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Electrical Safety Authority is Crazy

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Doug_G, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    They are nuts. This is not a huge big deal, but my electrician called ESA to verify that separate disconnecting means are not necessary, since the NEMA 14-50 provides that function.

    Unfortunately, they told him that the switch is necessary. The stated reason: in case the user doesn't unplug the car first.

    Something tells me that if some idiot doesn't think to unplug the car first, they're not going to think to pull the switch first either. DUH!!!

    IMG_1550.JPG

    What we need now is disconnecting means for the disconnecting means. No wait, what if someone is working on the new disconnecting means. Better add another one! Switches all the way back to the panel!
     
  2. montgom626

    montgom626 Active Member

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    I feel your pain, this is what happens when we give control of our lives to "authorities" who answer to no one but themselves.
     
  3. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    Exactly.
     
  4. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    I design systems with process piping. EVERY time a system gets installed I get a question "Why aren't there valves here and here?" Where 'here' and 'here' are the exact perfect spots for their first problem/maintenance issue. The conversation always gets back to just putting valves back to back in lieu of piping.

    You can't win.

    I always find it amazing/frustrating when the first maintenance issue is a isolation valve. Because I get asked why can't you isolate that valve. This happens so often I just expect it now.
     
  5. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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  6. NuclearPowered

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    Lets talk about valves and redundancy...heh.
     
  7. Adm

    Adm Active Member

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    Ehm, I thought it's impossible to drive Model S (or any other EV) when plugged in.
     
  8. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    First as in ... ? Before driving off?
     
  9. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    I think it was meant as in:

    a) the car is charging
    b) the user unplugs the wall end first and gets zapped because they accidentally touch the prongs...

    But if said user is that dumb, then a switch won't do any good.
     
  10. milotron

    milotron Member

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    Technically, they are correct; the plug can by pulled out under load BUT it is meant for that! You can unplug your drier or range while it is running also. There is nothing in the canadian electrical code that requires this switch to be there.

    Interesting that the J1772 'chargers' are only really glorified contactors so that chances of pulling the plug from the car with 40-70 amps current flowing is minimized, with current shut down ( and contactor opened ) when the button on the connector is pushed.
     
  11. spatterso911

    spatterso911 MSP#7577 **--** MX#1891

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    The Tesla doesn't deliver power from the plug (no V2G). Wouldn't that prevent a shock from occurring?
     
  12. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Before unplugging the NEMA 14-50. Sure, you could get a nice big spark if the car is drawing 40A and you unplug it. But I don't see how adding ANOTHER switch is going to make that any less likely...
     
  13. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    Hmmm ... "Nuclear Powered" you win!
     
  14. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Doug,

    I believe the inspector was wrong. Here is the Code Rule governing EV disconnecting means:

    86-304 Disconnecting means
    (1) A separate disconnecting means shall be provided for each installation of electric vehicle charging
    equipment rated at 60 A or more, or more than 150 volts-to-ground.
    (2) The disconnecting means required in Subrule (1) shall be
    (a) on the supply side of the point of connection of the electric vehicle charging equipment;
    (b) located within sight of and accessible to the electric vehicle charging equipment; and
    (c) capable of being locked in the open position.

    Your equipment is rated below the threshold for where a switch is required (50 amps and 120 volts to ground)

    Oddly, the inspector missed this Rule:

    86-200 Warning sign
    Permanent, legible signs shall be installed at the point of connection of the electric vehicle charging equipment
    to the branch circuit wiring, warning against operation of the equipment without sufficient ventilation as
    recommended by the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
     
  15. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Like I said, nuts. I think whoever the electrician talked to didn't know what they were talking about and reverted to CYA mode.

    The operative word here is, "as recommended by the manufacturer's installation instructions." This is not required for Tesla, or any other OEM electric vehicle. That rule was designed specifically for lead-acid battery charging, which vents hydrogen. The J1772 standard includes a signal state from the vehicle to indicate when ventilation is required. Most EVSEs including Clipper Creek will not allow charging at all if that signal state is present.
     
