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StormWatch - San Diego County

bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,551
19,359
San Diego, CA
I'm travelling, so I'm relying on my app and a remote web interface for this data, but did anyone else have their powerwalls charge up from the grid at max consumption yesterday evening?

I was logged in and looking at things and they were charging up as fast as they could pull from the grid, after the sun was down.
 
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bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,551
19,359
San Diego, CA
Update - just got a notice on the Tesla app that grid power is out.

Interestingly, the app says "Powerwall is 28% charged and providing power to your home" in the Android notifications area, but in the app the Powerwalls show 100% charged and providing power.

2019-10-25.png
 

gpez

Member
Apr 25, 2019
735
602
USA
Haven't ever seen them disagree but I'd trust the app over the notification every time. What is your Powerwall version and Android app version? (Powerwall version is at the bottom of the screen you captured, app version is shown under the gear icon on the upper left to get to the Settings page then is at the bottom there - I'm 1.40.2 and 3.10.1 respectively)

Charging from the grid during an active Storm Watch warning is typical behavior. Sounds like yours is a case study in Storm Watch successfully being triggered and charging your Powerwall to the max ahead of an outage.
 

bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,551
19,359
San Diego, CA
The plot thickens . . .

I'm out of town, we are on hour 12 of an outage, and the powerwalls just stopped working about . . . 5 hours into things. The app reports that they are 75% full, but not delivering any power to the house now (wife is more than a little bit pissed).

I haven't done an outage test in about a year, and it would just be typical luck this comes up when I go on a 3 week business trip.

Gave her Tesla Energy's number, we'll see what they say.
 
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gpez

Member
Apr 25, 2019
735
602
USA
The plot thickens . . .

I'm out of town, we are on hour 12 of an outage, and the powerwalls just stopped working about . . . 5 hours into things. The app reports that they are 75% full, but not delivering any power to the house now (wife is more than a little bit pissed).

I haven't done an outage test in about a year, and it would just be typical luck this comes up when I go on a 3 week business trip.

Gave her Tesla Energy's number, we'll see what they say.

Well that's no good...

Is it possible the house draw exceeded the Powerwall's inverter max for some reason? Oven, dryer, A/C? Just off the top that seems like the most likely cause outside of a device failure.

Other thing may be you said earlier that it was reporting at 28% in the push notification and now, 25% depleted charge later, the power is off. If the push notification was in fact accurate its possible the Powerwall is actually empty now (28% - 25% = 3%)… Depending on your wife's tech savviness she could sign in to the Powerwall directly and see what it is reporting it's charge at.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,714
12,408
Riverside Co. CA
OP, any update on the resolution of this? Your exact scenario (power out, me possibly being out on business travel, wife at home, alone, with no power), is one of the discussions my wife and I had when making the decision recently to buy 2 powerwalls. The ROI is fairly long (10-11 years) but the piece of mind is worth it... IF it works.

Wondering how this turned out, and if you / your wife / tesla was able to determine what happened, and if you were able to get power back on via the powerwalls for her.
 

montreid

Member
Apr 6, 2016
237
180
san diego,ca
Well that's not good if the PW2 fails with 75% SOC left and not delivering anything. I do wonder what happens when the draw is greater than the inverter supplies and if it just shuts down and restarts after a cycle (~30min?) and powers back up to allow appropriate draw.

Ie time for the owner to disconnect the heater, water tank, oven, microwave, pumps....and the Level 2 charger.

BTW - has Tesla fixed the problem of overnight charging and having the Tesla Car NOT DRAIN the Tesla PW2 in case of an outage overnight?
 
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bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,551
19,359
San Diego, CA
On road . . . apologies for the delayed update.

The powerwalls failed out with 75% power left in them. Tesla thinks there was too much current draw from the system. The problem with that theory was that they refused to come back on despite a full reset UNTIL the grid power came back.

Smells to me of a frequency sync problem.
 
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gpez

Member
Apr 25, 2019
735
602
USA
On road . . . apologies for the delayed update.

The powerwalls failed out with 75% power left in them. Tesla thinks there was too much current draw from the system. The problem with that theory was that they refused to come back on despite a full reset UNTIL the grid power came back.

