NEMA 14-50 Plug Orientation

NEMA 14-50 Plug Orientation

I am having a NEMA 14-50 outlet installed in my garage in a few hours and notice that the picture on the charging page of the Tesla website shows the NEMA plug with the ground socket "on top". Since I don't have such a plug in my house currently, I don't know if this is the norm or not. I do know that this is opposite of a standard 120V plug.
Why do I care? Because I want the charging cable to hang correctly when plugged in (hanging down vs pointing up).

Can someone who's had theirs installed take a look and clue me in? Thanks in advance.

ebm | February 9, 2013

It's exactly like it shows, ground on top.

DickB | February 9, 2013

On the 14-50 outlet the ground is on top. Look at your cable which also has the ground on top. This way your cable will be hanging down toward the floor.

ChasF | February 9, 2013

Thanks guys. I don't have my car/cable yet, so couldn't check it either.

eelton | February 9, 2013

I wish I had thought of this before my electrician did the outlet is upside down, so the charge cable (which has a 90 degree bend in the plug) points up.

I'm going to see if I can flip the outlet around today.

nickjhowe | February 9, 2013

@eelton - unless the electrician was very frugal with the wiring you should be OK - though if he/she used #6 wire it isn't the easiest to bend in small spaces.

July10Models | February 9, 2013

Eelton please don't forget to trip/open the breaker before you do this work.
@chasf the ground pin is suppose to be the top position in a 120 installation also.

jbherman | February 9, 2013

I had the cut sheet from Tesla right on the wall where the outlet was to go. The electrician still installed it with the ground down (per normal convention)...must have thought the cut sheet was mistaken. It's annoying, but still works fine.

mikeadams | February 9, 2013

My electrician told me that they are installed with the ground up so that if a heavy object falls and knocks your plug out (like an extension ladder or something) it will contact the ground contact first and is safer.

eelton | February 9, 2013

@nickjhowe and July10Models--

I was able to turn the outlet around, although it wasn't terribly easy--the wires behaved more like steel rods, especially in my cold garage; the limited space in the enclosure didn't help things. And I did turn off the breaker first!

David Trushin | February 9, 2013

Mine's upside down also, but I put the cable caddy above the outlet, so it works well. The outlet is 3 feet off the ground, so that helps as well. BTW, my cable caddy is actually a hose caddy that I got from Lowe's for about $2. Keeps everything organized. nice to know not everything you need for the car costs over $500.

BAMMM | February 9, 2013

I am about to install the connector in my garage. Can someone tell me how long is the charging cable is that is supplied by Tesla.

Hills | February 9, 2013

It is 20 feet, the info is available on the Tesla web site.
There has also been extensive discussion on the forum regarding charging cable length and all sorts of other charging issues, including various outlets, HPWC, etc.
use to search.

iholtzman | February 9, 2013

If you need an extension cord check out
I purchased a 15ft 50 amp cord and it works great. It costs about $90. I even had them test it at the Tesla service center in Chicago.

nickjhowe | February 9, 2013

@Banfossie - see this thread for measurements for the different parts of the cable. Might affect exactly where you put the outlet.

GeekEV | February 9, 2013

@Hills - You had a missing letter in ...

Brian H | February 10, 2013

Turn it 90° and it won't matter ...

ChasF | February 10, 2013

As my electrician was finishing up the installation yesterday, I reminded him to make sure the ground socket was oriented up. He pointed out that the text on the connector plate indicated that orientation anyway.

shop | February 13, 2013

I was in the San Diego store today (UTC mall) and noticed they had their example nema 14-50 plug with the ground on the bottom. I told the female sales assistant there that it had been installed incorrectly and they should turn it around and she looked at me like I was from Mars...

Rchop0 | September 22, 2015

Sorry to resurrect an old thread but it looks like my NEMA was installed ground pin DOWN. Don't like my UMC cable pointing upwards, is it an easy DIY fix or something I have to try and get the electrician back for?

murphyS90D | September 23, 2015

6 gauge wire is not easy to reorient in a small space. If you are not experienced call the electrician. IMHO he should do it for free since he installed it upside down in the first place.

notblueclk | September 23, 2015

Actually, it is better to have the ground pin up, even on your 120V sockets in the house. The ground pin on a plug is the longest pin, and makes contact first, so having it on top makes it less likely that the hot pins become exposed. Also, if the ground pin is on top and something drops in between, it will likely ground first instead of short if the ground pin is on top.

Most outlets in the house are put in ground pin down for anthropomorphic reasons (i.e. makes a smiley face), which is actually less safe, especially for small kids

CEYA GAS | September 23, 2015

Ground pin on top is the correct orientation. Your UMC will hang correctly.

rxlawdude | September 23, 2015

Mine is wired so that the Clipper Creek 32A EVSE (sitting above the NEMA outlet with a very short cord) plugs in, but the UMC when plugged in is clearly oriented 180 degrees from how it ideally should hang. However, on the rare occasions when I need to charge at the full 40A, I simply drape the UMC over the Clipper Creek unit so as not to stress the cord.

Basem | September 23, 2015

Rchop0, Same here the electrician, installed mine with the ground pin down too. Fortunately, I had my Model S already delivered at that time and when we did the trial test, the electrician and without me asking went ahead and rotate it.

He turned the breaker off (two of them). Then unscrewed the cover plate, and the plug and he had to work with those fat gage wires for the correct orientation. All that took ~ 2-3 minutes. If you want to do it your self, I would say give your self 5-10 minutes.

EcoMan | September 24, 2015

I hung mine upside down on purpose. That's because I don't like the idea of the cord laying on the floor for the kids to trip over. Instead, I put a hook on the ceiling of my garage, ahead of where the overhead garage door stops and in line with where the driver's side of the car sits, and another hook on the wall near the ceiling and above the NEMA 14-50 outlet. When I plug the car in, I then loop the cord over the two hooks and, voila!, it's out of the way. If the outlet had been oriented in the normal position, the cord would have protruded further out from the wall when the car is plugged in.

CraigW | September 24, 2015

Not if the plug is installed at 24"+ above the floor. Simply install a hose holder above it and loop everything through the holder. Simple - and it keeps the grounding pin facing up.

notblueclk | September 24, 2015

In fairness, I spent the extra $750 for the Tesla HPWC, rather than drag the mobile charger out each time. I think its worth the convenience.

At least I didn't have to worry about the ground pin orientation that way.