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Trickle Charging vs. Tesla Wall Connector! Opinions Wanted.

Should I pursue this difficult Wall Connector install or settle for trickle charging?


  • Total voters
    25

Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,027
1,186
Wildomar, CA
Hi there Teslarati,

Many of you are well aware of the struggles I've had with getting a charger installed. For those who don't, the quick points are these; I'm in a Townhome complex and each unit has a pathetic 60a panel, gas dryer (can't free up volts there), need to trench new power from panel box that feeds building, need a way to pay for the power I use (SCE involvement) and the HOA wants architectural plans but have given preliminary approval.

I'm told that I am the first in my complex to attempt this, and I like being first. Part of me wants to see it through just for the challenge of it. I really want faster L2 charging as well since we have two Teslas now.

All told, it'll be time-consuming and expensive to get a Wall Connector installed. I've been through 11 electricians, 9 of whom either ghosted me, refused the job, won't call me back, etc. I have calls out to two who seem game, but they scare off easily. I guess it's easier to make money doing easy jobs than tackling the hard stuff!

So, I have the choice to continue with this process of getting my Tesla Wall Connector installed (already purchased, sitting in the office here) or continue trickle charging not one but two Teslas, mine and my girlfriend's new MSM LR/AWD.

Should I give up the fight or continue on? We want to stay in this place for the forseeable future and get it paid off, though we did consider moving to a bigger place (with fewer electrical issues). In fact, that's one of my primary reasons for wanting to move aside from having an extra room or two and a fully detached home (no shared walls), and maybe a yard. Lots of money to pay for that though.

Is there any downside to trickle charging with 12a power going all night or during peak hours when we charge? I worry about that continuous load. I have a very good extension cable, fat and yellow. I forget the numbers on it but I researched it when I had a LEAF.

In favor of trickle charging....I currently work-from-home and the girlfriend doesn't really need to work right now, but she may take a job in less than a year or so. She will likely have a light commute, and I will likely continue to work from home with occasional trips to L.A. However, I could be asked to commute every day to L.A. as well. Trying to future-proof here.

I guess I need to exhaust my options fully. Is there any risk or downside to trickle-charging other than the extra planning needed for trips or slow charge speeds?

We are within a few miles of a very nice 250 Kw Supercharger in Santa Clarita here. I'm lucky in that sense.

Some of this decision probably relies on cost too, but my girlfriend and I will be splitting that cost.

I am the type who will always wonder 'What could have been' if I give up, and I don't like to give up easily. Then again, maybe I'm being too stubborn. A big part of me really wants to fully exhaust all options and know for sure that it can't be done, which I have a hard time believing.

Opinions are welcome. Either I continue this pursuit, or I save money and stop trying.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
8,900
9,917
Riverside Co. CA
It sounds like considerable expense, so I would only even entertain it at all if your plan was really to "stay put" for the next SEVERAL years. If you have steady income, this wouldnt be a bad time to entertain selling that home and purchasing a detached home ( equity and such notwithstanding), because of historically low interest rates.

Faster charging definitely shouldnt be the only reason, but you mentioned some other positives for a detached single family home (no shared walls, likely a couple more rooms, possibly a yard, and more flexibility with doing these type of improvements to your property).

If it were me (and I am well aware its not), I would likely look at moving before I would sink a bunch of money I wouldnt get back into putting in that wall connector. Even if you get it installed, its not going to bring much (if any) additional value to your townhome. Certainly not what it is going to cost, if I remember you talking about trenching and what not.
 

augkuo

Member
Apr 24, 2011
987
2,927
Berkeley
I have a Tesla HPC charger with a roadster plug which is not compatible with the newer cars. I also have the latest Tesla Wall Connector which is still sitting in its box after 2 years since I haven't had the need to install it. 120V is fine for daily trips and super chargers are close enough for starting longer drives.
 

Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,027
1,186
Wildomar, CA
It sounds like considerable expense, so I would only even entertain it at all if your plan was really to "stay put" for the next SEVERAL years. If you have steady income, this wouldnt be a bad time to entertain selling that home and purchasing a detached home ( equity and such notwithstanding), because of historically low interest rates.

Faster charging definitely shouldnt be the only reason, but you mentioned some other positives for a detached single family home (no shared walls, likely a couple more rooms, possibly a yard, and more flexibility with doing these type of improvements to your property).

If it were me (and I am well aware its not), I would likely look at moving before I would sink a bunch of money I wouldnt get back into putting in that wall connector. Even if you get it installed, its not going to bring much (if any) additional value to your townhome. Certainly not what it is going to cost, if I remember you talking about trenching and what not.

