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No can drive: "the electrical system is unable to support all features"

AJMi

Member
Aug 5, 2021
6
21
Washington DC
Would love to hear any ideas about why our Model 3 won't drive. Two error messages:

"The electrical system is unable to support all features. Shutting down features to conserve energy"
and...
"Please wait while vehicle systems power up. Press brake pedal for 30 seconds to drive"

Welp, pressing the brake for 30, 60, 90 seconds does not help. Heck holding it for 20 minutes doesn't help.

Other things we tried: Reset with the click wheels, reset with the click wheels + brake, power down from the security menu, install the software update.

It's a 2020 Model 3 long range with 6,000 miles and an 85 percent charge.

Made a service appointment but it is three weeks away.

Any ideas would be welcome!
 

AJMi

Member
Aug 5, 2021
6
21
Washington DC
Finally got the car back from the service center. Long story --> short, it was the high voltage controller (or "controller - high voltage"), and the dead 12-volt battery was just a symptom. So if I'd swapped that out myself, which was tempting, I'd have quickly landed in the same boat.

I really want to praise the Vienna, Virginia, service center for keeping in close contact and for being diligent. Yes, it took a week to fix, but I feel they were overwhelmed and the timing wasn't necessarily their fault.

After I posted the original question, the car sat overnight and in the morning there was no power to the headlights, touchscreen, windows, etc. So it was clearly time to tow.

The first thing the SC did was brush aside that three-week appointment window as soon as I got someone face-to-face. So that was good. And they tried to get me right out the door by swapping the 12-volt battery. Also good. Sadly, the new battery did not register as receiving a charge from the main battery, and was quickly draining, so they sent me home.

From there it seems they tried hunting for loose connections for a while before deciding that it could only be the high voltage controller. I gather this part helps regulate the charging of the 12-volt from the main battery, among other things. That repair, though, required a high-level technician to replace. Then a few test drives. And then I got the car back.

So I hope that helps anyone who receives those error messages in the original post. Yes, it could be the battery, but it could be something more involved.

I'm still surprised that the car doesn't seem to have anything akin to a battery warning light? If I ever saw that on the car I used to drive, I'd know that battery trouble was coming. It's always helpful to have a little extra warning....
 
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CharleyBC

Active Member
Jun 28, 2019
1,490
1,722
Talent, OR
Hmmm, I'd like to be sympathetic, but several red flags popped up. A new member, with some kind of major problem, and reporting error messages that are completely unlike the wording typically used for these kinds of problems. Maybe there's some paraphrasing going on? I've never heard
"The electrical system is unable to support all features. Shutting down features to conserve energy"
and...
"Please wait while vehicle systems power up. Press brake pedal for 30 seconds to drive" as being error messages that tesla uses. Perhaps these are just hat the OP remembers, and the actual messages were different. And roadside assistance calls going to voicemail? I've never heard of that before.

Anyway, I'd vouch for the 12v battery being the culprit as others have. Weird things happen right before it goes out.
I can vouch for the messages. We got them when trying to depart from our motel in Montana this morning. Each message appears in its own oval pop up, and the two alternate back and forth. Two-thumb reboot didn’t help. Roadside service had me try power down from the menus (I’d never used that in three years with this car) and that cleared it. We’re back on the road, but somewhat nervous now.

So a 12V problem is interesting. I’ve replaced lots in former ICE cars. Are they user replaceable in a Model 3?
 
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CharleyBC

Active Member
Jun 28, 2019
1,490
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I'm still surprised that the car doesn't seem to have anything akin to a battery warning light? If I ever saw that on the car I used to drive, I'd know that battery trouble was coming. It's always helpful to have a little extra warning....
Yeah. The messages are pretty vague. I wish there were a more informative message, or at least something Tesla could pull up remotely. We have an appointment for 9 days from now in Chico, which is 4 hours away. I hope we can keep going until then.
 
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M3BlueGeorgia

Active Member
Dec 10, 2018
1,413
1,292
Atlanta, GA
Would love to hear any ideas about why our Model 3 won't drive. Two error messages:

"The electrical system is unable to support all features. Shutting down features to conserve energy"
and...
"Please wait while vehicle systems power up. Press brake pedal for 30 seconds to drive"

Welp, pressing the brake for 30, 60, 90 seconds does not help. Heck holding it for 20 minutes doesn't help.