Smells to me of a frequency sync problem.

Well that was my first theory :)

"Tesla thinks" is a really crummy answer - the system logs and reports all of that stuff. Should be a fairly simple fault code or event that the Powerwall sends up. Please do keep us updated as I imagine others will want to be aware of grid outage failure scenarios.

In my head it seems reasonable that if the Powerwall faults during a grid outage that it would need to be reset. There is an off-grid reset process to restart the micogrid frequency. Perhaps that would have brought you back online?
 

bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,551
19,359
San Diego, CA
Well that was my first theory :)

"Tesla thinks" is a really crummy answer - the system logs and reports all of that stuff. Should be a fairly simple fault code or event that the Powerwall sends up. Please do keep us updated as I imagine others will want to be aware of grid outage failure scenarios.

In my head it seems reasonable that if the Powerwall faults during a grid outage that it would need to be reset. There is an off-grid reset process to restart the micogrid frequency. Perhaps that would have brought you back online?

I'm travelling, and the wife had to make the phone call to Tesla, but that is what they told her.

I walked her through the complete restart of the entire system, and doing that twice, it still did not come back online until the grid came online. I've done test outages in the past and not run into this problem before.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,714
12,408
Riverside Co. CA
I'm travelling, and the wife had to make the phone call to Tesla, but that is what they told her.

I walked her through the complete restart of the entire system, and doing that twice, it still did not come back online until the grid came online. I've done test outages in the past and not run into this problem before.

Im betting your wife was not too happy. As I mentioned, avoiding that exact situation is one of the drivers for my order of 2 powerwalls. If you ever find out what the root cause was, please let us know.
 

bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,551
19,359
San Diego, CA
Im betting your wife was not too happy. As I mentioned, avoiding that exact situation is one of the drivers for my order of 2 powerwalls. If you ever find out what the root cause was, please let us know.

I will investigate when I get back in 2 weeks. I'm more than a little pissed at Tesla. Whatever happened caused a surge throughout the house and flipped many breakers and GFCI outlets. It fried the board on the dishwasher ($351 repair, thank you GE for sub-standard design).
 
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power.saver

Grid Specialist
Supporting Member
Mar 4, 2018
630
662
Arcadia, CA
That sounds like it may have been a power surge or interruption problem. Are your PWs working now?

Did any neighbors have similar experience? That might be a clue as to the cause.
 
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Ulmo

Active Member
Jan 19, 2016
4,329
4,905
Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
I'm travelling, so I'm relying on my app and a remote web interface for this data, but did anyone else have their powerwalls charge up from the grid at max consumption yesterday evening?

I was logged in and looking at things and they were charging up as fast as they could pull from the grid, after the sun was down.
Yes, that happens during Storm Watch, as announced in the Storm Watch announcement (soon to be called something more generic). I actually saw my PowerWalls load up from the grid. They only do that in exceptional circumstances. Normally my PowerWalls never load up from the grid, and only from solar.

Of course, that is what you want: if the grid is available but may go down, then you want to use the grid to pull in the energy you need to cover when the grid is down. While of course you prefer solar, solar is not guaranteed to be available if it's dark. Obviously, an undersized solar system makes this worse. A solar system that provides 3x your needs would not necessarily benefit from you pulling down charge-up from the grid before a grid shutoff. Maybe the PowerWall gateway code can know about that and expected sun vs. home use. But most people can't afford so much battery and/or solar that they don't care about filling their battery before a no grid power event. Today it's a pretty safe heuristic that before a power outage, filling up from grid is a good idea. They can fine tune that in the future.
 

Ulmo

Active Member
Jan 19, 2016
4,329
4,905
Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
The plot thickens . . .

I'm out of town, we are on hour 12 of an outage, and the powerwalls just stopped working about . . . 5 hours into things. The app reports that they are 75% full, but not delivering any power to the house now (wife is more than a little bit pissed).

I haven't done an outage test in about a year, and it would just be typical luck this comes up when I go on a 3 week business trip.

Gave her Tesla Energy's number, we'll see what they say.
That is extremely strange! Did someone turn off the PowerWalls? There are little switches on them. Some busybody may have gone and done something wrong. Also, maybe a busybody went in and turned off the circuit breakers. Do they have access to the circuit breakers on the outside of the house? It could be any type of vandalist and/or government type that is jealous of you having power that you already paid for.

