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Odd smell in cabin after short SC stop

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by ravejads.tmc, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. ravejads.tmc

    ravejads.tmc Member

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    On the way home last night we stopped at the SC in Hooksett, NH to give us a range buffer on my week old 60D. We stopped for about 15 minutes and went from 52 miles to 111 miles of range. The charger registered [email protected] for and estimated 304mi/hr charging rate which is pretty incredible to me. Since this was really my first supercharging experience, I really enjoyed the walk to the rest area building past all the ICE cars paying to add range to their vehicles.

    However, after we finished charging and got back on the road, an odd smell entered the cabin for about 5 miles and then dissipated. Again, since this was first real supercharging experience, I am wondering if this is something that is considered normal because of the extreme amount of power that was being pushed into the vehicle.

    Could this have been a one time thing or is this an indication of a serious issue that I need to be concerned about? Is 300A to be expected or does it vary a lot between different SC stations?

    I did drop a note to Tesla this morning asking them about it but also wanted to find out from other owners about their experiences.

    thanks,
    John
     

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  2. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    Can you characterize the smell? Hot or burning electronics/plastic type of odor?

    I've never smelled anything associated with supercharging. There was, however, a fire in Norway while an S was supercharging. While I expect it's a non-issue for 99.999% of the cars out there, defects do occur, and it's possible there's an issue with the connector/cabling/etc... that might be worth checking out.
     
  3. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    :cool:
     
  4. AB4EJ

    AB4EJ Member

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    The SC power levels you mentioned are normal. I charged with this level and higher several times within the past week, and this was with temperatures in the upper 90s... and I charged for 30 to 60 minutes each time - so I think if there was going to be a smell of something heating up, I would have noticed it.

    You mentioned that the odd smell came after you got back on the road. I suspect this was coming from outside the car. Near where I live, there are agricultural operations such as swine farms, chicken houses, paper mills, etc., all of which create strange smells that can be drawn into the car by normal ventilation. You might have been in the vicinity of some ag or industrial operation.... odors from these can travel for miles in the right thermal inversion conditions....
     
  5. ravejads.tmc

    ravejads.tmc Member

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    It smelled very much like overheated electronics or new electronics (my wife concurs) and started as we were pulling away from the SC and getting onto the highway. We had been standing outside just prior to that and there were no unusual odors outside the vehicle. I'm fairly certain it was not an agricultural odor and I've done my fair share of soldering so I have some experience with overheated electronics :)

    I also noticed that the SC plug was quite warm to the touch when I removed it from the car which again, I assume is normal given the amount of power passing through the device.
     
  6. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    I'd suggest having the service center look at it.
     
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  7. zswilliams

    zswilliams Member

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    Yes, double for this.

    It may be nothing at all. However, if there is some sort of short causing a component to heat beyond expected levels, well, you don't want something melting (or worse). I'm certain the SC will take a report like this seriously and make sure there is nothing of concern on your vehicle, or repair it if there is.
     
  8. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    I supercharged for the first time yesterday. No smells, but the handle was quite warm when I was done so I would say that's normal.
     
  9. ravejads.tmc

    ravejads.tmc Member

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    The official reply from the Dedham, Mass service folks:
    "I cannot imagine what Supercharging may have done to cause a strange odor. It does not sound like anything I would worry about. If the issue persists, or you get an alert on the instrument cluster/touchscreen, than please let us know.

    Otherwise, I would not expect this to re-occur."
     
  10. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

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    Good advice. You may also want to try a shorter Supercharger session, let's say 5 minutes (you can stop charging from the charging screen). If the odor does not recur after a few minutes, start charging normally again.
     
  11. ravejads.tmc

    ravejads.tmc Member

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    I don't really agree with that and I can imagine things that could cause a strange electronics odor so I did have them check the logs and they said the battery temps were in tolerance. I do plan to test again on that supercharger but it's a bit of a challenge to get to normally because it's 30 miles in the wrong direction.
     
  12. cjt3

    cjt3 Member

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    Being forced to take a 60-mile round trip through New Hampshire - sounds awful! ;)
     
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  13. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    I agree...
     
  14. ravejads.tmc

    ravejads.tmc Member

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    Fair comment. But stopping at that supercharger usually means I had to visit the in laws :eek:
     
  15. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    Consider having the HVAC in-cabin filter examined by Service.
     
  16. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    Have them check the bottom of your shoes also! :(
     
  17. ShockOnT

    ShockOnT Quickish

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    Agreed. Did you describe the nature of the smell to the service centre?
    That sort of smell could be:
    - thin or partly fractured wiring causing heating due to high impedance
    - lubricant/paint on some electrical component getting cooked
    - some sort of thin coating that is supposed to burn off on first use?
     
  18. ravejads.tmc

    ravejads.tmc Member

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    Yes, I did explain that "To my wife and I it smelled like overheated electronics". So of your options I was thinking it was option B "lubricant/paint on some electrical component getting cooked".


    @TaoJones what are you thinking might be related here? Just wondering so I can explain to service why this might be needed.



    I stopped at the charger again yesterday but started charging at 131 miles so the charging never went past 200A so it didn't really replicate the situation. I'm going to have to try and hit a supercharger when I don't have quite as much range to hopefully get the same 300A charging as before.
     
  19. ravejads.tmc

    ravejads.tmc Member

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    So the three month update:
    So far we've driven just over 9,000 miles which includes one 1,300 all supercharger trip. Other than the one road trip we supercharge about once a week for various reasons and charge the rest of the time at home.

    Last Friday we were on the return trip of a 200 mile round trip and were stopped in at the same supercharger location where we initially had the issue. This time 3 of 6 stations were in use so we grabbed one of the open ones and attempted to charge. We received an error that the car could not supercharge. In case it was the individual bay, we moved over to each of the other open charging bays with the same "ERROR" result. We called it in to Roadside assistance and nervously headed the last 30 miles to home.

    Once there we plugged into our home charger which is set to 35A and can run up to 40A. However, it would only go up to 22A. The next morning I followed up with the local service center who immediately dispatched a driver with a loaner car and they brought ours in for service.

    I got a call the following Monday (yesterday) and was informed that the on board charger was failing/had failed and will be replaced. I should have the car back by the end of the week hopefully better than new.

    As my wife put it, "it was the best worst case scenario" because we were already on our way home and had just enough juice to make it there. Had the issue occurred 7 days earlier we would have been stranded 600 miles from home in the middle of our road trip.

    All in all, I am quite happy with Tesla's response so far especially because the service center is over 2 hours away and would have been a major hassle if I had to take the car there myself. I especially appreciate that the service center did not even hesitate in sending out someone with a loaner. So that is either great customer service or an indication of just how severe they felt the issue was. I'll go with the great customer service version.

    John
     
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  20. cryptyk

    cryptyk Member

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    My work has about 30 chargepoint chargers. I've noticed that when I charge at a certain bank of them, my car smells like cat urine on the inside after a day of charging. It's only that one bank and it doesn't happen if I park there without charging. Really odd.
     

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