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Charge port problem

About 20-30% of the time that insert a charger into my MS I get a charge error and many times I don't get the error when I'm inserting it but rather late at night when the delayed charging kicks in. . I had my car serviced to a mirror issue and I had the tech check about the charging issue. He said the charging is fine but the plug is not inserted properly. So I figured I would give it another shot and be more careful but too many nights the car is not charging because of the problem and I don't find out until the morning. I have had a Volt for 1 1/2 years and I can't remember a time that I inserted the plug into the car and it didn't charge. Furthermore, I've had the error while plugging into the HWC, at a supercharger and while using the 110 plug.

Does anyone else have similar problems?
 
Try cleaning out the plug and port using something like this: Dust-Off Disposable Compressed Gas Duster, 3.5 oz. Can | Staples.

Also the plug needs to be inserted firmly. It might help if you coat the end with some WD-40 first (not the electrical contacts, but the black plastic covering), which will also coat the interior part of the port once you plug in.
 

FlasherZ

Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv
Jun 21, 2012
7,030
1,030
What kind of charge error do you get?

Perhaps you should disable delayed charging and attempt a few plug-in cycles to see what type of error you're getting -- red ring meaning bad pilot signal, orange ring meaning insertion failure (charging at lower rates), or green ring. I suspect if you're seeing a complete charge failure that you might have dirty contacts on your pilot conductor or ground conductor.

As noted by Electric700, try compressed air to blow out the charge port and see if it fixes things.
 
Sometimes I get the red circle right away so I remove it and put it back in. If this was the problem I would be ok with it but most of the time I put it in and it turns dark blue. Then it won't charge at night. I've tried inserting it every way I can think of and I still get the unreliable results. Now what I do is leave the car door open and plug it in so that it will start pushing electricity right away. If I see the green bar pulse on the HPWC then I know I'm ok.

I will try both suggestions.
 

neroden

Model S Owner and Frustrated Tesla Fan
Apr 25, 2011
14,676
63,889
Ithaca, NY, USA
About 20-30% of the time that insert a charger into my MS I get a charge error and many times I don't get the error when I'm inserting it but rather late at night when the delayed charging kicks in. . I had my car serviced to a mirror issue and I had the tech check about the charging issue. He said the charging is fine but the plug is not inserted properly. So I figured I would give it another shot and be more careful but too many nights the car is not charging because of the problem and I don't find out until the morning. I have had a Volt for 1 1/2 years and I can't remember a time that I inserted the plug into the car and it didn't charge. Furthermore, I've had the error while plugging into the HWC, at a supercharger and while using the 110 plug.

Does anyone else have similar problems?

Make them replace the chargeport. It's either the physical plastic port or the electricals behind it (which can be replaced independently, they're separate pieces). I had a defective chargeport (there seemed to be a run of them in early 2013); you could tell because it was really loose compared to the replacement port I got. I'm surprised you're having problems with a more recent one, but it could be a one-off manufacturing error.

What's most likely happening is that the cord isn't seating right in the port. This can happen if the physical port is defective in shape. The tolerances are actually reallly narrow. This will actually *cause* electrical problems, of course.

The second-most-likely possibility is bad electrical wiring behind the port; they can usually spot this at the service center however. Make them check; they found corrosion on mine.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,104
1,900
Toronto, ON
Personally, I find the charge port "finicky" and mine has already been replaced once.

I am on my third UMC because it seems that over time, the handle end of the UMC just doesn't like to play nice. It will work fine at first, then gradually start giving me grief. Sometimes it will just not connect (port ring stays white), sometimes it will connect briefly, then turn red or orange and other times it may charge fine for a while, then fail with a red ring. Tesla will replace the UMC and the cycle begins again.

I recently installed a HPWC, so we'll see how that holds up. So far, so good.

It often takes me several attempts to get a Supercharger to connect. Often it will "red ring" even after it has initially connected and started charging.

Lately I've been having problems with my J1772 adapter. I find that I have to kind of hold the adapter in one hand, the J1772 handle in the other and "wiggle" it back and forth a few times to get the charge port to accept it and connect.

Tesla recommended using compressed air only to clean out the contacts. I gently used a Q-tip as well and brought out a fair bit of black dirt from the UMC and J1772 adapter. I only blew air into the car's charge port. I ended up buying a can of electrical contact cleaner and used it on my J1772 adapter. I sprayed out the contacts and then used the compressed air to "blow dry" it afterwards. It only helped marginally. I am starting to believe that the contact surfaces wear down over time and/or lose their springiness and fail to "grip" the contacts in the charge port firmly over time. This is only a theory on my part at this time.
 
Personally, I find the charge port "finicky" and mine has already been replaced once.

I am on my third UMC because it seems that over time, the handle end of the UMC just doesn't like to play nice. It will work fine at first, then gradually start giving me grief. Sometimes it will just not connect (port ring stays white), sometimes it will connect briefly, then turn red or orange and other times it may charge fine for a while, then fail with a red ring. Tesla will replace the UMC and the cycle begins again.

