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Agonizingly slow charging at 120 volts

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Borgie, May 31, 2013.

  1. Borgie

    Borgie Member

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    Location:
    Connecticut
    I took an interesting road trip this week in my Model S. Connecticut to Vermont: total distance exactly 200 miles. Charged the night before to maximum range and left with 263 miles range indicated. Trip was almost completely at highway speeds, and I kept the speed on cruise control at the posted speed of 65mph. (Note that this was unusually slow driving for me, but I was concerned about range at higher speeds. And, I must say, it was kind of relaxing just poking along in the right lane). As we approached the destination there was a long uphill stretch, and the miles remaining started plunging. About 1/2 mile from destination the display read 0 miles remaining and then "CHARGE NOW." Given that I was so close, I continued and arrived without problems at my destination.

    The only charging facility available was a 110VAC outlet. So I promptly plugged in and waited, and waited, and waited. 48 hours later it was time to depart. 117 miles displayed on range indicator. I'd been checking the range over this two day period, so the 117 miles wasn't a surprise by this time, but I had initially expected to get something approaching a full charge over a 48 hour period. This was a lesson learned. I'm not going to plan on ever getting anything like the 5 miles/hour charging I expected. Better to count on the 2.43 miles/hour I got. The trip home (with 3 charging stops) took 9 hours, compared to 3 hours in the other direction. Needless to say, the proposed Supercharger in southern Massachusetts would have been very helpful!

    To place this experience in context, I still love my S. I've NEVER experienced range anxiety prior to this as I wake up every morning with a full battery courtesy of my HPWC and never drive anywhere near 200 miles in a day. But this was a lesson learned. The planned Supercharger rollout will be very welcome.
     
  2. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    #2 mitch672, May 31, 2013
    Last edited: May 31, 2013
    You can sometimes "create" a 240 15A outlet via 2 opposite phase 120V outlets, there are devices around for this, you might have been able to double your charging speed, but that would still have been a day. You might want to see if you can locate an RV Park next time, and find a 14-50 to plug into, that would have been much better.
     
  3. zeron

    zeron Member

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  4. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    I use 2 in my calculations.
     
  5. islandbayy

    islandbayy Active Member

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    I have been charging on a 120v outlet at home as I have not had a chance to install a 240 (happening today). I believe I am on firmware 4.4.
    The most I see at the full 12 amps at 118 volts is 2, and rarely 3 miles per hour. I only charge from 7pm to 7 am. This has been enough for my commute, and I need to top off at a AAA Office that has a free Chargepoint on friday evenings, so that I can make my 120 mile drive every saturday, (where I have a 240 outlet for the return charge). I have a MS 60kw battery.
     
  6. SFOTurtle

    SFOTurtle Active Member

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    Is this your first road trip? Did you research online what charging stations might have been available along your route and near your destination?
     
  7. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    Were you displaying 263 miles of "rated" range before you left?
     
  8. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    "Opposite leg"! :)

    (My personal mission to rid the world of that horrible mis-use, haha.)
     
  9. aviators99

    aviators99 Model S - R140

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    It does seem like there are quite a few 30A chargers in VT. What city were you in?
    110V charging is pretty useless...If it was cold you might have never been able to leave.
     
  10. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Exciting trip. I agree with everyone above. Probably finding a 30A J1772 charger (or RV park outlet) to charge for a few hours would have worked a little better if that was an option. The 110V outlet is better than nothing but not much. That would shorten your charging on the way back too. Glad you made it though.
     
  11. PeterK

    PeterK Model S Owner

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    If its a vacation home I would get a 240v outlet installed. I just had one put in at my mother's place that we visit a half dozen times per year and has nothing nearby. Electrician charged less than $600 - and nearly half of that was for long copper wiring out to a pressure treated post by the driveway.
     
  12. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    FlasherZ - why do you call them opposite legs rather than opposite phases? The two legs ARE 180 degrees out of phase are they not?

