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Thread: Scary issue with Nema 14-50 adapter melting

  1. #1
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    Scary issue with Nema 14-50 adapter melting

    Had a very disturbing incident last night. My Model S was charging in my garage when my smoke detector went off. I ran to the garage and saw plumes of smoke coming from the Tesla Nema 14-50 adapter. The car was still charging! I unplugged the charger from the car and yanked the charger adapter plug from the outlet. The Nema 14-50 adapter fused to cord. The adapter had a hole on one side where it was melting. I called Tesla and they sent out someone with a new mobile charger and nema 14-50 adapter. I am not sure how i feel about using this adapter again. The breaker never tripped nor did the car generate any error or shut off charging. I had the electrician come out and inspect the outlet. It showed no signs of charring and tested out fine for constant voltage within specs. Not sure how I feel about Tesla's response at this point. I plan on calling them in the morning.


    I just felt like i should post this to make others aware. Hopefully this was just a case of bad luck in getting a bad adapter
    .

    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by robertmgarrett View Post
    I just felt like i should post this to make others aware. Hopefully this was just a case of bad luck in getting a bad adapter
    .

    Rob
    have you checked the breaker? This is the device that should have tripped when too many amps go through...
    Last edited by NigelM; 2013-10-29 at 09:27 AM. Reason: Abbreviated quote

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    Quote Originally Posted by robertmgarrett View Post
    Had a very disturbing incident last night. My Model S was charging in my garage when my smoke detector went off. I ran to the garage and saw plumes of smoke coming from the Tesla Nema 14-50 adapter. The car was still charging! I unplugged the charger from the car and yanked the charger adapter plug from the outlet. The Nema 14-50 adapter fused to cord. The adapter had a hole on one side where it was melting. I called Tesla and they sent out someone with a new mobile charger and nema 14-50 adapter. I am not sure how i feel about using this adapter again. The breaker never tripped nor did the car generate any error or shut off charging. I had the electrician come out and inspect the outlet. It showed no signs of charring and tested out fine for constant voltage within specs. Not sure how I feel about Tesla's response at this point. I plan on calling them in the morning.


    I just felt like i should post this to make others aware. Hopefully this was just a case of bad luck in getting a bad adapter
    .

    Rob
    There's actually many of us that have had this same issue, including myself. If the adapter is not snugly snapped into the UMC and there is a slight gap, this will happen.

    I know Tesla was replacing early adapters for everyone for free due to this issue. Problem is that mine happened with the "new style" adapter so I'm not convinced that the issue is resolved at all. Haven't had any issues since my adapter and UMC was replaced, but I always make sure that the adapter is firmly locked into the UMC now.
    Last edited by NigelM; 2013-10-29 at 09:28 AM. Reason: Abbreviated quote
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    Btw, I can tell from that photo that the adapter is not firmly locked into the UMC , and that is exactly why this melted.
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    Many others have had this issue (the adapter getting hot and/or melting). I already knew of the issue (there is already another long thread about it), so when I went to unplug my adapter from the wall and felt it was scorching hot I called for a replacement.
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    --It is not firmly locked now because the Tesla folks asked me to see if I could pull it apart once it cooled down.
    --no breakers tripped nor did car stop charging. I had electrician come out and stood over his shoulder. All looks pristine in the wiring.
    --Love Tesla & my cat but this is a dumb issue...really you have to make sure it is perfectly snug or maybe burn your house down? Seriously! I have money invested in this company. Can you imagine the bad press of a house fire. This really should be addressed ASAP.

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    To me, those pins where the adapter meets the charger cable are quite small for continuous 40 amp current flow day in and day out. Not to mention how hot the inline "box" gets at that level of charging. My UMC stays in the trunk for occasional use and I use a wall mounted hard-wired EVSE for everyday charging.

    If you are going to use the mobile connector to charge every day, I would suggest dialing down the current flow just a little bit on the screen to 25 amps or so to reduce heating effects...I know a lot of people are successfully using these every night to charge, but this isn't the first time we've seen melting in the adapter area. I think its easy to take for granted the fact that almost 10,000 watts can flow through that small device and connector / adapter...

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    Senior Member mknox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fcharland View Post
    have you checked the breaker? This is the device that should have tripped when too many amps go through...
    Likely too many amps didn't go through the breaker. A loose connection at the UMC to adapter connection would act just like a heater element.
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    We have been charging about 26,000 miles on two different UMCs (two cars) with no issues.

    While I certainly appreciate your concern, when dealing with any high current device you need to make sure the connections are solid and any adapters are properly seated.

    As for your concern about how TESLA dealt with the situation, they immediately came out and replaced the UMC? What better response response would you like? I have never had another car company respond nearly that well.
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    RoverS- You realize most reputable electricians have 24X7 emergency service. So I called them. Really not too hard. BTW...this is your 3rd post...so what is your motivation.

    Zythryn-You ask a fair question. Based on this forum and Tesla's forum along with response to my initial posts this has been an ongoing issue. We all saw the press frenzy from the car fire. Can you imagine what happens if a house were to burn down? I personally just want peace of mind for the safety of my family. So I will press this with Tesla to determine what is going on with these adapters. I have given my melted one to them to study.

    I love Tesla and my car. A stupid little adapter should not be allowed to be the cause of issues this serious. Think about how many issues have been reported just in this forum based on (in the manufacturing world) the small number of adapters in use residentially. This seems like an issue Tesla should proactively address to protect themselves from these type of incidents and the fallout that comes from them.

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