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PowerWall 2 does not like cold temperatures

PowerWall 2 does not like cold temperatures

My TEG hasn't been able to communicate with my PowerWalls for several days. In Northern Virginia we've had temperatures in the teens and single digits (Fahrenheit). I'd noticed that they were charging more slowly, which is to be expected, but then I noticed that they were neither charging nor discharging at all, and my reserve (I leave 15% for power outages in Self Powered mode) dwindled to zero. I then noticed that my Tesla app showed 0x PowerWalls.

Called Tesla support a week ago, they said they'd push a new update the next day & I should call back if it still wasn't working. They updated the TEG on Friday December 29th. The app now sees one of the PowerWalls. It charged a little bit on the 30th, but I haven't seen any charging or discharge since (in fact I've been sending a bit of solar back out to the grid at certain times of the day).

So I called Tesla support again this week, and they confirmed that it's almost certainly due to the extreme cold. I was told that engineering is working on an update that'll keep the batteries warmed/preconditioned in colder temperatures, and that the system should just start working again on its own once the temperatures warm up. The rep also speculated that pushing the update to the TEG might not have caused it to recognize the batteries due to cold weather that day. We're supposed to go above freezing next week, so hopefully they're right and the TEG will again recognize the PowerWalls on its own.

I'll keep the board posted. As the second rep said, it's Tesla's first deployed winter for PowerWall 2, so hopefully they're learning and will have a software solution soon. Outside of this incident I've had zero problems since last summer.

spmeister | 4 Janvier 2018

Oh, and my PowerWalls and TEG are mounted outside the house.

shank15217 | 7 Janvier 2018

How did you get powerwall installed in Virginia? They don't even call me back.

deweyvt03 | 7 Janvier 2018

That must be why my engineer placed the powerwall in the garage for my plans, even though it is the opposite side of the house than the meter. It is rated for outdoor, but they said it would be better to be protected anyway.

spmeister | 7 Janvier 2018

Got a bit warmer today, and now both of my PowerWalls are visible to the app. My reserve is slowly recharging. Unfortunately it didn’t start until after sunset, so I sent 9.8kWh of extra solar power to the grid instead of the batteries. But at least it seems to be working again.

shank15217, I preordered them on the Tesla website early last year, and already had solar (from a different company). I also have a Model 3 preordered. Not sure any of that made a difference other than ordering not long after orders went online, though.

DarkSpearTriant | 8 Janvier 2018

Well at least they were willing to help you

jamesellman | 15 février 2019

PowerWalls don't just dislike cold weather - they don't even like mild weather.
I live in Marin County near Tesla HQ and have a new PowerWall. Our bankrupt felon utility PG&E often lets the grid go down in this area and while the PowerWall kicks right in when that happens, it usually won't take any charge from the solar PV system while the grid is out. This is because the battery can't accept a charge at under 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The battery is able to heat itself when it is connected to the grid, but Tesla is 'working on a driver update' to allow the system to do that in 'off-grid mode'. Today it is 51 degrees and sunny but the grid is down, the PowerWall only accepted solar PV for 30 min today, the battery is drained and now our house has gone dark. Thanks, Tesla!. I note there is nothing in the Telsa marketing materials that mention that PowerWalls really only are going to work for you if you live in Tuscon or similar. In fact, I have seen a photo on the website of a cabin in the north woods advertising this system as great for 'off grid solutions' That is BS. Buyer beware or you too will end up with a $12K paperweight like mine. I'm sure that when the class action lawsuit starts up for deceptive advertising, Elon will claim it is all due to mean, mean short sellers.

Tesla-David | 15 février 2019

@jamesellman what you are reporting is demonstratively not my experience with our 2 powerwall in Edmonds,Washington. Our batteries work as advertised and we have had temps down to 16 degrees with no apparent problems with charging or discharging with solar. The PW2’s are an incredible product and I have been delighted with ours.

jamesellman | 16 février 2019

Tesla-David: I have had no problems with the Powerwall when the grid is operational. The problem is when the grid is down and it is 50 degrees or less. Tesla claims that the Powerwall heats itself up to a working temp when the grid is up and running but it cannot do that when it is in 'off-grid' mode which takes place when there is a power outage. Have you had any outages concurrent with cold weather and had your battery continue to charge from the solar PV inverter? Thanks

Tesla-David | 16 février 2019

@deweyvt103 Tesla-Energy told me that protecting the PW2 batteries by installing inside our garage would probably extend the usable life of battery. I am happy I chose that installment option. Other than problems with snow covered panels, our PW2 batteries have worked extremely well since installing on 6/22/18.

