Level 2 charger at home?- Help I have no idea what I'm doing!

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by Pete the Prius Owner, Jun 2, 2020.

  1. Pete the Prius Owner

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    Hi all,

    New prius owner as of last week (2020 prime advanced) and couldn't be happier. I want to install a level 2 charger at home and have no idea what to look for in a charger. I will have an electrician do all of the work and I know my electrical panel can take the circuit (just upgraded the system 2 years ago to put in a hot tub) but I have so many questions. I see that you can get chargers in different amps (16, 32, 40 etc...) but have no idea what the difference is. Does a larger amperage charge faster? If so, is there a cheat sheet somewhere that will help me see the difference so i can balance cost vs. charge times? I know the battery in the prius can only accept a certain level of current so not sure what to go with. Any advice would be great, as you can tell I have no idea what I am doing and want to make sure that I do it right. I do know that I don't want to hard wire so that I can upgrade in the future. If you have any recommendations for chargers to look into that would be very much appreciated. I hope it was ok to post this here, I looked through the forums and could not find anything to help me with these questions. Thanks in advance for all of your help, it is much appreciated.
     
  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Congrats and welcome to PriusChat!
    It depends if you plan to own another EV or upgrade from the Prime soon.

    The Prime takes 16A at 240V and 12A at 120V.

    There are 3 things that dictate charge rate.

    1. Car. That’s the maximum the car will accept even if you are capable of outputting more. The car will protect itself and will communicate to the EVSE the amperage it will accept.

    2. EVSE- this is the handshake between the car and the wall outlet. If it’s greater than either, then there is no problem. If it’s rated at less, then it becomes the limiting factor for charging rate (e.g. if your car can accept 32A and your outlet can output 32A but the EVSE only supports 16A, then your max rate is 16A)


    3. Wall socket. This should be the highest output possible to future proof your garage/carport. 40A on a 50A breaker should be enough for an overnight charge of a large battery.
     
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  3. schja01

    schja01 One of very few in Chicagoland

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  4. Rob43

    Rob43 Senior Member

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    Install a NEMA 14-50R receptacle because they are what's called "Future Proof". Like already stated, the maximum amperage your Prime can accept is 16 amps, so no matter what it can't charge up any faster than that. Your next car will most likely have a much bigger battery, so it's a good idea now to install a 240v receptacle that can charge at a higher rate when you need it to.

    As to L2 EVSE units, you can spend big $$$ for a quality non-chinese EVSE unit or you can use your current Toyota 120v EVSE at 240 volts and charge up your Prime in 2:28 minutes for less than $70 dollars.


    Rob43
     
    #4 Rob43, Jun 2, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
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  5. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Welcome!

    Your choice of charging configurations for PRIME are only three.
    1. Authentic L2 charger will let you have full battery from empty in ~2 hours.
    2. If you go with what @Rob43 is suggesting and use OEM cord (L1 EVSE) with a pig tail adapter into 240v outlet, you will finish charging ~2.5 hours.
    3. On the other hand OEM L1 at 120v will take ~6 hours of charge time.
    If you just got the car, you should just try using L1 charger and see how it affect your drive and life style. If you really need to have faster charging capability, such as need to drive a car more than 25 miles multiple times within a day.

    I rarely need my car driven more than once a day, and I can simply do over night charge using L1 EVSE. I found benefit of having L2 is very minimal and installation cost would never be recovered for my situation. Thus for 3 years I am using only L1 EVSE and doing fine.
     
    #5 Salamander_King, Jun 3, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
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  6. Washingtonian

    Washingtonian Active Member

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    I am with the Salamander. I have a 120V outlet in my garage and have been happily using it for the last three years. However, I am looking at the easiest way to add a 240V outlet there in the near future. I plan to upgrade to the RAV4 Prime if they become available at a reasonable price this year or next. Haven't looked at the specs, but I suspect that larger battery will take much longer to charge at 120V.
     
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  7. PT Guy

    PT Guy Senior Member

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    Simple glossary:
    Volts = the force of the electricity
    Amps = the rate of flow of the electricity
    Watts = volts times amps
    Charger...it's built inside the car
    Charging station...the smart power supply for the car's charger
    EVSE...electric vehicle supply equipment = charging station. The black box on the Prime charge cord is an EVSE.

    80% rule...your electrician will install a 20 amp, 240 volt, circuit to provide 16 amperes. As noted above, a 50 amp circuit for a future 40 amp charging station will future-proof your station. If you plug your Prime into a 40 amp station...the charger inside the car communicates with the charging station and only takes what it needs...16 amps in this case.

    So...evaluate why you want to spend the money for a faster charge. The only benefit is speed. If you decide to proceed have your electrician install the largest one you may ever use on a future electric vehicle. Or just have a 240 volt receptacle installed on a new circuit and use Rob's adapter with your current Prime EVSE charging cord. Do have the electrician pull wire suitable for the highest current your panel can provide, up to 50 amps, again planning for the future. The cost of bigger wire is a small increment on the job.
     
