120 or 240V hookup

Discussion in 'Prime Plug-in Charging' started by IABoy987, May 12, 2020.

  1. IABoy987

    IABoy987 Member

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    I will be picking up the 2018 Prime next week. :) That said, I noticed that it comes with a 120V charging cord stowed in the trunk well.

    Due to the way our garage was built, there was no electrical outlet on the side closest to the charge port. :( My game plan is to have an electrician (I'm too old to be crawling around the attic anymore) run a dedicated line to a new wall outlet for charging. What amperage breaker should electrician plan for (15A or 20A?) Of course I could string up up a high amperage extension cord across ceiling down to that wall side. Or re arrange the garage so that we park car on opposite side close to existing outlet.

    I plan on purchasing (assuming I can) a second charge cord set so wife or I don't have to keep loading unloading the cable from trunk every night. Thus my question to knowledgeable people, should I have wiring run for 120 or 240V thus ordering the 120 or 240 cord? Car is in garage overnight so difference of either 3 o 5 hours recharging times is inconsequential. On the other hand, if I ordered a 120V cord, it could act as a backup in case original one failed.

    Decisions, decisions. :confused:
     
  2. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Before you go overboard on garage remodeling, why do you think you have to keep the OEM L1 charge cord in your trunk all the time? Unless you plan to use it where you often visit, there is no point in carrying the cord with the car all the time. Mine has sat in the garage from day one connected to the outlet. I use the compartment in the back for tire repair kits and other emergency items.

    If your existing outlet can handle the charging, using OEM EVSE and an extension cord would be the easiest and most economical set-up. If your existing outlet is not capable of handling the charging need, then you may have to upgrade the electrical. Toyota recommends a dedicated circuit with at least 15A breaker and GFCI protection, but I have been using a 20A circuit in a garage shared with other appliances namely, at least 9 lights, a large freezer, and two garage door openers, for over 3 years without problem. I do most of my charging over night, so there are no other loads other than occasional freezer that turns on during the period. If you really need to put a new circuit, then you may want to future proof it by installing lager amp breaker 40A or higher 240v line. My garage is detached and placing a new circuit was way too expensive for me to consider any benefit of having a dedicated 240v outlet.

    Others will likely to chime in, but there is a thread by @Rob43 that discuss the option of using OEM EVSE on 240v outlet.
     
    #2 Salamander_King, May 12, 2020
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i would start by just using the 120v cord w/extension as sal mentions above. get a feel for charging habits before deciding if you want to go L1 or L2.
    i love L2 because we're always dashing out somewhere and it's nice to have a quick charge available.
    the cord is 25', and my outlet is on the left, but reaches the car port no prolemo
     
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  4. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    The OE is designed for a very long life (There's a thread somewhere on here about the lifespan that Toyota expects and some members did the math... Basically it'll outlive the car).

    If you don't care for time, then a 15A circuit should be ok. (The car can run 120V at 12A for 5h30m of charging time).

    However, you could add a converter that acts as a bridge between your OEM charger and the wall to run 240V at 12A so that the car charges at 2.5hrs (vs. 2h10m if it was running at 240V/16A with a level 2 charger you'd have to buy).
     
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  5. 2012 Prius v wagon 3

    2012 Prius v wagon 3 Active Member

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    I don't have a plug-in, but here's a general idea to consider ...

    Are you using that 240V outlet for anything else? Ever? If not, you might consider using the existing wiring and just updating the outlet and circuit breaker back at the service panel.

    The wiring is probably AWG10/4 or 12/4 already in there. For the 240V, they take the two "hot" 120V wires there, which are 180* out of phase, to get you 240V. The other two wires are neutral and ground of course. If you use just one of the hot wires, you have 120V. You'd also want to update the circuit breaker back at the service panel accordingly.

    Disclaimer - I know this would work, and that it can be done perfectly safely. But I also know that sometimes building codes are written to protect future owners who may be confused by what they find, so you might consider whether this would be code worthy.
     
