Problem supercharging (AC charge OK...just no DC charge!)

Problem supercharging (AC charge OK...just no DC charge!)

Anyone else have supercharging problems? I am not one of those biased journalists...but here is my story:

I recently set out on my second road trip, having used the supercharger in Barstow when going from LA to Vegas about 2 months ago. I love the car and left 3 perfectly capable ICE cars at home to take the Tesla. I'm confident estimating range and planning out charging stops.

This time, while home-charging and all else seemed to be working great, I got a nasty surprise at the Tejon Pass charging station: my Model S would not take a DC charge. While all blinked green and the dash showed 380V, no current would flow. Other cars were charging fine - and we tried 3 different stations. There happened to be some engineers from the factory at the charging station (with prototype cars running the next software version) and even with their valiant efforts and having support on the phone it seemed nothing could be done (phone support sounded like Microsoft: "I'll reboot the car and see if that fixes it"). The best theory (from an Engineer at HQ): the contactor (in the car) was not switching from the AC charging path to the DC charging path. So, we ended up leaving the magnificent Tesla at Enterprise rent-a-car and driving a Mazda for the remainder of our trip :-(

OK, so all cars can have a failure and leave you stranded (though not so common on a 100k car with under 4000 miles on it!), but with this one there are a few things that make it tougher:
* there is almost zero chance of getting anything fixed on the road or nearby
* there is ZERO warning before leaving home that your car is not road-trip ready
* despite all the great phone support and engineers on site, there seems to be no way diagnose what is wrong

It seems to me that, at a minimum, you need to be able to do SOMETHING to know if your car is ready for a weekend road trip. Without that, I'm not sure I'll feel confident taking my shiny new toy on a road trip again, which really tweaks me.

Kleist | 17 February 2013

happens with all cars new or old - if something critical breaks your road trip is over.
But it is good to keep it in mind, so I will never pass the Gilroy SC without testing if SC works.

Carefree | 17 February 2013

I am not sure why this is any different than the experience with an ICE car. My Touareg TDi stalled out on me in the middle of nowhere and there were no indication at all when I had left home that something was wrong. It took a 4 hour tow truck drive to get to the nearest VW dealership because other shops could not read the VW readouts.
AT least with the Tesla you can get an initial diagnosis from the Tesla team because they are connected to the car and can potentially fix it over the air - coolest thing ever:-)

Salman | 21 February 2013

@cliff, are you back from your road trip? Any update on what's wrong with your car, and what it'll take to fix it?

Lush1 | 27 July 2016

I had the same problem this weekend (Sat July 23, 2016). AC charging works, DC Supercharging doesn't on my 2013 Model S 60.
Let me preface by saying that I Supercharged only once, on Christmas Day, 2015 in Wilmington, DE and everything worked fine. I charge at home via Nema 14-50 and have used many Tesla HPWC's on the road (though I don't have dual charger hardware so I am limited to 40 amps with AC chargers). So the car has Supercharging enabled and has no problem with AC charging.
This weekend on a trip from Philadelphia to State College, PA I pulled into the relatively new Harrisburg, PA Supercharger. Car would not charge. Showed 380V, but 0 amps. About every 30 seconds a few amps (2-10) would flow, then I heard a loud click from the back of the car and amps dropped to zero and car indicated "charging stopped." Called national Roadside Assistance. They had me try 3 different stalls, all with the same result. Even tried on that had been used while I was there by another Tesla, so we knew that stall worked. Same result on all units. Of course they had me reboot the car, but that was about the only thing that I could do and they had no other suggestions. Roadside could see me car and downloaded logs. They said they would forward the logs to the nearest Service Center (Devon, PA) and that I would receive a call from them on Monday morning. No call ever came. It's Wednesday now and I'm back home. I called Devon, explained the problem and the earliest they can get me in is August 18th. Not happy. Lots of travel plans for the summer I'll have to adjust or cancel.
P.S. Thanks to the folks at Carlisle Inn for letting me use their HPWC. Bit of a detour and delay in our trip, but we made it to Penn State with 10 miles of range left, thanks to their Destination Charger.

Run4Waffles | 27 July 2016

Sorry to hear of your problems and difficulties @Lush1.

Three weeks out. Ugh. Is it because they need to wait for parts?

Lush1 | 27 July 2016

Don't think parts are causing the delay since it hasn't been seen by a tech or fully diagnosed yet. August 18th was just the first appointment my local SC had available. Never had to wait more than a couple days for an appointment before. Also never had a serious problem with the car in over 3 years of ownership.
Thankfully it can still charge on AC. Only DC Supercharging capability is no longer working. I can still drive and charge the car, but not being able to use Superchargers puts a crimp in my vacation driving plans. I'm lucky to live and travel in highly populated areas where AC options are available. They are just slower so I'll have to add hours to my trip plans until this is fixed.
I called Roadside Assistance again. They contacted my local SC to see if they could get me in sooner. Waiting for a call back. Will post again if/when I have more info.
Also, after a whole lot of searching, the 2013 post from the OP is the only other report I could find of a Tesla having this problem and the techs I spoke with at Roadside Assistance said they had not encountered it before. That should be reassuring to Tesla owners. Seems to be an extremely rare occurrence. I'm still very happy with my car and the excellent support/service I have received so far. Taking it all in stride. Stuff happens.

