Home Socket With A Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter??

Discussion in 'Prime Plug-in Charging' started by Space Car, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. Space Car

    Space Car New Member

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    The Prius Prime manual says to connect the charging cable to an “AC 120 V outlet (NEMA 5-15R) with a Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter (GFCI) and supplied by a circuit breaker per your local code. Use of a 15A individual circuit is strongly recommended.” How do I know if my home garage socket is such an outlet? The house was built in the 60’s, and I don’t want to burn it down! Do I have to call an electrician?
     
  2. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    @jerrymildred our on-call electrician will help you!
    I am not as knowledgable as others, but if the outlet you are using has GFCI swith like the photo, then you know it is protected. Even if there is no switch on the outlet you are planning to use as long as the outlet on the head of the circuit has the GFCI outlet, then the entire circuit is protected. You can also use GFCI tester like this to check it. Klein Tools GFCI Receptacle Tester-RT210 - The Home Depot

    For checking the breaker, if you know which circuit breaker is for the outlet, you can tell the Amp. You may have to check to see if there are any other outlets that are being used while you use the outlet for your car. Although it is best to have an individual circuit, you can use an outlet on a circuit shared with other outlets plugged to other things as long as the total does not exceed the max. I have an entire garage on a single 15 A circuit and it is connected to a freezer, lights in the garage, and two garage door openers. I don't use garage door openers while the car is plugged, but freezer and lights are on with car plugged, but so far no problem.

    Screenshot 2019-09-19 at 9.47.24 PM.png
     
    Andyprius1 and jerrymildred like this.
  3. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    Your house is in the danger construction zone. It wasn't required until the mid 1960's to wire a house with 3 wires, live, neutral, and earth.

    First question is if your receptacles look like this:

    [​IMG]

    or this:

    [​IMG]

    If it is a 2 prong, then it's not grounded, so you 100% do not have a GFCI circuit. If it's like the 3 prong, then it is at least possible. But if your house was "upgraded" to 3-prong by DIYer or a handyman that didn't do it properly, you could have a bootlegged ground. That's where you take the ground on the receptacle and connect it to neutral. Voila, you have a 3 pronged outlet with still only 2 wires. But it does you no good.

    [​IMG]

    Only way to know is to check. And you have to check the entire chain all the way back to the breaker box.

    Once you know you have 3 wire outlets, you can then install a GFCI outlet like the one @Salamander_King showed. Keep in mind you can daisy chain these too. For example my Leaf is plugged into an outlet outside (L1) which is connected to 4 other outlets in the garage (inside garage) and then to the panel. It is worst case scenario, furthest from the breaker, end of the chain, current flows through all 5 outlets when I charge my Leaf. I put a 20A GFCI breaker on the first outlet inside the garage and now every outlet in the chain has GFCI protection. I was able to run thicker 12awg wire to all the receptacles which allowed me to put 20A receptacles throughout the chain. I then put a "hospital grade" outlet on the outside that was a dark gray colour to look different. These are rated for many more insertion cycles. The prongs inside the outlet don't spread over time as much so a tighter connection is made, which makes less heat.

    Having said all that, it doesn't matter as long as the wiring is capable of carrying 12A continuously. Lots of 1960's wiring was just not rated for 15A. It could be aluminum, could be mix of both, could be knob and tube. Could just be 60 year old receptacles where the contacts are old and not making contact so they all get hot. 2 wires, 3 wires, GFCI protected, whatever. The car protects itself and the EVSE and charger protects itself too. The only thing that doesn't get protected is from where you plug it in back to the breaker. Verify that can handle a continuous 12A load, and then you'll be fine. If your breaker box is in your garage, it would be so much better to just run a new line. You know it is a new breaker, new wire, new receptacle.
     
  4. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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  5. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    If I remember right, it is possible (and even allowed, as a stopgap in existing installations), to GFCI-protect a circuit with ungrounded outlets. It can be done with a GFCI breaker, say, or with a GFCI receptacle in a box near the panel, with the two-wire circuit chained off of it.

    Your existing two-prong receptacles are then still lacking an equipment ground, of course, but will still switch off if the current starts using you as a ground path, and that's still something.

    I'm not suggesting that as something you should do, but it's something you could find has been done already on an old two-wire circuit.
     
  6. Rob43

    Rob43 Senior Member

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    Some have suggested the possibility of running a new line from your electrical panel to your desired location, which sounds like you'll need an electrician. If you go this route, DO NOT say it's for your new Prius Prime. Tell them it's for your new washer & dryer, this way you'll probably get a better deal. Best case scenario (IMO) would be to install a NEMA 14-50R which is arguably the most future proof 240 volt receptacle you could get for fast charging of any plug-in EV that you'll own. Or, as an add on you could have the electrician install both a NEMA 14-50R & a 120v receptacle called a NEMA 5-20R GFCI side by side.

    Shop it around, some electrician will most likely give you a good deal if you offer cash & are not in a rush...

    When using your 120v OE Toyota EVSE at 120 volts, you'll see a charge up time in the mid 5 hour range.

    When using your 120v OE Toyota EVSE at 240 volts, you'll see a charge up time in about ~2:27 minutes.


    Rob43
     
  7. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Welcome! The tester mentioned by @Salamander_King is a good start, assuming you're looking at the 3-prong receptacle described by @2k1Toaster in his super-helpful and thorough reply.

    If you already have a three-prong receptacle, check that there are three wires going back to the panel. Use the tester to see if it might already be gfci. If you have the wires but not the gfci, that's an easy fix. Otherwise, you have a project to get done that needs someone who has the right skills and knowledge.

    Determining which breaker is protecting that receptacle can be done with special equipment, but the cheap and expedient method is to just plug in a lamp, turn it on, and start flipping breakers till the lamp goes out.
     
  8. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    If you 'test' a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter protected circuit it will trip the breaker, either in the outlet, as salamander_king shows above, (you push reset) or at the service panel, if it is a GFCI breaker (huge picture of one sample breaker) [​IMG]

    Here is a example under $10 tester

    www.amazon.com/Sperry-Instruments-GFI6302-Receptacle-Professional/dp/B000RUL2UU

    It is possible to use a GFCI socket to protect normal looking sockets on the same circuit, so if you do not know what all is on with that outlet in the garage, you may need to find the 'upstream' GFCI outlet after you test to see if GFCI works.

    If everything still works after you 'test' it, you do not have a GFCI, and will want to install one. Unless you fell comfortable with electricity, I would use an electrician.

    www.amazon.com/dp/B013OVCLT4
     
    #8 JimboPalmer, Sep 20, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
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