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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Livewire experts! I just bought our bike three days ago and have only charged it once on Level III DCFC. I would like to set up a slow charging Level 1 solution at home, but I have two major problems, one of which I was aware of before purchase:

1. I live in an apartment and will have to run a 100-ft extension cable from the only available 20-amp circuit from my apartment to the garage at the base of the building, where the Livewire is parked. I got permission from building management to do this.

I hope I am not the only Livewire owner that still lives in an apartment! I know there is some power loss with added length, but does anyone have experience with long extensions? The manual clearly says not to use extensions.

2. The 20-amp circuit in my apartment is the plug-in for our air conditioner, currently unused. It is a Nema 6-15R plug that looks like this:
Material property Magenta Machine Font Carmine


I believe this means that this is 250v outlet. I am facing trouble finding the proper extension cord and plug adapter combo. My two options are:

A) use a Nema 6-15/20 extension cord (which happens to supports 250 volts), and use an adapter at the end to convert it to the household outlet (apparently called 5-15R, rated 125 volts) that I can connect the Livewire to. Here are the two products I am thinking:

Product Font Material property Screenshot Circle
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Output device White Peripheral Gadget Audio equipment



Would that adapter "downgrade" (sorry for the incorrect term) the available 20amps to 15amps? I was told that 20amps is best for EV charging.

B) Use a "regular" extension, albeit 10-gauge rated for 15 amps (1875 watts, although some users report successfully pulling 20amps from this). At my home circuit plug, I would all need the black adapter as shown below:

Tire Automotive tire Eyelash Line Font
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Product Font Material property Screenshot Electronic device


The plug adapter warning states that this is NOT a voltage converter and should only be used on electrical equipment rated for 220/240V use. However, the extension cord itself is rated for 125 volts (and it's 15amps). Will there be a problem?

Which option is better, A or B?

Can the Livewire charge at either 120v AND 240v?
I am confused, and don't want the place to burn down! Maybe I am overcomplicating all this... I clearly am fuzzy with the science. Any guidance will be appreciated.
 

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Hi S!

The EV adapter on your LW is for 110v only. This means if you would like to use anything which connects to a 220 you would need a different power cable.

The power cable on your unit is made by WEBASTO, they also make a similar product with 230v support for other EV platforms. I have used it in the past on a 110v and it worked fine. I have yet to try it on a 230v but I suspect it should work just fine, the only issue is that your LW will only support L1 on the Jplug.

Here is the turbo chord from Webasto which supports 230v with the corect nema connector. Now keep in mind that HD will only warranty and support their OEM charge cable anyting else you use its on you.

BMW AV TurboCord Portable EV Charger 120V 240V Level 1 and 2 - w/ Carrying Case | eBay

DIego C
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi S!

The EV adapter on your LW is for 110v only. This means if you would like to use anything which connects to a 220 you would need a different power cable.

The power cable on your unit is made by WEBASTO, they also make a similar product with 230v support for other EV platforms. I have used it in the past on a 110v and it worked fine. I have yet to try it on a 230v but I suspect it should work just fine, the only issue is that your LW will only support L1 on the Jplug.

Here is the turbo chord from Webasto which supports 230v with the corect nema connector. Now keep in mind that HD will only warranty and support their OEM charge cable anyting else you use its on you.

BMW AV TurboCord Portable EV Charger 120V 240V Level 1 and 2 - w/ Carrying Case | eBay

DIego C
This is amazing to know that you can get a nema-adapter OBC that you personally used and worked fine!

I misworded my question in my post - I am aware that the bike can only charge 110v...what I was wondering is that is it ok to connect it to a 240V outlet - with either an extension that supports 120v or 240v? Will it damage the OBC if 240v is received?
 

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This is amazing to know that you can get a nema-adapter OBC that you personally used and worked fine!

I misworded my question in my post - I am aware that the bike can only charge 110v...what I was wondering is that is it ok to connect it to a 240V outlet - with either an extension that supports 120v or 240v? Will it damage the OBC if 240v is received?
As I undestand it the charge cable on the US based LW have been spec'd for 110v for use on the Jplug. Not too sure on LW outside the U.S.A i would neet to investigate. I do not think the charge cable on the US LW suports 220-240v I may be wrong*,

Rectangle Slope Font Parallel Screenshot
 

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Good morning and congratulations!

Disclaimer:

If anything I write is different from / conflicts with what the smart people here write, please listen to them and ignore me. 45 years ago I was a shade tree amateur mechanic on motorcycles and if you needed a carburettor rejected or a reluctant kickstart sorted or an RV90 engine rebuilt, I'd be your man. These days, I just ride 'em I don't tinker with them.

