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Melted HPWC handle

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by sbanks, May 18, 2016.

  1. sbanks

    sbanks Member

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    Last Friday at my usual 5:30am I went out to my un-garaged 2014 (sept) MS85 to go to work. When I tried to unplug the HPWC I couldn't get the handle out of the car's charge port. When I pressed the button on the handle I could hear the charge port pin disengage (and re-engage when I let go), I did this several times and each time is disengaged and reengaged perfectly. After pulling and wiggling quite strenuously for a couple of minutes I finally was able to pull the handle out of the charge port. When I looked into the now empty charge port it appeared that the end (1/2" or so) of one of the male pins was missing. When I looked at the HPWC handle, this is what I found......

    2016-05-14 10.23.51.jpg

    2016-05-14 10.23.30.jpg

    2016-05-14 10.38.12.jpg

    Clearly the handle/charge port overheated during charging and the end of the pin fused to the handle.

    Tesla was of course fabulous, they gave me a loaner that day and had my car fixed the next. This morning Tesla sent an electrician to my house to replace my HPWC.

    Tesla has always great about fixing issues quickly and professionally, problem is she's been in the shop five times in 19 months and I have 49,823 miles on her..........this could turn out to be a much more expensive car than I had planned on.

    That said, I do love driving this car and can't imagine going back to an ICE.
     

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  2. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    [QUOTE=".

    Tesla has always great about fixing issues quickly and professionally, problem is she's been in the shop five times in 19 months and I have 49,823 miles on her..........this could turn out to be a much more expensive car than I had planned on.

    That said, I do love driving this car and can't imagine going back to an ICE.[/QUOTE]

    You have 177 miles to buy the Extended Warrenty!
     
  3. sbanks

    sbanks Member

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    You have 177 miles to buy the Extended Warrenty![/QUOTE]

    $4,000 for 4 years coverage; definitely. $4,000 for 19 months of coverage.......probably not.
     
  4. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    I have suggested to the service centers that they inspect and clean the charge port and EVSE plugs at EVERY service. Last time I was there I don't think that was added to their service checklist. IMO it should be.
     
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  5. zambono

    zambono Member

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    Is there a way an owner can clean the port in the car without risk of electrocution or damage to the vehicle, like a service mode?
     
  6. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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  7. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    The car has several safety interlocks that assure the port is not attached to the battery and the HPWC contactors are engaged unless they're connected together. Only under very, very, very rare cases (e.g., the battery supercharging contactors welded shut) could you experience that, and I believe the car has safety interlocks that prevent that as well and would disconnect the main pack contactors.
     
  8. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

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    Yep, I clean mine the same way a couple times a year. I think it's really important to clean your charge port after a road trip where you've used several superchargers, because the supercharger connectors get dirty since they're outside in the weather all the time. They'll transfer the dirt into your charge port.

    I also clean my HPWC plug at the same time (turn the breaker off first just for max safety!).
     
  9. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    So it sounds like there is essentially zero risk in cleaning the car's charging port and the HPWC cable contact points. Seems like it is worth doing. I guess.
     
  10. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    There is never no risk, but the likelihood is as close to zero as you can probably get.

    For those still paranoid, there is a way that you can do it on the older cars (but not the newer ones): open the charge door and let the port time out (so that it relocks and goes black again), then make sure the doors are all closed. You should hear the car's battery pack give a soft click as the contactors open in the battery pack. This would be the safest approach.

    New cars, unfortunately, close their charge doors when nothing's connected.

    I always turn the breaker off when cleaning the sleeve side (HPWC), it protects the low-voltage pins as I clean them.
     
  11. BrokerDon

    BrokerDon Member

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    My inventory P85D had a HPWC listed on its invoice. Tesla said it was an error but delivered a "used" HPWC a couple of days before our P85D delivery. Unfortunately the HPWC handle got VERY hot during charging, especially at 80A charge rate on our 100A 240V circuit even with only a 3 foot run of oversized copper wire from our 200A subpanel to the HPWC which was installed with a load calc'd building permit by Tesla's recommended licensed electrician.