@jamesellman no we have fortunately not had any brownouts/blackouts during ours recent and ongoing winter storm.

jamesellman | 16 février 2019

I hope you do not have any blackouts...ever...but at some point you may have one. That is when you will find out that the PowerWall won't allow the solar PV inverter to pass current if the temp is less than 51 degrees F. At that point you will have only the power left in the batteries, and once that is gone you will have two big paperweights mounted in your garage until the grid comes back up no matter how sunny it is outside. Consumers only find this out if they call the 800 number and ask about it and then Tesla will admit that system will not work off grid in 'excessive cold'.
If you can get your garage over 50 degrees, the system may work off grid...but once it drops under that temp, the system will shut down. Good for you for mounting your system in a garage, Note that Tesla does not mention anything in their marketing about how they will last longer if installed indoors. The problem here is that Tesla markets these things to be rugged enough to mount outside and able to power your house for a week off-grid when paired with solar PV on site. That is just BS if they only work when they are warmer than a relatively temperate 50 degrees:

https://www.tesla.com/powerwall

Guess what - when do most Americans experience blackouts? In the Winter. When do we need the Powerwalls to process solar PV current to keep the lights running? The Winter.
There must be some technical reason that the system can warm itself when the grid is on but cannot do so when the grid is off even if there is lots of power in the battery. I hope Tesla can fix this soon. Until then, my system fails at exactly the time I need it and is unable to provide the service for which I purchased the thing in the first place.

ripatriot | 19 février 2019

that's why i insisted they install my powerwalls in my basement where it's always 60 degrees year round.

Tesla-David | 19 février 2019

@ripatriot, your installation choice is the best one IMHO. Unfortunately I don't have a basement, but the garage location does provide some protection for the PW2's.

@jamesellman, I share your concerns about how the PW2's perform when we have a brownout/blackout. We fortunately do not get many up here in Edmonds, WA with our utility provider. We have only had a few primarily from wind storms, and they were of short duration. I installed my PW2's primarily to enhance our self-sufficiency and prior to the onset of winter and lower solar were 100 percent self sufficient from June - October. They have been an incredible complement to our solar system, and have dramatically reduced our grid draws after our installation last June, and expect further reductions with a full year of battery use. I fully understand your concerns and hope that Tesla-Energy addresses your issues. I have read a number of cases from Australia, where the PW2's operated flawlessly during blackouts to keep the lights on during localized blackouts there.

Tesla-David | 19 février 2019

Here is an example of PW2 performance in 42 hour power outage.

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/10/22/tesla-powerwall-keeps-a-remote-home...

abasile | 25 février 2019

@jamesellman, if the Powerwall won't charge from solar below 10C/50F during grid outages, that is a serious issue and I do hope to see Tesla fix this soon!

Our Powerwalls are installed outdoors under a shaded porch, as we have no garage or basement. Our outdoor air temperatures are below 10C for a large fraction of the year, including some summer mornings as we live up in the mountains (SoCal) near ski resorts.

edalcommerce | 28 février 2019

I recommend to install them inside the house always, specially in chill countries like Norway France, Germany or Spain.
I have seen some models of powerwalls in this website [url=https://agenciaanaliticaweb.com"][/url] , so the spreading in Europe is starting to get success.

cmichael | 3 mars 2019

@Tesla-David A little off topic but how much noise do the Powerwalls emit into a garage environment? I am also curious if they were installed on an interior wall and if noise is noticible within the house.

Cheers

dortor | 3 mars 2019

In my garage in Aptos, CA - the Powerwalls make mostly no noise what so ever - when they do make noise it’s no louder than a refrigerator and I doubt it could be heard inside the house even when they are making noise.

pmcterry | 15 mai 2019

@jamesellman Did you ever have any resolution to your issue? We had a system installed this winter and we are still working out the kinks. The last major kink seems to be exactly what you describe. When the outside temps fall below 50 degrees and we are off grid, the battery will not charge from the solar. Above 55 degrees, we were able to make it work exactly like it was supposed to. We are in rural Northern California in the redwoods and fog so we are below 50 a good part of the year. So far we have not been offered a solution other than "Tesla is working on it." I am very surprised that I can't find more information on this issue.

stupidnenu | 15 mai 2019

The rep also speculated that pushing the update to the TEG might not have caused it to recognize the batteries due to cold weather that day. https://www-tweakbox.com/