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Restarting PW during power grid outage

m3-pw2

Member
May 3, 2019
80
42
USA
While we had a power outage, I needed to stop the Powerwall for a bit. When I tried to bring it back, the Powerwalls did not start feeding the house. I wanted to find out if there is a proper way to do this.

I followed the reset procedures I found online by switching the PW breakers and turning off the button on the PW itself, waited two minutes, then turned things back. After several minutes, nothing happened. Until I switched the main breaker back on. Does the main breaker needs to be turned on during power outage during a PW reset?

Also, the power utility company restored power in our neighborhood just around the same time I was resetting the PW. So I am not sure if switching the main breaker on actually got power from the grid at that time. I switched it back off as soon as the power came back in the house.

Reason I had main breaker off was an added safety to linemen as I wanted to be 100% that no power was leaving my house onto the lines. I know that the gateway has a switch and all, but just an added safety because there were lines that were downed during the storm.

Has anyone tried to reset the PW during a power outage, and what steps did you follow to bring them to provide power again?
 

MorrisonHiker

S 100D 2021.4.18.2
Mar 8, 2015
9,675
8,936
Colorado
While we had a power outage, I needed to stop the Powerwall for a bit. When I tried to bring it back, the Powerwalls did not start feeding the house. I wanted to find out if there is a proper way to do this.

I followed the reset procedures I found online by switching the PW breakers and turning off the button on the PW itself, waited two minutes, then turned things back. After several minutes, nothing happened. Until I switched the main breaker back on. Does the main breaker needs to be turned on during power outage during a PW reset?

Also, the power utility company restored power in our neighborhood just around the same time I was resetting the PW. So I am not sure if switching the main breaker on actually got power from the grid at that time. I switched it back off as soon as the power came back in the house.

Reason I had main breaker off was an added safety to linemen as I wanted to be 100% that no power was leaving my house onto the lines. I know that the gateway has a switch and all, but just an added safety because there were lines that were downed during the storm.

Has anyone tried to reset the PW during a power outage, and what steps did you follow to bring them to provide power again?
You don't need to worry about shutting off the Powerwalls during an outage. The gateway instantly isolates your Powerwalls and any solar so that they can continue to operate without sending any power back to the grid.
 

woferry

Member
Mar 4, 2019
403
474
San Jose, CA
The Gateway has to have power in order to command the Powerwalls to turn on. So if the PWs are off and the grid is down, the Gateway has no source of power and you're stuck. There is a terminal inside the Gateway that has been discussed here before that is supposed to allow for 'jumpstarting' the Gateway (similar to jumpstarting a car), I think you provide it something like 9-12V to get the Gateway's electronics going, but don't quote me on that, I didn't search to dig up the old thread.

But like MorrisonHiker said, either just trust in the transfer switch inside the Gateway to do its job, or since there should also be at least one additional (main) breaker/disconnect switch between your meter and the Gateway, throw that switch if you want a second-level disconnect, but don't turn the Powerwalls themselves off, let the Gateway manage those (and keep your house powered).
 

m3-pw2

Member
May 3, 2019
80
42
USA
But like MorrisonHiker said, either just trust in the transfer switch inside the Gateway to do its job, or since there should also be at least one additional (main) breaker/disconnect switch between your meter and the Gateway, throw that switch if you want a second-level disconnect, but don't turn the Powerwalls themselves off, let the Gateway manage those (and keep your house powered).

Right, I had the main breaker from panel that sits between grid and gateway turned off as an added safety. I am aware of the switch in the gateway.
The powerwalls were backing up the house without any issues.
But I thought that if I turn them off and back on, they will resume providing power to the house.
I will try to search for other posts that describe how to jumpstart the gateway. From what you described is that the gateway turned off during that moment and it needs to be on to send command to PW to start powering the house. I guess I got lucky that the grid power came on at the same time!!!
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
8,864
9,869
Riverside Co. CA
Im a bit confused though.. can you explain why you needed to turn the powerwalls off and back on during a power outage? You mention "protecting the linemen" but thats what the gateway does, and as mentioned if you threw the main breaker because you wanted additional safeguards, I am not sure what the purpose of shutting down and then restarting the powerwalls were.
 

m3-pw2

Member
May 3, 2019
80
42
USA
Im a bit confused though.. can you explain why you needed to turn the powerwalls off and back on during a power outage? You mention "protecting the linemen" but thats what the gateway does, and as mentioned if you threw the main breaker because you wanted additional safeguards, I am not sure what the purpose of shutting down and then restarting the powerwalls were.