    Tesla responded immediately and a Tesla Ranger replaced our HPWC charging cable the following day and it's worked great since. However, we typically only charge at 60A / 240V charge rate since its the sweet spot where both of our onboard dual chargers are on and the HPWC handle stays cool even on the hottest sunny SoCal days. This should maximize the HPWC and charge port connector life since heat will almost assuredly degrade these parts over time.

    Definitely like your Contact Cleaner ($6.99 Amazon Prime shipped), and a Q-tip recommendation. Excellent preventative maintenance suggestion which could prevent a very expensive HPWC cable and Tesla charge port replacement... or even a fire. AWESOME !!!
     
  12. Jeeps17

    Jeeps17 Cath Jockey in a P85

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    The price for that contact cleaner is not so awesome in Canada (via Amazon that is): Contact cleaner in Canada

    :eek:
     
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  13. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    If your HPWC handle feels so hot to the touch that you have to let go due to your burn reflex, definitely give Tesla a call to have the cable/handle swapped out. I've had two such swaps. The first one was always super hot, the replacement was much cooler for about 8 months and then it started getting super hot again. The 2nd replacement has stayed nice and cool for a year now despite daily charging at 80A. It is warm to the touch, but not hot and not uncomfortable at all to hold.

    There must be some bad batches out there, some of which seem to get worse over time.
     
  14. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    It's not really a bad batch problem. Here's what happens over time:

    The "sleeves" in the HPWC and UMC handles have to be a bit "springy" to grasp firmly the pins present in the car's connector and make good contact. Over time, dirt adheres to the pins and is transferred to the sleeves (and vice-versa), including superchargers' connectors. The continuous plugging and unplugging cycles also exhibit stress on the metal sleeves of the connector and they begin to get stretched, especially when they get warm.

    The combination of dirty contacts plus sleeves that don't grip quite as tightly anymore creates resistance, which turns into heat when higher currents are applied.

    I think adding heat sensors to connectors would probably be prudent to ensure belt-and-suspenders safety. While I have had to replace my HPWC cable due to metal wear in the past, this is the first time I've seen a melted coupler as a result. The good news is that this isn't too much of a safety problem because the sleeves used would likely melt, breaking the connection, before much of anything else happened. It's still a bit unsettling though.
     
  15. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    My 08/2014 HPWC is starting to get really warm (wife says hot and doesn't want to touch it) after a bout of 80A charging.

    I've cleaned the contacts using proper electrical contact cleaner.

    Still gets really warm.

    I feel the heat the most where the rubber cable meets the plastic handle.

    But do you think the source of heat is the connector pins themselves... heat working its way back through the handle and becoming most apparent on the rubber cord?

    I wondered if there was a failing / loosening joint with the handle where cable meets pins in the handle.

    Anybody taken one of these handles apart? To inspect.

    Even if to "tighten" the sleeves a bit with some compression to get them fitting snug again when they mate.

    I'm still under warranty and thinking of calling this in. Maybe get a new HPWC sent out.
     
  16. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    Tightening the sleeves is kinda difficult to do while ensuring that you maintain the full contact surfaces. You should call your service center - they typically replace the cord set on your existing HPWC.

    The heat is generated through the contacts, then making its way to the handle surface.
     
  17. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

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    #17 Electric700, Jun 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
    I've seen some people set their cars to charge at 70 A or lower, which will help reduce the heat load and might also increase the lifespan of the Wall Connector. If you don't need to charge at the maximum rate, it wouldn't hurt to lower the current setting.
     
  18. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    If this is a wear issue, then it will continue happening long after the warranty has expired and these handles will need to be continuously replaced every 1-2 years. I hope that's not the case.
     
  19. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    From what I am seeing, the handle does indeed seem to be a consumable that will need to be replaced over time. Perhaps not at the 1-2 year mark - technology improves - but there is no escaping metal fatigue on high-current electrical mating contacts.
     
  20. Hookemhorns

    Hookemhorns Member

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    How do you use the contact cleaner...spray it into your port and plug, then Qtip off? Or soak a Qtip and wipe?
     

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