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Do I need a dedicated line when installing a 120V plug or are dedicated lines only for 240V?

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Hayzen, Aug 12, 2016.

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  1. Hayzen

    Hayzen Member

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    I live in a condo with a personal parking spot in a shared parking garage. I had an electrician do a site assessment and since my parking spot is around 400 ft away from the power vault (also I need scanning, drilling, permits, etc), the total cost can get very pricey.

    Since there is power all around (lights, fans, sprinklers, power sockets, etc), could an electrician install a 120V plug by connecting to some existing power nearby? Or do I need to run a dedicated power line to the main power source in the building?
     
  2. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    Have you discussed this with your condo board?

    I don't think the condo board would be too happy letting you charge your car and for someone else funding it? (unless you plan on setting up a meter on that light, fan, sprinkler, etc. and paying back what you used)
     
  3. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    To answer your question yes it should be a dedicated circuit.
     
  4. davewill

    davewill Member

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    #4 davewill, Aug 12, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
    I don't know that code absolutely requires it, but there's really no capacity for anything else when a car is charging on a 120v circuit. It's one thing when it's your garage and you can control what else on the circuit is turned on at the same time, but in a common area I wouldn't do it.

    That said, there may be other options. For instance, a circuit that has almost nothing on it, and can be made to be dedicated. It may also be possible to replace existing wiring with something heavier and add a sub-panel to feed the old and new circuits. However, with a condo situation, your options are probably severely constrained.
     
  5. Hayzen

    Hayzen Member

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    This is something I will bring up to the condo board. I would like to install a Level 2 charger but they might turn it down for whatever reason(s). The other option is that I ask if I can install a Level 1 charger and work out some kind of deal with the board. Monthly flat fee or something.

    The latter may be the easier solution but I don't know what problems may be associated with it. For example, would there be a technical problem if another person with a nearby parking space who would also like to install a 120v charger that may be on the same circuit as mine decided to charge their car at the same time as mine. Would a breaker trip? Is there a way around this problem besides installing a Level 2 dedicated 240v charger?
     
  6. davewill

    davewill Member

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    The breaker might trip if someone plugs in almost anything. Someone trying to vacuum their car might do it.
     
  7. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    It's going to vary by jurisdiction. In Ontario, Canada for instance, it must be a dedicated 20 amp circuit with a single outlet (not duplex) receptacle if used for EV charging.
     
  8. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    If you charge at night during which nothing else on that circuit gets used, you should be fine. It is protected by the breaker so worst case, the breaker trips and you get no charge. Also, you can turn-down the amps lower on the touchscreen to keep the overall draw low, but that will make your already slow 120V charging even slower. On top of that, if it's very cold (Toronto), you might not even have enough amps to charge (at the low setting) since the battery needs to be above a certain temperature to accept a charge.
     
  9. AndreSF

    AndreSF Member

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    You should discuss the shared load potential with your electrician. EV charging will required sustained continues load on the circuit, so that will be one of the factors that will determine ability to do shared circuit. However, save yourself the trouble and do a dedicated 240Volt circuit if you can. If financially or otherwise challenging to do at this time, check out other options such as FastDC CHAdeMO based charging in the area.

    Good luck!
     
  10. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Member

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    I don't know if it's quite as dire as some people are saying. For a commercial property like a condo, I would expect that a circuit connected to any outdoor outlets is probably a 20A circuit. A 5-20 outlet like that is compatible to take either a 5-20 or 5-15 plug. (The 5-15 plug comes with the Tesla.) So, if you plug in with the 5-15 adapter, it will be pulling maximum of 12A on a 20A circuit. I think that leaves pretty reasonable overhead for one or two light loads on the circuit without tripping the breaker.
     
  11. Hayzen

    Hayzen Member

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    I see. So, if I go visit friends/relatives and charge my car at their houses, the outside receptacles are dedicated 20 amp circuits? And if people plug their cars in a 120v receptacle at the office parking garage, it may cause potential power problems?

    I'll have to ask the board to see if their electrician knows if anything is using a 120v power line near my parking space. If not in use, maybe they can somehow make the line dedicated.
     
