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EV Home Charging - Wallbox Installation

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EV Home Charging - Wallbox Installation

Old 1st Nov 2021, 14:01
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EV Home Charging - Wallbox Installation

In mid-October I took the plunge and ordered an EV - specifically a Kia e-Niro 4+. I have been away from home for quite a while and whilst away I researched the features etc of the various wallbox manufacturers offerings. Choosing an EO Mini Pro 2, EO told me I needed to carry out an 'online survey' by taking pictures of the meter installation, various bonding points, the consumer unit etc and provide a sketch of the relevant part of the house, plus proof of off-road parking. Returned home the end of last week, took the required photos etc and emailed them to EO for onward transmission to their approved installer. Taking a close look at the electricity installation in (and to) my house shows that having a 7kW wallbox installed has become a rather more complicated business than I had anticipated. The house (detached) was built about 39 years ago and we bought it 36 years ago. Some years ago we had the wiring and fusebox etc upgraded prior to installation of an induction hob and new electric oven. What was the fusebox is now a panel of RCD's giving a much higher level of protection.

The main breaker in the meter cupboard is 100A (a requirement for a wallbox) so that is one box ticked. Unfortunately the next box cannot be ticked i.e "is the feed to the main breaker a single input?" In our case, no - which means we have what is called a 'loop service' where the feed comes to us then a second cable exits the box and loops around to next door. Southern Elect (SSE) will not allow an EV wallbox to be installed until the feeds have been split. This entails them (some weeks down the road) carrying out a survey, trace the cables route(s), determine where to carry out the split and where to dig up my drive for access (!). At some further point in the future they will come back to actually carry out the work - and hopefully re-instate my drive. Only then can we actually have the wallbox finally installed. Arghhh!

Attached photo shows the two black cables that enter/exit the base of the main breaker box with its 100A fuse. Am now awaiting the installer to contact me and then for them to start the process of getting SSE to survey etc etc. A chap a couple of streets away is also faced with the problem and I imagine that anyone in a typical modern(ish) housing development will likely face the same issue, which would certainly put a damper on the Government's drive to increase EV car ownership.

PS - I take delivery of the car on the 10th Nov...




Lyneham Lad is offline  
Old 1st Nov 2021, 14:19
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Can't help with the sparks element I'm afraid, but if it helps, I charge my Kia (admittedly a PHEV) from a standard 3 pin plug using the cable and charging box supplied with the car. We did look at a wall box but decided it was unnecessary. A lot depends on the mileage you do and how often you use the car. Most of our trips are about 30 miles, wholly in EV mode, and and it takes around two hours 45 mins to put 30 miles back using the Kia box,
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Old 1st Nov 2021, 14:49
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Originally Posted by Ninthace View Post
Can't help with the sparks element I'm afraid, but if it helps, I charge my Kia (admittedly a PHEV) from a standard 3 pin plug using the cable and charging box supplied with the car. We did look at a wall box but decided it was unnecessary. A lot depends on the mileage you do and how often you use the car. Most of our trips are about 30 miles, wholly in EV mode, and and it takes around two hours 45 mins to put 30 miles back using the Kia box,
Same with my wife's car. Charged overnight with a 3 pin plug when necessary. The car is a few years old now and capacity is not brilliant, but she is rarely stuck for lack of charge.
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Old 1st Nov 2021, 15:59
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Mains Power feed

Hmm, you may get some bother when the Leccie Board finally come out and look at that arrangement. There is no sign of the lead blob/twisty wire seal on the 100A fuse carrier. This is quite common when a major internal rewire is done since the sparky needs to pull this main fuse to connect up those two fat grey "tails" - however they are supposed to call the board for permission and request a re-seal.
Also worth noting that the 100A on the fuse carrier is the maximum rating of that carrier - until you pull the fuse out you can't see if the fuse cartridge installed is actually 100A or often a 60A to limit the total load on this looped connection.

P.S. Though the risk is small, please do not pull that fuse yourself - the next protection device is at the substation and can shrug off substantial arcing/subsequent meltdown of the cable head.

