Charging Your Car from a Standard Outlet: A Beginner's Guide to Home EV Charging

Charging Your Car from a Standard Outlet: A Beginner's Guide to Home EV Charging

Before you connect your EV to your home's electrical system for the first time, it's essential to ensure that your setup is ready for your electric vehicle. While a licensed electrician should perform a thorough installation check, here's a quick guide on what to look out for:

  1. Verifying Proper Wire Cross-section: Portable chargers for electric cars are designed to handle current at 230V 16A, or 3.7 kWh (230V x 16A = 3,680W). To transmit such current from your distribution board to your vehicle, you must ensure that your electrical installation uses wires with the correct gauge. An electrician should help you choose wires with a minimum conductor cross-section of 2.5mm² (for copper conductors; aluminum may require a larger cross-section). We recommend using wires with conductor cross-sections of at least 3.5mm² for added safety. Keep in mind that cable length can also impact the required gauge.
  2. Using a 16A Outlet: The outlet should be capable of handling a 16A current. Check for labels on the outlet, often visible when viewed under light, displaying "16/250," indicating the maximum amperage and voltage. If labels are not visible, they may be on the reverse side, necessitating disassembly. Consider replacing older outlets.
  3. Using an Extension Cord: If you're using an extension cord, it should meet the criteria mentioned earlier—3-wire, minimum conductor cross-section of 2.5mm², and an outlet with a 16A rating.
  4. Grounding - What If It's Absent or Faulty: Proper grounding is essential for safe charging. Our chargers, unlike some others on the market, automatically report an error (E error code in the AMP-P35 model) and cease charging if grounding is compromised. In such cases, contact an electrician to rectify the electrical installation's grounding issues. If you still wish to charge your vehicle despite faulty grounding, you can do so at your own risk by disabling this safety feature. To do this, press and hold the clock icon for a minimum of 10 seconds after connecting the charger to the power source (do not connect it to the car during this process). This setting will be permanently stored in the charger, even after disconnecting it from the power source.
  5. Self-Verification of Grounding: To check grounding at home, you can purchase a typical socket tester, costing around 40-50 PLN.


Communication with Your Vehicle:

A. Portable Charger (Commonly Known as the "Brick"): Use the provided charger with the plug for the outlet and the connector for your vehicle.

B. Outlet Selection: Ensure that the outlet has proper grounding and is in good condition.

C. Connecting the Charger: Plug the charger into the outlet, and then into your vehicle. Indicator lights on the charger will indicate readiness for charging.

D. Charging: Charger indicator lights and your vehicle's onboard computer will show the progress of charging. You can set a charging limit, a timer, and charging power.

E. Completing Charging: You can either wait for the vehicle to finish charging or stop it through the car's onboard system, often accomplished by double-clicking the door unlock button, which ends charging and unlocks the charging port.

Proper Circuit Protection:

The circuit should be equipped with a fuse or circuit breaker that trips when the current exceeds its nominal rating. For charging a 3.7 kW (16A) vehicle, a 16A circuit breaker with a B characteristic is needed. If multiple outlets share the same circuit, connecting additional devices may cause the circuit breaker to trip. The power of additional devices should be minimal to avoid exceeding the allowable load. If you're uncertain about the condition of your installation and necessary modifications, it's advisable to consult with a professional. We recommend using a differential current protection device (Type A RCD), preferably with direct current (DC) detection, on the circuit.

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