I had the main breaker switched off while we had lines down in the neighborhood and didn't have power. This was an additional safety. For strange reason, I kept seeing some minuscule power flow to the grid in the app or gateway portal.

Shutting down the Powerwall was for my own safety as I need to make changes to the backup subpanel. So I guess I shutdown also power to the gateway. Next time I need to do this, I will just shutdown the breaker from main backup panel that feeds the subpanel. I think that would prevent gateway from loosing power as well.
 
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Reactions: jjrandorin

jboy210

Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,097
3,170
Northern California
You likely have a generation panel it like has breakers for the powerwalls and the inverters. So if you want to make extra sure nothing is going down the line just flip the breakers in the generation panel which kills the Powerwall inputs to the gateway.
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,097
3,170
Northern California
I had the main breaker switched off while we had lines down in the neighborhood and didn't have power. This was an additional safety. For strange reason, I kept seeing some minuscule power flow to the grid in the app or gateway portal.

If you mean the little pluses to the grid Power Flow display I think those are just test surges of power the gateway sends occasionally to verify the grid's availability. They seem to very low amperage when I see them in the app or when reading the API.
 

m3-pw2

Member
May 3, 2019
80
42
USA
If you mean the little pluses to the grid Power Flow display I think those are just test surges of power the gateway sends occasionally to verify the grid's availability. They seem to very low amperage when I see them in the app or when reading the API.
Yes, in the Power Flow it would show 0.1kW going to the grid. Not much, but given that there were a lot of damages in the state and our town, I knew restoration would take days and not hours, and given that there were downed wires, I slept better knowing that the main breaker was off, and that between the gateway and the breaker, there was 0 chance of any power going out to the grid. We had other power outages, and I didn't bother switching breaker off. I knew where the wires were down, and between seeing the lights in the houses next door, or checking if the crew has fixed the wires in that location, I would find out quickly when the power is restored. The total outage lasted 5 days and 4 hours.
 
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Reactions: jjrandorin

MorrisonHiker

S 100D 2021.4.18.2
Mar 8, 2015
9,675
8,936
Colorado
Yes, in the Power Flow it would show 0.1kW going to the grid. Not much, but given that there were a lot of damages in the state and our town, I knew restoration would take days and not hours, and given that there were downed wires, I slept better knowing that the main breaker was off, and that between the gateway and the breaker, there was 0 chance of any power going out to the grid. We had other power outages, and I didn't bother switching breaker off. I knew where the wires were down, and between seeing the lights in the houses next door, or checking if the crew has fixed the wires in that location, I would find out quickly when the power is restored. The total outage lasted 5 days and 4 hours.
If the grid is down, don't you have an orange rectangle around the app window and a big orange X where it shows the grid? If so, there shouldn't be any animations showing power going back to the grid. If you see power going back to the grid when it is down, maybe your CTs were installed incorrectly.

upload_2020-8-11_11-16-45.png
 

m3-pw2

Member
May 3, 2019
80
42
USA
If the grid is down, don't you have an orange rectangle around the app window and a big orange X where it shows the grid? If so, there shouldn't be any animations showing power going back to the grid. If you see power going back to the grid when it is down, maybe your CTs were installed incorrectly.

View attachment 575005
I don't remember where I saw it. It might have been in the gateway portal directly where it updates real-time and more often than the app. But you might also see it in the app if it happens to capture it and send it to Tesla server.
 

m3-pw2

Member
May 3, 2019
80
42
USA
There is a terminal inside the Gateway that has been discussed here before that is supposed to allow for 'jumpstarting' the Gateway (similar to jumpstarting a car), I think you provide it something like 9-12V to get the Gateway's electronics going, but don't quote me on that, I didn't search to dig up the old thread.

