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Appeal for help: touchscreen overheating and 120V charging in a California garage

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Matt_D, Apr 27, 2014.

  1. Matt_D

    Matt_D Model S P90D, Sig X

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    Fellow Tesla fans,

    I usually don't turn to the forums for help, but I'm stumped and could use some real-world feedback to see if my issue is isolated or a larger problem.

    Some background: I received my P85 in December of 2012. I'll also be honest that I'm a huge fan of Tesla.

    That aside, there is one thing that has been consistently nagging me. We have two EVs and regretfully don't have the electrical capacity for both a HPWC and the J1772 charger. Instead, we just use the J1772 charger for both cars and one of us trickle charges. Our garage is a pretty typical California garage -- so not lots of space (there's maybe one inch to spare in front of the S when it is charging, right near the garage door, as I back the car in...) and about a foot between it and the other vehicle.

    When I charge off of the 120V outlet in the garage at night, it often is still charging right up until the moment I get in the vehicle. Upon getting into the vehicle, I notice that the exterior temperature on the driver's display indicates easily 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the garage. Worse, in the most recent firmware updates, the touchscreen becomes unresponsive to touch events. Imagine hitting the Homelink icon on the infotainment display and the menu staying stuck down for minutes, without me holding my finger on the display.

    If I drive the car out of the garage, the airflow seems to cool things down somewhere where the problem goes away and the touchscreen becomes responsive.

    So when I 120V charge I **never** hear the cooling fans come on in the vehicle to keep it cool. It doesn't seem to do this with 240V or Supercharging. Interestingly, charging outside (at a public station) doesn't seem to yield a problem.

    I've noticed somewhat similar behavior in cold weather (like in Tahoe) where the car is plugged into 40A 240V service outside; the car seems to derate itself to 30A without me doing anything and the temperature sensor thinks it's below freezing even in the morning -- even thought by that point it has warmed up over 50 degrees.

    Other than the touchscreen inconvenience, you also either get blasted with cold air from the AC because the car thinks it is hot (when it isn't) or worse, in the winter, the heat goes into overdrive. I'm also worried about the effect on the components.

    I took the car to service shortly after delivery and the then service manager told me it was "a feature." (Yes, exact words.) I had the car checked this past week at service, where they did a 24K and also checked things and couldn't duplicate the problem. I have videos of this issue -- so I thought before I'd try to raise this with Tesla again, I'd find out if others have noticed the same behavior.

    Thanks as always for your help,
    Matt
     
  2. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Given the number of SCs in the area, you might benefit from visiting a different one. Clearly there's something wrong. I can't say if it's actually overheating or if there's just a sensor problem, but I've found Tesla to be pretty responsive when provided with video of something occurring even if they can't reproduce it on-site.
     
  3. Matt_D

    Matt_D Model S P90D, Sig X

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    Thanks. This is my second one, and it's the factory...so at this point it seems that I need to gather more evidence of the problem (beyond my videos) to prove I have a problem. I take it you haven't seen this issue?
     
  4. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Unfortunately no, I can't help you out there. Sometimes the factory is the crankiest, though. Still might be worth a shot if you're out of other options.
     
  5. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    Sounds like a bad temperature sensor to me.
     
  6. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    This is not normal behavior, and Tesla should fix it. Keep trying! Sending an email to ownership and then following up with the service center sounds like a good starting point. Your description above is good.
     
  7. bevguy

    bevguy Member

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    I also notice that the outside temperature sensor registers warmer than there actual temperature when the car is in a garage. In my case it's more like 20 degrees. Once underway the temperature registers correctly. I haven't noticed any touch screen problem.
    I wouldn't worry about the cooling fan not coming on with household 120 volt, 12 amp. That probably doesn't watm up 7000 batteries very much.
     
  8. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Are you saying the cabin AC is coming on automatically and changing temps itself?? That's not normal.
     
  9. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Appeal for help: touchscreen overheating and 120V charging in a California g...

    Matt, do the issues you describe not occur when you charge your S using the J1772 adaptor? Is that what you mean when you say "It doesn't seem to do this with 240V..."?

