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Please help me understand what I have in my garage

8110 Views 98 Replies 45 Participants Last post by  jefro
Hey fellas, I am a proud new owner of 2017 Bolt.

Need some help in understanding what is in my garage and what needs to be done in order to charge my car correctly.

So here are some pictures of what the current setup looks like, this is not my work, the house we live in now was purchased with this type of arrangement.

This is the socket that is installed for level 2 charging. As I understand the max I can plug in here is 5 kwh. Question 1: can I replace this with some different socket and if so, then what should it be and what should it say on this box?

Wall socket Gas Electrical supply Electronic device Cable


This green wire here is what I assume is the ground? Shouldn't it be tied around that little screw to insure that the socket is properly grounded?
Automotive tire Plant Motor vehicle Automotive design Rim


This is where the wires (yellow and black) from the socket are attached to. They go to a 40 amp single breaker and it looks like there are also other wires from the fuse box going here.
Automotive tire Gas Motor vehicle Auto part Machine


What can you guys say about this setup? As I understand the max that the socket will accept is 5 kw, so that means that I should look for a level 2 charger that is probably below that, so charge at max 4 kw? Can I just throw this socket out and put in something bigger? If so, what can I install and what type of charger would I use? Thanks for the advice :)
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@Louis Chevrolet
You are correct. To a degree. What you are now describing is a scenario that is unlikely to occur. My reply was not meant to cover catastrophic events. Everything you say could occur if a truck ran into the kitchen and squashed the countertop wiring into the range wires. Not likely to happen. Driving a nail through one leg into a wood stud would do nothing except give whoever is holding the nail a bad shock. How bad I would hate to determine. I once managed to hit one leg of a 480v 3-phase line (277V) and it hurt like the dickens. Continued to hurt for another three days from how my arm muscles contracted. (I had killed and locked out the power to the panel but I did not know that a line had been run from another panel.) In the last 30 years, I have come across many wiring situations that were horrible. One was where a person used a green wire to supply power to a switch. Then he forgot and tied it into the ground at the other end. A supervisor received a nasty shock and I was sent to find out why.

Please, don't think that I agree with the way this installation was done...I don't. But it is not as hazardous as everyone is making it out to be. The OP did not make it for 16 years by luck alone but, rather, by the fact that he never used the outlet. Who knows what was done prior to him? For that reason, he should get it repaired. But, fire alarms, pulling the wires off?
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Im an electrician and there鈥檚 some major cheating going on there., That鈥檚 a 20A 240v receptacle or a 6-20R. Most level 2 chargers require a 14-50R or range receptacle run off a #6/3 copper wire and 50A breaker or #8/3 and a 40A breaker if your charger has dip switches to set it at max 32A. If everything I just said is Greek you need an electrician. That鈥檚 never caused a problem because no one has overloaded it , YET .
My counterpart from the frozen north. Agreed.
Just because you CAN do a thing, doesn't mean you should...
If you are replying to @MisterJJ, then what he is doing is legal. As long as it is connected to a 20-amp circuit.
My counterpart from the frozen north. Agreed.
You鈥檝e got to be kidding haha same career similar handle same type of car too funny 馃槀
If the OP wants to use it as is it鈥檚 their business
The OP has stated that he has never used this receptacle.
You鈥檝e got to be kidding haha same career similar handle same type of car too funny 馃槀
Almost. I have been doing electrical work for 30 years but I am not licensed. I worked in Industrial Maintenance full-time and on an as-needed basis. I have a friend who owns an electrical contracting company and I would help him occasionally when things got busy for him. Mostly pulling wire, terminating outlets, switches, and so on. I'm retired now and my friend has turned the business over to his sons.
Im an electrician and there鈥檚 some major cheating going on there., That鈥檚 a 20A 240v receptacle or a 6-20R. Most level 2 chargers require a 14-50R or range receptacle run off a #6/3 copper wire and 50A breaker or #8/3 and a 40A breaker if your charger has dip switches to set it at max 32A. If everything I just said is Greek you need an electrician. That鈥檚 never caused a problem because no one has overloaded it , YET .
I have a 240v 3hp table saw that plugs into one of those same 6-20R outlets, it鈥檚 on a 20A 240v dedicated circuit. I suspect in the OP鈥檚 case someone in the past had a piece of shop equipment they wanted to use in the garage occasionally and they kludged together that circuit on top of an existing 240 circuit. Get a licensed electrician in to remove that circuit and make everything nice. You don鈥檛 want to run an EVSE on what you鈥檝e got now.
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Almost. I have been doing electrical work for 30 years but I am not licensed. I worked in Industrial Maintenance full-time and on an as-needed basis. I have a friend who owns an electrical contracting company and I would help him occasionally when things got busy for him. Mostly pulling wire, terminating outlets, switches, and so on. I'm retired now and my friend has turned the business over to his sons.
Very nice! I was a dairy farmer for 27 years then 4 years ago I made a career change into electrical. Love the trade
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Nothing wrong with that at all so long as it鈥檚 on a 20A breaker with #12 copper wire. My concern is that it鈥檚 doubled up under a 40A breaker with what looks like #12 wire and a receptacle rated for 20A If the OP wants to use it as is it鈥檚 their business but they asked for opinions and my opinion is it was a hack electrical job.
Completely agree. I was just pointing out that going up to a 14-50R might be unnecessary if a 16 amp EVSE will do, as it will for probably 90% of EV owners.
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This thread is an interesting discussion of a very real hazard. The OP will certainly get it corrected and not use that outlet as is.

