Tonydp

Factory Smart charger meltdown

31 posts in this topic

Caught this just in time.  Lease goes back in August. They want $800 for the charger. Any ideas?

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Yikes! Glad you caught it before it set the house on fire. Looks like it got pretty close. I would think that they should replace the charger as that appears to be a defect or problem with the plug as that is where it appears to have started. Looks like the wall outlet is also damaged and should be replaced.

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The damage is likely limited to just the plug. Contact resistance or an arc while plugging/unplugging.  Get someone competent to replace the plug and you should be good to go. 

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FYI on my experience

 

I ran my 120V OEM EVSE (aka charging cord) on a legacy 40+ year old 15 Amp outlet connected to an actual old-school fuse box in my garage for the first few years before I rewired and now use a new 20 Amp outlet connected to a new 200 Amp breaker box.  

 

I kept the EVSE plugged in permanently during this period, never unplugging it.   I am far happier now with the 20A outlet as it has extremely firm contacts and grips the EVSE charge cord plug very very firmly indeed.    

 

I bought a high quality outlet on purpose.  Remember, the EVSE is pulling 12 Amps for more than 10 hours, several days per week.  That is a lot of energy for a standard 15 Amp outlet that costs only a few dollars from the local home hardware store.   Just something to think about.

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That has to have been a plug failure, no?

 

All the fancy wiring in the EVSE is in the black box.  

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Fortuitous, timely advice from SmartElectric. I charged my ED on 110 through an extension until I had my 220V charger installed. I also plug it in through an extension during the winter when I'm away. We're having sme renovations done now and the electrician is in next week and will be installing an outlet at the front of my garage for this service and to run a compressor. I'll have him install something of quality.

Thanks, SmartE

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It also happened to my gfi at the front of the house.  Likely cause is the charger was pulling to much power.  

 

I have a Level 2 now.  The actual charger still works.  I wonder ifI can just switch the plug on it?

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8 hours ago, Tonydp said:

It also happened to my gfi at the front of the house.  Likely cause is the charger was pulling to much power.  

 

I have a Level 2 now.  The actual charger still works.  I wonder ifI can just switch the plug on it?

 

You can buy a new plug that is just attached by screwing down clamps on the wires but part of me is wondering what caused that melt down in the first place. In other words was it a short in the charger? 

 

You mention a GFI but that looks like a standard outlet, though on our house the outdoor and bathroom outlets are all wired such that one GFI 'protects' all the outdoor outlets and the other all the bathrooms. In which case I wonder if yours is wired the same if your GFI might be damaged as well?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

1 hour ago, niteshooter said:

 

You mention a GFI but that looks like a standard outlet,

I have 2 outlets that I used.  One being an outdoor gfi, the one pictured is in the garage they're on a seperate breaker.  I never took any pictures of it however, it was on its way to being the same.   This Leeds me to believe it's the charger itself.

 

My main issue is that it's a lease and they want to charge me $800 for a new charger.  

Edited by Tonydp

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20 minutes ago, Tonydp said:

I have 2 outlets that I used.  One being an outdoor gfi, the one pictured is in the garage they're on a seperate breaker.  I never took any pictures of it however, it was on its way to being the same.   This Leeds me to believe it's the charger itself.

 

My main issue is that it's a lease and they want to charge me $800 for a new charger.  

 

This certainly sounds like a problem with the charger. Personally I would be escalating this up to MB head office because this appears to be a safety issue and should be covered. If not local media might be interested in the story since this could be a safety issue. I'm sure at that point MB would start to move on it. 

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There is no problem with the charger.  As SmartElectric states above, it is pulling 10-12 amps for 10 hours.  Unless it is a commercial-quality outlet, the contacts will let go and you will get arcing in the outlet.  In the house I moved into recently, and used my 120V charger 3-months while I waited to install my L2, I cooked off both the outlet outside, and then found the breaker in the panel was also heating up and then started to arc within the panel.  I had an electrician come in to replace the entire panel as the 125A breaker for the furnace was also arcing.  After you have charged for 10 hours, put your hand on the breaker in the panel, it will feel quite warm to the touch, which is normal.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

At the risk of splitting hairs, isn't the plug on the charger part of the charger, ergo there is a problem with the charger.

 

As you mention the plug gets hot, due to the fact that the charger is drawing a high amount of current. Therefore the charger/plug assy cannot withstand that level of current and the plug arcs causing the damage I see in the photos. Based solely on the photos above the greater extent of the damage appears to have occurred within the plug on the cable going to the charger. However not being able to see under the cover of the electrical outlet perhaps that might change.

 

Yes builders install the cheapest parts they can in todays homes, however that is still not a good excuse for what I am seeing which IMHO is a safety issue.