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  6. IABoy987

    IABoy987 Member

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    At this point I just have an electrician come look and make an estimate. So there is no wiring yet. I was asking which makes more sense 120V or 240V route.
    Thanks

    Please excuse my ignorance here, but what is L1 and L2??? Obviously I have a Long road to travel to get up to Prime speed. ;)
     
    #6 IABoy987, May 12, 2020
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  7. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Level 1 is 120v charge cord, Level 2 is 240v charge cord. L1 is at 12A max, L2 is 16A max. So if you need to put a 240v outlet for L2, it needs to be at least 20A, but for future-proofing, you may want to make it 40A.
     
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  8. IABoy987

    IABoy987 Member

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    Thanks for your valued input here. I just donkey-u-***d that I had to carry that cord around "just in case", and wondered why couldn't I leave it at home. As you can see, though I have owned two early Priuses before, the Prime is somewhat new territory for us but no doubt will catch on soon on this board.
     
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  9. CharlesH

    CharlesH CA HOV Decal #5 on former PiP

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    In the US, public charging stations provide the plug to the car, so you don't need the factory cord to get a charge. In Europe, OTOH, the customary practice is that the car owner has to provide the cord at public charging stations.

    I have a 240V charging station (from ChargePoint) in my garage, so the factory cord is still in its spot in the car, for lack of any reason for it to be anywhere else. When I had a 2012 Plug-In, I used the factory cord, and it was essentially permanently "installed" in the garage and plugged into an ordinary wall outlet.
     
    #9 CharlesH, May 12, 2020
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
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  10. Rob43

    Rob43 Senior Member

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    There have been many good suggestions so far, here are mine:

    1) First, just get your Prime in your possession without worrying about the plethora of charging ideas.

    2) Keep things very simple at first without spending any real money, this means using a ~25 ft long 12 AWG extension cord. A 25 ft extension cord and your Toyota EVSE (charger) will yield roughly 50 feet of total cord length, this should be enough for any typical garage. As long as you don't have any other high load devices connected to this 120v (most likely 15 amp) circuit, it will operate perfectly while charging your prime over the needed ~5 1/2 hours.

    3) Later, figure out it you want to stay with L1 charging (5 1/2 hours) or if you want to spend the $$ for an L2 charging upgrade.

    ***********************************************************

    Charging at 240 volts:

    1) You will need to spend roughly ~$350* dollars for an electrician to install a dedicated 240v outlet.

    2) IMO, I'd recommend installing a NEMA 14-50R outlet, they are what's called "Future Proof".

    3) Then decide what you want for an L2 charger, on the cost saving side you could buy a high quality adapter for less than $50 dollars which will let your Toyota EVSE unit operate at 240 volts yielding 2:28 minute charge times. Or you could spend ~$170 to ~$600 (the sky is the limit) on a charger that will charge a few minutes quicker.


    Decisions decisions,

    Rob43

    * Prices will vary based on needed options.
     
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  11. IABoy987

    IABoy987 Member

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    I could just have a 240 NEMA 14-50R put in and make up an adapter to give me the 120V (retired EE and access to NEMA material so I don't zap myself). Then if I want 240 later, I have it or for a 240 motor driven device. OR have electrician install 240 outlet and tap off one side for a 20A 120V receptacle. However that outlet would limit the whole setup to a 20A breaker.
     
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  12. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    That "needed options" is an oxymoron, especially without context... which is what we should highlight.

    Some people simply don't have the capacity available. Too small of a service-panel may either mean an upgrade to the existing one or an entirely new one. That depends upon location and how things were originally wired. Then there is the matter of location and future plans. Running a lot of wire through a finished area is quite different from a short distance in an open garage.

    So, we should be asking questions to base advice upon. Another is to simply share experiences.

    For me, we had a 200-amp box in the garage. So, running 2 lines (1 for each car) with conduit wasn't a big deal in itself, but we also wanted a meter for time-of-use discounts.

    The best advice is to see if you can get a free quote from someone. For perspective, a 40-amp line will deliver 200 miles in 8 hours.
     
    #12 john1701a, May 12, 2020
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
  13. Rob43

    Rob43 Senior Member

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    LOL,

    Like I said, Needed Options....