Emotions arise when we see a job done so wrong. The immediate future will likely continue along the same lines as the last 19 years.
But...

Almost every catastrophe that occurs was extremely unlikely to happen at that time. So much of what we witness every day was unlikely to occur. So we plan for the worst, and hope for the best.
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My thoughts are there are more to be found. If that's all then awesome. However, it is dangerous to open cover unless deenergized or PPE rated.
My thoughts are there are more to be found. If that's all then awesome. However, it is dangerous to open cover unless deenergized or PPE rated.
I pull the cover off my breaker panel innards fairly often, when live. I've also been known to swap breakers in a live panel...with one hand in my pocket.

The most effective PPE is between one's ears.
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OSHA fined my workplace millions for failing to protect employees for similar reasons.
Yes, a person ought to learn to be safe and not feel like they can wing it. They should use PPE or have meter tipped. I tell maintenance workers that they don't get paid enough to get killed here.
I needed my panel safe, called power company, 20 minutes later they showed up, pulled switch to transformer, tagged it, tested the load center, tagged meter. Called back later when finished. $0 dollars. Free, safe, easy.
I would say that the misuse of the white wire (not marking it as now "hot") suggests that this was originally a 15 or 20 Amp convenience outlet at 120 volts, in the garage. A previous owner wanted to use a new table saw "once a month" and had his brother-in-law change it to 20A/240V. But the work was done wrong.

There's a chance the 40A breaker runs the heat or air conditioning "up in the ceiling", but which knockout side of the panel was used doesn't really tell you anything. The point is that you can't protect 20 Amp wires with a 40 Amp breaker.

Do you have an EVSE that can be set to 16 Amps/240 Volts? Not all can be. As long as you are usually home for dinner and don't leave before 6:30AM (made up times ... ) you can do fine with 16 Amps. And if your commute is under 100 miles, it's even easier, if you don't mind plugging in often.

Lesser issue; Some EVSE's include a Ground Fault Interruptor, some don't. But a good one would refuse to energize the car without the ground "present" at the outlet.
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240V load should be on a dedicated circuit. Double tapping is allowed ONLY If the breaker is designed for it and done according to the manufactures instructions. I don't think this is the case. My guess is that the panel is full and someone needed that outlet so, short cut. Also, the 40 amp breaker could be powering an electric range on the other wires.
And based on what we've seen, there's NO guarantee that 40Amp breaker is supported by 40Amp wire!!! GET AN ELECTRICIAN IMMEDIATELY and have him inspect the whole house, which in my mind is totally suspect!!馃槻馃槻
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Yeah I'm no electrician, but that panel looks like a homeowner's insurance-issue waiting to happen. "2019EVLT" said it. I too use a 16amp charger on a 20amp circuit in a full panel. No issues. It takes about 10 hours to fully charge overnight.
I too use a 16amp charger on a 20amp circuit
Yup. I converted a dedicated 120v circuit to 240v. Still, it's overkill 98% of the time and I have it set to 10 amps. My wife gets by on 120v, 12 amp.
The scariest thing I've ever seen in my life was my next door neighbor's garage burning down, as the flames creeped across our lawn toward our house. Investigators determined afterward that the battery of their plug in hybrid caught fire due to the outlet it was charging from not being properly grounded. In this case, their green wire was attached properly, so they thought they were all good, but their entire home electrical system was not attached to any grounding rod. It doesn't turn me off of electric cars, but it sure makes me keen to have the electrical work professionally done!
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It shouldn't take a competent electrician long to figure out how to make this mess safe. You may be minus a circuit or two, but then you can figure out what you need and what you don't and go from there. Kudos to you for posting this. You're taking care of a potential disastrous situation.
entire home electrical system was not attached to any grounding rod.
Lots of folks just don't understand how important grounding is to a household electrical system. Now, in my area, two ground rods have to be driven into the ground at least six feet apart and bonded together.
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