Great post jjandorin, and you and others have been super helpful in the past with these questions too as I was initially trying to get an EVSE upgrade.

If it were up to me, we'd already be in a larger single-fam home, good electrical, newer, Tesla solar and Powerwall ready, etc. The trouble is that she has a modest inheritance she wants to make last and I'm earning a salary with no such inheritance, so we're at cross-purposes. She wants to hunker down and pay off what we have, and I want to one more home upgrade before we call it 'good' for the forseeable future. Having this 60a panel to me is a joke and I feel it's a direct impediment to an ideal EV setup for a two Tesla home, and it's not like we couldn't sell the place and put a nice down payment on something else.

That said, she paid off her half of the mortgage, I'm in the middle of a refinance, and I'll probably convince her to upgrade in a year or so after we fix the place up a little. In the meantime, it sure would be nice to get this dang ol' Wall Connector installed and it would be a rare perk for the next owner too, considering that the incidence of EVs (Teslas the best among them) are only going up. At least if the TWC is installed I'll feel better about being here.

So, this issue isn't just about EV charging....it affects how I feel about our home in general. It's just stuck in the primoridal pre-EV past and I find it constantly aggravating. First-world problems, I know.
 

Rottenapplr

Active Member
Apr 6, 2019
1,001
480
LOS ANGELES
It sounds like considerable expense, so I would only even entertain it at all if your plan was really to "stay put" for the next SEVERAL years. If you have steady income, this wouldnt be a bad time to entertain selling that home and purchasing a detached home ( equity and such notwithstanding), because of historically low interest rates.

Faster charging definitely shouldnt be the only reason, but you mentioned some other positives for a detached single family home (no shared walls, likely a couple more rooms, possibly a yard, and more flexibility with doing these type of improvements to your property).

If it were me (and I am well aware its not), I would likely look at moving before I would sink a bunch of money I wouldnt get back into putting in that wall connector. Even if you get it installed, its not going to bring much (if any) additional value to your townhome. Certainly not what it is going to cost, if I remember you talking about trenching and what not.
Hmmm sounds considerable expense. Did they quote you like 20k or something for the project. If it’s that expensive I would rather just put it towards the house. Condos to me anyway, aren’t my choice for long term housing. I don’t like shared walls and shared space if I can help it. Nothing like a front yard and backyard you can call yours without others intruding on the space.
 
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TheRFMan

Member
Dec 15, 2019
548
416
Ottawa, Canada
Just wondering... since you have a gas dryer, do you also have a gas stove (or willing to switch to one)? If so, you may have some capacity on that panel even if it's only 60A. Your only significant power draw will probably be A/C. My A/C is on a 20A breaker, plus a few hundred watts for the fan.

If you only have A/C and standard household 120V loads for lighting and electronics and such, you should be able to put in at least a 240V 20A circuit in your garage. If you have a 120V 20A garage outlet on a dedicated circuit, you don't even need to run new wire to convert it to a 240V outlet, just a new breaker and outlet. Throw in a 6-20 NEMA adapter for the UMC, and it's a pretty cheap solution.

It won't get you blazing speed but it should take you from 10-90% in less than 24 hours, which is about 3 times faster than charging at 120V.
 

P85_DA

Supporting Member
Apr 25, 2015
4,171
2,881
CA
OP personally I would stick with the trickle ...I have a second home (condo) where I went thru same experience although I have a 100amp panel I have the capacity ..I did work with our home owners over the last three years and eventually they agreed to fund two ChargePoints...have you approached your HOA or other homeowners who may have EVs in your complex ? I know this isn’t a clear cut answer however in my case I avoided a large cost to do myself and I was able to use trickle charge plus nearby superchargers to get by ...good luck !!
 

Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,027
1,186
Wildomar, CA
Just wondering... since you have a gas dryer, do you also have a gas stove (or willing to switch to one)? If so, you may have some capacity on that panel even if it's only 60A. Your only significant power draw will probably be A/C. My A/C is on a 20A breaker, plus a few hundred watts for the fan.

If you only have A/C and standard household 120V loads for lighting and electronics and such, you should be able to put in at least a 240V 20A circuit in your garage. If you have a 120V 20A garage outlet on a dedicated circuit, you don't even need to run new wire to convert it to a 240V outlet, just a new breaker and outlet. Throw in a 6-20 NEMA adapter for the UMC, and it's a pretty cheap solution.

It won't get you blazing speed but it should take you from 10-90% in less than 24 hours, which is about 3 times faster than charging at 120V.

