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Missing App Customize options for new Powerwall 2 install, no PV [options appeared after a few days]

TexacoStar5

Member
Jun 3, 2021
15
6
Los Angeles
Just got my two Powerwall 2 batteries installed yesterday. We don't have solar and it is a grid charge setup. We have the original main meter panel with the non-backed up circuits still in it. A 60 amp breaker in the now de-rated main panel brings across the grid power to the Tesla Battery Gateway which then controls a couple of PW2 batteries and a separate load center has the backed up circuits in it.
The installer set up everything at the end of the day and the batteries automagically appeared in my Tesla app.
After a quick system test, I powered the new batteries back on after 9pm yesterday evening so they could charge overnight at off peak energy rates and they're currently 98% charged according to the app.
When I select the 'Customize' option from the Tesla app, I only have one fixed option which is 'Backup-only' mode and there is no ability to change the % in the 'Reserve for Power Outages'. As such, right now 100% of the batteries are reserved for backup all the time.
Since we had to switch to a Time of Use plan with Southern California Edison in order to install the batteries, after discussing this at the outset with the contractor's sales rep and also watching the app video on Tesla's website, I was expecting to be able to program the Gateway so that the batteries discharge to power all the circuits (in the backup panel as well as the non-backed up circuits that are still in the main panel) during peak demand hours and then re-charge overnight.
I understand that the 'Self Powered' menu option would be missing from the Customization menu as we don't have solar however I don't understand why the 'Advanced Time Based Control' option is missing. It isn't even greyed out, its just not there.
When I log into my batteries from the desktop and look at the info, it also shows 'Backup Only' mode, even now that the batteries are fully charged. They seem to be working properly and when I select 'Go Off Grid' in the desktop interface, the Gateway switches the backup circuits over to the Powerwalls and disconnects from the grid. I have also tried resetting the Gateway (both hard reset with a power off and a 'soft' reset using the reset button in the Gateway panel).
Has anyone else seen this issue where the customization options are missing from the app and if so, how did you fix it?
 
Solution
It usually takes a few days after commissioning before the Advance Time Based Control option appears in the app. If it's not there by next week, give Tesla a call.

TexacoStar5

Member
Jun 3, 2021
15
6
Los Angeles
It usually takes a few days after commissioning before the Advance Time Based Control option appears in the app. If it's not there by next week, give Tesla a call.
Thanks for responding so quickly. That seems like a pretty f'ked up software UI design on Tesla's part. By all means grey it out or make it un-selectable until the batteries are fully charged for the first time. I wonder how many 'why can't I?' support calls they field as a result of this. There is nothing about this on Tesla's website info for the Gatweway and yet from your answer, it seems to be expected behavior.
I couldn't understand why the time based control menu option was missing when I was being asked by the contractor to sign off their installation yesterday. They gave me the 'we don't know the app, we just install the batteries etc.' answer which made me suspect that they'd installed it incorrectly prompting the 'I didn't just get these to sit there until there is an outage' discussion.
We're actually avoiding using some of the higher amperage devices until we can set up the batteries to work the way we want them to, so hopefully Tesla isn't just looking at our <1KW/hour demand to make some of their app decisions before they enable the time of use customization feature as the biggest drain we have had since the installation has been the charging of the batteries themselves!
 
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aesculus

Still Trying to Figure This All Out
May 31, 2015
4,472
2,539
Northern California
It has nothing to do with the state of the batteries but what data Tesla has been able to collect on your usage. The Advanced tools require history for their algorithm to try to guess how they should best be used.

I'll admit that they should have told you this and it would be a bit better if they popped up a simple message indicating they needed a few days of data before that feature was available.

And if you change usage patterns or weather comes about different than your history expect some hickups over time. It's normal. I am pretty sure the algorithm is fairly simple but it does need at least some history.
 
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TexacoStar5

Member
Jun 3, 2021
15
6
Los Angeles
Since you don't have solar, why did you get Powerwalls? My guess is for power outages which is the backup mode. Using them for price arbitratage between TOU Peak and Off-Peak may not be allowed by your utility.
I decided to get them so we can avoid the inconvenience of Edison's constant public safety power shutoffs. They cut the power at Thanksgiving and at Xmas for example and we have a well that we rely on for our water supply. We got a $26k rebate to cover their cost from the CPUCs Residential Equity Resilience program and as part of that, we were required to switch to a Time of Use plan by Edison. The reason that the rebate is tax free is because the batteries can be used to better manage your electric usage during the day so I can't imagine that SCE would prohibit us from using them that way. Sounds more like a result of the back channel usage database that Tesla apparently uses which we weren't told about in advance.
 
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TexacoStar5

Member
Jun 3, 2021
15
6
Los Angeles
Since you don't have solar, why did you get Powerwalls? My guess is for power outages which is the backup mode. Using them for price arbitratage between TOU Peak and Off-Peak may not be allowed by your utility.
And I forgot to mention that as part of the CPUC rebate application process, we were required by Edison to sign a document agreeing to discharge the batteries at least once a week so it doesn't appear that Edison is expecting them just to sit there until there is a power outage either.
 
