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Charging on 110v outlet and cold weather

Jul 29, 2020
53
27
San Francisco
It would most likely be an issue with the 120V receptacle and wiring or the power plug connection. At 120V the Tesla vehicle should never draw more than 12 amps while charging using a 15 amp circuit.
Yes I understand. It shows 12 amp draw on the screen and in the app. Nothing else was drawing from the circuit breaker either. However to my surprise the 15 amp circuit breaker tripped after a couple hours (it was getting cold at night). As I said, I had charged for hours from this exact same outdoor plug many times in the past with no issues. So what was different this time? It was much colder. I also charge from a 120V outlet (15 amp breaker) at home regularly no issues, but it never gets below 40 degrees. I think I'll dial the amps down to 10Amp next time I charge from 120v in the cold and see what happens.
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
1,846
1,835
Maryland
Yes I understand. It shows 12 amp draw on the screen and in the app. Nothing else was drawing from the circuit breaker either. However to my surprise the 15 amp circuit breaker tripped after a couple hours (it was getting cold at night). As I said, I had charged for hours from this exact same outdoor plug many times in the past with no issues. So what was different this time? It was much colder. I also charge from a 120V outlet (15 amp breaker) at home regularly no issues, but it never gets below 40 degrees. I think I'll dial the amps down to 10Amp next time I charge from 120v in the cold and see what happens.
Condensation perhaps. Is it a GFCI outlet or circuit breaker? Was this an outdoor outlet? Were you using an extension cord? Was this using the Tesla Mobile Connector with the NEMA 5-15 power plug adapter?
 
Last edited:

DonaldBecker

Member
Aug 24, 2020
138
147
95033
Something definitely changes at cold temps. I was charging from a 110V outlet a bunch of times, no issue, then recently when charging from the same outlet, the circuit breaker tripped. Only difference I know of this time, it was colder (around 30F).

There must have been something else on the circuit drawing power.

House circuit breakers are thermo-magnetic. They will trip either magnetically from an instantaneous current surge, or thermally from long-term heat build-up with a moderate overload. The latter is less likely to occur with a cold weather.
 

gavine

Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast
Apr 1, 2014
2,590
2,119
Philadelphia, PA
There must have been something else on the circuit drawing power.

House circuit breakers are thermo-magnetic. They will trip either magnetically from an instantaneous current surge, or thermally from long-term heat build-up with a moderate overload. The latter is less likely to occur with a cold weather.
Slightly off-topic, but here's a video showing a breaker tripping in slow motion. It shows both overload (from heat buildup) and short-circuit trips. Definitely worth watching.

 
  • Informative
Reactions: Rocky_H and JimmyB
Jul 29, 2020
53
27
San Francisco
Condensation perhaps. Is it a GFCI outlet or circuit breaker? Was this an outdoor outlet? Were you using an extension cord? Was this using the Tesla Mobile Connector with the NEMA 5-15 power plug adapter?
I was using the Tesla mobile connector with a 6 foot extension cord. GFCI outlet, it didn't trip, the 15 amp circuit breaker at the box tripped. Have used this same setup many times in the past, same outdoor outlet, same extension cord, nothing else drawing power from the outlet. 12A current on the screen. Charged for hours no issues.

BUT colder outside this time, around 30F. I wonder if using an extension cord in the cold increases the power draw just enough to trip the 15 amp circuit breaker. Next time will try it without the extension cord or lower the current draw to 10Amp on the screen.
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
1,846
1,835
Maryland
I was using the Tesla mobile connector with a 6 foot extension cord. GFCI outlet, it didn't trip, the 15 amp circuit breaker at the box tripped. Have used this same setup many times in the past, same outdoor outlet, same extension cord, nothing else drawing power from the outlet. 12A current on the screen. Charged for hours no issues.

BUT colder outside this time, around 30F. I wonder if using an extension cord in the cold increases the power draw just enough to trip the 15 amp circuit breaker. Next time will try it without the extension cord or lower the current draw to 10Amp on the screen.
The fact that you were using an extension cord, regardless of length, creates an additional interconnect. Since you stated that no other appliances, etc. are on this circuit I don't believe that the circuit was overloaded after charging for some time. What may have happened is condensation formed, most likely at the connection between the extension cord and the Mobile connector. Unless you say otherwise the extension cord and the Mobile Connector were laying on the ground where the air can be coldest. Like dew forming on a lawn the moisture from the night air settled on the extension cord and the Mobile Connector. Some moisture got into the connection and created a short circuit. This would immediately trip the circuit breaker (but not the GFCI as there was no ground fault.) If you have no other means of charging invest in a waterproof junction box like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Waterproof-C...r+Tool,+Fountain,+Black&qid=1617653403&sr=8-1
 
Jul 29, 2020
53
27
San Francisco
The fact that you were using an extension cord, regardless of length, creates an additional interconnect. Since you stated that no other appliances, etc. are on this circuit I don't believe that the circuit was overloaded after charging for some time. What may have happened is condensation formed, most likely at the connection between the extension cord and the Mobile connector. Unless you say otherwise the extension cord and the Mobile Connector were laying on the ground where the air can be coldest. Like dew forming on a lawn the moisture from the night air settled on the extension cord and the Mobile Connector. Some moisture got into the connection and created a short circuit. This would immediately trip the circuit breaker (but not the GFCI as there was no ground fault.) If you have no other means of charging invest in a waterproof junction box like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Waterproof-Connection-Restmo-Weatherproof-Decorations/dp/B07XL4FG71/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Outdoor+IP44+Waterproof+Connection+Box+by+Restmo,+Weatherproof+Electrical+Extension+Cord+Cover,+Safety+Seal+Enclosure+to+Protect+Holiday+Decorations,+LED+Strip+Light,+Power+Tool,+Fountain,+Black&qid=1617653403&sr=8-1
The enclosure is a great idea and only $13! Thanks for that suggestion.
 

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