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Charging a Model S with a Small Petrol Generator

alpal

Member
Nov 19, 2015
340
49
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
I know it goes against the grain but I tried to charge my Tesla with a portable petrol generator(inverter) with no success. My UMC kept flashing 3 times indicating there's a problem with the UMC itself. But I can use it with a 10amp power point just fine. I even tried earthing the generator. Has anyone here ever tried to do this?
 

Jeff N

Active Member
Oct 31, 2011
2,440
3,384
I know it goes against the grain but I tried to charge my Tesla with a portable petrol generator(inverter) with no success. My UMC kept flashing 3 times indicating there's a problem with the UMC itself. But I can use it with a 10amp power point just fine. I even tried earthing the generator. Has anyone here ever tried to do this?

See the discussion at this thread, and in particular, this suggestion about how to install a couple of resistors in order to pass the grounding safety test when using a generator.

I haven't tried this myself but seems like it works on the Nissan LEAF. I don't know if it works with a Tesla.

You may also need a generator that puts out a relatively high quality sine wave like the Honda generator being discussed there.

charging on generator - Page 4 - My Nissan Leaf Forum
 

wycolo

Active Member
May 16, 2012
3,095
429
WA & WY
> I can charge my car with a non-sinusoidal [electricdave]

Which car is this? And how non-sine is it, any scope photos?
--
 

eclectricdave

Member
Feb 24, 2016
336
115
Malbourne Australia
My car is an S 85D. The home power supply is a semisquare inverter with the pulse width varied to provide correct average voltage of 240V. The Tes charger will only work when there is adequate sunlight to charge the batteries.
 

Jeff N

Active Member
Oct 31, 2011
2,440
3,384
This guy on YouTube answers this well, you need a certain feature on the generator apparently, have a look,
In this video he shows 2 different portable generators. The Honda doesn't work when he plugs it into his Model S and he mentions you can get it to work by making an adapter.

The instructions for making the adapter are in the link I posted earlier:

charging on generator - Page 4 - My Nissan Leaf Forum

The other portable unit made by Generac does work without needing a homemade adapter. It's also $250 cheaper at Amazon. The downside is that 22% of the reviewers gave it 1 star for bad build quality and poor reliability whereas the Honda has excellent review ratings.

Otherwise, both units appear to be roughly similar in noise, size, and weight. The Generac may have a somewhat fancier display and controls.
 

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