I will mention this to my electrician. Would be a huge improvement over trickle charging. Thanks!
 
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Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,027
1,186
Wildomar, CA
OP personally I would stick with the trickle ...I have a second home (condo) where I went thru same experience although I have a 100amp panel I have the capacity ..I did work with our home owners over the last three years and eventually they agreed to fund two ChargePoints...have you approached your HOA or other homeowners who may have EVs in your complex ? I know this isn’t a clear cut answer however in my case I avoided a large cost to do myself and I was able to use trickle charge plus nearby superchargers to get by ...good luck !!

The problem is that I don't see other EVs here, or any other Teslas. If I could secure a mailing list I could at least take the temperature of the complex, so to speak.
 
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Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
8,805
7,615
Visalia, CA
...Is there any downside to trickle charging with 12a power going all night...

Downside as in harms to your battery then: No. 120V slow charge does not harm your battery.

Downside as in wasting your time then: Yes.

Downside as in not getting a full charge every night for a long commute then: Yes. A short commute should be fine.

Downside as in costing more during peak time then: Depends. If you can avoid the peak time then it's cheap. If you need to use all the time you've got such as peak-time then of course peak time would hit your pocket.

Downside as in hardly charging any miles in subfreezing weather then: Yes but I doubt your home is in the subfreezing zone in Santa Clarita so not applicable to your home.

Since you are near a supercharger, you can get some miles in your car in your home as a convenience and when you know that's not enough, you can always drive to a Supercharger then walk back or bike back to your home to wait for it.


Some considerations:

1) Is your outlet 120V 15A? It is slower and the adapter is included in your car.

upload_2020-10-6_21-33-35.png


or 120V 20A? It optionally costs $35:

upload_2020-10-6_21-34-28.png


The two outlets almost look very much alike but the 20A not only has 2 vertical slits but it also has a horizontal slit.


2) How far is the panel to your garage? When you mention "trench", you mean to dig up the ground?

3) Can they just swap out the old wires for thicker wires if the conduits are big enough to accommodate that?

4) If they can swap out the old wires for thicker wires: can it be from 120V 15A and upgraded to 20A? Or better yet upgraded to any 240V?
 
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Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,027
1,186
Wildomar, CA
Downside as in harms to your battery then: No. 120V slow charge does not harm your battery.

Downside as in wasting your time then: Yes.

Downside as in not getting a full charge every night for a long commute then: Yes. A short commute should be fine.

Downside as in costing more during peak time then: Depends. If you can avoid the peak time then it's cheap. If you need to use all the time you've got such as peak-time then of course peak time would hit your pocket.

Downside as in hardly charging any miles in subfreezing weather then: Yes but I doubt your home is in the subfreezing zone in Santa Clarita so not applicable to your home.

Since you are near a supercharger, you can get some miles in your car in your home as a convenience and when you know that's not enough, you can always drive to a Supercharger then walk back or bike back to your home to wait for it.


Some considerations:

1) Is your outlet 120V 15A? It is slower and the adapter is included in your car.

View attachment 596050

or 120V 20A? It optionally costs $35:

View attachment 596051

The two outlets almost look very much alike but the 20A not only has 2 vertical slits but it also has a horizontal slit.


2) How far is the panel to your garage? When you mention "trench", you mean to dig up the ground?

3) Can they just swap out the old wires for thicker wires if the conduits are big enough to accommodate that?

4) If they can swap out the old wires for thicker wires: can it be from 120V 15A and upgraded to 20A? Or better yet upgraded to any 240V?

Hi, good info here and thanks for the pics too. True, being so close to the Supercharger really does take the edge off, and it's FAST and with lots of bays.

As far as I know, all of the outlets are 12A. The charger shows 12A when charging @ 5mph.

The trickle does waste my time in the sense that I'm stuck at its speed, where if I had faster charging I could just charge for less time if I don't want to overcharge (limit setting). It also frees up the connector for my girlfriend if we both need charging.

I'll have to ask the electrician about other options.

For trenching, yeah I mean feeding in new power to the meter box and then trenching that to my garage for the Tesla Wall Connector.

My panel is far from the garage. There's a garage, a patio, the downstairs living room, and the 60A panel is in the lower bathroom around a door. Not convenient in the slightest. Even if they could run conduit, they'd have to go through the ceiling and that would be expensive, destructive, and time-consuming (with drywall repair needed).
 

Misterbee

Member
Apr 2, 2016
189
257
Los Angeles
Seems like trickle charging out to be enough if you are working from home. I trickle charged for the first six months, while driving 40 miles a day commuting. It worked, but i was so happy when i got the HPWC. Then the COVID hit, and now I work from home. The HPWC is very nice, but not really necessary at the moment.

