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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
A new (2 weeks) Chevy Bolt owner seeking expert advice on Level 2 charger install and use.

Our garage has a high voltage extension cord with a nema 6-50 socket at the end that the previous owner used for a welder. It is the only thing on a 2x25 amp circuit, so 50 amps. We are looking to purchase a charger that can plug into the existing electrical set up to avoid an expensive electrician bill and assume that what is there will work with an EV charger.

Can you confirm that a 32 amp or 40 amp nema 6-50 charger will work with the socket and 50 amp circuit breaker we have?

Secondly what would you advise in terms of a portable charger or a fixed wall mounted one?


Thanks in advance of your help and advice
 

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David I've been very happy with the Clipper Creek HCS-40P and I went about this same type of scenario a couple of years ago so I called them up and talked with one of the customer service reps which worked out really well. It's a pretty basic wall mounted charger with a plug into (in my case) a NEMA 14-50 outlet. So I'd suggest giving them a call since that's what worked for me and/or checking out their website. It was also good that they're company is only an hour's drive from us so we were able to drive up there and pick up the unit. They make a lot of commercial grade products and have a very solid reputation.
 

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Welcome to the club!

6-50's will work fine. 14-50's are the most common. I would suggest you get a charger with a 14-50 plug and either change the plug on your cord to 14-50 (~$10) or get a stubby cord converter (~$30) from 14-50 to 6-50.
A hardwired charger doesn't get you anything, other than theft deterrent. You do need hardwired if you go over 60A, which the Bolt can't take advantage of. You also want a strong portable so that you can take it with on a trip. There's many of 14-50's if you know where to look.

There are 32A chargers and 40A chargers. I paid extra for a 40A charger for "the future", since the Bolt can only take 32A. I got the cheapest heavy duty charger I could find (a ZenCar). It has worked well for me. It was $340 from some dude on ebay.
If you want wifi or adjustable charging speed, you need to pay more. Clipper Creek and JuiceBox are the most common. Some have refurbed units available.

Also, there are lots of L2 chargers that are 16A for sale. I got one for $99 new, there are lots for $150. Some are $300 or $400. So, be careful as you shop around. Those would still work fine, just that they'll only put 15mph onboard instead of 30mph.

While on the topic, I encourage you to set departure based charging in your Bolt for about 30 mins before you leave and to plug in every night, whether you need to charge or not. That way, your battery will be prewarmed for free from the charging plus you'll be charging overnight when demand is low. Most electric providers have significant savings for electric car charging. Definitely check into what discounts you can get. My offpeak installation payback was about 8 weeks and now I'm saving $40/month or something on charging the cars compared to retail rates.

Again, welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you BoltFan & Nook for welcome & advice.

I think I will to start go with a portable then as does give flexibility. And I assume that as the charger and Bolt limited to 32 amp it doesn't matter that circuit is 50 amp? Not an electrician and assume is just redundant extra amps?

I will get looking on amazon & ebay again.
 

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I'm a brand new Bolt driver and in a very similar position to the OP, except that I have a NEMA 10-30 outlet. I have a Duosida/Zencar EVSE just like this except it's just the NEMA 5-15 3-prong plug with no adapter. I'm looking to purchase a male NEMA 10-30 to a female NEMA 5-15 adapter (about $50 on Amazon, made in China) but I've read some about the lack of a proper ground in the NEMA 10-30 outlet to be a bit concerned. Any thoughts or guidance would be appreciated.
 

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I'm a brand new Bolt driver and in a very similar position to the OP, except that I have a NEMA 10-30 outlet. I have a Duosida/Zencar EVSE just like this except it's just the NEMA 5-15 3-prong plug with no adapter. I'm looking to purchase a male NEMA 10-30 to a female NEMA 5-15 adapter (about $50 on Amazon, made in China) but I've read some about the lack of a proper ground in the NEMA 10-30 outlet to be a bit concerned. Any thoughts or guidance would be appreciated.
I'll tell you what to do - you just need to decide if you're willing.
10-30 has neutral, but not ground. Luckily for you, you need ground but not neutral, so you can move the wire at both ends. Open the breaker box and move the neutral wire from the neutral bar to the ground bar. Switch your outlet to a 6-30. Get a 6-30 to 5-15 converter. Label it CLEARLY. It is a questionable (meaning not really a good idea) practice to have a normal looking outlet around with 240V on it.

Might be legal to switch your outlet to a 14-30 (Might not be). If so, wire to ground, not neutral. This leaves neutral not connected. Get a 14-30 to 5-15 converter, again label it clearly.

