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Need Help planning out home charger(s) installs. Appreciate any Pros that can weigh in...

Hi all, I've done a good bit of research, but still have a few questions. I have an electrician coming supposedly this week, but want to fully understand my options prior to speaking with him.

Awaiting first Tesla, MYLR. Need to install a charging solution, but also am exploring options for a possible second EV in the future. Need to do this now, because unfortunately my house lay-out is terrible in that my utility closet with the electric panels is in the corner of the basement diagonally across the floor-plan from the garage, and I have a fully finished (not drop) ceiling in 99% of the basement. I estimate the cable run to be 60-90 feet, and difficult because of the ceiling, the need to cross beams, etc.

Having considered the options, I am leaning towards a NEMA 14-50 installation on a 50A or 60A (can it be a 60A?) double-pole breaker. UMC will work for me (I have already considered UMC vs. HPWC). Also my understanding is that I can always take out the 14-50 and wire in a HPWC in its place should I change my mind later, is that correct?
My questions mainly pertain towards any potential future proofing; most likely case would be for a second EV in the future (unknown if that will be a Tesla or not), and who knows what battery sizes, charging requirements, etc. are in real world in say 5 years.

So given that I have to run 60-90 feet of wire, what's the most efficient and cost effective way of future proofing?
  • Is it to just run the one 60A circuit/set of wires, and should it be necessary, split the wire in the future in the garage and install two HPWC which would split the available Amps?
  • Is it to run one 100A or 120A set of wires, putting them either on a 60A breaker for now and upgrading that breaker to the 100A or 120A, (is that even necessary, can I just put a 120A breaker and connect it to a NEMA 14-50?) thus giving me a good bit of overhead for something in the future?
  • Is there another options?
Picture of my current electrical panel and sub-panel below (just in case).
Thanks in advance.

IMG_3719.jpg

IMG_3720.jpg
 
I have Gen 2 wall connectors that share one 100A circuit very nicely. That would be the best way to future proof. Tesla has actually been downsizing the chargers since the Gen 2, So the trend has not been to larger chargers. As long as you can charge to your target limit overnight and don't have a use case for charging more often, 60A should also be fine. We installed one for about a year and a half and then added the second. Just a little planning ahead for a junction box helped with that.

My understanding is that the Gen 3 might at least prefer separate circuits to each connector. Look at the install manual to see what is required.
 

LoudMusic

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Jul 21, 2020
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I have Gen 2 wall connectors that share one 100A circuit very nicely. That would be the best way to future proof. Tesla has actually been downsizing the chargers since the Gen 2, So the trend has not been to larger chargers. As long as you can charge to your target limit overnight and don't have a use case for charging more often, 60A should also be fine. We installed one for about a year and a half and then added the second. Just a little planning ahead for a junction box helped with that.

My understanding is that the Gen 3 might at least prefer separate circuits to each connector. Look at the install manual to see what is required.

If you do a 100A run from the main box to the garage and want to put NEMA 14-50 plugs on it I believe you'll need a sub panel in the garage with 50A breakers to protect the 50A outlets. But I like this idea. Theoretically he could also then have additional circuits in the garage also on this 100A circuit.
 

Rocky_H

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Feb 19, 2015
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Boise, ID
Need to do this now, because unfortunately my house lay-out is terrible in that my utility closet with the electric panels is in the corner of the basement diagonally across the floor-plan from the garage, and I have a fully finished (not drop) ceiling in 99% of the basement. I estimate the cable run to be 60-90 feet, and difficult because of the ceiling, the need to cross beams, etc.
Well, you have figured out that the wiring run is by far the most annoying and time consuming and expensive part of this, and swapping things on either end of it is very easy in comparison. I will suggest one thing on this. With a very long wiring run, I would say you might not want to run all four wires of three conductors plus ground. The neutral is only used if you need dual voltage--240V and 120V--like for a 14-50 outlet. Car charging will only ever use the higher voltage of 240V. So you could save some decent money on that wiring run by not including a neutral, which won't be used anyway.

