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oil pan 4 08-23-2014 06:32 PM

Wire sizes and plug-in types to use on your electrified vehicle
5 Attachment(s)
If you are building an electric vehicle go buy this wire chart so you don't burn up your wiring. Use this for DC battery to battery or motor wiring or when sizing your charging cord.

Since cobb brought up the PHEV charging issue here are plugs to match your wire.

Use this as a guide to set up battery chargers, deicer heaters, over the top block/coolant heaters.
If you look at that chart and only recognize 3 of those plugs don't worry. Unless you have serious 220v machinery you will never use anything more than nema 1-10, 5-15 and 5-20 serrries. Here is a short list of your most common high power receptacles and where you might find them.
Also lets try a little standardization.

For 30amp 120 volt plugs I would have to say your most common receptacles are going to be your nema series TT-30 and L5-30. Those are common camper and RV power cables. I also have also seen these on medium sized 120v only generators.
Your most common 220v generator plugs are going to be L14-20 and L14-30, any relatively new 220v generator that is big enough is going to have one or both. My troybuilt 7kw genset has both.
Your most common welder generator plugs are going to be L14-30, 14-50 and of course 6-50.
Your most common house hold sources of 220v volt power are going to be different depending on what kind of home and when the home was built or last time it has had a major rewire. Updated homes, trailers or homes built after 1996 are required to have 4 prong appliance receptacles. For your clothes dryer you will have 14-30 and for the electric range you will find 14-50.
In older pre-1996 homes your clothes dryer will have my personal favorite the classic 10-30 receptacle and the electric stove will have a 10-50.
(I use the NEMA 10-30 series on my welder, plasma cutter and air compressors)

Then you have your wild cards. The NEMA 6-15 and 6-20. These are the 220v versions of your standard 120v outlet. These relics refuse to die. They exist to power very large window air conditioners, usually in mobile homes and find them selves being used on 220v air compressors.

NEMA 6-50 is pretty rare, unless you find your self at a welding or fabrication shop, then they are everywhere. Some people install them in their garages and barns to power welding machines and plasma cutters.

My vote is for the L14-30. Specifically a flanged L14-30P "power inlet flange" installed on the vehicle or a length of SO or SJ cable with a L14-30P on the end spliced into the vehicles electrical system.
Because 4 wire 220v plugs are becoming the norm. You can also hot stab a L14-30. Standard 10-xx and non locking 14-xx series it is recommended that you "remove power" before plugging or unplugging, the prongs are long and heads of the plugs are small and its very easy to get your fingers around the edge of the plug head and onto live conductors.
Plus L14-30 is found on modern generators.
If for some reason you really did not want to install a L14-30 receptacle in your garage and wanted to use your 4 prong clothes dryer receptacle that is an option.

When I said "flanged power inlet" this is what I am talking about. Here is a L5-30 flanged power inlet I put on my little 110v stick welder. This idea could be applied to a vehicle for any reason you could want external power. L14-30 versions of this are pretty common too.

L5-30 is a locking 120volt and 30 amp plug if you need more power, L14-30 a locking 220/120volt 30 amp plug is also easy to find on ebay.
For powering block heaters eventually I want to use a flanged male L14-30 on my suburban. For now I just use a 10-30 clothes dryer cord on my over the top block heater. I may install an L6-30 on a car for its heater/deicer.

Cobb 08-23-2014 09:51 PM

Heavier wire is always better. That's why you see welding leads used for loud audio installs. Largest you can afford and short runs as possible. :thumbup:

freebeard 08-24-2014 05:31 PM

Thanks. This parameterizes Cobb's rule of thumb.

I wonder: Why are there non-linear anomalies at 7-80 Amps with 4 gauge and 90-120 Amps with 4|0 gauge?

oil pan 4 08-24-2014 07:50 PM


Originally Posted by freebeard (Post 442037)
Thanks. This parameterizes Cobb's rule of thumb.

I wonder: Why are there non-linear anomalies at 7-80 Amps with 4 gauge and 90-120 Amps with 4|0 gauge?

When in doubt go bigger. I think 6ga is a little small for 70 amps at 10 feet.

whatmaycome14 08-24-2014 08:12 PM

Hey, nice guide. Thanks for sharing!

Cobb 08-24-2014 10:37 PM

If you are wiring something you may want to get one of those wireless thermometer guns. I didnt have one at the time, but used my hand the old fashion way to check temp. Notice the orange extension cord I used to plug in my enginer phev kit was warm to the touch. Got a good deal on a 10 gauge extension cord. It was cool to the touch and my charger was 45 minutes quicker at charging my battery pack.

I then used the 2 cords on a leaf vac/shredder. The orange cord made it work, but performance was lacking. The yellow 10 gauge cord it was sucking up rocks, sticks, etc. That day I grabbed all the extension cords we had for outdoor use and tested them in this manner. I tossed 14 cords, kept 2. I then made a few trips to harbor freight to buy replacement 10 gauge extension cords. :thumbup:

ksa8907 08-24-2014 11:21 PM

I would also offer the advice of bigger is better. Even for relatively low current, 20-30amps, I would go with 8ga as the minimum even on short runs. If the wire gets warm, your wasting energy. Hell, im about to upgrade our vacuum cleaner cord to 12ga from 18ga on a 30ft run. That sucker gets pretty warm even in just a few minutes.

Cobb 08-25-2014 12:14 AM

I got quite a few appliances like that. French fry cooker, toaster oven, space heater if used on high, electric frying pan to name a few. At least with the space heater I can run it on low.


Originally Posted by ksa8907 (Post 442096)
Hell, im about to upgrade our vacuum cleaner cord to 12ga from 18ga on a 30ft run. That sucker gets pretty warm even in just a few minutes.

oil pan 4 08-25-2014 02:15 AM

14 gauge cords aren't totally useless. I some times use mine to run the dermal tool, hand grinders, box fan, small low power 12v battery charger, lighting, small air compressor.
The 16/18ga cords, might use them to run the dermal tool, power a CFL or LED lamp and plug cell phone chargers into.

A 220volt 10ga power my remote shed clothes dryer, plasma cutter just fine. The plasma draws up to 33amps and my 220v shed air compressor, but that one shuts off at 10 amps. The 10ga 220 volt cord has served me well, it never gets warm, unless it has the sun beating down on it.

8ga should be able to handle 40 amps.

I use 6ga cords for my big 220v stick welder, 6ga handles up to 60 amps. Since they make NEMA 14-60 electric range cord sets (60amp) with 6ga.

I have a bit of a 10ga surplus at the moment and some 10 foot 10ga cords with a L5-30 plug installed on one end. (PM me if you need some)

Cobb 08-25-2014 09:58 AM

Since you edited the post to add plugs too be careful with chargers for your ev. You can plug a 20 amp charger into a 15 amp outlet, but you will pop the breaker. Dont just replace the breaker with a larger one, you need a whole new circuit or a 15 amp charger and a circuit in your home with few to no other loads on it. A 20 amp circuit uses different wires vs a 15.

If you home has some age on it you may seriously consider getting a circuit added for your ev or call your power company about getting a line, service or panel and meter just for your vehicle. My local power company came out, talked to me and said they can give me up to a 440 line service.

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