4 hours ago
15 November 2010
J1772 standard plug appears for sale on the internet
Clipper Creek, the manufacturer of the EVSE (electric vehicle service equipment) supplied with the Mini E has not yet been able to supply an upgrade cord and connector to convert to the new standard connector, called the SAE J1772 connector. This will be used by the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, and other upcoming electric cars for sale in the US market.
Before giving the links to the connectors for sale on the Internet, allow me to speculate as to why UL is giving Clipper Creek a hard time about upgrading existing 240 volt EVSE boxes to J1772.
One of the UL requirements met by the Clipper Creek wall box appears to be that it is explosion proof, like all electrical equipment that might be installed at a gasoline filling station is required to be. This means that the enclosure is sealed and air tight. If the cable were changed and the new cable were not exactly the same diameter, it might not meet these requirements.
Even in your garage, this might be important. Building and electrical codes usually require that all possible sources of ignition in a garage such as electrical outlets (which can cause sparks), switches, water heaters with an open flame, etc., must all be installed at least 18 inches above the floor, where gasoline fumes collect. Your car does not emit gas fumes, you say? Not today. Maybe tomorrow. Stuff breaks. It is better if your house does not explode just because a hose clamp splits in your car.
The kind of spark that can be created from a 240 volt 50 amp breaker in an EVSE it much more intense than what you get from a light switch. Better to keep it sealed in an air tight box, don't you think? Not to mention that UL requires these EVSE to be safe around cars powered by lead acid batteries that can emit lots of hydrogen gas. (If you have one of those, code requires that the EVSE starts a ventilation fan before charging in an enclosed space. The Clipper Creek EVSE can provide for that too.)
So anyone who is considering converting the connector on your Clipper Creek box, please keep the safety points above in mind. If you think it cannot happen to you, try typing "house explosion" into Google news.
And of course, the current rating on the new cable must equal or exceed the rating of your EVSE. Don't go putting a 32 amp cable on a 50 amp Clipper Creek box.
Now, here is what I found for sale today:
70 amp connector and socket, 40 foot cable, $475 from Current EV Tech
The picture at the top of this post came from the above link. The blog where I originally found this catalog said that Current EV Tech once offered a UL certified J1772 plug from ITT Cannon for over $800. I don't know if this link is also from ITT cannon, which is a very reputable name in connectors.
32 amp plug only, $450
Not much info on this page, it lists a part number that appears to be of Chinese origin. It might be the same as the one above for all I can tell, but no mention is made of a cable that I can find today.
Like all things electronic, I expect the prices to drop and UL certification to be more common. Just watch out for the seal going into the EVSE box, try to keep it air tight.