 

So basically you have an issue with the design of the circuitry in the charger which logically should be throttled back in order to avoid the arcing which is causing the plug assy to fry. Throttling back the current flow will increase the charge time, however what would be better, an electrical fire or longer charge time....

Edited by niteshooter
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1 hour ago, niteshooter said:

At the risk of splitting hairs, isn't the plug on the charger part of the charger, ergo there is a problem with the charger.

 

As you mention the plug gets hot, due to the fact that the charger is drawing a high amount of current. Therefore the charger/plug assy cannot withstand that level of current and the plug arcs causing the damage I see in the photos. Based solely on the photos above the greater extent of the damage appears to have occurred within the plug on the cable going to the charger. However not being able to see under the cover of the electrical outlet perhaps that might change.

 

Yes builders install the cheapest parts they can in todays homes, however that is still not a good excuse for what I am seeing which IMHO is a safety issue.

 

So basically you have an issue with the design of the circuitry in the charger which logically should be throttled back in order to avoid the arcing which is causing the plug assy to fry. Throttling back the current flow will increase the charge time, however what would be better, an electrical fire or longer charge time....

This is why the charger from the factory has two charge rates,  8 amp and 12 amp.
If your outlets can't take the proverbial  (and literal) heat,  don't use the 12 amp setting.  Use the 8 amp setting that it defaults to.  If your outlets can't take the 8 amp setting, then they're likely not safe to use at all...

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I've already installed a commercial grade 110V receptacle for our ED when it arrives.

Super heavy duty compared to the typical contractor supplied crap...

Industrial SGL Receptacle 15 Amp 125v, Ivory

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Just looking at the rating of that receptacle, it's still only 15 amps which is technically what the standard Home Depot Levitron packs are rated at that contractors are installing. Construction wise, it looks a lot more sturdy.

 

When we built our home I had 200 amp service put in and in our media room each outlet is on it's own circuit at the breaker panel with 20 amp breakers. But standard breakers are still only rated at 15 amps...... If you look at your house wiring you'll probably be shocked (pun intended) to discover just how cheaply wired it is. Our builder was basically putting the entire upstairs on one circuit until I pointed out in our contract that I had specified 200 amp plus laid out exactly how I wanted the house wired circuit wise. My basement workshop is also wired so that it is split into a number of circuits not just one 15 amp running the whole area. Same with the TV area in the basement.

 

In that room I installed 20 amp rated receptacles which have a slightly different look in order to accommodate the higher rated devices such as the UPS' I installed. http://www.kyleswitchplates.com/gfci-outlets-receptacles/

 

Anyhow what disturbs me is that a number of safeguards appear to have failed, not the least of which is that the breaker did not blow when the outlet arced or did it? But rather late in the game. 

 

Also that MB would sell a charger that has the potential for causing an electrical fire and yet is sold to plug into a 'standard' house outlet. I did a fast google and noticed that on their website they show what appears to be the outlet you picked up so that is good. I wonder though if you should upgrade to the 20 amp version to play it safe. The other tidbit of information I found about EV chargers is that they are rated to draw up to 16 amps so makes me wonder how many folks are having issues charging on 110v. Makes sense though that you can throttle back the current so that you don't over heat your outlet(s), I did find the owners manual online and just read it. They talk about not using the higher setting if the plug overheats. Seems to me that there is this potential of overheating in pretty much any standard household outlet. 

 

Does not seem that many folks have had such a major burn out of their EV charging plug so have to wonder what other factors came into play. Was the charger set to the higher charge rate? If not and it still fried the plug then I would have to wonder if the charger was defective.

 

Main reason I am so curious about this is that I came really close to buying an EV smart the other day because it was a crazy good deal through an MB dealer. And I do have 220v out in the garage.

 

 

Edited by niteshooter

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44 minutes ago, niteshooter said:

Just looking at the rating of that receptacle, it's still only 15 amps which is technically what the standard Home Depot Levitron packs are rated at that contractors are installing. Construction wise, it looks a lot more sturdy.

 

When we built our home I had 200 amp service put in and in our media room each outlet is on it's own circuit at the breaker panel with 20 amp breakers. But standard breakers are still only rated at 15 amps...... If you look at your house wiring you'll probably be shocked (pun intended) to discover just how cheaply wired it is. Our builder was basically putting the entire upstairs on one circuit until I pointed out in our contract that I had specified 200 amp plus laid out exactly how I wanted the house wired circuit wise. My basement workshop is also wired so that it is split into a number of circuits not just one 15 amp running the whole area. Same with the TV area in the basement.