Background:

I have had my very own LW for a year +. Not ridden for 9+ months of that time because I got assigned overseas and couldn't get back home for most of a year but when I was overseas, for a couple of months I rented a LW - and like you, I was in an apartment (or hotel) and had to run extension cords out the windows.

Things that I hope will help you:

When my first LW was delivered I was advised to have a 15-amp-rated charging circuit in my shed. The shed electrics (shed is actually a 110-year-old original horse-stable) had been upgraded about a decade ago and there was no problem. The current is 220-240 V.

The NZ LW was distributed new with a generic not-purpose-built charging cable because the OEM one was not authorised or available in New Zealand at that time. I can send you pics of that charging cable if it helps. That device clearly states its maximum amp rating is 10. That device charged my LiveWire for a total of about eight months / 4,000 kms without any problems at all through a standard home 240V socket.

In the EU, I charged my rented LiveWire in a number of othjer places, including the "free" e-bike chargers at the local Aldi, the free e-bike charger at a south-of-Frankfurt Rathaus (Town Hall) offices, with a 20m extension cable rated for power drills when in the apartment as above, and also on the Autobahn (occasionally) at a service facility charging station, but only charged it at level I. Only once did I charge it at the dealership's workshop.

From my amateur point of view, everything worked well, nothing problematic, no warning lights or other concerns with the charging process.

Finally, and I hope helpfully for you, a recent update: my wife is getting a BEV and a reliable electrician that we have used over a decade came to look if it could charge connected to the existing circuitry in the shed. I also asked if I could wire up a smart plug (such as has helpfully been documented elsewhere on this forum by BHigerd) so that if I went away again I could set my bike to be charged automatically to top up the 12 V battery which seems to be a point failure source.

Electrician looked at the non-OEM cable originally supplied with the bike new, the sockets that I used to keep it charged, the OEM underseat cable, and advised me that he did not need to upgrade anything in the shed and that I could simply plug in the smart plug - which is 10 amp rated - to charge the LW through the 10 amp rated dealer-supplied cable.

While I can't speak for another dealer's policies of course, it seems to me that this cannot void the warranty because the dealer here (who by the way is a really good one in my view) supplied the original 10 amp charger made in Australia, for all the LiveWires in New Zealand...

Hope this helps a bit, and all the best!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good morning and congratulations!

Disclaimer:

If anything I write is different from / conflicts with what the smart people here write, please listen to them and ignore me. 45 years ago I was a shade tree amateur mechanic on motorcycles and if you needed a carburettor rejected or a reluctant kickstart sorted or an RV90 engine rebuilt, I'd be your man. These days, I just ride 'em I don't tinker with them.

Background:

I have had my very own LW for a year +. Not ridden for 9+ months of that time because I got assigned overseas and couldn't get back home for most of a year but when I was overseas, for a couple of months I rented a LW - and like you, I was in an apartment (or hotel) and had to run extension cords out the windows.

Things that I hope will help you:

When my first LW was delivered I was advised to have a 15-amp-rated charging circuit in my shed. The shed electrics (shed is actually a 110-year-old original horse-stable) had been upgraded about a decade ago and there was no problem. The current is 220-240 V.

The NZ LW was distributed new with a generic not-purpose-built charging cable because the OEM one was not authorised or available in New Zealand at that time. I can send you pics of that charging cable if it helps. That device clearly states its maximum amp rating is 10. That device charged my LiveWire for a total of about eight months / 4,000 kms without any problems at all through a standard home 240V socket.

In the EU, I charged my rented LiveWire in a number of othjer places, including the "free" e-bike chargers at the local Aldi, the free e-bike charger at a south-of-Frankfurt Rathaus (Town Hall) offices, with a 20m extension cable rated for power drills when in the apartment as above, and also on the Autobahn (occasionally) at a service facility charging station, but only charged it at level I. Only once did I charge it at the dealership's workshop.

From my amateur point of view, everything worked well, nothing problematic, no warning lights or other concerns with the charging process.

Finally, and I hope helpfully for you, a recent update: my wife is getting a BEV and a reliable electrician that we have used over a decade came to look if it could charge connected to the existing circuitry in the shed. I also asked if I could wire up a smart plug (such as has helpfully been documented elsewhere on this forum by BHigerd) so that if I went away again I could set my bike to be charged automatically to top up the 12 V battery which seems to be a point failure source.

Electrician looked at the non-OEM cable originally supplied with the bike new, the sockets that I used to keep it charged, the OEM underseat cable, and advised me that he did not need to upgrade anything in the shed and that I could simply plug in the smart plug - which is 10 amp rated - to charge the LW through the 10 amp rated dealer-supplied cable.

While I can't speak for another dealer's policies of course, it seems to me that this cannot void the warranty because the dealer here (who by the way is a really good one in my view) supplied the original 10 amp charger made in Australia, for all the LiveWires in New Zealand...

