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20 Amps with NEMA 5-15 Adapter

nickcoons

Member
Sep 29, 2019
6
0
Tempe, AZ
I just purchased a 2016 Model S with Gen 1 adapters. It has the NEMA 5-15 adapter, and the NEMA 14-50 adapter. I'm going to have my NEMA 14-50 installed in about a week, so until then will be charging with the 5-15.

However, I have access to a 20-amp 110v outlet which the NEMA 5-15 can plug into. Will I be able to draw (80% of) 20 amps using this connector because it's a 20 amp outlet, or will the NEMA 5-15 limit me to 15 amps because the car knows that I'm using that specific adapter?

I know I could get the 5-20 adapter, but since I'm only looking at using this for a week or so, I don't really want to spend the $45 for the adapter for that short period of time that I'll probably not use again.
 

mb300sd

Member
Aug 22, 2017
169
112
GA
You need the NEMA 5-20 adapter. I just have it and a 1ft 5-20 to 5-15 adapter cable. Quite useful since a lot of 5-15s are wired on a 20A circuit.
 
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nickcoons

Member
Sep 29, 2019
6
0
Tempe, AZ
You need the NEMA 5-20 adapter. I just have it and a 1ft 5-20 to 5-15 adapter cable. Quite useful since a lot of 5-15s are wired on a 20A circuit.

Sure, that makes sense. I was hoping I could do it without the 5-20 adapter, as I didn't want to pay $45 for that just to use it for a couple of days.
 

wws

Member
Aug 11, 2014
990
1,042
Northern California
If you anticipate doing road trips, a 5-20 adapter is handy to have. Lots of times hotels and motels have 5-20 receptacles in their parking lots. So with the 5-20 adapter, one can get some extra miles overnight.
 
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nickcoons

Member
Sep 29, 2019
6
0
Tempe, AZ
If you anticipate doing road trips, a 5-20 adapter is handy to have. Lots of times hotels and motels have 5-20 receptacles in their parking lots. So with the 5-20 adapter, one can get some extra miles overnight.

Do you find this to be pretty common? I wouldn't have thought that it'd be common to find hotels with parking lots that are within reach of outlets. Also, the mobile charging cable seems like a pretty easy thing to steal, so not sure that I'd want to plug in in public using that unless I was able to watch it.
 

wws

Member
Aug 11, 2014
990
1,042
Northern California
Do you find this to be pretty common? I wouldn't have thought that it'd be common to find hotels with parking lots that are within reach of outlets. Also, the mobile charging cable seems like a pretty easy thing to steal, so not sure that I'd want to plug in in public using that unless I was able to watch it.

Common enough. In fact the very first overnight trip my wife and I took in our Tesla, the inn we stayed at had a 5-20 right next to our parking spot. I didn't have the 5-20 adapter yet, so had to use the 5-15 adapter. Since then I've used the 5-20 at a few other hotels and motels. Sometimes the receptacles are on light poles and along fences. In places where it snows a lot, ICE car drivers use them for engine block heaters. I try to make a comment on plugshare when I find them.

When it comes to RV parks, you'll find some combination of "50 amp" 14-50s, "30 amp" TT-30s, and "20 amp" 5-20s.
 

nickcoons

Member
Sep 29, 2019
6
0
Tempe, AZ
Common enough. In fact the very first overnight trip my wife and I took in our Tesla, the inn we stayed at had a 5-20 right next to our parking spot. I didn't have the 5-20 adapter yet, so had to use the 5-15 adapter. Since then I've used the 5-20 at a few other hotels and motels. Sometimes the receptacles are on light poles and along fences. In places where it snows a lot, ICE car drivers use them for engine block heaters. I try to make a comment on plugshare when I find them.

When it comes to RV parks, you'll find some combination of "50 amp" 14-50s, "30 amp" TT-30s, and "20 amp" 5-20s.

Good to know, thanks!
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
6,700
12,585
California
Do you find this to be pretty common? I wouldn't have thought that it'd be common to find hotels with parking lots that are within reach of outlets. Also, the mobile charging cable seems like a pretty easy thing to steal, so not sure that I'd want to plug in in public using that unless I was able to watch it.

1) Destination charging is fantastic, but I've had great luck patronizing hotels that have actual Tesla destination chargers vs bogarting juice from random outlets.

2) the mobile charging cable is locked into your car and can't be removed when the car is locked. The most someone could get away with is the little adapter pigtail between the plug and the brick.
 

nickcoons

Member
Sep 29, 2019
6
0
Tempe, AZ
1) Destination charging is fantastic, but I've had great luck patronizing hotels that have actual Tesla destination chargers vs bogarting juice from random outlets.

That's kind of what I'm thinking too. I've been to one hotel since getting my Model S, and they had free charging via J1772.

2) the mobile charging cable is locked into your car and can't be removed when the car is locked. The most someone could get away with is the little adapter pigtail between the plug and the brick.

Of course, that makes sense. I didn't notice, because when I unplug, I just push the button, wait for the white light, then unplug. But obviously when I'm near my car, it's unlocked anyway.
 

iRia

Member
Dec 7, 2018
216
250
New Jersey, USA
Do you find this to be pretty common? I wouldn't have thought that it'd be common to find hotels with parking lots that are within reach of outlets. Also, the mobile charging cable seems like a pretty easy thing to steal, so not sure that I'd want to plug in in public using that unless I was able to watch it.


I charged at LGA airport while I was gone for a few days. The outlet was a 5-20 and I have the 20A pigtail.

As for a hotel destination charger and someone stealing the pigtail, you get alerted on your phone when your charging is stopped anyway.
 

wws

Member
Aug 11, 2014
990
1,042
Northern California
20 amps at 120 volts is still pretty wimpy, what 8 miles per hour in a model 3? Motels with J1772 level 2 charging are much more common, they just don't advertise it much. I was specifically looking for a place with a level 2 charger on the Hilton chain and found there was no way to search for that. I had to pick a hotel, find it's specific web page and then hunt through the web page to see just where they have hidden the mention of EV charging facilities. Once I find they have it, I can go to plug share to see if there are any details like number of units, charging current, etc.

Well, one takes what one can get. In our case on that first overnight trip, two nights of 5-15 and an hour or two at a Destination Charger at a winery, was enough for us to cruise around the Napa Valley for a couple of days and not need to visit a Supercharger for the return trip. If I'd had the 5-20 adapter at the time, I wouldn't have even needed to use the Destination charger at the winery. (Probably didn't need to use it anyway - but it was there, so I did.)

The inn we stayed at, one of the front desk folks was a Volt owner. So he was tuned into what we needed. He told us they were actually scheduled to get a HPWC for Destination charging but it wasn't installed yet. They had two other properties in town that did have Destination charging installed, and we could have used them. But chose not to.

Just as important is to see if they will reserve a charger for you. I have gotten the last one a number of times. I'd hate to need the charge and be the N+1 guy to try to hook up.

Good point.
 

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