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Wall Charger Tripping AFCI's on Other Circuits

Kruger

Member
May 17, 2019
6
0
White Mills, Kentucky
I purchased a wall charger when I got on the reservation list and installed it last week when I ordered my Model 3. I have it on a 100 amp 240V dedicated breaker. I metered open circuit between L1 and L2, and from L1 and L2 to ground. The ground meters short to the ground bar. A short while after plugging the charger into the Model 3, all of the AFCI's on other circuits trip. It has happened the three times I have charged. I used the 115V adapter last night without any problems. I know that I can replace the AFCI's with GFCI's or regular breakers, but I think that would violate my electrical code. Has anyone experienced similar problems?
 

Kruger

Member
May 17, 2019
6
0
White Mills, Kentucky
I'm going to try another 100 amp breaker and ferrules on the connections this afternoon. Only other options that I know are eliminating the AFCI's or returning the Model 3 before the seven day return period is complete. If other people are charging without problems and have AFCI's in their panels, I agree that it is possibly a problem with my connections or the charger.
 

J1nx440

Member
Mar 2, 2019
18
0
Maryland
Is the 100 amp breaker the norm? Thought it would be 60amp. You should call the charging helpline they can run diagnostics I did that and they fixed the issues
 

Kruger

Member
May 17, 2019
6
0
White Mills, Kentucky
The sales associate told me 100 amp was okay, and the literature supports using it, though the standard range Model 3 will only draw 32 amps, so a 40 amp breaker is sufficient. I will try going to a 40 amp circuit, which will make the wires easier to get into the connectors and see if my problem disappears. I e-mailed Tesla Customer Service, and have only received the following reply:

Thank you for contacting Tesla. We appreciate your patience while we work to respond as soon as possible. Until then, please visit the Support Pages for answers to frequently asked questions.
Best regards,
The Tesla Team

 

eprosenx

Active Member
May 30, 2018
2,075
2,542
Beaverton, OR
The sales associate told me 100 amp was okay, and the literature supports using it, though the standard range Model 3 will only draw 32 amps, so a 40 amp breaker is sufficient. I will try going to a 40 amp circuit, which will make the wires easier to get into the connectors and see if my problem disappears. I e-mailed Tesla Customer Service, and have only received the following reply:

Thank you for contacting Tesla. We appreciate your patience while we work to respond as soon as possible. Until then, please visit the Support Pages for answers to frequently asked questions.
Best regards,
The Tesla Team


100 amp breaker is no problem at all. I would not change that as there is virtually no chance that is the issue.

Thousands of Tesla’s charge in houses with AFCI breakers. I have never heard of an issue like this before and I have answered hundreds of questions in the forums.

So indeed, I worry that there is something dangerous going on here with your neutral to ground bond in the main service entrance or your ground connection or with your neutral back to the transformer or the ground at the transformer. You might have a loose connection (say on the power company side) but that only becomes apparent when large current is run over the line (though 240v EV charging won’t put any load ok neutral at all).

This is a unique issue, but I am sure it is solvable. It is extremely strange. What model/brand of AFCI breakers are they? Can you post pictures? Do they have a flash indicator to explain *why* they tripped? (Some do)

The worst case scenario would be that the issue is with the charging circuitry in the car (which is where the actual charger is) is creating some kind of interference onto your power lines in such a way that it makes the AFCI detection circuitry think there is arcing going on on the circuit the AFCI protects.

Know anyone else with a Tesla who can come over and help you test with their car?
 

qdeathstar

Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
3,916
4,189
VB
I purchased a wall charger when I got on the reservation list and installed it last week when I ordered my Model 3. I have it on a 100 amp 240V dedicated breaker. I metered open circuit between L1 and L2, and from L1 and L2 to ground. The ground meters short to the ground bar. A short while after plugging the charger into the Model 3, all of the AFCI's on other circuits trip. It has happened the three times I have charged. I used the 115V adapter last night without any problems. I know that I can replace the AFCI's with GFCI's or regular breakers, but I think that would violate my electrical code. Has anyone experienced similar problems?


You cannot replace the AFCIs with GFCIs as they do completely different things. I think you are having issues with your neutral connection coming in from the UTILITY. The best way to verify this is to check the voltage phase to neutral while operating the charger and check for fluctuations. But you probably need an electrician to do that for you.
 