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Redhill_qik

Member
Aug 16, 2020
308
217
South SF Bay, California
Ok, since you got a massive SGIP rebate/discount there is a requirement that they discharge fully 52 times a year which is where the once a week comes in. There are other threads here with PG&E asking for proof of this, so you will want to make sure that you are discharging at least 13.5 kWh per Powerwall on average once a week and this would be going to cover your house loads. In addition to being on a TOU plan you are also on a NEMPS plan which prohibits you from exporting to the grid more than you generate and since you generate nothing you export is limited to nothing.

In a couple of days the Tesla app should show the Customize menu will enable the Advanced function and you can select the Cost Saving mode and set your Peak time to power your house during those times.

There is one possibility where you might be able to jump the gun on this. If you go into the Performance menu and scroll down to the bottom you should see a Solar Value graph. If you click the "Estimated based" at the bottom it will bring up a dialog where you can select your Utility Provided and then TOU rate plan. This resets the TOU time settings in the Advanced feature with ones from that rate plan and it may start the PWs to power the house loads. However, since you say that everything is grey'ed out in the Customized menu other than Backup-Only that may not be possible.
 
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tomuo

Member
Mar 15, 2021
35
10
Los Angeles, CA
Installation and Commissioning are two different steps.
The powerwall won't be controllable until commissioned, and that would normally be gated on City Inspection passing. Cross fingers and wait.
I expect it you pop the main breaker, it may not actually use the battery because of this.
 
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getakey

Active Member
Jan 28, 2020
1,325
429
95762
Installation and Commissioning are two different steps.
The powerwall won't be controllable until commissioned, and that would normally be gated on City Inspection passing. Cross fingers and wait.
I expect it you pop the main breaker, it may not actually use the battery because of this.
I don't think so
Installers usually do a test of off grid so it is useable right away. The app takes a couple of days of data to invoke those functions. My PWs functioned a long time before inspection and PTO
 
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TexacoStar5

Member
Jun 3, 2021
15
6
Los Angeles
So I woke up this morning to find that the app now has the 'Time Based Control' option and I was able to set the price schedule for week days and weekends so that the batteries will now discharge into our backup and non-backup circuits during peak hours starting later today. The Performance menu has also appeared in the main app home screen.
In our case (and also some of my neighbors who have also had Powerwall 2 batteries installed recently), the installer commissions the batteries at the end of the installation and they are then available for use well before final inspection by the City and Edison which can be 1-2 weeks away. I did have to keep all the housewrap, siding and trim off the wall where we installed them so the City can visually inspect the flexi conduit attachments between the enclosures etc. since I flush mounted everything to match our existing main meter/breaker box.
I have also ordered a Micro-Air Easystart 368 Soft Starter for our 3.5 ton package air conditioner which will reduce the initial start amp draw when the compressor on the a/c starts up while the batteries are being used to power the non-backed up circuits during peak hours. I think it may also slightly reduce the amp draw when it is running too, but will need to measure that before/after installation with my clamp meter.
 
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power.saver

Supporting Member
Mar 4, 2018
573
609
Arcadia, CA
I have also ordered a Micro-Air Easystart 368 Soft Starter for our 3.5 ton package air conditioner which will reduce the initial start amp draw when the compressor on the a/c starts up while the batteries are being used to power the non-backed up circuits during peak hours. I think it may also slightly reduce the amp draw when it is running too, but will need to measure that before/after installation with my clamp meter.
If the A/C is on the non-backed up circuits, you won't need the Easystart. The grid will always assist with the startup current, even during peak hours. If the A/C were on the backup circuit, then you might need the Easystart for grid outages. Also, the Easystart doesn't reduce running current, it is out of the circuit once the compressor is up to speed.
 
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TexacoStar5

Member
Jun 3, 2021
15
6
Los Angeles
If the A/C is on the non-backed up circuits, you won't need the Easystart. The grid will always assist with the startup current, even during peak hours. If the A/C were on the backup circuit, then you might need the Easystart for grid outages. Also, the Easystart doesn't reduce running current, it is out of the circuit once the compressor is up to speed.
I'm not sure that is entirely correct. When the Gateway switched all loads over to the Powerwall 2 batteries for the first time during peak hours yesterday afternoon/evening, the Tesla App showed 0Kw usage from the grid. The total house load including the a/c was about 3.8Kw when the a/c was running occasionally. Once I get the EastStart installed, I'll report back with start and run amp measurements for the compressor but agree that it should only reduce the start amp draw in theory.
 
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aesculus

Still Trying to Figure This All Out
May 31, 2015
4,472
2,539
Northern California
If the grid is connected and your AC starts, the instantaneous current needed will come from the grid. It won't show any load on the PWs because its so short a duration. Just needs to get everything moving.

Now if the grid is disconnected that is another story.
 
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power.saver

Supporting Member
Mar 4, 2018
573
609
Arcadia, CA
When the Gateway switched all loads over to the Powerwall 2 batteries for the first time during peak hours yesterday afternoon/evening, the Tesla App showed 0Kw usage from the grid.
The only time the Gateway switches loads is when it opens during a grid outage. And that is to disconnect the grid from your micro-grid. During peak hours, the Gateway remains closed (connected to the grid) and the Powerwalls are commanded to discharge power at a level matching your home's load. That is why the grid usage shows 0 kW during the peak. But in reality, a small amount of power goes into or out of the grid as loads shift because the Powerwall cannot react fast enough. And that's why your A/C startup current will come from the grid as well.
 
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