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Home Electrical for Dummies

widget_pilot

Member
Aug 20, 2021
8
2
Hebron, KY
I am in the early stages of purchasing a Model 3 LR and beginning to do research on charger installation (NEMA 14-50 with a Chargepoint or hardwire a HPWC, honestly doesn't matter to me, depends on my homes electrical system and cost)

I know very little about electricity (just bought my first home and still trying to learn everything). I have figured out my home has a 150amp box in the garage (thankfully exactly where I need to install the charger), but past that, don't really understand further.

I've been reading a ton of posts and seen some where they had to upgrade to a 200amp box or add a sub box to accommodate the charger (seems to get expensive). I'm hoping to avoid that. If that means I can only install a 14-50 plug instead of a HPWC, I'm fine with that.

Below are photos of my box and outside meter. Is there anything based off these photos alone that would indicate I would not be able to run a HPWC (or 14-50) off my current box? I'd really only charge overnight when most other electrical items would not be running except AC and some lights.
 

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Sophias_dad

Supporting Member
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Jul 29, 2018
1,538
1,620
Massachusetts
You can certainly get an HPWC in there, you have tons of open breaker spots. You'd probably want to do a load calculation to see if you can put another 32 or 48 amp load on that panel. First thing to do is get the specs on the dryer/range/AC, because those are all likely breakered for well over what they can reasonably use continuously. Don't forget to account for any electric resistance heating built into the AC.

Other than (electric) Heat vs AC, you really aren't supposed to consider some loads not active at the times others are active.
 
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Frank99

April 2018 Model 3 LR RWD, EAP, FSD
Apr 7, 2016
350
471
Arizona
Welcome to the cult…I mean family…I mean club!

Your circuit breaker box looks fine; you have plenty of space so adding a 50A breaker will be simple.

You have three options for setting up charging:
1. Use the Mobile Connector that comes with the car, buy a 14-50 adapter for $50 from Tesla, install a 14-50 outlet on the wall, and you’re good to go. This will charge at about 30 miles of range every hour, so it’ll fully charge overnight.
2. Buy an HPWC from Tesla for $500, install it on the wall, put your Mobile Connector in the trunk for emergencies (buy the 14-50 adapter), and you’re good to go. You can install a larger circuit breaker in the box, and charge at up to 45 miles of range per hour-your car will fully charge overnight.
3. Install a third-party charger (clipper creek, etc). About the same price as Tesla’s HPWC, and requires you to use the J1772 adapter that comes with the car. It’ll charge between 30-45 miles of range per hour depending on Model, and will charge your car fully overnight.

Don’t overthink it too much,
 
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Frank99

April 2018 Model 3 LR RWD, EAP, FSD
Apr 7, 2016
350
471
Arizona
Meant to add-if you’re not comfortable working around electricity, then hire an electrician. This isn’t really a good project to learn on,
 
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widget_pilot

Member
Aug 20, 2021
8
2
Hebron, KY
Meant to add-if you’re not comfortable working around electricity, then hire an electrician. This isn’t really a good project to learn on,

I appreciate the response! I definitely will be hiring someone to do this, but trying to not sound like a complete idiot when speaking to them.

I don't want to use the mobile charger. Rather keep it in the vehicle for emergencies. That leaves the HPWC or the 14-50 with a 3rd party charger.

I work out of town, therefore wouldn't drive it much and when I do, it won't be but in town. So as far as charging, I am not worried about necessarily needing the HPWC rates.

Are there any cons to these third party chargers? I know it'll be cheaper to just put in a 14-50, but I've seen reviews of peope have to send back these third party units or they just stop working and a lot of complaints. Kind of worries me.
 

RayK

Active Member
Apr 5, 2016
2,220
2,217
San Jose, CA
Second the recommendation that you get a qualified electrician to do a load analysis and then decide how much you can reserve for the EVSE (HPWC, mobile or 3rd party charger). Initially be conservative and assume worst case conditions: you're going to have the range and dryer on (if both are electric and not gas), at the same time the A/C, washer and microwave are operating. From there you will see how much excess capacity your panel has. If it's over the 150A, then you'll have to keep in mind what you can't run at the same time the car is charging.

