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My charge adapter melted. Has anyone else had this problem recently?

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Frank Mucus, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. Frank Mucus

    Frank Mucus Member

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    It was charging fine and when it completed I went to unplug the cable and saw that one prong was melted and had also melted that part of the outlet. I went to the service center and they gave me a new one and said it was the updated version of the last updated one.

    I axed them if they would replace the outlet but they said no and would schedule another electrician that they recommend to take a look at it. That electrician wanted to charge me $173 to look at it and that just seems too expensive. When I had the outlet installed, at a commercial building, I also had a licensed electrician installed it. Yesterday I had another licensed electrician look at it and he said it was the adapter's fault, not the outlet or wiring cause the breaker didn't trip and everything else seems fine.

    Anyone have this problem and have Tesla fix the damaged outlet for them or did you have to pay to fix it yourself. Doesn't really seem fair that I'd have to pay to have it fix when I had the electrician check it out and he said it wasn't the wiring or outlet or anything.

    Here's pics.

    IMG_20150629_132620.jpg
    IMG_20150629_132607.jpg
    IMG_20150629_132541.jpg


    Well, I just previewed my post and the pics are large so if you need me to resize them for easier viewing let me know.



    Also, this new adapter they gave me has a green paint dot right on it whereas the old one did not if that makes any difference.
     
  2. Kbsilver

    Kbsilver Member

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    The cause at this point doesn't matter. The outlet is damaged and should be replaced. I was going to suggest this is a simple DIY but it appears that the outlet setup is something custom made and may not be as simple of buying the receptacle and screwing it in (of course turning the power off first).
     
  3. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    You axed them, did you?
     
  4. FlasherZ

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

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    #4 FlasherZ, Jul 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2015
    Hard to tell from those pictures, although it does look like the heat was a bit more concentrated inside the adapter. However, it could be due to a loose wire at the back of the receptacle (heating coming forward from receptacle to the adapter), or due to the adapter being loose. Can you take a picture of the rear of the adapter and of the pins in the head of the UMC as well? You might want to shut the breaker off, pull the outlet out, and take a picture of the back of it as well. (Seems like they may have taken the adapter back already, so maybe you can't take a photo of the back... but perhaps the head pins of your UMC?)

    And yes - the receptacle will need to be replaced in addition to the UMC.

    (If your "licensed electrician" says that everything's fine because the breaker didn't trip, you need to ask him if he got his license from a Cracker Jack box... a loose wire on the back of the receptacle can cause that type of heating through the receptacle and into the adapter without tripping the OCPD. If he never pulled the receptacle to check the torque on the wiring, then he cannot say that for sure.)
     
  5. m6bigdog

    m6bigdog Member

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    I have seen many receptacles that have failed just like that one and much worse.
    Personally, I have not seen a UMC failure but if you do a web search they are there.
    However, I have seen many failures when the receptacles are used at the upper limits of its current rating.
    I was an AHJ in a large research lab where receptacles were used and abused constantly.
    I have seen everything from plugs welded into the receptacle to a plug failure that caused a $1M lab fire.
    Typically the failures occur with high current resistive element ovens, hot plates, heaters, vacuum pumps and other lab/shop equipment that draws current for extended periods at the upper limits of the receptacles capacity, both 120 & 240Vac.

    That I observed the typical failure mechanism is the receptacle fails to make good contact with the plug blade on both sides (only one side is good), causing the one receptacle contact to overheat and loose contact pressure on the plug blade. Once the receptacle is overheated it will not recover and continued use will result as you observed, lots of heat and melted plastic.
    Also, the last user of the receptacle could have weakened/damaged the receptacle contacts with a corroded/bad plug but at a less-than destructive amperage and then you insert your UMC and charge at 40 amps so things get real hot. If a blade tension test tool is inserted into the receptacle the blade tension will be very low as the contact tension was annealed by the excess heat. Should the plug insertion ever feel easy/weak when you insert your UMC adapter you may want to think twice before you charge full current or at all.

    So why does the receptacle only make contact on one side of the plug blade?
    I can only surmise most often it is the plug blade that is corroded or dirty as this can occur on almost newly installed receptacles. The plug blades are unprotected and constantly exposed to abuse, contamination and corrosion when not inserted into a receptacle, hence the corrosion and contamination can easily build up when exposed to the environment.

    Is there a solution? well, if the plug blades show corrosion/contamination use a fine scotch bright pad to shine up the plug blades and if you don't need to charge at 40 amps with the UMC, don't. Select something less that will provide the desired charge level over the time you will be plugged in. This practice may not prevent every adapter/receptacle/UMC failure however it will lessen the opportunity for failure as the failure is most often associated with the higher current levels.
     
  6. jerry33

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

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    Note that the majority of those failures are before the change to the new style adapter. There is still the problem of loosening wires in the receptacle box.
     
