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One way to figure it out is what size is the whole unit. Is it a 60amp pannel, or 80 or even 100amp? The size will tell an awful lot about the age of the unit. Who's make is it? Even better is a photograph as you can date the panel by the type of breakers as it can't be older than when they first started making a certain design.
 

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Great idea, I'll do that. I'm also gonna buy one of those circuit chasers and properly label the panel. The house was built when electricity prices were cheap and getting cheaper. It's one of those "gold medallian" all electric houses that now costs a fortune to heat.
 

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This technique is used in kitchens mostly. On the electrical plug there are two sockets and a metal tab that ties the upper and lower together. When they run a 3wire and plug in the black and red, they break this tab making the top and bottom use a different wire. This allows you to say run an electric kettle on the top part, and a coffee maker on the bottom at the same time. if you had it running off a single wire, the load would be more than the 15 amps and it would blow the breaker. You must remember that a breaker is not to protect a device that is plugged in, but the wire that is running inside the wall.


As well, an electric outlet that is rated to 20amps looks totally different than a standard electric outlet.

The first time I was introduced to sharing the common return on two opposite legs, I was volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. The licensed electrician that I was assisting was using this technique to wire bedroom outlets, not a kitchen. In theory, it makes sense, but in my mind, I'd rather pay for an extra stretch of cable and not double up on the return wire, even if it costs a bit more. I guess when you're working on a shoestring budget though, this practice is considered OK.



Thanks for posting that photo of outlet styles. Note though that the NEMA 5-20 and the NEMA 5-15 look a lot alike and most people won't think more than one or two seconds about the minor difference so long as they don't have a plug that requires NEMA 5-20. Also, I'm pretty sure that you can find the NEMA 5-15 style rated for both 15 amps or (for a few dollars more) 20 amps.



I once lived in a home where the prior home owner didn't understand basic principals of electrical wiring: he probably took the analogy that people often make between wiring and plumbing a bit too far. He had extended an original 12 gauge circuit (protected by a 20 amp breaker) with 14 gauge wire that fed a built-in microwave oven. For anyone who doesn't get this: what he did was a no-no. If you have 14 gauge wire anywhere in the circuit, you need to protect the entire circuit with no more than a 15 amp breaker/fuse. My first clue about a problem was that the kitchen occasionally smelled like someone had been cooking fish, when no one had. Something about the insulation on that 14 gauge wire made it smell like old fish when it heated up. After smelling bad fish smell a few too many times, I started looking around and discovered the hot wire in the wall and took care of it before it became a major calamity.


To the extent that people speculate that Kia might discourage people from using Level 1 chargers because Kia is concerned about substandard housewiring, my experience with the incorrect wiring introduced by a prior owner certainly lends credence to that concern. But anyone who has a correctly installed circuit, preferably dedicated rather than shared, should be OK with correctlty installed 120 V house wiring.
 

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Any I'D or advice appreciated. I won't act on it without a local pro's opinion. While it does look somewhat cobbled together, it is how I always remember it.
Wow, that's some crusty wiring. I like to combination of fuses and breakers, that looks fun. :eek:

Can't tell from the pictures what either of the panels are rated for, but from the look of the whole setup I would definitely have a professional examine it to see if it's kosher. If I'm looking at it right the larger panel has the main disconnect and feeds the smaller panel and the fuse box, which raises the question of why they kept the fuse box at all. :confused:

As far as charging the Niro in the meantime, you could select the lowest charging current which would limit the potential for overloading the circuit if you were seriously concerned. In reality though, the 110V charger is limited to 12A, so even a 15A circuit can handle the load assuming it's wired right.
 

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Well, if your carport is grounded and if that's where you are plugging in your charger, then there's a chance that the caport has newer wiring that is reasonably safe to use for charging. I'd be inclined to shut off the breaker for the carport circuit, and then look around to see how many other outlets or appliances stop working when that breaker is off. What you would hope to discover is that it's pretty much a dedicated circuit that isn't shared with other electrical devices beyond something trivial like a low wattage lightbulb.


But in terms of a more general response: is this a damp location? Because it looks like the circuit panels have got a fair amount of corrosion going on. That leaves me wondering if the circuit breakers might have internal corrosion too, and if they might not reliably trip under an overload condition they way they are supposed to, because of that. I'd be strongly tempted to replace all of those breakers as a safety precaution, maybe replace the panels too. That's not going to be an inexpensive project: probably a minimum of $250 just in hardware if you replace all of it, purchase it yourself, and two or three times that if an electrician sells it to you or you opt for a more premium brand of hardware. Add labor costs to that unless you do it yourself (which is not easy to do safely if you decide to replace the panels and the main breaker, unless there's an upstream disconnect somewhere that you have access to). But that cost is nothing compared to the cost of a fire in your electrical wiring. Sorry - I don't imagine you wanted to hear this. I really think you should get this checked out though.


As for the cartridge fuses, that might not be such a bad thing, depending on what they are protecting. An A/C unit perhaps? The box looks corroded and the cable leading out of the box looks a little questionable, but the contacts appear to be free of corrosion and the nice thing about cartridge fuses is that there are no moving parts, so less to worry about from a corrosion perspective.
 

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Thanks deltasmith. It is damp down there, I'll pull a few breakers and see what they look like and defiantly see what else is on the.carport circuit. Meanwhile I'm charging at 8 amps.
 