I found this post that mentions enabling a cold start by supplying 12v to JUMP pins in this link:
PowerWall Cold Start without Grid Power
 
  • Helpful
Reactions: Dave EV

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
8,864
9,869
Riverside Co. CA
Bingo! I found the information on the JUMP pins in Tesla Powerwall installation manual, page 36.
https://www.tesla.com/sites/default...erwall_2_AC_GW2_NA_EN_Installation_Manual.pdf

Resume Powerwall Operation
AC grid not present (Off-grid or AC grid is down): Powerwall operation will only resume when the grid is back or a 12V jump start is provided to the Gateway

When I read that, I read " jjrandorin, do not turn off powerwall when grid is down, unless you want to be without power" (lol). I am not going to open the system up to try to jump it, so for me, that means dont ever get into that situation willingly.

Of course, for others it could be different, and is good information to have.
 

m3-pw2

Member
May 3, 2019
80
42
USA
When I read that, I read " jjrandorin, do not turn off powerwall when grid is down, unless you want to be without power" (lol). I am not going to open the system up to try to jump it, so for me, that means dont ever get into that situation willingly.
Hahaha. You are definitely right. It is better not get in that situation in the first place.
I guess having knowledge of how to restart the system when grid is still out is valuable. This reddit post explains how the PW were drained to 0% and he couldn't restart the system. One of the comments says to hook up a 12V car battery to jump start the gateway.
Powerwall drained to the point that we need the grid to work again? : teslamotors
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,097
3,170
Northern California

woferry

Member
Mar 4, 2019
403
474
San Jose, CA
So I had a bit of an experience with the PW microgrid restart Saturday morning, figured I'd post my findings.

I had my first 'real' outage Friday night (with issues, those documented here), my only previous one was less than 30 seconds plus some simulated outages I did very early on (over a year ago). I didn't do a great job of managing my home power draw overnight, I left the portable AC running for 2 hours (until the outside temp was below 90F) which drew the PW down to 70%, ran the whole-house-fan as it continued to cool outside until around midnight, then realized that I was already below 40% and not in good shape to last until sun-up, so I powered off some electronics and went to bed. Turns out right around 7am the PW hit 10% (Gateway reported SoE) and turned off the microgrid (solar was probably about 15 minutes from coming online, and maybe about 30 minutes from being able to cover the house load). I woke up around 7:30, so that's when I started looking at things.

So of course with no line voltage, the inverters were stuck offline (blank displays). I don't know for certain that the GW wouldn't have eventually (when?) tried to bring things back online to see if the solar inverters would come up, but that certainly had not happened by 8am, so I opened up the GW & breaker panels and started poking at things. The Gateway was still reporting to Tesla's app, and showed the battery at 5% but everything black. I verified on the Gateway's 4-pin PW connector that it was still receiving 12V from the PW, and that the 'lower box' in the Gateway was still powered (the LEDs visible through the reset hole were still doing their thing). In addition, the TEG-xxx WiFi network was still present. I joined it and verified that I could read the GW REST API. It seems like the Neurio was probably not powered, as the GW reported a last communication time of 0001-01-01 from everything but the battery. Having confirmed that ground was common between the PW connector's ground pin and the JUMP connector's - pin, I tried shorting the JUMP connector's + pin to the 12V supply from the PW. I connected through a multimeter so that I could read the DC current. The Gateway drew about 1mA through this connection, but its behavior did not change at all (didn't bring up the microgrid, etc). Next, I figured I'd hit the GW's reset button (I still had the JUMP connection in place). After a minute or so the GW made it's startup chirps, and the microgrid started up again. So the one Solivia Tesla has on the PW side of my Gateway went into Synchronization, and after 5 minutes was online and the PW started charging. I was trying to play it safe on loads, so I had flipped all of my load breakers before I had reset the GW.

I flipped all of the breakers back on (house draw around 400W, solar was running around 500-700W), and within a few minutes the sun went behind some clouds and production dropped below consumption (<300W). The PW hit its 10% level again, and the system shut down again. Suspecting that the JUMP connection hadn't really done anything, I removed it, threw off all the house breakers again, then pushed the GW reset button again. Once again as soon as the Gateway chirped the microgrid came up and solar came back after 5 minutes as expected. This time I left off the breaker that has my office, where most of the 'always-on' power goes to reduce the load in case the solar production dropped again.

