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Is my mobile connector broken?

N54TT

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Aug 14, 2018
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From reading the posts it looks like you have an available outlet at home and have iffy outlets at work you keep trying to use. If you only live 2 miles from work I would stop messing with the outlets at work unless they are fixed. IMO I’d rather not take a chance with whatever problems/damage could arise from plugging into faulty outlets. Just do your charging at home and supplement whatever you need at the supercharger until you can get a level 2 (240v outlet or charger) set up at home.
 
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diplomat33

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Aug 3, 2017
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From reading the posts it looks like you have an available outlet at home and have iffy outlets at work you keep trying to use. If you only live 2 miles from work I would stop messing with the outlets at work unless they are fixed. IMO I’d rather not take a chance with whatever problems/damage could arise from plugging into faulty outlets. Just do your charging at home and supplement whatever you need at the supercharger until you can get a level 2 (240v outlet or charger) set up at home.

I actually don't have an available outlet at home for charging. That's why I try to use the charging at work as much as possible. I would need to ask my landlord about installing an outlet for me to use. It might be a conversation that I should have at some point.
 

diplomat33

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I bet the work outlets are very under designed for the task. Probably had a TV or stereo in mind.

I agree. Although several EVs do use them, they are located in the parking lot by the football stadium where a lot of outdoor homecoming events happen. So I am guessing they are intended more for TVs or stereos for tailgating and picnics and such.
 

stopcrazypp

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Dec 8, 2007
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Yes, I concluded the problem was the outlets at work. The reason I thought it was the connector is because of the new message "charging equipment not recognized" and the lack of green lights when I plugged in.

Thanks for sharing the portions from the manual. I did not see any obvious debris or obstructions.

It's just frustrating that the outlets don't seem to work reliably for me anymore. They used to work in the past. But now, even when I get a charge, I get the app alert "charging interrupted" every hour or so. And then I get messages like this. And I don't have home charging so I'd really like for these outlets to work so I don't have to run to a supercharger every time I need a charge.

And yes, I know you really should get home charging if you are going to buy an electric car. This is my first EV and I live 2 miles from work and the charging at work used to work fine. Plus, I have a supercharger 3 miles from home and work. So I thought the lack of home charging would not be a big deal.

Thanks for helping me. Sorry if I am being dumb.
If you confirm it's the outlets, as others mentioned, it (or perhaps the entire branch circuit it's connected to) may not have been sized for continuous high power like for charging (especially if like you say, multiple EVs charge there). Might have been designed for lower power loads and might be overheating from charging. One thing you can try is to dial down the charge current, although I'm not sure how low you can go with 110V and still get some decent charge. In general, however, I agree with others it's best to try to find alternative charging, given it's starting to become intermittent.
 
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diplomat33

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If you confirm it's the outlets, as others mentioned, it (or perhaps the entire branch circuit it's connected to) may not have been sized for continuous high power like for charging (especially if like you say, multiple EVs charge there). Might have been designed for lower power loads and might be overheating from charging. One thing you can try is to dial down the charge current, although I'm not sure how low you can go with 110V and still get some decent charge. In general, however, I agree with others it's best to try to find alternative charging, given it's starting to become intermittent.

Thanks.

I agree. Each box of 4 outlets are probably in series. So when multiple EVs are charging, it could be overloading the circuit.

When I was getting intermittent charging, I did reduce the Amps to 10A instead of 12A and it did help a bit. But that was a different error message than what I got the other day. That's why I was so puzzled by the error message I got the other day.

I found an outlet that worked today. So yes, I've confirmed that it is the outlets. My mobile connector is working.

And yes, I am seriously thinking about asking my landlord permission to install home charging. It would definitely help a lot.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
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If you confirm it's the outlets, as others mentioned, it (or perhaps the entire branch circuit it's connected to) may not have been sized for continuous high power like for charging (especially if like you say, multiple EVs charge there). Might have been designed for lower power loads and might be overheating from charging. One thing you can try is to dial down the charge current, although I'm not sure how low you can go with 110V and still get some decent charge. In general, however, I agree with others it's best to try to find alternative charging, given it's starting to become intermittent.