Other things we tried: Reset with the click wheels, reset with the click wheels + brake, power down from the security menu, install the software update.

It's a 2020 Model 3 long range with 6,000 miles and an 85 percent charge.

Made a service appointment but it is three weeks away.

Any ideas would be welcome!
Having the service appointment allows you to send Tesla messages.

Ask them to replace the 12V battery to see if the issue goes away.
 
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AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,147
14,117
San Diego
Are they user replaceable in a Model 3?
Yes, and the method is near identical to a regular vehicle. The cheapest option (~$85) is to purchase a new battery from the Tesla Service Center and replace it (though if you have a failure you should try to have it replaced under warranty assuming it is still active, since that would be free). Hopefully for you it is just the 12V and not more extensive like for the OP.

Tesla has claimed that they are able to remotely diagnose your 12V (this can be requested through the app). Whether they actually do it, or just tell you things are all good even if they're not, I have no idea.

There's a post here recently from someone with a failing 12V and the claim was that if they left Sentry Mode on all the time (no sleeping), then they were able to temporarily work around the issue. A good choice on a road trip if you currently have a working car (it can't hurt assuming you have the range to make it work overnight). This would make sense that it would work for many 12V failures, but not all types, since the 12V really isn't used when the car is awake.
 
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CharleyBC

Active Member
Jun 28, 2019
1,490
1,722
Talent, OR
Yes, and the method is near identical to a regular vehicle. The cheapest option (~$85) is to purchase a new battery from the Tesla Service Center and replace it (though if you have a failure you should try to have it replaced under warranty assuming it is still active, since that would be free). Hopefully for you it is just the 12V and not more extensive like for the OP.

Tesla has claimed that they are able to remotely diagnose your 12V (this can be requested through the app). Whether they actually do it, or just tell you things are all good even if they're not, I have no idea.

There's a post here recently from someone with a failing 12V and the claim was that if they left Sentry Mode on all the time (no sleeping), then they were able to temporarily work around the issue. A good choice on a road trip if you currently have a working car (it can't hurt assuming you have the range to make it work overnight). This would make sense that it would work for many 12V failures, but not all types, since the 12V really isn't used when the car is awake.
We are indeed on a road trip. The trick will be getting near a Tesla service center on a weekday, but that could be a thing. Maybe Portland. So, it’s not a 12V I’d find at an auto parts store? Oh, we are out of warranty at about 59000 miles. Thanks for the advice!!

Also contemplating buying a cheap battery and jumper cables if it recurs tomorrow morning to boost the car. Stopgap, obviously.
 
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DSolie

Pew Pew
Jul 2, 2020
362
717
Olympia, WA
Would love to hear any ideas about why our Model 3 won't drive. Two error messages:

"The electrical system is unable to support all features. Shutting down features to conserve energy"
and...
"Please wait while vehicle systems power up. Press brake pedal for 30 seconds to drive"

Welp, pressing the brake for 30, 60, 90 seconds does not help. Heck holding it for 20 minutes doesn't help.

Other things we tried: Reset with the click wheels, reset with the click wheels + brake, power down from the security menu, install the software update.

It's a 2020 Model 3 long range with 6,000 miles and an 85 percent charge.

Made a service appointment but it is three weeks away.

Any ideas would be welcome!

Forget service appointment. Call roadside, your car is not drivable.
 
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CharleyBC

Active Member
Jun 28, 2019
1,490
1,722
Talent, OR
Group size 51R will work in a pinch but you’ll only find AGM, and thus they will be very expensive (the main issue) and not correct for the application. The non-AGM Tesla battery is way cheaper and appropriate for the task.
So Monday we happened to pass right by the Tesla store in Renton, WA, so we stopped for an unscheduled visit. The service folks also thought it sounded like 12V battery trouble. They couldn't run diagnostics for me without an appointment, but said I should ask Chico to do so before my appointment Monday. I bought a 12V just in case. My hope is Chico will say via remote diagnostics, "yep, it's the battery" and I'll replace it and save the trip to Chico (about 4 hours each way). Waiting to hear back from Chico.

