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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Edited 6/22 after receiving great feedback!

Disclaimer: I am not an electrician. Use the information below at your own risk. Do not attempt unless you are comfortable with electrical work. Shut off the electricity at the breaker before attempting any electrical installation. Use a voltage detector to test for current before attempting any electrical installation.

My Background: Somewhat of a 'jack of all trades', previous extent of electrical projects include wiring switches, outlets, lights and fans in my home. As well as a few low voltage LED projects. This was my first time altering anything in an electrical panel.

The purpose of this post is to share my charger installation experience. There are many options on how to charge your EV and as a noob it was confusing and overwhelming to me. EVSE, NEMA, L2, ClipperCreek, J1772.... what in the world does all of this mean??? After reading many threads and asking questions the solution that would suit us best was clear: Install a NEMA 14-50 outlet in my garage and get a ClipperCreek charger. This is a very popular and straightforward way of getting a full charge on your Bolt each night.

Some definitions for the layman before we get started:
NEMA 14-50: this is a type of outlet/receptacle that a charger will plug into. It is much heavier duty then the regular outlets in your home... more like (or exactly like) a range or dryer outlet.
L2: Level 2 charging... in between Level 1 charging and Level 3 charging. Level 1 is using the charger/plug that came with your EV and plugs into your standard 120V outlet, you'll get around 4-6 miles per hour of charge. Level 3 are the big heavy duty chargers you may see while out and about that can charge 90 miles in the first 30 minutes. Level 2 charging gets 25 miles per hour and is perfect for that top off each night.
From member DucRider:
L1, L2 & L3 can be either AC (like you installed) or DC (think commercial fast chargers)

AC L1 is 120V
AC L2 is 240V up to 19.2 kW (80A)
AC L3 is 240V and >20 kW

DC L1 is 200-450V up to 36 kW (80A)
DC L2 is 200-450V, >36 kW and up to 90 kW (200A)
DC L3 is 200-600V, >90 kW
ClipperCreek: a brand of EVSE's that do not come with your EV and enable you to charge at a L2 rate. I chose ClipperCreek because they came highly recommended on other threads and their customer support has been phenomenal. I am not receiving any kickback or discount, etc from ClipperCreek.
EVSE: a technology that is part of a ClipperCreek (or Juicebox, etc.) unit that enables the charging of your EV to be as simple as can be... plug it in.

Now for the install:

1. Check out your electrical panel and determine what kind of breaker you need. Here is a picture of mine pre-install:


Note how I only have 1 open slot left in the bottom left corner. A NEMA requires 240 volts which means the breaker needs to take up 2 slots (technically called 'poles'), a perfect example being the breaker for the A/C in the bottom right corner and the Wall Oven in the top left. There are many different way to configure breakers using doubles and tandems. Doing some research and asking questions will help you determine the best breaker for you. I needed a double pole tandem breaker, similar to the cooktop/dryer breaker. The new breaker will use the 2 slots in the bottom left corner of my panel, meaning my hood fan will also be connected to it. Here is my new breaker:



It is a combination of a double pole 50 amp and a double pole 20 amp. I don't need a double pole 20 amp because my hood fan only needs a single pole 20 amp... so I just took the metal clip connecting the two 20 amps off and that effectively gives me two separate/single 20 amp breakers. This was the only double pole 50 amp breaker the hardware store had to I had to modify it.

Why 50 amps? The Bolt only draws 32 when charging. Two reasons: 1. Future proofing - I suppose in the future there will be a car that is able to draw 50 amps when charging. 2. A NEMA outlet is rated for 50 amps. I don't think it is prudent to install a 50 amp outlet and then back it up with a 30 or 40 amp breaker and wiring. To me, this is a potential hazard down the road... when someone plugs in an appliance or power tool that wants to draw 50 amps. The price difference between the breakers and wiring needed is negligible so I don't understand why anyone would not do it this way. - This is bad information, see below:
I got a lot of helpful feedback regarding the paragraph above and will try to explain here:
1. Any circuit that is used at full load continuously, such as an EVSE or clothes dryer, needs to be de-rated to 80% of the breaker. So an EVSE that draws 32 amps needs a 40 amp breaker (40 x .8 = 32), and an EVSE that draws 40 amps needs a 50 amps breaker (50 x .8 = 40). My ClipperCreek is the HCS-50P which draws 40 amps. Thank you to J.P. on the chevy bolt facebook group for pointing this out.
2. Sometimes it is REQUIRED BY CODE that you install a breaker with a smaller amperage then the outlet/receptacle. Reason being that if the load gets too high you want the breaker to trip at the right time. A breaker with too high of a 'tripping point' will not trip at the right time and the appliance could be ruined. Thank you to K.G. on the facebook group for pointing this out.
3. So even though I was trying to be prudent and create a circuit that can handle a load of 50amps for any application, you need to think of this outlet installation as a dedicated circuit (like a range, dryer or A/C), meaning it is being installed for one reason, in this case an EVSE, and then base your breaker choice on that. You would not want to install an HCS-40P on a 50 amp breaker, as it could damage the unit.
2. Decide where you want your charger to hang out. Here is a picture of my electrical panel and the wall space around it:


Although the Bolt's charging port is on the opposite side of the garage when my wife pulls in head first the 25' cable is plenty long enough to drag around the front of the car. I decided to install the new outlet about 4' to the left of the panel. To me, it would be much easier to walk the charger back and forth then to deal with running 50' of wire up, over, and down to the other side of the garage. Plus, that side of my garage is a mess! When choosing where you want the charger to be installed note that you'll want the outlet to be 12" below the charger (for ClipperCreek).

3. Open up the drywall to see what you're working with:


Normally when doing electrical work in the house I cut out the minimum amount of drywall needed but since this is in an unfinished garage and I knew I would need to drill through studs I just cut out a large rectangle. Cut it out as cleanly as possible so you can use it for the patch up work at the end. Yes I realize there are two weird drywall circles left behind... those were nails (not screws) that I couldn't get out, ugh. Now that I can see what I'm dealing with I can make a plan. I have access to the back of the electrical panel and just a few studs to pull the wire through. Off to the hardware store...

4. Get your supplies:


Shown in this picture is the NEMA 1450 outlet, a junction box, a faceplate to fit over the outlet, 10' of 6 gage wire (3 wires + ground, aka 3-1 6AWG NM-B), and a metal cable clamp which protects the wire from being cut when passing through the junction box. I ended up exchanging the box in this picture for a deeper one, I'll explain why later but make sure you get the deepest box you can. I also got a few self-tapping screws to be seen later. Cost of supplies: $65. Please note that I used 6 gage wire because I created a 50 amp circuit, a 40 amp circuit only requires 8 gage wire.

Another edit, thank you DucRider and others on the facebook group - I did not need to use a neutral wire (white), I could have used 2-1, 6 gage. The neutral is only used to provide 120V for devices that require both 240 and 120 (a range with a clock and light, i.e.).
5. Drill holes through studs to run wire:


If you don't know how to do this you should not be attempting this project!

6. Install the junction box. This is where the self-tapping screws come in. Metal boxes are usually installed before drywall, as opposed to an 'existing-work' type of box you can find in the plastic variety. Easiest way to install the metal box is to screw straight through the side of it into the stud. Use self-tapping screws to 'pre-drill' the hole from the outside of the box:


Then attach the box to the stud using the same screws from the inside of the box.

7. Run the cable from the electrical panel, through the studs, and into the junction box:




Popped out a knockout at the bottom of the panel box using a flathead screwdriver and pliers and fed the wires to it by reaching around where I removed the drywall.



Popped out a knockout in the side of the junction box, put the clamp on the cable, then fed the cable through the knockout. Here you can see one of the reasons I needed to get a deeper box. The location of the knockout/wires/clamp would interfere with the drywall when I put it back at the end.

8. Connect the wires to the NEMA outlet. Picture of the back of the outlet:


This shows the four connections where you'll insert the wire. White goes to white (- not needed as explained above), ground goes to green, and the red and black go to X and Y (doesn't matter which goes to which). The NEMA outlet is pretty thick/deep and the 6 gage wire is tough to bend, this is the second reason why I needed to get a deeper junction box. Now for a PRO TIP: do not simply cut the cable and then strip each wire at the same length. Instead, bend the individual wires to the approximate location of where they'll enter the outlet connections and then cut/strip accordingly, because the wire is so stiff this will make fitting it into the junction box a lot easier:


This picture also shows how the deeper box will enable the drywall to be reinstalled without any interference as the cable and clamp are recessed further back into the wall.



