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Unplug 14-50 Adapter or leave it plugged in all the time?

@M3BlueGeorgia If you are disagreeing with my suggestion to use an on/off switch, or perhaps you think a socket has a higher cycle count, then maybe I should clarify some....

I'm not talking about a simple wall switch that controls a ceiling light; it's something along the lines like this:


Yes, it's expensive at around $160. But if the OP is REALLY concerned about the consumption of idle power and doesn't want to unplug-plug the mobile connector, then this is one solution (IMO). However, I should say that a cost-analysis should be probably be done to see what the cost in electricity is for the idle current of the mobile connector, versus the cost of a switch like this. And for what one might expect if you simply unplug the mobile connector when it's not being used.

The following assumptions are; idle power for mobile connector: 10W; idle power time: 16hrs; cost of electricity: $0.25/kWh (estimated avg. for CA rates); no change in the cost of electricity over the life of these calculations (yeah, that's a fantasy):

ref: Electricity usage of an Incandescent Light Bulb - Energy Use Calculator

From plugging those numbers into the calculator referenced above, let's say that it costs $0.04 per day to keep the mobile connector powered up. That's $14.60 a year in electricity. After 11 years that amounts to $160.60, which is just about the cost of one of those Bryant 60A switches. I don't know how many on/off cycles a switch like this can endure so that needs to be taken into consideration. But when was the last time a light switch in your house failed? Remember, using an on/off switch for the 14-50 socket is only going to switch instantaneous power to an idle mobile connector and not 32A (the maximum it can provide). That's 10W of power. I'd posit that most people are switching more that than that for their household lights; even those of us who have converted to LEDs. The main reason I've selected a 60A switch is that it has more than enough capacity to sustain a continuous 32A but I supposed that a lower capacity switch would cost a bit less and therefore extend the amount of time for this return-on-investment calculation.

Looking at the other side of the equation, let's figure out what it would cost if one unplugs the mobile connector when it's not being used until the socket fails. I've seen estimates in forums that good sockets like the Hubbell or Bryant can endure 500 cycles. I can't find any published spec from Hubbell so I'll have to guess and say after 3000 cycles the socket will be toast (and hopefully not the house it's connected to). A worst case situation of charging the car every day is 365 cycles in a year. So after a bit more than 8 years it would be time to replace a $150 socket. Changing to charging the car every other day and that extends the life of the socket to 16 1/2 years.

TL;DR:
  • Cost to keep the mobile connector plugged in: $0.04/day or less than $15/yr (CA electricity rates)
  • Material cost of the on/off switch and a good NEMA 14-50 outlet is about the same: $150-$160; installation costs ignored
  • It would take 11 years to recoup the cost of an on/off switch but you'd be (very slightly) lowering your energy consumption while doing so
  • Using an on/off switch adds another point of failure in the system
  • It would take 8 years to recoup the cost of a socket if you unplug every single day, with the added danger of possibly having the socket catch fire
  • Lifespan of the socket will be extended if charging once every two days
We use 14-30 outlet and leave the Mobile Connector plugged into it, except when we go on a road trip.

I could see using a switch or breaker to turn off the power when you have unplugged the Mobile Connector, but it'll get tedious to do it every time you want to charge the car.
 
Related question: you guys think it would be detrimental to keep connecting and disconnecting the adapter at the mobile charger (leaving the plug in the outlet)? That’s what I’ve been doing, but I have to admit I sometimes cringe when I pull the connector off bc that sucker is on there pretty tight.
 

drtimhill

Active Member
Apr 25, 2019
3,509
4,538
Seattle
Certainly the 14/50 wall plug is NOT designed for frequent insertion/removal. I'm not sure about the Tesla adapter connection, but I suspect (guess?) that its designed for occasional changes rather than (say) daily ones.

If you can afford it, I would invest in another complete mobile connector, so you can have one in the car and one in your permanent charging spot, and avoid the issue altogether.
 
Related question: you guys think it would be detrimental to keep connecting and disconnecting the adapter at the mobile charger (leaving the plug in the outlet)? That’s what I’ve been doing, but I have to admit I sometimes cringe when I pull the connector off bc that sucker is on there pretty tight.
Don't do that


The only reason to be unplugging the Mobile Connector from the wall socket is that you are going on a road trip.
 
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Reactions: Rocky_H
I was talking about removing the adapter from the mobile charger, not the plug from the wall outlet.
That's probably not any better than unplugging the 14-50 from the wall. There's no reason to think the connection between the adapter and the mobile connector is any more robust than the 14-50 outlet.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
8,781
11,459
Boise, ID
Related question: you guys think it would be detrimental to keep connecting and disconnecting the adapter at the mobile charger (leaving the plug in the outlet)? That’s what I’ve been doing, but I have to admit I sometimes cringe when I pull the connector off bc that sucker is on there pretty tight.
Don't do that
I concur. Don't do that!
I was talking about removing the adapter from the mobile charger, not the plug from the wall outlet.
Then I concur even more. Really REALLY don't do that!
 

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