The J1772 Plug: Master The Art Of EV Charging

The SAE J1772, or J Plug as it is known, is the most common non-Tesla Plug for Type 1 and Type 2 charging in the USA, whether at home or public charging stations. 

The J1772 connector offers EV owners the following:

  • A vast network of recharging stations across the USA
  • 240V (level 2 charging) and 120V charging options
  • Smart communication between the EV and charger
  • Safety and durability

Understanding the J1772 Plug 

The J1772 plug configuration has five pins, each with a different function in the charging process. Looking at the plug face-on, you will see the three pins arranged in a triangle shape and two smaller pins offset to the sides.


The top two pins are the AC Line pins which carry the 120V or 240V current. The pin on the top left is the ‘L’ or the AC Live pin, and the one top right is the ‘N’ or AC neutral pin.

The third pin of the same diameter is the Protective Earth (PE) pin or the ground pin.

The smaller pin on the left side is called the PP or Proximity Pilot, which communicates with the vehicle’s control system to prevent movement of the plug while charging. It also sends signals to the latch release on the plug and port to allow release once charging is completed.

The second smaller diameter pin on the right side of the J1772 plug is the ‘CP’ or the ‘Control Pilot. This pin is responsible for communication between the EVSE or Electronic Vehicle Supply Equipment (the charging station) and the vehicle’s charging system.

This communication line will signal the maximum charging current level, vehicle detection, and when to start and stop charging.

So the J1772 plug has three AC power pins for live, neutral, and ground and two communication pins for movement and line signal charging data.

How To Use The J1772 Plug 

Connecting the J1772 is straightforward and will lock in place as the proximity pilot detects the vehicle. The Control pilot will then communicate the required load and control the incoming current signal.

From a safety perspective, the J1772 plug has multiple safety controls. Firstly, the pins are well isolated and insulated to avoid any risk of short circuits, even in wet conditions.

The plug cannot be energized unless it is safely connected to the vehicle’s charging port. Another feature is that the pins are not energized until ‘instructed’ by the vehicle’s control system. This is essential because you have ‘little hands’ that could touch the pins accidentally.

The connector release button has a switch that connects to the proximity pin, and if you press the connector release button, the vehicle stops the current draw from the EVSE. 

Another safety innovation is that the shorter control pilot pin disconnects first to stop the EVSE from sending current to the charging pins.

This eliminates the risk of arcing, which would reduce the charging capacity and the lifespan of the J1772 plug and charging port.

Advantages Of The J1772 Plug

As one of the most common plugs available, the J1772 offers many advantages for convenient charging, whether at home or public charging stations in the USA. 

  • Across the USA, there is a massive network of charging stations, and most, if not all, offer the J1772 plug for EV charging, and this means no matter where you are, you can charge your electric vehicle.
  • Most EVs will accept the J1772, and even Tesla offers an adapter to allow their customers to charge using the J1772 plug.
  • The J1772 plug can be used for charging at level 1 (120 V) and level 2 (240 V) charging, making it the most versatile type of EV charging plug available currently.

Other EV Charging Connectors

Let’s look at how the J1772 plug stacks up against other EV charging plugs in the market.

J1772 Vs. Type 2 Charging Plug 

Type 2 is the standard used in Europe, whereas the J Plug is standardized in North America.

The Type 2 charging plug has seven pins, with two additional AC line inputs to accelerate using Level 2 AC charging.

While the J1772 is also a level 2 charger, the type 2 charging Plug design is different as it has L1, L2, and L3 AC pins, while the J1772 only has a single L1 AC pin.

J1772 Vs. CCS Vs. CHAdeMo

Both CCS and CHAdeMO can accept level 1 and level 2 AC charging, but they have DC fast charging (DCFC) capacity as they have high-power DC inputs.

CCS can range from 100kW to 350kW or charge your EV from 10%-80% in 30 minutes.

Of course, this will depend on your EV’s maximum charging capacity, but the PLC system (Power Line Communication) will control the charging current level to prevent overloading. 

DCFC is not available as a domestic EVSE and only at public charging stations. So, while these will charge faster and CCS is mandated to be included in the federal funding bill for charging stations, J1772 will be the primary charging connection when you set your EV at home.

CCS and CHAdeMO are more efficient than J1772, and CCS connectors have the J1772 configuration but with the added high-power DC input pins to facilitate DCFC charging.

If you want to dive deeper into how CCS stacks up against the J Plug, then the article below is for you:

📖 Related Article: CCS vs J1772 | What’s The Difference? 


Can Tesla Charge On J1772?

All Tesla vehicles are supplied with an SAE J1772 adapter, allowing them to charge from a J1772 plug on a home or commercial charger.

Of course, Tesla owners should use their brand’s charging network as they have access to the SuperCharging DCFC port.

But due to the proliferation of non-Tesla charging stations, having the J1772 adapter is a bonus where Tesla charging stations are not available.

Can Non-Tesla Owners With J1772 Charge On The Tesla Network?

Initially, Tesla did not offer an adapter for non-Tesla owners to charge their vehicles at the Tesla supercharging network.

But, as the network of charging stations that provide CCS and J1772 has increased, Tesla has allowed for the J1772 adapter, meaning that non-Tesla EV owners can charge their EVs at Tesla charging stations.

Lectron Tesla to J1772 Adapter

  • Allows charging from AC Tesla chargers
  • Portable and lightweight
  • UL certified with 1-year warranty
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Is The J1772 A Fast Charger?

The J1772 can accept level 1 (120V/12A-16A) and Level 2 (240V/24A-80A) charging. Because J1772 is limited to AC, it can only run up to 19.2kW on an 80A, 240V circuit. At the higher end (80A), it would be considered a fast level 2 connection. But not a fast charging connector compared to CCS plugs. 

Key Takeaway

The J1772 plug is the current most popular plug with EVs in the USA, and while it isn’t a DC fast charging plug, it certainly is reliable and durable and will last the lifetime of your EV.

With multiple safety features, integrated communication systems, and Tesla providing  J1772 adapters with their cars, the J1772 plug is here to stay as the standardized AC charging connector of North America.