Master Charger Replacement

One day I went to drive away from home and found a mysterious red light around my charge port. I wasn’t too alarmed and figured something happened during the charging session.

Red Light on Charge port

Red Light on Charge port

On the instrument cluster, the car had the following message that it was unable to charge and requested a multi stepped procedure:

  1. Exit the car and remove the cable (implicit)
  2. Close the Charge Port Door
  3. Re-enter the car and press the brake pedal
  4. Open the charge port door on the touch screen (implicit)
  5. Exit the car and put the cable back in the charge port (implicit)
  6. Try charging the car again
Message On Instrument Cluster

Message On Instrument Cluster

I went through this procedure myself two times.  The first time using my HPWC (High Powered Wall Connector).  I suspected that perhaps this problem could be due to the HPWC, so I tried the same procedure with a 110 Volt outlet to no avail.

I called the Tesla roadside number and repeated the procedure a 3rd time with the Tesla person on the other line to no success.  Tesla pulled the car logs and found a fault in the master charging system.  This car simply was unable to add any charge (or any miles to the battery), so I had to take it in for a service visit.

Service Center Excursion

I have a local service center but do not normally have my car worked on there for a few reasons unrelated to this blog post.  I do love the valet service.  But because my battery was quite drained, the only viable choice was to drive the car to the local service center that same day.  I was taken home not by a Tesla valet but by an Uber.  The Uber car was driven by a limo driver who works during the day for a hotel.  This level of Uber service is basically a more traditional business service car.

A variety of genuine concerns exist using services like Uber.  I personally all drivers should be fingerprinted.  I don’t care about how fancy the car is, but riding in a vehicle with an anonymous person safety is enough of a concern to warrant fingerprinting.  One of my volunteer positions requires us to be fingerprinted and the procedure is easy, quick and painless.

In places where taxi drivers have to pay an exorbitant fee to be licensed, those municipalities have unfairly burned taxi cabs, and are giving these smartphone enabled services a way to avoid these regulations.  In New York City, taxi licenses have been limited to less than twelve thousand, and no new licenses have been issued for over half a century.  The open market for these medallions peaked around $1 million.

In my area, taxis are almost non-existent and Uber is a reasonable alternative to a Tesla employee driving owners home from a service center.

New Master Charger

The master charging system is the mechanism between the outlet and the battery that directs the car to charge.  The system includes an electromagnetic relay using a low electric current to tell the battery to begin charging.  Unfortunately when the system breaks down, you cannot charge the car at all, and need to take your car immediately to a service center.

Several days later I got my car back with a new master charger installed.  I am so glad my car is under warranty as that part would have cost me about $2,000!  So far, I have accumulated close to $7,000 in extended warranty charges.

The service advisor did explain that since my VIN number is on the low side, my master charger was an out dated design.  I don’t think this problem is particularly common.


4 thoughts on “Master Charger Replacement

  1. I have an 86xxx vin and one day my car quit charging at 40 amps (mobile connector). It took itself down to 30 amps. It took me a while to determine this because it was charging automatically at night but some days didn’t finish by the time I had to leave for work. They replaced my charger as well but with my vin you would have thought I had the new one. Not a problem since.

    • Those mysterious problems are often harder to figure out than a simple no charge. You may still have had the newer charger design and just did not get a great one.

      I am glad I waited till 4XXX for tax reasons to get my Model S. I think I’d prefer to wait (probably even longer) on my next car (far future I think) to let some of the issues settle out. Not that I’m not confident that Tesla will fix them, after a while the problems get old. But then I wouldn’t have had so much to write about!

  2. What was the mileage? Since extended warranty was mentioned, I’m assuming it occurred after 50k miles. And was this the first master charger? What else would cause an additional 5k of repairs? Aren’t the drive units and battery covered for 8yrs without extended warranty?

    • Yes, it was after 50K miles and was the first and hopefully last master charger replacement. I also had my touchscreen replaced that would have been $5k out of warranty. I blogged about that earlier.

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