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UMC Connection Problems

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by mknox, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I've had my car just over 3 weeks, and seem to be developing a problem with my Universal Mobile Connector connecting to the car.

    Starting about a week ago, I found that I would have to re-insert the plug into the car two or three times in order for it to connect and turn green. Prior to that it worked first time, every time.

    Tonight when I went to plug in, I could not get the cable to connect and the ring just stayed white/blue. It would lock in place when I locked the car, but would not turn to green. After about 10 minutes of plugging and unplugging, I started to panic a bit and tried calling Tesla Roadside Assistance. Problem is, the number I have (877-798-3752) apparently doesn't work from Canada! (anyone have the Canadian number?!?). The Toronto SC was closed (or not answering) when I tried there.

    Finally, I fired up the Mobile App with the cable plugged in hoping I could hit "Start Charging", but alas it showed the cable unplugged and the only option was "Open Charge Port Door". Well, I hit the charge port door button on my phone, and the car clicked and banged a couple of times and then the port turned green and started throbbing! It's charging as I type this and I'm not touching it until it's fully charged. I need to get to work tomorrow!

    I searched a few threads here, but did not come across anything like this. My UMC was not showing any kind of fault (and is working fine now) so I suspect it's something to do with the charge port or the on-board chargers. The J1772 adapter seems to work just fine at public charging stations.

    Obviously, I'll call tomorrow, but any thoughts in the mean time?
     
  2. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Find a J1772 in the wild and try the adapter. That will at least help narrow it down to the UMC (or its connector) or the car's charging system.
     
  3. patp

    patp Member

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    Exact same issue. Was getting really difficult to charge.. but J1772 charger was working all the time. Tesla replaced my UMC.
     
  4. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    It was charging just fine at work today using the adapter. I've never had to unplug/re-plug to initiate charging with the J1772 adapter like I've started to have to do with the UMC.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Interesting. I suspected it was the car, because when I hit "Open Charge Port" on the mobile app (with the cable in and the port blue) it made the car click and bang and then started charging without my even touching the cable.
     
  5. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    #5 kevincwelch, Apr 1, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
    I just experienced an "oh, sh*t" moment with my UMC. Came home to plug in my UMC, but the ring turned red after connecting the plug. Tried it again, still red. Then I looked at the UMC, which had a single red LED lit steadily. It was not flashing (the manual seems to imply that there are six states of flashing red error lights). So, I unplugged the UMC from the car and then unplugged the UMC from my NEMA 14-50 plug. I did not notice if it was loose at the time. Plugged it back into the NEMA 14-50 and the UMC LED was green, so I plugged it into the Tesla and it started charging fine.

    Loose connection on the NEMA 14-50? Or is this the sign of some impending problem?

    EDIT:

    I checked out Joe Pruitt's thread; my adapter is clean, so that doesn't appear to be the issue. And, mods, any chance of getting a UMC sticky? There's a HPWC sticky. It would seem as though people will post lots of problems/solutions related to the UMC, so it would be a hot item.
     
  6. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    The UMC will flash the red LED a number of times to indicate the type of failure before turning on a solid red LED.

    How hot is your plug getting while charging? You may have one of the defective 14-50 adapters.
     
  7. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

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    Defective 14-50 adapters?

    Maybe I have one but symptoms are different. Working with Chicago SC on it. Worked fine for 6+ weeks, now all of a sudden popping 50amp breaker after about 5-10 minutes.

    Told to reduce amps to 20. Still pops.

    Picked up loaner UMC this AM. Used it and it still pops breaker. But didn't replace 14-50 adapter.

    Plugged UMC into 110v and it's working fine. Just a little slow!

    So I am using my J Plug to increase speed and it's working fine. I would think that to pop a breaker after 5+ minutes would be an overheating semiconductor. Are there any in the adapter?

    Only clue I have is that for first 6+ weeks I charged standard. Then once I switched to max range; then back to standard. That's when problem started. Hummmmmmm.
     
  8. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    If the UMC was absorbing enough energy to pop the breaker you'd be seeing smoke. Either the breaker itself is defective, or the car is drawing too much power.
     
