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The previous owners had an EV charger in the garage. It connects via a large conduit to the breaker box as pictured below.

How straight forward is this for me to remove as an amateur DIYer? I don't want to schedule an electrician only to watch them undo a few screws add a blanking plate and charge me $$$ which I could have done myself.

I'm renovating the garage and want to put up cabinets. This conduit from the charger goes through the middle of the rear garage wall into the electrical room behind it blocking me from putting up cabinets, hence the reason of removing rather than just leaving.

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    Is there any chance you can just cut a channel out of the cabinets you're looking to put up? You probably already know this, but just to confirm: EV chargers are a feature future buyers might be looking for and willing to pay a premium for, so it's probably worth keeping even if you don't have an EV today. More generally, you might find yourself needing to to run new circuits to this sub-panel, so it'd probably be wise to design your cabinets in a way that allows for that.
    – Alexander
    Jun 21, 2023 at 17:09
  • Downvotes and insults are unnecessary. However, @isherwood, motive can be very important, especially since the OP's goal is actually "how do I make more usable space on my wall"! ;)
    – FreeMan
    Jun 21, 2023 at 17:19
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    EV nut here. Totally agree, DVs and insults are unnecessary. A) EVs aren't for everyone. B) even if they were, consumer demand wildly exceeds supply right now. And C) that installation is physically ugly, and optimized for "cheap" given some misguided overkill. It could be done much better. Jun 21, 2023 at 19:54

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EV expert here. Sorry to see you go, but I agree that bulky conduit is pretty ugly. (and probably repeated a common EVer mistake of making it far bigger than it needs to be, and overloading the service).

Anyway, to get rid of it, super easy.

I'm fine with the conduit, I just don't want the receptacle or flopping wires.

OK, you just need a blank cover plate for the box, then.

If the box is 4x4 square and has screws on the extreme corners, you just need a 4x4 blank cover plate or domed cover.

If the box is a normal 1-gang or 2-gang box (screws high and low), then you just get a 1-gang or 2-gang cover plate.

That ugly conduit needs to go.

Go to the panel that supplies this panel, and cut power to this whole panel.

Pull the deadfront off the panel (that's the screw-on cover). Check for voltage here to make sure you de-energized it. If you CAN'T because it's your main breaker, then find out which parts are energized and don't go near them.

Unscrew all 3-4 wires that go into that conduit. If there are more than 4, you have bigger problems - there is more than one circuit in there and you need to find out what the other circuits are before you can decommission that conduit.

Leave the 50A breaker in place (or put it back if you popped it off to detach the wires). Something needs to fill the holes in the cover, and blank cover plates are flimsy and a ripoff. If it's a costly GFCI breaker you're raring to use elsewhere, buy any $15 2-pole breaker, ideally 20A. You can use that for all sorts of stuff later, including EV charging :)

Loosen up the conduit nut where the conduit enters the box. This is best done with a flat blade screwdriver and a mallet, using the sterrations on the conduit "nut". Seriously, that's how we do that.

Install a knockout seal. This is mandatory. Again, do not leave a gaping hole in a panel without attaching a note that says "KIDS! Free candy! Reach in with fingers!"

Demolish the conduit.

Later: I want EV charging, though!

Can't blame you. It adds value to your house. Buyers much prefer to bump their offer by a few grand (costs what, $6/month per $1000 on the mortgage?) than deal with the uncertainties of having one added (service upgrade? Panel full? etc.)

No problem. Run 12/2 or 10/2 through the walls like you would any normal circuit, to a good place for a wall-mount EVSE. Install the wall-mount unit, hard-wire it, and commission it for "20A breaker" if 12/2 and "30A breaker" if 10/2. That was easy! No huge 50-60A circuit needed, no balky conduit. It won't do a 0% to 100% charge overnight, but 20A/240V charging is like having an uncle who owns a gas station bring home a 5 gallon can and pour whatever fits into your tank, every night.

You only need 50-60A charging if you're offering it up for an AirBnB. Travelers will be using the nav computer to plan to arrive near 10% charge and want 100% by morning, because home charging is cheaper than Superchargers. But if you do want that, use #8 SER for 50A or #6 SER for 60A (instead of Romex, which requires -2 sizes larger for the same thing).

