Are there Level 1 EVSE's that are faster than the OEM one?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by ozy, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. qtpie

    qtpie Active Member

    Search for "tandem circuit breaker", it takes up two slots and provides 3 lines: a 240v line in center, plus 2 lines for 120v on the sides. Basically, you would replace the 2 slots for "SMOKE" and "Spare" with this new tandem breaker. This is exactly what I did with my panel. I had only one slot available, so I replaced the one next to it with a tandem breaker. Works like a charm. Now, I have a new 240v line with 50 amp load without upgrading my panel.

  2. ozy

    ozy Member

    Thanks qtpie...I had two electricians come out to my house and not one of them mentioned this option. Instead they spoke about building 140 trenches for conduits from the main electrical panel to the garage, installing subpanels, making other major alternations etc etc. They were both in the $2000+ range. Your solution (and that of craze1cars) sounds almost too good to be true. Either you both are life savers or the people giving me the quotes are holding something back (I'm leaning towards the first assumption).
  3. ukon

    ukon New Member

    This is a brilliant solution if possible! Pretty good chances even if folks rent can use it.
  4. MrFixit

    MrFixit Member


    If I am interpreting your photos correctly, it is the sub-panel in the laundry room that feeds the garage outlets, and therefore, you would install something like the tandem breaker in there. For instance, what is now labeled "GAR OUTLETS" and "LIV RM LIGHTS", would be replaced with a tandem breaker that looks like what @qtpie shows (except it would be a dual pole (240V) 20 amp in the middle, with 15A's on each side). The dual 20A section would feed your existing garage wires (AWG12) and you could have the appropriate receptacle installed (disabling all the others).

    One thing that isn't quite clear from your photo of that box is whether it is completely full (no more available circuit breaker positions). The tandem breaker is specifically designed for a situation where there is no room for an additional breaker. It is sort of a specialty item. If you have room for another breaker, you don't need the tandem breaker, just a regular 20A 2-pole breaker which is likely more available. This is exactly what @craze1cars was describing when he made the original suggestion. A wider photo of that box would enable us to see if additional circuit breaker positions exist.
  5. ozy

    ozy Member

    Yup, I think that the panel is completely full. However, this is the subpanel. I think that craze1cars may have been talking about the main electrical panel which does have a spare slot.
  6. craze1cars

    craze1cars Active Member

    I think you'll be challenged with the lack of space in those panels. You're stuffed full...Are they next to each other? Or in different parts of the house? Basically you HAVE to start with the one I assumed is labeled "Garage outlets" on the sub panel...that's where the wires are for that circuit, so that's the panel you need to put a 240 getting around that easily unless the panels are next to each other. If so, then maybe you could add a junction box nearby for that line, allowing you to then extend it over from the junction box over to the main box where you say you have the spare slot. Run it with 12 gauge and buy a 20 amp double-pole breaker to replace that 15 amp one that's not being used. Basically relocate that garage circuit over to the other panel where you have room. This only works if the sub-panels are next to each other.

    I have never installed such an animal as what qtpie linked above, different type of cheater breaker than I've used, but there is certainly nothing wrong with it. Something like that looks like it might also be an option within the sub-panel, as Mr Fixit describes in his post.

    Also need to make sure that panel is rated to accept cheater breakers. Not all do. It will be labeled inside the cover of the panel probably with a diagram showing whether it can or not. You'll need to pull off the 4 big screws and remove the trim plate to read the specs of the panel.

    Frankly from your photo it almost looks like it has 100% cheater breakers already! But maybe something like QT linked can be sourced for your panel. That would certainly do the trick.

    Pretty good article here about all that:
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  7. ozy

    ozy Member

    Actually somebody else came by today. Told me that the subpanel was absolutely full and that all of the current breakers on it were actually "cheaters". He told me that that there was no way of squeezing in a 240 receptacle because it would still involve running 6 gauge wire to the garage ie: no simple short cuts. He then gave me a nice little quote of $3200 for doing the work. This would entail putting in a bigger panel, running the 6 gauge wire for a 50amp breaker etc. I was surprised by the cost because the laundry room is directly under an attic through which wire can quite easily be run. The attic runs directly over the garage area from which the wire can be dropped. For now, I think I will go with the 16 amp L1 charger and content myself with reducing the charge time from 12 hours to 8 or 9.
  8. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    For the love of humanity, get several more quotes!!! (And don’t mention anything about an electric car.)

    Ask if you can just have a sub panel installed and then a circuit for the 50 A outlet. And remember, the Clarity will not benefit from any EVSE larger than 32 A and that takes only a 40 A circuit usually with just 8 g wire. That might save you some $.
    insightman likes this.
  9. craze1cars

    craze1cars Active Member

    That’s a huge quote just to install a larger sub panel to replace the existing loaded sub panel, right there in the laundry room. Then you would have a box full of extra spaces. With one of the extra spaces go ahead and install a proper 40 amp 240 in the garage if that’s a short run thru the attic. Won’t be “cheap” but should be about half to 2/3 of what you were quoted in my world. $400 materials and $1000 labor? I guess I could see it hitting $2K at absolute max. Of course I’m not there and can’t see challenges he may be seeing.

