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1st ‘Dark Day’ in the ‘13 Model S60

1st ‘Dark Day’ in the ‘13 Model S60

Get off work today, get in the car, and nothing happens. Dreaded ‘car unable to drive’ warning. ‘Low Voltage’. The car was charged the night before, and had 150 miles on the dash when I got to work at 6:30 this morning. Used the Tesla App to summon Roadside Assistance. 90 minutes later, tow truck arrived. My 1st thought was to try a reset. Wrong! Car went dark. No nothing. Tow driver put a jump on the 12V to wake the car enough to tow. Anyone have any thoughts? Has this ever happened to you? I’ve had the car less than a year. Up until today, no issues. Bought the car with 9400 miles. Has 35K now. Needless to say, I’m a bit anxious. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

SamO | 19 novembre 2019

12V failure is likeliest.

troyhobbs | 19 novembre 2019

SamO |
Thank you Sam. My thought was these cars are so ‘smart’ that I should have gotten a warning of some kind, if that battery was getting weak. Even a ‘normal’ car gives you a battery warning. Only 35k miles seems a bit early for a battery failure. Guess I’ll find out tomorrow. Thanks for your response.

SnowFlake | 19 novembre 2019

Yes possible to send the warning but when the battery low the display won't work. You can't see the warning. These rechargeable batteries hold the voltage prity much steady and then drop very quickly so warning will not reach the display before the battery drained.
I wish Tesla can use the app to send those warning to our phone so they do not have to wake-up the display in the car , which will drain battery immediately..

SamO | 19 novembre 2019

Age vs miles. I used to own a ‘13 S60.

troyhobbs | 19 novembre 2019

SamO |
Are you suggesting that the battery could go bad, due to being 6 years old? I do live in North Florida, and the car spent its 1st 4-5 years in Miami (hot!!)
Also, how was your experience with the 2013 Model S 60?? I’m hoping to get a few years out of this one before upgrading. My commute is roughly 100 miles each day, so I’ll be racking up miles quickly.
Thanks again

troyhobbs | 19 novembre 2019

SnowFlake |
Thanks for your input. Yes, more communication would certainly be appreciated. And trying to get a human being on the phone, in an emergency?...... forget it. ( or any other time for that matter)

SamO | 19 novembre 2019

I sold Grey Deceiver in 2018 with 92k miles. I used to commute 140 miles and it was magic.

My LR Model 3 is amazing and I love the FSD features. I love the longer range.

I replaced my 12V after 60k miles and come from SoCal.

Flash | 19 novembre 2019

Troy, all of the batteries I’ve replaced in my ICE cars (and my wife’s cars) have been age related and not mileage. She and I have very different mileage patterns, but the batteries usually needed to be replaced around the 4-5 year mark.

AERODYNE | 19 novembre 2019

If the jump to the 12v worked, it was likely the problem. New 12v batt can be had under 150.

Anthony J. Parisio | 20 novembre 2019

troyhobbs,
12 V batteries in a Tesla are used more when the car sit then when driven. So yes time sitting most likely caused the 12 V to fail.

Bighorn | 20 novembre 2019

I’d tend to agree as I’ve had no 12V issues in 250k miles

TeslaTap.com | 20 novembre 2019

The other possibility is the DC-DC inverter failed after you got to work. In 8 hours the 12v battery would likely be discharged if not recharged at least once in 8 hours from the main pack via the DC-DC inverter. Hopefully, it's only the 12v battery, as the DC-DC inverter replacement is not cheap. Even less likely, once of the HV contactors failed, so no power to the DC-DC inverter and the 12v battery discharged.

Let us know what service concluded was the issue.

Bighorn | 20 novembre 2019

@TT
I think you mean converter. No inverting involved. I’ve heard of fuses being points of failure which may have been used in substitution for contactor.

GHammer | 20 novembre 2019

@BH TT is technically correct. A DC-DC converter works by "inverting" the DC voltage to AC, stepping the voltage up or down as needed and rectifying the AC back to DC.

Bighorn | 20 novembre 2019

@hammer
Thanks for the clarification. Not an EE, so this subject can quickly end up in the weeds for me. Am I right that it can be done with a capacitor, which I’d guess is DC to DC without any inversion?

