Possible EVSE failure?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by dstack, Jul 27, 2022.

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  1. dstack

    dstack New Member

    Hello everyone,

    I'm hoping someone else has come across this before to help answer what might be going on. I've been searching the web and haven't found any good answers. About 3 or 4 days ago when I plug in my car overnight it only charges up to around 65-70%, *something* happens that causes both the lights on the EVSE to flash. The car shows as being plugged in and charging in the HondaLink app and the little light next to the plug into the car, but it isn't finishing the charge. If I unplug the EVSE from the house and plug it back in, it makes the click sound that you always hear when you plug in, the lights on the unit stop flashing, and it happily resumes actual charging. There are no errors presented in the car when I start it up. As an experiment tonight I charged up to 100% at a level 2 charger at the library and it completed the charge without a problem.

    Is my factory cable dying? Does this portend some bad omen of another worse problem to come?

    Here is a link to the flashing lights, if that helps get any better since of what might be going on: https://imgur.com/a/irEPr1Y

    Thanks for your help and knowledge,
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  3. Sound like you have properly diagnosed that the problem is your EVSE cable and not your vehicle. Buy a new one. They are not expensive. About $150 on ebay.
  4. leop

    leop Active Member

    By some chance, is the Honda SmartCharge enabled?
    neal adkins likes this.
  5. petteyg359

    petteyg359 Well-Known Member

    Is the brick overheating? You could try aiming a fan at it and see if that helps.
    dstack likes this.
  6. MrFixit

    MrFixit Well-Known Member

    According to the manual, your condition is listed as "Plug temperature rise detected". There is a temperature sensor in in the plug that looks for overheating at that end (could be due to the outlet, the plug, or a poor connection). You should be wary of this because such a problem can lead to a risk of fire. You can initiate a charge, stay there for a while, and feel the temperature of the plug / outlet area with your hand to see if it is getting warm. You do not use an extension cord do you? Extension cords can very much be a weak link and are subject to overheating. I consider them to be temporary work-arounds, and would not use one on a permanent basis.

    Here is the relevant snapshot from the manual:
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  8. dstack

    dstack New Member

    Thank you so much for that table! I tired so very hard to figure out where to find it and never once did I consider the user manual o_O

    I don't use an extension cord, but I do use a plug outside my house. You don't suppose it might have anything to do with the ambient temps do you? I mean, if it's shutting off around ~65% full, it should be shutting off over night after it has cooled off outside - but it has been pretty darn hot. Strange that I wouldn't have noticed this before though because this is where/how I've always charged the Clarity since I got it in 2019. Curious.
    Madmartigen likes this.
  9. MrFixit

    MrFixit Well-Known Member

    My instinct is that a high ambient temperature would probably not cause this.

    Do you plug / unplug the EVSE at the outlet every day? I am more suspicious of a connection that may have degraded over time. Wear and tear, or lots of flexing of the wire near the plug can cause failures over time. A 'poor' connection will generate excessive heat. It could be the blades of the plug, or the wires themselves from bending back and forth, or the connections to the outlet inside the wall. Any of these can degrade over time, increase resistance, and cause temperatures at the plug to rise.

    Maybe high ambient temperature in conjunction with a degraded connection...

    It is also possible that the EVSE has just failed somehow, but the error indication implies an over-temperature condition. My suggestion is to start charging. Touch the plug with your hand periodically while charging (but before the failure occurs and shuts it down). It should be obvious if it is getting too hot. If it is getting hot, then you can attempt to isolate the problem to something related to the receptacle, or something related to the plug / wire.
    Madmartigen likes this.
  10. If you are like most of the US right now, this is on average a much worse summer than the previous three. I stopped using my included evse last winter, but it did exhibit that behaviour twice in the previous summer. Both times, I started the charge in the early afternoon and sometime in the first three hours it shut off. By the time I got to the handle it WAS hot to the touch, even though it was probably off for at least half an hour by then.
  11. MrFixit

    MrFixit Well-Known Member

    I am not 100% certain, but I think this fault condition refers to where the EVSE plugs into the 120V wall outlet, and not where the J1772 "handle" plugs into the car. There could be a temperature sensor at each end, but the wording implies only the wall end.
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  13. The whole setup was in the sun, so could have been any of it.
  14. dstack

    dstack New Member

    Little update and data point for future readers.

    It charged full up last night, the only change I made was moving the the plug to the receptacle to the one closer to my house -- which probably takes a little weight off the plug as the brick is able to rest more comfortably on the window ledge. I checked a few times before falling asleep and the plug was warm but not hot to the touch, about the same warmth as I'd expect from any electronic that draws a lot of current (like a space heater).

    I did also I inspect the plug and noticed just the slightest bit of corrosion on the ends of the blade terminals, which I cleaned up this morning with a bit of 800 grit sandpaper. I guess over the years of being plugged in outside a tiny bit of moisture had managed to find its way to the blades at some point.

    I'll keep this thread updated in the off chance that this pops up again, but I think that those two things may have resolved the problem. Thanks to everyone that chimed in and provided information, I appreciate your help. I'm very glad that nothing worse was brewing, I really didn't want to shop for another car with the way the market is right now.

    PS: the bottom of the brick has an operating temp range that I hadn't noticed before. It's something like -55°F to 131°F, so I imagine that it would be possible if you're already starting somewhere around 100° to build another 31° during a charge and interrupt things, but who knows what the safety cutoff temp is set to--probably somewhere north of that 131° mark.
    MrFixit and Madmartigen like this.
  15. You’ve actually made 2 changes.
    1) Using a different receptacle.
    2) Removing corrosion from the plug.
    We don’t know if one or the other cleared the issue, or if it was a combination of the two.

    I’d recommend that you take two additional steps.
    1) Inspect the receptacle that you were using previously for corrosion and/or loose connections. Follow proper safety protocols for working with electrical devices.
    2) Apply some dielectric grease to the blades of the plug.
    Madmartigen and dstack like this.
  16. dstack

    dstack New Member

    The blades didn't get cleaned up until this morning after the charge session had successfully completed. Absolutely agree that it's probably prudent to get in there and inspect/replace the receptacle -- it is reasonable to expect that there may be some water that has got in there too if the blades had that bit of crud on them. Thanks for mentioning the dielectric grease, I forget that stuff exists :D
    Madmartigen likes this.
  17. Johnhaydev

    Johnhaydev Active Member

    For what it’s worth, I live in Palm Springs. Car is in a car port in the shade. Otherwise temps are very high, even at night. Haven’t had a problem with the evse that came with the car overheating. Typically I charge it staring at 6 pm when it still can be 100 to 110 degrees. I start charging then so it will be charged by the time I have to drive to work the next day.
    dstack likes this.
  18. dstack

    dstack New Member

    Yeah it was really more wishful thinking on my part than anything. I'd have to imagine that electronics like this are designed to operated in pretty harsh conditions. Thanks for another datapoint :)
  19. Jim1960

    Jim1960 Member

    I had a problem with the charger cutting out, though not identical to yours. My issue was a poor ground on the 30A circuit leading to the EVSE. That could be consistent with another post, as the poor ground caused many parts of the system to overheat.
    Madmartigen likes this.

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