Also, the house trying to draw more power than the PowerWalls can give would do that too. Did your wife turn off everything the PowerWalls cannot handle on their own? If you have solar, then it is solar+powerwalls, so you can run more during the day. Almost everyone with PowerWalls cannot afford enough of them to avoid having to schedule their loads when they are off grid, however, some people with very large solar and/or battery arrays can have times of day (or night?) when they can pay less attention to load amounts (@wk057 comes to mind, but even he schedules his loads).
 

Ulmo

Active Member
Jan 19, 2016
4,329
4,905
Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
Well that's not good if the PW2 fails with 75% SOC left and not delivering anything. I do wonder what happens when the draw is greater than the inverter supplies and if it just shuts down and restarts after a cycle (~30min?) and powers back up to allow appropriate draw.

Ie time for the owner to disconnect the heater, water tank, oven, microwave, pumps....and the Level 2 charger.

BTW - has Tesla fixed the problem of overnight charging and having the Tesla Car NOT DRAIN the Tesla PW2 in case of an outage overnight?
I bet a power cycle of the batteries would make that work. Maybe a reset button press on the gateway would work. I don't know the details. This should be interesting to find out!
 

Ulmo

Active Member
Jan 19, 2016
4,329
4,905
Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
On road . . . apologies for the delayed update.

The powerwalls failed out with 75% power left in them. Tesla thinks there was too much current draw from the system. The problem with that theory was that they refused to come back on despite a full reset UNTIL the grid power came back.

Smells to me of a frequency sync problem.
You could turn off all the breakers in the house and from the grid except one 100 watt light bulb that is turned on and of course the PowerWall breakers, then reset the PowerWalls again, and see if that works.

Sync to what? You aren't syncing to any frequency. The PowerWalls make their own frequency. They will slew it to any master they have to sync to. If there is solar, of course, they would sync to that, but for solar to come on when everything is off (dark start), first the batteries would have to create energy by making their own frequency (60Hz). Then, if the solar is plugged in and sun is shining enough, then the solar would eventually come on, and start charging the battery and/or supplying the house, if it is not too much for all of that. Anyway, sync to what? There is no frequency sync issue when the only thing there is the battery!
 

Ulmo

Active Member
Jan 19, 2016
4,329
4,905
Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
I will investigate when I get back in 2 weeks. I'm more than a little pissed at Tesla. Whatever happened caused a surge throughout the house and flipped many breakers and GFCI outlets. It fried the board on the dishwasher ($351 repair, thank you GE for sub-standard design).
Ouch. Time for Tesla to install Varistors in all of their backup batteries, gateways, inverters, and panels. That might take out some of those surges. I already installed some myself where I live. These units are very good and fairly inexpensive: MidNite Solar Products

I wonder what happened! That is a new failure type! I wonder if the grid sent a spike. Did someone try to install a generator straight to the grid? Anyway, that's one reason to shut off the grid connection between the house and the PowerWalls while power is out by turning off the breaker between the utility and the house. I didn't this time around since I had already installed the varistors so didn't worry about it, but during every other power outage, I ran over and turned off the circuit breaker connecting the utility to us until the power was back on.
 

bkp_duke

Well-Known Member
May 15, 2016
5,551
19,359
San Diego, CA
Ouch. Time for Tesla to install Varistors in all of their backup batteries, gateways, inverters, and panels. That might take out some of those surges. I already installed some myself where I live. These units are very good and fairly inexpensive: MidNite Solar Products

I wonder what happened! That is a new failure type! I wonder if the grid sent a spike. Did someone try to install a generator straight to the grid? Anyway, that's one reason to shut off the grid connection between the house and the PowerWalls while power is out by turning off the breaker between the utility and the house. I didn't this time around since I had already installed the varistors so didn't worry about it, but during every other power outage, I ran over and turned off the circuit breaker connecting the utility to us until the power was back on.

Thanks for the info on that product. I'll be digging deeper into what happened when I get home. Needless to say I'm not happy that this system either generated a surge or didn't protect from one from the grid.
 

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