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warning: plugging/unplugging a UMC daily

Discussion in 'Charging and Infrastructure' started by MelindaV, Jun 19, 2017.

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  1. MelindaV

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    came across this on Reddit of a condo owner who has an outdoor 14-50 outlet and plugs his UMC into it every 2-3 days over the last two years.
    tl:dr the outlet he was using was not designed for repetitive plugging and unplugging and wear caused the prongs to no longer making solid contact inside the outlet, causing excess heat at the bad connection.
    If you are planning something similar, make sure you are installing a receptacle intended to have daily use and not a typical appliance outlet that is rarely unplugged, and replace if the socket begins to feel loose when plugging into it.

     
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    • Matthew Morgan

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      Could be the recalled connector?
       
    • MelindaV

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      No, it was the standard 14-50 and issue originated in the outlet, not the plug.
       
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      • JWardell

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        I saw this on Reddit, too. It was simply caused by extreme heat due to a bad or loose connection in the plug or socket. It could be very dirty prongs, or a very loose wire connection inside the socket. No part of the charger or cable failed here, and it's easy to repair/replace.
        I really doubt that it was due to the socket not being designed for repetitive connection. It's no different, and better off, than any other socket. It's very likely that the prong was dirty or corroded.
        This does illustrate an issue I often seen with regular plugs at home, though. Home depot usually has "value" and "premium" options on the shelf for each kind of outlet. The premium versions have much beefier contacts in the sockets as well as higher general build quality. The budget sockets will have problems like this within a few years of use. Go for the premium when you have the option.
         
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        • RandyS

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          My two cents worth....

          * For a better connection, orient the receptacle so the plug and cable to the UMC point down (not sticking up and then looping down)
          * Install some sort of strain relief for the UMC brick so it doesn't put weight on the connection and start to pull it out of the receptacle
          * Inspect the connections, cords, plugs, etc. occasionally to make sure everything is okay
          * Think about getting a HPWC (Which doesn't have these connection problems) and leave the UMC in the trunk for occasional use...
           
        • SoFlaModel3

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          I am comfortable with electrical work, but certainly no electrician. I have always scratched my head at why my dryer plugs in upside down. I certainly will make note of that when I get one installed in my garage... unless of course I get the Tesla wall charger.
           
        • garsh

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          Which way is that? I don't have a UMC yet.
           
        • MelindaV

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          this is the correct orientation with the pin on the top
          [​IMG]
          [​IMG]
           
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          • 17.088 ^2

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            Sorry to be nit-picky, but technically NO, the correct word is not "correct", it is "most relevant".
            The National Electrical Code (US-primarily, I know) does not specify which direction the ground prong must face.

            It's true that buildings East of the Appalachian mountains and Hospitals tend to have the ground up, but otherwise most of the U.S. tends to have the ground on the bottom side.

            In other words, do what is most relevant to your load's needs, whether that be a dryer plug or an EVSE plug.

            17.088 ^2
             
          • SoFlaModel3

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            Tesla suggests ground up for the Nema 14-50.
             
          • 17.088 ^2

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            And for a very good reason.
            Look at how their cord is manufactured; gravity is pulling down on the cord in such a way that the if the ground had been on the bottom, a lot of stress would be on the connection.
            The ground terminal on the top, given the design of their plug, makes the most sense.

            It's a classic situation of doing what makes sense as opposed to doing whatever you want to do.
            Or put another way, pay attention to the application, and let that drive your installation.
            In this case, having the ground up IS the most relevant thing to do.
            But STRICTLY speaking it's neither correct nor incorrect, just relevant.

            Yea, yea, a nitpick, I know.
             
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