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  8. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    As with a lot of things in life, it just depends. If staying in EV is a MUST and multiple daily trips surpass your range, then faster charging can make more sense/cents but.....if you have a larger battery like our Honda Clarity (and the Rav4P), it may not. Wait, what?

    Well, for local driving we get anywhere from upper 40's to low 60's miles per charge depending on weather and have yet to run out of EV range during the day. Our longer drives are out of town so a faster charger in our garage doesn't help there. Plus, we can "recharge" 300 miles in about :45 secs at the gas pump during those trips so we would even skip public charging (if we had that option which for most of trips there aren't any but that's our particular world).

    But we do have a ClipperCreek 16amp 240V charger and have used it for years. Why? We have a free nights electricity program so level II charging makes sure the Clarity gets fully charged within that timeframe. (y)
     
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  9. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    It depends. Most of the RAV4 Prime will have a 3kW charger which will take about 12-13 hours at 120V/12A. (At 1.4kW)

    At 240V/16A, it'll probably take about 5 hours I'm guessing. But if you opt for the XSE with the "Weather and Audio and Premium Package", then you get the 6.6kW charger and that'll half it back to around 2-3 hours.

    All of these are estimates since we don't know the battery size but I'm basing those numbers assuming the RAV4 Prime has 2x the Prius Prime's battery. (Educated guess based on the fact that it's probably easier to use the same developed battery and lower the cost by spreading out the use of the same battery over a vehicle that is expected to sell at greater volumes than the Prius Prime).
     
  10. Pete the Prius Owner

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    Thanks to all of you for your input. So far we have had a few times where we would have liked to have a fast charge option and it has only been a week. We like the idea of something portable and are thinking of this one. Any thoughts or experience on this one?

     
  11. kenmce

    kenmce High Voltage Member

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    /Trying not to be jealous. /Trying not to be jealous./ Congrats!


    I think the length of the warranty is a fair indication of the manufacturers confidence in their product.


    I got a level II Clipper Creek charger in 2013. The cost to have an electrician run a wire is constant, doesn't matter how heavy the wire is. The cost of twice as capable a wire is not twice the cost of a lighter wire. I only got, I think it was a 15 Amp(?) charger, (the first gen PiP could only pull 13 Amps), but I had him put in a wire and breaker that can handle 40 Amps.

    The idea was that if I get something bigger/stronger I can just replace the charger and the wiring is already done for a bigger unit. Or I can plug in just as it is now and it will work with anything that takes a SAE J1772 plug, just not as fast as a 40 amp unit. As long as he was at it I had him put in a 120 volt outlet next to the car charger, didn't cost much more and now I can power things outside without snaking an extension cord through the doorway.


    I think those words do not mean what I think you think they do.
     
  12. Rob43

    Rob43 Senior Member

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    That's the chinese junk I was referring to, the one I bought & opened up had cold solder joints in it, it weighed nothing when compared to your OE Toyota EVSE, but the worse thing is that the charge handle doesn't fit our Prime properly (it's tight as hell).



    Rob43
     
  13. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    I’m using a Clipper Creek HCS-20P. I chose clipper creek because of reliability and good reviews. I bought it in the US and imported it (it was cheaper than buying it locally from Sun Country - our Canadian distributor for Clipper Creek products, even after the exchange rate).

    Note that they are new products including some that are dual head if you have more than one EV or even a “share” dual charger that allows you to use a lower amperage plug as the EVSE will divide power as needed.
     
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  14. Rob43

    Rob43 Senior Member

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    Yep, totally agree...

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

    OP, if I were you I'd either buy a ClipperCreek EVSE for ~2 hour charging, or use your Toyota OE EVSE with an adapter for ~2.5 hour charging. Both will work perfectly, one will cost you a bit, the other is virtually free.


    Rob43
     
  15. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    That's the one I use but with a different wall plug. Like @Rob43 mentioned, the connection to the car is scary tight. At the risk of destroying the connectors in the EVSE I did some minor surgery on my plug to make it fit the car better. Still not perfect, but it no longer feels like I'm going to slide the car across the garage when I disconnect it.

    It has worked fine otherwise for the three years I've been using it.
     
  16. PT Guy

    PT Guy Senior Member

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    A few people with an aftermarket charge station have noted the tight fit of the connector. Some have commented that it doesn't work; their car doesn't charge. Actually they didn't slide the connector all the way in. It must be fully inserted for the charging process to start. A thin coating of dielectric grease, actually a silicone lube, will help it slide in, or maybe some minor surgery like Jerry did. A bit of fine sandpaper surgery, Jerry? With the lube here, the less used the better.
     
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  17. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    I removed the pin receivers from the EVSE handle and checked the fit individually. One of them was really tight a couple others were tighter than I liked. I drilled them out, which, unfortunately, removed the copper plating. Then, after reassembly, I reapplied the dielectric grease I had been using. It's still more snug than the OEM, but it's not scary tight anymore.
     
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