Or, a smarter approach:
Change the plug on your charger to 14-30 or 6-30 ($10). Note that you can not install the neutral bar at all on a 14-30 and then you can plug into 14-50's as you find them. That's what I did with my 16A charger. Then make/buy a plug converter from 14-30 (14-50) to 5-15 ($30). Gets you the functionality you're looking for plus the ability to use 14-50's.
See the pic for what a 14-xx looks like with no neutral. Ignore the charring, that's not normal.

Note: If you aren't comfortable opening your breaker box and/or don't know the difference between neutral bar and ground bar and/or don't know the difference between a panel and a subpanel and how they should be wired, this is not a task for you. Inside your main panel is live, high voltage, unguarded wires.

PS If your panel isn't too far away, it's not that expense to just pull a new circuit for a proper 14-50. It's under $30 for materials if you have a subpanel in the garage. That's really the proper way to do it.
 

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I believe the electrical code recommends a max 80% continuous amp draw for a given breaker. So if you have a 50 amp breaker, the max continuous amps should be 80% of 50, or 40 amps. If you purchase a charger, I wouldn't go any higher than a 40 amp one. FWIW I installed a 50 amp breaker with the proper wire size and use a 40 amp charger. No issues.
 

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I assume that as the charger and Bolt limited to 32 amp it doesn't matter that circuit is 50 amp? Not an electrician and assume is just redundant extra amps?
Your breaker should be the lessor of the capabilities of the wire and socket. It is normal to plug a charger into a circuit with a 50A breaker and only draw 32A (or less).
The paranoid (or just extra cautious) might swap the breaker out for a 40A, but then if you ever invited a Tesla owner over to proselytize them, they couldn't charge at their full 45A. I would leave the 50A breaker as is, but it's your choice.
Technically, it helps because you've got 50A wire, so it will heat less with 32A, but only the supernerds care about that.
 

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It is the only thing on a 2x25 amp circuit, so 50 amps. We are looking to purchase a charger that can plug into the existing electrical set up to avoid an expensive electrician bill and assume that what is there will work with an EV charger.

Can you confirm that a 32 amp or 40 amp nema 6-50 charger will work with the socket and 50 amp circuit breaker we have?
Maybe I'm misreading your post but I read that you have a 25a circuit on each leg but you have 50a breaker. I'm confused, is that 2-25a breakers or a 2 pole 50a breaker? . My JuiceBox cranks out 32a on each leg to charge the Bolt. If your breaker has a '25' printed on it (that is how I read your post) then you don't have enough power to run what you are trying to run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Maybe I'm misreading your post but I read that you have a 25a circuit on each leg but you have 50a breaker. I'm confused, is that 2-25a breakers or a 2 pole 50a breaker? . My JuiceBox cranks out 32a on each leg to charge the Bolt. If your breaker has a '25' printed on it (that is how I read your post) then you don't have enough power to run what you are trying to run.
Hi jon8491
Yes it says 25 on 2 breaker switches so if I understand you thi is 25 amps and I need to see if can be changed to 40 amp. The socket it serves is a 50amp Nema 6-50.

Probably need to pay for an electrician to sort. Just seems very expensive from the EV charger installs I have read getting in excess of $900 + cost of charger so hope to use the Nema socket we have
 

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Hi jon8491
Yes it says 25 on 2 breaker switches so if I understand you thi is 25 amps and I need to see if can be changed to 40 amp. The socket it serves is a 50amp Nema 6-50.

Probably need to pay for an electrician to sort. Just seems very expensive from the EV charger installs I have read getting in excess of $900 + cost of charger so hope to use the Nema socket we have

Installing a NEMA 6-50R on a 25A circuit is begging for a house fire. Your homeowner's insurance probably would not cover such a loss, either. They could easily cite negligence on your part and disallow a claim.

Either change the receptacle to a 25A or less version, or re-wire the circuit for 50A. If you stay with a 25A circuit, you'll be limited to a 20A EVSE capability, which might actually meet your needs. Some EVSEs can be throttled down to that. For example, the Siemens Versacharge has a 50% setting that will get you 15A at 240V. Others might get you the full 20A that the existing circuit will support.
 

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Hi jon8491
Yes it says 25 on 2 breaker switches so if I understand you thi is 25 amps and I need to see if can be changed to 40 amp. The socket it serves is a 50amp Nema 6-50.

