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Thread: Extension Cords

  1. #1
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    Default Extension Cords

    Since some of us would like to be able to charge away from home, and since distance from parking spot to a 110V outlet may be longer than that of the Volt's charge cord, does anyone know if there would be an issue extending the range of the Volt's charge cord with a standard 50' or 100' outdoor electrical extension cord? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Not recommended, but you'll do what you gotta do!
    You'll lose some efficiency (takes more energy) and and possibly create some safety concerns -but it WILL charge.
    Make sure it's outdoor rated and as large wire gage as you can afford (or carry).
    WOT

  3. #3
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    Nevermind, I found the answer thanks to the online owner's manual, which says:

    "An extension cord should not be used to charge the vehicle. Use of an extension cord may increase the risk of electric shock or other hazards. If an extension cord is used because of limited access to 120V AC power, use the following safeguards:
    - The 120V AC outlet should be GFCI protected
    - The extension cord should be GFCI protected, 12 or 14 guage, 3 conductor, rated for outdoor"

    Anyone know what a GFCI protected extension cord looks like? Thanks.

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  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by VoltInSD View Post
    Nevermind, I found the answer thanks to the online owner's manual, which says:

    "An extension cord should not be used to charge the vehicle. Use of an extension cord may increase the risk of electric shock or other hazards. If an extension cord is used because of limited access to 120V AC power, use the following safeguards:
    - The 120V AC outlet should be GFCI protected
    - The extension cord should be GFCI protected, 12 or 14 guage, 3 conductor, rated for outdoor"

    Anyone know what a GFCI protected extension cord looks like? Thanks.
    That just means it should alsways be a 3-prong extension cord and plugged into a GFCI protected houehold outlet.
    WOT

  7. #5
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    Like WOT says, not recommended. I'd use a 12-gauge extension cord. Hazards to be aware of are the obvious possibility of water getting into the connection between the cord and the EVSE, tripping hazards, etc.

    It will work.
    A 50-foot, 12-gauge cord will drop about 3.9 volts at 12 amps.
    A 100-foot 12-gauge cord will drop about 7.8 volts at 12 amps.

    A 50-foot, 14-gauge cord will drop about 6.2 volts at 12 amps.
    A 100-foot 14-gauge cord will drop about 12.4 volts at 12 amps.

    Assuming worst case with a 14-gauge, 100-foot cord you're throwing away 10% of the power in the cord. The vehicle will be getting around 105 volts instead of 117. This may be approaching the point where the vehicle or EVSE detects an undervoltage fault and stops charging. If the wire run within the building to the outlet is long, the voltage drop will be worse.
    Last edited by Marty; 12-27-2010 at 12:02 PM.

  8. #6
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    The GFCI is in the receptacle you are plugging in to. By code all outdoor receptacles are GFCI. You may find one in a person's garage.(or bathroom, or kitchen) The extension cord needs to be a three wire with a three prong plug. Preferably 12 guage. Use the 120 volt low setting if 14 guage. I have a couple of 100ft cords left over from building my house. I will probably make a 50ft cord to carry in my Volt.
    Last edited by Xzlon; 12-13-2010 at 01:00 PM.

  9. #7
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    Assuming you don't have a nearby GFCI outlet:
    http://www.nextag.com/gfci-extension-cord/compare-html

  10. #8
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    New Canaan, CT
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    FYI.... the standard 120V charge cord and the Volt are smart... if you plug into a 120V outlet that is not properly grounded, the car will start chirpping and will not charge - lights on the charger will flash red. Same thing if you use the wrong extension cord. I actually have not found an extension cord that works - tried a couple just to see, but nothing yet. I'll try a commercial grade extension cord and see if that works - as some customers will not be able to park close enough to a 120V outlet.

    One suggestion for GM - here's another good LPO to offer: 100' 120V charge cord - for those customers who need extra reach for normal charging. It would be far better for GM to design and provide such a cord than have customers trying to use a combination of standard charge cord plus extension cord.

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeoK View Post
    Same thing if you use the wrong extension cord. I actually have not found an extension cord that works
    Really? I was planning on getting a 50' 12/3 cord for motel/work/non-secured charging. I don't see what's there that might cause it to *not* work, so your comment is.. hmmm... Guess we'll have to try it.

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  13. #10
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    Dec 2010
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    I can't believe the car would know the difference between an outlet and the plug of a 12-gauge 50 foot extension cord, unless the voltage drop was all it was complaining about. In that case, people will end up having problems with outlets far from the breaker box that are 14 gauge circuits. That would basically be the same problem as someone else mentioned.

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