I wouldn’t get too fired up about spending thousands to upgrade your electrical right now. Electricians are very busy right now, so be patient, and see if you still think you need it in a couple months.
 
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Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,027
1,186
Wildomar, CA
Seems like trickle charging out to be enough if you are working from home. I trickle charged for the first six months, while driving 40 miles a day commuting. It worked, but i was so happy when i got the HPWC. Then the COVID hit, and now I work from home. The HPWC is very nice, but not really necessary at the moment.

I wouldn’t get too fired up about spending thousands to upgrade your electrical right now. Electricians are very busy right now, so be patient, and see if you still think you need it in a couple months.

Thanks a lot for your feedback. As it happens, I don't actually need it right now either, though it would make for a much cleaner installation with easier cord wrangling.

I'm driven by the challenge, my curiosity, seeing what's actually involved rather than giving up, and having a real choice than resigning myself to trickle charging two Model 3 cars for the foreseeable future. That said, I'm in no hurry, but I would like to future-proof for any commuting requirements which may arise in the post-COVID future. Hopefully that's the nearish future!

Since I haven't really been able to get an electrician to really give it a go, I don't feel like I know enough to say it can't be done. The next stage after information gathering would be cost, which may in fact be prohibitive. We shall see!
 
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Rottenapplr

Active Member
Apr 6, 2019
1,001
480
LOS ANGELES
Yes I’m curious what the cost will be. It sounds expensive that’s for sure. Initially they thought they needed to upgrade my breaker to 200 and quoted close to $1500. Digging up and all that seems spendy that’s for sure.
 
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brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
7,746
6,280
Austin, TX
With the nearby fast charging options, I’d trickle charge and save the additional $$ on the residence. I doubt you would recover the cost if you sell.
 
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lUtriaNt

Member
Mar 16, 2020
624
551
Los Angeles
ive been following your discussions since march (when i got model 3) on this issue and i think its time to throw in the towel.

i get you want to be the first and accept a challenge , but you are not going to win every battle, so let this one go.

sell the charger and recoup some bread and see if you can get a 20 amp outlet done. stop wasting your time with this.

life is short mate, there are no guarantees. enjoy your wife/girlfriend, enjoy the car, and use level 1/trickle charge.

im in an apartment and had a 20 amp circuit installed at the spot im assigned to. i get along just fine and i commute to the office 5 days a week.

also its possible you may end up moving to a better location down the road. you cant predict the future. save your charger battle then.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
8,900
9,917
Riverside Co. CA
Thanks a lot for your feedback. As it happens, I don't actually need it right now either, though it would make for a much cleaner installation with easier cord wrangling.

I'm driven by the challenge, my curiosity, seeing what's actually involved rather than giving up, and having a real choice than resigning myself to trickle charging two Model 3 cars for the foreseeable future. That said, I'm in no hurry, but I would like to future-proof for any commuting requirements which may arise in the post-COVID future. Hopefully that's the nearish future!

Since I haven't really been able to get an electrician to really give it a go, I don't feel like I know enough to say it can't be done. The next stage after information gathering would be cost, which may in fact be prohibitive. We shall see!

The bolded quote (and lack of response / ghosting by several electricians) tells you that anyone capable of working through everything that appears to be needed in your case is going to be VERY expensive. The electricians are likely "ghosting" you because they look at the job and say to themselves "its not even worth drawing up a quote since its going to be XX,XXX and there is no way anyone would pay that to install a wall charger in a townhome".

I know I am projecting a bit, but the fact that multiple people basically wont respond to you is in some ways an answer. its likely not "4-5k" but "an amount that they all think no one would pay".
 

jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2015
5,298
25,988
I survived for several months with zero charging at my Florida condo because the boards lawyer said EV was too much of a fire risk (this was 2014-2015). There were no Supercharger then so I travelled to a nearby town that had an early CHAdeMO and Tesla had just introduced the adapter. Too much information, I know. Even with that seemingly dire situation it ended out being easy once I accepted the process. Iended out leaving my Mode S alone for months at a time so I quickly learned about phantom discharge.

Skipping the history, I went months when I could only access 120-15 for charging before even that CHAdeMO adapter was available. It really was quite survivable, since I was only in local use at the time.

If there had been Superchargers close by as they are now, I'd never have installed the 208/20 pitiful connection that was all I could get for ~$5,000. I'd never change a thing in your situation until I moved.
 

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