Run4Waffles | 27 July 2016

Keep us updated. Great attitude!!!

Bighorn | 27 July 2016

Someone reported the same issue a couple weeks ago along with the diagnosis. If you were on a trip, they'd take care of it immediately. So long as it's ready for your next trip, that's what triage is all about.

Lush1 | 27 July 2016

Bighorn, can you point me to the thread of the recent report? I've Googled and Volkerized and only found one example. Tried several different search words and phrases, but perhaps I haven't found the right search criteria.

I wish they would fix it promptly, but so far they haven't even called me back promptly. At 1:45 RA told me my local SC would call me within 1/2 hour. It's now almost 3:15...still waiting for the call.

Bighorn | 27 July 2016

Let me look

Bighorn | 27 July 2016
Lush1 | 27 July 2016

Bighorn, you are THE BEST. Thank you so much for doing all that work. Wish you worked at my SC!

Bighorn | 27 July 2016

:) That'll do.

rwilliamtaylor | 27 July 2016

My 2015 P85D gave me a warning that the Contactor was going to fail. I got a message on the dash that said "Acceleration reduced, Contact Tesla Service at your convenience ". The San Diego Service center replaced the Contactor in two days. I wonder why you didn't get the warning?

Lush1 | 27 July 2016

Don't know why I got no warning. Only Supercharged once before, last Christmas, and it went fine then. This past Saturday it wouldn't Supercharge, but I got no messages or warnings. Also, the car was in for it's annual service in the spring and they didn't pick up any problem, but then, it could have failed at any time, so who knows. Been 5 days since I called RA during the failed Supercharge attempt. RA promised call from SC Monday morning, but no call came. Called SC myself today and they said SC August 18 was the soonest appointment available. Called RA today to follow up. RA called SC which was supposed to call me in 30 minutes. Still waiting to hear back from local SC to try getting bumped up sooner than August 18th. Promised callback almost 3 hour overdue now. I have stopped holding my breath. Looks like I'll have to make some more calls.

Bighorn | 27 July 2016

It's not the contactor in this case.

Lush1 | 28 July 2016

UPDATE, sort of. Got the call from Devon SC this morning. Better late than never. Tech went over the logs pulled from the car at the Supercharger and they moved my appointment up from the 18th to this Tuesday, Aug 2. They don't have any Tesla loaners available, but as I said, I'll be happy to take the ICE loaner they offered (never thought I would be happy about driving an ICE again). Guess I've become a snob.
I'll report back when I have info on the diagnosis/repair.

Lush1 | 5 August 2016

All fixed. Thanks to Devon, PA Service Center for getting it sorted. They rented me a car and got my car Supercharging again in a day. They also drove it to the nearest Supercharger to confirm it worked, with my permission, of course. Below is the info from the service invoice detailing what they replaced. Seems some sort of signaling problem in the module was causing it to open and close the contacts that allow the battery to get DC from a Supercharger. This is the only car the service manager had encountered with this problem. Appears to be a rare failure, which is good news for the Tesla community. Not so lucky for me, but that's life. All's well that ends well.

"Diagnosis of charging system led to internal issue with master charger, will need replaced
to correct this fault.
Corrections: Master Charger - RH - 1st Generation
Replace master charger, update firmware, bleed cooling system and confirm proper
charging is as designed. Will need to get to supercharger to do final QC check
Part Quantity
ASY - CHRGR - SEALED - 10kW - Reman

Bighorn | 5 August 2016

Interesting that a faulty 10kW charger would still allow charging from AC. Also odd that it's remanufactured if they never see the issue.

Lush1 | 5 August 2016

AC charging was fine. Only Supercharging was affected.

You are right Bighorn. It may be rare, but obviously not unique. I found only one post. With your assistance I got to a 2nd. But if Devon has only seen one and the 2 techs I spoke with at Roadside Assistance had not encountered it before, it can't be happening too often.

It all worked out ok. My trip took longer than expected, but luckily, I wasn't on a tight schedule. Even had a nice time on my side trip to the destination charger at the Carlisle Inn. That said, I may take a trip to my nearest Supercharger to make sure things are still AOK before heading into the wild on a long trip. Perhaps I'm being paranoid. Then again, better safe than sorry. Luckily, I live close enough to one to make the round trip in a few hours, just to be sure.