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Here is a post I made on another forum at the time of the Fire and just recently posted an update:

I am a happy Leaf owner, but wanted to warn other owners of the potential for fire at home. Purchased leaf 3 months ago and using the Nissan supplied trickle 110 V cable to charge daily. One night in January I awoke at 3am to smell something in the house, found the outlet used to supply the charge was melted out. The 2*4 studs either side of the outlet charred through. The affected garage wall is a shared wall with my dining room. When I inspected the wall after finding the initial burning, the paint on the wall was just starting to bubble up. Fire department got there quickly and damage was limited, but it could have burned my house down.

The circuit breaker did trip. Either the cable got too hot from the high amps it was drawing or a loose connection in the socket was to blame.

I ordered a level 2 charger and will install that on a dedicated circuit.

I called Nissan to see if they needed to check my car or trickle unit; they were very defensive and said its my house not the car and they didn't need to see it. I am not sure if I can repair the trickle cable it is a little melted at the plug but otherwise fine.

Follow up...the rest of the story.....

I thought I would post a follow up on how things turned out. All State insurance was great. Contractor has completed all repairs and we are about back to normal. Total cost around $10k. Cost to me was the deductible and time off work and general disruption. Now have a dedicated 240V circuit to the garage supplying a Clipper Creek HSC-40 charging station $550 + $200 for installation.

Nissan contacted me after picking up my initial posting on these boards; they inspected my Leaf, the trickle charging unit as well as the damage at my house. They concluded that there was nothing wrong with the car or charging unit and did not comment on the house wiring. As I posted initially when I called Nissan after in the incident they were not interested.

The electrician repairing my home confirmed that the wiring was to code, the circuit was a 12/3 wire, GFI outlet circuit with a 15A breaker. Connections at the outlet were screwed and not press fit. At the time of the fire the Leaf was the only item connected to the circuit. So the cause of the fire not really known but possible suspect, no evidence to suggest either is a loose wire nut or tight staple. I did not have a certified electrician check the outlet prior to using it to charge my Leaf – my mistake. It worked without issue for three months prior to the fire. Granted hearsay but the fire department officer who attended my fire said it wasn’t the first fire they have attended to resulting from an electric vehicle being charged.

When I bought the Leaf I had full intention of buying a 240V charger, however after a few days charging with the trickle charger we found that it met our charging needs and decided to stick with that alone. I know of two the Leaf owners – both aware of my fire still charging with the trickle chargers. I consider myself average consumer with average awareness; I live in an average house with average construction. I felt with the warnings and anything I may have heard during the purchase (I don’t believe I was told anything – I don’t remember either way) or on the Nissan paperwork did not represent significant risk.

Fundamentally I believe there are some issues that Nissan and other electrical car companies need to address.

• The portable trickle charging unit, and its handy case in the trunk, seems to me to be a portable device in case you need a charge maybe when visiting family on the other side of town or taking a trip outside the return distance and needing a top up while you are there. Well if it is, is the expectation that you have an electrician check every place you might need to plug into is impractical.
• It seems that the 12A draw over a long period of time is too close to the limit of home circuits. 12A is required to make the reasonable charging time, reducing it a safer 10A would make the charging time impractical and would not help sell the vehicles.
• Finally as an average user, I sort of read everything, but still did not really understand the risk, and I don’t feel I was properly informed. Manufacturers need to place larger more significant signage on the trickle units as well as specific instruction of the hazards in writing as well as dealer warnings. I cannot prove now but I believe that the warning label was wound tightly around the cable with an elastic band around it; so not obvious at all.

I am not looking to blame anyone for my fire, but I would like to make the hazard more public to that this doesn’t happen to anyone else. I think manufacturers should make some effort to communicate the hazard.
 

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All it takes is a loose terminal and a couple of amps of current will very quickly get hot. In my opinion charging from standard domestic sockets is a bad idea. An EV charger should be on a final dedicated circuit with RCD protection of at least Type A (DC pulse sensing).
 

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I find it interesting that a 12A load on a 15A circuit caused the circuit to fail and the load is blamed. The normally suggested solution is to use a 30A load on a 32A circuit. My view is that a circuit that cannot sustain 12A should not be protected by a 15A breaker.
 

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I understand that even a10A load on a 13A circuit can be a problem if it is sustained for a long time. Heat builds and although it hasn't overloaded the circuit it can get hot and potentially catch fire.

A13A circuit that is perfectly able to take a near 13A load for a short while may not be safe at the same load for hours on end as when charging an ev
 

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A 13A circuit in the UK will be designed to take a constant 13A, otherwise it is not a 13A circuit. An old circuit that has been poorly maintained is not guaranteed to be safe for a constant 13A.
 

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A 13A circuit in the UK will be designed to take a constant 13A, otherwise it is not a 13A circuit. An old circuit that has been poorly maintained is not guaranteed to be safe for a constant 13A.
Exactly :) That is why I, and many others, are not encouraging people to use 13A sockets for charging unless they know that the circuit, including the sockets and connections, are sound and have been inspected by a qualified electrician.

Charging on a 13A socket is as safe as using any other electrical device if it is on a dedicated circuit and the circuit and connections are all sound.
 

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I understand that even a10A load on a 13A circuit can be a problem if it is sustained for a long time. Heat builds and although it hasn't overloaded the circuit it can get hot and potentially catch fire.
I would love to see confirmed evidence of this instead of an unsupported opinion.
 

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I would love to see confirmed evidence of this instead of an unsupported opinion.
Well, I can understand you might want a professional view on it but my comments are not unsupported opinion... I have experienced first-hand this happening on a 13A circuit and that is why I feel so strongly about it.

