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Grid outage, Powerwall drops loads for minutes

arnolddeleon

Member
Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
943
1,012
SF Bay Area
We had a power outage yesterday. The outage happened in the early evening while the system was discharging the Powerwalls in self powered mode. The Powerwalls dropped the loads for about 16 minutes and then came back on. I've seen others report Powerwalls taking a while to pick up the load but in most of those cases the Powerwalls were not in standby. Even with mostly Tesla only data, the Powerwalls did not cover a significant portion of the outage.

I've emailed energy support.

3 Powerwalls
Gateway 1
Whole house backup
PG&E

Sense = power monitoring device powered directly from the panel. Powerwall + solar is treated as solar on the Sense
Ting = plug-in monitor for detecting electrical faults that might cause fires
Ubiquiti = network equipment plugged in to small UPS
Laura = human that was in the house
Tesla App Log = what you can see from the app
Tesla Data Download = "download data" from app

Annoying that many time stamps have only minute resolution. Even more annoying is data download only has 5 minute resolution.
TimeSourceDescriptionNote
7:13:45 PMSenseNo solar (Powerwall) or loadsIs this the beginning? Was the Sense clock off?
7:20:00 PMTesla Data Download0.7 kW Load, 0.7 kW from Powerwalls, 0 kw GridHad been discharging at around 1 kW
7:22:00 PMUbiquitiFirst wired device reported off network
7:23:00 PMTing"Power Outage"
7:23:00 PMLaurahouse dark
7:24:00 PMUbiquitiSwitches and devices not on UPS start to disconnect from network
7:25:00 PMTesla Data Download0 kW Load, 0 kW Powerwalls, 0 kW Grid
7:30:00 PMTesla Data Download0 kW Load, 0 kW Powerwalls, 0 kW Grid
7:33:00 PMPGEEmail about the outage
7:33:00 PMTesla App LogPower Outage
7:35:00 PMTesla Data Download1.3 kW load, 1.3 kW Powerwalls, 0 kW Grid
7:38:00 PMLauraLights back on
7:39:00 PMSenseSolar and loads are onPowerwall came back?
7:39:00 PMTingPower restored
7:39:00 PMTing"Generator on"How does the Ting figure this out?
7:39:00 PMUbiquitiFirst set of network devices reconnect to the network
7:40:00 PMUbiquitiMore devices connect, some are disconnecting
7:42:00 PMSenseNo solar (Powerwall) or loadsNo other device noted missing power
7:42:54 PMSenseSolar and loadsPowewall came back again?
8:05:00 PMTesla App LogGrid reported as returning
8:05:50 PMSenseNo solar (Powerwall) but loads activeGrid returned? Powerwall stops momentarily?
8:05:51 PMSenseSolar and loads are onPowerwall resumes offsetting load
8:06:00 PMTing"Generator off"
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
12,428
14,804
Riverside Co. CA
I've wondered how long powerwalls could supply power to the dwelling if there is not enough sun to power the solar panels and the grid is down

This depends entirely on your home load so there is no stock answer to this. on another note, I am going to ask that if you have further questions or comments on that, please start a new thread with those.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
12,428
14,804
Riverside Co. CA
@arnolddeleon

Thats the first time I remember reading someone having an issue like that, with a system that size, and powerwalls already discharging to the home. I would definitely recommend calling tesla with the date / time information and asking them to look into it. That doesnt sound right at all. Any lag time on switch over should have been measured in, at most, a few seconds.

The only thing I can think of is the fact that all of our equipment has "ride through" settings that are required, and although you lost power at your home, perhaps the power wasnt "fully cut" so the ride through settings were forcing you off grid. Totally throwing something at the wall with this guess, but I think that might be a possible cause.
 
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Purely speculation but it seems like the Gateway might have been in an abnormal state or went into an abnormal state during the power failure and had to reboot/reset. Might explain the 15 minute delay in taking over powering your home. As @jjrandorin said might be worth calling Tesla to see if they can get any more detailed logs. Definitely strange behavior from the experiences on the forum.
 