If you envision getting a non-Tesla EV at some point, then the 14-50 outlet makes sense (assuming the load calculations say you can). You can still get a second mobile connector ($275) and use that one at home while keeping the other in the car. It's cheaper than buying the HPWC, including the cost of two 14-50 NEMA Gen 2 adapters ($45 each) you'll probably want for the mobile connectors.

Going with a third party charger will usually mean a J1772 handle so you'll need to use the J1772-Tesla adapter that I believe still comes with a new car. Those adapters sell at the Tesla Store for $95, or you can source one for $50-$75 on eBay. There's two styles; one with a smooth barrel and the other which has a lip midway down the adapter. Both are functionally identical.
 
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NuttyM3

Member
Jul 26, 2019
184
80
Papillion, NE
You should be fine with a 14-50 install since you said your breaker box is in the garage so the cost for an electrician should hopefully be no more than $300. Mine was $500 but my breaker box is in the basement so longer wire was needed that ups the overall costs. I use my mobile connector with the 14-50 adapter and if I were to travel I just unplug the mobile connector from the outlet and take it with me. Day-to-day you won't need it if you stay charged up every night.
 

Sophias_dad

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jul 29, 2018
1,538
1,620
Massachusetts
Don't forget the 30% federal tax credit... That $500 is really $350. I haven't looked at what other solutions(specifically a 14-50 install) might qualify for the credit. Even the installation is covered by the credit.
 
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Gauss Guzzler

Safety Score = 7
Dec 27, 2020
543
695
Thousand Oaks, California
You don't want a 3rd party charger, it's a hassle to use the clumsy J1772 handle and adapter, plus that adapter is really the one and only piece of charging equipment you need to keep in the car.

If you want an outlet, the wire run is long, and you don't think it'll ever serve an RV, consider a 6-50 outlet instead of 14-50 as it uses fewer wires. And if you insist on keeping the UMC in the car, consider buying a second one and wall mount as the cheapest home charging solution.

Note that the outlet, box, and code-mandated GFCI breaker all add significant cost to the installation. None of those things are needed for a HPWC so keep that in mind when comparing pricing. Note that any option (even the HPWC) can be configured for any current limit your main panel may require.
 

Jeremy3292

Gas Is Slow
Jul 7, 2021
507
449
South Carolina
My contention has always been it's easier, more reliable, faster, frees up your mobile connector, and nicer looking just to install a HPWC and the cost really isn't that drastically different from a 14-50 especially with the 30% tax credit. My neighbor is a commercial electrician and he advised Eaton or Hubbell for EV outlets only if you’re doing a 14-50.

However, you might find that a 6-20 outlet will be just fine for your needs at 15 mph. It is a cheaper install and will only require a 20 amp breaker, so you won’t have to be concerned with load calculations.
 
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Sacramento

2021 Tesla Model Y LR AWD
Mar 13, 2021
53
76
Sacramento, CA
I've got a Clipper Creek 32 amp charger at my home– paid for by my local electric utility for my first EV, a Honda Clarity. It's a bit of a drag to have to use an adapter for the Tesla but it's fine. I just installed a 60 amp HPWC at a vacation home, which is much cooler. I had space in my panel, so I also added a 14-50 outlet on a GFCI breaker for friends with non-Tesla cars.
 

widget_pilot

Member
Aug 20, 2021
8
2
Hebron, KY
I've got a Clipper Creek 32 amp charger at my home– paid for by my local electric utility for my first EV, a Honda Clarity. It's a bit of a drag to have to use an adapter for the Tesla but it's fine. I just installed a 60 amp HPWC at a vacation home, which is much cooler. I had space in my panel, so I also added a 14-50 outlet on a GFCI breaker for friends with non-Tesla cars.

That's awesome your utility company paid for it. I've heard many do that, or at least help with it. Mine acted like I was stupid when i called and asked them about rebates or incentives for EVs.
 
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mrau

Authorized Driver
Supporting Member
Nov 12, 2018
447
856
Mid-Michigan
If you go with the HPWC you will have the best possible setup and Tesla charging experience. You will be able to keep both your mobile connector and your J1772 adapter inside your car at all times. It is important to have the J1772 adapter with you . Some folks will travel without the UMC (mobile connector), but almost everyone carries their J1772 adapter.

