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110v charging and extension cord

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by Jackyche, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Jackyche

    Jackyche Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Seattle
    While charging at my parents condo garage, this is what I experienced.

    I had to use extension cord, 12 gauge, on advise of others in another thread.

    I would sometimes get a "extension cord detected" warning on my 1.5 - however, the charging would continue. This of course, worries me. So playing around with it, I found that if I just wiggle the connection between the extension cord and charging cable, I would hear a clicking sound, the ready light would go off for a second, but come back on. The 110 socket in the garage doesn't appear to be GFCI as it doesn't have a reset switch on the plate. And if I remember correct, a 'double GFCI' situation would trigger a GFCI fault code not a "extension cord detected" fault.

    And if it is a double GFCI issue, where's that thread with the 'hack' to solve it. I can't find it.

    Thanks.
     
  2. strider

    strider Active Member

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    How long was the extension cord? 12g should be fine if it isn't too long. What amperage were you trying to use? The Roadster has 2 settings for if you're plugged into a 5-20 or 5-15 outlet. Maybe you were trying to charge for a 5-20 and only had a 5-15. Finally, if the outlet started out with low voltage (poor wiring or other devices on the circuit like a garage fridge or something) then even with a small amount of voltage drop through the cord it wouldn't charge.

    Here's the thread on replacing the GFCI end: GFCI Trip on Plug in (spare connector))
     
  3. rolosrevenge

    rolosrevenge Dr. EVS

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    Right behind you...
    If your extra worried, you could dial down the amperage to 12 from 15, or get a 10 gauge cord.
     
  4. Jackyche

    Jackyche Member

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    Its a 50-feet extension cable. I've never tried dialing down the amperage, but the VDS says 110v-15amps. On a normal socket, isn't it usually 15amps and then really 12amps continuous? So dialing it down to 12 amps would be like actually 10 amps of continuous? Wouldn't that take like forever to charge?

    Its just weird that it continues to charge just fine, just has one of those warning screens on VDS, press screen to dismiss type of deals.

     
  5. rolosrevenge

    rolosrevenge Dr. EVS

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    I think it warns you for liability reasons, in case the cord is too small, overheats, and catches on fire, Tesla can say that they warned you and it's your own fault. I observed this behavior when I would do my voltage testing. After I dropped the voltage a certain amount, it would complain that there was an extension cord. On the normal sockets, 15 A should be the continuous. That's what I measured with my EV testing at least. So if you dial it down to 12, you'll be getting 12 A.
     
  6. djp

    djp Roadster 2.0 VIN939

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    I think this is your problem. You're trying to draw 15A off a 15A circuit which is only rated for 12A continuous. The 15A setting should only be used with a 20A circuit (not sure why Tesla made it the default). If you dial back to 12A you should be fine.
     
  7. cor

    cor Member

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    Feb 24, 2013
    Messages:
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    Location:
    SF South Bay
    12 gauge extension cord should be OK but check.

    While I do not have a Tesla (yet), I have another EV that I charge through a 100 ft 12 gauge extension cord. Voltage drop in that cord is typically less than 5V, but I have had experience in another building where the outlet was very far from the breaker panel and the wiring to the outlet was worse than a crappy extension cord, because the outlet dropped from 120V to 105V (!) when I tried pulling 15A.
    So, measure the voltage at the outlet before and while you are charging if you want to know if the outlet is already marginal.

    However, in your case it sounds like the contacts in the socket on your extension cord might not be OK, seeing your remark about hearing a clicking sound when you wiggle the charging cord plug in the socket of the extension cord.

    One of the best detectors of problems is heat. If the cord gets a little warm during charging that is normal when pulling large current, but any place that it gets hot that is a clear indicator of loss and a bad contact. So it is good to occasionally "feel" for problems, especially at any interconnect (plug in the wall, charger plug in socket of extension cord, even the charging cable to Tesla connection.

    Your problem can easily be explained if the voltage at the condo outlet is marginal due to too long wiring from the breaker to that outlet, so I suggest to use that extension cord to charge in a different location and also wiggle the plugs to see if you can reproduce the problem in the cord. You can also try using a different extension cord in the same condo outlet to check if the problem is your cord (so you can ask for warranty replacement or attach a new socket) or in the condo wiring.

    BTW, if you are near SF South Bay then you can borrow my known-good 100ft 12 gauge cord.

    Success,
     
  8. strider

    strider Active Member

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    Yes. Outlets are rated at 80% load continuous. So a NEMA 5-15 is only rated for 12A continuous, a 5-20 can to 16A continuous. You should dial it down and try it.
     
  9. Jackyche

    Jackyche Member

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    Spoke to tesla service center today. Apparently the clicking sound means its defective. Cord only has 2 yr warranty.

    But, they do some sort of unofficial repair in it for $50.
     
  10. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Go to Harbor Freight and buy 10 gauge cables:

    25 foot = $30-US

    100 foot = $100-US
    --
     
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