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Temporary outdoor charging solution - advice needed

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by IT Geek, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. IT Geek

    IT Geek Member

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    Let me start off by saying that I am actively looking for a new place to live. Unfortunately I've been saying that same statement for many months now and still have not found a house that I like. But I know I want to move and so I don't necessarily want to put in a permanent outdoor charging setup...or maybe i do.

    It looks like I have three options for charging the Tesla outside in the driveway of the house that I have now (there is no garage and no room to build one either). 1) Just use the 110v outlet that is already located outside and trickle juice back into the car overnight (probably taking all night) and deal with that till I move. 2) Put in a NEMA 14-50 on the outside of the house. The house is vinyl sided though, so that will likely pose some issues getting a big outlet to look good on the side of the house. 3) Install a HPWC temporarily and then take it with me when I move.

    #1 might work as my daily commune is not that many miles (only about 30)...but it certainly feels inconvenient and would probably make it feel like I really could not drive the car for very long distances in a single day. The nearest Supercharger to me is about 40 miles one-way away...so that's not that convenient either.

    #2 could be fine and I'd just leave all the stuff behind and it would become a new selling feature of the house. But with the vinyl siding it would probably get a little more expensive to have to cut around all that stuff to get the box to sit flush on the house. Not sure if I'd need a GFCI breaker though seeing as how this is all outside exposed to the elements (in Michigan)...and if I did then that might push me to go with option #3.

    My question with #3 though is whether or not that is something people even do (meaning install the HPWC and then remove it later)? I'm kind of leaning that way as it would certainly be the most convenient (no need to drag out the UMC all the time) but what happens to the setup when I move? I suppose I could put things on a post and maybe take the post out...or do you leave the post in and then just cap the electrical? Those are the things I don't know.

    I've read quite a few things on the these forums with regard to outdoor charging and what others have done. I've seen some HPWC on posts and that would look good. But I don't think I want to leave it behind when I move...

    Just looking for some advice so that I can get the next steps started. Thanks.
     
  2. Andyw2100

    Andyw2100 Supporting Member

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    A big part of the equation is how likely you are to move, and how soon.

    If you will definitely be moving soon, I think I'd try to get by with 110 volt charging, and perhaps supplement it with local chargers you may be able to find on plugshare.

    Good luck!
     
  3. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    Just a few thoughts...
    You could probably get by with the 120v outlet and that would be the least cost.
    Installing a 14-50 "RV" outlet in an outdoor box would be relatively easy (depending on your main panel capacity and location) and you could use this with the UMC or HPWC (with an electric range pigtail) and give you much better charging capacity. You wouldn't have to leave your charger behind. I installed a few of these in different locations while waiting for my garage to get built and they work well.
    I'd probably avoid doing a fixed HPWC installation as that will be more expensive and you'll have to rip it out (and leave a scar) when you move.
     
  4. Evbwcaer

    Evbwcaer Member

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    You should buy a Quick 220 or the competing product from Steambrite. You can take it with you when you move.

    Note that the outlets must be non-GFI.
     
    • Disagree x 2
  5. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Active Member

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    That is not going to be a good solution. He has an outlet by the driveway. Where is he going to get the other outlet for the Quick220? He would have to run a 50 foot or 100 foot extension cord in a window into the house to get to some other wall outlet on a different circuit. That would be a mess.
    @IT Geek Yeah, kind of depends on how long term you're looking at. Running on a regular outlet would work OK if you can give it about 10 hours overnight, but yes, you're going to feel like you can't drive your car much. I would second the suggestion to maybe look around on Plugshare to see if there is something better near you, but that's also going to be cumbersome.

    If you are going to be there long enough to install something, I would probably go with installing a HPWC for real. With it being outside, you are not going to like getting your UMC out and having it get muddy, and getting your hands muddy when you want to pack it up, etc. Yes, mounting it on a post is not too bad for fairly short term if you want to drive that in and pull it out when you leave. Also, the HPWC is actually made to be rain proof and be outside. I would personally be OK with using a mobile connector in the rain now and then, but probably not for long term daily use.
     
  6. IT Geek

    IT Geek Member

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    I've looked at the Quick 220, but I agree that's not going to be something that will work all that well in my situation. There is only one plug outside which is a GFI and if I want to use the Quick 220 then it's either get another line run or go down the extension cord route. Neither is ideal.

