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Thread: Plug Adapter on my Universal Mobile Connector has melted...

  1. #61
    Model S5,651, Model X109
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    Mine got melts tonight, too. My day's did about a week ago. His UMC actually stopped charging and showed a red light, fortunately I just happened to touch mine tonigh and found it to be too warm to touch for more than a moment.

    I got made fun of on another thread for buying a second UMC as a back-up. I gotta say, I'm feeling a little smug at the moment.

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    Model S Performance, VIN 02595. Blue, Tan, Matte Obeche. Best car I've ever driven.

  2. #62
    Model S #4214 Lightning Jeff's Avatar
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    Similar, perhaps minor, melting issues on my (faceplate-less) mobile connector:

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    When I first got it, I was getting temperature readings closer to 100 - which also seemed somewhat high, but it's much hotter now.

    I'll be stopping by Seattle SC this afternoon.
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  3. #63
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    How long were you charging on the 14-50 before it melted?
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  4. #64
    Model S #4214 Lightning Jeff's Avatar
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    In my case, hard to say. It had been charging for perhaps a couple of hours last night when I thought to check it after seeing this thread. But I haven't had the 14-50 adapter off of the connector since I took delivery back in February. My guess is that the melting has been an ongoing process, rather than an instantaneous event.
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  5. #65
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    Looks like there might be some sort of pin alignment issue contributing to the issue?

    Too bad the pins on the adapters aren't as tough as the ones on the car.

    144F is HOT especially considering that you're measuring the outside of the connector - the pins must be at least 20-30F hotter.

    Personally I wouldn't charge at more than 20-30A or so until Tesla figures this one out and periodically check temperatures after 30 minutes of charging.

    The real issue is that if you're using a timer, you might never notice the plug overheating until it melts, especially if you leave your UMC plugged in to the wall.

    Is everyone who's had an adapter melt letting the "brick" hang from the plug as Lightning Jeff is in his pic? That puts a lot of strain on the connector - you can see that Lightning Jeff's adapter doesn't appear to be fully seated.

    In the pics on this thread I also notice that the bottom of the power pins is the primary melt point - this reinforces the above theory that there is too much strain on the adapter.

  6. #66
    Model S #4214 Lightning Jeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drees View Post
    Too bad the pins on the adapters aren't as tough as the ones on the car.
    It's actually the connector pins, so if this is a flaw, it may be a more expensive one to fix. And yes, they seem tiny for the amount of current they're moving.

    Is everyone who's had an adapter melt letting the "brick" hang from the plug as Lightning Jeff is in his pic? That puts a lot of strain on the connector - you can see that Lightning Jeff's adapter doesn't appear to be fully seated.
    I'll be interested in what others do, as this always seemed a little off to me - to the point that I've thought about mounting a bracket for the "brick" to sit in and relieve that strain. That said, I actually don't think the strain is that great. I'm not sure that gap you see really is one - or that, given how tight the two pieces fit together, it contributes to any actual misalignment of the pins. But, you may be onto something.
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  7. #67
    Model S #4214 Lightning Jeff's Avatar
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    The Seattle SC very quickly replaced my UMC. Happy to say, I now have a faceplate.

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    The new one gets warm, but not the 140+ I saw with the old one. This is after about 90 minutes charging at 39 of 40 amps:

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    I am still worried about the size of those pins, though - they seem awfully small.
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  8. #68
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    I recently opened one of the UMC's up, but it's a pretty destructive process due to the housing overmold and it being glued shut. It's a "one-way" trip, so definitely do NOT try this at home!





    Tesla is really pushing the limits on the UMC design! When used with a 50A adapter, It's putting out a 66.7% Duty cycle, which equates to 40A. They use paired 2.5mm wires for each side of the line, (Equivalent to ~#13AWG) and inside the box they use the same P&B relay ClipperCreek uses on the LCS-25, a single 30A rated relay. (at 40A!) Now since it's almost never going to be expected to interrupt any sizable current, this is probably fine as long as the contact system in the relay is low enough resistance and there isn't too much heat dissipated. I haven't done any thermography yet.

    It's arguable that splitting the high-current between 2 smaller conductors is better for heat-dissipation, but then you sometimes have pesky termination issues. Inside the UMC, Tesla welds the 2 conductors to a little square terminal, then screws this to a PCB terminal. So this is a good termination and it looked well-done by my assessment. Having 4 smaller wires instead of 2 larger ones definitely makes for a smaller, more flexible cable overall, so regardless of any potential current handling gain, it's good ergonomically.

    I definitely don't like their interchangeable right-angle plug connector design. First off, if you are going to do right-angle, why not make it symmetrical? That way you could flip it 180 degrees if your outlet is installed upside-down. (Patent-Pending! =)

    Their "dongle" design makes for elegant and simple plug adapters, but it ends up being a really big blob, especially when used on smaller outlets (NEMA 5-15). This will put even more stress on the outlet, with the high bending moment due to hanging the weight of the UMC and cabling off a long adapter conflagration. I think I prefer having a short length of cable for each adapter, as this makes the final plug smaller, more compact, more flexible, and spreads out heat. This is the design choice I made on the EVSE upgrade. I use a NEMA L6-20 (L6-30 on higher-power units) as my intermediary adapter connector, which is a good design, positively locks, and still very compact. Then I use a short cable to connect the adapters to the plug, and all connections are welded and fully overmolded. This maintains flexibility, reduces physical stress on the outlets, and spreads out any heat generated. It also means you don't need an adapter at all to "go native". I decided against right-angle choices on most adapters because there is no standard for outlet installation in the wild, and you could very often end up with a 180 degree wire exit, which is not a good idea.

    -Phil

  9. #69
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    I just use the UMC with the newly improved 14-50 adapter that was freshly evolved by Ingineer. It is now 2 hours into charging at 40Amp 240V, my Cen-Tech Infrared Thermometer gun reads 89.6 degree F at 14-50, and 121.4 degree F on the UMC body.
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  10. #70
    Roadster 919, S 2006 Doug_G's Avatar
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    The contacts on the T92S7D12-24 relay has "Rated current" of 30A, but if you look at it in more detail they have a "limiting continuous current" of 40A.

    The datasheet specifies how many operation cycles you can do at what current. At 40A/277VAC they are rated for 6000 cycles. Mind you, it is likely that Tesla is only operating the relay with the power off, since the car has much larger contactors. (Except they probably pull power immediately if a ground fault is detected - but you can do that 6000 times.)

    So it does look like they are respecting the limits of the part... but yes, this isn't a conservative design!
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