Level 1 Charger - does it work on 240v?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Fidzio, Mar 21, 2018.

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  1. Fidzio

    Fidzio Member

    Several of my friends have Chevy Volts, and apparently it is common knowledge that the charger supplied with the Mk2 Volt, which has a normal 110v plug at the end, can be plugged in to a 240v outlet and thus provide faster charging than when connected to 110v.

    The following link describes the Mk2 Volt car charger's ability to use 240v: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?218442-2016-Volt-120v-EVSE-is-L1-L2-Conversion-Capable

    This reduces the time to charge a Chevy Volt from approx 12 hrs (@110v) to approx 5 hrs (@240v).

    I'm curious whether the Honda Clarity charger supplied with our cars works similarly, but I'm not brave enough to do an experiment myself.

    I've uploaded two photos of the Clarity level 1 charger. Level 1 charger 2.jpg Level 1 charger 1.jpg Level 1 charger 2.jpg

    Any takers? :D

    Or any non destructive information or analysis. :)
    sabasc likes this.
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  3. MarkClarity

    MarkClarity Active Member

    Not a big jump to change from 110v to 220v. The EVSE is basically a smart relay to pass the voltage directly to the car. The EVSE tells the car how much current it can draw, so it would just take 12A at 220v instead of 110v, and the wires are rated for 12A continuous current so should be fine.

    Someone would have to open it up and make sure the relay was rated for 220v, and make sure the switching power supply that converts to the low voltage for the electronics can handle 220v. Good chance it would be fine.
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  4. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Absolutely NOT!!!!!
    Honda OEM charger clearly marked as to input- 110v (12amp max draw).
    Any attempt to use with a higher voltage will bring on the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse! Very bad!
  5. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    If you doubt my word, just call Honda.
    ken wells likes this.
  6. MarkClarity

    MarkClarity Active Member

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  8. Fidzio

    Fidzio Member

    So Kentucky Ken, GM wouldn't condone the use of the Volt L1 charger on 240v, but my friend has used the Volt charger on 240v regularly and the 4 horsemen have been conspicuous by their absence. :) Asking Honda would certainly not get the OK for 240v.

    So this prompts a second question - could you use a Volt charger on 240v for the Clarity?

    I assume that the communication protocols are standard and the Clarity would be happy to talk to the Volt charger.
    sabasc likes this.
  9. For a little over 300 I bought a 32a-220V charger for work. Still had my custom one from my volt at home. This is getting crazy. Missed winning the lottery because I haven't been to the gas station to buy tickets... or gas!
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  10. MarkClarity

    MarkClarity Active Member

    The L2 chargers for the port use the standard J1772 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAE_J1772 and are interchangeable. Unless the L1 chargers are doing something non-standard they should also be interchangeable.
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  11. cowgomoo

    cowgomoo New Member

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  13. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    I believe the lack of their personal apocalypse is due to the fact that the GM charger/adapter is engineered to accept voltages up to 240 by way of their OEM adapter. If you look at the specifications printed on the GM charger itself, I bet unlimited smileys that it will have it listed (or on adapter). I’ve never seen a GM though. Post a pix, your smileys are in escrow waiting for you (along with a pix of much egg on my face).
    As Cowgomo states you can pay for the electrical component installation needed to use a 110v charger on 220v, but our charger cannot be direct connected to 220v with simple plug adapters/direct wire.
  14. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Cowgomoo, how much reduction in charging time are you getting with the 220 upgrade on the Honda charger? And what was the price?
    I might like this as a portable since my 32 amp ChargePoint is hardwired.
  15. Viking79

    Viking79 Well-Known Member

    Ken, some history with this, Someone at GM-Volt.com actually opened up a Gen 2 Volt EVSE that is marked for 120 V only and examined the circuitry and deemed it acceptable for 240 V supply without any modification. Using only an adapter and a 240 V outlet you can charge your Volt on L2 (comparable to what you might find through Europe on standard outlets). Some Gen 1 EVSEs can be modified to take 240 V. The charging current limit remains the same as for 120 V, so it gives approx 2.9 kW charging instead of the Volt's max of 3.8 or so.

    As a word of warning though, GM could suddenly change parts internally and not advertise it, since it is marked as 120 V they wouldn't have to say anything. Also, the unit is being used outside its specified operating range by a factor of 2x, so it would be use at your own risk.