Here is the outlet all wired up. Note how the ground is at the bottom, this is the proper orientation for ClipperCreek chargers.



And the outlet complete with faceplate.

9. Receive surprise early delivery of charger while working on all this wiring!


10. Install new breaker. SHUT OFF THE MAIN BREAKER SWITCH ON YOUR PANEL. USE A VOLTAGE METER TO TEST FOR VOLTAGE. NOTE THAT THERE WILL STILL BE LIVE CURRENT FROM THE BIG THICK WIRES COMING INTO THE PANEL. Picture below shows the tandem 20 amp breaker for the hood fan as well as the vacant slot/pole below it:


I removed the red wire from the existing breaker's terminal and then popped of the existing breaker. It pulls out like a printer ink cartridge. Here is a picture with the old breaker removed:


And here's a picture with the new breaker installed and wired:


You can see the red wire for the hood fan has been reconnected to the 20 amp terminal at the top of the breaker. The red and black wires from the new cable are connected to both of the 50 amp terminals (it doesn't matter which connects to which). The white (- again, not needed, see above) and ground wire from the new cable are connected to the Neutral Bar which you can see in the top left portion of the photo. It doesn't matter where you place them on the neutral bar. The 20 amp terminal at the bottom of the new breaker is left empty, I have no need for it yet! You can also see that I added a metal clamp where the cable comes into the panel just as I did at the junction box. In hindsight a plastic version would have been just fine.

11. Close up the panel and turn the power back on! If you want you can test the voltage at your new outlet with a multimeter.

12. Install your charger. I'm not going to go into details on this as it took 10 minutes with 2 lag screws.


13. Patch up your drywall.


Place the piece of drywall you cut out back in place and screw into studs. I used joint compound to fill in the cracks. As you can see I did a professional job! :D

14. Plug in your EV and enjoy a full charge each morning!



Hope this was helpful. If you feel that any information I provided is incorrect or misleading let me know so I can edit. If you have any questions feel free to ask!
 

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A few comments.
You did not install a charger - it is built into the car. You installed an EVSE.

L1, L2 & L3 can be either AC (like you installed) or DC (think commercial fast chargers)

AC L1 is 120V
AC L2 is 240V up to 19.2 kW (80A)
AC L3 is 240V and >20 kW

DC L1 is 200-450V up to 36 kW (80A)
DC L2 is 200-450V, >36 kW and up to 90 kW (200A)
DC L3 is 200-600V, >90 kW

I didn't see mention of a permit and inspection - I'm assuming you got one. It's a lot easier to do at the time you do the work than when you sell the house and have to do it retroactively. And no questions from your insurance company if something bad happens down the road.

And your 50A circuit will NOT allow for 50A charging. An EVSE is considered a continuous duty device and hence the capacity is derated by 20%. A 50A circuit will allow for a 40A EVSE.

Since the 14-50R is installed as a dedicated plug for an EVSE, the neutral wire is not used nor required by code. You could use 8-2 cable (w/ground). And it is perfectly acceptable to install a breaker of less than 50A - actually preferable if you install something like a 32A EVSE.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
And I made a mistake in my post, I used 6-3 wire not 8-3. And it was my understanding that it's better to connect the NEMA with 6-3 anyways in case it's used for something else in the future that requires a 50amp breaker??
 

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And I made a mistake in my post, I used 6-3 wire not 8-3. And it was my understanding that it's better to connect the NEMA with 6-3 anyways in case it's used for something else in the future that requires a 50amp breaker??
Outside of EVSE's, the next most common use of a 14-50 is a cooking range. Unlikely in the garage!
You may also find that some welding equipment will use a 14-50 receptacle. Or if you want to camp in an RV or Boat in the driveway it might be useful.

Remember that the neutral is only used to provide 120V for devices that require both 240 and 120 (a range with a clock and light, i.e.).

And yes, 6 gauge wire is appropriate on a 50A breaker. 8 is fine on a 40.
 

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I was going to say that 6 gauge wire should be used with a 50 Amp outlet but I can see you re-posted that you used 6 gauge wire.

Nice job! I wired mine up my self and just had my cousin who is a handy man aka jack of all trades connect it to the electrical box. I used PVC conduit on top of the sheet rock and a piece of plywood up on the wall where the outlet and charger are mounted. I did not want to play around in the electrical box but made it a simple job for him. A few bucks to him and a couple of beers and we were both happy.
 