Reducing current is a good idea, but I think that would only flag an issue after charging started. I think it is more likely to be general wear and tear in the setup. Loose contacts, GFI getting iffy, maybe loose connections to the outlet itself from the wires.

I’d poke the GFI on and off, try one of the other outlets in the same spot, check for looseness, check the UMC adapter connection to UMC, or if comfortable doing so, slightly bend the prongs if there is a clear issue with the outlet contacts.

There are just three wires of importance! I suspect one of them is high resistance or has an intermittent contact, but not sure exactly what issue would result in the UMC failing out like this, rather than throwing an error code (in the form of appropriate lights) identifying the problem. I suppose an intermittent on one of the line or neutral would do it, since then the UMC wouldn't have any consistent power, it would have an open circuit (don't think it's allowed to run circuitry off the ground, except for the ground continuity test...).

Each box of 4 outlets are probably in series.

You mean in parallel, but yes. No idea what the norm is for outdoor outlets like this, or what would normally be done. Obviously would be a bit annoying to route two runs to each box. Probably one run per box.

Having one of the sockets work while the other not (on the same outlet?) suggests that it's a contact problem (dirty or loose) on one of the sockets.
 

diplomat33

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Aug 3, 2017
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You mean in parallel, but yes. No idea what the norm is for outdoor outlets like this, or what would normally be done. Obviously would be a bit annoying to route two runs to each box. Probably one run per box.

Having one of the sockets work while the other not (on the same outlet?) suggests that it's a contact problem (dirty or loose) on one of the sockets.

Sorry, I was not very clear. Here is a picture to help. There are these outlets (each containing four 110V sockets) spaced every 5 or so parking spaces. Yes, the sockets in a single outlet are probably in parallel, although it might 2 and 2 (2 series in parallel with 2 series). I meant that these outlets are probably in series, meaning this outlet is probably in series with the outlet 5 parking spaces down. So if there is an EV at one outlet and another EV 5 parking spaces down, plugged in to a different outlet, it might be putting strain on the overall circuit.

8Zu8a9t.png
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
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although it might 2 and 2 (2 series in parallel with 2 series). I meant that these outlets are probably in series, meaning this outlet is probably in series with the outlet 5 parking spaces down. So if there is an EV at one outlet and another EV 5 parking spaces down, plugged in to a different outlet, it might be putting strain on the overall circuit.

Getting a little off topic, and I don't want to belabor this, but it's your thread, so... ;)

No. What you are describing would still be in parallel. That would increase the load on that circuit (specifically, the breaker and the wires, at least for part of the run). Two identical parallel loads would draw twice as much current and could definitely throw the breaker. That's the issue that you're describing, but you're using the wrong terminology.

If there's just one phase of 120V, everything is in parallel! All of the outlets. They may be on different circuits, and go through different breakers, but they are in parallel with respect to the service entrance and the service breaker. Normally we care more about the individual breakers and the wires after them of course, so the loads separated by breakers technically being in parallel is not much of a concern. Alternatively, with 240V service (there are other setups too, especially for commercial service, which may apply here - you'd have to tell us what voltage you actually see for us to know, but I'll ignore that, since it is slightly more complicated and less familiar to me), you have two phases, 180 degrees out of phase, of 120V. It's possible they run 240V (two wires) and a neutral (one wire) to this box and connect one outlet to one phase and the other to the other phase. (Saves a bit of wire - you only need one neutral of normal size, since it can't exceed the rating of the breaker, even with two maximum loads (when both circuits are maxed out the return current in the neutral would be approximately zero).) In that case, they're not technically in parallel or series (you could argue that they're virtually in series on a 240V circuit when both loads are equal, because the neutral return in that specific, precise, imaginary, temporary condition would have zero current and could be removed in that specific condition without impacting anything). Anyway, I have no idea whether this type of wiring is what is done or whether that would be to code. Probably. People love to save copper and share neutrals.