I had to pick up some 10/3 romex and another 30A breaker to properly move the second inverter to the PW side of the Gateway (I decided to do this Friday night since the west-facing array was on this inverter, so as the sun was setting I was basically getting nothing from the inverter that was left powering the PW, and didn't want to have to repeat that again, so I wanted the option to put the second inverter on either panel, but they use different breakers (my original panel is a D-Square, Tesla's added panel is Eaton).

Two things I was looking to avoid on Saturday was reaching full-charge on the PW (to avoid more microgrid frequency shifts, which didn't go well Friday night as I mentioned on the other post), and ending up with more solar output than my PW+house could absorb (with the portable AC on again the house was running around 2kW, and at solar noon the array should be generating around 7.7kW peak in this heat, which would still be above 5+2. So I left the second inverter switched-off until late afternoon once I knew I'd be past 7kW production, to help the PWs charge a bit more. They made it up to ~85% by the time the sun could no longer cover the house consumption of around 500W, since I'd switched the AC and some other loads back off again to manage my load for this evening and ensure things will still be working Sunday morning when the sun comes up.

1pm Sunday here and the grid is still down (it came up a few hours Saturday evening, but only a few hours). I had planned to leave both inverters on, to let the PW get fully-charged and start playing with the microgrid frequency, hoping it would hit full-charge before the inverters were in danger of exceeding the ~7kW, but it was a cloudy morning so charging was slower and I was seeing cloud-edge-style peaks which would likely go beyond 8kW, so I switched back to a single inverter, I'll still fill the battery today, it's at 88% with 2.4kW flowing into it right now. I also made some fixes to my RPi logging setup during the day Saturday, so hopefully I'll be a in a better place to keep logging today.


Circling back to the OP, now I will admit that I never actually threw the switch on the side of the PW, I would expect that probably cuts the 12V to the Gateway when it's off (maybe not), but hopefully that returns when you throw the switch on again. But my GW was without AC voltage on either the grid side or backup side (verified with my meter), and just pushing the GW's reset button (and waiting a minute or so for it to finish rebooting) without doing anything else on the GW was sufficient to get the microgrid running long enough for the solar to get going again. Obviously trying to reduce home loads during this period would be wise at least when the PW is already at its backup-reserve (10% GW SoE, 5% in the app) level, since you need at least 5 minutes of good power for the solar to start, so you don't want to risk drawing the battery down too much during that time, not sure if there's another threshold below which it won't even try to start the microgrid anymore, or couldn't sustain it for at least 5 minutes.

On the JUMP header, I suspect that's probably for when the PW is no longer supplying its 12V. Not sure if it can back-feed power to the PW or if it's just for the GW electronics. But it doesn't appear to be needed or change things when the PW is already powering the GW, which can be seen by the LEDs in the reset hole.
 

m3-pw2

Member
May 3, 2019
80
42
USA
Turns out right around 7am the PW hit 10% (Gateway reported SoE) and turned off the microgrid

I was having this discussion in a different thread. @wjgjr mentioned that the PW shutdown at 10% when power grid was out. I was surprised, because when I did the Self Powered test with 0% reserve in app (5% GW), the batteries were drained all the way down to 0% in app (5% GW). That's troubling, because in that thread, I was only able to get 11.1kWh per Powerwall when it went all the way down to 0% app (5% GW). So this means I would only have 10.5kWh per Powerwall if there was an actual outage. How come Tesla advertises that PW has 13.5kWh usable energy? The inverter efficiency is 10% round trip, so it can't be due to inverter loss.


Circling back to the OP, now I will admit that I never actually threw the switch on the side of the PW, I would expect that probably cuts the 12V to the Gateway when it's off (maybe not), but hopefully that returns when you throw the switch on again. But my GW was without AC voltage on either the grid side or backup side (verified with my meter), and just pushing the GW's reset button (and waiting a minute or so for it to finish rebooting) without doing anything else on the GW was sufficient to get the microgrid running long enough for the solar to get going again.

After I turned Powerwall back on, I could see the light in the Gateway panel. I also noticed that there was a reset button, and pushed it for a few seconds. How long did you push it for? I read later that I needed to push it for 10 seconds? And where did you get the 12V from the Powerwall to jump start the gateway? Or did you get it from a 12V battery?
 

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