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NEMA 14-50 Outdoor Installation - Think I need to bring my electrician back out

kirkjufell

Member
Jan 20, 2021
9
5
Greensboro NC
I am going to be taking delivery of my MY SR in about 10 days. In preparation, I just had our electrician install a NEMA 14-50 plug on the side of our house, since we don't have a garage. The idea is to use the mobile charger with the proper adapter. Looking at his work in the photos attached, I think there are 2 issues - wanted to see if you all agree.

  1. The face of the plug its self is upside down. I think it needs to be rotated 180 degrees in order to allow the cord to not interfere with the box and properly connect. (my adapter is in the mail, so i can't confirm, but looking at photos I think it is upside-down)

  2. I was expecting a outdoor outlet with a box and a hood. (something like this Connecticut Electric 50-Amp RV Power Outlet-CESMPS54HR - The Home Depot ) The one he installed is a waterproof outdoor outlet, however I don't think it would be a good idea to connect/disconnect in the rain since it really isn't protected. Anyone have this type of plug and have concerns?


    IMG-1397.jpg
    IMG-1396.jpg
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
3,272
3,247
Maryland
The plug can be oriented whatever way works best for your installation. Where were you planning to place the Mobile Connector? Is the location where the electrician installed the surface mounted 14-50 receptacle exposed to the weather?

Not to further ruin your day but the Leviton 14-50 receptacles have a bad rep for charging an EV. Tesla has all of the information you need regarding 14-50 installation on their web site.

You my need to have the electrician come back. I would have met with the electrician to discuss exactly what was going to be installed.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,660
7,955
Boise, ID
I think there are 2 issues
3. It has a big ole "Leviton" stamped right there on it. Leviton are really cheap badly made receptacles. Bryant, Cooper, or Hubbel are all much better made.

The face of the plug its self is upside down. I think it needs to be rotated 180 degrees in order to allow the cord to not interfere with the box and properly connect. (my adapter is in the mail, so i can't confirm, but looking at photos I think it is upside-down)
Yes, for the charge cable to hang downward, it does need to have the round ground pin on the top. Either way is allowed, but ground on top would be much more helpful to you, and is listed in the install guide on Tesla's page and should have been specified to the electrician.
I was expecting a outdoor outlet with a box and a hood. (something like this Connecticut Electric 50-Amp RV Power Outlet-CESMPS54HR - The Home Depot ) The one he installed is a waterproof outdoor outlet, however I don't think it would be a good idea to connect/disconnect in the rain since it really isn't protected. Anyone have this type of plug and have concerns?
Well, that's a pretty normal style for outdoor outlets. They have flip covers to protect them from rain when no one is using them, but that's pretty normal that they are not protected from rain when something is plugged in. I'm noticing a lot of expecting and assuming.

For outdoor installs, I generally recommend the wall connector for these kinds of reasons. They are built to be sealed against rain and the elements.
 

kashian

Member
Jan 4, 2021
74
41
San Diego
I agree with the wall connector suggestion, but I think even a corded mobile connector would be better than using the supplied mobile connector with a 14-50 adapter, in case it's possible for water to seep through the adapter connection to the charger. If you're stuck with your current configuration, you might be able to get away with it by using an extension cord where you can put the charger inside the garage (or somewhere where you can protect it from the element and simply have the cable exposed outside. Just a thought...
 

gfunkdave

Member
Aug 10, 2016
143
201
Chicago
If you want to use a plug-in connector then it needs to be water tight and rated for outdoor use while something is plugged in, not just when the cover is closed. I would also counsel against plugging/unplugging the cord every time you need to charge the car or drive away. Leave it plugged in most of the time; these outlets aren't really made for lots of connection/disconnection cycles. They are designed for, say, a kitchen range where you plug it in and leave it plugged in for 10 years. Too many plug/unplug cycles will result in loose contacts and need for outlet replacement.

