sendler2112
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What power is inside a commercial parking lot light pole?

Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:55 am

Anybody know if there are general standards as to the current that could be pulled out of a 110 outlet that has been added to the light pole in the parking lot at my work. Is there liable to be 220v in there as well that I could have the outlet wired for 2x110 to use with a pigtail to a 220v adapter. This is 40 year old infrastructure that would have initially been installed with old school bulbs but now has newest gen LEDs so should have plenty of capacity to share in the wiring and breakers. If I could get to 16 amps/ 220v I would never have to fight over any of the EV charge stations.

css28
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Re: What power is inside a commercial parking lot light pole?

Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:13 am

sendler2112 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:55 am
Anybody know if there are general standards as to the current that could be pulled out of a 110 outlet that has been added to the light pole in the parking lot at my work. Is there liable to be 220v in there as well that I could have the outlet wired for 2x110 to use with a pigtail to a 220v adapter. This is 40 year old infrastructure that would have initially been installed with old school bulbs but now has newest gen LEDs so should have plenty of capacity to share in the wiring and breakers. If I could get to 16 amps/ 220v I would never have to fight over any of the EV charge stations.
It's possible that 208V is available if it's 3 phase power. That is also usable for level 2.

Conventional wisdom is 120V is often a better option for charging at work for people who work full 8 hours shifts. The slower charging rate means that no one needs to swap places at charging stations over the course of the day.
- Chris
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sendler2112
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Re: What power is inside a commercial parking lot light pole?

Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:59 am

css28 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:13 am
It's possible that 208V is available if it's 3 phase power. That is also usable for level 2.
That answers another question I had. There is 208v on a welder outlet at the front of what is now the alignment rack (I am a tech in a Mercedes shop) that is unoccupied at various times during the work day. It would be handy to bring the car inside to thaw out and top off the charge over there (since I always need about 100% SOC to 20% just to get home in winter weather).
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I assume a large group of lights, if not all of them (10? poles) would all be on a long parallel line where plugging in 16 Amps to my car would not blow the breaker. I'm using the 12 amp Level 1 cord now but it is a little too slow to reach 100% in 9 hours so If it is cold out I have to move over to the 30 amp Level 2 station in front of the dealer to top off. I would much rather not draw that much attention to my new (to me) electric car just yet.

webeleafowners
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Re: What power is inside a commercial parking lot light pole?

Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:26 am

Very likely 208 volt. If it is in the Mercedes parking lot it will have a breaker in the building. Go hunting and find it. It gets easier from there.
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goldbrick
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Re: What power is inside a commercial parking lot light pole?

Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:26 am

Who owns the light poles? You may want to contact the owners to ask them, but in general, the only standards I'm aware of would be the type of receptacle installed. There are separate style receptacles for 15A vs 20A 120V circuits, at least today. If the receptacles are 40 years old too I wouldn't count on that standard being in effect back then.

If you remove the receptacle you could get an idea of the wire gauge used. 20A should be 12 AWG while 15A would be 14 AWG.
Last edited by goldbrick on Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

WetEV
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Re: What power is inside a commercial parking lot light pole?

Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:27 am

sendler2112 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:59 am
I would much rather not draw that much attention to my new (to me) electric car just yet.
I would suggest making sure that your employer knows all about you charging at work before you try it. Offer to pay and such.
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jjeff
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Re: What power is inside a commercial parking lot light pole?

Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:05 pm

Being that old it's probably 208v 3-phase but it could also be 277v/480v. Obviously the 120v outlet isn't 277v so in that case they'd probably have ran a separate 120v wire and neutral for the 120v outlets. Actually even if the pole lights are 208v(120v each of the 3 phases) they probably ran a separate wire for the outlets as often times they use a 30a breaker and 10 gauge wire(with no neutral) for multiple pole lights and you wouldn't want a 30a breaker going to a 120v outlet, not code and recipe for disaster!
Note if there are multiple pole outlets they are more than likely dedicated in which case you could use extension cords and a Quick220v type device(or a homemade Y-adapter) to get 208v.
Lastly, many pole lights get power when the lights are actually on, meaning when the lights are off you'd have no power to your outlets. It's possible each pole has it's own photo-eye in which case there would be power all the time but due to not wanting some lights on and not others during partly dark conditions, they like to have just one photo-eye for all the poles, in which case there wouldn't be power to the pole light circuit during the daylight. Thinking through this again I'd almost certainly think the outlets aren't a part of the power going to the actual pole lights but rather dedicated or partially shared amongst each other.
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sendler2112
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Re: What power is inside a commercial parking lot light pole?

Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:36 am

jjeff wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:05 pm
Being that old it's probably 208v 3-phase but it could also be 277v/480v. Obviously the 120v outlet isn't 277v so in that case they'd probably have ran a separate 120v wire and neutral for the 120v outlets.
This is just one outlet on one lamp post that they had the electrician throw in recently so that the "tent guy" that comes once per week to paint bumpers and small knock out jobs in his inflatable "booth" (between the paint fume and the kerosene heater, this poor guy's brain is loopy from the fumes over long years). I'm quite certain that no new wires or breakers would have been run because that would add up to real money. His tent doesn't fit the traffic flow there anyway so he still runs a cord to the building from further out in the lot. We had a tech that rode a Zero motorcycle to work that had permission to charge there daily but he left.
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Mercedes is starting their push for electric cars with the GLC plug in which is available now and then the upcoming EQC BEV due out next spring.
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https://www.mbusa.com/en/vehicles/class/eqc/suv
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So they have required all dealers to install multiple DC charge stations all around the dealership(even one on the showroom?). We will have at least 7 new full DC charge stations installed by April and are then going to push employees to lease GLC plug ins with special pricing. I will then have no trouble getting on a level 2 station. Probably no Chademo though.

jjeff
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Re: What power is inside a commercial parking lot light pole?

Thu Nov 14, 2019 6:34 am

sendler2112 wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:36 am
jjeff wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:05 pm
Being that old it's probably 208v 3-phase but it could also be 277v/480v. Obviously the 120v outlet isn't 277v so in that case they'd probably have ran a separate 120v wire and neutral for the 120v outlets.
This is just one outlet on one lamp post that they had the electrician throw in recently...
In that case they may have just tapped off one of the legs of the light circuits which would mean the lights are 120v/208v in which case there are at least 2 other out of phase hots that would give you 208v. I suppose you could get them to wire another 120v outlet which with a Y adapter would give you 208v but if you could, it would be nice if they wired you a 20a or even 15a 208v outlet. Something like this would be real simple and give you 208v while your paint guy would still get a 120v outlet.
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Oilpan4
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Re: What power is inside a commercial parking lot light pole?

Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:56 am

The only 2 voltages I have encountered working on parking lot lights is 277v and 480v.
208v is supposed to also be popular too but I haven't seen it.

But if they were able to just add a 120v receptacle for a guy then it's very likely you would have center tapped 3 phase 120/208Y inside that box.
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