Level 2 Charging for under $20

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Mowcowbell, May 7, 2019.

  1. Mowcowbell

    Mowcowbell Active Member

    Randy Stegbauer likes this.
  2. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Just because something can be done doesn’t necessarily mean it should be done.
    How do you think your home owners insurance company will react if something happens and in searching through the ashes of your former home they find that you either modified and/or plugged an electrical device that was clearly marked as 12 Amp 120 Volt into a 240 Volt higher Amperage circuit? I can guarantee that they will eagerly use that to deny your claim while also quoting the relevant parts of the manual pertaining to the proper and safe use of the Honda OEM EVSE.
    And besides, would you be able to sleep soundly knowing you and your loved ones were in the same building with this operating overnight while you slept? It might work fine forever, but if anything goes wrong, it could be a tragic, catastrophic, uncovered loss.
    And all to save a couple of hundred bucks. Not worth it to me.

    Don’t take my opinion on it, just talk to your underwriter, dealer, Honda corporate, licensed electrician, fire dept, and local electrical inspector. Can you guess what they will all say? But hey, it’s a free country (for now, at least).
    Texas22Step, Ken7, Omgswify and 4 others like this.
  3. Mowcowbell

    Mowcowbell Active Member

    While I may not use it unsupervised in my garage, I wouldn't have concerns about using it plugged into a NEMA 14-50 at the local KOA. :)

    Since the rest of the world uses 240v power, do you think Honda really makes two different EVSE's? The one we have is probably the same, with the modification of the North America 5-15 plug on the end.
  4. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I suspect the charger is different. The plugs on both ends are for sure because other areas of the world use a different plug to attach to the car, as well as to the outlet (if not hardwired). Use of the N.A. OEM charger for 240 has been debated extensively in other threads, with no one changing their minds. Those who think it's fine, still do, and those who don't, don't. I still can't believe folks would pay $10,000s for a vehicle and skimp a couple hundred on a charger, but that's just me.
    The Gadgeteer likes this.
  5. Dante

    Dante Member

    Most charging devices use the 110-240v designation, from cell phones to laptops to you name it. The only thing required is the prong adapter (flat to round to whatever) so it fits in the socket, but it does nothing to the voltage provided in the outlet. They also have an A (amperage) rating, and to me that's the most important factor - but a good breaker or fuse should offer some protection to that.

    While I'm against extension cords (even heavy duty ones) running around garages and crevices of the houses permanently (for a week-end blowup party or maybe Xmass lights is an exception), MY OPINION - and in no way a recommendation to anyone who reads this - is the supplied charger can handle the voltage. As with anything in life, proceed at your own risk!! I'd be more concerned with people selecting the exterior wiring (extensions and such) without knowing what's in the wall, as they should be same or at increasing gauge the further you move from the electric panel. I would hope the default cable that Honda supplies with the car is built with the standard household power outlet in mind.

    As a side note, I've had enough "pros" give me opinions on many things over the years that were purely driven by misinformation, insecurity of admitting ignorance, greed and financial incentive, or sense of duty ... I'm sure I'm not the only one.

    Mowcowbell likes this.
  6. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    If I didn’t already have a level 2 charger, I would jump all over this. Never crossed my mind it is a dual voltage controller....but of course it is...totally makes sense. Just because North America has a odd duck electrical delivery system does not make it safer than the household electricity on the other side of the earth!! Frankly 120v systems are less safe than 240v IMO because you need to run double the amperage to get the same work done. This causes heat, which can be bad.

    Might do this in the future if I ever need a 2nd charger in my garage.

    There is nothing unsafe about this. Each conductor carries the same amperage as before, just twice the wattage. Watts don’t make heat. Amps do. He is doing nothing that is changing the amperage flowing thru the controller, he’s only doubling the wattage which hurts nothing and carries no risk.

    I endorse it and would sleep soundly at night with it in my garage. Those who fear it don’t quite grasp electricity.