    I think the question here was has anyone done similar for the Honda supplied EVSE? Opened it up and looked at it internally to see if it will handle 240 V.
    sabasc likes this.
  16. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Thanks Viking. Sounds like this is like the trany. We need some brave soul to open it up. We now know it can be adapted to use 220v (Cowgomoo) by being highly modified by a concern that specializes in this. Until then I certainly would NOT connect it to 220v in MY house using anything else.
    I just didn’t want anyone to think you can just plug and play using RV type plug adapters instead of modifying the electronics.
    (Your electrical fires may vary)
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  17. MarkClarity

    MarkClarity Active Member

  18. Tailwind

    Tailwind Active Member


    How does one go about plugging a NEMA 5-15 plug into any 240 volt outlet? The only way would be through an adaptor of some type. Doing so would exceed the rated capacity (as noted on the Level 1 charger) and become a fire hazard.

    As noted in the post on the gm-volt forum, that is exactly what the poster did/recommends. That poster opened up a GM provided Level 1 EVSE and pronounced it capable of handling 240v. Without knowing his qualifications to make such a pronouncement, I would be very hesitant to do that with any Level 1 device. The potential for bad juju is just too high. Personally, I didn't spend $37,500 on a new car to blow it up or have it catch fire because I wanted to chince on the charging system.

    There are plenty of Level 2 chargers that can be purchased for as little as $200 for a 16 amp device. My suggestion would be to bite the bullet and get a true Level 2 EVSE and protect your investment.
  19. Fidzio

    Fidzio Member

    Dear Tailwind, I am not advocating that anyone plugs a Honda charger into a 240v outlet as a test without some more information.

    As Kentucky Ken and you pointed out, it clearly states 110v on the GM box as shown below.

    I just know, not only from the Volt forums, but because one of my friends has done this, that the Volt Mk2 charger is capable of happily working with 240v at a similar current to 110v and hence providing faster charging.

    This will never be condoned officially by Honda, because as you imply it requires an adapter of some kind which is inherently "mistake prone" as it allows a 110v plug to be inserted into a 240v socket, which is generally a bad idea.

    As MarkClarity wrote in an earlier post "the EVSE is basically a smart relay" and if the internal electronics can handle 240v, this may be an "unofficial" option for those who want it.
    However, I agree with all of you that "safety first" is a good motto to follow.
    sabasc likes this.
  20. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    The Honda unit is built by Panasonic.
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  21. Tailwind

    Tailwind Active Member


    As you say, you aren't advocating plugging the Honda Level 1 charger into a 240 volt outlet, but the gm-volt forum post you reference does just that for the Volt's Level 1 charger. Some people, including your friend, are doing so, in direct violation of the warning listed on the device. The same warning found on the Honda Level 1 charger. For me, this is playing with fire, almost literally. Add to that the increase in charging that comes from jumping from a Level 1 charger at 1.4 kW to a Level 2 at 2.8 kW and the decrease in charging time just isn't worth it. There are 16 amp Level 2 EVSEs on the market for around $200USD that would give a 3.8 kW charge rate and are designed and built to provide that level of electrical power.

    To my mind, someone who spends this much money on an electric vehicle is penny wise and pound foolish to venture into such dangerous territory.
    lorem101, jdonalds and KentuckyKen like this.
  22. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    I might also add that it may affect your liability in the event of a fire. Modifying or using a device contrary to the express written instructions/warning of its manufacturer can give your insurance company the excuse it needs to deny your claim. So on many levels it’s just not a smart idea even if it is possible.
    sabasc likes this.
  23. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    The EVSE that comes with a Tesla is rated to work on both 110/220 V. So yes, it is possible for an EVSE to work on both voltages. Is it possible for this Honda EVSE to do so? Probably not, based on the fact that it did not come supplied with any way to make that happen. With a Tesla, you get a number of 220v adapters. However, there are people you can google up who will upgrade your 110-120EVSE to make it work with 220-240v. This was happening with some regularity when the first Prius Plug-ins came on the market six years ago. For $50 or so there were a few individuals who would modify your EVSE for you. Would I trust them? IDK, but as I recall there were quite a few happy customers. YMMV

    Here's a link to at least one of the early Prius Plug-in EVSE mod discussions… https://priuschat.com/threads/120v-to-240v-evse-modification.150205/
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018

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