From June 2009 to June 2010 I had the privilege of Driving an All Electric MIMI E for a year, it was a great experience, and got me hooked on electric cars. I've since moved on to other electric cars which I will blog about.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

looks like need to avoid GFI

Yesterday after having the car and charger checked out by the dealer, and both getting a clean bill of health, I got a full charge at from their 60A charger. The MINI service reps Michael and Fred from Morristown MINI were very helpful even though this was the first MINI E they'd had to diagnose a problem for, as it turned out the backline BMW tech they contact for MINI E problems was already aware of the problem, having read my blog post about it, to All MINI/BMW employee's reading this thank you for your help and supporting a great program, its good to know your reading this.

Anyway, I returned home and tried to charge the car again, but when I plugged the car into the garage outlet the MINI E's charge light only came on for a second before going out while the charger's charge light came on and stayed on. The MINI service reps had suggested I try plugging into other outlets, but also had said I should not use a extension cable as it might overheat, I have a 12 gauge extension cable rated at 120V 15A which I very much doubt will overheat. but I wanted to try what I could do without it. I found that if I pulled the car out and backed it into my garage, I could just barely reach a outlet in the kitchen without an extension cable, I plugged it in and.. POP the kitchen GFI triped. Then I started looking for somewhere else to plug in and noticed the laundry and dryer, The single outlet for both of these was not on a GFI, was the only outlet on that curcuit and had a 20A breaker rather then the regular 15A ones on most of my curcuits. So I plugged it in there, and it worked, was able to charge the car completely overnight, though its still very slow about 3% charge in one hour, at that rate we're looking at 33 hours to charge the car from 0% to 100%.
So it looks like we need to aviod GFIs though it did charge for me the first night on a GFI curcuit, this could be a big problem as most modern Garages and outdoor plugs have to be GFIs. The problem could also be the wiring, I got a wire tester and checked the outlets but it said they were all good, I'm going to try replacing one of the GFI's temporally with a normal outlet to verify whether its the GFI or the wiring, causing the charging to fail. In the mean time I guess no laundry is getting done while charging :)


  1. Does the standard 110 outlet charger have a GFI built in? If so I would remove the one on your garage circuit...The GFI in the charger is set specifically for the car...that should be more than good enough.....

    Just be aware as for the reason the GFI was there....water in a garage and power...not a good mix...

  2. yes the charger has Ground Fault Protection, the problem is the wall outlet in the garage is on the same circuit as the outlets in the Master Bathroom right above it, and the GFI is actually in the bathroom. While the Garage is dry and doesnt really need a GFI it wouldnt be a good idea to remove the GFI from the main bathroom.

  3. I had a problem like that and had the electrician install a separate circuit for the garage so the breaker wouldn't pop off. Little did I realize the central vac was on the new circuit and every time the vac was turned on (while the car was charging) the breaker would pop.Now we don't plug the car in if we need to vacuum.