Buzzkill: Panel working space

Code requires that the panel have a working space that is kept clear at all times. No using it for storage, no parking a cart there. And definitely no building cabinets into it! The working space must be 36" of standback room from the face of the panel, the width of the equipment but at least 30" wide, and 78" tall and on flat surface (not steps).

Notice how the panel itself is about 3.5" thick. The 36" standback space starts at the face of the panel, not the wall. So you can put shelves in that 3.5" area.

Further, panel additions are a good and worthy thing. Electricity is our servant; it's there to do what we want it to do. So it should be easy to add stuff when you want to. Don't let your cabinets make it too difficult. This is a surface mount panel designed for circuits to enter the top, sides and bottom. (well, actually that panel has the flush-mount cover for no apparent reason; that lip is to cover the drywall edge. They make proper surface-monut covers).

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Since this appears to be a subpanel, your job is particularly easy to do safely. Purchase two slots worth of breaker blanking covers and an appropriately sized knockout plug. Turn off the feed to the panel. Remove the dead front (i.e. the front cover of the panel). Unclip the Tesla breaker. Remove the two wires from it. Remove the rest of the cable out of the panel. Detach the conduit. Put the knockout plug in the panel. Put the dead front back on. Put the two breaker covers in. Turn the power back on. I think that's everything.

Or, assuming it was hardwired: use wire nuts to cap off the wire nuts on the other end of this install, add a blanking plate, and leave the breaker off. It's a nice perk to have if you ever sell the house and doesn't cost you anything to leave in place.

If it is a 14-50 outlet, even easier, just turn it off and ignore it. Again it hurts nothing and could come in handy in the future.

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    Breaker-space blanking covers are flimsy as heck. Leaving the breaker installed in the panel is a much better filler.
    – nobody
    Jun 21, 2023 at 11:21
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    Might depend on the brand. I've been happy with the Eaton BR ones but obviously go with your best judgement, leaving the breaker in place is also a fine choice.
    – KMJ
    Jun 21, 2023 at 16:27
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Based on the real question:

I'm reno'ing the garage and want to put up cabinets, this conduit from the charger goes through the middle of the rear garage wall into the electrical room behind it blocking me from putting up cabinets. How do I can I best work around this to install my cabinets?
Question in italics added

I presume that the panel itself will stay (since you didn't ask about removing it), and that just this cable on the wall is in the way of installing cabinets. Therefore:

  • Shut off the power to the panel.
  • Disconnect the wires in the conduit from the breaker and neutral buss (as appropriate).
  • Disconnect the flex elbow from the side of the cabinet.
  • Disconnect the cable clamp from the wall.
  • Insert a knockout cover in the now empty knockout on the side of the panel.
  • Shorten the flexible conduit so that it meets a knockout on the top of the panel.
  • Pop out an appropriately sized knockout on the top of the panel.
  • Install a straight flex connector (instead of the elbow flex connector) to connect the flex to the newly opened knockout.
  • Reattach the wires to the breaker (and neutral buss as necessary).
    • Be sure to use a torque screwdriver/wrench to get these tight enough (to factory specs) to prevent loose connections from starting a fire.
  • Install cabinets as tightly as desired to both sides of the panel.
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    Good answer. Except: My understanding of OP's comment is that the problem is the end that is in the garage while this is in the "electrical room". If you are correct about the problem being around the panel, you need to keep in mind the working space requirement which means you can't "install as tightly as desired to both sides" - at least one side will need to be kept clear. Jun 21, 2023 at 18:24
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    Fair point about leaving working space at the cabinet, @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact. Unfortunately, the question wasn't quite clear enough.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 22, 2023 at 16:17
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I would look into adding a spacer in your cabinets. You didn't mention what kind you'll be installing but this is pretty common in kitchen cabinets. Essentially a piece of wood spaces the cabinets apart by whatever amount you need. (1/2-3" is pretty typical). That said, the view is limited so if this runs horizontal then that wouldn't work. You could also fur out the cabinets and do something similar. While not hard to remove the wiring and breakers as others have described it is a useful benefit and the work around to keep the charger and add cabinets isn't too hard or space consuming. All the best and be safe especially with electrical work.

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