    I am not surprised that the cooling fans don't come on when charging at 120V, nor am I surprised that on 120V the car is "still charging right up to the moment I get in the vehicle". Charging on S on 120V is close to futile: better than nothing, but not much better.

    The erroneous temp display readings are not "a feature" but having the AC "blast" when you get in the car and the cabin temp is high and the controls are set on Auto sounds normal to me. An unresponsive touch screen is definitely not normal.

    Sounds like you are in the SF Bay Area. What is your closest Service Center? I have found that the guys at the Burlingame center are very helpful.
     
  10. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    Matt, one thing you didn't mention is how many miles you drive each day and what time you plug in at night and unplug in the morning.

    If you drive 40+ miles a day, then yes it's normal for the car to not complete a charge on 120V overnight. If it's less than 40 then something isn't right, as you should see 3-4 miles/hr of charging on 120V, so at a minimum should recover 40 miles over 12 hours on 120V.
     
  11. Matt_D

    Matt_D Model S P90D, Sig X

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    If I might ask, how old is your vehicle? I notice people with the temperature variance when charging so far seem to be early VINs like mine...

    - - - Updated - - -

    I did, they redirect you to service...

    - - - Updated - - -

    No, I, quite the contrary. The battery doesn't seem to cool itself on trickle charging even though it is heating itself up in the garage.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I would agree, I suspect though that something may have been changed relative to the position of the sensor in later VINs.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Right, the issues don't occur with the J1772 or the supercharger. To be clear, the cabin temp is NOT high. That's the point. The temperature sensor seems to heat up when charging for extended periods on the 120v charger... When in fact it's not warm at all. I suspect the external temperature sensor is wrong given that it is overstating the garage temperature by such a large margin. The touchscreen components seem to get warm as well.

    Burlingame used to be Menlo for the most part, and that's where I got "the feature" comment.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Right, I am not complaining about the charge rate, just the odd and erroneous temperature behavior, which coincidentally wastes power and is having a negative effect on the touchscreen.
     
  12. strider

    strider Active Member

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    Well, I believe the internal temp sensor is under the armrest. In later cars they added some holes and a little fan above the USB ports to blow air into the area under the armrest. The assumption here is that it improved accuracy of the temp sensor. I wonder if that area is being heated somehow when charging on 120v and it takes it awhile to figure itself out?

    I have an early VIN but have never charged on 120v. I see the usual heat-soaking of the external sensor when the car has been parked in the sun but my ICE cars have done that too. So I have never seen what you describe. I realize it's a little late now but what we did in our "old California garage" was to install 2 14-30's (30A 240V) and use the corresponding plugs for our UMC's. 24A equals ~20mph of charging and is plenty for our needs and we were able to add the 2 30A breakers w/o having to re-wire our entire place.

    Folks from Menlo went to both Palo Alto and Burlingame. Maybe try Palo Alto?
     
  13. Matt_D

    Matt_D Model S P90D, Sig X

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    Yes, I do think the sensor they added from May 2013 production forward helped *internal* temperature but I think the external sensor is the culprit. I just find the disparity bizarre given its a cool garage and the area around the car doesn't seem warm. My theory is that the battery charging generates heat, which soaks the external front components. Ordinarily the fans kick on when on 240V, but on 120V they seem to remain off, driving the odd temperature disparity. (For what it's worth in the cold similar things happen in a cold soak even if the car is plugged in...)

    It definitely seems more pronounced in the 5.9 firmware; so I'm not sure if the threshold for tripping the BMS changed or whatnot (or perhaps it's just a bug) -- but either way the effect on components is concerning to me.
     
  14. strider

    strider Active Member

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    Did the charge rate improve w/ 5.9? I wonder if they turned off some of the heating/cooling overhead on 120v because people were complaining and the slow charge rates? <-- wild speculation on my part.
     
  15. Matt_D

    Matt_D Model S P90D, Sig X

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    As far as I can tell, no. In the cold (Tahoe -- so not exactly Norway cold, but a good test) on a 240V/40A outlet the car only drew 30 amps instead of the full 40 -- I assumed to keep the battery warm overnight. Problem is that it kept doing it during the daytime when it had warmed up into the low 50's....due to the same issue.
     

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