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Upgrade current panel for charging?

Discussion in 'Model 3: Battery & Charging' started by xdriv3, Jul 30, 2018.

  1. xdriv3

    xdriv3 Member

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    Hey all,

    This is my current electrical panel - Electrical panels - I'm hoping to get my Model 3 soon. As it currently stands, I debating between the 14-50 outlet vs. Tesla Wall connector (open to other options as well).

    It looks like the major electricity consumers are my mini-splits (2 zone), fridge, washer, pool pump. Everything else (home heating, drier, tankless water heater) all use gas. I'm considering adding 4 additional mini splits to my home in the future.

    With that said, would my current electrical set up at home be enough to safely support charging a Tesla?

    I am going to have the pros come out for quotes. Hoping for some insights so that I'm a more informed shopper.

    Thanks!
     
  2. yuhong

    yuhong Member

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    Looks like 100A service.
     
  3. johnster007

    johnster007 Member

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    If you’re planning on staying at house for a while, I’d recommend adding a panel. I had 200 amp service and added another 200 for simultaneous charging of 2 cars. I’d add at least 100 amps for a little future proofing. My two cents.
     
  4. P85_DA

    P85_DA Supporting Member

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    You don’t have much space as others suggested look at cost of service upgrade..but be prepared to spend thousands that route ..alternately you can do 5-20 which is decent enough ...do u have AC ?
     
  5. xdriv3

    xdriv3 Member

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    That’s what I was expecting. I’ve already started to look for electricians.

    Hoping to not sound stupid, what do you mean AC?
     
  6. P85_DA

    P85_DA Supporting Member

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    Air conditioner
     
  7. Sandollars

    Sandollars I bleed Cardinal

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    Air conditioning
     
  8. eprosenx

    eprosenx Active Member

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    I agree that signs point to you having a 100a service. Though it intrigues me in several ways.

    1. Does the service enter the building in that junction box in the bottom left?
    2. Is that junction box before the meter locked and tagged? What keeps you from stealing power in that layout? How does the electric company read that meter?
    3. Why did someone not just use a standard main breaker in that panel? Odd that they used a standalone disconnect? Maybe since they could not get a 100a main for that panel?
    4. What is the flex conduit coming out of the disconnect panel? I get the power coming in, going to the meter base, then on to the disconnect, and then on to the main panel. But weird that something would come direct into that disconnect? Is that like a solar backfeed or something?
    5. Is that a gas metering device indoors??? Never have seen that before around here...
    6. Ultimately a load calculation needs to be done to see how much available headroom you might have, however, I don't see any 240v breakers in that panel, so you might have *some* headroom (is the pool heat not electric either?)

    There may be a decent enough speed you could charge your Tesla with using this panel (say maybe a 30a 240v breaker that allowed 24a continuous), but that all depends on how many miles you feel you need to be able to regenerate each day. Again, a load calculation needs to be done.

    What you have now looks like a relatively modern install and so other than total capacity, I don't see any safety reasons to push you to upgrade. Though if you are planning on adding significant air conditioning beyond what you have now that could easily push it over the limit. 100a is pretty small by modern standards. 200a is the standard, but large houses are all pretty much getting 320a/400a services these days here.
     
  9. xdriv3

    xdriv3 Member

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    Lol, alright, I was thinking something else since we're on this forum -- I do, my AC system are two mini splits. Again, I may plan on adding 2 additional zones to the system. My HVAC guy already told me I should consider upgrading the systems capacity to accommodate the new additions.
     
  10. xdriv3

    xdriv3 Member

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    Yep, both electric and gas meter are indoors. The utility company comes into take the readings. My water meter is also indoors, but that can be read wirelessly by utilities. I believe they will be upgrading soon so that all readings can be taken wirelessly.


    Re: solar, if I opt for that option down the line, is there anything I should pay attention now when I'm doing upgrades?
     
  11. eprosenx

    eprosenx Active Member

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    Nothing major to do for solar if you do an upgrade. There are a couple ways for them to backfeed the power in. One is to put a breaker in your panel (needs to be at the opposite end of the bus bar from where the main comes in, so leave the last spot / spots empty). The other is for them to tap the service entrance feeders. That second method seems to have become more popular since among other things, you are not allowed to backfeed into your panel with more than 20% of the rated capacity of the panel. So on your 100a panel, it would be no more than 20a of solar. 200a would be a 40a breaker max.

    So I might talk to a solar installer about how they would do it and if they are going to "tap the main" I would make sure there was a good place to accomplish this inside one of the meter/breaker enclosures.

    The real question is if you go to a 200a service (very standard) or up to a 320a/400a service. If you have been living on 100a then 200a is a huge increase, but you are talking about adding two massive draw things (AC and EV's). I guess if you were planning on multiple EV's and wanted fast charging on both there could be a scenario where 200a was not enough. (also depends on the size of the AC units of course)

    Is your service cable underground it looks like? If so, upgrading to 200a or beyond may be pretty expensive as it will require digging. I don't think that conduit is large enough to support higher capacity wire (unless one cheater option might be if they let you do copper wire vs. aluminum - though that may still not get you 200a in that conduit).
     