    Rob43
     
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  14. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    ... or make an adapter to plug your 120V charge cord directly in to 240V. Many people here have found that it works, the Toyota 120V cord has the same internals as the 240V, just a different plug. And Rob43 custom builds and sells such adapters here, though you certainly could do your own.

    But make damn sure than no one plugs any 120V-only device into this adapter. That will let all the smoke escape, :eek:, the internal 'smoke' that makes electrical devices work.

    PS. Edited after Bisco's clarification below.
     
    #14 fuzzy1, May 12, 2020
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
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  15. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    here's another one for future information, EVSE: electric vehicle supply equipment.

    thats the cord that comes with the car, or the stations for public charging.

    the charger is inside the car itself. all the cord does is safely allow the juice to flow from the power source to the car.
     
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  16. IABoy987

    IABoy987 Member

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    I have been looking on line as well as reading other Prius Chat responses to get a clearer picture of what I would need if I wanted to go for the 240 option route.

    I am having an electrician stop by to estimate a dedicated run installation. What kind of NEMA socket would be needed if I wanted to use the Toyota 240 cord? I could not readily find a picture of a Toyota 240V charging cord to determine its plug end. I see NEMA 240V 30 amp socket as well as ones for electric dryers with 4 prongs. Obviously electrician should know what to recommend. If I had conduit benders I could almost do the job myself as it would be a simple down the wall across floor edge, punch hole in foundation plate then "cross joist country" to a 20A, 40A, or 50A GFICI breaker. Just would need to know the correct 240 receptacle. (Used to be an electrician helper in college)

    For now I will use a heavy extension plugged into garage outlet, though the garage is wired so that lights, freezer, opener, etc seem to be on one 15A GFI breaker :( and no easy way to another outlet inside house unless I leave garage to house door propped open at night.

    What say you, please?
     
  17. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Toyota does not sell or make 240v L2 EVSE. If you plan to use OEM L1 EVSE that comes with the car on 240v, what you need is a pig-tail adapter that can be DIYed or order from @Rob43. It is not true L2 EVSE that runs at 16A, but will charge at 240v 12A. The 240V receptacle can be any one of the widely used as you are making the adapter but as stated above in comment #10 by @Rob43 , NEMA 14-50R is recommended for near universal use for L2 EVSE.

    If you are buying L2 EVSE, then the receptacle need to be compatible, but many makers of L2 EVSE offer several variations on 240v plug on the end as well as the option to hardwire into the wall.
     
    #17 Salamander_King, May 13, 2020
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
  18. IABoy987

    IABoy987 Member

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    You were spot on, as the electrician just stopped by to look over and will send a quote.

    What made it fun was he and I recognized each other, because he would stop by the electronics store I worked at after retiring from Collins Radio factory. He would ask really tough electronic technical questions that got his projects going, that a Radio Shack (remember them?) salesman could only give blank stares back. But I digress.
     
  19. IABoy987

    IABoy987 Member

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    Believe me, sometime it was that "magical electronic smoke" that seemed to be the only thing to make things work in my line of EE work at a radio factory!! :);):ROFLMAO:
     
  20. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    As already stated, NEMA 14-50 is by far the most common 240-volt outlet, an option heavily favored for level-2 charger sellers. Keep that in mind when shopping.

    Something else to keep in mind is getting a charger with Wi-Fi support. The very first no-meter-required program in the entire country available for all customers in the provider's district was just started by Xcel here in Minnesota. It takes advantage of Wi-Fi connectivity, which enables time-of-use discount on a non-dedicated circuit. In other words, you can get reduced electricity rates when charging your vehicle, yet share the same 240-volt line. The billing distinction is automatic due to the charger, not a stand-alone meter you would have to install.

    That means if you have other devices that can plug into a 14-50 outlet, there's no need for any separate wiring. For example, you may have a heater or compressor that also uses 240 volts. That same line can be used. It's a no-brainer advancement in EV support at home... if you have a Wi-Fi enabled charger.

    Right now, the program here supports ChargePoint and JuiceBox Pro. My wife and I both have JuiceBox's, which have proven bullet-proof. The software interface is really nice too.
     
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