I recently installed a HPWC, so we'll see how that holds up. So far, so good.

It often takes me several attempts to get a Supercharger to connect. Often it will "red ring" even after it has initially connected and started charging.

Lately I've been having problems with my J1772 adapter. I find that I have to kind of hold the adapter in one hand, the J1772 handle in the other and "wiggle" it back and forth a few times to get the charge port to accept it and connect.

Tesla recommended using compressed air only to clean out the contacts. I gently used a Q-tip as well and brought out a fair bit of black dirt from the UMC and J1772 adapter. I only blew air into the car's charge port. I ended up buying a can of electrical contact cleaner and used it on my J1772 adapter. I sprayed out the contacts and then used the compressed air to "blow dry" it afterwards. It only helped marginally. I am starting to believe that the contact surfaces wear down over time and/or lose their springiness and fail to "grip" the contacts in the charge port firmly over time. This is only a theory on my part at this time.


I recently had to replace my J1772 adapter. It would not stay connected unless I held the charger handle up (it would try to charge, click off,click on, try to charge, etc.). With the new J1772 I have no problems charging now.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,104
1,900
Toronto, ON
I recently had to replace my J1772 adapter. It would not stay connected unless I held the charger handle up (it would try to charge, click off,click on, try to charge, etc.). With the new J1772 I have no problems charging now.

My "annual" is next week and I'll ask about this. My J1772 adapter had been rock solid, but I didn't use it very often. For the past year or so I've used it a lot more (almost daily) since we installed chargers at work. I suspect I've just worn it out similar to how I "wore out" several UMCs. I remain concerned over the long term durability of Tesla's connector design.
 
I agree with mknox on this one. I have had several replacements of ports and connectors over the past 2 1/2 years. I am equally concerned about the long term durability of the Tesla's connector design as it seems to degrade over time, ie repeated plug-ins bends/shapes the plastic in a way to cause tolerances to not match and you get a blue/white ring. It can be extremely unsettling to be in a situation in cold weather (with low kms on your car, dropping fast in -15 weather) when the plug suddenly decides to not work and you have to just keep pluggin it in/unplugging/plugging...until it finally works. Tesla's solution so far has been to either replace the plug, or the connector, but this seems unsustainable to me. I think Tesla should do a fundamental review of the connector design prior to the Model 3. I don't think regular joes will put up with this kind of stuff.

My "annual" is next week and I'll ask about this. My J1772 adapter had been rock solid, but I didn't use it very often. For the past year or so I've used it a lot more (almost daily) since we installed chargers at work. I suspect I've just worn it out similar to how I "wore out" several UMCs. I remain concerned over the long term durability of Tesla's connector design.
 
Happy driving to all in 2016!

After several attempts, I could not fully insert the UMC charger in this cold (sub freezing point), snowy and wet morning at the cottage. The port was flashing orange, with a warning that the connector didn't latch. It did charge, but the charging current was limited to 16 A instead of 40 A. And it's not as if it was difficult to enter further, the connector was just blocking on something hard.

I suspected a condensation problem, with what looked like traces of frost inside the port. I could not find threads describing this specific issue (so that's why I'm reactivating this thread). I tried to blow with my mouth (didn't have compressed air can as suggested above) but it did not solve the problem. I went back every 15 min. to see if things had melted thanks to the heat from the cable, and sponged small but non negligible amounts of water with a paper towel each time. After an hour or so, I've been able to fully insert the connector and charge at full current.

I suspect that the condensation/frost make usually not conductive surfaces to become conductive enough so the UMC can start communicating with the car before the connector is fully inserted. As a result, the port locks before the connector is fully entered, and it blocks on the locking system. But I don't know how things work inside the port to tell if this hypothesis is possible. What do you think? Did anyone experienced this kind of problem in cold and wet conditions? Or it's just the UMC or port wearing out? (We got the "orange light" problem a couple of times before, but it was more like we did not insert the connector properly.)
 

Canuck

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2013
6,125
5,781
South Surrey, BC
When I got home from work today, and went to charge, the charger port ring only stayed white for about a second or two then it went red and stays that way. It won't allow me to plug in the HPWC no matter what I try. It won't go in even when it's white for that second or two when I try to quickly insert it before it goes red. It has nothing to do with the HPWC since it doesn't even allow it to go it. It also happens whether I press the HPWC button, the open charge port on the screen in the car, or hold the trunk button down on the key.

As far as I can tell, the lock on the bottom of the charge port, that goes into the notch in the bottom of end of the HPWC or UMC to lock it in, doesn't go down to allow it in, and this in turn I think causes the ring to turn red. That has to be the problem as far as I can tell. I rebooted, drove it around the block, called Tesla, they told me try a few things, nothing worked, so it'll have to go in for service. Bummer! :(

Anyone else have a similar problem?
 

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