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Old 08-10-2018, 10:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default wire type for running AC power line to front of car?

Looking for ideas.

I've converted my car to lithium ion and I'm looking to install my charger inside the car rather than keep bringing it outside to charge. Since I drive my car front first up my driveway, I want to install a 120 volt AC line in the front grill someplace. This way I can easily just plug into my car to charge the battery at the front.

I am trying to decide on what type of wire to run for a 2 amp load?

Should I just run an extension cord, or should I consider some other kind of wire and receptical?
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Seems like generic 'electrical cord' type cable, that you can buy by the foot at your local big box, would be good. It comes in various configurations, like '2 wire with ground' (or maybe it's just called '3-wire'), '2 wire', and various gauges, like 18, 16, and 14awg... The wires are typically rubber-y coated black, white, and green if there's a grounding wire; wrapped I think with paper; and then wrapped in a black rubber-y outer shell. It's the type of cable you'd use on a power tool, it's called "SJOOW" or something like that (can't remember what the letters mean)... It's flexible, durable, moisture resistant, not expensive as I recall... You can also get an AC female plug to attach to the end... Basically, it'd be like a DIY extension cord, but higher quality than most of the 'orange' stuff you see for sale... I use it for replacing power tool cords and for two big, long extension cords I made... I'd think 18 awg would be fine for your purposes, probably 18 awg, 3-wire... Here's a link to one example, but it's a spool: https://www.homedepot.com/p/1000-ft-...T-01/301200935
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks that is a good idea. I'll check out what wire they have.

I wonder if I should attach the ground wire of the cable to the car body ground?
Wouldn't this act as protection in case of a short, it would short the circuit breaker in my house?

The other thing is I believe I need a Male AC plug at the car end. The reason is if I run an extension cord, the extension cord end would be female as that would have the live voltage.
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Old 08-13-2018, 03:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Um, I'm not sure... Normally the bare or green wire is an equipment ground - if there's a short in your equipment, like a stereo or appliance, and you touch the equipment, you risk getting shocked. With the grounding wire, the current will bypass you and go to the ground. That sort of thing doesn't trip the household circuit breakers...

With the car and a permanently installed grid charger there might be problems, maybe. If you attach a ground to the charger only, that would protect you from shock if the charger gets a short. So, the charger itself has a 3-prong receptacle and the third prong is bonded (attached) to the metal case - if it has a metal case... Now, would the metal case be 'bonded' to the car, to the chassis? And would that cause any problems for the car's HV system? Normally, you get an error code - a P1444 - if there's a short between the batteries and the chassis... hmm, my guess is that you wouldn't be creating a short with a ground because the power supply is of the "isolated" type. But I don't know, it's beyond my knowledge and experience. Hopefully someone else who really knows can help out...
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Old 08-13-2018, 06:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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To each their own of course .. my 2 bits .. With some things I'm a bit 'conservative'.

I would recommend a conservative wire sized for at least less than 2% power (and voltage) loss over the longest distance and highest peak power amount for your application .. in this instance leaning on the little bit extra bigger side is a good idea.

I also like using the ultra-flexible type of many strands, as they make maneuvering it much easier.

I would recommend a fuse on both sides of the charger .. the AC in from outlet side , and the DC out to battery side .. some people just use the circuit breaker in their house on that outlet as the AC side.

I would recommend adding a GFI , on the AC input side .. They make these for you, either built into some extension cords , or as a inline device .. I just got one off the shelf at local hardware store .. but something similar to Link .. that example is rated for 'indoor' so keep that in mind where you use it , or get an 'outdoor' rated one.

I would recommend against connecting or disconnecting while at full power .. a short delay 1-2 seconds on the start of charging can take care of that side , or a switch .. and on the disconnect side, a switch or just don't unplug it while charging at full power .. Some people experience IMA errors if their charger (on the DC side) has components that are detected (ie always plugged in) .. if your charger disconnects the DC side (switch,relay,etc), then you don't get that error .. From the feedback I've read such a AC charger always connected on DC side type error is 'flaky' , doesn't always show up, etc .. seems to vary allot depending on the charger and such .. you could just deal with it (when / if it happens) , find out if the charger you are using has / includes a DC side disconnect while not in use, or just install a DC side disconnect of your own.

I would recommend , a good quality weather proof AC connector .. nickle or such plated connectors to reduce corrosion in the years to come .. and just to double down , I would pick a more 'out of way' from elements location as well .. I installed mine in the rear next to the license plate for that reason.

Bellow 1.5kw charge rates .. a regular extension cord style (NEMA 5-15) connector will be fine .. and conveniently available at your house, when you visit anyone, any camp site with electrical , etc .. If you plan to use soo much so fast that you will also want to stop at EV style charging stations, then you will have to install that type of connector/equipment .. something similar to Link
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Last edited by IamIan; 08-13-2018 at 07:10 AM.
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