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Thread: Don't make the same mistake I made...

  1. #1
    Scottish chap mgemmell's Avatar
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    Don't make the same mistake I made...

    Hi folks

    On Saturday I drove 400kms to a small village way away from "civilization". We stopped on the way to get a 32A boost during lunch but arrived with about 50kms of charge left.

    I had checked the charging at the destination and it looked good, but until you connect the Roadster you never can be sure. So I wired the 32A connector up as I had done many times before and started charging. Things looked good (blue, then blue flashing) but then I got a Red. This normally means
    1) the earth connection isn't good, or
    2) live and neutral are switched (often happens!).

    I checked 1 and tried switching the poles to investigate 2. No joy.

    I then tried other phases, but in the process got neutral and a phase mixed and put 380V into the cable briefly. The cable controller made its characteristic clunk of a relay tripping and shut down. From then on regardless of the connection the cable was dead.

    By this time the Roadster indicated just 8% charge (don't know what happened to my 50kms of range which is more like 12% or more) and I realised just how much out on a limb I was....

    * My one charging cable was broken and I was 400km from the 13A cable back home.
    * The Roadster was nearly out of charge and was using power to keep the battery cool (it was hot then)
    * I was due to give a talk and show the car the next day (visions of a Top Gear -like scene of pushing the Roadster haunted me!)

    After a sleepless night the car seemed to stabilize at 8% charge and I drove it to and from the talk/showing no problem. I then jumped in another car and did the round-trip to get the cable that afternoon. That night, after 24h at 8% the car charged fine at 13A (slow but steady).

    The moral?
    Don't experiment with 3 phase power on your only power cable when you are a long way from home and low on charge.

    That said, I didn't think the charge cable and controller were that "delicate". Ok, if you stick 380V into me it might break something too , but over-voltage is not that rare, wrongly wired sockets exist and for such things to "kill" the cable seem to be a major weakness. What would you do on your next trip if your cable died just when you needed to charge? This seems to be a weak link.

    From now on I am going to carry the 13A cable as well as the 32A cable. Belt and braces as they say back home!


    Now, if anyone has any advice as to how to fix the 32A cablel, how to open the control box, how to re-arm any breaker that there may be, etc. I, and perhaps others, would very much appreciate reading it.

    Many thanks everyone.
    Roadster VIN#454EU
    ModelS Signature P85+ #92

  2. #2
    EU Model S P-37 VolkerP's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you made it against all odds!

    With Model S, I understand the 110V/220V fallback is just an adapter to the UMC. Thus, if your UMC is on the fritz, you're even deeper in the mess.

  3. #3
    Roadster 919, S 2006 Doug_G's Avatar
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    FWIW I always carry the "Spare Connector" cable in my car 24/7, regardless of whether the J1772 adapter or the UMC is in the car. You just never know when you might need an emergency plug-in at low power. At least you've always got 220V over there, we have to put up with 110V!
    Roadster #919, Model S #2006. Blog The Rules of Model S Road Tripping
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  4. #4
    Scottish chap mgemmell's Avatar
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    That's a good point... 2 days for a full charge at 110V/13A I guess? Dude!
    Roadster VIN#454EU
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    Senior Member Jaff's Avatar
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    Same here...I off loaded my spare connector the last time I drove to the cottage...(I had my UMC and a 40 amp NEMA 14-50 up there already)...long story short, my sister's mini van lost it's alternator when she was driving to the cottage...I had to ferry my brother-in-law 150kms to the nearest dealership that was open on the long weekend to effect repairs...I had to reduce my speed to 45 km / hour to preserve enough range to get back to the cottage (as I did not have a full standard charge when I started the journey)...lesson learned...always carry the spare connector with you..furthermore, I'll always carry Henry Sharp's J1772 adapter as well!.



    Quote Originally Posted by Doug_G View Post
    FWIW I always carry the "Spare Connector" cable in my car 24/7, regardless of whether the J1772 adapter or the UMC is in the car. You just never know when you might need an emergency plug-in at low power. At least you've always got 220V over there, we have to put up with 110V!
    Member Southern Ontario Tesla Owners Club

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    ERIC VFX vfx's Avatar
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    Have not carried the backup for years. It's always taking up room in the trunk. Can't say there have not been some stick times though. Always carry the CAN now though. Not a trunk filler and plenty of Nissan dealerships to plug into.
    The world loves to be deceived.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Jaff's Avatar
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    Probably safe to do in your locale Eric...unfortunately, we don't have a well developed infrastructure of J1772 connectors up here...plus, where the cottage is, we're out in the sticks...agree, the CAN is indespensible...

    Quote Originally Posted by vfx View Post
    Have not carried the backup for years. It's always taking up room in the trunk. Can't say there have not been some stick times though. Always carry the CAN now though. Not a trunk filler and plenty of Nissan dealerships to plug into.
    Member Southern Ontario Tesla Owners Club

  8. #8
    mod squad bonnie's Avatar
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    I always carry the spare connector, a long heavy-duty extension cord, and Henry's J1772 CAN. And on roadtrips, I take the UMC. (Portland and Seattle at end of this month!)
    PLEASE NOTE: Posts are the copyrighted intellectual property of the author, and are intended as part of a conversation within this forum. My words may NOT be quoted outside this forum, without my expressed consent.
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  9. #9
    Roadster 919, S 2006 Doug_G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgemmell View Post
    That's a good point... 2 days for a full charge at 110V/13A I guess? Dude!
    Better than no juice at all. I've actually used the spare connector a few times while staying at hotels. If you happen to be there two days, then you're good to go!
    Roadster #919, Model S #2006. Blog The Rules of Model S Road Tripping
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  10. #10
    Senior Member wiztecy's Avatar
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    The hot day with the roadster trying to survive by keeping its batteries cool while consuming valuable battery juice is a scary thought for me. Its like keeping your best friend on a battery operated life-support system knowing they'll pull if you can get help in time. I keep the CAN and the 110V cord in the roadster at all times. If you really had to you may be able to hide the 110V cord behind one of the roadster's seats. Its actually surprising what things and their sizes can fit in that space back there.

    I have a canvas pouch in the trunk that has my emergency goodies:
    1)110V roadster cord
    2)The CAN
    3)Tire plug kit, I don't like the fix a flat idea.
    4)A porsche 911 Aluminum Scissor Jack - This is so that I can pull the roadster's tire off on the side of the road if I do encounter a flat.
    5) The roadster's tool kit.
    6) Fire Extinguisher

    One last thing I forgot to mention which I don't have but need to add to my goodies, an emergency roadside medical supply kit. I try to keep one in every car, camper, boat I have.

    My Mesh top and shower cap is also in the trunk. I get by with space and its never been a huge issue.... If I do a trip I then have to be thinking of trade-offs. But for my everyday commute I leave all the goodies and the canvas pouch in the trunk and feel well prepared.
    Last edited by wiztecy; 08-01-2012 at 08:59 AM.

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