    I also did a look around on Plugshare and that's what has got me to want to put in my own charging at home now rather than just ride things out till I move. While there are some J1772 type chargers nearby there are only listed to be about 6.6Kw which would mean getting only about 20 miles of range per hour. There is one a grocery store nearby, but I'd have to practically live there on the weekends in order to make that work.

    it's hard to say how long I'll be in my current house. I'm actively looking, there just isn't that much available where I want to move to right now. Spring will likely change that as most people don't put up houses for sale here in the winter. I'm also likely being too picky, which may change once I have the car and this charging situation starts wearing on me.

    Perhaps I could put in the HPWC and then when it's taken out the post could be converted to a NEMA 14-50 (same wiring I suppose).

    This would be so much easier if I knew I was staying in this house.
     
  7. IT Geek

    IT Geek Member

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    Yeah, that's why i was thinking of having things installed on a post...so that I didn't do anything permanent to the house.

    Would the labor be more expensive or just the materials (meaning buying a HPWC) because I'd likely get the HPWC for my next house anyway. That's why I thinking I could go that route now and then just reuse it when I move.

    I can have a 50A breaker (but really not much bigger) put in my current electrical panel So that's not a concern.

    The wire might be more expensive (seeing as it likely need to be underground rated) but if I didn't have to drag out the UMC every time I wanted to charge that might be worth it to me.

    Jokingly I was thinking that I could always turn my old hose into an AirBnb listing and then leave the HPWC behind...but I don't think I'd want to do that.
     
  8. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Active Member

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    Yep, at home charging is far better than anything anywhere else. Wiring for a 14-50 on a post is something useful you could leave at the house. It probably won't contribute anything measurable on resale value when you move, though. You can put in the cable that will work for a 14-50, with the hot, hot, neutral, and ground, but leave the neutral capped off to install the wall connector on it, and then change the wiring when you leave.
     
    • Informative x 1
  9. BerTX

    BerTX Active Member

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    Thinking a little outside the box...

    Is the existing 120v outlet on a dedicated circuit? What size is the wire?

    If the wire is straight from the breaker box to the outlet and of sufficient size, you may be able to convert it to a 240v 20A circuit to run the Wall Connector from. That would give you about 11-12 MPH charging. You'd lose the outdoor outlet, of course, but you could put that back when you sell.

    I don't think a 120v outlet in the outdoors in Michigan in the winter will give you much charging. Maybe someone here will have more info on that.
     
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  10. tga

    tga Supporting Member

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    Install a 6-15 or 6-20 outlet (you'll need a custom 6-20P to 5-20R adapter and the
    5-20 UMC adapter) in a single gang outlet box with a waterproof cover (the clear "bubble" kind). Replace it with a standard outlet and replace the 240V breaker with a 120V breaker when you move. Reuse the plastic cover for the 120V outlet.

    You could do a 14-30 for a bit more in wire cost, but you probably need a dual gang box, which will be harder to hide on move out.
     
  11. gregd

    gregd Active Member

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    I'd vote for option #2. My brother just put in one (so I can visit!), and it cost him all of $250, most of which was the electrician's labor. This was just a 14-50 "RV" box attached to the side of the house.

    I actually think it can be a re-sale advantage for the house, not just for EV charging, but also for the folks who actually have an RV.

    As noted, a 120v outlet, if only 15 amps (check the circuit breaker and what else is on the circuit), might get you no net charging if the weather and car are cold enough. Most of the juice may go into keeping the battery from freezing.
     
  12. brucet999

    brucet999 Active Member

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    You don't say whether you have existing 240V outlets anywhere in the house, nor where the breaker panel is.

    If the panel is on the outside, then you can easily run external conduit to a point near the driveway and surface-mount a weather-tight RV outlet box. Even if the panel is in the basement, it may not be difficult to run conduit through the foundation or wall for an outlet. If there is a clothes dryer outlet near where you want the charging station, you could punch through the wall and run conduit to an RV box.

    Here are several inexpensive outdoor RV outlets, including 30A and 50A versions. Search Results for RV outlet at The Home Depot
     
  13. MorrisonHiker

    MorrisonHiker S 90D 2017.28 c528869

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    I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet, but you might be able to install a 5-20 outlet where you said there was already an outlet outside. Combined with Tesla's 5-20 adapter, that could allow you to charge at 16 amps instead of 12 amps on a regular 5-15 outlet, assuming the wiring is sufficient. I've used 5-20 while on road trips when one relative didn't have a 240 volt outlet and at another relative's while waiting to replace a blown fuse on his 6-50 outlet.
     