Last edited by martynj3; 2nd Nov 2021 at 00:40. Reason: typo
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Old 1st Nov 2021, 18:51
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Originally Posted by Lyneham Lad View Post
In mid-October I took the plunge and ordered an EV - specifically a Kia e-Niro 4+. I have been away from home for quite a while and whilst away I researched the features etc of the various wallbox manufacturers offerings. Choosing an EO Mini Pro 2, EO told me I needed to carry out an 'online survey' by taking pictures of the meter installation, various bonding points, the consumer unit etc and provide a sketch of the relevant part of the house, plus proof of off-road parking. Returned home the end of last week, took the required photos etc and emailed them to EO for onward transmission to their approved installer. Taking a close look at the electricity installation in (and to) my house shows that having a 7kW wallbox installed has become a rather more complicated business than I had anticipated. The house (detached) was built about 39 years ago and we bought it 36 years ago. Some years ago we had the wiring and fusebox etc upgraded prior to installation of an induction hob and new electric oven. What was the fusebox is now a panel of RCD's giving a much higher level of protection.

The main breaker in the meter cupboard is 100A (a requirement for a wallbox) so that is one box ticked. Unfortunately the next box cannot be ticked i.e "is the feed to the main breaker a single input?" In our case, no - which means we have what is called a 'loop service' where the feed comes to us then a second cable exits the box and loops around to next door. Southern Elect (SSE) will not allow an EV wallbox to be installed until the feeds have been split. This entails them (some weeks down the road) carrying out a survey, trace the cables route(s), determine where to carry out the split and where to dig up my drive for access (!). At some further point in the future they will come back to actually carry out the work - and hopefully re-instate my drive. Only then can we actually have the wallbox finally installed. Arghhh!

Attached photo shows the two black cables that enter/exit the base of the main breaker box with its 100A fuse. Am now awaiting the installer to contact me and then for them to start the process of getting SSE to survey etc etc. A chap a couple of streets away is also faced with the problem and I imagine that anyone in a typical modern(ish) housing development will likely face the same issue, which would certainly put a damper on the Government's drive to increase EV car ownership.

PS - I take delivery of the car on the 10th Nov...

The two large black cables coming in at the bottom are the Live/neutral feeds from the supplier - the red/black going out the top of the "company fuse" are the feeds to your meter, What are the grey ones from / to?

From your meter you should then go to your fuse board. Do teh grey ones connect to outbuildings or a garage? From what I can see you do not have a "loop service"
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Old 1st Nov 2021, 20:36
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Originally Posted by bbrown1664 View Post
The two large black cables coming in at the bottom are the Live/neutral feeds from the supplier - the red/black going out the top of the "company fuse" are the feeds to your meter, What are the grey ones from / to?

From your meter you should then go to your fuse board. Do teh grey ones connect to outbuildings or a garage? From what I can see you do not have a "loop service"
The grey cables presumably go to the consumer unit. From everything that I have read / discovered so far, one black cable is the supply to my house with the second going back out under my drive and next door's garden etc and up into his meter cupboard. His installation has just a single black cable.

The DNO (Distribution Network Operator) is SSE and late this afternoon I had a lengthy email from them saying amongst other things that they will (within four working days!) send me a quote for the cost of 'unlooping' me and until the work has been carried the installation of a 7kW wallbox is strictly verboten.


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Old 1st Nov 2021, 21:16
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Now we can see the 'fuller picture', I agree with bbrown1664. The black cables are your own 'tails', being single phase live and neutral. They go via your meter to the consumer unit on the grey pair.

So from what I can see, probably 'box 2' is ticked without any need for drive digging and filling. So you're ahead of where you feared you are!
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Old 1st Nov 2021, 22:37
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Iím afraid that appears to be a looped service...
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 01:37
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Now we can see the 'fuller picture', I agree with bbrown1664. The black cables are your own 'tails', being single phase live and neutral. They go via your meter to the consumer unit on the grey pair.

So from what I can see, probably 'box 2' is ticked without any need for drive digging and filling. So you're ahead of where you feared you are!
I have to disagree.

The two black cables feeding the Cutout look like incoming and outgoing straight concentric cables which comprise of a single live conductor surrounded by the neutral conductor. Within the Cutout the earth terminal is provided by from the neutral conductor meaning the installation has to conform to the PME (or whatever it is called these day) requirements. In other words one cable supplies the Cutout the other feeds the neighbour's cutout. Perfectly acceptable practice to save money on the part of the DNO but causes problems like the OP has now found when wanting to increase his overall electrical load.

The black and red single cables feed the meter and the grey cables go from the meter to the house consumer unit.