I'm sure others can speak to the vagaries of commercial wiring and the code constraints (but probably we should drop this topic) - I very well may not have all those details correct. My main point is that cars connected on the same circuit, which produce too much load, are connected in parallel. Not in series. If they were actually connected in series, it wouldn't overload the circuit, but cars are not designed to charge that way, nor is the electrical infrastructure set up for it, and there would be a variety of other issues (if they were drawing equal load, each would have 60V at 12A or whatever, but you can see the problems with that setup...)! Except for the special virtual case above, which is just a thought experiment.

But anyway, I don't think that has anything to do with your problem, which it sounds like you've hopefully definitively identified as worn out outlets or possibly some sort of GFI problem. Glad it is back to working for you.

I'm a little surprised, if there are a bunch of EVs that charge in this location, that people aren't blowing the breakers all the time. Guess it depends on how many breakers are allocated to these outlets.
 
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diplomat33

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Aug 3, 2017
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I'm a little surprised, if there are a bunch of EVs that charge in this location, that people aren't blowing the breakers all the time. Guess it depends on how many breakers are allocated to these outlets.

It's not really a "bunch". It's maybe 1-4 EVs charging each day. There is a Chevy Volt that is always plugged in all day. There is my Model 3 that is usually plugged in for 8 hours. Occasionally, I see 1-2 other Model 3's that are also plugged in. On rare occasions, I've seen a Leaf and Sonic EV that charge too. On a typical day, it is probably no more than 4 EVs charging at the same time.
 
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Mrbrock

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Mar 26, 2020
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Napa, CA
I would bet there is only one cable running into each box of 2 duplex receptacles. The second receptacle is attached to the first. There are also likely multiple stanchions on a single breaker. When you have issues, are other cars charging and when you don’t have issues are other cars charging? Each breaker (hopefully 20A but maybe 15A) could power 1 or more of these stanchions. Without knowing how many breakers are allocated to the stanchions (and how many stanchions per breaker), it is hard to know how many cars can charge at once. Even with a 20A breaker, two cars charging off of a 15A plug are trying to draw 12A each. If they drop to 10A it might not trip the 20A breaker but you would be running 20A continuous on a circuit only designed for 16A which could cause the error messages you are seeing.
 

diplomat33

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Aug 3, 2017
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Terre Haute, IN USA
I would bet there is only one cable running into each box of 2 duplex receptacles. The second receptacle is attached to the first. There are also likely multiple stanchions on a single breaker. When you have issues, are other cars charging and when you don’t have issues are other cars charging? Each breaker (hopefully 20A but maybe 15A) could power 1 or more of these stanchions. Without knowing how many breakers are allocated to the stanchions (and how many stanchions per breaker), it is hard to know how many cars can charge at once. Even with a 20A breaker, two cars charging off of a 15A plug are trying to draw 12A each. If they drop to 10A it might not trip the 20A breaker but you would be running 20A continuous on a circuit only designed for 16A which could cause the error messages you are seeing.

I can't really say scientifically that there is a direct correlation between charging and number of other cars charging. Although, I do think sometimes when there was more cars charging, I also had issues. But I've also had issues with different outlets. There is one outlet, all the way at the end of the parking lot, with newer looking sockets and a solid plastic cover where I tend to get better charging than the other outlets with older looking sockets and clear plastic covers.

The "charging equipment not recognized" error was new. Usually what happens is the "T" on the mobile connector will flash red and go dark when I first plug in the connector. The rest of "Tesla" lights up green, just the "T" is dark. From the manual, I think that means a temperature issue. And when I charge, after a couple hours, charging will stop and go. So I do suspect that it could be too much amps being drawn at once from several cars charging, causing high temps.

In contrast, today, charging in the "good outlet", I got all solid green lights on the connector when I plugged in. And I charged at the normal 5 mi/hr for 8 hours with no interruptions. There was also only the Volt charging.
 
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AlanSubie4Life

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Oct 22, 2018
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From the manual, I think that means a temperature issue. And when I charge, after a couple hours, charging will stop and go.