Having considered the options, I am leaning towards a NEMA 14-50 installation on a 50A or 60A (can it be a 60A?)
No, it can't be a 60A. Code is very clear that the breaker must not be higher rated than the outlet type. It does allow a 50A (or less). A lot of ovens use those 50A outlet types on 40A circuits.

Also my understanding is that I can always take out the 14-50 and wire in a HPWC in its place should I change my mind later, is that correct?
Yes, switching out what is on the end of the wire is going to be pretty simple and quick in the future. Just try to leave a couple of feet of slack to work with.
  • Is it to just run the one 60A circuit/set of wires, and should it be necessary, split the wire in the future in the garage and install two HPWC which would split the available Amps?
  • Is it to run one 100A or 120A set of wires, putting them either on a 60A breaker for now and upgrading that breaker to the 100A or 120A, (is that even necessary, can I just put a 120A breaker and connect it to a NEMA 14-50?) thus giving me a good bit of overhead for something in the future?
These are just up to you what level of wire you want to put in as far as how much overkill. Plenty of people get by fine on 30 or 40 amp circuits per car, so a 60 or 80 amp capable line should cover two cars fine for the future. And for flexibility, I would say run that main line to a subpanel anyway, so it's a little easier to work with and change things later.

There's also another reason for that. If you do thick wire like for a 100A circuit, it will not fit in the lugs of a 14-50 receptacle or of a Gen3 wall connector. So you would need the subpanel to transition to smaller wire output anyway for smaller circuits.
My understanding is that the Gen 3 might at least prefer separate circuits to each connector. Look at the install manual to see what is required.
Well, people confuse that a bit. They don't need to be separate wiring runs all the way back. It can use one main line to a subpanel, but then does need to be split at the end to each one having its own breaker.
 
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So I had one electrician stop by, he said to run a 6 gauge wire, he's going to call me back with a quote. I've got another stopping by as well.

Question is, I know I don't need the neutral wire for UMC or HPWC, and I'm looking at more than 100 feet of cable to run (his suggestion is to go on the outside of the house), is it improper to run 6/2 cable (that's the one with 2 wires plus the ground, but no neutral, right?) for 14-50 outlet? I think the answer is no, which means a 6-50 outlet, right? I can see a possibility of ultimately converting this outlet to a HPWC at some point down the line, maybe if we ever get a second car. Are there any pluses vs minuses of installing a 6-50 outlet as opposed to a 14-50?

Also, can anyone link me to the wire I need, just as an example, trying to figure out the approx cost per foot.
 
Nothing wrong with a 6-50, other than it's one more adapter you need to buy, and it can't be converted into a sub panel without the neutral (nor can a 14-50 be used).

If you have two separate garage doors and can place the charger in-between the doors, it's totally feasible to get away with a single charger. If it's a single door, you really want two outlets.

With the price of copper and supply shortages, it may be worth looking at running #3 (or larger) Alu with neutral to a sub panel in the garage and breaking out from there.
You could also do the #6 wires plus some #12 for a separate 6-20 circuit; you still have the other outlet in a pinch, and the 6-20 is fine for 99% of the day to day needs.
 
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Rocky_H

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Feb 19, 2015
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Boise, ID
is it improper to run 6/2 cable (that's the one with 2 wires plus the ground, but no neutral, right?) for 14-50 outlet?
No, that's definitely a violation. A 14-50 by definition must have the neutral; you can't just have that missing and not connected.
And no, nothing wrong with a 6-50 at all, and on a really long wiring run, that can make some nice savings on not needing that extra wire.

I do really like @pb2000 's suggestion about maybe running aluminum for most of this distance to a subpanel. It's amazing how much cheaper aluminum is. It takes certain boxes and wire lugs that are made for and rated to accept aluminum or copper wire. The Tesla wall connector and most receptacles are made to be copper wire only, but a lot of subpanel boxes are made to accept either. So you could transition it there, to run the last little bit in the garage in copper wire then.
 
