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120v charging cable died

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by tonybelding, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    I thought since my garage isn't air conditioned, and the temperature in there has been hovering in the 90s, maybe charging at 120v with the "Spare Mobile Connector" cable would be easier on the car. It turned out not to be easy on the cable! I came back and found charging had stopped -- pretty quickly, looking at the range readout. The display told me to connect the power cable, but it was still connected. Uh oh!

    Further investigation has shown this 120v connector to be dead as a door nail. It does nothing. There's no light. The reset button does nothing. The test button does nothing. There's no evidence of power even going into it.

    So. . . Any suggestions? Is this a known problem? Is it something easy to fix? Or are those electronics in the "snake head" part of the connector even needed, really?
     
  2. Sparrow

    Sparrow S105/ Roadster 189

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    Had the same problem with mine. I just put a regular 120 volt plug on it and it has worked fine for a couple of years since.
     
  3. TOBASH

    TOBASH Member

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    Tony,

    Soon after I bought my Roadster this happened to me and I posted about it too.

    The fix ix easy enough. Go to Home Despot (or your local hardware store), and buy an industrial 20 or more AMP rated male three prong plug. Bring the cord if you need the store manager to help.

    You will need to open the Tesla plug. As I recall one screw needs a special screwdriver so I just broke the thing and unscrewed the wires from their positions...

    Disconnect the wires from the charger's plug and transfer them to the same pin/plug position on the new Home Depot plug. The plug you will most likely want is termed "NEMA 5".

    "NEMA 5" is a plug designation indicating 120 Volt and up to 20 or so AMPs. I chose the highest amperage I could find so as to not worry about heat/resistance issues.

    Do Not buy a NEMA 6 as it will not fit all receptacles.

    Do not worry about the charger cord plug/wire not having an amperage and heat breaker/cutoff. It is redundant and your car can cut off on its own.

    This is a simple job. 1 banana out of 5. You just need Philips head screwdrivers, flat head screwdrivers, and perhaps a wire cutting/stripping tool.

    Look up my post around August or September of 2014 if you're curious.

    Best,

    T
     
  4. MLAUTO

    MLAUTO Member

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    You can also just bypass the circuitry inside the existing plug by connecting the wires directly to the terminals of the plug. You don't need to buy a new plug.
     
  5. gregd

    gregd Member

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    All good suggestions, but I would first check to be sure the garage plug is still providing power. My car tripped the garage plug's GFI a minute or two after plugging it in, giving the same symptoms you described. Ended up using a short extension cord (heavy duty!) to an indoor plug in an adjacent room.
     
  6. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    OK, I replaced the plug head with a new, basic plug from the hardware store. That was just about the easiest fix ever, and it appears to work Just Fine now.

    Thanks, guys!
     
  7. TOBASH

    TOBASH Member

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    I can remember when I bought my car and this happened. Worries about purchasing an expensive paperweight went through my head. Then it was a stupid GFI issue that took no time at all to fix.

    Glad you are back on the road and happy.

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    gregd.....That is a super funny post.

    Yeah, I guess if the outlet in the garage has no electricity flowing to it then there is not too much hope of charging the car.

    Sometimes the most obvious and basic things should be checked first.

    Great post gregd.

    LOL
     
  8. xytor

    xytor Roadster #221

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    This also happened to me. I replaced the plug just like y'all did and it works great. Apparently it's an exceedingly common problem.
     
  9. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    No. It' worse for your car. When charging with the SMC your Roadster will not actively cool the battery until it reaches a higher temperature than it will when charging at 240 volts. The SMC is also less efficient than 240 volt charging so it will be hard on your electric bill, too.
     
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  10. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    OK, thanks for that information. I'll keep it in mind going forward.

    However... For some reason charging at 120v does achieve a slightly higher state of charge. With the 240v mobile charger I end up with anywhere from 167-170 ideal miles, but with the 120v connector I got to 178 this morning.
     
  11. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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    Yes, many of us have observed this. The speculation I've seen here is an analogy to running or walking towards a wall. You need to stop earlier when running to avoid hitting the wall. So, perhaps the charging algorithm has to stop earlier when it is charging faster to avoid going past the target.
     
  12. TOBASH

    TOBASH Member

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    There are many threads commenting on this phenomenon.

    Essentially fans power on sooner and regulate battery temps sooner at 220V, but charging is more able to balance the battery packs at 110V.

    I suggest charging by day at 220V and occasionally equilibrating by night at 110V.

    I'm sure that hcsharp can and will better explain the reasons behind this once he reads my post. He is quite a resource for technical information. (although there are many here with lots of tech info and I don't want to insult them by only mentioning hcsharp, but I know him best as I bought his Can Jr. and Can Sr units within days of purchasing my Roadster).

    You can also search for this information as it is contained in multiple threads that I have read since becoming a member.

    As far as increased costs from charging at 110... even if it is 25% higher, that means maybe $1.00 per 200 miles driven. Not exactly crushing increased expenditures when compared to fossil fuels.