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Thanks for the write-up but you are definitely a lot more capable than I am. Even with this write-up, I doubt I'd ever take the plunge to either 1) electrocute and kill myself, or 2) potentially set the house up to be burnt to the ground LOL !!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I made some edits to try and provide the most accurate/helpful information I could. Also, question for bork and jimmyspeed - when I mentioned checking for current I just meant check to see if the area you're working on is 'hot'... not actually to check for an exact voltage. Am I still wrong in my terminology?
 

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i understand what you were going for, but what you're measuring when you put your probes betwen hot and neutral or ground is voltage. voltage is the potential difference between conductors, and current is the actual flow of electrons through the conductors. voltage and current are related, via Ohm's law (V=IR), but they're very different things.

to measure current, you have to break the circuit and insert your meter into it. it also requires changing one of the probe inputs on the meter.

this might explain things better: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/how-to-use-a-multimeter.shtml#usingamultimeter
 

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I'll just add that I'm not sure about grounding to the neutral buss. Most modern panels have a dedicated ground buss and that's where your ground wires should go. I think in the past it was accepted practice to ground to the neutral, but these days not so much.

Also, do the next electrician a favor an leave longer ends on your wire. It makes working on the receptacle box much easier for repairs, modifications or additions. In the case of heavier wire, just use the deeper boxes. If the wall will allow it, I'll always use the deepest box I can get.

Thanks for the time it took to make this and post this!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
i understand what you were going for, but what you're measuring when you put your probes betwen hot and neutral or ground is voltage. voltage is the potential difference between conductors, and current is the actual flow of electrons through the conductors. voltage and current are related, via Ohm's law (V=IR), but they're very different things.

to measure current, you have to break the circuit and insert your meter into it. it also requires changing one of the probe inputs on the meter.

this might explain things better: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/how-to-use-a-multimeter.shtml#usingamultimeter
Sounds like I should've said 'detector' instead of 'meter' like in the very beginning of my post. I didn't mean to imply a multimeter.
 

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I'll just add that I'm not sure about grounding to the neutral buss. Most modern panels have a dedicated ground buss and that's where your ground wires should go. I think in the past it was accepted practice to ground to the neutral, but these days not so much.

Also, do the next electrician a favor an leave longer ends on your wire. It makes working on the receptacle box much easier for repairs, modifications or additions. In the case of heavier wire, just use the deeper boxes. If the wall will allow it, I'll always use the deepest box I can get.

Thanks for the time it took to make this and post this!
Good point DaV8or. I left a a couple feet of extra cable in the wall but with the clamp only accessible on the outside of the box that doesn't help too much, lol. Guess a little more drywall repair will be in order if modifications are needed in the future!

I thought I included this picture but I guess not:

It shows all of the grounds going to the neutral buss?
 

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There are clamp-on current meters you can get that are designed to measure current without break the circuit and having to use probes. Very useful for when measuring load at the breaker side. Just need to be able to get the meter's "jaws" around a hot or neutral leg.
 

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to measure current, you have to break the circuit and insert your meter into it. it also requires changing one of the probe inputs on the meter.
You can also measure current without tapping into the circuit with a clamp on meter like this one-



Just clip it around the hot, or load wire and it will tell your amps being drawn. It is the only practical way once you get into higher currents.
 

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FYI, the HCS-40P+ which also plugs into a NEMA 6-50P or NEMA 15-50P can use a 50A or 40A circuit breaker. The HCS-40, on the other hand, is a hardwired unit and requires a 40A breaker per the manual.

The key takeaway seems to be to install the biggest EVSE you can at that time on an appropriately sized circuit and breaker.
 

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I thought I included this picture but I guess not:

It shows all of the grounds going to the neutral buss?
I did some further reading on this subject and I found that as long as this panel is the main entry panel for power into your home, bonding the neutral and ground is required. So mixing up ground and neutral busses is OK. If this is a sub panel, it definitely is not OK. All sub panels and devices attached to the main panel must have dedicated neutral and ground.

So this is good for anybody else out there who wants to do this to know. If it's the main panel (the one directly connected to the power from the street), then you can mix up neutral and ground for convenience if you want to. If it is a sub panel split off from from your main panel, do not do what you see here in calpoly's panel.
 
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