TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Trouble charging via mobile connector in rural area

Discussion in 'Australia & New Zealand' started by andrewrogers, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. andrewrogers

    andrewrogers Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Some feedback that might hopefully help others when pushing the range limits of the Model S.

    I drove from Sydney to Merriwa (north west of the Hunter Valley) via Putty Road. Mapped distance is 330km and we didn't detour more than a few kms. We had a full car and for the most part drove conservatively. Trip planner suggested we should arrive with 10% charge remaining early in the journey.

    It's a relatively hilly route and it was a warm day (27 degrees), we ended up arriving with suggested range of 10kms. We had to drop speed to circa 85km/hr for some of the trip to achieve this. That in itself wasn't a problem.

    We stayed at a rural property 14kms out of town and the car wouldn't charge from the mobile connector. Repeatedly started charging then promptly stopped with an error of "Unable to Charge, Close Charge Port Door, Press the Brake Pedal, Then Try Again".

    Tesla phone support were very helpful and diagnosed the source to be a faulty earth connection on the property.

    We couldn't resolve the earth fault though (the owners of the property had no known problems with their power). I had been relying on the full two days of charging to get sufficient charge to get us to our next destination. Luckily it was mostly downhill into town and we were able to get in there and plug into another power outlet and charge.

    I'm not sure how common this is but I'll be a little more conservative with range in future (we could have travelled via the motorway instead of putty road).

    It prompted me to look into some redundancy for charging options, if I was doing a long road trip I think I'd seriously consider taking a spare charger given the dependence. Timing is also an issue, once you have a problem if you have a deadline you've little tolerance when charging on 10 amps....
     
  2. lennier

    lennier Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2015
    Messages:
    383
    Location:
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    #2 lennier, Apr 18, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
    The charger is in the car, you can't take a spare. It depends a lot on whether the UMC (just a smart cable really, technically called an EVSE) or the charger itself didn't like the earth connection. If the former then a different third party EVSE *might* be more tolerant than the UMC and allow the car to charge, but if it was the latter then nothing would help.

    Your best bet is to do exactly as you indicate and be a bit more conservative when you don't know for sure that you have reliable charging at the other end. But in reality the problem you experienced is unlikely to happen too often.
     
  3. AndrewNSW

    AndrewNSW Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2015
    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    Tacoma, NSW, Australia
    We just got back from a 2000km trip over a week and along with other charging methods used the (10 amp) UMC in 5 different locations, all country. Accumulatively it would have been plugged in for 5 days/nights.

    I did find the extension lead we used got very hot - was a cheap Bunnings standard lead rated at 10 amp. Guessing it's prob not designed for continuous 10 amp. I'm getting a heavier extn lead as the charge rate did vary a bit the longer it was connected. The iPhone app is really useful in working out actual voltage / amps.

    One other thing I found is that after we were charging in the rain, water managed to get into the car charging socket causing similar errors to what you got when we were using the UMC at the next location. Blew the water out with air which fixed it.

    My main worry wasn't the UMC failing, more if there was a power failure in the area we had planned to charge - however was a waste of time worrying about that as didn't happen.
     
  4. Brian May

    Brian May Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2016
    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I seem to recall this is not the only case I have read here of car not charging due to non-compliant connection. The problem being faulty Earth connection here (if that means the house has no Earth, could be a serious safety issue). I seem to recall another thread where no Neutral connection was a problem.

    Just curious if there is any way property owners can check that their sockets are complaint without purchasing a Model S? Although chances are if you know to check, you probably have a good idea how to check (even if it means asking a sparkie).

    Not sure how to do this, however it seems to me that property owners may need help ensuring that they can help charge electric cars when they say they can. Unfortunately I think this might be a bit difficult to do until you are onsite with the car...
     
  5. lennier

    lennier Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2015
    Messages:
    383
    Location:
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    The thread you recall was probably the one about 3-phase charging. However no neutral is a problem in all cases. For single phase it means (obviously) you don't have a power circuit at all. For 3-phase the Tesla requires a neutral as it doesn't use phase-to-phase voltages but each phase-to-neutral (as the charger is actually 3 single phase chargers). Some 5-pin 3-phase sockets are incorrectly wired without a neutral on the assumption that phase-to-phase will be used.
     
  6. paulp

    paulp Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2015
    Messages:
    797
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    I have a small plug-in device with 3 lights. Different combinations tell you different faults in any power point.
     
  7. andrewrogers

    andrewrogers Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    @AndrewNSW - I've experienced the same re extension leads. In the course of dealing with the problem I did not the manual says you're not supposed to use an extension cord with the UMC, not always practical but a heavier cord is definitely a good idea.

    I also read of other people with faults from dust etc in connectors that were resolved with cleaning. A can of compressed air may be worthwhile carrying.

    @paulp - thanks, looks like they're common - Power Point and Leakage Tester | Contact | Electrical Testers | Test & Measurement | PRODUCTS | QP2000 | Jaycar Electronics (ordered now)

    In my case I'm quite certain the fault was across the whole house/property, I tried three different sockets including one inside the switchboard itself with no extension cord, all the same result. Resolving the earth fault I believe requires re-doing and testing the earth connections of which there are two and not really and end user ... or house guest job.
     
  8. alpal

    alpal Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Messages:
    339
    Location:
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    I used a 15amp ext lead (with 10amp plugs) on my recent road trip and it too got warm (not hot) initially but after maybe 30mins it cooled down. The length of the UMC was inadequate on a few occassions and it's interesting to note that you're not supposed to use an ext lead.
     
  9. Brian May

    Brian May Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2016
    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I would speculate the reason you are not suppose to use an ext lead is because the lead you have may not support the required load, and waste power and risk fire. Case in point: If a 15amp cable gets warm with 10amp, it sounds like it may not really be 15amp.
     
  10. paulp

    paulp Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2015
    Messages:
    797
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Agree, but noting any packaged 15A lead purchased from places like bunnings is likely a chinese import......
    Best buy some decent cable, and put your own plugs on. All electrical wholesalers sell decent quality cable.
     
  11. eclectricdave

    eclectricdave Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Messages:
    112
    Location:
    Malbourne Australia
    I burnt out a 10A gpo and male plug at 15A on Saturday. The lead wire is around 2.5 mm2 and ive done this lots of times. Mustnt have been plugged in far enough.
     
  12. lennier

    lennier Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2015
    Messages:
    383
    Location:
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Tesla's advice on extension leads is simply because they have no control over what you might plug it in to and given most 10A leads are not rated for continuous draw even if they are reasonable quality there's a minefield of potential issues they would not want to be seen to be endorsing. Done appropriately there's nothing inherently wrong with extension leads but it requires some knowledge of the potential problems to do that.
     
  13. AndrewNSW

    AndrewNSW Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2015
    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    Tacoma, NSW, Australia
    I while back I was speaking with Mitchell from Tesla who mentioned the 3 phase connector is able to monitor the heat in the cable connecting it to the supply (maybe through resistance or something?)

    Anyway, maybe this UMC does it in the same way? So unless the extension lead is as heavy as the cable the UMC uses, it's not going to throttle back unless it gets very hot (much mine did and at that point the charge rate dropped from 12km/hr to 7 km/hr with the same voltage and amp feed according to my iPhone app)
     

Share This Page