Level 1 Charge Fail/Fault

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MegMC

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Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
7
Hi I'm borrowing my friend's 2019 e-Golf SEL for a few days to see if I want to buy one. One of my big issues is that I won't have access to a Level 2 charger at home. I live in an old fourplex building with a detached garage far from the panel, which is pretty outdated as its a 1920s building that hasn't had many electric updates. Estimate to install the 240v outlet was more than $3k and while I offered to pay half my landlord wasn't into the idea and since we are only a fourplex we don't qualify for incentives for multiunit dwellings. So I wanted to see if I could get by on Level 1 charging as I have normal outlets in my garage I could easily plug into and only have a 22-mile roundtrip daily commute.

Last night was the first night I tried to charge. Had it plugged in, all seemed well the light was blinking green but after a few hours the power on our whole block went out. Assuming that was a coincidence? Anyway when it came back on a couple hours later I checked that it was still charging and it looked like it was still blinking green before I went to bed.

When I went to the car this morning the light was solid yellow, indicating no power source. The indicator on the EVSE plug was blinking red On/Fault. After having been plugged in for at least 8-10 hours it had only added 10 miles of range.

Today I got home and plugged in. Again all looked fine. I go back to check about 30 minutes later - same problem: indicator is solid yellow and EVSE indicator is blinking red On/Fault. I unplug and plug and again, same thing happens, try again and so far it has appeared to be charging for the last hour and added five miles of range.

I'm assuming the problem is related to the outdated wiring of the garage delivering subpar or varying voltage which trips the EVSE off. What do you think is going on?

I'm so frustrated and annoyed. I'm so motivated to get an EV but every time I think I have figured out a way to make it work there's another roadblock.
 
If the circuit is shared with other outlets, the usage of those outlets could cause a voltage drop that will cause the car to stop charging. Sufficient overload could also trip the breaker. It is highly recommended to use a dedicated circuit, even with 120V household outlets.
 
miimura said:
If the circuit is shared with other outlets, the usage of those outlets could cause a voltage drop that will cause the car to stop charging. Sufficient overload could also trip the breaker. It is highly recommended to use a dedicated circuit, even with 120V household outlets.

Very important. The level 1 charger draws at 12 amps. So even using a toaster on the same circuit would blow a 15 amp breaker.
 
miimura said:
If the circuit is shared with other outlets, the usage of those outlets could cause a voltage drop that will cause the car to stop charging.

Yeah, unfortunately given the general state of our property's electric system this seems like the likely culprit. My neighbor told me last night that the garage and all communal areas are on her meter and the landlord just pays a third of her bill. All of the circuits are pretty overloaded at this point - we've had electricians out during summer AC season and all say we need to replace the panel ... too bad our landlord doesn't see it as a priority.
 
Is charging at work an option? Even if you can just run an extension cord out with your Level 1 charger, if you can charge for 8 hours at work everyday, you can easily recapture that 22 miles on Level 1.
 
ZeroMoon17 said:
Is charging at work an option? Even if you can just run an extension cord out with your Level 1 charger, if you can charge for 8 hours at work everyday, you can easily recapture that 22 miles on Level 1.

Yes I work at an office park with paid charging stations so I'll never be totally SOL. Just hoped to charge at home to be most economical.

I'm going to investigate a bit more which circuit the garage is wired to and see if there's an in between fix we could make without going full $3k Level 2.
 
Depending on commute distance you may be able to get away with setting the charge rate to 5A when charging at home, by using the infotainment settings. It’s SLOOOOOOOOW as all get out (about 2 miles per hour....) but 5A is low enough that you may be able to use it on a shared circuit, depending what else is on it.

If it’s a grounding problem, that wouldn’t resolve it but it’s something to consider if you still have access to your friends car.

How expensive is the charging at work?
 
tripleaardvark said:
miimura said:
If the circuit is shared with other outlets, the usage of those outlets could cause a voltage drop that will cause the car to stop charging. Sufficient overload could also trip the breaker. It is highly recommended to use a dedicated circuit, even with 120V household outlets.

Very important. The level 1 charger draws at 12 amps. So even using a toaster on the same circuit would blow a 15 amp breaker.

