Stoaty
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Quick220 - Any Way to Tell Which Sockets are Independent?

Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:30 am

Here is my problem: I want to charge periodically at 240 volts at my sister's house using Ingineers modified L1. The panel is at the back of the house, making installing a 240 volt outlet near the front of the house prohibitively expensive. Another option is to use the Quick220 (http://quick220.com). However, before I purchase the Quick220, I would want to know that there are 2 independent outlets within easy reach. There is one 120 volt socket on the outside of the garage, I am sure there are several sockets inside the garage. These would be the only easily accessible sockets to use with the Quick220.

The Quick220 tells you when you are connected to 2 independent sockets, but I don't want to spend $160 only to find out that I don't have any within reach. Is there any way to get this information without purchasing the Quick220?

Thanks.
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Randy
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Re: Quick220 - Any Way to Tell Which Sockets are Independent?

Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:35 am

It's a pretty low-tech solution, but you can do some circuit breaker testing to see what circuit each of those outlets are on. You may have to trip a few breakers to see which one those outlets are on, but you should be able to figure that out easily enough...

Then look at the breakers and see if they go to the opposite busses in the panel. That may be hard to do without removing the breakers. Or, you can hook up a voltmeter across the two breakers and see if you measure 240v or zero. That will tell you if the breakers are on the same side of the bus or opposites side (which is what you want)...

I hope that helps....Randy

Stoaty
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Re: Quick220 - Any Way to Tell Which Sockets are Independent?

Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:17 am

Thanks for the info.
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MikeD
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Re: Quick220 - Any Way to Tell Which Sockets are Independent?

Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:56 am

After having written the response below, I decided to strongly recommend only using wiring/outlets that are assured to be as safe as possible, which includes being inspected/installed by electricians.

Any use of extension cords around water (outside, in a sometimes wet basement, bathroom, etc) is unsafe, ESPECIALLY if the outlet the extension cord is plugged into is not GFCI protected! And I just noticed that the Quick220 instructions on their website reads "Plug the Quick 220 power Supply into two independent 110/120 volt outlets without ground fault interrupters in the circuits.". I notice it also does not appear to be UL listed. So although I gave an answer below -- DON'T FOLLOW THROUGH WITH IT!!!!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Most modern breaker panels have a pattern of alternating the bus bars used, so if you can document (via maker's online doc -- not unscrewing the panel's safety cover!) what that pattern is for the panel of interest, you are halfway there.

I believe it is common for panels that have two columns of horizontally mounted breakers (but probably not all), that the rows (of 2 breaker slots each) of breaker slots alternate between the two 120v "hot" buses (that are 180 degrees out of phase to each other). This insures that any double breaker on either the left or the right is effectively 240v between its hot connectors.

So my suggestion is to switch off all 15/20a breakers connected to only one of the two hot buses (say all those 15/20a breakers on the 2nd, 4th, 6th, etc row for panels like described above). Then test which outlets of interest are still working (hot) and those which are not. The former set of outlets are on the same bus. The latter set of outlets are on the same bus. But the the two buses should be different if you correctly identified the bus pattern for the breaker panel and correctly turned off breakers connected to only one common bus.

If you have a voltmeter and an extension cord, you should be able to verify that the voltage between the hot connector between two independent outlets (the narrow spade slot is supposed to be the hot one (but can be mis-wired!)) is 240v (or close to zero for non-independent outlets).

If you are uncomfortable about doing any of this, I strongly suggest you NOT. It is not worth risking electrocution to either you or a member of your family or friends or strangers, and any such incidents will impede EV progress.

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Re: Quick220 - Any Way to Tell Which Sockets are Independent?

Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:19 am

MikeD wrote:And I just noticed that the Quick220 instructions on their website reads "Plug the Quick 220 power Supply into two independent 110/120 volt outlets without ground fault interrupters in the circuits.". I notice it also does not appear to be UL listed.

Correct, GFCI circuits won't work at all for this type of device. Since we would be only drawing from the "hot" lead it would immediately cause an imbalance, tripping the GFCI. Their website states that it "Meets UL Standard 1012" and that it's "Tested and Listed by Intertek." I'm not sure what UL standard 1012 is (something about battery chargers?), but Intertek is a well recognized testing and listing facility, just like UL.
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Re: Quick220 - Any Way to Tell Which Sockets are Independent?

Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:53 am

You know --- it would be cool to design a little gadget that plugs into 120v outlets and tells you what Phase (A or B) they're on.

You plug it into one outlet, it says "A". After that, it shows "A" or "B" depending on same or opposite phase from what it saw before.

A small microcontroller.. a timebase accurate to a millisecond or so over a few minutes.. wouldn't be that hard.
And it would look like Magic. :)

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planet4ever
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Re: Quick220 - Any Way to Tell Which Sockets are Independent?

Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:24 pm

If you have a voltmeter with probes, can't you just connect an extension cord at one outlet to near a second outlet, then (carefully!) stick a voltmeter probe into the shorter slot on the wall and the shorter slot on the extension cord. 0v = same side; 240v = usable; 120v = circuit crossed on one side.

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hill
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Re: Quick220 - Any Way to Tell Which Sockets are Independent?

Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:08 am

MikeD wrote:After having written the response below, I decided to strongly recommend only using wiring/outlets that are assured to be as safe as possible, which includes being inspected/installed by electricians.

Any use of extension cords around water (outside, in a sometimes wet basement, bathroom, etc) is unsafe, ESPECIALLY if the outlet the extension cord is plugged into is not GFCI protected! And I just noticed that the Quick220 instructions on their website reads "Plug the Quick 220 power Supply into two independent 110/120 volt outlets without ground fault interrupters in the circuits.". I notice it also does not appear to be UL listed.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . snip

UL is not a governing body ... and an electrical appliance is not required to have UL approval in order to be legal or safe. As for working with electricity around water, believe it or not, welders work under water, day in, and day out. Huge amounts of electric equipment are being used every day, under water at the very moment this is being read. Water is actually a poor conducter of electricity. That said ... wet or dry, UL stamp or not, if you don't know what you're doing, you CAN get bit.

Another easy way to tell if you have the correct set up for harvesting 240V off 2 120V outlets is by using the quick220 box itself. It has an orange light that comes on when you are hooked into the 2 appropriate 120V plugs. Yep ... when all else fails, read the directions.
;)

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planet4ever
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Re: Quick220 - Any Way to Tell Which Sockets are Independent?

Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:47 am

hill wrote:Yep ... when all else fails, read the directions.

Or maybe the first post, that we're trying to address?

Stoaty wrote:The Quick220 tells you when you are connected to 2 independent sockets, but I don't want to spend $160 only to find out that I don't have any within reach. Is there any way to get this information without purchasing the Quick220?


Ray
End of April 2013: Traded my 2011 SL for a 2013 S with charge pkg.

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garygid
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Re: Quick220 - Any Way to Tell Which Sockets are Independent?

Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:01 am

DO NOT do this if you cannot do it SAFELY.

LOWES has a little $6 tester, with lights for 120v AC, 240v, etc.

Locate a convenient "Reference socket:
1. test between the large slot and the round ground,
1b. if it reads 120v or higher, mark it "X" for improperly wired.
2. check between the two slots (the power pins) for 120v,
2b. if it does not read 120v, mark it "S" for "switched".
3. Check the ground (round) to the shorter slot (the "hot" pin),
3b. if it does not read 120v, mark it "UG" for "un-grounded"
4. If it passed the above tests, mark it "AR" for your Reference (phase A) socket.

Then, to map things out, connect a "long-enough" extension cord to your "reference" socket (marked "AR"), and then drag the receptacle (socket) end of the extension cord with you to all the other "candidate" sockets of interest, using the tester (or an AC Voltmeter) to:

1. Start with one of the (usually) two sockets (repeat the tests for the other sockets),
2a. check between the two "power" pins of the candidate socket to determine if it is "live"
2b. if it does not read 120v, mark it "S" for "switched" and start testing another socket,
3. test between the small slot of the candidate socket and the small slot of the extension cord,
4a. If it is "zero", mark the socket "A",
4b. if it reads 240v, mark it "B".
4c. if it reads 120v mark it "X" for incorrectly-wired. Plan to get it wired properly.
5. test the other socket of the pair, which COULD be wired differently.
6. Continue on to another wall socket, if desired.
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