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75% Failure Rate with Public (J1772) Charging Stations

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by Habious, May 31, 2015.

  1. Habious

    Habious Member

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    I'm going to try very, very hard not to make this a crazy anti-Tesla rant but, what the heck am I doing wrong here???

    11255 Air Park Road, Ashland, VA 23005
    Two Schneider Level 2 charging pedestals toward the far end of the building. The RFID card reader has been disabled and no card is required, free.
    DOESN'T WORK

    Target
    2905 District Avenue #400, Fairfax, VA 22031, United States
    DOESN'T WORK

    Halstead Square
    2750 Gallows Road Vienna, VA 22180
    DOESN'T WORK

    Is there a "Works / Doesn't Work" toggle somewhere buried deep within one of the VDS charging screens?

    I'm trying to plan a trip to Raleigh, NC (from Washington DC) and I don't see how I can do it. Not when 3 out of 4 chargers DO NOT WORK. I'd like to stay at one of the Raleigh hotels that offer destination charging but, considering the odds, there's a 75% chance that, when I get there, their charger won't work on my car!! How do I plan a trip like this? I'm all for "have a backup plan" but, I'm gonna need FOUR backup plans at this rate.
    I just finished a drive down to Richmond (to the "Air Park Road" location). It's a very nice spot, easy to get to and, with the exception of the fact that I CAN'T CHARGE MY FREAKIN' CAR USING THE STUPID CHARGERS, it's without fault. Car didn't give an error message. Charger didn't give an error message. It just...didn't work. Plugged in the CAN Jr. adapter, plugged the charger into the CAN, charging port light turned blue, charging port light started blinking blue, charging port light turned white. VDS says "Charging Stopped". Thank you, have a nice day. I tried both chargers (3 times each).

    I've successfully used Mr. Sharp's CAN Jr. at a Whole Foods in Annapolis (my ONE successful J1772 charge) so, the adapter is good.

    So, I guess my questions are...

    Is it possible I'm doing something wrong (I don't see how - it's pretty-much idiot proof, and I feel pretty-much like an idiot)?

    If I bought the genuine OEM Tesla J1772 adapter cable, would that increase my odds of getting these stations to work with my car? I know it's expensive and bulky but, the CAN Jr. adapter is only convenient if it works.

    How do people do this? I'm not in southern California where, if you can't get a charging station to work, you just drive to another one. I planned this trip today VERY carefully. I knew there was a better-than-even chance that it wouldn't work, and I'd have to drive there...and back...on one charge. I made it, but not with a ton of room to spare.

    If you were driving on I-95 north today, and you saw some idiot driving 60 MPH in a 70 zone, looking (and feeling) like a tool...that was me.

    2011 Roadster 2.5, latest firmware (as far as I can ascertain).
     
  2. djp

    djp Roadster 2.0 VIN939

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    Schneider stations don't work with the Roadster, it's come up in a few threads here. The problem is on Schneider's side, the stations are overly sensitive to ground leakage and will refuse to charge even though the Roadster is in spec.

    Were all the stations Schneider, or just two of them?
     
  3. Habious

    Habious Member

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    At that location, there were two Schneider chargers.

    At Halstead Square, it's a SemaConnect charger.

    I forgot what the chargers were at the Target but, after I tried them (and they didn't work), I did a search on here and discovered "Yeah, those chargers don't work with the Roadster".
     
  4. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    I contacted Schneider about this a couple of years ago. They admitted fault and said they'd release a field fix - which only makes sense; the Roadster was released before the chargers were, and as djp notes the Roadster is in spec. But Schneider apparently changed their mind later and decided there were too few Roadsters out there to worry about.
     
  5. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Schneider eventually came out with a new line of chargers under the name EVLink that appear to work with my 2.5 Roadster. They sent me a detailed spec sheet and the ground fault was raised to the standard 20ma. For a while they even offered a 70A charger but I believe it was discontinued due to lack of interest. The DC area which includes parts of MD and VA had a very aggressive salesperson for Schneider who sold a lot of dis-functional charging stations. You will also find a lot of ChargePro in that area which is a re-branded Schneider and had the same problems.

    There are also some Seimens brand J1772 chargers sold at Home Cheapo that have the same problem (wrong tolerance for ground leakage). Seimens claims to have tested their charger on a Roadster and advertises as much. One of my CAN JR customers emailed their tech support and was eventually connected with somebody who essentially said "We did test it on a Roadster and it worked. We're using the right spec and all other manufacturers are using the wrong spec." Sometimes it's fun to march out of step but not because you're an idiot.
     
  6. Habious

    Habious Member

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    I just went up to the Merrifield Target and verified that it's a SemaConnect "ChargePro". Same problem. Blue...flashy blue...white. At least that one has a display on the charger and says "Ground Fault".

    But, knowing what the issue is doesn't solve my problem.

    How do I plan a trip (to a town I've never been to...and that's well outside a "full tank of gas" range) when I can be fairly confident that MOST chargers will NOT work with my car?