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Any I'D or advice appreciated. I won't act on it without a local pro's opinion. While it does look somewhat cobbled together, it is how I always remember it.

I can say that pannel was not original for the house if you are saying it's from 1965. First off, the pannel is larger than 60amps. If you notice, there are quite a few breakers inside and from the photo you can see several 20amp and at least one 60amp breaker. If this was an original pannel, you can only put in internal breakers up to 60% of the size of the main breaker by code. So either this was installed well before code standards, or likely is a 100amp pannel. They didn't make 100amp pannels in 1965. Those didn't start showing up until mid 70ies. The breakers are made by SquareD. Take a look at the breaker at the bottom, it will have a number on it.
 

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I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure this post-dates '65. And my guess is that it's got at least a 100 amp main, if not a 200. I'm not an electrician, nor an expert, but I've done a fair bit of house wiring and I recognize older hardware with the "Square D" brand as being generally considered high quality. In recent years, Square D has watered down their brand name by adding a "home line" line of products that are more affordable, but made of flimsier materials. The fact that it was high quality hardware and it's showing this much corrosion is part of my concern.



A lot of "me too" companies made breakers that would fit a Square D panel. If Mal is lucky, his breakers are Square D brand (suggesting higher quality than some of the knock off brands) but even so, I don't think they are considered to be "sealed" and immune to corrosion, and I don't think you can safely assess their condition by inspecting them unless you take a saw and cut one open. The breakers themselves aren't usually very expensive and one thing to consider is just swapping out the breakers and leaving the rest of it as-is if you're on a budget.



One thing I learned about breakers is that at higher voltages and amperages, they aren't necessarily as reliable as they are for 15/20 amp 120 V circuits. My parents had a breaker for an electric dryer that failed by melting a hole in the side of the breaker and melting the contacts, rather than tripping, when there was a dead short circuit inside the dryer. (It was an Arrow-Hart Murray breaker, 240 V, 20 A circuit). The electrician who replaced it for my parents mentioned that he had seen more than one example of that mode of failure on 240 V breakers. That was a lot of years ago and maybe things have gotten better since then, but there was no corrosion in that panel and it was only a 10 or 15 year old installation when the breaker failed that way. By the way: that failure mode is one reason why you should always keep the door closed on your circuit breaker panel when you don't have a reason to have it open.
 

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Thanks guys I really appreciate your help. I'm beginning to think the outlet I'm using is relatively safe, certainly at 8 amps and maybe 12. Really anxious to get home and have a closer look.
 

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Does anyone know if the trickle charger is 240V capable?

I have a older KIA Soul trickle charger (the one without the fancy displays)....while it has a standard 120V plug (5-15?) on it, it IS 240V capable (I use an adapter cable labelled for 'special 240V use only')...

Does anyone know if hte new 'fancy graphics and blinking displays/adjustable amperage' model that comes with the 2019 Niro PHEV can ALSO do 240V?

It would be nice to go to 2.8KWh charging (3 1/4 hour charging) instead of the 1.4KWh 120V charging....

(While waiting to clean the garage out enough to wire up a 40A circuit for the 240V/30A L2 charger....which will be throttled to 3.3KWh by the Niro PHEV anyway...)
 

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I have a older KIA Soul trickle charger (the one without the fancy displays)....while it has a standard 120V plug (5-15?) on it, it IS 240V capable (I use an adapter cable labelled for 'special 240V use only')...

Does anyone know if hte new 'fancy graphics and blinking displays/adjustable amperage' model that comes with the 2019 Niro PHEV can ALSO do 240V?

It would be nice to go to 2.8KWh charging (3 1/4 hour charging) instead of the 1.4KWh 120V charging....

(While waiting to clean the garage out enough to wire up a 40A circuit for the 240V/30A L2 charger....which will be throttled to 3.3KWh by the Niro PHEV anyway...)
I've wondered the same thing. Since you already have an adapter cable would you be willing to risk taking one for the team and give it a try?😉

I do need to point out a warning on the cable against trying such a thing.
 

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I believe some has said the North American L1 chargers that come with the car do not support 220v. And yeah, for a Niro PHEV, a 16 amp EVSE is all that's needed, so a 220v/20a circuit is all that's necessary. I have a 50 amp circuit simply because it was already there, and I'm ready if (when) I move to an EV.
 

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Advice from an electrical engineer:



One of the dangers of using a 120VAC rated EVSE on 240VAC is that the over-voltage surge protection components are often rated for lower voltage on 120V devices. The EVSE may work OK initially but fail after a month or two of high voltage use. Until someone checks the voltage ratings of the components, I would not use the L1 unit on 240VAC in an area where it could start a fire.
 

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Advice from an electrical engineer:



One of the dangers of using a 120VAC rated EVSE on 240VAC is that the over-voltage surge protection components are often rated for lower voltage on 120V devices. The EVSE may work OK initially but fail after a month or two of high voltage use. Until someone checks the voltage ratings of the components, I would not use the L1 unit on 240VAC in an area where it could start a fire.
good point well taken.

However, some evse circuit diagrams I've seen just pass the neutral from the outlet to the car. nothing in the cord circuits touch it. Thus going from L1 to L2, the neutral is just changed from gnd potential to 120v in the opposite phase of the L1 hot wire. The car sees the change and knows how to use it (it's just L2) The evse Components see no change at all.
 
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