Tesla Model S Wall Connector Installed
Armen Hareyan's picture

Tesla Wall Connector Install Price Was Too High, So I Did It Myself

Some cities have strict electric ordinances making it more expensive for Tesla Model S owners to have a Wall Connector installed at an affordable prices. Yes, if you can pay the price of Model S you should be able to afford the cost of Wall Connector installation. But one man did it himself and here is how he did it.

"I live within 50 miles of NYC and my locality has a silly ordinance that all electrical work, no matter how simple, must be done by a licensed electrician. I cant even do the work and then have it inspected. I have plenty of experience wiring outlets, installing new breakers, and reading code to make sure things are done safely," writes Reddit user Dazzford.

He says when the quotes came back around 3,000 dollars, he decided to go for it different way. He decided to do it himself.

The Wall Connector for fast charging cost him ten times less than he was quoted for and only eight hours of work.

"It cost me less than $260 in materials (not including the wall adapter) for a 90 amp circuit, running 60ft through my garage in sch 40 PVC conduit. It took me about 8 hours total split across the weekend to do everything. Very easy to do, and I'm completely to code; apart from the licensed electrician part," he writes.

This is a quick parts list he used.

  • HPWC
  • 50 ft conduit
  • 3 elbows
  • 1 4" deep junction box
  • 2 90 degree pull boxes
  • 20 conduit clamps
  • 90 amp breaker
  • 240 ft of 4 AWG THHN stranded copper (I could have done 160 ft of 3 AWG and 80 of 4 AWG for the ground if I wanted to do 100 amp)
  • Various left over cedar wood I had laying around

Since his Wall Connector is outside, he also added a small rain guard over the top of it to protect it from rain. Dazzford posted this picture, used here and another picture on Imgur.

Do Not Do This Yourself

Don't try it yourself, unless you are a licensed electrician or have consulted one. Check your city's electric ordinances first. They wary from city to city and from state to state. There may be many risks associated with this and if something happens to the installer or the house the insurance is going to ask though questions. For example, the home insurance provider will ask if this Wall Connector was installed by a licensed electrician or no. My point is, it will raise serious home insurance related questions.

Read also this story. It happened in 2013. Tesla owner's garage fire highlights EV charging safety and cost.

Other than that, the man has done a fantastic job.

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Comments

Yep it's easy, after watching a number of YouTube video's and doing some additional research on the web... but go ask your home owners policy insurance agent if they will cover the rare failure / fire, if it was done by an unlicensed electrician without a permit... also when I go to buy a house (if and when I do, not in the market now) if I see a Tesla wall charger or any EV charging equipment installed, my RE agent will be instructed to track the county or city permits. If un-permitted, if the owner wants to sell me the house a condition will be for any un-permitted electrical work to be redone by an electrician of my choosing. Also once 'discovered' that there was no permit or it was homeowner done, the listing agent is legally required to disclose that fact to all potential buyers... just sayin'
Other than the fact the work was done illegally, and the writer has zero electrical experience, he says the installer did a good job? Wow.
Unlicensed or no, you should still be able to have the work inspected and passed if it meets the required electrical code.
I don't post this to discourage people from taking things into their own hands, but there are a few things that strike me as worrisome. the NEC (National Electric Code) has tables that show what gauge wire to use in certain circumstances, but chargers are so new that the average electrician who hasn't done the legwork doesn't size it right, let alone a homeowner. Vehicle chargers are classified as "continuous usage" which dictates higher standards than normal. The logic is normal devices have potentially shorter cycles that allow cooldown periods for the run of wire and for the panel/subpanel. Cars charging can be across many hours of high amperage usage - and can create excessive heat not only in a panel but in the conduit that it must be in if it is in a garage. This heat created also heats up other breakers and circuits and wires in the panel - some of those wires might be older and not rated at the same rating as today's plastics/wire coatings and are rated for 60c or 75c. If your undersized new charging circuit is rated for 90c and is heating up to 80c, thats fine, but the other wires adjacent to it are now melting. That whole panel should be derated for the lower temperature due to this and that dictates a severe jump in wire size. The wire used in this article is certainly undersized, especially for that length run, for a continuous load, and with the potential that the main breaker box has a lower rated breaker or wire inside it. I hope its not a hot day in that garage when this car says "im hungry"...