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Loud motor sound when running the AC

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by johnmodels, May 4, 2013.

  1. johnmodels

    johnmodels Member

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    I've started noticing this a few weeks ago since the temperatures are warming up. When I turn on the AC, there is about a 10 second delay then a motor starts to "spool" up, independent to the fan speed, and after about 5 seconds it becomes very loud. Louder than if I had a ICE under the hood IMO. It is not the fan blower motor because if I turn the AC off then back on again the fan blower are still on "hi" and the loud motor noise stops at least temporarily.

    Maybe it is a condenser fan? Running on overdrive??? It just seems very loud to just be operating the AC.

    Also there is a substantial KW drain when the noise exists. I don't know the number but more than normal.

    I called Tesla, took a while but they should be scheduling a visit to the service center next week. Have any of you had this issue or noticed it?

    John
     
  2. jomo25

    jomo25 P4398

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    Yes, I hear it most times I start the car up after its been sitting a while in a warm/hot environment. It is of course over 90 degrees here in PHX area. The sound is more like a drone sound IMO and it spools up, gets a bit loud, though never annoyingly so, then spools down and either stops completely or I stop noticing it once I start to drive and road noise overtakes it. I'm pretty sure it stops, probably about 1, maybe 2 minutes after it starts.

    I can't say for certain what it is, but my guess is yes it is the compressor getting ready to either run the AC or more actively managing the battery temp. But I think its normal.
     
  3. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Yup, noticed this sound when starting A/C up in a car that's been sitting outside in hot weather. There's so much vibration and hum from that that I feel it in the steering wheel and even the 17" display if I were to touch it.

    IMO, the compressor is working really hard here so, I give it some slack by going Custom A/C and reducing the fan speed a couple of notches while still staying comfy. ICE cars probably drown out the compressor sound to a large extent...
     
  4. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I've noticed the same vibration thing, but when I get out of the car (with a/c on) I can hear it but it doesn't seem particularly loud to me.
     
  5. jpasqua

    jpasqua P19325

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    Yes, I also hear the very loud noise when using the AC after the car has been in hot weather.
     
  6. gtimbers

    gtimbers Member

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    In my car, the tube from the compressor was touching the steering shaft. I moved italittle to eliminate the vibration in the steering wheel. The compressor is still very noisy, however. Rather than dropping the fan speed, I have found that raising the temp setting for a short while keeps the noise under control. After 5 minutes or so the temp can be set lower.
     
  7. johnmodels

    johnmodels Member

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    Thanks for the input. It is nice to hear that something has not broken. Maybe it seems louder since the car is so quiet. It just seems that the compressor is working harder than it needs, but what do I know...

    john
     
  8. mulder1231

    mulder1231 Active Member

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    If you're bothered by the noise, the easy fix is to use the mobile app and turn on the A/C ten minutes prior to getting in the car.
     
  9. johnmodels

    johnmodels Member

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    Good call with the app thing! I was more just making sure something was not broken, however it seems that the noise is not consistent with the AC fan or temp and might need some updating or adjustment at a later time...
    John

     
  10. Shock

    Shock Member

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    I was bothered by the loud whine from using the AC. I had a Ranger out (for another reason) and I had him look at it. He put the screen in diagnostics mode to show me that the Model S uses the same motor for running the AC compressor as it uses for the battery cooling. When you use the AC, the motor periodically spools up to 80% duty cycle and really is quite loud. It is much louder than an ICE sitting at a stop light and is kinda embarrassing.

    Oddly enough, I have discovered that turning the AC off, wait a few seconds, then back on again stops the noise.

    Shock
     
  11. William13

    William13 Member

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    I think part of the noise is also from a fan moving air across the heat exchanger. This is warm when I get in the car and the noise goes away when I move at 30+ mph and slowly comes back at the stop light.
     
  12. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I believe the a/c compressor runs at variable speed. Start the a/c at a higher temperature and then gradually reduce it and the noise ought to be minimized. It seems to work that way for me, but it really hasn't been hot enough to tell.
     
  13. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    So far, I have found using Range Mode keeps the compressor quieter, and the car has been quite comfortable here in the mid 80's (and humid).
     
  14. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    I noticed that the plastic frunk cubby acts like a large bass drum, amplifying the vibration of the A/C compressor that's right behind it. Give a thump on the plastic and you'll see. I lined it with dynamat and it toned down the loud vibration a bit. Not silent, but considerably quieter.
     
  15. jomo25

    jomo25 P4398

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    Great suggestions, but when its 112 outside, not much you can do. And I'm fine with knowing it is doing its work. Noiselessness is great, but effective comfort at 112 is much more important to me. I'm not embarrassed by this noise. Plenty of ICEs make alot of noise when operating in this temperature too. It might be louder than an ICE at 80 degrees, but probably not too far off when its 112 out.

    And for the record, the AC in the MS is pretty frickin good. As some of you know, my wife and I just had a baby. When we're out and about, she prefers to nurse the baby when its feeding time while sitting in the MS. Even today in 110+, she could sit very comfortably and take care of the baby, and without using too much of the range.
     
  16. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

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    That's an interesting observation, though if it were me I would just use Standard Mode and may be turn up the music a little, if needed :smile:. Standard should also help preserve battery life = lower costs in the long run.
     
  17. Lou Olsen

    Lou Olsen Member

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    I had the same noise problem, and the service center told me that Tesla is sourcing a more quiet compressor. They say that they might have a fix in as little as 3 months. In the meantime, there is no harm in using the AC. Just a bit embarrassing at times.....
     
  18. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Not sure I understand why Standard vs. Range mode would preserve battery life. All Range Mode does is "de-tune" the HVAC a bit supposedly to use a bit less power and give a bit more range. I've noticed with cooling, Range mode doesn't spool the compressor up as high (and hence is quieter) and only lets the fan go up to 8.
     
  19. Blaze

    Blaze Member

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    Today I was giving co-workers a ride to a lunch event and turned off the AC to not be embarrassed by the loud noise.
     
  20. Kraken

    Kraken Member

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    The service center said something was vibrating against the tub of the frunk. The second time, they replaced the compressor...that fixed it.
     

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