Standard Prius Prime Charger (G9060-47130) supporting 240V

Discussion in 'Prime Plug-in Charging' started by Carsten Steenberg, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Digloo2

    Digloo2 Active Member

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    I just got a 2017 Prius Prime Premium a week ago and I'm really enjoying it. I traded-in a 2012 Prius V. The Prime has good initial acceleration, but the V has a lot more power in the mid-range. My commute to work, when I'm not working out of my house, is about 7 miles each way. So the 25-mile range is perfect. I've only had two days when I had to go across town, and the battery got me about half-way each time, which is sweet.

    I have a driveway at my house (not a garage), and there's a 120V outlet there that I use to plug in the charger cable. The 240V wire to the stove runs down one of the block walls of the garage a few feet to the right of the kitchen door, and I could tap into it relatively easily. The wire for the dryer is about 4' inside and about 4' to the left of the kitchen door, and it would be easy to tap into that as well. That is to say, neither one would require a separate line from the junction box. I only run the dryer once a week and am less likely to conflict with charging the car with it (since it'll only take 2+ hrs) than with the stove.

    But my main interest is if I can use the existing charging cable. I've read all of the comments here, and while I appreciate lots of those from people who I'd say are fairly "conservative" based on what they've been told over the years, I've spent my entire life working in the tech industry and I've seen first-hand all of the games marketing people play to help generate needless sales simply to boost profits. (I also have a ham radio license.)

    Using a circuit board from a company who sells to OEMs world-wide means highly likely it's going to work on both voltages. Trying to make a judgment whether a switch is needed because of the voltage or current levels is silly; these are smart devices that appear to have tons of safety measures built-in. By printing a label that says it's only 120V means they can sell you one with a different plug on it for a huge profit, while simply changing the label and plug to sell it to countries around the world that use 240V instead of 120V. That's a lot cheaper than having to stock different circuit boards.

    These devices appear to be merely "smart switches". From what people have reported here, they don't do any voltage conversion or current regulation aside from acting like a crowbar to shut down if there's a surge, like a short (similar to what a circuit breaker would do). Notice there's no switch on it like what a circuit breaker or GFCI has to reset it after it trips? That tells me it's a pretty damn smart circuit! It'll probably reset itself after a short time period or after it has been completely unplugged and power has drained from it.

    It doesn't help that Toyota doesn't seem to even sell one of these cables rated for 240V. If they sell the cars in any country that uses 240V normally, rather than 120V, then there are three options: (1) either they don't deliver a charging cable; (2) they delivery one for 240V; or (3) they deliver the same one with an adapter plug and a different sticker on the box that says it's dual-voltage.

    Here's the thing: the current levels at 120V are twice those at 240V for the same charge rate. At 450V they'd be 1/4.

    So wires designed to handle, say, 16 amps at 120V would be over-rated for 240V from a current handling standpoint. (The insulation is a different matter.) That is to say, you DON'T need THICKER wires for HIGHER VOLTAGES -- you need them for HIGHER CURRENTS.

    (For a given power level, voltage and current are inversely related. The higher the voltage, the lower the current for the same power rating.)

    Anyway, AFAIK, the device is required to work under the specs printed on it (ie, 120V 15A or so). Given their business needs, the entire thing could also work just fine at other specs (ie, 240V); they simply don't want to mention it so they can sell you something different for the other specs. And they apparently don't even want to sell you one that works at 240V either, which seems quite curious.

    The salesman I bought this from is from a country that uses 240V in homes. He said he tells people to go to Fry's Electronics and purchase a simple travel adapter to convert a 240V plug to the one on these cables, and they work fine. He said he's never heard anybody report any problems. That said, he also mentioned they (like most dealers) only get a couple of PiPs a month, so ... there's that.

    But when the guys in the dealership say, "Toyota doesn't make a 240V version of this cable; all you need is a plug adapter" you have to figure they'd get an earful if things didn't work.

