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500 miles in 24 hours.

Discussion in 'Roadster: Technical' started by dhrivnak, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    Does anyone know if the Roadster requires a pilot signal for the J-1772 connector? I am planning a 500 mile drive across TN in 24 hours or less and in a few days repeat the drive to get back home. Because charging is still in the early stages I am planning to bring my J-1772 adapter and I will need adaptors for campground 30 and 50 amp service connections.

    I was going to bring my 240V mobile connector but the cable and box are huge and it limits me to 30 amps. I am thinking about leaving that bear of a cord at home and making up a J-1772 adaptor that will have a 50 amp male conector on one end and the J-1772 male on the other with the hope I can charge at 42 amp or possibly 50 amp on a 50 amp service in a camp ground. They also sell simple 50 amp female to 30 amp male so I can also use a 30 map service again assuming I limit the current.

    Do you know if I will need to wire in a 5V pilot signal or is that a signal from the Tesla? Thank you
     
  2. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    The UMC generates the pilot signal for the Roadster.
    Also, any J1772 EVSE generates a pilot signal.
    If you made an adapter cable from NEMA14-50 (for instance) to J1772 it would be missing the pilot signal.
    I don't think the Roadster would charge properly from it. (If I recall correctly, the only voltage / current it will use with no pilot signal is the 120V something like 12A.)

    So, basically I think you would want to drag along the UMC.

    Someone else please chime in if you know otherwise.
     
  3. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    You will need the UMC.
     
  4. tennis_trs

    tennis_trs 2010 2.0 Roadster Sport

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    Are you talking about the old MC240 mobile connector instead of the current UMC? I expect MC240 since the UMC will do 40A and instead of a "box" I would describe the electronics as like the bump caused by a large rat swallowed by a snake (it probably takes up less than 1/2 the volume of the box, but the cable still takes up significant volume). When I had my 2nd 12/12 service several weeks ago, they traded me a new UMC for my old MC240 since the firmware update made my MC240 obsolete (it wouldn't charge at all). If you still have an MC240, maybe you can get them to replace it with a new UMC now since it will be obsolete before long (I assume the MC240 will become obsolete for all Roadsters; mine is a 2010 2.0 Sport model).
     
  5. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    That would be sweet if they upgraded the old MC240 for the newer UMC. It does appear to be noticably smaller. But I just had my servicing and they never mentioned it and the old MC240 is working with the new firmware on my 1.5.
     
  6. rsquared99

    rsquared99 Member

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    I just got my 2.0 back from it's second annual service. During that service, I was told by the service tech that some of the "older" MC240's were compatible with the new firmware and would not have to be converted. Too bad. I would have liked the the smaller size device too.

    dhrivnak - the deadly long wait at an RV site waiting for the MC240 to supply 40 amps on a 50 amp circuit is already hard to take. You don't want to extend the time by charging at less than 40 amps unless you absolutely have to. I just finished a 3200 mile round trip over the 4th of July holiday, using RV sites to recharge. Unremarkably, there isn't much to do at an RV park unless you have an RV. That's because RVers carry their own lawn chairs, shade makers and meal making items. Therefore, there isn't much to do for the 5 to 6 hours you'll spend there for a full charge if you don't bring those items with you, and we can't in the Tesla. KOA's appear to be the more "full service" camps (or kamps as they call them.) Try to find shade so the car doesn't have to condition the batteries so much, it'll fill faster. Try to find shade for yourself too, some KOAs have pools with lounge chairs around the pool. Most camps seem to provide picnic tables, but sitting at a picnic table isn't great on an old back already cramped from riding in the car for 3 hour stretches. I walked around the camps to loosen muscles (okay, flab), I had an ereader for books and a Xoom tablet to check the internet and even with that the time moved really slowly. I mentioned this in another thread, but there is an on-line site called thenextexit.com that lists what services are available at the next interstate exit. It's helpful to find another RV site in case you find yourself not able to make it to your original choice (terrain matters.) Hope this helps a bit.
     
  7. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    I recommend building your own UMC and J-1772 adapter like some of us have done. I saved some weight and it's much more versatile if you know what you're doing. I can charge at 48A from a 14-50 in a pinch although I don't recommend it unless you remain next to the car the entire time and check the temp of the outlet and plug every few minutes. I've never had anything get hot but there's a reason they recommend de-rating to 80%. My J- adapter is less than 12" long and weighs a fraction of the one Tesla sells.
     
