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Camping trip - charging the car

spon88

Member
May 2, 2019
514
287
Derby
Now camping is not something I have experience with, but given a cancelled family holiday and the opportunity to get away for a few days on the mountain bike with my mates, it's going to happen :eek:

The issue I have is that the destination is west Wales and even with charging on route at the Tesla SuC in Stoke, I'll be "marginal" for the round trip back there. ABRP suggests around 20% if I don't use the car locally and assuming it doesn't rain or blow! I see a rapid on route back in Wrexham and there's a few slower chargers locally, but all a bit bereft over there.

However, I can book a pitch with "10 amp" electrical supply - albeit details are sketchy. My mates are regular campervan/caravan types and showed me their adaptors which look very similar to the Tesla 16A blue connector which plugs into the granny charger.

Am I right in thinking that they would be one and the same and that even though the supply is said to be 10A, I should still be able to plug in to get a top-up? I probably only need 30 miles or so to be safe. Not used the granny charger before, even with a 240v plug, so all a bit alien to me.

Any experience gratefully accepted before I head off and get stranded :)
 

webbah

Member
May 22, 2012
977
911
Lucerne, Switzerland
Thought as much. Presumably the granny charger adjusts to the incoming supply or do I need to adjust anything in the car? Apologies for complete ignorance....

It'll test and adjust to the input current up to it's max. I use mine all the time at my girlfriends mom's house when we travel there. And I've used it at some rest stops with slower power hookups when desperate deep in the alps.
 
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Louis0w

Member
Mar 6, 2020
107
90
Bridgend, Wales, UK
Yes; use the blue 16a adapter. I did exactly that myself on Saturday night camping in Avimore. 16a will charge at 4kw. You can then reduce the amperage in car, if you want to charge more slowly. I reduced down to 11a to meet the % charge I was aiming for in time for check out.
 

henleyregatta

Member
Dec 17, 2018
108
82
Hampshire
We do a camping trip every year (....except this one) and this was an area I was interested in too. We always Glamp it up with a power supply (who wants to sit around in the dark?) and I thought that would do us - even 10 amps would top us off over the course of a couple of days.

However, the UMC is, in my experience, extremely picky about having well-connected power - separate Live, Neutral and Ground - and the camp sites we've visited have clearly skimped on this - I understand using ground and neutral together is perfectly legitimate in these circumstances but it does cause the UMC to trip. As a result I've never been able to get a charge this way.

I should come clean and point out that I've only ever gone (campsite outlet) -> (commando camping extension lead) -> (RCD-protected box with 13-amp standard 3-pin sockets inside tent) -> UMC -> Car. I've got a gen-1 UMC so I have the wrong type of Commando plug to use directly. I note the M3's and more recent cars come with the 16A Commando that should directly fit, and that might actually bypass the issues I've described.

But... do you want to risk that? :)

(I personally wouldn't go without having a backup plan, even if that involves signing up for some paid charging within range. But I have a fairly low risk appetite).
 
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spon88

Member
May 2, 2019
514
287
Derby
It'll test and adjust to the input current up to it's max. I use mine all the time at my girlfriends mom's house when we travel there. And I've used it at some rest stops with slower power hookups when desperate deep in the alps.
Thank you!
 

spon88

Member
May 2, 2019
514
287
Derby
Yes; use the blue 16a adapter. I did exactly that myself on Saturday night camping in Avimore. 16a will charge at 4kw. You can then reduce the amperage in car, if you want to charge more slowly. I reduced down to 11a to meet the % charge I was aiming for in time for check out.
OK, thank you.
 

spon88

Member
May 2, 2019
514
287
Derby
We do a camping trip every year (....except this one) and this was an area I was interested in too. We always Glamp it up with a power supply (who wants to sit around in the dark?) and I thought that would do us - even 10 amps would top us off over the course of a couple of days.

However, the UMC is, in my experience, extremely picky about having well-connected power - separate Live, Neutral and Ground - and the camp sites we've visited have clearly skimped on this - I understand using ground and neutral together is perfectly legitimate in these circumstances but it does cause the UMC to trip. As a result I've never been able to get a charge this way.

I should come clean and point out that I've only ever gone (campsite outlet) -> (commando camping extension lead) -> (RCD-protected box with 13-amp standard 3-pin sockets inside tent) -> UMC -> Car. I've got a gen-1 UMC so I have the wrong type of Commando plug to use directly. I note the M3's and more recent cars come with the 16A Commando that should directly fit, and that might actually bypass the issues I've described.

But... do you want to risk that? :)

(I personally wouldn't go without having a backup plan, even if that involves signing up for some paid charging within range. But I have a fairly low risk appetite).
Good points and I will have a back-up, even if it involves a detour on the way back. I will be trying blue commando 16A direct to the UMC so hopefully it'll work as planned
 

spon88

Member
May 2, 2019
514
287
Derby
TENT???!?!? You've got a Tesla, use camp mode, your mates'll be dead jealous!!!!
That was plan A! Then I realised I'd be tight for charge plus I'll be locking the bike in there overnight. However, if it rains and blows, it'll likely be plan A again :)
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,695
UK
A word of caution over camping and caravan supplies with a 16 A size commando outlet. Often these are internally limited to a lower current, 10 A is pretty typical, because of concerns over the total load on the site supply. The Tesla UMC doesn't know this, so if the 16 A commando adapter is used it will try and pull 16 A from that supply, as the Tesla commando adapter includes signalling to the UMC to set the charge current to 16 A,

Rather than risk tripping the supply, which may mean getting the site operator over to reset it (sometimes they lock the covers to stop people fiddling with them) the best approach would be to confirm the maximum available from the site operator, and then turn the charge current down in the car, before plugging in. You can set the maximum to anything between 6 A and 16 A on the screen, using the + and - buttons. 8A might be a reasonable starting point, won't be the fastest or most efficient charge, but if you only need a few tens of miles extra should be OK.
 
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Jason71

Active Member
May 8, 2019
2,479
2,237
Shropshire
Depends where in West Wales - have you checked ZapMap for 50kw options en route / nearby ?
It's pretty grim all over mid/North Wales and most of the ones that do exist are single ones so if its broken...... and just when you find one on Zap map with only a small detour it turns out to be Ecotricity so then it's back to the drawing board
 

spon88

Member
May 2, 2019
514
287
Derby
A word of caution over camping and caravan supplies with a 16 A size commando outlet. Often these are internally limited to a lower current, 10 A is pretty typical, because of concerns over the total load on the site supply. The Tesla UMC doesn't know this, so if the 16 A commando adapter is used it will try and pull 16 A from that supply, as the Tesla commando adapter includes signalling to the UMC to set the charge current to 16 A,

Rather than risk tripping the supply, which may mean getting the site operator over to reset it (sometimes they lock the covers to stop people fiddling with them) the best approach would be to confirm the maximum available from the site operator, and then turn the charge current down in the car, before plugging in. You can set the maximum to anything between 6 A and 16 A on the screen, using the + and - buttons. 8A might be a reasonable starting point, won't be the fastest or most efficient charge, but if you only need a few tens of miles extra should be OK.
Great advice. I'd thought of starting at 8A to hopefully avoid problems
 

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