Thank you @pb2000, @Rocky_H, and others for responding. It's a breath of fresh air when people online actually know what they're talking about and give you on point straight answers/advice.

Here's my thinking:
1. I do not need a HPWC now, but if we ever get a second EV, then the most logical thing to do would be to just install two HPWC even if all they're doing is sharing the one 60A line/circuit.
a. So, a 6/2 (2 wire+ground), and I guess going to a NEMA 6-50 for now, makes the most sense. Again, I'm looking at 100-120 feet of wire, and see no need to run a neutral since it's never going to get used.
2. Can someone give me an idea of what the actual wiring actually costs? From what I can tell each one of the 3 or 4 copper wires in a 6/2 or 6/3 bundle costs roughly $0.75 a foot; is that right or am I looking at completely wrong wires? How much cheaper is the aluminum wire that would work for a 60A or higher circuit?
a. I'm not trying to look like a complete cheap-ass here, if it's a matter of another $100-200 to get this done right with a 6awg copper wire, that's fine. I'm just trying to figure out and understand what's what and what are my options exactly.
3. I don't like the idea of a 6-20 circuit; pretty much settled on a 14-50 or 6-50 or alternatively just a HPWC. I do have double door garage and am planning on placing the charger between the two doors, but I'm also not crazy about potentially sharing one charger between two cars in the future.
4. The electrician was dead-set against running a 100A-120A line today. I'll ask him why when he calls with a quote.
5. @pb2000 - can you explain this further: "Nothing wrong with a 6-50, other than it's one more adapter you need to buy, and it can't be converted into a sub panel without the neutral (nor can a 14-50 be used)."

Thank you!
 
1)I think the current generation wall connectors each require their own circuit, whereas the older ones could be daisy chained.
1a) if the above is true, you need a neutral in a sub panel
2) Individual #6 Cu is around $0.75/ft, but you also need to account for conduit cost. #1 Aluminum, which is good for 100A seems to be around $0.50/ft, but still needs conduit, and sub panel.
2a)If you want the greatest flexibility, go the sub panel route, or at least size the wire for one (at least #4 Cu or #3Alu). The largest cost for you will probably be labor, but copper conductors will be a close second.
3)A 6-20 would actually be a perfect second circuit placed between two garage doors. A 6-50 can do most of the heavy lifting for two vehicles (on a UMC or wall connector) and the 6-20 just fills in the gaps.
4) I'd guess either the cost of materials or having to do a load calculation to see if your panel can support it. Electricians always like to oversize Aircon breakers, so it's a bit tough to tell exactly what you have, but it's possible that you may be pushing the capability of your service with anything over 60A of EV charging.
5) You would need the 6-50 adapter for your UMC, but its only $40ish, so not a huge problem. You 100% need a neutral for a 14-50 or sub panel.
 
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Thank you again. Ok, so I've learned some very interesting things.

1. It sounds like I effectively need to run a neutral wire in order to future-proof, as installing multiple Gen3 wall connectors appear to require a sub-panel with separate circuits for each wall connector. This sucks btw, because it seems to force users to install more electrical stuff (a sub-panel, and the need to run a neutral wire) which wasn't the case with multiple Gen2 wall connectors.
1a. Actually, just for curiosity, was a neutral wire required to install multiple Gen2 wall connectors.

2. So with all that said, I am now thinking of telling the electrician to run a #6/3 Cu (will ask if #1 or #2 Aluminum is something he would consider and/or is doable at my house as an alternative), and running that to a 14-50 outlet in the garage for use with UMC.
2a. I will explore the costs of the 14-50 and GFI and whatever else is needed per code versus possibly just installing a Wall Connector.

3. The idea is to set it up so that if I ever want to install two or second Wall Connector, then I will just have the electrician come and rewire the 14-50 or Wall Connector that's going to be installed now, to a sub-panel with two 60A circuits going out from that for two Wall Connectors. I think that all makes sense.