    I'm guessing that if the "smarts" in these cables don't complain if you plug them into a 240V circuit, then they're designed to work with 240V. Otherwise, they'd be smart enough to shut off and not work -- and not blow up either. They're SMART SWITCHES, and the VEHICLES are designed to accept 240V through these same PLUGS, right?

    So maybe I'm naive, but I cannot see a big company like Toyota building a smart switch that's designed to detect a dozen different failure modes, while having one huge and glaring test missing. I saw a photo a guy posted with snow packed into the area where the charge plug goes because he left the door open overnight when it snowed. If the circuitry can detect moisture from snow, it seems absurd that it wouldn't also detect something as simple as plugging it into 240V if it wasn't designed to handle it.

    As an aside, the sales guys said the Nav in these cars uses Google Maps, but it works exactly the same as a Garmin GPS device I used to own. That is to say, it's slow, annoying, and pretty much worthless to me. Why they'd build in navigation that requires a ton of attention and poking at the screen repeatedly for stuff when my phone lets me just SAY what I want (like "Wendy's near me") and pick from a list, is incomprehensible to me. But it does tell me they use a lot of off-the-shelf subsystems. Meaning they probably didn't build these charger cables themselves; they're most likely stock cables with custom trim purchased from an OEM somewhere -- an OEM who probably supplies the same modules and cables to companies around the world, including countries that use 240V instead of 120V.

    So I'm going to give it a try and see if it works at 240V. If it doesn't, I'm willing to bet it will simply not switch on. But I think it's far more likely that it will work just fine.
     
    #41 Digloo2, Mar 4, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  2. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Welcome, Digloo. I totally see your reasoning. If you're willing to put your money where your mouth is, then go for it. I'm just a little bit chicken when it comes to my own money. :oops: I do hope you're successful. Please keep us posted on the results, especially long term if the initial test is a success. (y)
     
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  3. Lee Jay

    Lee Jay Senior Member

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    If you convert it, it's going to run at 12A at 240V.
     
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  4. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    Just open up the EVSE and look at the parts, the 2016 voltec was validated to be 90-240 volt ready just by decoding the IDs on the
    1. Relay
    2. Power supply circuit (the volt is a switching unit)
    3. Caps

    Anyone a little familiar can do a once over and guarantee what voltage(s) it’s made for.

    On a side note, even if the Prime EVSE was good to 500 volts it would never be list as such because a grounded 110vac NEMA plug is only rated at 110 volts, only ungrounded units or units with a goofy Pc adapter cable can carry the common 90-240 vac label
     
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  5. EVDoctor 4Earth

    EVDoctor 4Earth New Member

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    It is likely that this is the same charger as sold in the UK which runs on 240V just a different label. Re Accident - That is why our Volt Doubler Adapter includes a "Safety Seal". Search our listing on ebay. "Bolt Volt EVSE 2x" $59.95 or best offer. Google me David R Ahlgren EVPA-515R_1430&50P_Safety_Seal.png
     
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  6. Carsten Steenberg

    Carsten Steenberg Junior Member

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    Hi Digloo2,
    Just so you know I have used the Prius Prime Charging cable with 240V for a couple of months now without any problems, also charging a Chevy Volt too - I have an outside female dyer plug in a water protected enclosure and using a Dryer male to a standard 120V female converter cable. All works well
    Carsten
     
  7. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    When I opened my EVSE box, all I saw was the back of a circuit board that had six or eight screws and no useful information. I removed the screws and the board wouldn't budge. I put it back together and decided it was too expensive to fool with.
     
  8. CharlesH

    CharlesH CA HOV Decal #5 on former PiP

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    When this issue came up with the first generation Plug-In Prius in 2012, the guy who did 240V upgrades to the stock EVSE claimed that there were components in it that were not rated for 240 V. His upgrade replaced those components (like capacitors) with ones rated for 240 V. Just because components aren't rated for 240 V is not a promise that they will blow at 240 V; it just means that you are betting that the actual failure voltage for the specific components that happen to be in your particular device is higher than 240 V. Your's may work fine, and the next user's may blow.

