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NEMA 14-50 Done Poorly, House Panel Upgrade?

insaner

Member
Mar 31, 2021
18
5
LA
Hello world,

I am located in Los Angeles. I had a neighbor who does construction so I asked him to help me install a NEMA 14-50 outlet outside and had it wired to my panel. He used PVC as a conduit for my wiring. After 3 hours, $700 dollars, it did not work. Neighbor then tells me that I need to upgrade my panel because it will not work to charge my Tesla but still wanted to take my money...very bummed. My neighbor used a poor weatherproofing outlet, and used extensions of 50ft+8ft of wiring, and used electrical tape to connect them together...?!?! I was furious when I was told this by the 2nd electrician that came by today.

I called a few electricians to come by and give me a quote.
The first guy comes and said I need to upgrade my panel to 200Amp, I currently have 100Amp. $3500 for panel upgrade + $1500 for NEMA 14-50 outlet. (Outrageously expensive)
The 2nd electrician came today and said he can fix it. He will add a 50Amp breaker in my spot and it will work. He will also add j-hubs (not sure what this is), and fix the previous wiring and that I did not need to upgrade my panel. He said I didn't need to upgrade my panel because it does not matter, he can fit a mini-50Amp breaker and it should work. $1000 but no permit needed for this he says.
The 3rd electrician came by today too and said I need to upgrade my panel to 200Amps because I don't have space, I need to use a 60Amp for my Tesla charger (I thought it was 50). Also claims that my old panel is not good, it needs to be replaced because it will burn. $3800 for the panel + $50 for fixing the previous wiring.

I have no idea what I need, electricians gave me different answers. Panel upgrade or not? I got permitted from LADWP to upgrade my panel. If some of you can give me some guidance, that would be awesome.
 

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insaner

Member
Mar 31, 2021
18
5
LA
I do not have tripping problems at my house, we have 3 AC units and I believe they each have their own designated breaker. The only issue is when we use the microwave and have the AC in our living room on, it will trip, other than that there's no problem.
 
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A typical cost to upgrade an electrical service panel from 100A to 200A in Los Angeles is $2500. We are about to add solar power to our home which will require this upgrade. We got six quotes from various companies and they all quoted around $2500 to upgrade our panel from 100A to 200A. Note that this type of upgrade requires a "meter spot" where the contractor puts a request into your electric company to verify the power line to your house can handle a 200A load. This also will likely require that you get a permit from your city for the panel replacement. Make sure the contractor is licensed and bonded for this type of work.
 
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qdeathstar

Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
4,332
4,503
VB
You need two of these:


And one of these:


Depending on the exact load in your panel, your main breaker might trip due to over load. Or it might not trip and instead set your house on fire. Or it might work fine. FPE cheated on its testing.

I would not do this professionally, but if you want to roll the dice and not pay 2700 dollars this is an option. Recommend setting the charge limit to 20 amps to reduce risk.
 

qdeathstar

Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
4,332
4,503
VB
Permit requirement vary, but typically for a new circuit you will need a permit. I would not go with someone who and you don’t need a permit.


if I was doing this (minimum prices, assumes everything is straightforward):

Panel upgrade: $2150
50 amp circuit to an 14-50 outlet with 3r rated enclosure: $825

including permits.

Although gfci requirements do exist in 2017 code I would not install a gfci because it is not required by local code yet. If you requested it add $225 for that. It might be required in LA already.
 

insaner

Member
Mar 31, 2021
18
5
LA
A typical cost to upgrade an electrical service panel from 100A to 200A in Los Angeles is $2500. We are about to add solar power to our home which will require this upgrade. We got six quotes from various companies and they all quoted around $2500 to upgrade our panel from 100A to 200A. Note that this type of upgrade requires a "meter spot" where the contractor puts a request into your electric company to verify the power line to your house can handle a 200A load. This also will likely require that you get a permit from your city for the panel replacement. Make sure the contractor is licensed and bonded for this type of work.
They're charging me like $3500+ for panel 100Amp to 200Amp :(
What companies did you request quote from? I just used Yelp.
 

insaner

Member
Mar 31, 2021
18
5
LA
You need two of these:


And one of these:


Depending on the exact load in your panel, your main breaker might trip due to over load. Or it might not trip and instead set your house on fire. Or it might work fine. FPE cheated on its testing.