 

In that room I installed 20 amp rated receptacles which have a slightly different look in order to accommodate the higher rated devices such as the UPS' I installed. http://www.kyleswitchplates.com/gfci-outlets-receptacles/

 

Anyhow what disturbs me is that a number of safeguards appear to have failed, not the least of which is that the breaker did not blow when the outlet arced or did it? But rather late in the game. 

 

Also that MB would sell a charger that has the potential for causing an electrical fire and yet is sold to plug into a 'standard' house outlet. I did a fast google and noticed that on their website they show what appears to be the outlet you picked up so that is good. I wonder though if you should upgrade to the 20 amp version to play it safe. The other tidbit of information I found about EV chargers is that they are rated to draw up to 16 amps so makes me wonder how many folks are having issues charging on 110v. Makes sense though that you can throttle back the current so that you don't over heat your outlet(s), I did find the owners manual online and just read it. They talk about not using the higher setting if the plug overheats. Seems to me that there is this potential of overheating in pretty much any standard household outlet. 

 

Does not seem that many folks have had such a major burn out of their EV charging plug so have to wonder what other factors came into play. Was the charger set to the higher charge rate? If not and it still fried the plug then I would have to wonder if the charger was defective.

 

Main reason I am so curious about this is that I came really close to buying an EV smart the other day because it was a crazy good deal through an MB dealer. And I do have 220v out in the garage.

 

 

Was this just the standard smart charger?  If so,  it defaults to 8 amp, and you have to press the button to get 12 amp.  

That you burned out 2 plugs suggests there might be a problem with the charger,  but I'm just not sure how they get that wrong.  Like, it would have to have a short in the plug...  I guess anything is possible though.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

3 hours ago, niteshooter said:

Just looking at the rating of that receptacle, it's still only 15 amps which is technically what the standard Home Depot Levitron packs are rated at that contractors are installing. Construction wise, it looks a lot more sturdy.

 

When we built our home I had 200 amp service put in and in our media room each outlet is on it's own circuit at the breaker panel with 20 amp breakers. But standard breakers are still only rated at 15 amps...... If you look at your house wiring you'll probably be shocked (pun intended) to discover just how cheaply wired it is. Our builder was basically putting the entire upstairs on one circuit until I pointed out in our contract that I had specified 200 amp plus laid out exactly how I wanted the house wired circuit wise. My basement workshop is also wired so that it is split into a number of circuits not just one 15 amp running the whole area. Same with the TV area in the basement.

 

In that room I installed 20 amp rated receptacles which have a slightly different look in order to accommodate the higher rated devices such as the UPS' I installed. http://www.kyleswitchplates.com/gfci-outlets-receptacles/

 

Anyhow what disturbs me is that a number of safeguards appear to have failed, not the least of which is that the breaker did not blow when the outlet arced or did it? But rather late in the game. 

 

Also that MB would sell a charger that has the potential for causing an electrical fire and yet is sold to plug into a 'standard' house outlet. I did a fast google and noticed that on their website they show what appears to be the outlet you picked up so that is good. I wonder though if you should upgrade to the 20 amp version to play it safe. The other tidbit of information I found about EV chargers is that they are rated to draw up to 16 amps so makes me wonder how many folks are having issues charging on 110v. Makes sense though that you can throttle back the current so that you don't over heat your outlet(s), I did find the owners manual online and just read it. They talk about not using the higher setting if the plug overheats. Seems to me that there is this potential of overheating in pretty much any standard household outlet. 

 

Does not seem that many folks have had such a major burn out of their EV charging plug so have to wonder what other factors came into play. Was the charger set to the higher charge rate? If not and it still fried the plug then I would have to wonder if the charger was defective.

 

Main reason I am so curious about this is that I came really close to buying an EV smart the other day because it was a crazy good deal through an MB dealer. And I do have 220v out in the garage.

 

 

 

Edited by lebikerboy

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My circuit is home run, unswitched. I spent time as an electrician's apprentice...:P

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For what it's worth, my factory charger died on me a couple of weeks ago with no explanation. I took it in and got it replaced under warranty, no questions asked.

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On 09/02/2017 at 2:42 PM, darren said:

For what it's worth, my factory charger died on me a couple of weeks ago with no explanation. I took it in and got it replaced under warranty, no questions asked.

I'm going to try and clean up the plug first.  It still works. Forget I don't use it any more.  Otherwise I'm call MB layed y in the week for advise.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

My factory EVSE died today.  Closes the main relay, then throws an error, and cycles.  I've barely used the thing...

Edited by steveyfrac

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Low bidder engineering?

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Not sure.  I'm living at my in-laws while my house is for sale, so I've been using the included EVSE for the first time in hears..  This had best be covered...

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No kidding.  Complain to Transport Canada, it's a fire hazard.

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