I think (personal opinion) that a wall connector or third-party hardwired, outdoor-rated connector is the best course of action here. It includes the required GFCI protection (did your electrician put the outlet on a GFCI breaker?) and is rated to be outside and in use in wet or windy conditions. Check with your local electric utility; they may have some kind of discount or rebate on EV charging equipment.
 

kirkjufell

Member
Jan 20, 2021
9
5
Greensboro NC
Thanks for the feedback. I did provide the electrician with the tesla document on nema 14-50, but looking back at it now, it is not specific on outdoor install/plug types. I should have been more clear with the electrician. I am having him swap it out for the RV style plug, which will allow me to leave the the plug connected.

I will test it out when I get the car next week and report back.
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
3,272
3,247
Maryland
Thanks for the feedback. I did provide the electrician with the tesla document on nema 14-50, but looking back at it now, it is not specific on outdoor install/plug types. I should have been more clear with the electrician. I am having him swap it out for the RV style plug, which will allow me to leave the the plug connected.

I will test it out when I get the car next week and report back.
When your electrician installs the new receptacle outlet make sure the 14-50 receptacle is oriented the way you need it so the ground pin is in the correct location. The Mobile Connector should not be left to hang unsupported only held up by the power plug. Tesla sells a charging cord organizer that includes a wall mount for the Mobile Connector. Also, check Amazon or Etsy for similar mounting brackets.
 

kirkjufell

Member
Jan 20, 2021
9
5
Greensboro NC
When your electrician installs the new receptacle outlet make sure the 14-50 receptacle is oriented the way you need it so the ground pin is in the correct location. The Mobile Connector should not be left to hang unsupported only held up by the power plug. Tesla sells a charging cord organizer that includes a wall mount for the Mobile Connector. Also, check Amazon or Etsy for similar mounting brackets.

Makes sense - Ill check one of those out and make sure there is no undue strain on the cord. Thanks!
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,660
7,955
Boise, ID
The Mobile Connector should not be left to hang unsupported only held up by the power plug. Tesla sells a charging cord organizer that includes a wall mount for the Mobile Connector. Also, check Amazon or Etsy for similar mounting brackets.
A lot of this is kind of visual common sense of how much of the weight of it seems to be hanging. From the angle and depth of focus of the pictures, I can't really tell how high off the ground that is. If it's only a couple of feet high, and then the cord rests on the ground, it's already basically "supported" and there isn't much weight hanging from it. But if it's more like several feet up and chest height, then yeah, probably want something to hold more of it.
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
3,272
3,247
Maryland
A lot of this is kind of visual common sense of how much of the weight of it seems to be hanging. From the angle and depth of focus of the pictures, I can't really tell how high off the ground that is. If it's only a couple of feet high, and then the cord rests on the ground, it's already basically "supported" and there isn't much weight hanging from it. But if it's more like several feet up and chest height, then yeah, probably want something to hold more of it.
Every EVSE I've used or seen has a short pigtail power plug cord. The EVSE electronics brick should be attached to the wall or wall stud to relieve the strain on the power plug. If left unsupported, over time, the weak link, the molded power plug, will fail. This could cause the plug to overheat and start a fire. For occasional use you can get away with leaving the Mobile Connector unsupported. Just recognize that this is placing a strain on the power plug and the modular connection.

Depending on the placement of the charging circuit the outlet/receptacle may be too high up for the EVSE electronics unit to rest on the floor (not a great location for the EVSE anyway.) In my state electrical receptacles and switches installed inside a garage must be at a minimum height of 4 ft. This is to prevent an electrical spark from igniting gasoline fumes. Someday, when there are no more gasoline powered vehicles or yard equipment, this requirement will no longer be relevant but it remains part of the local electrical code.
 

kirkjufell

Member
Jan 20, 2021
9
5
Greensboro NC
A lot of this is kind of visual common sense of how much of the weight of it seems to be hanging. From the angle and depth of focus of the pictures, I can't really tell how high off the ground that is. If it's only a couple of feet high, and then the cord rests on the ground, it's already basically "supported" and there isn't much weight hanging from it. But if it's more like several feet up and chest height, then yeah, probably want something to hold more of it.

