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Tesla Updates Model S Software As a Precaution Against Unsafe Charging 148

Posted by timothy
from the belt-and-suspenders-and-superglue dept.
zlives writes "Tesla Motors has maintained that the most recent fire involving one of its Model S electric vehicles isn't the result of a vehicle or battery malfunction, but the company is still addressing the situation with a software fix, according to Green Car Reports. The California-based automaker has added a software function that automatically reduces the charge current by about 25 percent when power from the charging source fluctuates outside of a certain range, Green Car Reports says, citing the Twitter feed from an Apple employee, @ddenboer, who owns a Model S. You can read the text of the update below."
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Tesla Updates Model S Software As a Precaution Against Unsafe Charging

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  • Re:Secondary link? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @03:43PM (#45789583) Homepage Journal

    Ugh, The more of their articles I read, the more I believe nobody working there has Clue 1 as to how cars actually work.

    Anyone got a link to a source that doesn't suck?

  • by clay_shooter (1680300) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @03:46PM (#45789609) Homepage
    You're comments are a reason that companies drag their feet on enhancing safety. They could do the right thing to add more safeguards. Then some will take that to mean they were defective in the past, and sue. We're actually creating disincentives for companies to improve. The auto insurance IIS safety standards are one of the few places where we provide incentives for companies to improve. I'm kind of surprised it hasn't caused lawsuits "you sold me an x that wasn't as safe as y". Hmm, maybe CYA causes the car companies to have crash testing as early as possible the product cycle to avoid that.
  • by Loki_1929 (550940) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @04:17PM (#45789837) Journal

    So the basic idea is that if your power source is terrible (i.e. shoddy wiring in your home), then pulling too much through it could expose that problem via a fire. That isn't a problem with the car, but rather a problem with the substandard wiring. If Tesla merely responds with "it isn't us and isn't our problem", we'll invariably hear of more house fires and the Model S will be blamed.

    So they develop a change that detects potentially substandard wiring from the symptom of poor quality power entering the vehicle. It then cuts the draw significantly in that case to reduce the risk of said substandard wiring causing a fire (notice the wiring would still be at fault). Suddenly, because Tesla has released a "fix", their car must have been at fault all along!

    This is an absurd level of idiocy and quite frankly, if it continues and eventually sinks Tesla, then we deserve to choke to death on the smog of our own stupidity's making. It's really remarkable how terribly dumb the top of the bell curve is. All evidence points directly toward the future envisioned in the film Idiocracy.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @05:26PM (#45790477) Journal

    Now many home improvements can be a DYI project, but wiring a 240V-50A line is NOT one of those things.

    The HELL it's not. I did the wiring on my home improvement - including upgrading the drop to 200A service - and (unlike my uncle) I'm not a licensed electrician or electrical contractor.

    Here's the drill:
      - Read up on the subject. Use several sources. One should be the electrical code itself.
      - Do some initial planning, then talk to your local code inspectors BEFORE you TAKE OUT THE building permit and start the project, and adjust the plans accordingly
      - Do it WITH a building permit and inspections. (The fee for the permit pays for the inspectors!)
      - Try to get it right, or as right as possible, the first time. Inspectors don't like to find a bunch of problems to be repaired. (It makes them worry that there are more they might have missed.) Fix whatever they spot, don't argue about it. Answer all their questions and be helpful.
      - DON'T use aluminum wire, EVER! Use copper and pay the extra price. (Getting aluminum wiring right is hard, requires special tools, and you can't really tell if you goofed. If you get it wrong, it wil burn you down in a year or a decade.)
      - When the code offers you options, go for the better approach, rather than the corner-cutting way.
      - Look for the UL label (or your country's equivalent) - on EVERYTHING you use.

    Things to remember about the electrical code:
      - The national code is a model. Some cities adopt it verbatim, some with changes, a few roll their own. But the REAL code is the way your inspector interprets it.
      - Be nice and helpful with the inspector. Don't argue. (Feel free to ask what you misunderstood about the code, what you're doing wrong, what the purpose of some fine point is. But don't take TOO much of his time.) He has the authority to shut down your project. Respect that.
      - If you DON'T do it to code, and with a permit and inspections in locations that require it (almost all of 'em), and your house then burns down (even if your work didn't start the fire), your fire insurance can pay you nothing (and keep all the premiums you paid over the years, too.)

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @06:25PM (#45791029)

    don;t meet his requirements.

    His requirements? Try the National Electrical Code requirements, which are legally required by most state and local building codes. A 50A line that can't deliver 50A is in violation, and shoddy wiring like that is a serious hazard, regardless of whether you charge a Tesla with it.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @06:41PM (#45791177)

    The U.S. has had time to upgrade their infrastructure

    Are you kidding? Imagine a power company telling its customers that they're being "upgraded" to 240V service, and therefore all the electrical equipment they have will be trash. Moreover, all wiring, outlets, etc. in their home has to be replaced.

    120V is not an "infrastructure problem". The only ramification is a little more copper to wire up a home. 120V comes from the max practical voltage for a carbon filament bulb. Europe, being about 20 years behind the US in large scale electric power distribution, was able to choose a higher voltage, but one that was still limited by the then state-of-the-art in metal filament bulbs. If you were to choose an optimal household wiring voltage today, who knows what it would be. Maybe 350V would be better. Moreover, for large loads where 240V makes a significant difference (e.g. electric range or dryer, CAC, etc.), American homes have 240V lines.

This place just isn't big enough for all of us. We've got to find a way off this planet.