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Transportation Power Software Upgrades Technology

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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  • by cnkurzke (920042) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @03:45PM (#45789599)

    This is a good thing.

    I got the 100Amp High ower Wall Charger with mine, and this puppy needs some serious juice!
    When i got the car, i used my old "Welder" outlet in the garage, which supposedly was rated for 30 Amps. Of course noone ever was drawing full load from this for long periods of time before people had EVs.
    Even my 30A welder only pulls PEAK 30 amp, and not more than a few minutes at a time.

    Once i plugged in the Tesla and charging at 30A, the plug got VERY hot, to the point where i was uncomfortable with it, and i manually throttled it back to 18A.
    (My default the car will charge at 80% of the rated capacity, so a 30A outlet would charge at 26A)

    I could imagine that if left unattended, and not watched over by a curious EE nerd, this would have ended badly.

    For the 100A charger i ran 2Gauge wire (That's about as thick as your average garden hose!)
    And even the 2Gauge get's noticeably warm at 80A sustained charging.

    In the meantime i have been to many friends and family where i "plugged in" (or helped them install their own chargers) and I've seen some shoddy wiring in garages!
    Most people use a Dryer outlet "rated" for 30A, but really only good for ~15.
    And then for good measure they throw in a 40A wall plate connector.

    The tesla charger only recognizes the plug, and - assumes if there is a 40A plug it can suck 40A out of it.
    When that has been DIY installed on top of a 20A wiring..... bzzzz we have a problem!

    So, hopefully the continuous line voltage monitoring will help a bit, and protect people from their own shitty wiring!

  • Re:Tesla is a danger (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Teancum (67324) <{ten.orezten} {ta} {gninroh_trebor}> on Thursday December 26, 2013 @04:32PM (#45789961) Homepage Journal

    They could do a hostile take-over of the company. That would also be something very public and would likely end up with Elon Musk becoming very wealthy indeed and cost literally billions of dollars even at the current market cap.

    The honorable thing, and likely the most economically viable approach at the moment, is for these companies to simply double down and really push forward with competing vehicles. Then again, sometimes major companies lack the imagination in terms of how to actually build a competing product.

  • Re:Huh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Em Adespoton (792954) <slashdotonly.1.adespoton@spamgourmet.com> on Thursday December 26, 2013 @04:46PM (#45790121) Homepage Journal

    So they 'fixed' something that wasn't even the problem he's sure because the car logs said so...

    Sounds like some bullshit and some backpedaling.

    His ego is going to kill tesla...

    Could be, but having been on the receiving end of complaints for software-driven hardware, an equally likely scenario is this:

    They got a complaint about their car catching fire, and afraid of the PR nightmare this could cause, the top engineers were put on the case to find the problem as quickly as possible and fix it. Meanwhile, someone else was put on gathering all the additional information to feed to engineers/press/etc.

    In their digging, the engineers discovered that the charging circuit wasn't really all that robust, and that this COULD cause a charging issue, even if it didn't in this case. With the work and testing already done, they rolled out a firmware update to test if this could be the scenario that caused the fire. The logs then confirmed that this issue wasn't the case, but they had a fully tested firmware update that mitigated other potential charging issues, so they released it instead of just keeping it to themselves.

    This kind of thing happens all the time. Although I have also experienced situations where the releasing never happened, as the initial complaint was private and the company never wanted to admit publicly that there was an issue -- in this case, the "fix" was rolled into the next update that was actually supposed to do something else -- it came under "various minor feature improvements" IIRC.

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