installing exterior outlet questions

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Old 06-27-13, 02:00 PM
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installing exterior outlet questions

i need to install an exterior outlet for my chevy volt. it uses 110VAC to charge the batteries.
i have an idea of how i want to do this, just wanted to check to see if you guys thought it was ok.
chevy recommends a dedicated 15amp GFI outlet.
i would like to install a new 20 amp breaker, 12/2 romex, 10' of wire, weatherproof housing, bubble in use cover, GFI 20 amp outlet. wire will run through the inside of the exterior wall.
my questions, i will be installing this about 1' from the conduit running down from the meter on the exterior of the house, ground rod is next to meter. the wires will run inside about 1' from the conduit that runs from the meter to the panel. i am smart enough to know not to drill or cut near the conduit because if i miss and go through the conduit, death will occur quickly. my question is, is there a restriction on how close you can get to a meter or the conduit? no part of the outlet or wiring will touch the meter or conduit.
next question, i assume 20 amp is ok? i know it is usually ok to go a little bigger. chevy says 15 amp minimum and it draws 12 amps. i think i read 7 kilowatts to charge over 10 hours.
next question, they offer a 220 VAC charger. charges in half the time. any chance 220 might be better? besides time i mean. would it be cheaper to run in terms of less electricity used?
last question, exterior of house has asbestos shingles. what would be easiest to mount, surface or flush housing? remove shingle or mount to shingle? inside drywall has to be removed for another project, so damage to inside wall is not a concern.
thanks.
 
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Old 06-27-13, 02:33 PM
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No specific distance from the conduit. A 20 amp breaker and #12 sounds fine. NM-b (Romex) is okay so long as it goes no further than directly into a box mounted to the outside wall. A 15 amp GFCI is okay in the U.S. (Canada may vary) on a 20 amp circuit.

Surface mount would be easiest. Apply latex caulk to the top and sides of the back but not the bottom of the box and fasten to the wall.. (Wipe off excess caulk with a damp sponge before it drys.) Try to install near the top of a piece of siding not straddling two pieces. Using a 12" long ¼" drill bit drill from the outside to the inside so you know where on the inside to run your cable through*. Tip, cut an old work box size hole on the inside to make it easy to fish the cable to the outside. After the cable is in you can install the old work box and a cover plate. No need to patch the Sheetrock. (No need to actually put the cable in the box if no splice. The box just holds the cover plate.)

*Drill your quarter inch hole before mounting the box to be sure you aren't on a stud.

Tech note: You will be running 120 not 110. Your house is not supplied with 110 volts.
 
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Old 06-27-13, 06:37 PM
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i assume 20 amp is ok? i know it is usually ok to go a little bigger. chevy says 15 amp minimum and it draws 12 amps. i think i read 7 kilowatts to charge over 10 hours.
A 15A 120V circuit can supply up to 1800 W/hr for non-continuous loads. For continuous loads, which are loads that are connected for more than 3 hours, 80% of that total, or 1440 W/hr, is allowed. Since your charger will run for 10 hours, it is definitely a continuous load.

Delivering 7kW over 10 hours at a steady rate would mean a a draw of .7kW, or 700W. A draw of 12A, OTOH, is exactly 1440W. The actual load for the 120V charger, then, is almost certainly not steady. Most charger loads aren't. The real answer may be that the charger may draw as much as 12A at some times (probably earlier in the cycle) and will draw an average of a little less than 6 A/hr over the 10 hour cycle.

Given these numbers, Chevy is correct. A dedicated 15A circuit will handle the load. If you want to bump it up to be a 20A circuit, just for shiggles, feel free. Do yourself a favor and buy the less expensive 15A GFCI receptacle. It's rated for 20A pass-through, and there's little likelihood that you will ever plug more than 15A of load into it at any one time.

next question, they offer a 220 VAC charger. charges in half the time. any chance 220 might be better? besides time i mean. would it be cheaper to run in terms of less electricity used?
First, to add to Ray's Tech note, you don't have 220V at your house either. You have a 120/240V single-phase split-leg service. The two legs together carry 240V.

Now that that's said, , your hunch may be correct. In general, using straight 240V will supply power to the same load with greater efficiency than using one 120V leg will. If you're willing to have this receptacle never be usable for anything but 240V equipment and you don't mind shelling out the extra bucks for the materials, it might pay you back. It might take 10 years to do that, but it might only take 6 months. Do you have, or can you get, any hard data from GM on the actual operating characteristics for each charger? A link to that would help us compare them and, in the absence of the actual numbers, we can only speculate.

exterior of house has asbestos shingles. what would be easiest to mount, surface or flush housing? remove shingle or mount to shingle?
If the shingles on your house are actual asbestos shingles, which were last used in the 1960s IIRC, then you need to be careful as you do this work. Asbestos is a sleeping giant. It won't harm anyone or anything as long as it is left alone. Drilling into it is not leaving it alone. While you could probably totally pulverize one of the shingles on your house and not produce enough airborne particles to measurably harm anyone, I'd imagine you'd prefer to keep it below that level.

