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Convert NEMA 5-20 to 6-20?

ratsbew

Active Member
Mar 3, 2012
1,291
1,030
O'Fallon, IL
What all is required to convert a NEMA 5-20 outlet to a 6-20?

I have a 5-20 in my garage (just discovered it under a wall plate....score!!!) that is in the perfect spot for my UMC. What is needed to upgrade it to a 6-20? Isn't it basically as simple as swapping the neutral wire for the other hot wire and changing the plug in the wall?

I may tackle it myself (with due studying), but what I'm really looking for is if it's this simple, it should be a $100 job max from an electrician, right?

Thanks!
 
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ratsbew

Active Member
Mar 3, 2012
1,291
1,030
O'Fallon, IL
I've been digging in studying and it really looks as simple as swapping the neutral for the other phase (black and white hot wires) which requires a new 240V gang breaker.

Total bill of materials should be under $20 and will allow 15 miles/hour of charging.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
7,297
8,984
Boise, ID
Make sure there are no other outlets on that circuit.

Make sure to tape/mark the white wire so it's no longer assumed to be a neutral
All this. Make sure it's the only outlet on the circuit, because this will be changing the whole circuit to double the voltage, and you don't want some other unpleasant surprise on some other outlet. So test this by turning off the existing circuit breaker for it and checking all of the other outlets around that room and maybe if there is another room on the other side of that same wall.

Then yes, you change out the breaker to a 240V double pole breaker. So instead of Hot, Neutral, and ground, you end up with Hot1, Hot2, and ground. And yes, the white wire is then required by code to be marked at both ends that it is a live hot wire now, instead of Neutral.
 

ratsbew

Active Member
Mar 3, 2012
1,291
1,030
O'Fallon, IL
I just completed the conversion from 5-20 to 6-20. Total cost was under $15 and took less than 30 minutes.

Tesla claims that a 6-20 can charge the Model 3 at 15 miles per hour which should be enough for me. I can't think of any situations where I arrive home with no charge and then need more than the 150 miles that I could gain over night. I have a supercharger within 150 miles of me in any direction.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
7,297
8,984
Boise, ID
haha, don't get me wrong, I'd love to pull in 48 Amps from a HPWC and dim the lights on the whole block, but it isn't worth the expense. Now I only have to save $15 until the gas savings are making me money.
See, that's what I mean. You and I think 48A would be plenty, or even a lot, because literally, that is the most your car can use. But most of the time, people are recommending at least 100A to make sure it's future proof for the extra 2 or 3 EVs you will be getting in the future for load sharing, etc. It's crazy. I've always had a personality with my hobby with computers that gets a different kind of sense of accomplishment from what is the way that can make the best use of what I have with a low spending good value solution that gets the job done? Not wasting money is a good thing. It eventually leads to you having some.
 

ratsbew

Active Member
Mar 3, 2012
1,291
1,030
O'Fallon, IL
Not wasting money is a good thing. It eventually leads to you having some.

Absolutely! I'm able to afford my Model 3 because I've spent my life not wasting money up to this point. The Model 3 is an anomalous purchase for my wife and me, but all of that not wasting money for years has allowed us to pay cash which subsequently means no interest payments on a car loan....it's a self perpetuating cycle once you are able to get on that path.
 

davewill

Active Member
Feb 5, 2014
1,831
2,086
San Diego, CA, US
I just completed the conversion from 5-20 to 6-20. Total cost was under $15 and took less than 30 minutes.
...

Sounds great. I do feel obligated to point out that this change may require a permit and inspection in your area.

See, that's what I mean. You and I think 48A would be plenty, or even a lot, because literally, that is the most your car can use. But most of the time, people are recommending at least 100A to make sure it's future proof for the extra 2 or 3 EVs you will be getting in the future for load sharing, etc. It's crazy. I've always had a personality with my hobby with computers that gets a different kind of sense of accomplishment from what is the way that can make the best use of what I have with a low spending good value solution that gets the job done? Not wasting money is a good thing. It eventually leads to you having some.

Especially when so many people don't stay in the same house long term. It's one thing if a couple hundred bucks gets you a bigger circuit, but quite another if you're dropping an extra kilobuck on something that may never see use.
 
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I just completed the conversion from 5-20 to 6-20. Total cost was under $15 and took less than 30 minutes.

Tesla claims that a 6-20 can charge the Model 3 at 15 miles per hour which should be enough for me. I can't think of any situations where I arrive home with no charge and then need more than the 150 miles that I could gain over night. I have a supercharger within 150 miles of me in any direction.

I'm going through this now (a bit more work; I'm running dedicated 12 gauge from the panel). Did you just buy Tesla's 6-20 adapter from their site for the mobile charger?
 

Kermee

It's Not Easy Being Green
Jul 31, 2018
507
760
WA, BC & HKG
Awesome! I should be done this work by the end of the week! Looking forward to it. I drive (max) 60 miles/day, so this solution will be perfect.

If you drive about 60 miles/day, 6-20 will "top-up" your M3 in about 5 hours. 5-20 to 6-20 conversion is one of the most inexpensive ways to get a decent charge rate over 5-15, but not having to step into 14-50 or HPWC realm.
 

Kermee

It's Not Easy Being Green
Jul 31, 2018
507
760
WA, BC & HKG
Sorry to ask an ignorant question, but wouldn't the ampere draw be the same if it's from a 5-20 or 6-20? The only difference is the connector that you're going to use but charging wise, you'd have the same current draw?!

You are correct. The ampere draw is the same...

But double the voltage. ;)

qyHd9nZ.png
 
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