  8. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    I think you might want more than 50A to cover 500 in 24 hours, certainly not possible with 30.
     
  9. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I think the trick for me will be to drive 200 miles on the first evening and charge overnight and 30 amps will do it. Then drive about 100 miles and charge for 4 hours, assuming 30 amps, then arrive at the destination empty. There I will have a few days to ensure a full charge before I head back with a similar charging plan. Like many of you have stated even 4 hours at a typical RV park or Nissan charge station is not an ideal way to spend time. I may invest the time and money to make a J-1772 to NEMA 14-50, it just depends on how my other project goes. I am upgrading a EV-Jeep to 180 amp-hr batteries so the owner can get more distance between charges.
     
  10. S-2000 Roadster

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    #10 S-2000 Roadster, Aug 21, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011
    As others have pointed out, the J1772 adapter will only work with official J1772 charging stations or compatible. Compatible charging stations include the Coulomb Tesla chargers that have been refitted with a J1772 connector, and I suppose there are or could be HPC conversions. Unless the pilot signal is there, the J1772 adapter won't charge your Tesla. If you don't have the MC240 or UMC, then you'll have to build a pilot generating circuit. There's no way to charge from a NEMA 14-50 without the MC240, UMC, or some fancy home-brew electronics. You cannot simply solder some wires to various plugs to get this working through the J1772 adaptor. It will require a circuit board with active electronics to generate the pilot signal.

    It's been done, but I think it's far easier to just buy the UMC for the campgrounds' NEMA 14-50 sockets and also carry the J1772 for those occasions when you can find an official J1772 charging station.
     
  11. zack

    zack Member

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    You guys are funny.
     
  12. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Coulomb Tesla chargers? I thought Coulomb was only making native J1772 that can work with most Tesla Roadsters if you have an adapter. (I say most because there were reports that some older Roadster firmware revs were incompatible, and some PEMs may have had a GFCI issue when using Coulomb) Perhaps you were mixing up Clipper Creek who (I think) made the HPCs, some of which have now been converted from Tesla plug to J1772 plug.
     
  13. S-2000 Roadster

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    Yep, I got them confused. In any case, we're talking about purpose-built EV chargers and not generic RV park 14-50 outlets.
     
  14. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    How did your trip go? I've only had my Roadster for a short time, but I don't think I'd want to drive farther than I can go and come back on one full charge, partly because I'm too impatient to sit for 4 hours (or whatever) at an RV park with nothing to do, partly because 3 hours is about all I could take in the Roadster's seat, and partly because on a multi-day trip I'd probably want more stuff than would fit in the car. I drive the stinker for road trips (which I tend to take once a year).

    I'd like to hear how it went for you.
     
  15. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    The trip is not until Sept 21-25th. I do plan on taking a book along and as it happens my son's school is along the way so while I am charging I will visit with him and take him out to eat. I am hoping most of the needed charging is done at night while I sleep as I have a KOA lined up with a Marriott back up if the weather is bad. I do a lot of camping with the scouts and backpacking with friends and scouts so I am used to a week's worth of stuff fitting in a place half the size of the Tesla trunk.

    I did one 180 mile trip this weekend for our anniversary. The hotel was nice in saving a space with a 110 plug nearby. Since we were staying 2 nights it had plenty of time to charge. My wife did great packing as everything for the anniversary trip, including picknic lunches and wine fit in the available space. But just barely.

    I have also done about 6 trips to Knoxville at 222 miles. That as you can imagine is right on the edge of my range.
     
  16. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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    If the passenger is not tall, we have found that two or three wine bottles will fit nicely against the "firewall" in front of the passenger's feet when carried in elastic neoprene (the wetsuit material) totes by Built.
     
  17. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I drove from northern CA (Loomis) to Orange County, approx 550 miles (not counting the side trips along the way) and had a perfectly uneventful charging experience. I spent one night on the road, charged up a couple of times on day 1 and day 2. I'm heading back up tomorrow, taking a shorter (and less scenic) route. I planned my stops carefully, knew approx how long I'd have to spend there, found restaurants/hotels/movie theatres in the near vicinity on almost every stop, and had a plan B ready to go at all times. And I met a Tesla Model S project manager (hi Miriam!) as we leapfrogged part of one day between chargers. (Yes, leaving notes on your window when charging is a GOOD thing - you not only figure out how to share the plugs, you meet nice people.)

    I'm so over range anxiety. Over. It. Completely.
     
  18. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    500 miles in 24 hours - a bust

    With the current charging in Tennessee 500 miles in 24 hours just did not work out. I am still 200 miles from home and if you care below is my summary.

