Having ordered a Tesla, I needed to prepare my garage for the charging system. In the US, the car comes with a charging cable that plugs into a standard NEMA 14-50 plug used for an electric oven. So the typical installation is to just install the outlet into the garage and you’re done. While this would work fine, I wanted to keep a charging cable in my car for when I take long trips. I could simply unplug the one that came with the car, but I wanted a more permanent solution.
Tesla makes what they call a “Wall Connector” for permanent installations. Tesla recently released generation two of this product which enables it to operate at multiple current levels in order to support a range of installation options. The Wall Connector is a good solution for a fixed installation, but since Tesla uses a proprietary vehicle connector, it limits flexibility to change to a non-Tesla vehicle in the future. My solution was to install the recommended NEMA 14-50 plug and then add a compatible plug to the Tesla Wall Connector.
Step 1: The Parts
There are only three required parts for this project:
2. Range Cord
Step 2: Prepping the Cord
The cord comes with with ring terminal connectors and an adjustable strain relief bracket. Using a screwdriver, loosen the strain relief bracket and slide it off the cable. This bracket is not needed and can be disgarded.
The NEMA 14-50 plug has four conductors (two hots, neutral, and ground), but only three are required for this installation. Cut the ring connectors off of the red (hot), black (hot), and green (ground) cables. Cut the white (neutral) cable down to the sheath. The installation manual recommends that all of the wires are stripped 3/4 inch. I would suggest to strip the red and black 3/4 inch, but only strip the ground 1/2 inch since the terminal is not as deep. This can be observed in the next step. Wrap where the wires meet the sheath with some electrical tape to keep the installation clean and ensure the neutral wire is not exposed.
Step 3: Prepping the Wall Connector
In order to install the cord, you must open up the Wall Connector. Remove the T10 screw at the bottom of the front cover/faceplate and carefully unsnap the edges to lift the cover off. This will expose the case cover. Remove the T20 security Torx screws with the supplied bit that came with the Wall Connector. Remove the case cover and the cord connection terminals will now be accessible. Loosen all three terminals (L1, L2, and Ground). Refer to the picture for location notes,
Step 4: Install the Cord
The conduit connector on the bottom of the Wall Connector is treaded allowing the 1-inch twin-screw clamp connector to screw into place. Remove the nut on the threaded portion of the clamp connector and snuggly screw the connector into place on the bottom of the Wall Connector. This step is not pictured. With the screw connector in place and the twin-screw clamp loosened, feed the cord through the clamp connector and into the Wall Connector unit. Feed the red wire into the L1 terminal, the black wire into the L2 terminal, and the green wire into the Ground terminal. With each wire in place, tight down the associated terminal. Now tighten down the twin-screw clamp on the cord.
Step 5: Set the Operating Current
Two switches must be set in order for the Wall Connector to operate properly. First, switch 1 of the dip switch, must be set to the down or off position (line-to-line). Second, the rotary switch must be set to position 8 (40A charging). Please refer to the installation manual regarding properly setting these switches.
Step 6: Close It Up
Put the case cover back on and install the six T20 security pin Torx screws. Place the cover/faceplate back on and install the T10 screw at the bottom of the case.
Step 7: Install Mounting Bracket
The installation kit comes with some mounting hardware for walls, but I would suggest not to use it. The screws have small heads which caused the bracket to move a little when I first installed it. Instead I used some SPAX #10 1.5 inch screws which worked very well.
Step 8: Mount the Unit
Align the Wall Connector up with the mounting bracket and slide into place. Install the four mounting screws and screw covers.
Step 9: Start Charging
Plug it in, turn on the breaker, and watch it power-up. You are ready to start charging your Tesla.