    I have no idea if this is an issue for EVSE on the Prime.
     
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  9. Digloo2

    Digloo2 Active Member

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    P = I * E

    16A * 120V = 1920W

    1920W / 240V = 8A

    As I said, that calculation is for the SAME POWER -- which is WATTS.

    If in practice you plug in a wire that's tapping 16A @ 120V and it's actually sourcing 12A @ 240V, then the POWER at 240V is 2880W, not 1920W.

    I'm going by the math, not what some unknown measuring equipment attached to a "black box" is reporting.

    I've been told that the electronics contained in these "black boxes" is smart enough to know whether it's hooked to a 15A, 20A, 30A, or 50A circuit, and they can support the greatest amount of current possible without tripping the circuit breakers.

    Frankly, if the electronics is smart enough to figure THAT out, I'm sure it can figure out whether it's plugged into a 120V or 240V circuit.

    If you plug your stove into the dryer plug and turn everything on, it WILL trip the breaker. Which is probably why electricians use different plugs for circuits with different amperage limits.
     
  10. Digloo2

    Digloo2 Active Member

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    If you look closely at where the 1' plug cord connects to the "black box", it looks like it was designed to be replaceable -- if not in the field, then at least at the factory.

    America is the only country in the world (AFAIK) that uses 110V everywhere. A device like this made exclusively to sell to Americans would not need an easily swappable plug, since 100% of the market would use the same plug.

    But wandering through the electrical aisle at Home Depot the other evening, I saw nearly a dozen different plugs for 220/240V. And that's just for stuff here in America. At Fry's Electronics, they have "universal" power adapters for international travellers that use another dozen or so types of plugs -- all for 220/240V. (There may be some overlap, as I didn't look very closely.)

    Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions here, but a device rated for only 110V that's only sold to Americans does not need a swappable plug, and having one that's not needed would boost the cost-of-goods to make these things significantly.

    But one designed to be sold OUTSIDE of America is going to be dealing with more than a dozen different types of plugs, and would DEFINITELY BENEFIT from a swappable plug -- even if it's just to make it easier to assemble at the factory.

    If you're really feeling like a chicken and want to maximize your savings, see if you can find one of these cables built ONLY for 110V -- that would be one without a swappable plug. America is a relatively small market for these things given that most plug-in electric cars are manufactured in countries that rely on 220/240V power grids. So we here in America, and our 110V power grids, are more the exception than the rule.

    Knowing how companies like to save money and increase profits wherever they can, I'm betting that it's a whole lot cheaper for them to sell these 220/240V cables with a USA-compatible 110V plug attached and a sticker that SAYS "110VAC" than to stock separate switchers for 110V and 220/240V markets.

    I also tend to agree with the fellow who said the "110VAC" rating with no 220/240V rating is most likely because of the PLUG and what UL or some other Govt Agency requires, rather than what the circuit can actually handle.
     
  11. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Yes, I noticed that. But it doesn't necessarily follow that it's meant to be replaced with a different type of plug. Maybe. Maybe not.

    I've lived in or visited Canada, Honduras, Ecuador, El Salvador, Jamaica, and the US. They all use the same voltage and frequency. I've been to England, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, France, and Togo. They are all 240 V, 50 Hz. So, no the US isn't the only 120V, 60 Hz country. I'm pretty sure it's the entire hemisphere.

    And I have a 240V EVSE cable that I keep at home. I carry the 120V one in the car. Best of both worlds, plus having a spare.
     
  12. Lee Jay

    Lee Jay Senior Member

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    Which is irrelevant because both car charger and EVSE work on Amps, independent of Volts.

    In practice, the EVSE that comes with the Prime is commanding the charger to demand only 12A. The charger is telling the EVSE it can accept 16A but the actual charge current is selected to be the lower of the two - regardless of voltage.

