Author Topic: NEMA 5-20 to 14-30 for 15A level 2 EVSE?  (Read 808 times)

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Offline CZroe

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NEMA 5-20 to 14-30 for 15A level 2 EVSE?
« on: June 16, 2021, 03:36:11 am »
My twin brother and I have been displaced by a deadly EF-4 tornado. I was injured and my car was crushed, putting more burden than ever on my bro’s car that he can no longer keep charged (no garage or even a driveway at the temporary home). It doesn’t help that it takes Premium gas and prices temporarily doubled with the recent pipeline hack.

We’ll never be able to return to our basement workshop/lab so we are trying to resume operations in a rented place where I found the hard way that this NEMA 5-20 outlet was wired for 220v:


Yeah, it fried some equipment. No, it wasn’t hanging out like that but it was surrounded by webs and had no wall plate. The temporary home uses nothing but these same 5-20 outlets wired to 120v so I didn’t have any reason to suspect it was 220v here. Just yesterday I knocked out the boarded up window to install that window-unit AC and might’ve grabbed a more-efficient 220v unit if I had known sooner!

To make lemons from lemonade, I’d like to use the 220v outlet to charge my brother’s car while at the workshop. Heck, I might even have to stay in the workshop until I find a place since the landlord plans to sell once the home is rebuilt. My bro has a 220v Level 2 EVSE and the Volt can only charge at 15A:
https://www.gm-volt.com/threads/level-ii-charge-cord-station-amp-requirements.28297/

The EVSE:



It seems these outlets can easily handle it and even GM recommends a 20A socket. My only remaining concern would be others trying to use it for a higher-amperage car. I can’t share our electricity anyway so I will 3D print an outdoor EVSE mount and rig up a lock of some kind.

My remaining questions are:
-Is it OK to use an adapter for NEMA 5-20 to 14-30 as long as I am staying under 15A?
-Should I instead grab my NEMA 14-30 socket from the tornado-damaged home and install it here? Guess I should remove the breaker or cap the wires (wire nuts?) if we go that route.



We had help from an electrician friend when installing this one in the old place’s garage and he’s now out of state so I don’t trust my limited experience without someone telling me exactly what wires go where, especially in this rotting workshop. Yes, that is daylight you see inside the walls there. Damned tornado.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2021, 05:14:01 pm by CZroe »
 

Offline BrokenYugo

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Re: NEMA 5-20 to 14-30 for 15A level 2 EVSE?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2021, 05:51:37 am »
If you're sure it won't pull more than 15 amps what I would do is install the NEMA 6-20R that should be there and make up a pigtail to adapt to 14-30, I'll hazard a guess it doesn't use the neutral connection and you can leave that floating. That's probably the closest to legal option, don't put a 14-30 in that box, the cable feeding it is likely only 3 conductors (two lives to provide the 240 and a ground), not 4 with a proper dedicated neutral.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2021, 05:54:27 am by BrokenYugo »
 

Offline CZroe

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Re: NEMA 5-20 to 14-30 for 15A level 2 EVSE?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2021, 05:29:15 pm »
Thank you. The Chevy Volt draws under 15A even on a Level 2 EVSE rated for more so we are good there. Good call on the 6-20R... when I googled 5-20R 220v before I found results suggesting that people were using it for 220v air conditioners and not just 20A 120v AC units. Scary and definitely needs to be fixed/changed to 6-20R.

I checked and you are right: the cabling does not have a neutral. The building is one-room cinderblock with direct access to the rafters above the outlet and breaker box so I may just run four conductors with the 14-30R outlet and a new breaker. That breaker box looks like it came from WWII era and I really don’t know what I’ll be getting into with it so I am still looking into pigtails. A seller on Amazon makes these two:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L5FYQ69/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_api_glc_fabc_QEA9BH7PKG3MA82AQH0C
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07V2WGSL9/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_api_glc_fabc_F21PMFCCW8SNKB7DZT45

Supposedly they are both 6-20P to 14-30R but what’s strange about the second one is that they show a 5-20P on the first pic. The other pics show 6-20P as they should but if that’s what you get then I still have to wonder why the same seller has two listings for the same thing. Weird... and also weird that the one in the picture would seemingly adapt my strange 220v 5-20R socket that I shouldn’t be able to adapt without swapping for a 6-20R! Not that I would do that. If I use an adapter at all it will be for a 6-20R outlet as you suggest.

Thanks for your help.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2021, 05:32:23 pm by CZroe »
 

Offline BrokenYugo

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Re: NEMA 5-20 to 14-30 for 15A level 2 EVSE?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2021, 01:10:03 am »
For $60 I'd make my own pigtail, Home Depot or wherever will have the parts and suitable cable by the foot, likely under $30 in parts.

