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Does NEMA 14-50 Adapter No Longer Come with Car?

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by jacobp, Sep 26, 2019.

  1. jacobp

    jacobp Member

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    A buddy of mine just received his new Raven Model S and he says the NEMA 14-50 adapter no longer comes with the car. He says that he is being told that it is add-on accessory. Is that right?
     
  2. Saghost

    Saghost Well-Known Member

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    Correct. They made that change in May.
     
  3. Ostrichsak

    Ostrichsak Active Member

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    Yep. Terrible change IMO. It's a cost-saving move but in the end it's similar to ICE cars charging for an upgrade for a fuel filler neck large enough to accept standard gas station pumps so you can travel freely w/o worrying about what stations you can refuel from along your route. I know this is a bit ridiculous but when most of their literature markets their cars as being able to install an inexpensive NEMA 14-50 outlet for fast charging and utilizing NEMA 14-50 outlets at RV parks and all over the country it's a tremendous hit to the idea they're trying to convey that you're NOT limited by charging on EVs. Is all of this worth the ~$20 cost savings on a $50k+ car? Probably not. It comes at a poor time when the masses are just getting their first taste of riding in an EV and doing their own research on the pros and cons of owning one. IMO this couldn't come at a worse time and is prime example of bean counters who are too worried about the bottom line.
     
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  4. PDX_Magesh

    PDX_Magesh Member

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    Bummer they don't. I checked with the OA when I picked my car & suggested, instead of cheaping (sp?) out on these, give the owners a choice what they want, since not all will use the Chademo adapter. Or at least for the S/X owners, give these for free!!!.
     
  5. jacobp

    jacobp Member

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    Thanks everyone. This is an incredibly stupid move on Tesla's part.
     
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  6. cduzz

    cduzz Member

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    I suspect this move will result in 1-2 fewer garage fires per year over the next 10 years, though.

    There is an incredible range of quality in NEMA 15-50 recepticals; the majority of plugs installed or purchased by consumers are for appliances that are unplugged / re plugged once every 7 years when the appliance breaks.

    There *are* plugs that are able to tolerate getting unplugged/re plugged weekly; those are $50 receptacles.

    With the expansion of the supercharger network, the days of needing to fill up at a trailer park are probably gone for 80% of tesla buyers.

    When you get a charging setup for your house, get a hard-wired EV charger, not some mickey mouse thing that will kill your kid if they plug it in wrong or catch fire because the plug wears out.

    (of course, I'm ignoring my own advice, I got a probably-not-appropriate plug (nema 6-20) installed and I'm using my mobile charger with it, but I'm also not actually sure if a 20a/240v circuit is sufficient to keep my car working over the winter in Boston, so I'm hedging my bets before buying a real outdoor charger like this; I really don't want to face adding a 40a or larger circuit to my existing antiquated 100a service).
     
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  7. Ostrichsak

    Ostrichsak Active Member

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    A couple of things to note here...

    First up, "get a hard-wired EV charger" isn't as simple or cost effective for all. Some have VERY expensive installs in order to install a HPWC and it could run several thousand dollars. One person I know parks on the other side of the house from his panel and service as they're both on the opposite side of his house. Due to this, he got quotes approaching $10k just to install a HPWC. Yikes! In his situation, he already had a NEMA 14-50 so he was able to achieve perfectly acceptable charge rates for basically free.

    Secondly, the cause of NEMA 14-50 failures/fires is improper installation more often than not. If the wire isn't fully stripped so the wire lands properly and is fully tightened this can cause resistance and over time this will be a bit time no no. Rarely is a fire caused due to being plugged in and unplugged repeatedly. The spring tension on these sorts of receptacles will survive thousands of plus/unplug interactions. If you're concerned about it you can replace the receptacle every few years or so at the cost of ten to twenty bucks. Doing this you also increase the likelihood of improperly landing one of the wires at some point.

    The bottom line is that we want them restrict our options LESS not more due to a few outlier issues. When you own an EV there is a certain number of inherent risks this comes with. Being able to charge quickly is a necessary evil for most and running more juice steps up the potential for danger. Just the nature of the beast.

    Offset this with the elimination of gas cans and other flammable chemicals that most store in their garage for your ICE car and you greatly decrease your odds of a fire even with a NEMA 14-50 that you plug in and unplug hourly just for fun.

    Summary: removing the 14-50 adapter greatly hampers progress with the average consumer they're going to need to win over if they wish to remain relevant once all the fanbois have bought their Tesla already.
     