Any cost difference will be very small and most likely forgotten a week after it is all installed. Especially with the 30% tax credit on the HPWC, wiring, parts and labor.
 
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Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,785
8,395
Boise, ID
@widget_pilot First off, I would encourage a change in your thinking of this. You seem to be thinking that outlet = low power and wall connector = high power. But that is not always the case. The wall connector is an adjustable device that can be on many different levels of circuit, all the way down to 15A. So the wall connector could be higher or lower or the same amount of amps as some kind of plug-in outlet. (The wall connector can go higher, but if you're doing a 30 or 40A circuit, there is no difference at all in charging speed.)

So first thing, if you're going to talk with an electrician, is NOT to say, "I want ______." That doesn't show you choices. You want to ASK, "I need a load calculation, so how many amps do I have free for a new 240V circuit?" So with knowing how many amps you have available, you can make choices of what kind of outlet or device could work with that.
 

derotam

Member
Oct 31, 2018
858
800
Oak Hill, VA
@widget_pilot Lots of opinions here and I will just add mine because there is a cost/benefit issue throughout this tread's opinions... I will note that I agree with @Rocky_H in that you need an electrician to to a load calculation to determine how much load you can add into your existing panel.

If it can handle 50A, then I think putting a 14-50 in and using your mobile connector. If you are worried about unplugging and replugging your mobile connector, or forgetting to take it when you leave then buy a second mobile connector for $275.

You mentioned Chargepoint, some people mentioned ClipperCreek, but how much are those going to cost you? For a quick look online you would be spending almost as much as a HPWC.

As far as HPWC goes, I think the only way I would go that route is if you can get a 60A breaker in your panel and you think the extra money is worth the extra 7 miles charge per hour charge rate.
 
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dmurphy

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Dec 7, 2018
3,827
5,409
New Jersey - Morris County
I will second (or third or fourth) the suggestion to have an electrician do a load calculation. I suspect you may have a sub panel somewhere. For example, I don’t see any breakers for wall outlets except the bathroom.

Subpanels aren’t a bad thing at all; just that looking at one panel doesn’t give you the whole picture.

I’d get the load calculation done and then make a decision…. 14-50 or HPWC. Both would serve you well.
 

widget_pilot

Member
Aug 20, 2021
8
2
Hebron, KY
Thanks everyone! I reached out to an electrician in the area who said my home's load will be fine for a 50amp 14-50 outlet (which I decided on). He also gave me an estimate of $1200 to run it 10ft on the same wall as the panel.

I think I'll reach out to get more quotes. That seems extreme.
 

Jeremy3292

Gas Is Slow
Jul 7, 2021
507
449
South Carolina
Thanks everyone! I reached out to an electrician in the area who said my home's load will be fine for a 50amp 14-50 outlet (which I decided on). He also gave me an estimate of $1200 to run it 10ft on the same wall as the panel.

I think I'll reach out to get more quotes. That seems extreme.
That is ridiculously high. Also sometimes it helps to avoid mentioning that it’s for a Tesla. We call it the Tesla tax
 
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RayK

Active Member
Apr 5, 2016
2,220
2,217
San Jose, CA
Since you're going with a 14-50 outlet, then I would suggest using a commercial/industrial grade version (Hubbell is a brand mentioned here a lot). Especially if you envision plugging and unplugging the UMC frequently. If it's going to be plugged in and remain there until you sell the house, then a cheaper version will probably do.
 
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dmurphy

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 7, 2018
3,827
5,409
New Jersey - Morris County
Thanks everyone! I reached out to an electrician in the area who said my home's load will be fine for a 50amp 14-50 outlet (which I decided on). He also gave me an estimate of $1200 to run it 10ft on the same wall as the panel.

I think I'll reach out to get more quotes. That seems extreme.

That does seem high indeed. Tell them you want the outlet for an RV, not Tesla. That should help with the “Tesla tax” some unscrupulous electricians add, even though the RV costs more!
 

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