 

Offline CZroe

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Re: NEMA 5-20 to 14-30 for 15A level 2 EVSE?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2021, 08:15:35 pm »
Yeah, I still plan to but I’ve been trying to get to a hardware store for days and it just isn’t happening soon. The very transportation situation this is meant to help with just isn’t allowing it yet. Thought I would start some comparison-shopping in the mean time. ;) Thanks again!
 

Offline radar_macgyver

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Re: NEMA 5-20 to 14-30 for 15A level 2 EVSE?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2021, 12:23:03 am »
I did just this with my Bolt EV's provided charger which looks just like your unit but comes with an 5-15 plug. It works fine on 240V so I made a pigtail from L6-20 to 5-15 and use it at work where I have an L6-20 near the parking lot. In my case, the charger limits current draw to 15A, I suppose in your case the car will do the same.
 

Offline CZroe

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Re: NEMA 5-20 to 14-30 for 15A level 2 EVSE?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2021, 08:47:51 pm »
OK, got the 6-20R, a 14-30R, and a 6-20P. I intended to use a scrap of wire left over from the previous installation but my 6-20P doesn’t like solid core 10 gauge:


Not gonna risk using this. Routing that ground around the screw post puts it uncomfortably close to one of the hot phases, which exposes itself when you fold back wires that thick. The instructions say #12 is the largest gauge I can use, but does it have to be stranded? They only show stranded and tell you to twist the strands on one particular step but don’t specifically say to use stranded. Eh... might as well get stranded if I have to go back anyway.

I did just this with my Bolt EV's provided charger which looks just like your unit but comes with an 5-15 plug. It works fine on 240V so I made a pigtail from L6-20 to 5-15 and use it at work where I have an L6-20 near the parking lot. In my case, the charger limits current draw to 15A, I suppose in your case the car will do the same.
Thanks.

Yeah, I’ve read that at least one of the Volt portable chargers supports 240v but I’m not sure if it’s the Gen1 and the previous owner broke ours anyway. :( We found a good deal on the Level 2 charger when we were shopping for replacement parts and found that a new J1772 was often as much as a whole EVSE!
« Last Edit: June 19, 2021, 11:19:58 pm by CZroe »
 

Offline BrokenYugo

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Re: NEMA 5-20 to 14-30 for 15A level 2 EVSE?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2021, 09:23:26 pm »
Not to say I haven't seen them installed on romex for various reasons of various levels of sketchiness, but I think generally speaking cord repair ends are meant for stranded. Somewhere on the big rack of wire by the foot at LowesDepot should be some 3 core #12. Could also buy a cheap triple tap pigtail and cut the ends off.

e.g. https://www.lowes.com/pd/Southwire-12-AWG-3-Black-Power-Cord-By-the-Foot/50148240

https://www.harborfreight.com/2-ft-triple-tap-3-outlet-extension-cord-56764.html?_br_psugg_q=triple+tap+extension+cord
 

Offline CZroe

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Re: NEMA 5-20 to 14-30 for 15A level 2 EVSE?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2021, 11:41:14 pm »
Yeah, and I have a decent length of it somewhere but I don’t recall what gauge it was. Bought it to install light fixture and ended up using a cord from a busted up power strip instead. Last night I found the bag with the rest of the unused stuff from light fixture but the cord I was expecting to find wasn’t in there. Guess I’ll be getting more. :) Thanks!
 

Offline CZroe

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Re: NEMA 5-20 to 14-30 for 15A level 2 EVSE?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2021, 11:15:43 pm »


It seems to be working! Of course, I can’t actually plug it into the car until I can make a hole through cinder block. When I signed the lease there was a hole that I planned to use but they filled it in.



It wasn’t ideal for an EVSE anyway since that side is in the woods and the pavement is several feet away at the front of the building, which means I would’ve had to mount it outside with some weather protection of some kind... under a drippy air conditioner. Even so, I intended to use that hole for a utility sink drain if nothing else (would only dump water).

Guess I’ll be routing along the wall and out the front of the building, but I’ll have to look up ways to make a clean hole in cinder blocks and find a way to block critters/weather while letting the cable through (it obviously has to be much bigger than the cable to get either end through). Guessing a regular hole saw won’t cut it. Any tips?
 

Offline BrokenYugo

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Re: NEMA 5-20 to 14-30 for 15A level 2 EVSE?
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2021, 12:12:44 am »
Maybe cut a notch in the plywood around the AC?
 


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