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Thread: Advice on pre-wiring my Garage

  1. #1
    P8901/VIN4287 pete8314's Avatar
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    Icon5 Advice on pre-wiring my Garage

    To pass time between now and when my Model S will be delivered some time in the spring, I'm going to redecorate my garage, top to bottom. Before I start on much, I wanted to know if there's anything I can do to get ready for the electrics that my Model S will need.

    Needless to say, by breaker box is on the right-hand side of the garage, so I'll need the charger plugged in on the other side (there's another double garage at 90 degrees to mine, so by moving the charger to the left-side, it opens up options for charging a car in the other garage when that time comes).

    Although I plan on having an electrician make all the connections, they're not usually the best at doing a tidy job (and I'm kinda particular ), so I'd rather pre-cable as much as I can, so that all they need to do is to connect at the breaker box.

    I assume at one end I should provision for a NEMA 14-50 outlet (I'm not planning on the HPWC), but I'm not sure on the following:

    - What cable should I run?
    - Will my breaker box take the additional load?

    I ask the second question as when I had a pool installed, they had to add an additional breaker box outside for some of the house stuff, and use the main breaker box for the pool. You can see that (50 amp)breaker in the top right of the main (taller) box below. Essentially I can get some extra length on the cable to give the electrician some options, but the cable is expensive, so I don't want to over-buy. The house is relatively new, so I assume there's enough power coming from the street.

    I've added some pictures below to help paint the picture, any advice is welcome - thanks.

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    Last edited by pete8314; 11-24-2012 at 11:27 AM. Reason: Pictured needed rotating
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  2. #2
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    How many amps in your panel?

  3. #3
    P8901/VIN4287 pete8314's Avatar
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    550 on the main panel, 125 on the sub panel, and another 90 on the panel that's part of the pool control (of which 50 is pool stuff, the rest is dryer and one of the lighting circuits).
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    S VIN S1049, X Resv S744
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    [QUOTE=pete8314;218105]I've added some pictures below to help paint the picture, any advice is welcome - thanks.
    /QUOTE]

    Ok... a few items. First, it *looks* like you have 200A service. Confirm this by looking at the rating on the main breaker at the bottom of the panel. With what appear to be AFCI's, it looks like a new panel and would be of the 200A service age (now required for all new home construction).

    You don't have to add up the total of the breakers in the panel -- instead, you need to get the rating of what's feeding the panel. In the case of the service panel it's the main breaker rating, in the case of a subpanel it's the breaker rating in the upstream panel feeding the sub-panel.

    You have no room in the small sub-panel, you can't even recover any space with dual breakers. This will need to come from your main panel. You will have to consolidate 4 of those circuits in the upper left portion of the panel into dual-breakers (the 2-in-1's that you see at the very top left) to make room for a new dual-pole breaker.

    A NEMA 14-50 can be supplied by an 8/3+g cable, but most electricians will prefer AWG #6 because of the loads and it's not that much expensive. You can use type NM 6/3+ground (a/k/a "Romex") which is a thick black cable, especially if you will insist that they run it in the wall, or you can use PVC conduit on the surface of the garage to a surface mount receptacle on the other side of the garage and run 3 #6 THHN (white, black, red) and a #8 THHN (green) in the conduit.

    It's really your choice, I ran conduit on the surface of my garage walls but if you prefer that not be the case, you can run Romex up through the wall, across the top of the garage, and down through the wall on the opposite side.

    If it is 200A service, you won't have a problem with your main panel supplying the additional load.

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    Leeroy Jenkins sublimaze1's Avatar
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    +1 FlasherZ - but your run can be incredibly short, saving you on the 6/3 cost - if you decide to back in each time. Or not. Your call.

    PM me if you are interested in seeing what I did in my garage.

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    Senior Member Lloyd's Avatar
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    It might be easier and more cost effective to put a little larger subpanel in the garage allowing a few extra slots rather than running a new feed from the main panel.
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    P8901/VIN4287 pete8314's Avatar
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    Here's a pic of the main breaker:

    Name:  main breaker.jpg
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    There's nothing obvious which shows 200A on the label, or, as far as I can tell, elsewhere on the breaker.

    I really don't want to back in all the time, plus, I want to have the option to charge in the other garage as well. As for surface-mounting, well, I've just spent the last 2 hours hiding the conduit for the sprinkler control, so I'll be putting the cable in the wall It's 13ft across the garage, plus, say, 8ft for each drop, and a couple of foot slack, so 25ft should do it.
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  8. #8
    S VIN S1049, X Resv S744
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete8314 View Post
    Here's a pic of the main breaker:

    Name:  main breaker.jpg
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    There's nothing obvious which shows 200A on the label, or, as far as I can tell, elsewhere on the breaker.

    I really don't want to back in all the time, plus, I want to have the option to charge in the other garage as well. As for surface-mounting, well, I've just spent the last 2 hours hiding the conduit for the sprinkler control, so I'll be putting the cable in the wall It's 13ft across the garage, plus, say, 8ft for each drop, and a couple of foot slack, so 25ft should do it.
    It's personal preference, and I can understand your position in a finished garage.

    As for the rating of your main breaker, it should be etched into the handle -- it's required to list the trip rating.

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    Google is your friend, it's a 200A main breaker
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  10. #10
    Member JackA's Avatar
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    I would recommend that you consider provisioning a 100 Amp circuit to the new charging location. I am not an electrician but did have one perform the installation in my garage and he used #2 conductor or wire. The reason I put in the capacity for 100 Amps is that I wanted an option for the future. We are only using an NEMA 14-50 outlet now (it is on a 50 Amp breaker with 100 Amp capable wire) If we decide to place a High Power Wall Charger at this location in the future it will require only the installation of the 80 Amp Breaker. The cost to install should be the same and there would be only a few dollars difference in materials cost. You could have the electrician quote both 100 and 50 Amp capable circuits then make your decision.

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