  12. David29

    David29 Member

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    Even if you get permission, there is at least one other consideration: What are the consequences if, despite precautions, your charging trips the breaker (either at a condo or at some other location). Can you get to the breaker to reset it? You may not be able to at a condo if it is in a locked room. Does that circuit support any important loads such as emergency lights, fire alarms, exit signs, etc.? You should be careful not to put yourself into a situation in which you cause a circuit breaker to open, and cannot reset it, and something important is left unpowered for some period (say, over a weekend).
    Also, bear in mind that your charging cord could be unplugged by someone else if they think you should not be charging, e.g.
     
  13. Hayzen

    Hayzen Member

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    My parking garage is an indoor heated one and I'm at the lowest level. I'll take a look today when I get home to see if the existing receptacles are 5-15 or 5-20. I'm hoping they are 5-20 because then I can use the Tesla 5-20 adapter to pull 16 amps instead of 12 amps. Is that correct?

    Tesla — NEMA 5-20
     
  14. ReddyLeaf

    ReddyLeaf Member

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    OK, I'm surprised nobody has said how slow and inefficient charging on 120V is. I do use 120V (not dedicated circuit, but only garage lights and door, so I don't run those at the same time), but I am a special case. I also have a Leaf for in-town driving and the 70D is ONLY for out of town trips. I can afford to wait three days for a full charge, plus I'm not in Toronto, where it gets a whole lot colder. I'm guessing that in a Toronto winter the 120V charge will struggle to keep the battery warm, even in a heated garage, let alone add much range, maybe 2-3 mph. If you ok with that, then fine.
     
  15. Hayzen

    Hayzen Member

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    I haven't received my Model X yet but what settings can I choose on the touchscreen? Specifically 16amps or 12 amps? Will I have to adjust this setting again if I plug it somewhere else where I don't have to worry about certain amps?

    My parking garage is an indoor heated one but I may have to worry if I leave my car outside for a long time. Toronto doesn't usually get that cold but the winter will likely hinder any travelling up north.
     
  16. Hayzen

    Hayzen Member

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    Thanks for letting me know in case I didn't know. I would prefer a Level 2 but I would like to know if a Level 1 option is available as a back up option. I read that the Tesla Model X 90D may take up to 60 hours for a full charge on a 120v and I'm prepared for that because I'd rather have that than no home charging option at all.

    The good thing is that Ontario is spending around $20 million to add around 500 chargers by around March 2017. That will be very helpful but I would still like to be able to have a choice of home charging if possible just in case.

    Did you have to worry about your battery much when you left your car outside for long periods during the winters?
     
  17. ReddyLeaf

    ReddyLeaf Member

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    I don't leave either EV out for long periods. It doesn't get cold enough here to worry about freezing and neither has the cold weather package. The battery probably takes 12-24 hr to reach ambient temperatures. In the summer the Leaf parks outside at night for maximum desert cooling, both are in the garage during the day (I bicycle to work in the Spring-Fall) and throughout the winter. The only extended time outside is during travel trips (two to BC, Canada, one to Tucson, AZ, one to LA area, several to Portland/Seattle and other areas in eastern WA). Neither car has been below 20 F unless driving or charging, so the battery never gets that cold. Toronto, however, is a different matter.
     
  18. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    You don't have to set anything when using the UMC adapters. The adapter sets the proper current. If you plug into a 20A circuit with the 5-20 adapter the car will draw 16A. If you plug into a 15A circuit with the 5-15 adapter the car will draw 12A.

    But you really don't want to run a 120V circuit for this car! If you're going to the trouble and expense of running a new circuit, make it a 240V. Either you will be able to have a new circuit installed or you won't. I can't imagine any scenario where you would be able to install a 120V circuit but not a 240V one.
     
  19. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    Charge settings are geo-fenced so the setting will be remembered. That setting will then be the default for only that location until you change it.
     
  20. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    Except when the car doesn't remember it, such as after firmware updates sometimes. If you have manually turned down the amps at a location it's best you check every time you charge to make sure it's stayed down.
     
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