When we first got the Leaf about 3 years ago I charged at my sister-in-law's house on their garage 3-pin socket. After sometime (can't remember precisely how long but less than 30 mins) I went out to check on things before I went to bed and the wall socket was warm enough to be a concern. I hate to think what might have happened if I had just gone to bed :eek:

This was in a 1950's house, well maintained but the electrics in the garage were in the house when they bought it some 15 years ago and so are of unknown age.They had had no other issues with electrics.

This was a typical scenario where an EV driver visits family and wants to charge. The house is in generally excellent condition and there was no reason to think that their 3-pin socket couldn't cope with 10A continuous.

I now am cautious when using 3-pin sockets and I won't plug in and leave or go to bed without monitoring for at least a while and even then I am nervous.

There is nothing wrong with using 3-pin sockets for EV charging if everything is in good condition and the circuit is dedicated or has no other loads but to just plug into any socket in the house or garage is, in my opinion, based on my experience, potentially risky.
 

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I would love to see confirmed evidence of this instead of an unsupported opinion.
Personally, I think BEAMAs advice is clear;

"you can charge through a domestic outlet in your property provided it is charged and operated through a mode 2 cable..."

This advice assumes that the domestic outlet has been tested and approved by a registered electrician and the EVSE has an RCD (Note: Nissans 'brick' EVSE may not).

If you follow BEAMAs advice then you'll not only be as safe as possible but you'll also have some legal protection if anything goes wrong.
 

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It's also worth remembering that Charging Stations with 13A sockets are readily available from UK EVSE members today.

Here's just one example :)

image.jpg
 

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Does sound to me like the issue is more one of domestic wiring not always being risk free and people not being aware of the risks.

Just now I boiled the kettle. Mid way through it went bang....well more pop! The circuit was tripped and the power went off. Unplugged the kettle and put the power back on.

Think that while the length of time and the amount of power drawn may be an issue it sounds like it is only an issue if the wiring is not up to spec.

Paul's action of checking the heat from the plug sounds sensible. I used to do the same.

Would encourage people reading to keep a sense of perspective. Many hundreds of thousands of miles charged by 13amp in the UK. Am yet to hear of a fire (the one here was in the US) let alone an injury or death. And there is certainty in that the avoiding of emissions from ice miles that would have otherwise been driven has had health benefits. Reduced health risks.
 

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Paul, I think we all understand and agree with your point about possible dodgy circuits. What interests me is your assertion that a domestic 13A socket is not capable of supplying 10A for an extended period.

By the bye, many houses in the US use aluminium cored cables to reduce costs. Unfortunately the aluminium 'creeps' a lot more than the hardened copper used in the UK. This leads to the cable ends under the clamps in the socket terminations slackening over time. My US friends go around the house every three years or so tightening all the connections.
 

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What interests me is your assertion that a domestic 13A socket is not capable of supplying 10A for an extended period.
When EDF (and others) started down the "13A is unsafe" path a couple of years ago I tried to obtain data on this from a number of organisations including The IET (both formally and via a member of the Council who I know socially). I was unable to obtain any evidence to support these "unsafe" claims and concluded that a correctly installed and maintained 13A socket is safe in this application.

Indeed, BEAMA, The IET, and The IEC support that assertion today, as do the car manufacturers who supply 13A charging solutions :)

IMO this thread tells us an awful lot about whats really going on... just read between the lines ;)
 

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What interests me is your assertion that a domestic 13A socket is not capable of supplying 10A for an extended period.
Ian, please re-read my posts. I actually say that a 13A circuit, IMO, IS capable of supplying 10A for extended periods...

That is actually the very point I made. I know from talking to electricians and from the experiences of hundreds, if not thousands, of people that are doing it that it can be perfectly safe.

However, there is a but... the "but" is that the wiring and socket must be in good condition and it must be either on its own circuit or on a circuit with no other loads. Ideally the circuit should also be checked out by a qualified electrician too if you are doing it regularly.

I had twin 13A waterproof sockets installed by an electrician on a dedicated 32A circuit... cost me £100!
 

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I actually say that a 13A circuit, IMO, IS capable of supplying 10A for extended periods...
Not in post number 4 you don't.

I am pleased you have restated your position, thank you, that is now very clear.
 

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I had twin 13A waterproof sockets installed by an electrician on a dedicated 32A circuit... cost me £100!
Hi Paul,
Interested to read about your socket installation, not sure if your installation is two single sockets or one double. As far as a double socket goes I think it is only tested to 20amp according to BS1363 with a 14amp load in one socket and 6 in the other, it is common to assume 2x13amp is it's rated value. However I think it should have it's actual rated value stamped on the back, some are only 13amp some up to 26amp, confusing init.
Gary
 

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Hi Paul,
Interested to read about your socket installation, not sure if your installation is two single sockets or one double. As far as a double socket goes I think it is only tested to 20amp according to BS1363 with a 14amp load in one socket and 6 in the other, it is common to assume 2x13amp is it's rated value. However I think it should have it's actual rated value stamped on the back, some are only 13amp some up to 26amp, confusing init.
Gary
It's also worth pointing out that domestic socket circuits are generally wired in 2.5mm Twin and Earth (T&E) cable. 2.5mm T&E has a current carrying capacity of 27A when it is clipped direct. If there is any kind of insulation/conduit/plaster surrounding the cable this capacity reduces. At 27A the 2.5mm T&E cable is operating at 70 degrees C. All it needs is 2x13A applicances plugged in!
 

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My 2 x 13A are wired using 32A cabling and a suitable MCB to allow two EVs to charge at 10A at the same time. I told the sparky what I wanted.
 
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