Probably need to pay for an electrician to sort. Just seems very expensive from the EV charger installs I have read getting in excess of $900 + cost of charger so hope to use the Nema socket we have
I've never seen a 25A breaker, but google says it exists. If you have dual 25's, then Greg is right - you need a 20A EVSE or you need to wire in a proper 50A circuit.

Greg is also right that 240V 20A will likely be fast enough charging for your needs. Those chargers start at $150 for dumb ones and $300+ for smart ones. A plug converter/Y adapter for your stock charger would get you 240V 12A which is also likely fast enough for your needs and the cheapest 240V solution.

I would NOT change the plug, though, as I take my chargers on the road with me. So, I want a normal plug that I might find at my destination.

Ultimately, you need to decide how urgently you may (ever) need to charge while at home, then setup to handle that scenario.
 

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In addition to the above 4 or 5 posts you should be aware that the stock charger that came with your Bolt will operate on 240v with it's existing plug. I have not looked at a 6-50 receptacle but a photo of it indicates to me that your stock charger should plug right into it. If it does, that will allow you to charge at 2.8kWH instead of the usual 1.4kWH on 110v. There are circuit lights on that charger that tell you if you have a good ground or not. The ground on the receptacle (it looks like a half-circle) should be a ground at your panel and NOT a neutral. So in spite of the stock charger label saying 115v, it works on 220 (because the same charger is sold to the foreign market). Finally, since your current installation sounds like it was a homebrew job, you should verify the wire size. That is printed on the insulation of the wire and you probably want what is called #10 AWG. #8 is better. #12 would work with the stock charger. You should not have #14 with 25a breakers.

If you need an electrician then make sure you know ahead of time what you want him to do: wire size, breaker size, 240v, receptacle type, location of receptacle. Otherwise you will be paying him more while he figures it out himself.
 

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In addition to the above 4 or 5 posts you should be aware that the stock charger that came with your Bolt will operate on 240v with it's existing plug. I have not looked at a 6-50 receptacle but a photo of it indicates to me that your stock charger should plug right into it. If it does, that will allow you to charge at 2.8kWH instead of the usual 1.4kWH on 110v. There are circuit lights on that charger that tell you if you have a good ground or not. The ground on the receptacle (it looks like a half-circle) should be a ground at your panel and NOT a neutral. So in spite of the stock charger label saying 115v, it works on 220 (because the same charger is sold to the foreign market). Finally, since your current installation sounds like it was a homebrew job, you should verify the wire size. That is printed on the insulation of the wire and you probably want what is called #10 AWG. #8 is better. #12 would work with the stock charger. You should not have #14 with 25a breakers.

If you need an electrician then make sure you know ahead of time what you want him to do: wire size, breaker size, 240v, receptacle type, location of receptacle. Otherwise you will be paying him more while he figures it out himself.

A 6-50 is significantly larger than a 5-15. Without something to compare for scale, they look the same.
 

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A 6-50 is significantly larger than a 5-15. Without something to compare for scale, they look the same.
Thanks for the correction. That is why I mentioned I had only looked at a photo, I was uncertain.

To the OP, another option is to have a custom built pigtail that will plug into your existing 6-50 and allow the Stock Charger work at 220v, max charge rate of approx 2.8kWh, 2x faster than using 110v.
For $89 check out https://shop.quickchargepower.com/Service-Build-a-custom-20A-adapter-A-20A.htm?productId=40 where you would specify 6-50 male and 5-20 female. Then you leave your current breakers and welding plug as is and this pigtail adapter could be used as 220v service for the stock charger.
 

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There is a lot of knowledge here but I just need to give my opinion on all this. Get an electrician out there to check it over and make it right. Anyone quoting you $900 is ripping you off. I paid $350 to have a 50amp breaker, proper size wire run, and a NEMA 14-50 plug installed. Shop around for an electrician to do the work for a reasonable rate. It's not worth burning your house down and possibly losing your life to save a few bucks on electrical work. Everything needs to be in proper order when your talking about charging an EV and potential damage could be much higher cost then what your trying to save. Just my two cents worth.
 

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By far your cheapest option is to make (or have a knowledgeable friend make) a NEMA 6-50P to NEMA 5-15R adapter. The 3 wires would simply connect the same way. Then plug into it the charger that came with the Bolt (that's already a $300 value).

When the car sees 240V, it will automatically pull 12A and give you a very respectable 17 hours to full charge, with the whole thing costing under $25. Just make sure to label that NEMA 5-15R very clearly so nobody tries to plug a 120V load into it.

For an excellent, detailed article: http://www.kawal.net/volt adapter.htm
 
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