Kruger

Member
May 17, 2019
6
0
White Mills, Kentucky
The breakers are Eaton, and the ones tripping are actually combination AFCI/GFCI. I don't have any arc fault only breakers in the panels. Changing to a 40 amp breaker and running 8 AWG wire for L1 and L2 and 10 AWG wire for ground didn't make any difference. The AFCI/GFCI breakers didn't trip in the first few minutes of charging, but were tripped by this morning. I talked with an electrician and with an electrical engineer (I am only a mechanical engineer), and they both recommended eliminating the AFCI's. I can watch the voltage with a multimeter, but I am guessing that you are talking about a more complex tool.
The lights on some of the AFCI/GFCI's blink 5 times and others blink 6 when I restore power to them.
IMG_0334.JPG
IMG_0335.JPG
 

eprosenx

Active Member
May 30, 2018
2,075
2,542
Beaverton, OR
The breakers are Eaton, and the ones tripping are actually combination AFCI/GFCI. I don't have any arc fault only breakers in the panels. Changing to a 40 amp breaker and running 8 AWG wire for L1 and L2 and 10 AWG wire for ground didn't make any difference. The AFCI/GFCI breakers didn't trip in the first few minutes of charging, but were tripped by this morning. I talked with an electrician and with an electrical engineer (I am only a mechanical engineer), and they both recommended eliminating the AFCI's. I can watch the voltage with a multimeter, but I am guessing that you are talking about a more complex tool.
The lights on some of the AFCI/GFCI's blink 5 times and others blink 6 when I restore power to them. View attachment 409182 View attachment 409183

Wow, this is an exceedingly weird condition.

Also odd that some of your breakers are GFCI tripping and others say they are failing a self test.

Eaton Breaker Flashing Red - The Geek Pub

We do know that Tesla’s can sometimes trip GFCI’s on the circuit feeding them, but never have I heard of it tripping *other* circuits! My understanding is that sometimes interference/noise on a circuit can trip the GFCI function inappropriately, but again, generally on the protected circuit.

All I can think of is that you have a loose connection on one of your hot wires or neutral somewhere between your panel and the transformer, but since the Wall Connector and UMC don’t use the neutral, it seems like the hot lines would be the only ones that could have an issue. I would check the torque on all the connections I had access to.

Note that those breakers may be an older style at this point. I wonder if newer revs of the same breakers would not exhibit the issue?

It is odd to see so many gfci afci combo breakers. Normally circuits need afci protection or GFCI, but not both. Perhaps a more traditional setup of just afci breakers plus gfci receptacles where necessary may not exhibit the issue?

And finally, it is possible your car is defective and generating a ton of noise or harmonics or something on the line that is causing this. Very odd since we have never seen the issue before.

I might email Tesla Charging Installation Support and ask them what they think. They are generally decently responsive. (email address is in the wall connector manual)

Please report back what you find out!

P.S. Using a multi meter to test is a good idea while the charge current ramps up. Also, what voltages does the car report when you first plug in and then also once it ramps up to full current for a few minutes?
 

qdeathstar

Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
3,916
4,189
VB
eleminating AFCIs leaves you at risk for fires and does not get to the root cause of the problem.

I’m suprised a liscense a electrician would recommend eliminating them.

I was actually talking about a simple dmm. If you have a voltage drop one one of the lines/neutral when you apply a lot of load the meter will pick that up.

How far is the charger from the panel?
 
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kalalp

New Member
May 18, 2019
3
0
San Joaquin Valley
Is the ground rod at a different location than this panel? Like at the meter entrance panel?
If so this panel should have an isolated neutral which it appears to have. The grounds and neutrals are separate. It appears that there are neutral gfci wires going to ground. And that green wire out of the box should be on the ground bar not the neutral. Best to go through that box and double check things or get a competent electrician to do so.
 

maverick3n1

Member
Apr 30, 2019
46
27
Oceanside
How old is your wiring? If your house is much older, it's possible that someone decided to use the ground as a neutral. If you have current going down the ground as though it is a neutral, it can throw AFCI and GFCI's off. I've seen this problem visibly as well on TV's that get the 60 cycle hum bar down the screen (US wiring), where someone had a damaged neutral wire, and rather than trying to find where the break was and repair/replace it, they jumpered from the ground to the neutral. It will make that circuit work if it's a non GFCI, but will totally screw any true GFCI/AFCI breakers/outlets, and does have some dangerous consequences. Might be something to look into. Try seeing if you can see a current between neutral and ground. There shouldn't be more than maybe a couple of volts current visible.
 

eprosenx

Active Member
May 30, 2018
2,075
2,542
Beaverton, OR
Is the ground rod at a different location than this panel? Like at the meter entrance panel?
If so this panel should have an isolated neutral which it appears to have. The grounds and neutrals are separate. It appears that there are neutral gfci wires going to ground. And that green wire out of the box should be on the ground bar not the neutral. Best to go through that box and double check things or get a competent electrician to do so.

Yeah, this is a good point / question. Is this the “main service entrance panel”? Is it the only one in the building? Could there be a main service disconnect out at the meter?