    Anyone capable of properly making an extension cord can do this safely.
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    Mowcowbell likes this.
  7. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Okay, has anyone actually plugged the Honda N.A. OEM Level 1 EVSE into a 240 outlet with an adapter and charged their Clarity overnight? We’re there any issues and did everything stay cool?

    I would appreciate a report so we can know for certain and so I can add this to my kit if I ever need it in the future.
  8. JCA

    JCA Active Member

    I've seen this claim in other places, and generally it isn't true -- homeowner's insurance will cover a fire or other event even if the cause is accidental or even non-criminal negligence on the owner's part (leaving a candle burning that a cat knocks over, poorly done DIY, using too many extension cords, etc). The homeowner *intentionally* setting a fire (arson) is a different matter altogether, and that is what is generally excluded. That's not to say that with such a claim history your risk level doesn't go way up -- you may find it expensive or hard to get coverage in the future.

    Having said that, I agree that this is a bad idea; while it's likely the design for the low voltage components of the cord are the same for 120-240V, there may be differences or voltage/thermal levels that aren't validated in the manufacturing stream when the parts are going into 120V cords. I wouldn't be comfortable leaving it unsupervised.

    And if you don't replace the plug, having cobbled-together adapter cords lying around is a recipe for disaster. YOU may know not to do so, but what happens when your spouse/neighbor/nephew just wants to plug in a (120V) tool, sees the convenient outlet, finds the adapter cord, and plugs it in not realizing they're feeding it 240V? Maybe paranoid, but people have been killed by those kinds of mistakes...
    The Gadgeteer likes this.
  9. The Gadgeteer

    The Gadgeteer Active Member

    There are some low wattage devices like Laptops and cell phone are rated and labeled to use 100 to 250 volts. Then there are things like the EVSE from Honda that is considered a high wattage devices that are not labeled or US rated for 240 volts.
  10. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Just for the fun of it, I asked my Allstste agent who is also my neighbor about this. She checked and told me that Allstate would not guarantee in writing that my homeowners or automotive policy would cover intentionally using the OEM EVSE in a way that is not supported by the mfg or is not according to the listed electrical requirements in the device.
    Of course other insurance companies may well have different policies. Proceed at your own risk and do whatever you like.
    BTW, my father sold insurance for his livelihood and I am somewhat conversant about the insurance industry. If you have a large claim, do you really think your insurance company is not going to look for a way to avoid a large payout?
  11. Mowcowbell

    Mowcowbell Active Member

    Yes, take a look at the thread I linked and you'll see that both devices work... both the home made one and the manufactured one that I linked in that thread. I am buying the manufactured one and will test it and post here.
    KentuckyKen likes this.
  12. Mowcowbell

    Mowcowbell Active Member

    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  13. DucRider

    DucRider Well-Known Member

    The practice of using an OEM EVSE intended for use on 120V for 240V charging has been going on for many years (either by swapping the plug or using an adapter). I have never seen any post on any forum where this has caused an issue.

    I do, however, have an issue with the people that advocate wring a 5-15R in their garage for 240V since "they will be the only one using it and know not to plug a 120V device in to it".
  14. Interesting thread... I have a NEMA 6-20 in my garage for my ZenCar EVSE. It came with an 120-volt 5-15 to 240-volt 6-20 3-foot extension cable that works perfectly when charging on 120-volt.

    I have my stock charger mounted in my garage next to my dedicated 120-volt and 240-volt electrical outlets.

    On occasion, I've pulled out my ZenCar to charge my car when I need:
    a) to charge fully in less than 12 hours (9 hours before heading out...)
    b) to charge quickly during the day/evening.

    This is an interesting concept, and, in theory, would take the 12.5 hour charge down to 6.25-ish hours.
  15. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    Allstate also doesn’t “put in writing” to everyone that if you knowingly use a space heater near a curtain, or with an extension cord, despite warning labels, that the resulting fire will still be covered. Yet this is a very common cause of household fires each year. And Always covered, never denied.