  16. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Oops... meant to quote this section on labeling...

    86-306 Receptacles for electric vehicle charging equipment (see Appendix B)
    (1) Each receptacle for the purpose of electric vehicle charging shall be labelled in a conspicuous, legible, and
    permanent manner identifying it as an electric vehicle charging receptacle and shall be
    (a) a single receptacle of CSA configuration 5-20R supplied from a 125 V branch circuit rated not less
    than 20 A; or
    (b) of the appropriate CSA configuration in accordance with Diagram 1 or 2 when supplied from a
    branch circuit rated at more than 125 V or more than 20 A.
    (2) The receptacle in Subrule (1)(a) shall be protected with a ground fault circuit interrupter of the Class A type,
    when the receptacle is installed outdoors and within 2.5 m of finished grade.
     
  17. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Actually, he just came and did the inspection, and insisted the following words be added to the switch: "CAR CHARGER ONLY".

    Obviously the world will come to an end should someone plug a welder into the circuit...
     
  18. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    It is kinda hilarious. I met with some of the people involved in making these rules (after the fact) and remember saying that I could just tell the inspector that I'm making a "summer kitchen" in the garage and will plug a stove into the 14-50, thereby negating the labeling requirements. The answer was "well, uh, yeah I guess you could do that". Your welder example would have been better, but I didn't think of that!

    One of the issues that they're trying to address (and I do get this) is to figure out how to notify electric utilities of these installations. That is partly why there are all these new rules, and it is why recipients of the EV Charger grants will have their postal codes provided to the utility. Most electrical loads have some diversity to them (cycle on and off), but EV charging is a continuous draw, often for many hours. The weak link in the distribution chain is at the transformer on the street, which is historically sized taking load diversity into account. Primary feeder capacity is not generally an issue, and the service conductors coming into the home are also not an issue as they are (or should be) sized to the maximum capacity of the home's main disconnect. Utilities are really thrilled to have these new loads (they do represent revenue, after all) and would like to proactively make sure that the capacity exists to supply them. Nobody wins if distribution transformers fail. It's inconvenient for the affected customers, and costs the utility money in damaged equipment. I can utilize my smart meter network to create virtual meter points at transformers to watch for overloads, but by that time, it may be too late. Ideally, I can change that transformer in anticipation of the load and avoid failures and service interruptions.

    One of my personal goals at the utility I work for is to be an advocate of EV adoption. EV's are a "behind the meter" activity which utilities are generally prohibited from getting involved in. Our demarcation point is at the meter. Entities like the ESA (responsible for behind the meter safety) are new at this too, and we need to figure much of this stuff out. I'll probably try to start with some education materials on our web site to help people understand the challenges and solutions that are available to them.
     
  19. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    Sounds like a lot of hoops to jump through when a simple e-mail to the local utility would suffice. I sent an e-mail to Horizon Utilities 6 weeks ago and told them that I had an EV coming. I asked if a 40A load be ok? Would 80A charging be ok down the road?? As it turns out, 40A is fine but they'd need to do some upgrades if I wanted to charge at 80A...



     
  20. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    As a utility guy, I thank you for doing this. The fact is that there is no real requirement for people to do this, and most won't. You can hire an electrician to add outlets, do wiring and so forth, but unless the main service is being upgraded (i.e. 100 amp to 200 amp) your local utility won't know anything about it. Even with a service upgrade, often the "reasons" for the upgrade are never passed along to the utility. One EV on a distribution transformer may cause a problem, but two or three definitely will.

    One change the ESA recently made is to have all EV wiring additions inspected on-site by an inspector. There is the concept of "pre-authorized" electricians who can do certain type of wiring and be exempt from inspection, but now that will not apply to EV work. One reason for the compulsory EV inspection is so that the utility can be informed.

    It's a work in progress and will certainly need to be streamlined. If everyone were like you and called their utility ahead of time, all of this wouldn't be needed!
     

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