The breaker isn’t tripping - just the EVSE unit throws a fault indicator light and stops delivering current. Would this happen if there are fluctuations in the current due to overload and not trip the breaker? Or is something getting heated up? I’ve just switched the charge uptake onboard the egolf from max to only 10A thinking that may help with any minor fluctuations.

Where can I go from here? Is there a solution between not charging at home and spending $3k myself to install a dedicated Level 2 outlet at my rental? I’m willing to spend SOME money to make this work but $3k really cuts into the car’s economy and on principal it angers me to throw value into a property I don’t own, especially given the lack of upkeep on electrical that is causing this.

Last year the connection from the pole came loose due to a connector melting from overload, causing the entire house to lose current on and off for weeks. I finally got the landlords electrician and the power company to come out and while it was proximately solved by replacing the connector they said it will just happen again in a year because the panel is so outdated and overloaded. Landlord did nothing.
 
Sparklebeard said:
Depending on commute distance you may be able to get away with setting the charge rate to 5A when charging at home, by using the infotainment settings. It’s SLOOOOOOOOW as all get out (about 2 miles per hour....) but 5A is low enough that you may be able to use it on a shared circuit, depending what else is on it.

If it’s a grounding problem, that wouldn’t resolve it but it’s something to consider if you still have access to your friends car.

How expensive is the charging at work?

Thanks for the tip! I had the same thought but I only lowered to 10A. Maybe I will try lowering even further.

I actually bought my own yesterday so guess I’ll figure it out somehow!

It’s a chargepoint charger at work with max four hours. Not sure the cost.

Luckily I discovered when testing my friends car that I basically have a battery neutral commute because I travel all downhill to work and only expend energy going back so even though I travel 20 miles I only lose 10-15 miles of range on my usual commute.
 
MegMC said:
Last year the connection from the pole came loose due to a connector melting from overload, causing the entire house to lose current on and off for weeks. I finally got the landlords electrician and the power company to come out and while it was proximately solved by replacing the connector they said it will just happen again in a year because the panel is so outdated and overloaded. Landlord did nothing.

This sounds like a potential fire hazard to me. Can you contact the local fire marshal and file a complaint? Landlords do have some obligations in most states to provide basic safety precautions like smoke detectors etc.
 
MegMC said:
Sparklebeard said:
Depending on commute distance you may be able to get away with setting the charge rate to 5A when charging at home, by using the infotainment settings. It’s SLOOOOOOOOW as all get out (about 2 miles per hour....) but 5A is low enough that you may be able to use it on a shared circuit, depending what else is on it.

If it’s a grounding problem, that wouldn’t resolve it but it’s something to consider if you still have access to your friends car.

How expensive is the charging at work?

Thanks for the tip! I had the same thought but I only lowered to 10A. Maybe I will try lowering even further.

I actually bought my own yesterday so guess I’ll figure it out somehow!

It’s a chargepoint charger at work with max four hours. Not sure the cost.

Luckily I discovered when testing my friends car that I basically have a battery neutral commute because I travel all downhill to work and only expend energy going back so even though I travel 20 miles I only lose 10-15 miles of range on my usual commute.

As it turns out, the included EVSE only goes up to 10A anyway, so whether you have it set to 10 or Max it shouldn’t affect charging with it.

Four hours of charge at full speed on a ChargePoint station gets you a full charge 0-80% so if it really does come down to not being able to charge at home at all, then you might be ok charging at work.

It’s not ideal to not have the option to charge at home though. If you can get an electrician to test the outlet you may find that the problem can be solved fairly simply if it’s a bad ground connection or something.
 
Happened recently to a friend (with a Volt). His 120V Level 1 charger wouldn't go, showed Red Fault LED. Turns out it was the receptacle, which was quite corroded. Ground was OK, though I suspected that could have been an issue. Replaced with a GFI receptacle; Fixed. Turn off breaker first, and confirm; then this is a DIY job for cheap. Factory supplied chargers are limited to 12A, so will give you 6 or so miles per hour. If you have a 20A circuit you could upgrade to a 16A charger from ClipperCreek for not too much money.
 

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