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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: More power!

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brewerpaul - Posted - 12/14/2019:  06:11:32

We just got my wife a 2020 Prius Plus plug in hybrid and it's amazing. One problem though. We plug it into a nearby garage outlet to charge it. Last night I nuked some leftovers for dinner and the circuit breaker tripped. Did this twice. The breaker is a 15 amp and a 20 amp would probably solve the problem.
Would it be acceptable and safe for me (or more likely an electrician) just swap the breaker for a 20? As far as I can see, that microwave is the biggest draw on that line, the rest being just lights.
The only other option would be to run a separate line from the breaker box and take this one outlet off it's current (no pun intended) circuit. The problem is that this outlet is literally as far away from the breaker box as possible, and I mean literally literally.

Owen - Posted - 12/14/2019:  06:58:12

Breakers??  Dratted new-fangled stuff!!!  Iffin' it was a fuse box you could simply solve the problem by putting a penny behind the fuse.

But since you're stuck with breakers, as a non-electrician ['though I've known a couple], I think swapping in a 20 amp. is a bad idea [unless the circuit is wired with 12 ga,.... and even then I'd be consulting somebody more knowledgeable than me].

P.S. Would it be any easier to plug the microwave into a different circuit?   ...even IF it necessitated adding a plug-in to  that other circuit to get it in a better location?       [..... not advising.... just thinking out loud.]     Good luck.

Edit: Upon re-reading your OP, I think your proposal is the better way to go.....   BTW, is the panel in the house or the garage?   

Edited by - Owen on 12/14/2019 07:11:39

DC5 - Posted - 12/14/2019:  07:09:36

The car and M-wave should not be on the same circuit. If it were me, I'd have an electrician run a new line the the outlet where you plug in the car that is dedicated to that purpose. This goes a long way toward not burning your house down.

brewerpaul - Posted - 12/14/2019:  07:58:18


Originally posted by Owencircuit is wired with 12 ga,.... and even then I'd be consulting somebody more knowledgeable than me].

not sure what the wiring is. I'd have to go look. The house was built in 1967 if that gives you a clue.

P.S. Would it be any easier to plug the microwave into a different circuit?  

No, that would be fairly impossible. The microwave is mounted permanently over our cooktop.

   BTW, is the panel in the house or the garage?   

Unfortunately the panel is in the basement in the diagonally farthest corner.

Unless I could get a dedicated 20 amp line run that far at a reasonable price, we just might live with it as is and only plug the car in when we're done cooking. The car gets terrific mileage so driving it on hybrid power alone isn't a problem.

Owen - Posted - 12/14/2019:  08:44:50

Paul, it sounds like you may well know more about electrical stuff than I do, and have been checking out the options available... so....

Is it possible to trace the cable that feeds the car plug-in back to the junction box that feeds it?  If the wiring is in an unfinished basement ceiling or above a suspended ceiling, I'd consider it worthwhile.... if it's fed through the attic, or from a ceiling light in the house, then I'd call in an electrician.    However, IF you can locate that junction box, would it be possible to disconnect the wires feeding the car plug-in and just add another cable from that point back to the panel to give a dedicated circuit to the car plug-in [MY non-electrician's knowledge says that it needn't be a 20 amp circuit.... but that would depend on the "draw" required to re-charge the car].

Anyhoo.... feel free to put anything I have to say into the round file... I won't feel slighted in the least. 

bubbalouie - Posted - 12/14/2019:  08:46:38

Yeah Owen. I think a penny is safer than a shotgun shell! no

Paul R - Posted - 12/14/2019:  18:52:18

I helped an electrician friend replace our fuse box with a breaker box in our Toronto house, later added outlets and a new breaker on my own. If it were my situation, I'd run a new line and add a new breaker. Just make sure the whole thing's switched off before you work (get good flashlights or run an extension to a neighbour's place). It will definitely be safer and save hassles down the road. Check to see if a single or double breaker (like you need for a stove) is necessary (I have no idea how much power it takes). Also see if you'll need conduit.

I'm not an electrician, so have your grains of salt handy.

Just for whatever it's worth, neighbours across the street in T.O. had an electrician do work that turned out to be not up to code for the City of Toronto. He assumed that Mississauga code applied everywhere. Nope. Check your local code.

Brian T - Posted - 12/14/2019:  20:58:48

Extra amps can't help much until you have big enough wires to carry that juice.
Regular house wire in most places is 14/2 plus a ground.
Lots of extension cords are only 16 gage wire, useless in a long run.

I run nothing but 8 gauge in all my solar power system,. The battery interconnections are 2(?) ga, thicker than a pencil. 10ga might be OK but for the cost difference and the distance, I'd go 8.

Just imagine that electricity is like a waterfall. The height is the voltage and the amount of water is the amps. You need to feed more water through a skinny pipe and it doesn't work well (over heating).

Nels - Posted - 12/15/2019:  04:22:19

The usual disclaimer...per electrical banjo advice!! The local electrical code is the 'bible' as well as what a homeowner can do with the electrical system. That said.. I would run a new line..12-2 with ground as a dedicated circuit for the car if there is room in the breaker box for the new breaker 20amp. if not.....make friends with a local electrician!!!

Wet Spaniel - Posted - 12/15/2019:  08:45:55

Paul, I’m in the uk so don’t know how your standard electrics are presented but the principles are the same. Swapping the breaker would be a bad idea unless the cable supporting the socket is the correct gauge to support it.

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