Hope this helps a bit, and all the best!
Wow, this is exactly what I needed to know (running extensions out of windows and charging practices) - thank you Oldun! A few questions, and I apologize as I am an EV-charging newbie:
What exactly is the smart plug you are using and how do you use it?

You mentioned you intended to use it to keep the 12V battery topped up, but isn't that what a "normal" trickle charger would do (like those junior trickle chargers from Battery Tender)?

Are you also saying you can use the smart plug to charge the main battery, but simply turn it off (remotely) before getting to 100% on days when you are not overseas, since best practice is not to keep the battery sitting around unused at 100% charge?

Sorry, did not have a chance to read posts by BHigerd. Thank you!

BTW: You own a Livewire AND you rented one for months overseas? That's hardcore!
 

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Hi there

What exactly is the smart plug you are using and how do you use it?

I only hooked that up today, it took me an hour or more but then I'm not very tech savvy. Basically I plugged it into a live wall socket, set it up on the Wi-Fi and my phone, and figured out how to turn it on and off remotely. (I bought a DLink Smart Plug for NZ $25.00 - it was on sale, down here they're normally about double that price).

You mentioned you intended to use it to keep the 12V battery topped up, but isn't that what a "normal" trickle charger would do (like those junior trickle chargers from Battery Tender)?

The way I understand it, but I may not be right, is that the 12 V battery should be kept in a healthy state of charge to be able to activate the motorcycle to start when we want. Unfortunately, somehow, sometimes there is not enough juice coming from the big RESS battery into the 12 V battery = so some people on the forum have had troubles with the 12 V battery going dead and therefore the bike not being able to start.

My hope is that by keeping the bike regularly topped up while I am away, my dialling into the smart plug and charging 12 hours every two weeks or so... The 12 V battery will stay healthy.

Specifically to answer the question about a normal trickle charger - there appears to be nowhere where we can connect such a trickle charger to the 12 V battery - unless Harley does a retrofit/accessory kit which (to me) doesn't seem likely given the low numbers of these bikes.

Are you also saying you can use the smart plug to charge the main battery, but simply turn it off (remotely) before getting to 100% on days when you are not overseas, since best practice is not to keep the battery sitting around unused at 100% charge?

Yeah I did not articulate that very well. I'm hoping that I can keep the main battery charged even when I'm not here, by activating the smart plug to switch the charging circuit on as above every couple of weeks - and that because the big battery will have enough charge it will keep the 12 V battery topped up accordingly.

BTW: You own a Livewire AND you rented one for months overseas? That's hardcore!

I felt the need, the need for speed :)
 

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Hi S!

The EV adapter on your LW is for 110v only. This means if you would like to use anything which connects to a 220 you would need a different power cable.

The power cable on your unit is made by WEBASTO, they also make a similar product with 230v support for other EV platforms. I have used it in the past on a 110v and it worked fine. I have yet to try it on a 230v but I suspect it should work just fine, the only issue is that your LW will only support L1 on the Jplug.

Here is the turbo chord from Webasto which supports 230v with the corect nema connector. Now keep in mind that HD will only warranty and support their OEM charge cable anyting else you use its on you.

BMW AV TurboCord Portable EV Charger 120V 240V Level 1 and 2 - w/ Carrying Case | eBay

DIego C
Don’t use none of those cords. I have owned my livewire for two years now, and I live in a apartment. If you have a patio with a outdoors plug push the bike up to it and plug it in overnight. There’s a video on YouTube with a guy named Blockhead who was allowed to keep the bike a few nights to review it. He used an extension cord and burned out something in the motorcycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Don’t use none of those cords. I have owned my livewire for two years now, and I live in a apartment. If you have a patio with a outdoors plug push the bike up to it and plug it in overnight. There’s a video on YouTube with a guy named Blockhead who was allowed to keep the bike a few nights to review it. He used an extension cord and burned out something in the motorcycle.
That video from Blockhead was exactly the reason why I am apprehensive about doing this! Is that how you charge? Mad respect to you for being able to charge that way.

I am thinking to borrow my neighbor's outlet - he charges his BMW electric this way, right from his patio in the rear side of the building. Sadly, my apartment faces the street, and no outlet in my patio. Thanks for that!
 

