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Fix for plastic charge pin insulator stuck in charger handle

Vines

Active Member
Jul 20, 2018
2,043
2,371
Silicon Valley, CA
There is a common failure where the plastic piece from a charge port pin is breaking off inside charger handles, and causing either the supercharger or the UMC to become unusable.

It often happens with earlier build cars, and especially with rough treatment of inserting the charger handle, or torque on it sideways from being too far away from the supercharger, or tripping on a UMC wire.

Sometimes you can just rap the supercharger handle on your shoe, and the plastic piece will come out.


IMG_20191020_130409.jpg

Here is unsung hero Brian showing off the same broken piece at the Buttonwillow supercharger, while cars were lining up during Tesla Corsa for a charge and there was one down due to this issue, He fixed it on the spot.
Sometimes your pin is already broken, but you don't realize it because its your broken piece stuck in your UMC handle, so it doesn't show itself until you go to supercharge, or someone else uses your UMC.

There is a service bulletin for model 3 at least, mine was replaced under warranty. However service never looked inside my UMC so I had no idea that when I went to go plug in, I would be stuck, unable to charge. When i most needed the trickle charge at home, I was stuck without enough miles to get to work or another charger...

So what I did was start looking through my pens for a plastic tube of the perfect diameter to slide inside the charger handle, to spring open the metal spring connector just enough to allow the plastic piece to come free
20191020_124158.jpg

Tried Bic first, that was too small. Tried to wrap bic with electrical tape to make it larger but that didn't work great.
What worked perfect was the sharpie i'm showing with a removable butt end. Its the ultra fine felt tipped point, with the black end opposite the business end. Remove that black plastic plug.
20191020_124259.jpg


Then you can carefully slide it inside the charger handle, its a tight fit, and no guarantee your pen is the perfect size so don't force it too much.

20191020_124220.jpg

This tube for me was a perfect diameter to spread the metal spring connection outward, and allow the plastic piece to come free.

20191020_124140.jpg


Hope this helps others too
 

eprosenx

Active Member
May 30, 2018
2,074
2,517
Beaverton, OR
This came up last year. There are threads on Reddit with pictures. If I remember correct, the common procedure has been to heat a needle up really hot and plunge it into the plastic. Let it cool, then pull it out.

Nice find though! Thanks for the advice! I keep a fine point Sharpie in my electrical tool bucket in the car anyway!
 

rrolsbe

Member
Feb 18, 2017
237
131
Albuquerque
Thought I would try this before I needed it. It is a tight fit only went in 1/4 inch or maybe slightly more, is that far enough? I had to push fairly hard to get it in that far. I assume the plastic piece could be all the way at the bottom of the wand worst case?
 

Vines

Active Member
Jul 20, 2018
2,043
2,371
Silicon Valley, CA
the sharpie only needs to go in about 5/16" to spring outward the metal spring. It is fairly hard to insert. You can tell its a very tight fit, especially as the plastic transitions to metal.
The sharpie only needs to go in that far because the metal is tapered to be tighter at the opening. once you spring the opening, it pretty much falls out.

When the plastic insulator is deeper inside, it rattles freely. Its not until you try to remove it by moving the broken piece closer to the opening, that you run into the taper and spring action of the first bit of metal to touch the car
 
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