4. Last question (for now :) Does Tesla still sell Gen2 Wall Connectors? Does it make sense to buy those instead? The answer is probably no to both questions, plus who knows how much longer they will continue to sell them and/or support them.

Hey all, thanks again for your help on this one!
 

Rocky_H

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Feb 19, 2015
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Boise, ID
1)I think the current generation wall connectors each require their own circuit, whereas the older ones could be daisy chained.
Again, let's clarify that. This just means that they do have to be split with separate breakers, rather than just attaching wires directly with Polaris connectors, or equivalent. It does not mean that this 100+ foot wiring run back to the panel has to be done twice, separately.

Sigh. And here I am having to battle more misinformation.
1a) if the above is true, you need a neutral in a sub panel
No, that is not true. If any 120V loads will be fed from the subpanel, then yes, it would require a neutral. If it is only supplying 240V loads, then no it does not.

1. It sounds like I effectively need to run a neutral wire in order to future-proof, as installing multiple Gen3 wall connectors appear to require a sub-panel with separate circuits for each wall connector. This sucks btw, because it seems to force users to install more electrical stuff (a sub-panel, and the need to run a neutral wire) which wasn't the case with multiple Gen2 wall connectors.
Got to pick through this: No, you do not need to run a neutral. Even with Gen2, it would have required at least a junction box to do the Y-splitting of the wires with connectors, so there would have been something there anyway. In the Gen3, that box just needs to be more specifically a subpanel, because the Y-splitting has to be done with breakers.
1a. Actually, just for curiosity, was a neutral wire required to install multiple Gen2 wall connectors.
No. Neutral is not now and has never been required for ANY version of the wall connectors, because they are 240V ONLY devices.
2. So with all that said, I am now thinking of telling the electrician to run a #6/3 Cu (will ask if #1 or #2 Aluminum is something he would consider and/or is doable at my house as an alternative), and running that to a 14-50 outlet in the garage for use with UMC.
2a. I will explore the costs of the 14-50 and GFI and whatever else is needed per code versus possibly just installing a Wall Connector.
Yeah, check the costs on that, because by the time you add the extra wire and the GFCI breaker just to be able to do a 14-50, that cuts into the cost difference, versus just doing the wall connector, which wouldn't need those.
4. Last question (for now :) Does Tesla still sell Gen2 Wall Connectors? Does it make sense to buy those instead? The answer is probably no to both questions, plus who knows how much longer they will continue to sell them and/or support them.
No, Tesla doesn't sell those anymore, which is really unfortunate, because they were better. But if you have to go scrounging on Ebay to try to get them, I don't know if that's a good idea to base your installation on.
 
Sigh. And here I am having to battle more misinformation.

No, that is not true. If any 120V loads will be fed from the subpanel, then yes, it would require a neutral. If it is only supplying 240V loads, then no it does not.
Code not explicitly prohibiting something doesn't make it a good idea. Some of the other threads I read suggested it's acceptable in some 3 phase commercial panels, but most residential inspectors won't pass it regardless of what the code says or doesn't say.
 

Zaxxon

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Glad your plan is coming together, @k.alexander.
No, Tesla doesn't sell those anymore, which is really unfortunate, because they were better. But if you have to go scrounging on Ebay to try to get them, I don't know if that's a good idea to base your installation on.
Actually, they do (now) sell Gen2--with J1772 connectors on the end. So weird that they phased out Gen2, then brought it back (kinda) for the J1772 version. I wonder what the rationale was for going that route rather than introducing the J1772 edition off of the Gen 3.
 

rjpjnk

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Mar 12, 2021
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by the time you add the extra wire and the GFCI breaker just to be able to do a 14-50, that cuts into the cost difference, versus just doing the wall connector, which wouldn't need those.
^^^ This. Plus you get the benefit of being able to keep the mobile connector in your trunk as a spare in case you ever need it somewhere. Also, the WC is a little safer since there is one less physical connection (The outlet) to wear out. High quality outlets are not cheap.
 
