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Kia e-Niro 4 MY20
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Discussion Starter #1
Having followed the various conversations about the need for adequate cabling in the mains installation when installing EVSE, I’ve been looking at the mains supply to the house and.... well, look at it.

Quite a few areas of the village are supplied by overhead wires that are not substantial. These piddling little conductors are also supplying two homes. The cables that continue along the overhead route between poles are also insubstantial to the naked eye.

Is anyone else running a 32A charger from a grid supply that looks quite so.... insufficient?
D235BF79-0DA8-45AE-B416-B5011259FA9E.jpeg

I suppose it’s reasonable to expect the network operator is aware of this and keeps an eye on the load from the transformer, but it still seems ill prepared for a growth in electrical load.
 

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Being in the open air means they can dissipate far more heat than a buried or enclosed cable, so they can get away with much smaller conductors for a given load.
It does mean that losses and volt-drop are higher of course, but that's on the company's side of the meter and they have to balance the economics (and these days the environmental aspects) of that.

But you'll have to ask them about adding a chargepoint sometime, so sooner is better since it can take a while for some of them to generate a sensible reply.
 

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Don't forget that they cannot say "No".

FWIW we regularly (as in 6 nights a week) pull 64A from a similar sized cable which feeds us and our neighbours and which alone is close to the transformers rated limit, and it would be interesting to see the voltage drop if they ever switched to an EV (unlikely until there are electric pickups). It will be interesting to see whether the DNOs introduce incentives to stagger usage.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks both, useful info. Hadn’t thought about the heat dissipation. Having taken a look around at just how many houses are fed by the same run from the poles, it would be interesting to watch these with a thermal camera.
 

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The sizing at the moment will be based on the current maximum load, likely to be some time like teatime or in the old days at the end of a big TV programme. If we all charge our BEVs at the same time a new much higher peak will exist and the infrastructure will have to be enhanced to help or the peak spread out.
 

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Having followed the various conversations about the need for adequate cabling in the mains installation when installing EVSE, I’ve been looking at the mains supply to the house and.... well, look at it.

Quite a few areas of the village are supplied by overhead wires that are not substantial. These piddling little conductors are also supplying two homes. The cables that continue along the overhead route between poles are also insubstantial to the naked eye.

Is anyone else running a 32A charger from a grid supply that looks quite so.... insufficient? View attachment 135678
I suppose it’s reasonable to expect the network operator is aware of this and keeps an eye on the load from the transformer, but it still seems ill prepared for a growth in electrical load.
 

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On the upside - It's pretty easy for them to put a bigger line in if needed.
(Probably just the section from the T-off pole to the house which is likely a single span since it appears to be on an estate.)
 

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40 Leaf
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I had Western Power Distribution our the other day to upgrade my mains incomer termination from a 60A unit to 100A because the cartridge fuse was too hot to touch towards the end of my car charging.

When they had finally finished peeling the melted bitumen off the incoming cable and exposed the conductors I was shocked at how small they were!

They merrily upgraded the terminal to a 100A cartridge fuse and went on their way.

I would have thought your incoming cables are plenty big enough.

Also the neutral doesn’t carry much load all of the current has been consumed by the load.

Our shop has 3 phase cooking equipment that draws 12A per phase (36A on total) the neutral cable connected to that appliance is still only 2.5mm.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Yes this will be classed as a looped supply, there are two supply cables feeding six houses. The estates all have underground services. The overhead lines run quite some distance across parts of the village built in the 1930s. I’m not sure why it’s never been improved. There was talk a while back after overhead line damage, but it all went quiet. I think in part because the overhead lines run along the back of houses, so underground services from the street would be an absolute nightmare to install.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If its a looped supply, the DNO will need to upgade....
Anyone know how this works? The examples I can find documented talk about changing the looped service because of moving a meter or other change to the property, which is a chargeable service. I don’t anticipate we’ll need more than the 60amp supply but we’d certainly have the capability to exceed it. Turn everything on and we’d be at 120amps but that isn’t going to happen.

who’d have thought neglecting ancient infrastructure would cause problems.
 

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When I wrote the previous post I has assumed (wrongly) that that supply was yours alone, how many houses are connected to those cables?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That’s the fun part.... two, I think, unless there are further loops off the meters of neighbours, which is likely because it’s a terrace of six small houses and I can only see two supply cables. This falls into the category of “I’m amazed it’s worked as well as it has, for as long as it has.”

I feel a phone call to northern power grid coming on.
 

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If it’s only 2 then that cable may be capable of supplying 200A, so you may be ok.

You need to ask the question, you could always use a 16A charger to begin with until you get this sorted out.

What kind of EV are you planning on getting?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It definitely needs further investigation. At least our power consumption is relatively low (under 1600kwh last year) and our real world MD is within 60amps, but it all depends how that’s calculated.

Car is an e-Niro 4, coming mid October. I expected to have to cope with the granny charger and some public charge points for a while. We do at least have a decent external socket that was recently installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Since starting this thread I’ve found the others about looped supplies. amazing how much one learns quickly. I thought I’d covered this stuff off by consulting an electrician. Hahahahahaha.
 

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Since starting this thread I’ve found the others about looped supplies. amazing how much one learns quickly. I thought I’d covered this stuff off by consulting an electrician. Hahahahahaha.
There is a difference between the workers who assemble cars or the mechanics who replace parts and the engineers who design them in the first place.
Likewise electricians are not network engineers.
It seems to be a very British thing to assume that a person who knows a bit more about a subject than oneself does is therefore an expert who knows everything about it. (Annoyingly, in the case of DNOs even they often don't have the records to tell them much about it, so it can all get very vague.)
 

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It definitely needs further investigation. At least our power consumption is relatively low (under 1600kwh last year) and our real world MD is within 60amps, but it all depends how that’s calculated.

Car is an e-Niro 4, coming mid October. I expected to have to cope with the granny charger and some public charge points for a while. We do at least have a decent external socket that was recently installed.
Well there is another option, you could always have a 32A Ceeform socket installed and use one of these:


And set the charge current to 16A (which is selectable on these units) until you have your electrics sorted out. Then you could charge at 32A.

This is still 30% faster than a granny cable which generally only charge at 10A.

I use one of these, just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
There is a difference between the workers who assemble cars or the mechanics who replace parts and the engineers who design them in the first place.
Likewise electricians are not network engineers.
It seems to be a very British thing to assume that a person who knows a bit more about a subject than oneself does is therefore an expert who knows everything about it. (Annoyingly, in the case of DNOs even they often don't have the records to tell them much about it, so it can all get very vague.)
That’s fair comment, though in this case I consulted someone claiming EVSE installation expertise, who just didn’t ask the question or check. I’ve experienced this many times, someone who does know better than me, has the necessary expertise but assumes there’s no issue without actually checking. It’s frustrating when that’s the very reason I consult with, usually, more than one person claiming the expertise.
 
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