    And copper is very expensive! Don’t know how long this run would be...and length of heavy copper can rapidly increase prices.

    Sorry you’re having such struggles.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  10. ozy

    ozy Member

    Everything in L.A is such a ripoff. I once knew a guy who was doing a remodel of his house. He imported skilled workmen from Mexico, put them up in a hotel for weeks, paid them double their usual wages and still wound up with a beautiful house at half the cost that he was quoted by local people.
  11. qtpie

    qtpie Active Member

    Attaching pictures of my "before" and "after" breaker panel for reference.



    I added the new tandem breaker by myself... total cost was under $100.

    When I looked at your breaker panels... I think there are way too many dedicated breakers for very low-current circuits. For example, there are separate breakers for outlets and lights in the same room. I guess this is good, if the breaker for the outlets is tripped, the lights are still on... :) With energy-efficient and LED lights nowadays, these lights barely draw any current on the circuit.

    If you look at the breaker panel for my house, built in 1992, most rooms have only one breaker for both lights and outlets. The only exception is the dedicated breaker for all GFI outlets in the bathrooms. I don't have sub-panel, just a single panel for the entire 2-level house.

    If I am you, I may explore the option to combine 2 low-current circuits into one breaker to free up a space. If you can do this for 4 circuits, then you can free up two slots for a new breaker. Check with the electrician to see if this is possible.
  12. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    Not being an electrician, I won't add to this hot mess technically :confused:, but I can toss in the idea that if anyone invests in new wiring for an electric vehicle, keep in mind the Clarity may not be your last plug-in. Its electrical supply requirements are fairly modest compared to some current BEVs (and likely future plug-ins), so give some thought to the future and don't be afraid to over-build now to save doing it all over again later. :cool:
  13. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    That's why I had 60-amps wired into our garage and bought a 40-amp EVSE. Sadly, after hearing that Honda is planning annual production of only 5,000 of their cute Urban EV (actual name to be revealed at the Geneva show in March) cars for Europe and Japan, I may have a long wait before North America (not just CA and OR) gets a Honda BEV. I wonder if Honda is anticipating problems sourcing sufficient battery supplies?
  14. Aaron

    Aaron Member

    @qtpie: This is a fabulous idea! I am having the same issues that lots of different people are. I had an electrician look at my panel and simply say "you don't have room."
    I have included a picture of my panel.....would your tandem idea work on mine?

  15. JimW

    JimW Member

    Keep in mind that every breaker panel will have a maximum rated number of circuits, and typically some positions will have tabs that physically prevent installation of a tandem breaker. If you exceed the rated number of circuits for the panel, you will not comply with code and risk failing inspection when you go to sell your house.

    In my case, the feed to my garage subpanel was only AWG10, so I was limited to 30A service. I used empty slot in subpanel to install a dual pole breaker (for 240V), and ran AWG8 to the EVSE (upsized one gauge in case I ever upgrade the service to garage). I set the EVSE to charge at 24A (80% of 30). With this setup, the car charges in 2-2.5 hours. Power delivered is 5.76 KW, which is 87% of the maximum 6.6KW of the Clarity charger.
  16. qtpie

    qtpie Active Member

    I can't see your attachment.
    MPower likes this.
  17. Aaron

    Aaron Member

    Now? Panel.jpg
  18. qtpie

    qtpie Active Member

    Thanks, I can see the picture now. Your panel is very similar to mine. I don't see why you can't replace the"Applicance" breaker and the empty slot with a tandem breaker. In fact, the first breaker on the right side of your panel is a tandem break with 240v 20amp circuit in center.

    What type of appliances are on the "Applicance" breaker? Are they drawing lots of current? This is a pair of 120v circuits, each 20 amps. That seems like some big "appliances". If you replace this pair with a tandem breaker, just make sure that these "applicances" are NOT on at the same time when EVSE is ON. For us, we scheduled our charger to start at 3 AM every morning to take advantage of the off-peak rate, so it's pretty much the only thing that is ON at that time.

    Lastly, there are two breakers marked "SPARE". If these are not being used, then you can replace them with a 40A or 50A 240v breaker so that you can have a dedicated 240v for EVSE?
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  19. DucRider

    DucRider Member

    Almost all of his breakers are already tandem. Only the Arc Fault bedroom breakers are not. Probably the easiest way to configure would be with a tandem arc fault breaker in the currently unused spot and a new 240V circuit where the 2 arc fault breakers currently reside.
    This most definitely looks like a home with 100 amp service, and adding an EVSE circuit will need to be approached with some caution. I would say a 50A circuit to support a 40A EVSE is out of the question.

    As a note, the "appliance" circuits likely serve the kitchen. Code does now require 2 20A appliance circuits in the kitchen
    craze1cars likes this.
  20. craze1cars

    craze1cars Active Member

    X2 Aaron thats a pretty small panel...100 amp service to the home? You may be popping the main breaker if adding too much for a car charger.

    But if it’s 200 amp, I’d just recommend replacing the whole thing with a bigger panel and have all the room you could ever dream of.

    I’m kinda amazed at the number of small and fully loaded panels I am seeing on this costs exactly $40 additional for a large panel that will support 3x the number of circuits at time of home building. Builders pinching pennies I guess....

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