    - - - Updated - - -

    @Borgie - was there really no 240V outlet anywhere? No dryer outlet?
     
  13. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Electric utilities use a split winding transformer on one phase of a three phase distribution system to get 120/240 volts. The correct terminology is "leg". The single phase is split into two legs with the sine wave 180 degrees apart. Each leg to neutral gives you 120 volts and leg to leg = 240 volts.

    In certain situation, two of three phases are used to provide 120/208 volts. In this case, the phase angle is 120 degrees and you therefore only get 208 volts phase to phase while still getting 120 volts phase to neutral.
     
  14. TurboFroggy

    TurboFroggy Member

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    Our Leaf only gains about 3 miles per hour on 120 Volts so your 2.43 miles/hour is right on for what you should expect. 120 volts sucks, figure out an alternate for charging on 240 volts. At my Mom's house they had a 14-30 in the garage from a dryer that I was able to use. Drove from 255 miles and even at 24 amps at 240 volts I was full in 14 hours. We frequently go down there to visit so I installed the HPWC that I bought with my Model S at her house and I use the UMC on a 14-50 at home. This gives me a great pivot point from her house where I can go and visit all the relatives in the area or head over to the coast all with a 3-4 hour stop.
     
  15. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    That's one advantage of the Roadster... you really can fully charge it in 48 hours with 110V. If you're charging-power-limited the Roadster is always faster - it only needs about 2/3 of the energy the Model S does to go the same distance. That's mainly because the car is a lot smaller and lighter.
     
  16. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    Along the lines of what everyone else said: Next time go ahead and limp the last stretch to your destination, let it charge over-night, then find a public charging station nearby and park it there for a day, then return to your destination home to complete the charge on the 110. (This is assuming there is a charging station nearby. Check Recargo, there are few places you can't find at least one.)
     
  17. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    What mknox said. :)

    There's also another 3-phase configuration called "delta" as well, where the windings/phases are connected end-to-end in a triangle rather than as a "Y". In this case, L-L voltage is consistent on all three phases and each leg's voltage to ground depends upon grounding style. That's outside the scope of this, but I don't feel mknox's description is complete without this case (I was working in a theater the other day with a center-tap-grounded 240V delta configuration).
     
  18. ken830

    ken830 Model S (Res#P12,447)

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    Did you really nearly run out of charge on the first 200-mile leg of the trip at a constant 65 MPH? Something doesn't seem right...

    I just took a short ~180 mile trip last weekend after a range charge (272 miles). Even with a couple of hours of parking-lot A/C use while parking (to feed and change my infant daughter), I got back home with approx 80 miles of rated-range left. And I definitely drove much faster than 65 MPH both ways. I didn't use cruise control and I slowed down on uphills and sped up on downhills to conserve energy, but I would say I averaged about 70-75 MPH.
     
  19. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    Yes, that's why I asked if he was looking at "rated" range when he left. Just doesn't seem right.
     
  20. Jenni

    Jenni Member

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    Maybe this is a silly question... Is leaving your S overnight in a public charging spot "safe"? Can anyone remove the plug? Wouldn't someone get annoyed with me if I leave my car there for 12 hours overNight while sleeping, taking up the spot for another user?

    i get my 40 in 2 weeks and most of my driving is around the DC area. I can easily take our hybrid SUV on big family trips.

    But, my family lives 65 miles away. I had assumed I could easily get there and back on one charge, but, to be safe, I would charge a little there while I was visiting for a few hours.
    Likewise, I have friends about 115 miles from home who would like to see the car. I had assumed I could charge there overnight.

    But both of these homes only have 110 V outlets on their exterior. They both have dryers, but wouldn't I need a really long extension cord?
    It sounds like a 110 V plug won't really gain anything for me at either location so I'd need another plan.

    It seems a little funny to me to arrive at a friend's house and have to ask them for a ride to leave my nice new car in some random location to charge for an afternoon or overnight. A dryer outlet at the home seems more convenient if I can access it!
     

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