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Rocky_H

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Feb 19, 2015
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Boise, ID
Actually, they do (now) sell Gen2--with J1772 connectors on the end. So weird that they phased out Gen2, then brought it back (kinda) for the J1772 version. I wonder what the rationale was for going that route rather than introducing the J1772 edition off of the Gen 3.
Because that is not a new product. Tesla was building and installing these themselves at some sites years ago, long before the Gen 3 was created. They had never sold them to the public before now though.
 
@Rocky_H, and everyone else: Thank you again! Honestly, it is so nice, and as of late somewhat refreshing, to be able get helpful info and advice online.
As I said, I'm still hiring an electrician to do this, even though a family member has his own construction business, and my hands aren't backwards either, but I know my limitations; that said, I'm the kind of person who loves to learn and understand, and also needs to learn and understand, plus the more I've read about this the more interested and fascinated I've become by it.

So, first you just saved me some money, because now I understand that I do not need to run 100 plus feet of 6awg neutral wire. The only thing that will be installed on this line in the garage is either a 6-50 or 14-50 outlet OR a WC or possibly in the future a sub-panel with two circuits for two WCs.
As a side note, I now finally understand all those diagrams about how an electrical circuit works, and I now understand that in a 120x2=240v circuit (maybe the following terminology is wrong) but the second 120v line takes the place of the neutral in that it's returning or completing the circuit. (Now that I've said it, I'm sure my terminology is wrong, but I think the general principle is correct).

I believe I understood everything from the answers above except for the bolded part here: "No, you do not need to run a neutral. Even with Gen2, it would have required at least a junction box to do the Y-splitting of the wires with connectors, so there would have been something there anyway. In the Gen3, that box just needs to be more specifically a subpanel, because the Y-splitting has to be done with breakers." What "something" are you referring to? This is purely an educational question as I now understand the practical effects of what I need or wish to have installed, which is basically a 6/2 wire running to a 6-50 or a WC.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
7,845
9,870
Boise, ID
because now I understand that I do not need to run 100 plus feet of 6awg neutral wire. The only thing that will be installed on this line in the garage is either a 6-50 or 14-50 outlet OR a WC or possibly in the future a sub-panel with two circuits for two WCs.
Then there is part of this that you are still not understanding. We've corrected it multiple times. If you don't have a neutral, you CAN'T install a 14-50 outlet on there. That outlet types DOES require neutral.
As a side note, I now finally understand all those diagrams about how an electrical circuit works, and I now understand that in a 120x2=240v circuit (maybe the following terminology is wrong) but the second 120v line takes the place of the neutral in that it's returning or completing the circuit. (Now that I've said it, I'm sure my terminology is wrong, but I think the general principle is correct).
Yes, basically. This system is called "split phase". It's like you have Hot1 and Hot2 on opposite sides with neutral effectively in the "middle". A circuit is a loop, so you are going to have two wires to connect to. For the 120V ones, you pick one of the two hot lines and the neutral. For the 240V circuits, it is only the two hot lines.
I believe I understood everything from the answers above except for the bolded part here: "No, you do not need to run a neutral. Even with Gen2, it would have required at least a junction box to do the Y-splitting of the wires with connectors, so there would have been something there anyway. In the Gen3, that box just needs to be more specifically a subpanel, because the Y-splitting has to be done with breakers." What "something" are you referring to?
I was referring to this comment:
This sucks btw, because it seems to force users to install more electrical stuff (a sub-panel, and the need to run a neutral wire) which wasn't the case with multiple Gen2 wall connectors.
You were listing off this shopping list of "more electrical stuff" as if it were all extra because of the Gen3. And I was pointing out that it's kind of unfair, because it's not all extra. You list something like subpanel and breakers, but I was saying there would have already been an equivalent pile of stuff you would have had to buy anyway with a Gen2, because you can't just use paperclips to bind wires together. Buying a junction box and Polaris connectors is the equivalent "something" that would have been there instead of subpanel and breakers.

So I was just pointing out that the parts needed are basically different but not all extra.
 

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