BTW, does anyone know whether there are any side effects of replacing the 12V battery? Like does the car forget profiles or anything like that?
 
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CharleyBC

Active Member
Jun 28, 2019
1,490
1,722
Talent, OR
For anyone following our fascinating saga, Chico did a remote diagnostic and notified me that they see a fault in the high-voltage system. So not the 12V battery. We are scheduled to visit Chico tomorrow morning. We’ll see… We’re out of warranty, so bracing for expense.
 
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YHZ-Owner

Member
Jul 26, 2021
22
7
Haliax
For anyone following our fascinating saga, Chico did a remote diagnostic and notified me that they see a fault in the high-voltage system. So not the 12V battery. We are scheduled to visit Chico tomorrow morning. We’ll see… We’re out of warranty, so bracing for expense.
Thanks for the follow up! Oooof, I can't think of anything worse than an out of warranty Tesla lol.
 
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RayK

Active Member
Apr 5, 2016
2,237
2,241
San Jose, CA
For anyone following our fascinating saga, Chico did a remote diagnostic and notified me that they see a fault in the high-voltage system. So not the 12V battery. We are scheduled to visit Chico tomorrow morning. We’ll see… We’re out of warranty, so bracing for expense.
Ah, wouldn't the HV battery be covered under the 8 yr / 120,000 mile warranty? Or are you saying that you've put on that much mileage in about 3 years?

edit: Oh... I read "battery" instead of "system". I guess if the battery pack is not the direct cause of the problem then it would fall under the 4 yr/ 50,000 mile coverage.
 
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CharleyBC

Active Member
Jun 28, 2019
1,490
1,722
Talent, OR
Ah, wouldn't the HV battery be covered under the 8 yr / 120,000 mile warranty? Or are you saying that you've put on that much mileage in about 3 years?

edit: Oh... I read "battery" instead of "system". I guess if the battery pack is not the direct cause of the problem then it would fall under the 4 yr/ 50,000 mile coverage.
My thinking exactly.
 
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TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
2,052
2,450
Houston
Thanks for the follow up! Oooof, I can't think of anything worse than an out of warranty Tesla lol.

When you have problem with an ICE engine, it's usually like an injector, a coil pack, a sensor, etc. They replace just that little part that doesn't cost a lot of money, and you're on your way. With Tesla, they never seem to fix anything but just replace hugely expensive large components.

Best of luck, we're all going to need it at some point, lol!
 
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Watts_Up

Active Member
Mar 4, 2019
3,754
2,726
In a galaxy far, far away
I am surprised that no one recommend installing a 12 V battery monitor. This provides a simple way, using your phone,
to check if the 12 V battery gets regularly recharged by the inboard DC/DC charger, or if the 12 V battery cannot hold the charge.
I found nice to see the generative brake graph, but displaying the charge status of the 12 V battery would be even more useful.

It would be so simple for Tesla to include such feature.
I have a graph displaying the status of my phone's battery, why not having something similar for my 12 V car battery?
This would prevent many users from suddenly getting stranded without any warning.

Note: Since the first 2012 Model S delivery, I have seen on TMC over and over the same thread dealing with the 12 V battery discharged.
Many ICE cars have a voltmeter, water temperature, oil pressure...
Why Tesla doesn’t provide similar useful information such as 12 V battery status, traction battery cells temperature....
All of this kind of information is available using an ODBC diagnostic tool, but would be great to be accessible directly using the car's display.
 
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CharleyBC

Active Member
Jun 28, 2019
1,490
1,722
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Okay, so we spent six hours in Chico yesterday. They determined that our "power bottle" was failing. I gather this component is involved in the cooling system that maintains the temperature in the computer, and importantly for our error messages, the high-voltage system. So we have a new power bottle and a bunch of labor. This is the first repair the car has required in 3 years and 61,000 miles, but it was an expensive one. On the road again!

PS: Since I already bought a 12V battery, I had them stick it in. They said they usually need it by 3 years, so why not? No further charge for that work.
 
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