    The Trip Out
    – The general plan was to leave in the evening and drive about 200 miles then stop for the night while gathering a full charge. Then drive about 100 miles and take a leisurely lunch while getting a full charge then drive the last 200 miles to the show. I was prepared with a plan B which was fortunate because with the current state of EV charging traveling is a true adventure.

    The first challenge was met the first night when I stopped at the KOA to stay. I called ahead and verified they had NEMA 14-50 plugs, but for some reason the Tesla charging cable would not work. It seemed that campground had only 120V NEMA 14-50 not 240V service. So after 20 minutes trying a few sites I gave up for plan B. Thank goodness for Nissan and their preparation for the Leaf roll-out. The Nissan of Cookeville, about 20 miles down the road was generous to let me charge overnight. A hotel was nearby and thus with a good bed and good J-1772 charging I was set.

    The next day I headed for Nashville where I planned a leisurely lunch and a full charge. The Marriott Airport just had two level 2 chargers installed and said I could charge, but when I got there I found out I was their first EV customer and the chargers, installed by BLINK, required an RFID card. Something neither I nor the hotel had. The hotel tried their best to get things turned on and cards were to be delivered later in the day. But I did not have time to wait and so I pressed on to plan B. Recargo, an internet site that lists charging stations said there was a charger near the stadium downtown. Unfortunately the charger could not be found, so after searching 30 minutes I went to plan C. A local business 7 miles away had a public charger. But this too was a bust as the Tesla and the charger would not communicate, and now time is getting late and I am starting to worry. I knew there was another Nissan dealer 30 miles away, Mathews Nissan of Clarksville TN who would let me charge. They were most accommodating and started the charging and went to lunch. After lunch I found my last challenge in that charging was at 208V not 240 so rather than getting the anticipated 24 miles per hour of charge I was getting 19 miles/hour. This transformed my planned 4 hour stop into 7 hours as I had to also recoup the miles I spend driving in circles in Nashville. I did not want to cut this charge too close as there were NO charging opportunities for the next 170 miles, with the time now 7pm I was in for a late night on unfamiliar loads and did not want to be stranded. I arrived safely to the campground in Cape Girardeau, too late for opening welcome but early enough to get a night’s sleep and a full charge.


    Trip back – I thought this would have been easy as I now had some experience, WRONG. The first planned leg was to drive 211 miles to the Nashville Airport Marriott which I am told now has working J-1772 chargers. I started off on the wrong foot by letting a good friend take a test drive after an already late dinner which burned about 10 miles. Then just as I started it began to rain hard requiring the wipers and defoggers. So I was not able to make it to Nashville without a boost. So I stopped at a Nissan dealer for about an hour to ensure I made it to the hotel, late, very late and with - miles showing and the plug-in NOW . Both the Nissan and the Marriott had only 208V 30 amp so charging was slow at both places. Unfortunately after the short night’s sleep I only had a 60% charge not the full charge I had hoped for. So I pressed on another 75 miles to charge at another Nissan at my son’s college campus. I figure I can take the time to visit and get more power. To my now wearing patience, I had to charge for 4 hours to get enough juice to make it to Knoxville where they have some slightly higher powered chargers (245V vs 208V). So time to catch up on e-mail and some reading along with this trip summary.

    While I would love higher powered options I have yet to find them on this trip. Most places are 30 amp and 208V or 6KWH, ugh!
     
  19. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Thanks for the write up.

    In summary:
    #1: Thank goodness for the J1772s showing up at Nissan dealers for the Leaf. With your adapter cable, and accommodating dealerships, you were able to at least press on.
    (Doubtful that they will install any J1772s with higher than 30A as the Leaf wouldn't be able to make use of the extra current.)

    #2: (As has been said in other threads), campgrounds can have "wacky" power and can be "hit or miss" for recharging.
    They may advertise "50 amp service" and offer NEMA 14-50, but in many cases you will find that you are restricted to much slower charging.
    To RV / campgrounds it seems "50 amp service" just means that they offer a NEMA14-50 socket, even if it has small beakers, or even only 120V available.
    (Typically the RVs just use split phases off of the neutral to run 120V appliances, not 240V.)
     
  20. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    Thanks for posting this. I'm sorry your trip was so difficult. This is an emerging industry, and infrastructure will take time to develop. With luck, in a few years such a trip will go much more smoothly. (As it did for Bonnie in more advanced California.)
     

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