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arnolddeleon

Member
Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
943
1,012
SF Bay Area
Did you do anything to activate them or did they activate on their own after 16 minutes?
I did not. They seemed to do it on its own. I wasn't home but at our local high school and the power went out there as well. I was close enough that I thought it might affect the house so I checked on the house (via the app) once I was in safe situation. On the app it looked the Powerwalls were not powering the house so I tried to the "go off grid" option but that returned an error. When I reached my wife she told me power was out. I didn't try anything else at the point and just finished packing up at the HS (in the dark). At some point my wife reported power/lights coming back (which was the Powerwalls coming alive on their own).
 
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arnolddeleon

Member
Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
943
1,012
SF Bay Area
@arnolddeleon

Thats the first time I remember reading someone having an issue like that, with a system that size, and powerwalls already discharging to the home. I would definitely recommend calling tesla with the date / time information and asking them to look into it. That doesnt sound right at all. Any lag time on switch over should have been measured in, at most, a few seconds.

The only thing I can think of is the fact that all of our equipment has "ride through" settings that are required, and although you lost power at your home, perhaps the power wasnt "fully cut" so the ride through settings were forcing you off grid. Totally throwing something at the wall with this guess, but I think that might be a possible cause.

I opened a support ticket last night via email. I also was amused that I couldn't do it from my phone app. I later discovered that the copy of the app on my Kindle had the support option. I haven't checked to see if this was app version thing.

I am also thinking it was possibly initially a grid brownout which confused the gateway and system. That is the entered a state that caused the inverters to stop outputting but the gateway didn't "think" the grid was quite down. My first guess was losing a phase. I've been trying to find data to support this theory. Unfortunately the Sense is 240V powered so if a leg goes it probably goes. I have a couple of power monitors that are intentionally on different phases. I just need to see if I can find logs for them.
 
Can only speak from my own experience - I've lost grid power with the Powerwalls in both standby and active discharge modes, and in both cases I didn't even notice - I learned of the outage from the Tesla app iPhone alert that "Powerwall is powering your house" (or words to that effect, they seem to keep changing the verbiage).

In two epic 24+ hour outages, one happened at night, with no solar production - this was the "discharge" scenario. The other happened during the late afternoon (thunderstorms) with minimal but still measurable solar - the batteries were already at 100% with nothing to do, hence in standby. Solar production kept going during the outage, until it became too dark outside.

Not certain this helps, but thought I'd offer it anyway....

Fruitcake
 

DrSmile

Member
Nov 7, 2018
240
155
Northern NJ
I have brownouts here all the time (thousands of events logged on the Powerwalls) and it will indeed do some really screwy things, but the Powerwalls usually do take over, sometimes instantly, sometimes it takes a few seconds (like maybe 5). My problem is that the switchover forces the solar offline for a few minutes, when it kicks back in the Powerwalls think the brownout is over and kick off, then the power goes out for a few seconds, then the Powerwalls come back on... rinse repeat until the Powerwalls deplete. I do have the problem of not being able to switch to off-grid mode through the app when this happens. If I go direct through the gateway it sometimes also doesn't work. Flipping the breaker on the gateway works 100% but you have to be home...
 

roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,903
3,408
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
Rainy day, no sun, so of course the power goes out again. That's just PG&E here in northern CA. The power walls kicked in as expected, lights stayed on, computers kept running, until the power blipped back on a minute later. Trouble is, it took me a while to understand the app so I could program them right.

In general the power walls ( I have 3) do what they're supposed to, keep me from sitting in the dark side. Power walls are at 18% since they haven't had enough sun to charge up, so I'm using grid power just now, but at least the power walls do what they can.
 

arnolddeleon

Member
Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
943
1,012
SF Bay Area
Rainy day, no sun, so of course the power goes out again. That's just PG&E here in northern CA. The power walls kicked in as expected, lights stayed on, computers kept running, until the power blipped back on a minute later. Trouble is, it took me a while to understand the app so I could program them right.