    I drive to the hotel, discover their charger doesn't work...and then call a flatbed and spend $1,000 getting my Roadster hauled back to DC?

    On the trip down to Raleigh, there's a KOA campsite that's about halfway there. A 14-50 and my UMC will almost-certainly work. But, that absolutely sucks as a destination charge solution. As far as I know, KOA doesn't have a campsite next to the Raleigh Hilton. I can make it down there but, I'll be on the electronic equivalent of "fumes". So, even with a 14-50, we're talking 6 hours+ charge time. That's a LONG time to hang out on a picnic bench, in the middle of the night, at a campground.
     
  7. djp

    djp Roadster 2.0 VIN939

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    Check PlugShare before you travel, the brand of charge station is often listed there.
    We're lucky in Canada to mostly have Sun Country Highway (Clipper Creek) 70/80A stations. I've only come across one Schneider in my area. It's the only one that hasn't worked for me out of all the stations I've used.
     
  8. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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    I didn't see any earlier answer to this question. The answer is no, the results with the OEM cable would be no different. Both adapters are passive devices.

    For my 1.5 Roadster, I have successfully used ChargePoint, SemaCharge, Eaton, Blink, and, of course, Clipper Creek. However, I had 2 of 2 failures with Aerovironment charge stations on a road trip last year, using the OEM adapter, and had to go to plan B. I think I have successfully used a Siemens EVSE as well. I'm not sure if I have encountered Schneider. But I do know that the 1.5 has less of a ground fault problem than the later models. In fact, the first-generation Tesla OEM HPC that was supplied with my car works fine for me but failed with a friend's 2.5.

    I now have both CAN JR and CAN SR and just completed another road trip on which I used Model S HPWCs at four locations and my 14-50 charge cable at 5 other places plus one Blink station with the CAN JR.
     
  9. Habious

    Habious Member

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    Thanks. This helps a lot.

    I'm looking at the PlugShare map and I see some Eaton chargers (but don't know if they'd work with my 2.5).

    I see a Whole Foods (and this is the one place that DID work for me...but I don't know if every Whole Foods in the nation uses the same charger or not).

    I also see several "GE WattStation" chargers. Anyone have experience (good or bad) with these?

    I'm looking at staying at a Marriott property while I'm there. Marriott's website says that both the "Renaissance Raleigh North Hills" and the "Courtyard Raleigh Crabtree Valley" have Level 2 charging, but they don't say what kind of chargers. I'm guessing the people at the front desk (who would answer the phone if I called) wouldn't have a clue. Neither of these are listed on PlugShare; I'm guessing that's because they're not "free to the public", they're "free to guests staying at the property".

    Based on slcasner's post, it sounds like I need to verify (before making a potentially one-way trip) that the charger not only is verified to work with "A Tesla Roadster", I need to make sure it's verified to work with "A Tesla Roadster 2.5". Ugh.

    I like the idea of the CAN Sr. but, it doesn't seem like it would do me a whole lot of good. I filter the PlugShare site to show me "Tesla HPWC (Model S)" chargers, and exactly ONE shows up in the Raleigh area (the Tesla Service Center - go figure)...and it's by appointment only, and closed on Sundays (when I'd need it to top off before heading home).

    The only city that seems worse for Model S HPWCs is Richmond (my intermediate stop). There are ZERO.
     
  10. djp

    djp Roadster 2.0 VIN939

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    I've used Eaton and GE stations before with no problems.

    If you're staying a couple of days, a standard 120V outlet would be fine as a backup plan.
     
  11. TOBASH

    TOBASH Member

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    You need to plan your trip around camp grounds with 220Volt plugs, and friends' homes with Washer/Driers with 220V 30Amp to 50Amp plugs.

    I have the Tesla "multi-plug" that will allow such trips, but I also converted a Nissan EVSE to Level II and a Chevy Volt EVSE to Level II. (I hate the idea of losing my Tesla EVSE to theft).

    I charge at 16 Amps and 220, and that is good enough for most of my needs.

    I will be buying a portable EVSE with up to 80Amp potential, and then place it on50, 40, and 30 Amp 220V camper plugs for more serious requirements. I think the company is MotorWerks.

    Open EVSE is a Wikipedia site with links to buying and building your own portable and mounted EVSE units.

    Best,

    T

    P.S. - I also use a Can Junior from HSharp as my converter from J1772 to Tesla Roadster plug. I'm happy as a pig in poop with Henry's Can Jr. and I don't think any of us can thank him enough for his contributions to our driving experiences.
     
  12. Habious

    Habious Member

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    This...this confuses me. I've heard people talk about this but, I honestly can't think of one house I've ever visited where this would be an option...unless the cable on your UMC is 150' longer than the cable on mine.

    My dryer connection is in the basement. A whole floor, and several hundred feet away from where any car could park...even if you punched a hole in the concrete. I had to have a dedicated 14-50 installed on my carport...6 feet from where the car is parked.