  12. xdriv3

    xdriv3 Member

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    I had someone come out today to take a look -- based on current set up, there were a couple of comments from the electrician-

    1- I don't have enough breaker slots in my current panel to accommodate the ESVE. I can either upgrade my panel to a larger one or add a sub panel (60 amps). If I chose to use current panel, they will try to find necessary breakers that can fit my current panel and to run a line to the side of my house for the ESVE. Cost range from 1.5k to 2k depending on option.

    2- He does not feel that it is necessary for me to upgrade me service too 200A. I can certainly to it, but it'd be considerably more costly -- ~$3.5k.


    I will have to ask him for the cost of just running a line to create a 14-50 receptacle. He told me of the lower charge rate, which I am willing to compromise on for adding flexibility/lower cost.
     
  13. jelly

    jelly Member

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    I am in a similar situation with an old 100A panel.

    I'm in socal and the easiest option was to have a dedicated meter installed with its own 100A panel. That way I didn't have to replace or touch my old panel. Also qualifies me for the EV rate and rebate from Edison.
     
  14. timk225

    timk225 Active Member

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    Put a copper mesh over that smart meter so its radiation doesn't give you cancer. It should not be in the house!

    Best compromise would be a 6-20 outlet, 240 volt 20 amp, using a double wide breaker and standard 12/2 yellow Romex wire to get you 240 volts at 16 amps charging and 15 miles per hour charge rate. You can easily add 150 miles overnight with that.

    Alternatively, you could add a 30 amp double wide breaker with 10/3 orange Romex wire to get 22 mph charging at 240 volts / 24 amps.

    Both of these save the cost of bigger 6/3 wire for a 14-50, while not overloading your 100 amp system unnecessarily.
     
  15. eprosenx

    eprosenx Active Member

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    Someone is either incompetent or trying to put one over on you.

    The bottom six breaker positions (three on each side) are able to accept double density breakers. You can consolidate existing breakers onto tandem breakers to make room.

    Please post more detailed pictures of the sticker of information on the panel door and of the breakers themselves. We can try to find you the right part numbers and a soirce to buy them.

    If the load calcs will allow it you can add anything from a 15a 240v breaker up to a 100a 240v breaker in the same two position breaker spot. This can either be used for some kind of 240v outlet (for use with a UMC) or with a Wall Connector. If with a wall connector you can dial in a very specific amount of current in order to stay under a load limit for the 100a service.
     
    • Helpful x 1
  16. jelly

    jelly Member

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    Btw in my case Edison pays for the meter. I pay for a new panel and wall charger installation. About $1.9k. This way I can also get a big 100A circuit to potentially serve two wall chargers, and at the very least get the full 60A circuit for my model 3 without worrying about overloading my main panel.
     
  17. eprosenx

    eprosenx Active Member

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    Now that I am home on my laptop and I was able to carefully inspect the pictures you posted, it looks to me like this may be your panel (would still be good to have higher resolution pictures):
    GE PowerMark Gold 150 AMP 24-Space 30-Circuit Indoor Main Lug Circuit Breaker Panel-TLM2415CCU - The Home Depot

    It is a modern panel and appears to be still sold. Getting breakers should be trivial.

    I am a bit confused/concerned about a few things though:
    • My reading of the label (not enough resolution though) tells me that only the bottom six positions are allowed to have tandem (or rather 1/2 inch?) breakers installed. The upper leftmost breaker looks like a twin. Who makes that and what is it labeled? Did someone defeat the interlock mechanism to keep tandems out of regular positions? I am guessing this is NOT a GE breaker?
    • It is interesting that there looks to be a 1" wide tandem breaker in the bottom right from Eaton. It is questionable to see other vendors breakers in a GE panel unless they have been cross rated for use in that panel (Eaton does to this in many cases, but I don't see them on the list as being replacements
    • You also appear to have some Bryant breakers in here. I doubt these are cross rated for use in this panel (though I might be wrong)
    • My math tells me there should be a way to free up four 1" breaker positions which means you are good for 2x 240v breakers to be added to the panel (this even assumes you move that tandem breaker at the top down to a slot it is actually rated to go in). This though only gets you one EVSE and one AC unit, not two.
     
  18. Jedi2155

    Jedi2155 Model 3 has Arrived.

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    I hope this is a joke....If not why are you driving EVs...
     
  19. tga

    tga Supporting Member

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    You get way more (100x? 1000x?) EM exposure from the device you use to post on TMC then from an AMR/AMI meter in, on, or near your house.
     
  20. xdriv3

    xdriv3 Member

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    Thanks for the follow up --- I went ahead and uploaded a closer view of the panel labels/breakers- Electrical panels -

    To follow up on your points----

    1) You bring up an interesting point about the tandem breaker on the upper left. I will wait for the next electrician to come and ask them to see. I do want to bring your attention to the BOTTOM RIGHT tandem that is in there right now --- When the electrician took it out, he told me that the back of the break was "cut" to make it fit. It all sounds so shady with the current arrangement, am I better off to have the electrician replace all breakers to the appropriate ones? Esp after reading that label able using only correct breakers for the panel on the label itself..

    2) Is it better to add a sub panel or increase the size of the panel? Considering your last point, it is very likely I will need a minimum of 2 condensers for my AC. Also, not sure if this matter, per the electrician who looked at the condenser connections -- he told me that the connections are 110V. Does that change anything?
     

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