GHammer | 20 novembre 2019

There are a couple of simple circuits that use capacitors in conjunction with diodes to do DC-DC voltage conversion (pumps, doublers) but those also require the DC to be "switched" (turned from straight DC to alternating polarity) on the input of these circuits.

tes-s | 20 novembre 2019

Seems it could be done without AC. I am not an EE... :)

GHammer | 20 novembre 2019

It can, simple resistive voltage divider but it's very inefficient.

GHammer | 20 novembre 2019

Linear series pass regulation is also another non switching method but also very inefficient.

alybrad | 20 novembre 2019

Sounds counterintuitive, but generally the more you drive, the longer the 12V lasts. I have a 2013 MS P85 with 174,000 miles. My first 12V lasted just over 4 years. I am currently still using my second one. Having received your car with 9400 miles over previous 6 years is probably the culprit. Get a new 12V battery replacement (around $225.00 + -) and all should be good.

TeslaTap.com | 20 novembre 2019

Without a DC-AC-DC inverter (which is commonly stated as DC-DC inverter), it would be about 3% efficient, and the 97% would end up being heat (a lot of heat). An inverter, which has a fair amount of electronics to do it right, should be at least 90% efficient, and 95+% is common. If I remember right, the inverter handles something like 200 amps at 12v. This is a lot of power.

Using an inefficient DC conversion system would likely require a second HVAC system to keep it cool enough. The costs would be significant, and I'm not sure there is room for a second radiator, compressor, and other related HVAC items. All that cooling would likely drop the efficiency in half again, so maybe 1-2% efficient in the end.

troyhobbs | 20 novembre 2019

Anthony J. Parisio |
Thanks. The car rarely sits. I drive it every day, about 100 miles or more. Maybe it’s just from age ??

troyhobbs | 20 novembre 2019

Thanks for all the information! I didn’t hear a word back from Tesla today. My car was towed to the Tesla Service Center in Jacksonville. Although the car is older, I have driven it nearly every day for the past year. No issues til this. Hoping for some answers soon. I’ll keep you all posted. Thanks again for your help. This is my 1st Tesla, so I’m learning every day, and obviously have a lot more to learn.
Your feedback is appreciated.

troyhobbs | 21 novembre 2019

Ok kids, here’s the update:
Came out of work on Tuesday, to a ‘dead car’. Warning said ‘unable to drive’ / ‘low voltage’. Real downer since I live 40 miles from work, and my day starts at 5:30 am. Used the mobile app to summon Roadside Assistance. Got a text back fairly quickly stating ‘tow truck should arrive in 90 minutes’. (Glad it’s November, and not August!!) I tried a ‘reset’, but that killed everything. Tow driver had to jump the 12v to get it in neutral. We pushed the car out of the parking spot. Just got my car back an hour ago. New drive unit, 12v and 4 wheel alignment. Since I put 360k miles on a Lexus LS400, I’m a little bummed about being left stranded so soon. 2013 Model S60 with 9400 miles on it when I bought it last December. Now has 35k miles. Guess we’ll see how it holds up. Overall...... still love the car
(Charge every night. Got to work with 140 miles on the dash (??)

TeslaTap.com | 21 novembre 2019

@troyhobbs - Thanks for reporting back. That's a new one. Rarely does the drive unit go out, although many early drives were replaced due to excessive noise due to the micro pitting of the bearings at around 20-40K miles. The design they use today (and for replacements) does not suffer this issue.

troyhobbs | 21 novembre 2019

TeslaTap |
Good to hear. Thanks for weighing in.

RedShift | 21 novembre 2019

Great to hear you got your ride back. My DU was replaced due to the micropitting issue at around 36K miles. Since getting the ceramic bearings in the replaced DU at the time, I’ve had no issues. At 74K on my 2013 S60.

Love the car!

Bighorn | 21 novembre 2019

Any indication the DU was causative and not just coincident with needing a 12V?

Bighorn | 21 novembre 2019

Almost every 2013 had a new DU by 30k mikes because of metal bearing spalling. My replacement has 217k miles on it.

Bighorn | 21 novembre 2019

miles. Every time:(

troyhobbs | 21 novembre 2019

Bighorn | RedShift |
Wow!! Great to hear you have 217K on the car. I rack ‘em up fast, so that’s good news. As far as causation, they really didn’t provide much information. I was also wondering what the DU has to do with the 12v. Appreciate all the feedback.

Bighorn | 21 novembre 2019

I have 278k. 217k on this ceramic DU

Bighorn | 21 novembre 2019

And the DU likely was replaced under a service bulletin