators don't have good regulation of voltage, but they certainly are pure sine wave. Might want to check the voltage at idle to make sure it isn't much greater than 250v.

Honda makes an inverter generator that I believe is pure sine wave. Harbor Freight sells a knock off, but I'm not sure if it is pure sine or not. From my experience with inverters, you do NOT want to risk using a modified sine wave inverter.

Any grounding is relative to the ground pin on the generator's plug and many EVSEs do (and should) check this when they are first turned on as part of the GFCI test.
 

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Years back at the VOLT group, there was a fellow who did his 6 month test run of an inverter generator ("pure" sine) by charging his VOLT with the stock L1 EVSE.

For 120V L1, there have been folks who connected both the inv. gen neutral and hot through 10k power resistors (each leg to ground), or just the neutral directly to genny ground using a dummy plug in the second parallel outlet. I have not looked into either "fix". The issue appears to be the EVSE seeing some kind of ground fault situation that has to be defeated.

Not sure how that would apply to a 240 VAC inverter generator output with a standard two wire L2 EVSE (e.g. a ClipperCreek), as both of the lines, confusing against EVSE nomenclature, but typically called (240 VAC) L1 and L2 by EEs and electricians, are not connected to ground (as opposed to home 120 VAC, where the neutral is literally hard wired to home ground, once, at the main box).

Also, there is the warning in the manuals that no one seems to know for sure what they are worried about (e.g. voltage fluctuation, voltage too high, frequency fluctuation, frequency way off, sine wave or not, etc.)

Irony (and no, I am not saying you should have bought a PHEV, I have been a PHEV owner (three) and now a happy BOLT owner) is that the entire line of thought does show how cleverly and efficiently implemented the engines were in both VOLT and Clarity.
 

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I would strongly recommend looking at any generator's output on a scope before connecting it to your $40K+ Bolt.

I can almost guarantee that any damage done to your Bolt by a sub-par generator would not be covered under warranty.


You can buy a no-frills scope for $29 on Amazon that is perfectly suited for looking at 120vac waveforms:











Here's the output from my 2,000 Watt inverter generator (under load)on the above scope ...
I would feel comfortable charging the Bolt from this generator.















Here's the terrible output from a standard backoffice grade UPS....
I tried my Mod-Con boiler with it's ECM circulator pump on this UPS... the pump was singing!!
If I had run it for more than a couple of minutes it probably would have burned out the pump and or boiler control board.



 

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Assuming that generators or inverters could be bad is quite a stretch. For example if you have a backup generator or solar PV (inverters) powering your house how often have you seen damage caused by them?
Note the Bolt manual telling you to avoid stationary generators which I would assume are used in many businesses in case of outage. The manual would also state that Solar Panels are not to be used as it is not utility power.

Similarly what about a power surge or lightning and the Bolt is plugged in?

We have to assume that they have designed it all in... Not sure I have heard of any failures in Tesla or Bolt Forums.
Both the EVSE and the charger in the fender of the car have fusible links to protect against a large power surge, but neither one is capable of protecting against a nearby lightning strike. My first Volt was destroyed by a lightning strike directly to the building that it was plugged in to.

Keith
 

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Both the EVSE and the charger in the fender of the car have fusible links to protect against a large power surge, but neither one is capable of protecting against a nearby lightning strike. My first Volt was destroyed by a lightning strike directly to the building that it was plugged in to.

Keith
Thanks for the info. It is nearly impossible to protect from lightning. Most people don't appreciate how much power there is in a direct lightning strike. I know because my brother got stuck last year in Minnesota. Destroyed all electronic is the house, fried wires and started a fire. The house was a total loss, fortunately no one was hurt. He has a new home now on the same site.
 

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You can buy a no-frills scope for $29 on Amazon that is perfectly suited for looking at 120vac waveforms
You want the DSO150 instead. It has better specs (see https://jyetech.com/Products/LcdScope/e150.php at "General Descriptions of Product" for details), and comes in a 'real' case. And you can get it for less than USD20 on eBay.

Note that both the DSO138 and the DSO150 require a 9V power supply which does *not* come with the unit (well, unless you buy one of the USD35-45 kits). So you'll need either a 9VDC power supply like [ame]https://www.amazon.com/Wall-Adapter-Power-Supply-650mA/dp/B003XZSZWO[/ame], or a 9V battery and an adapter like [ame]https://www.amazon.com/5pack-Battery-2-1mm-Arduino-Corpco/dp/B01AXIEDX8[/ame]. Or--more likely--both, since you want it to be portable, but also don't want to be eating 9V batteries when you don't have to.
 

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^ either scope will work for just sampling a 60hz waveform... IIRC I put a 100K Ohm resistor inline before connecting it to 120VAC source.


I have a ScopeMeter multi-meter and a real bench grade Tektronix scope... but the $20 DSO138 is my favorite for looking at simple UPS and generator waveforms.
 

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I would strongly recommend looking at any generator's output on a scope before connecting it to your $40K+ Bolt.

I can almost guarantee that any damage done to your Bolt by a sub-par generator would not be covered under warranty.


You can buy a no-frills scope for $29 on Amazon that is perfectly suited for looking at 120vac waveforms:
https://www.amazon.com/Quimat-Pocket-Size-Oscilloscope-Protective-Assembled/dp/B07GRK38MS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1543419394&sr=8-3&keywords=dso138+digital+oscilloscope











Here's the output from my 2,000 Watt inverter generator (under load)on the above scope ...
I would feel comfortable charging the Bolt from this generator.















Here's the terrible output from a standard backoffice grade UPS....


The interesting thing is that both of those appear to be "modified sine wave" type inverters, though the former might call itself "pure sine wave" those sure appear to be steps in voltage along the wave form.
 
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