  8. cduzz

    cduzz Member

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    If there is an existing NEMA 14-50 in a convenient location, why not just simply remove the receptacle and hard-wire a fixed charger in that location? No need to pull another circuit for $30 or $10,000. If you really need both, there are ways of putting a sub-panel there to allow you to use one or the other circuit while not overloading the feed. Again, this will cost far less than $10k. You could even just buy the NEMA 14-50 plug from Tesla, and inspect / replace the NEMA 14-50 receptacle, but that's clearly less safe than a hard-wired installation.

    A simple google search for "tesla nema 14-50 fire" gives:
    NEMA 14-50 Plug Meltdown / Near Fire
    My NEMA 14-50 nearly caught on fire Friday night!
    PSA. Another melted NEMA 14-50 receptacle
     
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  9. Ostrichsak

    Ostrichsak Active Member

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    Your suggestion is to pay to pull a perfectly functioning 240-volt, 40A outlet to install a HPWC that gives you 240-volt, 40A service? That seems like a good suggestion to you?

    Your list of Google results has no affect on this.
     
  10. cduzz

    cduzz Member

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    Yes. My suggestion is to replace a receptacle of unknown origins with a hard-wired charger.

    A hard-wired charger won't electrocute you and won't catch fire. It will also charge faster than if you use a NEMA 14-50 plug on a mobile connector, which will limit the charging to 32 amps.

    Using a NEMA 15-40 is safe as long as you're using one that's properly installed and using one that's suitable for the way you plan to use it. Some random plug, well, I guess that's what insurance is for.
     
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  11. Ostrichsak

    Ostrichsak Active Member

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    Some "random plug" of "unknown origins" huh? You're really reaching to try to seem right to people reading who might not known any better.

    Your posts also do nothing to address that as soon as you pull out of your garage your HPWC is worthless and you're now limited to excruciatingly slow speeds as you travel. NEMA 14-50 outlets are everywhere and you can't plug into them w/o the adapter.

    Note that I never said the HPWC was a bad option. Tesla FORCING this option onto consumers is bad as it's not best for every situation.
     
  12. Manitoba Keith

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    If that 15-40 is wired with #8 wire, you are STILL limited to 32 Amps. 80%
     
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  13. cduzz

    cduzz Member

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    Yes. Some receptacle in your garage or laundry room that was installed when the house was built is the definition of "some random plug". You didn't observe it being installed, you didn't specify that you wanted a more expensive typically unnecessary heavy duty plug. You didn't emphasize to the electrician that they need to be especially careful about installing it because this particular plug will be wrung to the absolute limits, run at 80% of maximum for 8 hours at a time. Most other uses of this plug do not draw 80% of the maximum current for hours at a time so any flaws in the installation or device simply don't matter.

    When you're out and about, sure a NEMA 14-50 is probably handy to have in your bag of plugs. A TT-30 is probably also handy. A NEMA 5-20 is probably also useful. I personally have a NEMA 6-20 because I had one installed outside next to my driveway where I had an already existing 20amp 120 circuit; I had it rewired to be a 240 circuit, and if it is sufficient for the winter, I'll replace the plug with a hardwired 20a EV charger instead of relying on my mobile charger.

    You're playing with fire if you use one of these things day-to-day in some random plug in your garage. You're playing with fire if you regularly charge at your in-law's garage where they've got a NEMA 14-50 that hasn't been used in the 20 years since they've moved in.

    But hey, your stuff, your rules. Do what you're gonna do. You'll probably be fine.
     
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  14. Ostrichsak

    Ostrichsak Active Member

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    So now we should fear every single electrical outlet and all of the electrical work done in our homes? ROFL
     
  15. cduzz

    cduzz Member

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    Yes. You should inspect any outlet and circuit you plan on using to charge an electric car, or put under any sort of continuous (hours) large load.

    I live in a 130 year old house where about 1/4th of the receptacles are incorrectly wired with the hot and neutral swapped. Some of the grounded plugs don't actually have ground. Much of the wiring in my house is 70 or more years old and some of the plugs and switches are more than 70 years old. My brother lived in a house where some soft-headed oaf wired the ground to hot. Half the plugs in my in-law's house are worn out such that things plugged in sometimes fall out.

    I would not charge my car using any of these outlets or circuits. They're safe (enough) for charging a computer or a cell phone or running a radio or desk light. I inspected the outlet and circuit that I did use (for a nema 5-15) and found that it was on a dedicated circuit with new wires and plugs, so it is quite safe to use.

    Most of the time things "just work" because the NEC is written to make things safe in the face of unrelenting stupidity.

    But hey, your toys, your rules, do what you're gonna do. YOLO
     
  16. JPoldo

    JPoldo Member

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    #16 JPoldo, Oct 1, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
    Clearly, there are two quality levels for NEMA 14-50 receptacles and if an existing outlet you may have difficulty determining which you have. Often manufacturer / model number are on the rear so only visible to installer. Since Tesla recommends leaving the UMC always plugged in, I chose the cheap $5 receptacle from HD. Here, contact springs are designed a dozen or two insertions such as clothes dryer replacement. Buy the $50 model for frequent insertions.

