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Problem with Blink chargers

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by ZBB, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    I received my car this week, and decided to try using a public charger today. There are 3 Blink chargers in the garage at my office.

    I connected and charging started -- but as i turned to go back into the office, I noticed that the charge port was blue and no longer flashing green. Checked the dash and it had a warning message up saying that the power was lost and to check the outlet (don't remember exact wording). When I checked the Blink unit, the screen was off and would not react to my card or touches. The car charged for maybe 2-3 minutes max when this happened.

    I called Blink support and they said it appeared it was still charging -- but I confirmed it was not. He had me change to one of the other two and the exact same thing happened. Blink has put in cases to check the units...

    Has anyone else experienced this? It was a very hot day in the Phoenix area today -- temp at the time was ~102 in the shade, so don't know if that was a factor. I'll try another location this weekend -- wondering if its possibly something with the car or J1772 adapter...
     
  2. reddy

    reddy Member

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    I use a Blink at home. I have been using it since March 2011 with my Leaf. It was one of the first Blinks to ship

    I have never had a problem with charging my MS with the Blink. Of course a EVSE in a public area may be subject to abuse by kids or vandals, or from the elements.

    The biggest downside for me now with the Blink is that it only provides 30 amps 240v, which is less than my 40 amp capacity in the Tesla. I would simply use the Tesla charger, but my wife now has taken over the Leaf and we both share the Blink when we get home.

    (I have to say, using ZERO gasoline has been quite cool. )

     
  3. TurboFroggy

    TurboFroggy Member

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    Did you try any of the other Blink stations? What it sounds like is that the Blink station that you were connected to tripped it's circuit breaker. A bad circuit breaker could cause this, it is common. My guess is that it would have worked fine on the other two stations.
    Another thing that could be happening is that whoever did the install of the Blinks installed a twin 20 amp breaker instead of a twin 40 amp breaker. This would cause it to trip immediately when connecting a Tesla but work fine during the no-load tests or with a 2011/2012 Leaf, Volt etc.
     
  4. jomo25

    jomo25 P4398

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    I used a Blink charger successfully about 3 weeks ago. It was only for about an hour (really just to test) and it worked fine. It was one in North Scottsdale.
     
  5. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    I tried 2 of the 3 at that location. Breaker trip makes sense with what was observed though. They were both still off a couple hours later when I left the office... These were installed late last year -- and I've only seen them used once (by a Leaf).

    I'll try a different location this weekend... If that works, and my next test at the office trips again, I'll ask Blink and the building manager to have the breakers checked...

    - - - Updated - - -

    I saw an S charging at Ikea in Tempe last weekend, so I know they work. I just wanted to test it out in case I ever needed one when out...
     
  6. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    wow, word for word the same thing happened to me at Bravern in Bellevue about a month ago. Picked the middle of three chargers and it went dead. Called Blink and they said that unit had an issue recently. Tried another and it charged fine for over an hour.
     
  7. Qlero

    Qlero New Member

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    The identical thing happened to me in California. I too, called Blink support and received similar advice only to have the second Blink charger cut out after 2-3 minutes again. Shortly thereafter the phone apps showed that those chargers were offline.
    A week later I returned. 3 Blink chargers online again. I went to the 3rd charger that I had not used and tried once more. Same result. I gave up. Blink said that they would initiate an order to have the chargers checked. The only advantage is that I got about 1 mile of free charge from each of those Blink chargers for free before they cut out completely and went blank.

    Incidentally, Blink has another series of 7 chargers nearby about 2 blocks away that have been offline for at least 3 months. They show up on their phone app as offline. When I called Blink, they stated that there was a work order out already and that it was scheduled to have it serviced. 3 months+ and still waiting.

    Other Blink chargers I have tried around town seem to work fine.
     
  8. SCW-Greg

    SCW-Greg Active Member

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    Sounds like Blinks are shooting blanks.

    Not good or their business model.

    I'm also wondering if 102 degree weather is impacting your situation JBB? Might go back and try again when the temps are sub 80, if that's doable for AZ this time of year.
     
  9. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    #9 ZBB, Jun 8, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
    Why doesn't this board have a ROFL smiley? Perfectly applies here...

    It was 114 when I left the office yesterday. Charge failure happened at about 102. It was 90 when I arrived at work at 7:30am yesterday. It won't be under 80 when the sun is up again until some time in September...

    Edit - I just checked the status of these stations on Blink's site. Says they are in use -- I'm guessing that since they went offline while I was charging, the status is stuck. The garage is access controlled, so unlikely they are actually in use at 5am on a Sat...
     