I would not do this professionally, but if you want to roll the dice and not pay 2700 dollars this is an option. Recommend setting the charge limit to 20 amps to reduce risk.
That sounds very scary....LOL I'd much rather pay 2700.
 
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They're charging me like $3500+ for panel 100Amp to 200Amp :(
What companies did you request quote from? I just used Yelp.
The solar power installation companies I'm getting quotes from are Solar Optimum, Elevation, Evolution Energy, NRG Clean Power, LA Solar Group, and Future Energy. They all say they will upgrade the panel at cost and only charge profit on the solar panel work. Your results may be different if the company is charging profit on the electrical panel installation itself. Still worth checking around.
 
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Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
7,844
9,866
Boise, ID
@insaner First off, you are putting the cart before the horse by insisting on a 14-50 outlet before even knowing what your electrical system can handle. That's problem number one. You can use all kinds of levels of circuits for charging, from 15A up to 60A, so the better way to approach this is more simple. You get an evaluation of your system, and get what is called a "load calculation", to ASK what level of circuit can be added to what you have. By starting off by just dictating that you want a 14-50, that is probably what is driving the statements that you need a big panel upgrade from 100A to 200A to support that. If you start off by asking what will fit, you may be able to get a 20 or 30A circuit added without needing the big upgrade.

Second thing is yeah, if that's a Federal Pacific panel, those are known to be really bad and dangerous and should be replaced anyway.
 
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@insaner First off, you are putting the cart before the horse by insisting on a 14-50 outlet before even knowing what your electrical system can handle. That's problem number one. You can use all kinds of levels of circuits for charging, from 15A up to 60A, so the better way to approach this is more simple. You get an evaluation of your system, and get what is called a "load calculation", to ASK what level of circuit can be added to what you have. By starting off by just dictating that you want a 14-50, that is probably what is driving the statements that you need a big panel upgrade from 100A to 200A to support that. If you start off by asking what will fit, you may be able to get a 20 or 30A circuit added without needing the big upgrade.

Second thing is yeah, if that's a Federal Pacific panel, those are known to be really bad and dangerous and should be replaced anyway.
Oh I did not know that. This is my first time doing anything electrical besides adding AC units. I read about using 14-50 outlet or Wall Charger to charge. Thank you for your reply, I have a better approach to this now, and I will make sure I ask the right questions for my future work.
 
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Big Earl

bnkwupt
Supporting Member
Jul 12, 2017
6,861
13,477
Springfield, VA
Is that the brand of my panel? I don't see any branding.

You have what is called a Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok panel. It should be replaced yesterday, especially considering the visible dirt and corrosion from being located outside. While you’re replacing it, upgrade to 200 amps and install whatever size EV charging circuit you want. $3500 sounds like a decent price. You’ll need to have permits from your county and maybe a service upgrade from the power company. If your estimates didn’t factor those things in, plan to budget some extra. Best of luck!

Also, don’t ask your neighbor for any more help. :)
 
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You have what is called a Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok panel. It should be replaced yesterday, especially considering the visible dirt and corrosion from being located outside. While you’re replacing it, upgrade to 200 amps and install whatever size EV charging circuit you want. $3500 sounds like a decent price. You’ll need to have permits from your county and maybe a service upgrade from the power company. If your estimates didn’t factor those things in, plan to budget some extra. Best of luck!

Also, don’t ask your neighbor for any more help. :)
My new panel will be Siemens Murray, is that any good?
 

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