Good point! The receptacle is about 4.5 feet off the ground, and I will be using some kind of cord hook to keep it off the ground and under the overhand of the house. Shouldn't be too much strain on it, but will see once all is installed.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,660
7,955
Boise, ID
Every EVSE I've used or seen has a short pigtail power plug cord. The EVSE electronics brick should be attached to the wall or wall stud to relieve the strain on the power plug. If left unsupported, over time, the weak link, the molded power plug, will fail. This could cause the plug to overheat and start a fire. For occasional use you can get away with leaving the Mobile Connector unsupported. Just recognize that this is placing a strain on the power plug and the modular connection.

Depending on the placement of the charging circuit the outlet/receptacle may be too high up for the EVSE electronics unit to rest on the floor (not a great location for the EVSE anyway.) In my state electrical receptacles and switches installed inside a garage must be at a minimum height of 4 ft. This is to prevent an electrical spark from igniting gasoline fumes. Someday, when there are no more gasoline powered vehicles or yard equipment, this requirement will no longer be relevant but it remains part of the local electrical code.
Hmm, I don't think I had checked if my state has a height requirement for receptacles. The Tesla install PDF said 18 inches minimum, so that's what I used, so with no support the electronics brick of my UMC is literally resting ON THE FLOOR. So it does not need support and is not really causing "strain" on the outlet.

So that is why I was saying to the OP that this kind of depends on how high it is whether you need support or not.
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
3,272
3,247
Maryland
Hmm, I don't think I had checked if my state has a height requirement for receptacles. The Tesla install PDF said 18 inches minimum, so that's what I used, so with no support the electronics brick of my UMC is literally resting ON THE FLOOR. So it does not need support and is not really causing "strain" on the outlet.

So that is why I was saying to the OP that this kind of depends on how high it is whether you need support or not.
Here in Maryland there is a requirement for electrical receptacles and switches when installed in a garage to be at least 48 inches above the finished floor of the garage. There may be a separate height requirement for outdoor receptacles attached to a structure or fixed to a post. Inside the garage this reduces the risk of a spark igniting gasoline vapors. Outdoors a minimum height requirement would shield the receptacle/connection from contact with water or damage from automobiles or yard equipment. (My house has a car port that was later converted into a garage. The car port had an outdoor receptacle box mounted to the side of the house at 48 inches.) At my parent's home in NY I recall there was an electrical outlet inside their garage, close to the garage door, at a height of probably 18 inches.
 
Last edited:

nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,296
10,970
United States
Ground Pin Up or Ground Pin Down?

I'm not finding other information regarding the 14-50 specifically. Ground pin down seems most attractive, but ground pin up seems most intelligent.

I'm sure the Brits have a lot to say on the topic.

Yeah... I think the error started with 120v outlets. NEMA 14-50s are usually correct since a lot of them come mounted in boxes. I saw an example of the first reason. The metal face plate dropped onto the blades at work and literally welded itself on before the breaker could trip.

Ground plug should be up.
 
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DonaldBecker

Member
Aug 24, 2020
152
168
95033
I had thought that in-use covers were now generally required for new installations.

You might want to do a quick read of NEC 406.9 (B)(1) and (B)(2).

Don't get twisted around in a discussion about "smile" or "frown" orientation of receptacles. Install the receptacle so that the cordset has puts the least stress on the outlet.

For reference, the primary risk is using metal outlet plates with round duplex receptacles. The single center cover screw is at risk of coming loose and allowing the metal plate to short the plug blades. This was more common in ancient times when that screw was likely to be used for clamping a ground wire, or holding an adapter. The safety fix is to use a nylon cover or change to Decora style duplex receptacles, not flipping the "smile" orientation that many, many existing devices (wall warts, flat plugs, GFCI plugs) expect.
 
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