  7. m6bigdog

    m6bigdog Member

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    Yes, yes, without a doubt, having a thermal fuse in the adapter, actively monitoring the supply voltage fluctuation and cutting the charge current back most likely reduces the incidence of catastrophic failures that include the surrounding incidental property and structure.
    I anticipate the internal thermal fuse opened on this adapter?

    However, 100% is an elusive number as you can see, even with the latest adapter and software the adapter/receptacle contacts can overheat and become damaged during normal use.

    We can all hope the EVSE industry, equipment standards and code makers will continue to develop solutions to further reduce the risks of branch circuit and charging equipment failures.

    The bottom line is, as long as the only damage is to the electrical devices and no other incidental property or structure was involved; it is as good as it gets as in the big scheme of things.
     
  8. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Unless your consulting electrician took the receptacle apart and examined the wiring behind it, he can't say anything for sure. And if you were to take the receptacle off, you would replace it since it obviously can't be continued to be used.

    What Tesla said is correct. The fault could very well lie with the receptacle. A new receptacle costs $10. Reinstalling one takes 20 minutes. Tesla has given you a new free adapter, which is very nice of them.
     
  9. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    I'm pretty sure even the new Tesla adapters do not have a thermal fuse, BTW.
     
  10. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I posted this in another thread, but I was speaking with an owner who had his car in for its "annual" and Tesla proactively replaced his UMC's NEMA 14-50 adapter with a new (3rd generation) one. The interesting thing here is he claims this new adapter limits the car to 32 amps when charging. He says Tesla told him that 40 amps is "too much" for the UMC or something like that. And yes, I'm talking about the 14-50 adapter and not the discontinued 14-30 or 10-30 adapters.

    Another tidbit is that I was considering a second UMC so I could leave one in the car, but with the price drop (a while ago) I decided to get a HPWC. When I picked it up at my Service Center last Tuesday, I happened to mention my UMC vs. HPWC quandary and they told me the UMC is no longer being offered for sale.
     
  11. MorrisonHiker

    MorrisonHiker Beta Tester

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    It's still available on the US website. There are rumors of a new model coming out when the X in unveiled. Maybe Tesla in Canada is already out of the old model and they will have the new model available once it is released?
     
  12. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    #12 mknox, Jul 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015
    I pointed that out to them. When you go to the web site there is this little caveat:

    7-2-2015 1-13-01 PM.jpg

    Same deal with the HPWC (have to order and pick up at a Service Center). I could be, as you say, that they're out in Canada and the mothership isn't sending any more of the current style to us.

    EDIT: No, I was mistaken. The HPWC can be shipped anywhere in North America. It's only the UMC that is limited to the US.
     
  13. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Very interesting. I know Hong Kong has a special HPWC which is actually a 10kW version. There has been discussion here in other threads that the NEC rules in the U.S. May force Tesla to abandon the UMC. I wonder if the Model X will usher in an era of just a permanently mounted EVSE. If so, it would be nice if Tesla could sell their proprietary car plug in high volumes to portable EVSE manufacturers.
     
  14. Frank Mucus

    Frank Mucus Member

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    Why would the cable need to be replaced? Anyways, he also works for SoCal Edison which is the electric company here and when it was taken apart to look at the wiring, everything was fine...
     
  15. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    Don't use that electrician. He's a complete moron and has no idea what he's talking about. Not only is that not true but breakers themselves can melt without tripping due to bad contact. The breaker will trip when it exceeds x current for y time. It has nothing to do with temperature. This failed due to a faulty connection and nothing more. Could it have been the UMC 14-50 plug? Yes. Could it have been the receptacle? Yes.
     
  16. randompersonx

    randompersonx Member

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    Make sure to check the UMC itself to make sure there wasn't melting where it connects to the adapter. With that much heat, there may be damage there too, and if you use a brand new adapter with a brand new receptacle to a damaged UMC, you will just have another melt issue.
     
  17. linkster

    linkster Member

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    NEMA 14-50R device jury-rig mounted (to who knows what? Scheesh!) = Trouble
     
  18. Frank Mucus

    Frank Mucus Member

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    How could it be trouble if I was using it for over a year. I said from the beginning he took it apart too.
     
  19. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Uh, no you didn't (re read your first post). Well, you were using the adapter for over a year too. It had to be either the adapter or the receptacle that had a problem. Actually, it could have been both. Does it really matter? Both need to be replaced.
     
  20. thecloud

    thecloud As rhythm raced inside, the ship came alive

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    I can certainly believe this, based on my own experience with the UMC 14-50 adapter. If I charge at 40 amps, both the adapter and the cable between it and the UMC heat up considerably. Since I don't actually need 40 amps when charging overnight, I dialed back to 32 amps and now it barely even gets warm.
     

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