  9. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    If you're tripping a circuit breaker only after a few minutes (not instantly) of when the charge starts, and the UMC isn't reporting a ground fault, and there aren't obvious signs of heat or smoke coming from the plug, I suspect your breaker's thermal protection has become faulty. You can confirm this if you have a clamp-on ammeter, you could measure the current to ensure it wasn't going above what the car is saying that it is drawing.

    There is a possibility that there is a high-resistance short and that the car's chargers are drawing more than they're supposed to, but I suspect you would see/smell something "hot" if you had 50 amps being sunk somewhere else.
     
  10. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    I've had this a couple of times. And yes, the first time really got my attention. In my case it seemed to be that the adapter wasn't fully pushed into the 14-50. Both times by the time I noticed it the UMC lights were already solid red.
     
  11. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    That seems to be the issue I faced. It charged just fine through the night.

    That's the question I had: it wasn't flashing. I must have missed the flashing. That's why I really started sweating. It was a solid red - both the UMC and the charge port.

    It wasn't hot at all. This I checked. Not even warm. I removed the adapter and everything looked fine.

    I'm guessing something was loose. I'll have to monitor this a little more closely.


    Sent via Tapatalk.
     
  12. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    In that case, unplug the UMC and plug it back in and it should give you the flashing status indicator, before it turns solid red on a different LED. If not, it's a complete UMC failure.
     
  13. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    #13 mknox, Apr 2, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
    Tesla looking into my situation now. Was interested to note that they could see in the logs my multiple unsuccessful attempts to plug the UMC into the car. Car charged up no problem at work with the J1772 adapter and our Volt's EVSE.

    Edit: Tesla was unable to remotely diagnose whether it is my UMC or the port on my car. Going in for service Thursday. First chance to appreciate the fact that I'm about 4 miles from the Service Center!
     
  14. shokunin

    shokunin P85 & S40

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    Mine went bad, the UMC showed a solid red and the car kept saying no wall power. Breaker never tripped though. Even swapped adapters and put the 120v on a different outlet and same red led and no wall power. Called the service center and they said they were booked but come on down anyways and we'll test it. Sure enough, took all of 2 minutes to plug into their numerous NEMA 14-50's and they could not revive my UMC. Gave me a brand new on the spot. In and out in 10 minutes.

    They mentioned to handle the UMC carefully, don't throw it around or drop it. The electronics box is very sensitive they said. I need to order a spare UMC as backup.
     
  15. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    They said that it's "very sensitive" or is that your paraphrasing of what they said?

    Hard to imagine that a cable that was designed for indoor/outdoor use and mobile use is "very sensitive."

    Sounds to me like there may have been a batch that were assembled poorly or had bad components.

    Sent via Tapatalk.
     
  16. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

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    It's pretty clear that the UMC is bad. If the car charges fine with the J1772 adapter, then the car port is functioning properly.
     
  17. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but I'm dropping the car and the UMC off tonight with Tesla and picking up a loaner at their request. It's charging fine right now at work with the J1772 adapter. At home with the UMC it's as if there is no power at the plug... it just slides in and out of the port and nothing happens. The UMC is always green, has never been red and has been gently placed in my garage since I got the car. It did work fine for the first two weeks, then I noticed it getting worse (had to plug/un-plug several times) until last night when no amount of effort could get it to connect and charge.
     
  18. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    Good. Please let us know.
     
  19. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

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    Waiting on replacement 14-50 adapter (today?) ... in meantime working fine off JPlug, just SLOW! No smoke, no f1re. Replaced C/B.
    Will update.
     
  20. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Just left the Toronto SC. We tested my car with a known good UMC and it worked fine. I was able to demonstrate that my original one wouldn't work. They got a big parts shipment in, and my replacement UMC was there, so we tested it out, it worked fine and that was that. They hand washed my car for me while I was there and I had a nice chat with the very friendly staff. No need for a loaner car which is fine by me. I was pretty sure it was just the cable (based on comments/feedback here) anyway.

    One thing they mentioned/suggested is that a lot of these UMCs are coming back. Apparently, they're being sent back to California, refurbished and sent back out to the various SCs.

    On a side note, they were unpacking a huge parts shipment and I had fun looking at all kinds of different components from nose cones to dual charging units.
     

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