    That's not true. It's not even possible to detect what the trip point of a breaker is without actually tripping it.
     
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  13. Lee Jay

    Lee Jay Senior Member

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    I did a little searching, and the countries etc. that use 120V 60Hz are:

    American Samoa
    Anguilla
    Aruba
    Bahamas
    Belize
    Bermuda
    British Virgin Islands
    Canada
    Cayman Islands
    Colombia
    Costa Rica
    Cuba
    Dominican Republic
    Ecuador
    El Salvador
    Guam
    Guatemala
    Guyana
    Haiti
    Honduras
    Liberia
    Marshall Islands
    Mexico
    Micronesia, Federated States of
    Nicaragua
    Palau
    Panama
    Puerto Rico
    Saba
    Sint Eustatius
    Sint Maarten
    Taiwan
    Trinidad & Tobago
    Turks and Caicos Islands
    United States of America (USA)
    United States Virgin Islands
    Venezuela
    Virgin Islands (British)
    Virgin Islands (USA)
     
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  14. Digloo2

    Digloo2 Active Member

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    Ok, I stand corrected on a technicality. But the annual market for plugin electric vehicles in these countries is ... ?

    It's a question of market size and whether it's economical enough to build a product targeted at that specific market. But hey, the way Trump and Congress are headed, it's very likely that there will be more all-electric vehicles on tiny Caribbean Islands than in America in 5 years.
     
  15. Digloo2

    Digloo2 Active Member

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    I guess I'll quit quoting things I've found online from self-described "experts". Y'all seem to know more than they do.
     
  16. Old Bear

    Old Bear Senior Member

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    Digloo2 is correct in observing that most manufacturers of electronic products today must be prepared to sell into global markets. Hence their products need to be made in versions suitable for a range of input voltages with the substitution of few or no parts in the production process.

    However, that does not mean that the power connector on the end of the cord is the only difference.

    EVSE units, including the one which comes with the Prime, all pass along whatever AC voltage is available from the outlet or wiring to which they're connected. It's the responsibility of the charging circuit inside the car to accept that AC voltage and to convert it to an appropriate DC voltage for use by the car's battery configuration.

    The little circuit board inside the EVSE acts as a very polite gatekeeper, doing a number of things including: keeping power disconnected from the charging cable until the cable is physically inserted into the car (thus preventing you from electrocuting yourself); telling the car how much current is available so that the car's charging circuit can make the best use of it; keeping the car informed that it's plugged-in so that it can't drive off with the EVSE cable connected; and shutting down the process if a ground fault or other error condition is detected.

    Based upon what some users have discovered by disassembling the Prime's standard 120-volt EVSE unit, it appears that the circuit board is a widely used board made by Clipper Creek. This board also appears to be labeled with connection points allowing it to be wired with either U.S. (L1/N) or European (L1/L2) power inputs. It is not known, however, whether there are other modifications or options which need to be elected on the board to provide compatibility with supply voltage.

    Please see my comments and photos in my previous Post #31 and Post #40 in this thread from a couple of months ago.
     
    #56 Old Bear, Mar 7, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
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  17. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    also we're talkin two different EVSE's ... How much different is still not confirmed.
    The 14 and below PIP ( probably others ) have the GFCI test button
    The Prime only has the 3 LEDs
     
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  18. burnout8488

    burnout8488 Member

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    @Digloo2 , did you ever end up trying the stock charger on 240V?

    I’m tempted to just build a conversion cable myself and try it as well. I have a working Duosida 240v EVSE for home but would like the ability to use my Toyota travel charger on both voltages if I’m at my in-laws.

    Worst case, I bet it’ll just switch off or go into a fault mode.
     
  19. Carsten Steenberg

    Carsten Steenberg Junior Member

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    I have been using the standard Prius Prime charger for 2 vehicles (in 240V mode) - The Prime & my 2017 Volt - almost every day since early January with no problems whatsoever!
     
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  20. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how do you get the standard prius prime charger (evse) to run on 240?
     
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