  10. SCW-Greg

    SCW-Greg Active Member

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    Too funny. Yeah I knew 80 would be pushing it for a low... but didn't realize how far off I was. 90, man I love Scottsdale, but that's one serious oven going on down there!
     
  11. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    And just like an oven, its a dry heat...

    To be fair, our house is in far north Scottsdale -- and is at ~2500 feet elevation. Downtown Phoenix is at ~1100 feet -- and my office is downtown. During the summer, our house is usually ~6 degrees cooler than downtown during the day and can be 10-15 degrees cooler at night. But summer turned on this week -- so ~3.5 months of this stuff before it becomes nice again.
     
  12. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    Well, I successfully charged for ~2 hours at another Blink charger in town.

    I'll speculate that the wrong breakers were used at the ones by my office. Will give them a try one day this week, and if they pop again, I'll ask Blink and the building manager to make sure they are on 40amp breakers...
     
  13. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    I finally got around to trying the Blink chargers at my office again.

    This time, the first one I tried had a broken touch screen -- so I couldn't even get it started (it wouldn't recognize any taps on the screen...)

    The second one I tried started charging. I had set the car at 20A before plugging in, then upped the amperage after a couple minutes. When I passed 25A, the car gave me the "reduced charging speed -- extension cord or bad wiring" warning I received before, but it kept charging. I took it up to 30A -- but it was cycling on and off -- it would drop amps down to 0 (ie 0/30A), ramp back up to 30 (30/30A) for 5-10 seconds, then drop back down to 0. So I dropped the amperage back down to 24A -- and the reduced charging warning went away, which essentially confirms that these chargers are incorrectly installed on 30A breakers. I watched it charge for another couple minutes with no issues, and went back into the office. But about 3 minutes later the Blink app gave me an alert that charging had stopped -- so I went to check on it. The charger was dead again -- screen off and not responsive, so the breaker tripped.

    So I moved over to the 3rd unit and tried it. Its been charging at 20A now for over an hour.

    I've emailed Blink support letting them know about the dead touchscreen and offline unit. I also asked that they check the breakers to ensure they are correctly rated... I'm also going to let the building manager know. I won't charge at work that often, but it would be nice to charge at the full 30A when needed...
     
  14. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    I'd think if the breaker was too low it would just click off an stay off. That sounds more like they ran too light wiring and it's overheating and causing too much voltage drop. With a bit of careful amperage adjusting it might be possible to get the system smoking.:rolleyes:
     
  15. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

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    In my experience so far, particularly with our Leaf over the last 2.5 years, Blink Charging stations are the least reliable of them all. It's sad that they were in the pic for the EV project. since they are propped up by lots of tax payer money, they will sputter along and either finally get it together before they have to make it in the real world or go down in free market flames, I suspect the later.
     
  16. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    I still think its the breakers... I let the car charge for almost 2 hours at 20A. When I came back, I bumped it to 22A and it was stable for a couple min. I then bumped it to 24A. That unit almost immediately went dead -- so the breaker tripped...
     
  17. Rowlock

    Rowlock Member

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    That sounds like a double-whammy.

    The "extension cord" warning is due to the use of thin gauge wire in the install (or too long a cable run with the selected gauge), causing voltage drop before you reach the trip point on the breaker. Then once you get over the breaker's rated current, it trips and kills the unit completely.

    Gonna need some electrical work on both fronts if they want it to work reliably for cars that draw the full 30 amps.

    I have the voltage drop problem with an Eaton unit here in Sunnyvale that's installed way out the back end of a public parking lot. A very long cable run, not really sure why they located it so poorly. The car complains about an extension cord, and then the charger drops to zero amps for several seconds before ramping back up and immediately dropping again. If I dial the current back to about 20 amps on the dash, it works fine. Only way to fix it would be to run a new length of cable in a heavier gauge.
     
  18. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    I'll definitely contact the building manager to let them know it needs to be looked at...

    But I only got the extension cord warning on one of the units (there are 3).
     
  19. Rowlock

    Rowlock Member

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    Hmm. Possible it could be an actual wiring fault causing the drop on that box, rather than thin (or long) wire. Maybe a bad joint with increased resistance, or something like that. Wouldn't show up when measured without a significant load, say using a multimeter.
     
  20. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    Another update for this site.

    Looks like these chargers have been limited to 17 Amps -- which results in charging at 10 miles per hour (voltage is 195...). I'm guessing its related to Blink's announcement on Monday that they are reducing amperage at some units to avoid the overheating issue they admitted to having...
     

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