In general the power walls ( I have 3) do what they're supposed to, keep me from sitting in the dark side. Power walls are at 18% since they haven't had enough sun to charge up, so I'm using grid power just now, but at least the power walls do what they can.
Do you have Storm watch enabled? My powerwalls have been sitting at between 97 and 100% since Stormwatch kicked on last night. They did some grid charging last night to top off.
 

grtoro

New Member
Oct 24, 2021
2
0
SF Peninsula
I have a related question. I am in the middle of the same Northern CA outage. My two PW's are providing power, but the app shows no solar energy being produced (although the batteries are staying at 100% and don't seem to be discharging). Is this a problem with the app providing the wrong information?

BTW, I have "Storm Watch" enabled and I am not yet set to export to the grid because my installation is recent and I have not received the OK from PGE.
 

zƬesla

Member
Apr 16, 2020
445
179
US-NH
I have a related question. I am in the middle of the same Northern CA outage. My two PW's are providing power, but the app shows no solar energy being produced (although the batteries are staying at 100% and don't seem to be discharging). Is this a problem with the app providing the wrong information?
If PWs are full and you're off-grid, plus there isn't enough house load, PV is shutdown to avoid overload.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,282
10,148
SF Bay Area
Still in StormWatch, no outage, 3PWs are at 98%, and sending .3kW from grid to home now (total sent so far today 3.5kW). Lazy morning here, made coffee and toast and turned on some lights (nearly all LED), gas furnace came on a few times but no real usage demand.

The weird thing when we went into StormWatch yesterday was when we went into Settings and looked at history of outages. My phone’s app listed none since July but my husband’s phone showed one in October! Tried refreshing graphs but still no October showing up on mine. Like I said weird and makes me wonder if we’ve missed seeing any other outages.

BTW feel badly for those of you experience so many brownouts.

Update: outage listing was updated after noticing my Tesla app version was behind my husbands (4.1.1 compared to current 4.2.0). Not sure why that would make a difference but it did. Same page now. When the outages did happen in the past, the switch over was seconds and maybe we noticed a brief flicker depending on PW charging situation. 15 minutes without PWs taking over would not make me happy to see and I’d want to understand why. Hope OP you’re able to get an answer.
 
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I have brownouts here all the time (thousands of events logged on the Powerwalls) and it will indeed do some really screwy things, but the Powerwalls usually do take over, sometimes instantly, sometimes it takes a few seconds (like maybe 5). My problem is that the switchover forces the solar offline for a few minutes, when it kicks back in the Powerwalls think the brownout is over and kick off, then the power goes out for a few seconds, then the Powerwalls come back on... rinse repeat until the Powerwalls deplete. I do have the problem of not being able to switch to off-grid mode through the app when this happens. If I go direct through the gateway it sometimes also doesn't work. Flipping the breaker on the gateway works 100% but you have to be home...
This doesn't sound quite right - I don't think your system (or any system for that matter) should be bouncing every 5 minutes when you're off-grid in daylight conditions. The microgrid is established by the Powerwalls, not the PV. PV being powered or not (or producing or not) shouldn't change this one way or the other.

Are you sure the behavior you're describing isn't due to (a possibly malfunctioning) Home Energy Gateway? The Gateway's automatic transfer switch opens with grid power loss (or brownout) and waits until it has seen 5 minutes of normal, stable grid power before closing again. Honestly it's of the things that I most love about the system (when it's working properly, but that's another story) - brownouts have become all but a thing of the past.

Fruitcake
 

arnolddeleon

Member
Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
943
1,012
SF Bay Area
Had a couple of grid glitches today, Powerwalls worked as expected. Some lights blinked and my computer that is not on UPS reported power issues and rebooted. Ting reported at least one of the issues as brownout with voltage dropping to 60V. Despite the weather the photovoltaic systems managed to eek 26.9 kWh today.
 

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