    Best,

    T

    P.S. I also suggest getting 1 or two industrial fans to keep air moving in and through and out of the garage just to keep temps reasonable, as the car itself will cause the garage to heat up.
     
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  13. cswolfe

    cswolfe Member

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    Thank you, everybody, and to the person who directed me here. My roadster boards closed transport within probably hours to new owner, and just like you, 120v had the same symptoms, and wanted to wait until now to spring this on me. ;). It's working now, but I just want it reliable for the new owner, before this cable appears to join the "design defect" dust bin, too.

    great info! thanks so much!

    sterling
     
  14. cswolfe

    cswolfe Member

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    I'm just scratching my head on how inconceivable it is Tesla wasn't quickly aware of a design defect. I use my 220v one. The amount of times I've used the 120v one is, well, less than six. :/ Which parallels how darn quickly it's happened to you.

    Working now, but I trust this thing no more than i can throw it after reading this thread. Nor do I trust a new one, since there's an obvious design defect.

    Thanks again for you guys figuring out the very easy and permanent fix.
     
  15. Rolf68

    Rolf68 Member

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    Hello Henry.

    May I ask you something ? I'm sure you'll know the answer ;) I understand that charging at 120V put more stress on the batterie because of the cooling part. But what about charging at 220V 10A instead of 220 13A ? I think it'll take more time at 10A and heat the battery a bit less (trading time for cool, in my opinion) but will it also impact negatively the electicity bill or is it the same for the efficiency point of view?

    Kind regards :)
     
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  16. cswolfe

    cswolfe Member

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    Yes, Rolf. Had a 220v charger nema installed in my old house I just moved out of so I could use my UMC. Moved to an area I really don't know, so I rented. as much as I despised the 120v charger even before it started acting fussy, i Didn't really want to spend $1.5K+ or whatever on somebody else's house I might not be staying in more than a year, :)

    Within the next several days, my roadster will be off to a new owner via closed transport, and I've advised him that yes, having a 220v nema installed so he can use the UMC is well, well worth it. :)

    I note no substantive difference in charging cost with the ungodly slow 120v cable versus the 220v cable, personally.

    Snarky note: But from what I'm reading, the 120v cables save on power (sarcarsm) because MANY of them stop working after just a few uses, bringing the hourly charge to zero. ;) That certainly was the experience of myself and several on this thread. ;)
     
  17. Rolf68

    Rolf68 Member

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    Hello Cswolfe.

    Thanks for the reply. I might have expressed myself a bit unclearly :) My question was not about a difference between the 120 and 220 charging, but indeed between 220 @ 13A and 220 @ 10A. Let me explain : last month I had some charging issues because of an empty HVAC and thus the battery cooling was not efficient at all. I saw that in the charge setting you can switch from 13A to 10A (at least that's what I can do in my car) . So my rough guess was that with using 10A I could relieve a bit the battery from heating when charging.

    Now the HVAC is fixed, but as the weather is hot and at night my garage is closed, I thought it couldn't hurt to keep the charge "slow" at 10A in order not to warm the pack too much. But I wonder if the electricity consumed is different, and if yes by how much.

    I have no special plug / wallbox / tesla charger available, just the standard cable that came with the car.

    Kind regards :)
     
  18. cswolfe

    cswolfe Member

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    Honestly, my friend, I have to defer to the guys who have debated endlessly the pros and cons of slow, low amperage, charging, versus faster higher amperage charging.

    All I know is my personal experience, and I notice NO substantial difference in electricity cost, personally, between these two environments.

    A) Temperate environment, low ambient temperature, charging via 220v UMC.

    B) Garage in city of blistering heat, garage in summer is 90-*106* degrees F.

    The battery temp is going to be MUCH higher in "B" for obvious reasons, so I really have to direct you to people more knowledgeable about comparisons in less than extreme incomparable circumstances. :)

    For point of reference, with virtually no difference in mileage, my standard charge range was 182+++ in non extreme heat, but here, in Hades, at best, it's 177 range in standard mode. :/ all I can say is, ambient temperature, really matters to how the Roadsters cooling fans, and battery circuitry, reacts.
     
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  19. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    If you are charging at 220v there is no difference in battery stress between 10A and 13A. If you are charging above 200v then it will cool the battery the same. Charging at 10A will be slightly less efficient than 13A so it will consume more energy per mile. You are better off to charge between 32 and 40A. Careful testing by a couple of different people has shown that charging below 32A consumes as much as 30% more energy per W-hr added to the battery. Charging a Roadster at its maximum rate of 70A is still very gentle on the battery so I wouldn't hesitate to charge at 32 or 40A even in hot ambient temperatures. My .02
     
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  20. Rolf68

    Rolf68 Member

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    Good morning Henry

    Thanks a lot for this detailled answer. I was wrong on my assumptions, and thus will switch back charging at 13A . I suppose you require a special cable to charge at 32 or 40 don't you? I imagine I can ask a electrician to install a 32A capable plug in my garage but my roadster cable won't benefit of it as it seems only allow me to select 10A or 13A. How does the car know the number of Ampere the plug can delivery btw ?

    Kind regards
     

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