The intermittent interruptions I have heard about have had to do with sagging of the grid (people who have overhead connections to their house through terrible, old, resistive wires). In this case it could be insufficient conductor sizing on the main feed to this group of outlets, with failure initiated by someone else initiating charging. Or could just be a corroded connection at the outlet itself with resistance changing as the temperature changes. Who knows. Would require careful study.

Usually what happens is the "T" on the mobile connector will flash red and go dark when I first plug in the connector. The rest of "Tesla" lights up green, just the "T" is dark

You'd have to take a video. There are a lot of different codes and they are subtly different (sounds like you know this, from the UMC manual). The sequence matters of course.
 
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Mrbrock

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Mar 26, 2020
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Napa, CA
High temps from too many cars charging wouldn’t be seen at the outlet unless all the cars are plugged into the same stanchion. If they are on separate stanchions then the heat would be at the breaker so the receptacle shouldn’t be hot provided the receptacles are wired to code. The only reason it would be hot would be a bad connection due to loose contacts as mentioned previously. The temperature sensor in the adapter plug cannot sense breaker temps hundreds of feet away.

I think to answer your question and solve this, we need to see the electric panel where the breakers are. I still don’t see how two cars pulling 12+ Amps on the same circuit wouldn’t trip a 20A breaker. The car/plug end wouldn’t see any temperature faults unless sharing an outlet with another car. If multiple cars can charge without tripping then it sounds like the wiring and panel/breakers are fine and the issue is likely with the actual receptacles that might have deteriorated internals due to exposure to elements and need replacing.
 

N54TT

Member
Aug 14, 2018
913
694
NY
I actually don't have an available outlet at home for charging. That's why I try to use the charging at work as much as possible. I would need to ask my landlord about installing an outlet for me to use. It might be a conversation that I should have at some point.

Sorry I must have misread. I thought when you said you tested it at home and it worked....that you had an outlet at home. You said other EV’s charge there at work. Do any of the other EV’s, or more specifically the other tesla’s have the same issue with those outlets? Is it just you? If not that’s reassurance it’s not your mobile connector.

I think it’s great people are posting to try and help you figure out what’s wrong with those outlets at work. Could be the circuit/wiring, connections at the outlets, outlets themselves. But in the end unless you’re going to fix it yourself, what’s the point? Who owns, maintains, pays for those outlets? Maybe Escalate it up to your company so they can get an electrician to check it out....if in fact there is an issue with the outlets and not your mobile connector.
 

Mrbrock

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Mar 26, 2020
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Napa, CA
I think he just plugged the UMC into an outlet in the house and it powered on normally but was not able to plug it into his car to see if it would charge. It sounds like he’s in a condo or apartment if he has to talk to someone about installing an outlet where he parks.

The parking area appears to be owned by a college as it is used for tailgating with TVs.
 
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diplomat33

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Aug 3, 2017
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Terre Haute, IN USA
Quick update. My UMC completely stopped charging. I got the message "charging equipment not recognized". So I made an appt with Tesla Service. They suggested I bring my car in. The appt was super smooth. Tesla Service in Indy is fantastic. They ran some tests and found that UMC was damaged. They fixed my UMC. My waiting was about 15 minutes. And my UMC was still under warranty so there was no charge. I plugged in today at the same spot and charging is working perfectly again. I am very happy.
 

freeAgent

Member
Oct 29, 2020
131
105
SoCal
Quick update. My UMC completely stopped charging. I got the message "charging equipment not recognized". So I made an appt with Tesla Service. They suggested I bring my car in. The appt was super smooth. Tesla Service in Indy is fantastic. They ran some tests and found that UMC was damaged. They fixed my UMC. My waiting was about 15 minutes. And my UMC was still under warranty so there was no charge. I plugged in today at the same spot and charging is working perfectly again. I am very happy.
I'm glad to hear that you finally resolved the issue!
 
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AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
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They fixed my UMC.

Now that is interesting - they fixed it rather than replaced it. I assume this means they replaced the particular (5-15 plug) adapter you were using? I'm not sure that there is any other replaceable component and I'd be slightly surprised if Tesla were doing UMC disassembly on the spot.
 

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