BenBrown
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Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan

Adapter to use my Clipper Creek 14-50 keeps showing power failure

Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:15 am

A friend who has converted his Saturn Vue to fully electric and has worked as a mechanic at a big three dealership helped me build a converter socket/plug for my Clipper Creek 14-50 charger. The idea was to use the converter to make it possible for my 14-50 to charge at locations with NEMA 6-50 welder sockets.

The adapter worked once, at his garage and hasn't worked since. We keep getting a power fault message on the charger. He believes the Clipper Creek charger is overly sensitive and has no problem with his own charger. He's read on the Volt forum CC is a trash charger. I've tried charging in a couple other locations with no success.

He predicts I won't even be able to charge at home with my CC 14-50 if I have on all my appliances. So far that hasn't been the case. The CC 14-50 charges my i-miev fine at home.

Any thoughts? Anyone else have this problem and solved it? I'd like to visit family, but without a usable converter its an overnight vacation rather than evening visit.

Don
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Re: Adapter to use my Clipper Creek 14-50 keeps showing power failure

Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:20 am

Just a guess - The NEMA 14-50 plug has both hot leads for 240 volts, a neutral and a ground while the NEMA 6-50 only has 3 prongs - Both hot leads and a ground, no neutral. Maybe this is what your Clipper Creek doesn't like?

You say it works for you at home - Are you using a NEMA 6-50 socket and your new adapter at home?

Don
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kiev
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Re: Adapter to use my Clipper Creek 14-50 keeps showing power failure

Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:30 am

It appears that the adapter has a wiring fault--try a different adapter if someone close by can loan one to you.

The 14-50 has both Neutral and Ground pins, whereas the 6-50 only uses Ground. Did he use a piece of 3-wire or 4-wire cable to make the adapter? If 4-wire and he ran both Neutral and Ground from the 14-50 to the Ground of the 6-50, then that has created a ground-loop antenna which will put AC noise on the Ground signal--and that might cause the CC to throw the fault code if the Ground is not clean.

If he used 3-wire (or 4-wire) cable and possibly wired the 14-50 Neutral to the 6-50 Ground, then this left the Ground to the CC floating--that would be another situation that would cause a fault code.

The CC likely has an internal power supply to generate low-voltage dc for the control circuits, and likely uses one Line leg to Neutral to source this power. Neutral is a return leg for power, but Ground is a protective Earth connection for safety and only carries current in a fault situation. If the wiring causes the Ground to be a return current carrier, then this would throw a fault code.
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JoeS
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Re: Adapter to use my Clipper Creek 14-50 keeps showing power failure

Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:04 am

Standard 120vac ground-fault detectors measure the current between the Neutral leg of the three-prong connector and the Ground terminal. Any current greater than about 20ma(?) will cause the switch to trip. OTOH, if the load Ground is Open (for example, if a two-prong appliance is plugged in) then nothing happens and power is applied to the load via the Hot and Neutral pins.

The four-prong NEMA 14-50 connector consists of two split-phase 'hots', a Ground, and a Neutral.

Clipper Creek is well-regarded around here and builds an excellent product, IMO, and has lots of experience building EVSEs (I own an older 12A L1).

I presume (but don't know) that their EVSE with the 14-50 connector does indeed look for a current between Ground and Neutral. If one of those legs is open, will their circuit detect that as a fault?

The only way I know of to wire an adapter which takes the three-prong NEMA 10-50P and converts it to NEMA 14-50R is to hard-wire the 14-50 Neutral and Ground pins together. I used to put a low-value resistor between those two pins but realized that I was creating a dangerous situation if the load (EVSE) was utilizing one hot leg and Neutral to internally drive some 120vac circuitry. I have since replaced the resistors with solid 8AWG wires between N and G in all of my three-prong to four-prong adapters. This simulates the house power distribution panel wherein both N and G are tied together at the house power source.

Anyone have a technical comment about why wiring an adapter in this way is in any way dangerous?

With such a dead short between N and G in the adapter, if the EVSE is looking for a current between those two terminals it won't find any unless the EVSE itself has an internal fault (my speculation on that).

Can anyone add some technical input to this discussion?
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BenBrown
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Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan

Re: Adapter to use my Clipper Creek 14-50 keeps showing power failure

Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:11 am

The CC likely has an internal power supply to generate low-voltage dc for the control circuits, and likely uses one Line leg to Neutral to source this power. Neutral is a return leg for power, but Ground is a protective Earth connection for safety and only carries current in a fault situation. If the wiring causes the Ground to be a return current carrier, then this would throw a fault code.

I'm thinking the ground is being asked to become the return current carrier. Perhaps that is where the problem lies. I'm copying this to Mike and we will try changing wiring around.

In answer to another question: I only have a 14-50 socket at home and plug directly into the socket with the CC.

wmcbrine
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Re: Adapter to use my Clipper Creek 14-50 keeps showing power failure

Mon May 01, 2017 2:27 am

Clipper Creek offers the same models with 6-50 plugs, so I doubt that the 14-50 versions rely on having a working neutral.

"CC is a trash charger" is, shall we say, an extreme outlier opinion. Clipper Creek is the most reputable EVSE manufacturer, period. (I say this despite not having owned one myself, nor any stock in the company.) They are known for solid, boring units. The way I'd put it is "Nobody ever got fired for buying Clipper Creek." ;)

kiev
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Re: Adapter to use my Clipper Creek 14-50 keeps showing power failure

Mon May 01, 2017 4:54 am

FAQs:

Q: I have 4 wires present in my plug outlet or junction box. There are only three wires coming out of the station. Which one is extra?

A: ClipperCreek Level 2 (208 to 240V) products do not use the neutral line. We monitor the neutral line via its connection to ground at the main service (breaker) panel. If you have a neutral line coming into your junction box, it should be safely capped off per local code requirements. If your plug outlet already has neutral connected, there is no need to change anything,; for plug-in EVSE, ClipperCreek terminates the Neutral connection inside the EVSE.


Q: What does the Power Fault light mean?

A: It actually refers to the relationship to Ground. If on all the time, check you ground connections and verify that neutral and ground are connected at the main service (breaker) panel. If the Power fault is intermittent, note the time of day and household activity (what appliances were being used) when the Power fault comes on, in some rare cases interference caused by other appliances can cause an erroneous power fault. When investigating service wiring ClipperCreek recommends consulting a local licensed electrician.


Q: Do I use/connect the Neutral line on/to EVSE?

A: ClipperCreek Level 2 (208 to 240V) Charging Stations (EVSEs) does not require a connection to Neutral, however some 240V receptacles (outlets) do require a Neutral connection. Depending on the plug style selected for the Level 2(240V) EVSE local code may require a neutral be run to the receptacle (outlet).

ClipperCreek recommends using local licensed electricians for all installations to ensure all local and national electric code requirements are followed.

==========

If Neutral and Ground are connected in the main service breaker panel (as required by code), AND they are also connected together somewhere down the line (at the plug end or in the "load" device), then those 2 wires will create a circuit loop which will function as an antenna to pickup noise. This is most commonly experienced with audio equipment which will amplify and hum due to pickup of the line frequency of the mains. The EVSE doesn't have speakers and you don't hear a loud hum, but it does have amplifier circuits that can get distorted by this same phenomenon.
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