The only time you generally see individual conductors feeding a Cutout are when the mains supply is from overhead cables.
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 02:47
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Originally Posted by M.Mouse View Post
Perfectly acceptable practice to save money on the part of the DNO but causes problems like the OP has now found when wanting to increase his overall electrical load..
Is looped service unique to the UK? I've never heard of such a thing (in the US). Who pays for converting to single service so the OP can charge his car?
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 08:32
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For what its worth, my story...I bought a Hyundai Ioniq EV nearly 2 years ago, with every intention of fitting a wall charger unit. I thought I would make-do with the plug-in "granny charger" supplied with the car. 21,000km later I am still using it and I shan't bother with the wall charger. I just plug it in overnight (on reduced rate) as required. And I take the occasional rapid charge when needed.
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 08:49
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It depends, took my Skoda Enyaq, 80 kWh battery, to visit a friend. Arrived with battery drained, plugged in the "granny charger" which arrived with the car and was promptly informed that charging time would be 49 hrs. Thankfully I stayed overnight and just had enough power in the morning to limp home. (I hate stopping for charging!)
I much prefer my wall charger that will do the same in around 8 hours.
Per
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 09:21
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I can confirm from experience, you have a cable in and one to a neighbour. Recently had the main fuse replaced at a property where they had to dig a hole in the pavement to isolate the supply, change the fuse and restore the pavement. Done in a few hours, including pavement. Also guy said they were supposed to report missing wire locking and lead blob but no longer bother. Hope you are friends with your neighbours as they get disconnected for the duration of the process.

And on the point of electric cars, passed a Tessler parked in a drive for about six months until this week a diesel Mercedes has replaced it.
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 09:36
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I stand corrected - apologies.

I doubt you'll be calling upon my expertise for wiring up your EV charging point then?!!
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 17:27
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Thanks for all the replies etc. Currently in an email dialogue with SSE the DNO (Distribution Network Operator) :-
I can confirm that once our quote acceptance team have been advised by you that you wish to commence with the works then a delivery team manger will be in contact within 7 days.

They will arrange a site survey to advise of the works required and also discuss with your neighbour the works required at their property.

This will require consent from the 3rd party land owner to make any alteration to the network to unloop the supplies.

Please be advised that these works would look to be completed within 12-16 weeks from the job being accepted.
This was followed up by:-
Further to the email below, our network planners in the meantime will need to carry out extensive network studies and once they have advised what works are required, I will then advise you when the job can be accepted.


Presumably no-one in Government has the faintest idea about the side effects of the policy
encouraging private motorists switch to EV's!
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 17:43
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So unlooping your property will increase the potential load from (say) 60A to 100A x 2 (one for each property). That will change the ampacity required for the cable currently feeding the loop. Which will require increasing the cable size back up the line to the distribution transformer. I can see this becomming a BFD.
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 18:03
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Sorry Mickey, but Pilotmike is right - those photos do NOT show any evidence of looping. Your neighbours electricity is not passing through your meter. The two tails coming out of the meter look grey, but there will be an inner insulation that is red for one and black for the other (or blue and brown depending when they were installed) and they are the L and N feeds to your consumer unit. The corresponding inputs to your meter are the red and black ones, being the L and N from the supply. The N is also connected to the earth in the fuse assembly, meaning you will be on a PME (AKA TN-C-S) earthing arrangement.

If there is any looping done on this set-up the junction will be .in a sealed connector underground, and the best of luck to you in finding it.

PS after a closer look at the photo I can see the brown and blue inner insulation on the tails.
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 18:26
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Originally Posted by UniFoxOs View Post
Sorry Mickey, but Pilotmike is right - those photos do NOT show any evidence of looping. Your neighbours electricity is not passing through your meter. The two tails coming out of the meter look grey, but there will be an inner insulation that is red for one and black for the other (or blue and brown depending when they were installed) and they are the L and N feeds to your consumer unit. The corresponding inputs to your meter are the red and black ones, being the L and N from the supply. The N is also connected to the earth in the fuse assembly, meaning you will be on a PME (AKA TN-C-S) earthing arrangement.

If there is any looping done on this set-up the junction will be .in a sealed connector underground, and the best of luck to you in finding it.

PS after a closer look at the photo I can see the brown and blue inner insulation on the tails.
UniFox - I believe the though it that the two black wires coming in at the bottom of the picture are an into and out of the house loop. Personally I cant see that being the case as if it was and the neighbour was on the end of hte line, the company would fit their supercharger there putting all the load through that loop connector behind the main fuse. - bonkers.
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 18:32
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Agree - there just isn't room in that little grey fuse connection box to split and rejoin the standard 100 amp coax cable - a simple splice of one cable to another reguires a container larger than that.
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 18:33
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Well, all I can do is point to post #15 and what SSE wrote i.e They will arrange a site survey to advise of the works required and also discuss with your neighbour the works required at their property. This will require consent from the 3rd party land owner to make any alteration to the network to unloop the supplies.

Of course, things would be much simpler if the supply was not looped!
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