ste4en
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FIRE using LVL 1 - 120 V Trickle Charger

Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:08 pm

I am a happy Leaf owner, but wanted to warn other owners of the potential for fire at home. Purchased leaf 3 moths ago and using the Nissan supplied trickle 110 V cable to charge daily. Last week awoke 3am to smell something in the house, found the outlet used to supply the charge was melted out. The 2*4 studs either side of the outlet charred through. The affected garage wall is a shared wall with my dining room. When I inspected the wall after finding the initial burning, the paint on the wall was just starting to bubble up. Fire department got there quickly and damage was limited, but it could have burned my house down.

The circuit breaker did trip. Either the cable got too hot from the high amps it was drawing or a loose connection in the socket was to blame.

I ordered a level 2 charger and will install that on a dedicated circuit.

I called Nissan to see if they needed to check my car or trickle unit; they were very defensive and said its my house not the car and they didn't need to see it. I am not sure if I can repair the trickle cable it is a little melted at the plug but otherwise fine.

So please check your connections and be careful.

Steve H
Last edited by ste4en on Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jsongster
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Re: FIRE using 110 V Trickle Charger

Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:15 pm

Glad you caught it and no one was hurt.

My wife used to like to look at older homes. I always pointed us toward homes that at least had grounding outlets. I wanted something with a modern electrical system. So I could sleep better at night.

You might want to send your trickle to EVSE upgrade and let them certify its safety after an upgrade. 2 birds...

Again... glad no one was hurt and the house is still ok, mostly.
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Randy
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Re: FIRE using 110 V Trickle Charger

Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:26 pm

Glad you caught it as well...Trying to understand what might have happened....

How old is your house? Does it use aluminum wiring? Did that receptacle use "backstabbing" connections?

I've personally had some bad experiences with receptacles that use the "backstabbing" type of connections, and I try to rewire them to the screw terminals if I know there will be any kind of decent load on them (such as a 12 amp continuous Level 1 EVSE)...

This link below outlines the different types of connections on a receptacle....Does anything look familiar?

http://www.handymanhowto.com/electrical ... back-wire/

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keydiver
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Re: FIRE using 110 V Trickle Charger

Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:36 pm

ste4en wrote: or a loose connection in the socket was to blame.


I think you have nailed it right there. Its a well known issue that many people with EV's are using older, worn out garage receptacles to plug into, causing a fire hazard. If you search on this site, and the Tesla site, you will find that you are not the first. 15-20 amps is a LOT of current, so you need a receptacle that is in good condition, with a lot of pressure applied to the prongs when you insert the plug.
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adric22
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Re: FIRE using 110 V Trickle Charger

Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:39 pm

This has been a commonly reported issue, not just with the Leaf but other plug-in cars as well. In fact GM changed the Volt so that it defaults to 8 amp charging (which is pretty darned slow) to help avoid this. This often happens with space-heaters, microwave ovens, and other high-amperage loads.

The issue was almost definitely caused by the wiring in your house. The outlet was probably not up to code. And while you can go decades without a problem under normal use, plugging in something that draws a continuous load at 12 amps will push it to the limit.

Upgrading to a 240V station is probably a good idea with a Leaf for a number of reasons. You won't regret it.

On a side note, I bet EVSEUpgrade could repair your EVSE.
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dhanson865
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Re: FIRE using 110 V Trickle Charger

Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:45 pm

What country are you in?

US and Canada use 120v
Mexico uses 127v

There are some countries that use 110v but they aren't the most common suspects
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_elec ... by_country\

Cuba is 110v

many Caribbean countries are 110v

Columbia is 110v

Taiwan is 110v


a way to avoid discussing voltage would be to change the title to "FIRE using L1 EVSE" or "FIRE using Nissan / Panasonic EVSE"
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TimLee
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Re: FIRE using LVL 1 - 110 V Trickle Charger

Wed Feb 05, 2014 2:25 pm

ste4en wrote:I am a happy Leaf owner, but wanted to warn other owners of the potential for fire at home. Purchased leaf 3 moths ago and using the Nissan supplied trickle 110 V cable to charge daily. Last week awoke 3am to smell something in the house, found the outlet used to supply the charge was melted out. The 2*4 studs either side of the outlet charred through. The affected garage wall is a shared wall with my dining room. When I inspected the wall after finding the initial burning, the paint on the wall was just starting to bubble up. Fire department got there quickly and damage was limited, but it could have burned my house down.

The circuit breaker did trip. Either the cable got too hot from the high amps it was drawing or a loose connection in the socket was to blame.

I ordered a level 2 charger and will install that on a dedicated circuit.

I called Nissan to see if they needed to check my car or trickle unit; they were very defensive and said its my house not the car and they didn't need to see it. I am not sure if I can repair the trickle cable it is a little melted at the plug but otherwise fine.

So please check your connections and be careful.

Steve H

I'm glad your damage was limited. :shock: :D
Your experience is exactly why Nissan recommends strongly against routine use of the L1 EVSE, which has been extensively discussed in other threads.
There is just too much risk in many outlets for it to be routinely used by a lot of people.
Some percentage will run into serious problems, unless they verify the outlet is in very good condition and has good quality wiring connected properly with screw connections.
And even then, routine plugging and unplugging daily is causing wear and tear on the receptacle, and it will need to be inspected periodically to be sure it is still in good condition.

Was your L1 EVSE the original 2011 / 2012, or the newer 2013? Based on your delivery date likely 2013.
It is my understanding that the newer 2013 has built in temperature monitoring that will shut down the EVSE if the plug gets too hot. The 2011 / 2012 does not have that.
But even with the 2013 model, if the wiring is poor or has bad push in connections, it would still be possible for damage to occur before the EVSE would shut down.

Tim Lee
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Severum88
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Re: FIRE using LVL 1 - 110 V Trickle Charger

Wed Feb 05, 2014 2:59 pm

I took delivery of my 2013 black SL two weeks ago. The first night I plugged into an outlet in my garage, I monitored the outlet itself as it was in a quad metal gang box. After two hours, the box was moderately warm. I unplugged and the next day visited my local Home Depot over lunch and picked up some new heavy duty leviton outlets. When I went to replace the outlets and rewire them, I found the previous owner had jumpered the receptacles together with 18guage stranded copper!!!!

Replaced with 12g solid, new receptacles......no more heat.

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adric22
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Re: FIRE using 110 V Trickle Charger

Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:02 pm

dhanson865 wrote:What country are you in?

US and Canada use 120v
Mexico uses 127v

There are some countries that use 110v but they aren't the most common suspects
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_elec ... by_country\

While the USA has an official voltage of 120V, historically we've always called it 110V. That is the number I always heard growing up. I've been slowly breaking myself from the habit of calling it that, but most of my co-workers and family still call it 110.
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hill
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Re: FIRE using LVL 1 - 110 V Trickle Charger

Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:44 pm

If you put a fluke meter on it - good chance it'll say something like 117v. Let's call it that.
:D
It's nice the OP is/was compelled to 'warn' all of us (evidently w/out reading up on fire issues caused by their HOUSE, not the EVSE) ... but the same result could happen using an electric heater in the garage on old plugs. The OP may still be on knob & tube - and not even understand what that is.
.

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