    The two "families" I'd be visiting in the Raleigh area are my mom and sister. Mom is in a retirement community...no charging options at all (not even a 110V within reasonable range of the parking lot) and my sister's house has the dryer smack dab in the middle of the house...a very long ways from the driveway.

    That's why I'm looking at some kind of a destination charging option. I'm fine staying at a hotel (better than staying with family anyway!) but, I can't figure out how to know before I get there if the charger will work with the car. I get that "the first time" is the tricky part. Once I've done it once, and I know what does (and doesn't) work, it'll be fine but, it's this first trip.

    If you look at PlugShare (and take OUT J1772s - since most don't seem to work for me) there are very few options in/around Raleigh.

    EV Map.jpg
     
  13. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    I traveled all the way from VT to Greensboro and back with lots of options. First, your assumptions about the service center are probably wrong. Most likely they have at least one HPWC outside that you can use on Sunday when nobody is there. Call them and ask. But you'll need a CAN SR. Tesla stores usually have HPWCs and NEMA 14-50 outlets.

    We stayed at a couple of Airbnb hosts along the way. Before booking I would check with them to see if they had a dryer, stove, or other 240v outlet within 70 ft of where I could park. Then offered an extra $25 to use it. I have a 50' NEMA 14-50 extension cord and my UMC is 20'. Almost every host said yes to this question so I don't think most homes require 150' to plug in. There are so many Airbnb hosts now that it's easy to find one that's willing and able to charge your car.

    I looked briefly at Richmond and right away I saw a 70A clipper creek public charger in downtown and multiple other chargers. There's also a public HPWC 80A in downtown Richmond. You should check Tesla's web site for destination chargers.

    Charging stations that have not worked with my 2.5: Schneider (early versions and all ChargePro) and some Seimens home chargers.

    Stations that virtually always work with my 2.5: Aerovironment (usually found at Nissan dealers), Coulomb (most ChargePoint), GE Wattstation, Clipper Creek, Eaton, Schneider EVLink brand, ChargePoint (they used 3 different EVSE suppliers including Coulomb, ClipperCreek, and one more). Blink works but the stations are poorly maintained so don't count on them.

    It's not as hard as you think.
     
  14. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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    The best way to find Tesla HPWC (Model S) charging stations is to go to the "FIND US" page of the teslamotors.com web site.
     
  15. Habious

    Habious Member

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    Yup, and this is the result...

    HPWCs.jpg

    There's just NOTHING there. HPWCs, 14-50s, nothing. There's plenty of J1772s but, I can't count on those.
     
  16. djp

    djp Roadster 2.0 VIN939

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    On PlugShare I'm seeing these stations in downtown Raleigh:

    - Five Clipper Creek
    - Two Chargepoint
    - Three Eaton
    - Twelve GE (including two at the Marriot)

    You'll be fine, it's only the early Schneider's that are a problem. The large majority of J1772 stations have no issues charging a Roadster.
     
  17. Habious

    Habious Member

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    Maybe it's just been my bad luck...or something about this area...but the large majority J1772 stations I've tried didn't work. That's why I got so frustrated over the weekend.
     
  18. Curt

    Curt Roadster Signature #55

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    It does sound like you had a run of bad luck. My experience has generally been good - I drove up to Vermont and back last weekend, and it was very easy to find working stations.

    There has been some good advice here. Probably the best is to avoid the Schneider stations.

    Looking over downtown Raleigh, I would make my first attempts at:

    - Green Square Parking Deck (6 x Clipper Creek)
    - American Institute of Architects (2 x ChargePoint)
    - Municipal Parking Deck (2 x GE, Free Charging, Free parking 7PM-7AM)
    - Marriott (2 x GE)
     
  19. Roadrunner13

    Roadrunner13 Member

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    I think you might need to build confidence again before going so far away.
    I know you already tried some close by to your place, but if you can expand your local search and get to some J1772 Clipper Creek (for example) to try within your safe return radius, you should have success...
    That's the company that made the Tesla chargers for roadster.

    Since there are many of these Clipper Creek's everywhere (including Raleigh), this should help becoming comfortable with your trip to Raleigh...but if I were in your shoes, I would definetely have plan A, B AND C in mind for a little while!

    Your experience will also make me plan more carefully and probably try out as many chargers as I pass by just for building experience AND knowledge of each types!
     
  20. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Each small region of the country is often populated with more of one brand than any other. Some areas are mostly Blink, some mostly ChargePoint for example. DC area for whatever reason was mostly Schneider when it first started getting chargers. That was bad luck for Roadster owners around DC. But frankly it's not a big hindrance to your road trips. I generally avoid 30A 208v stations.

    I also think you need to work on your search skills. No offense, honestly. For example you said there were almost no options for you in Raleigh, and your map for Richmond shows nothing for high power level 2. Yet others have turned up some excellent options in both cities. Richmond would be a great mid-day stopover with two free 70A charging stations right in downtown.

    I think you mostly need more confidence like Roadrunner2013 said. Go for it.
     

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