I'd mash a glob of putty onto the shingle to drill through, drill with very gentle pressure, and collect and properly dispose of all debris. Wearing a respirator, head covering, a long sleeved shirt and tight-fitting gloves that you can throw away with the other debris is also a good idea. Seriously.

Ray already covered how and where to do the surface mount. Far easier than attempting a flush mount through a very brittle shingle.
 
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Old 06-27-13, 07:16 PM
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You are going to need to use a carbide grit bit to drill your shingles. Try to use a regular bit and it will be glowing in a few seconds and totally ruined.
 
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Old 06-27-13, 07:20 PM
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actual operating characteristics of the charger. i see nothing on the website, i will try emailing and asking.

this is the only thing i see, from the manual,

"Electrical Requirements
for Battery Charging
The AC outlet must have a
grounded, dedicated, 15 amp or
greater, three‐prong wall plug. That
means there should be no other
major appliances connected to the
same circuit. If it is not a dedicated
circuit, the current rating of the
outlet circuit breaker could be
exceeded and cause it to trip or
open. The vehicle can be charged
in the reduced level mode. See
“Charge Level Button” in this
section. Reduced level mode allows
a non‐dedicated circuit to be used
but increases the charging time.
This vehicle is capable of being
charged with a variety of standard
vehicle charging equipment.
The following are the minimum
requirements for circuits used to
charge this vehicle:
. 120V/15Amp
. 240V/20Amp


Charging equipment with a rating of
at least 240V/20Amp will provide
the fastest charging time to
recharge the high voltage battery.
240V/40Amp circuits provide
flexibility for future vehicle charging
needs. Contact your dealer for more
information.
Do not use non‐grounded electrical
plug adapters.
Notice: Do not use portable or
stationary backup generating
equipment to charge the vehicle.
This may cause damage to the
vehicle's charging system. Only
charge the vehicle from utility
supplied power."


the "charge level button" they refer to has a low or high setting. lower just draws less amps, in case you are not sure of the outlet's rating or have to use an extension cord.

asbestos shingles. yes, they are real asbestos. enough contractors have told me not to touch them unless i want the neighborhood sealed off while it gets cleaned up.
i can tell you have worked with them before, since you know how fragile they are and the fibers they release when disturbed.
this was why i asked for advice, i was hoping i did not have to remove even one shingle.

looks like i am all set then. i will just wait and see if i can get any info on the chargers. maybe i will go with 240 instead.

thanks.
 
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Old 06-27-13, 07:38 PM
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If you install a 120 volt 20 amp it can easily be converted to 240 volt 20 amp by changing just the receptacle and breaker so I'd suggest if you go for the 120 volt charger now go for the 20 amp circuit so no need for new wire in you go to 240 volts later.
 
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Old 06-27-13, 08:02 PM
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You are going to need to use a carbide grit bit to drill your shingles. Try to use a regular bit and it will be glowing in a few seconds and totally ruined.
That's a fact! My experience is that once the regular high speed steel bit starts to get hot and you have dimpled the asbestos siding, you can simply use an awl and hammer to punch your hole the rest of the way through the siding.
 
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Old 06-28-13, 10:08 AM
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I would be tempted to install the 240V/40A circuit, particularly if I figured that a plug-in vehicle was going to be my choice going forward. I also like Ray's idea of going with the either/or wiring for 240/20. Either way, I think 240V is probably the way to go from the outset, and we're just deciding about circuit size.

You are going to need to use a carbide grit bit to drill your shingles.
They also make carbide-tipped hole saws, for making the full-size hole for the cable and its weatherproof clamp. One of the pluses for making the test hole with a 1/4" bit is that the pilot bit for most hole saws is 1/4".

Don't forget the glob of putty, for both cooling the bit and trapping debris.

asbestos shingles. yes, they are real asbestos. enough contractors have told me not to touch them unless i want the neighborhood sealed off while it gets cleaned up.
While caution is the watchword, this sounds like a clear overstatement. Possibly self-serving? The tough part for you may be the disposal. I'd check on how that works in your area early on.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 06-28-13 at 10:30 AM.
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