If it is the main service disconnect then the neutral and ground must be bonded together in this panel and also connected to ground. If that is the case neutral and ground wires can be inter mixed on either bus (assuming both are rated for neutral use). So this may be wired properly.

Also, if you post a bunch of high resolution pictures of the insides of the panel we might be able to help identify if a neutral to ground bonding screw is in place or not (on modern panels this is always green).
 

Wilks23

New Member
Sep 14, 2019
2
0
Virginia
I purchased a wall charger when I got on the reservation list and installed it last week when I ordered my Model 3. I have it on a 100 amp 240V dedicated breaker. I metered open circuit between L1 and L2, and from L1 and L2 to ground. The ground meters short to the ground bar. A short while after plugging the charger into the Model 3, all of the AFCI's on other circuits trip. It has happened the three times I have charged. I used the 115V adapter last night without any problems. I know that I can replace the AFCI's with GFCI's or regular breakers, but I think that would violate my electrical code. Has anyone experienced similar problems?
Have you been able to find a solution to this issue? I have the same issue but with arc fault breakers. I've had my LR Model 3 for over a year and started having this issue within a month. Kinda got the runaround from my Tesla service center and said it was the home connection. After hiring a master electrician he found all the connections to be working fine. Interesting enough I am not able to reset my arc breakers until I stop charging the car. Immediately after I stop charging I am able to successfully reset them. All my connections are up to code as the house was recently built. Please help from anyone who has dealt with this.
 

Kruger

Member
May 17, 2019
6
0
White Mills, Kentucky
Wilks23, Tesla suggested that I hire an electrician approved by them and have the electrician call them when he or she inspected the installation.. I know that my service is corrected correctly, and am hesitant to pay an electrician to go through the runaround with Tesla. I have been able to charge at 10 amps without tripping my breakers, but they trip when I charge at 16 amps.

I installed the electrical panels in a new house with inspections. The panel is grounded to the rebar in the footers per our current code. The construction of the house is insulated concrete forms, and the rebar in the walls is also in contact with the rebar in the footers, so all my exterior walls and one interior wall and footers are all connected to the ground. My charger is tied to the main panel, with the neutral bonded to ground, thus the mixing of neutral and ground wires on the bars.
 

jkeyser14

Member
Jul 30, 2012
176
134
Baltimore Area
Sounds like bad AFCI/GFCI breakers to be honest. I had similar problems in my new construction house (pre-Tesla) on two specific circuits until the electrician replaced the breakers. He said his company has seen the problem quite often and that its normally an overly sensitive breaker.
 

davewill

Active Member
Feb 5, 2014
1,829
2,079
San Diego, CA, US
Wilks23, Tesla suggested that I hire an electrician approved by them and have the electrician call them when he or she inspected the installation.. I know that my service is corrected correctly, and am hesitant to pay an electrician to go through the runaround with Tesla. I have been able to charge at 10 amps without tripping my breakers, but they trip when I charge at 16 amps.

I installed the electrical panels in a new house with inspections. The panel is grounded to the rebar in the footers per our current code. The construction of the house is insulated concrete forms, and the rebar in the walls is also in contact with the rebar in the footers, so all my exterior walls and one interior wall and footers are all connected to the ground. My charger is tied to the main panel, with the neutral bonded to ground, thus the mixing of neutral and ground wires on the bars.

I tried replacing two combination breakers; one with an arc fault only breaker, and the other with a ground fault only breaker. These did not trip.

It would only take one loose connection somewhere, which can happen to any electrician. That said, I like the suggestion that it could be a bad batch of combo AFCI/GFCI breakers. I'd be tempted to replace one with the same model and see if the new one trips...or replace with a combo of a different model.
 

Wilks23

New Member
Sep 14, 2019
2
0
Virginia
It would only take one loose connection somewhere, which can happen to any electrician. That said, I like the suggestion that it could be a bad batch of combo AFCI/GFCI breakers. I'd be tempted to replace one with the same model and see if the new one trips...or replace with a combo of a different model.
About 6 months ago after I kept complaining to the service center they swapped out my wall charger with a new one. After about 5 days of working fine the issue started happening again. Still no resolution but I'm gonna try to recheck all my connections again.
 

spookygeek

New Member
Dec 5, 2019
3
7
Georgia
Have you had any update on a resolution to your electrical troubles? I am a new model 3 owner and am experiencing the exact same problem.

I have a wall charger installed on a 60A dedicated circuit. When connected to power everything works great, and will sit over a week with no issues. When actually start to charge my model 3 and its under load it will trip an AFCI on an entirely different circuit. I also happen to have more than one AFCI circuit and the other breaker is always totally fine and will never trip. I'm leaning towards trying to swap out the AFCI for a new one and see if it was just old equipment or some type of larger issue perhaps with my service feed?
 

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