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PEM Failure

Discussion in 'Roadster: Technical' started by tdevince, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. tdevince

    tdevince Member

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    Last week, my PEM decided to give up the ghost as I was driving down the highway. I got a "Powertrain Fault" which shut down power, and I coasted to the shoulder. I tried shutting down the car and restarting. The fault was gone until I let off the brake and touched the accelerator in which case the fault came back. Called Roadside assistance and they towed me home. I uploaded loaded logs to Tesla, and the next day they arranged to send out a Ranger to my home on the following day (he had a 6.5 hr drive from Chicago to get to me).

    When he got here, he checked the battery, motor, motor leads before condemning the PEM. So he changed out the PEM with a replacement and everything was good to go again. He checked the cooling fans and they seemed to be OK, though he did blow a lot of dust out of the back end of the car (I live on a gravel road, and have about 2/3 mile before I get to pavement). Looking at the PEM, its sealed where the leads enter and no dust was evident inside the connection area. The inverter portion receives cooling air from the fans, and while dusty didn't look too bad to me. I don't think dust caused the failure since the sensitive electronics are sealed. The cooling fan for the motor blows air into a duct that surrounds the motor, and thus never puts any air into the motor housing.

    Overall, I'm very happy with the Roadside assistance and customer service from Tesla. I'm curious why my PEM failed, and am not sure if I'll get any feedback from Tesla on the cause of the failure.
     
  2. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Blowing out caked on dust is pretty normal. Brake dust is some of it.

    So the law says when you take your car into a repair shop they have to show you the old parts they replaced in service. This is to help stop repair fraud. You can take the parts home if you want since you own them.

    So can we keep our old Tesla Roadster parts?
     
  3. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    Nobody has paid for new parts yet, the first significant crop of Roadsters to run out of warrantee will happen early next year.
    Since its a warrantee replacement and you pay nothing, I doubt that law applies.

    The first time someone replaces a PEM and has to pay for it, it will be a new question.
    Since Tesla is going to be the only source of the parts, they could easily do something like selling the PEM for $10k and buy back the bad one for $5k.
    Then you'd have to decide it was worth $5k to have the old PEM to play with.
     
  4. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    I agree on all counts. But just for conversational purposes, what would be the point of the buyback though? Anyone trying to reverse engineer a part could just buy a car.
     
  5. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Quit applying common sense.
     
  6. bolosky

    bolosky Member

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    I had a somewhat similar PEM failure. They told me that it was due to a small power supply in the PEM failing, and that a number of PEMs from the same vintage (I'm number 670) has similar problems due to inferior parts that went into the PEM. When I saw the failure, I got a large number of different error messages (of the form "Phase A low voltage"). I don't know if yours is due to the same problem, though.
     
  7. Tommy

    Tommy Member

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    I really hope Tesla only marginally marks up replacement parts. $5k for a PEM, that's equivalent to a transmission replacement; not exactly in keeping with the prevailing wisdom that EV's cost less to maintain. Early adopters might grudgingly accept higher priced replacement parts, however, the public at large won't transition to EVs if the cost of EV ownership doesn't compete with ICE.
     
  8. tdevince

    tdevince Member

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    The only error message I got on the VDS is a Power Train Error. However, they said my log showed the PEM was throwing all kinds of faults (don't which ones). FYI, I'm number 1094, don't know if that would be the same batch of parts. I'd like to believe it was something like a bad part that gave up the ghost rather than some systemic problem that will reoccur.
     
  9. bolosky

    bolosky Member

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    The difference may be whether your VDS is set to display end user or debug messages. I have debug set, so I might be getting more detail.
     
  10. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Baby Turtle is on the way to Menlo Park. "Powertrain problems". I was happily heading home from the office, thinking about an EV roadtrip to Oregon this weekend, when everything seized up and no more 'go' to be had.

    I'll catch a flight on Sunday instead, it appears. I was looking forward to the drive.

    sad panda.JPG
     
  11. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

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    I'm so sad! Any clues beforehand? Did you think to pull logs before getting it towed?

    Who's paying for the long tow to Menlo Park?
     
  12. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I didn't pull logs because it was HOT outside and I was baking in the sun stopped in the middle of traffic. No warning, just driving ... and then it felt like the car was hit (I looked in the rearview mirror, thinking someone had tapped into me), but it was only the sudden deceleration - and then the error screen. The electronics all worked. Windows rolled up/down. HVAC did not.

    The trip to Menlo Park (149 miles) is covered under the warranty.

    fyi - all the temp bars were still in the blue range.
     
  13. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    That sucks. Glad it's getting fixed. It looks like you were at least able to pull over when it happened or did you come to a quick stop in the middle of the road?
     
  14. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I was stopped in the left hand lane of the road, so cars were honking, traffic was going around me, etc. Two nice guys stopped, I put the car in tow mode so it would roll freely & they pushed me out of traffic.
     
  15. W.Petefish

    W.Petefish Active Member

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    Did you hear any sort of static/interference from the radio?
    Was there a "pop" or "fizzle" or "bang" associated with it?
    Did you catch the ID of the "Powertrain Problem"?

    From what you've said, it sounds like at least one if not more of the IGBTs/Mosfets fried. (Possibly a controller error as well.)

    Glad to here that you are ok, and the car will be fixed.
     
  16. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Bummer. I've never suffered from range anxiety, but occasionally do think that when EV's go wrong it usually has a drastic effect like that.
     
  17. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I thought I had been hit - loud pop or bang would be the best way to describe it.

    Yep, caught the ID of the problem:

    powertrain problem.JPG
     
  18. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    That's why we need two EV's in the garage :). My first thought was 'glad I have the Prius as backup'. My second thought was 'wish it was a Model X instead'.
     
  19. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Ahem,

    That does not come across that well. :frown:
     
  20. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    oooh, let me clarify ... IF I want to have two vehicles so that I always have a backup ... then I need two EVs, not an EV and an ICE.

    I've had far less problems with electric than ICE.
     

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