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I'm not an electrical expert, nor telling you to do anything different, but just from what I've seen, it appears that the LiveWire is always drawing 240 volts at 3 amps. The charger provided with the bike appears to draw 120 volts at 15 amps, converting it to higher voltage at lower amps. I came up with this when I noticed that the H-D app always showed the charging voltage (like 258 volts) and 3 or 4 amps with both the adaptor and the level 2 charger in my garage. The adaptor seems to be working hard, too. When I've charged overnight with the adaptor, it would get hot and have to shut down to cool off for a while, taking a couple hours more than usual. The bike knows no different, it's always drawing around 240 volts.
What I'm thinking is since your wall plug is 240 volts, maybe there's a way to safely charge the bike without converting the voltage. With the higher voltage, the amp draw would only be 3-4 amps. One thing I don't have an answer for, is that you would need some sort of switch in between like an EV charger that would switch off when the battery reaches 100%. Just an idea.
 

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Thank you for this info Bob. I may be drawing the wrong conclusion here, but is it possible that in countries with 220-240V routinely at the plug, the bike gets as much as it needs via the standard cable plugged into the onboard charger, to charge the RESS and keep the 12V battery level good; whereas in countries with 110-120V supply, the charger has to 'work harder' as above, and may not always supply enough to the OBC and 12V battery?
 

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The adaptor definitely works harder in our 120 volt world, but from what the H-D app tells me, it's delivering just as much power as the 240 volt EV charger in my garage. The adaptor needs to take breaks when it gets hot, but does appear to charge the bike the same when it's running. I've never personally had a problem with the 12 volt battery or RESS, but I live in a fairly moderate climate where I never have to leave the bike sitting for extended periods.
 

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Thanks again Bob. The H-D app is not supported in NZ; I charge when I drop to below 30% (or at 2% when I have just made it back to the shed after a long or fast ride) and so I do not know what info this app gives owners.
 

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Don’t use none of those cords. I have owned my livewire for two years now, and I live in a apartment. If you have a patio with a outdoors plug push the bike up to it and plug it in overnight. There’s a video on YouTube with a guy named Blockhead who was allowed to keep the bike a few nights to review it. He used an extension cord and burned out something in the motorcycle.
The LW is set up for levels 1and3, but you still can plug a level 2 charger into, it will just treat it as a level 1. I do it all time for the last 2 years with no problems. I’ve owned my LW since 2020. At first I did have problems with the 110 volt plug the GPS locator until they changed out my onboard computer.
 

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For logistics reasons I'm still pursuing the "why can't we use a good extension cord" issue.

I can certainly see that if you've got an EV that requires a high amount of current from say a level II charger, and even more so a level III charger, your average hardware store extension cord will not work.

However, thanks to another forum member, it's pretty clear from the HD app that the current - on trickle charging - never goes above 4 A. That being the case, when we are using a 10 amp smart plug and a say 10-yard tradesman-level extension cord, why will there be a problem?

IOW, is the advice telling all electric vehicle users not to use an extension cord, crafted to protect the high demand EV units' owners and Level II home chargers - but does not take into account the very small percentage of electric motorcycle owners?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
For logistics reasons I'm still pursuing the "why can't we use a good extension cord" issue.

I can certainly see that if you've got an EV that requires a high amount of current from say a level II charger, and even more so a level III charger, your average hardware store extension cord will not work.

However, thanks to another forum member, it's pretty clear from the HD app that the current - on trickle charging - never goes above 4 A. That being the case, when we are using a 10 amp smart plug and a say 10-yard tradesman-level extension cord, why will there be a problem?

IOW, is the advice telling all electric vehicle users not to use an extension cord, crafted to protect the high demand EV units' owners and Level II home chargers - but does not take into account the very small percentage of electric motorcycle owners?
That’s a very good point.

I am still nervous about using that 100 ft 12 gauge cord though. I asked my neighbor if I can charge from his patio instead, but not sure if he will be ok with this being a long-term solution.
 

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The reason is implement, they want to avoid people using cheap extensions with defective ground Or extension with too small of a wire. If your extension is rated for 20 amps there should not be any issues. The max charge on level 1 is about 1.4kwh, make it 1.5 for safety and draw the amps from there depending on 120 or 240 volts. Since P=VI, if P == 1500 W, I is 1500/1200 so around 12.5 Amps. If You buy a 15 or 20 amps extension, you’ll be just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The reason is implement, they want to avoid people using cheap extensions with defective ground Or extension with too small of a wire. If your extension is rated for 20 amps there should not be any issues. The max charge on level 1 is about 1.4kwh, make it 1.5 for safety and draw the amps from there depending on 120 or 240 volts. Since P=VI, if P == 1500 W, I is 1500/1200 so around 12.5 Amps. If You buy a 15 or 20 amps extension, you’ll be just fine.
That makes sense, but what about length? No one has any experience with extra-long extensions? My extension is 100ft, and voltage apparently goes down with length. Should I risk it and try? Will something "break" if the voltage dips over length or does the computer inside the Livewire senses it and protects itself?

If it was less than 20ft, I would have already tested it by now.
 
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