    If a new install and short wire run, use #6 THHN copper wire. After 1-2 hours charging, it's normal for your adapter to feel slightly warm, but discontinue use if hot.

    I think Tesla removed this adapter from standard equipment to avoid liability as there's a history of overheating. It also helps their Wall Connector sales.
     
  17. Raechris

    Raechris Member

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    Hi. I'm in Boston and cars live outside. My first PHEV was a volt with 3.3 kw (14amp)Clipper Creek hardwired and mounted outside. My MS75D is two years old and I also have a PHEV Pacifica. Both are serviced fine with the same unit at 3.3 kWh (10mi/hr). Tesla with 14-50 adapter. I have a HPWC but haven't installed since no need and will wait for the CC to fail first.
     
  18. alcibiades

    alcibiades Member

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    Why can we trust the electricians who install the HPWC but not the ones who install 14-50 outlets? Is it extra training? Stock holdings?
     
  19. cduzz

    cduzz Member

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    I'm mostly worried about a "perfect crap storm" of:
    1. cold snap
    2. drag the car home at 10:00 at night with 15% battery and wicked cranky kids
    3. don't plug it in while the battery is still warm
    4. plug it in the next morning when the car is covered with ice, has 10 miles of range, and the battery is cold soaked
    If the 3.8kwh charger is sufficiently powerful to warm up the battery and possibly the cabin and even add a couple miles per hour after being plugged in for 45 minutes, I'll call that circuit "good enough"

    It is certainly more than good enough to charge my car "overnight" in normal usage, even if I let the car go down to 10%, but that's not fighting a deeply cold soaked battery outside in terrible weather.

    But, given that I'm in between the 3 superchargers in town, the one in Dedham (that's always busy with service center cars) and the one being built in Chestnut Hill and I've got a 6kwh charger at work, I think I'm pretty much covered for charging needs.
     
  20. cduzz

    cduzz Member

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    Reasons for a hard-wired charger are:
    • A sturdy 14-50 outlet is $30-$50; if you don't specify (and pay for) a heavy duty plug you won't get one
      • you can assume that if you didn't see the outlet getting installed you didn't get a HD outlet
      • you can assume that if you did see it installed and didn't specify what you wanted, you got the cheap one
      • even if you ask for an HD plug, double-check that it is a HD plug
    • Repetitive use (insertion / removal cycles) wears out the plug
    • Repetitive use at high current subjects the whole plug to large thermal swings
    • Anything on the plug (hand oil, layer of oxidation, dirt) increases resistance in the circuit.
    Why does this matter? The plug has a very difficult job to do -- it has to maintain good enough spring tension between the innards of the receptacle and the plug. The mechanical connection in a circuit does 2 different things -- the first is to allow electricity to pass from one object to the next the other is to exclude oxygen from the area to prevent oxidization / corrosion of the joint. Inserting and removing the plug can wear out that spring that maintains that firm connection.. The plug must maintain a good enough surface to shunt 40amps of current between the receptacle and the blades, even if the blades are dirty or slightly wet and now corroding. The wire connection between the back of the plug and the circuit must similarly maintain a very strong connection or else they also start corroding / oxidizing. You're not looking at it very often or ever, thermal cycles can loosen the mechanical connection between the wire and the plug. All of these cause the plug to heat up more than a "perfect" union. If the whole shebang heats up too much, you end up with a runaway event where the increase heat causes more electrical resistance which more heat, then you get magic smoke and possibly a visit from the insurance adjuster.

    These straight blade plugs simply aren't meant to be subjected to the combination of both high current and repetitive insertion / removal cycles. What about the ones you may find in a trailer park? Well, perhaps they're the heavy duty plugs, perhaps they're not subjected to continuous maximum current draw; perhaps they're also break. I don't run a trailer park or camp, but if I did, I'd charge EV users lots more than a Winnebago.

    A hard-wired EV charger has the following advantages:
    • The mechanical connections between the house circuit and the charger are not subjected to any mechanical stress and are simpler (one joint connecting EV wire to house circuit vs 2 for house circuit to receptacle and then receptacle to plug)
    • The 40a circuit is entirely inside a mechanical box vs having the blades of the plug potentially exposed while inserting/removing plug.
    • Faster charging (only the gen-1 chargers pull 40A through a NEMA 15-50; everything else just pulls 32 because the circuit could be a 40A circuit)

    There are reasons to stick with a NEMA 15-50 setup, but IMO if you've got a NEMA 15-50 plug in the right place, just bite the bullet and install a 40A hard-wired charger using that circuit.
     
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