  14. brucet999

    brucet999 Active Member

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    I notice that some posters have suggested using one or another type of 120V adapter, but I wonder if those would be effective for outdoor charging in Michigan winter weather? Wouldn't most of their energy go into trying to warm up the battery enough to take a charge?
     
  15. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    #15 wycolo, Feb 17, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
    > There is only one plug outside which is a GFI . . . [IT Geek]

    You probably mean 'a duplex outlet' with a GFI twin-receptacle unit inside it or else a regular duplex outlet fed from a GFI breaker in the service panel. Since you say this is the only outlet outside the house it would be helpful to estimate the cable length to the service panel from this box. Then look again for the few closest outlets inside the house as these might prove useful.

    Kill the breaker and remove the outlet cover and receptacle. Look at the wires for number and gauge. Ideally you will find it being fed by a 10-3 cable which you could use to directly feed a HPWC or 30A EVSE. Less than ideally, you will discover something else but the electrician would have to do all this inspection anyway.
    --

    edit - added: inspection
     
  16. IT Geek

    IT Geek Member

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    This is intriguing to me. I take it that would mean that I would need this adapter for the end of the UMC:
    Tesla — NEMA 5-20

    I believe that this outlet is all by itself on its own breaker (20amp)...so this suggestion is worth digging into a bit more.

    Doing a bit of research I saw that I can get this type of mounting block for the vinyl siding which would be able to attach a double gang box. Looks like it's just one hole so I could put a single gang box back in when I move (or just leave the dobule gang there).

    Builders Edge 3 in. Surface Block #016 Gray-130110007016 - The Home Depot

    The panel is in the basement. There is only one 240V outlet in the house and that goes to the range in the kitchen. This outlet is not in use though as I have the stove running on natural gas (as is the dryer). So I guess I could conceivably take and use this breaker (30amp) and just get some wire pulled to the outside and then I would have 30 amps going to the car. But would that require an RV type box or can that end in a double gang box? I don't think I want to attach an RV type box on the outside of the house (because they are too big and would likely require siding work), but a double gang box would be fine.

    The more I think about it... the more this is starting to sound like a very good option for a temporary setup. I do absolutely want to have at-home charging for piece of mind. But I also don't want to invest a fortune as this is will hopefully only be needed for a few more months.
     
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  17. brkaus

    brkaus Active Member

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    They also have a 6"x6" surface block. My 14-50 outside RV outlet measures 7"h x 5.5"w. It would likely be ok. I also found one smaller than 6x6. 50 Amp Power Outlet - S018-559081

    No reason to not just leave the outlet, as long as it's installed properly.

    I believe your best bet would be to get an electrician (or two) to come in and provide some quotes and suggestions.

    Ask for prices for
    1. New 14-50 install
    2. Convert existing outlet to any 240V that would work with existing wiring
    3. Any other suggestions!

    They probably have experience with the typical construction in the area.
     
  18. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Active Member

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    Oh, well that's a pretty significant useful detail. Current determines wire thickness, but it can be 120V or 240V. So if that outdoor outlet is by itself on a 120V 20A breaker, you can use the same wire for a 240V circuit by changing each end: breaker and outlet. So you can switch to a double pole 240V breaker, and change the outlet to a 6-20, and you instantly double the charge rate from it. 240V 16A is not too shabby, and it would be a really quick, easy, cheap, non-disruptive install.

    To use the 6-20 outlet then, two ways:
    (1) Tesla does have an official 6-15 adapter. It's kind of like how all your household appliances have 5-15 plugs, but you can plug them into either 5-15 or 5-20 outlets. The 6-15 and 6-20 goes the same way, where you can use a lower level 15A plug in a higher capacity 20A outlet. So no 3rd party adapter cords needed, but it would limit the current to 12A.
    (2) You can get the Tesla 5-20 adapter for the UMC, which will properly allow 16A, but then you need to make or buy an adapter cord to have a 6-20 plug on one end and 5-20 receptacle on the other end. It's a little more cumbersome, but you get the full current.
     
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  19. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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  20. IT Geek

    IT Geek Member

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    I actually did read thru your thread before. BTW, @artsci I love what you did there for your charging solution...and if I was staying in my current house I would be all over a solution like that. What you've done looks so very good.
     

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