    I worked insurance claims for my entire career. Basic tenet at most every company among claims professionals is “if it’s not excluded, it’s covered.” 2nd basic tenet is “neither stupidity nor ignorance has ever been excluded” in any written policy.

    After all it is stupid to speed and blow red lights. The resulting accident is always covered. An accident is an accident. That’s why Insurance exists

    I guarantee that in the event any electrical device causes a fire for any reason, whether being used according to design, or safely, or not....the fire would be covered.

    Those who fear otherwise, please read your policy and find me the exclusion written in it that removes coverage for such an event. Betcha you can’t find it...
    thecompdude likes this.
  16. JulianClarity

    JulianClarity Active Member

    I was hunting for a level 2 charger in the first few weeks after my purchase, since I have 240v socket in my garage, but no more. My car charges up well overnight, and according to my current rate plan, ev mode is more expensive, why bother? I can think about it when I have my solar panels installed.
  17. Mowcowbell

    Mowcowbell Active Member

    Wow, I didn't think this thread would go this far... I wanted to let everyone know that for $14, they could gain a Level 2 EVSE! :)
  18. Does not surprise me at all, since I find myself torn on trying it.

    On the one hand, following the mantra of “The Most Conservative Action”, I find myself loathe to plug a device marked 120v into a 240v outlet. The Most Conservative Action is obviously to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and warnings. It also seems like were it as easy as stated, it would have been trivially easy for Honda to mark the charger as 120/240v compatible, and to provide or make available an appropriately rated adapter for 240v use.

    On the other hand, it might really be perfectly safe to use our provided charging cords with 240v. Anecdotes like yours certainly reinforce that position, and I bow to you and the intrepid experimenters that made a go of this in the first place. You likely share DNA with our ancestor who thought eating an oyster sounded like a good idea!

    It might really turn out that the internals of our charging cords are identical with their 240v-labeled cords. Since all the charging electronics seem to be in the car and not the cord, it’s certainly feasible.

    What would take me off the fence would be a qualified electrical engineer opening up one of our charge cables and giving it his or her blessing. I would be willing to chip in up to $50 towards that if someone knows someone properly qualified to get the job done. Since I already have 240v right by my garage door, and in my RV area, all I’d need to do is buy or fabricate the right adapter(s).

    And let me predict this is very unlikely to be that last post to this thread!
    Mowcowbell likes this.
  19. RogerB

    RogerB Active Member

    Even if insurance covered it, I'd still not like it if my house and all of its possessions were destroyed. This speaks nothing of the potential for personal injury.

    I work in a regulated industry and you can bet your behind that there would be extreme consequences if it turned out that an issue was caused by intentional usage of a product beyond that which is deemed safe by the manufacturer of the product or cognizant safety organization (UL, etc.). I'm surprised to hear that the insurance industry is so forgiving.
    thecompdude likes this.
  20. megreyhair

    megreyhair Active Member

    Let me put on my electrical engineer hat and put in my 2 cents.
    The only possible issue I can see with using the OEM charger on 240v is if the charger isn't rated at 240V. The extra voltage would possibly fried a fuse or the protective circuit inside the charger. I do think the OEM charger is rated 240 since Honda or the OEM charger manufacturer wouldn't design 2 different charger, 1 for 120v and another 240v and make them separately. It would just cost too much. If you close closely at the plug, you can see that the plug is interchagable, like the ones for your cell phone charger. So I do think the charger was design for 240. The label on ours stated 110 because the plug that came with the charger is 110v plug.

    A full charge in 5 hours is like what, 3kwh, which is about 15 amps. 12 gauge wire should do the trick. 10 would better. :)
    House wiring should be fine as long as the wires are thick enough to carry the current.
    So the worst case is a fried OEM charger.

    1 word of caution. Don't wire 240v using the 110 outlet. Use the correct 240 plug! I prefer twist lock plugs :)
    HagerHedgie, AlanSqB and Mowcowbell like this.

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