metalcaleb
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:23 am

Factory 2015 i3 EVSE "power fault" lit up, covered under factory warranty?

Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:29 am

As the title states. I have a 2015 i3 with roughly 20k miles on it. Still under warranty. The factory charger (120v) has recently stopped working for me and lit up a red "power fault" light. I have JuiceBox L2 charger at home, so I am not totally stranded, but I keep this one at work to charge during business hours. My question, do you think this should be covered under warranty? I don't particularly feel like I should have to pay for a new one as this came with the car and is essential to the operation of it.

I have tried GFCI and non GFCI outlets.
I have tried different properties power grids.
There is some slight "warp" to the plastic around the hot or neutral lead on the male plug.

Thank you in advance.

MKH
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:48 am
Location: Dallas

Re: Factory 2015 i3 EVSE "power fault" lit up, covered under factory warranty?

Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:38 pm

Their are reports from more than a few owners of these units failing withing a year or two with any steady use. They seem to be a copy of the one built by Clipper Creek - but manufactured by Delphi Auto Parts. I'd try your Dealership - but I've seen postings where the Dealer refused to replace them, citing "un-warranted damage".
If your plug shows heat-damage, the dealer could claim your receptacle was bad, and caused the damage - and may be right. Builder-grade receptacles, with worn internal contacts, will arc and generate heat, like a toaster element. Commercial grade receptacles are available at most big-box stores, and you can tell the difference - very tight contacts when you plug in to them.

First, I'd try the Dealership and see if they will replace under warranty. If they won't, I'd cut the plug off, and replace it with a heavy-duty plug, and see if that fixes the problem - the internals of the old plug may be melted/shorting out - likely killing your ground wire..
If still no joy, you can get OEM i3 chargers on eBay for under $200. - well below the $500 or $600 the dealer will want for a new one.
And, I'd see if you can get the receptacle at work changed out to a commercial grade one. I charge with the charger that came with my i3, for now, and changed out the receptacle in the garage to a commercial grade 20 amp receptacle from HD,. The charger draws 15 amps, so extended use on a 15 amp-rated builder-grade receptacle is pushing it. Lower amp "appliances" run fine on higher amp rated circuits, - and they stay cooler.
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 20 inch wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

jadnashuanh
Posts: 4197
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Factory 2015 i3 EVSE "power fault" lit up, covered under factory warranty?

Tue Nov 20, 2018 3:06 pm

FWIW, if a device draws 15A at 120vac, it would have a different plug on it that would only fit in a 20A receptacle. The OUC sold with the car does not, and depending on exactly when you got it is either a 12A or (the later ones are) 10A device, intended to plug into a minimum of 15A service. Yes, it will fit into a 20A service receptacle which has a T_shaped socket to accept either plug type. But, if you have a 15A supply and circuit breaker, unless it was run with 12g wire, you SHOULD NOT install a 20A receptacle, as you could overload the wiring.

Because and EVSE could run multiple hours, the supply must be 125% of the rated continuous load. Another way to look at it is that you can't use more than 80% of the supply. So, the original units being 12A are at the maximum of a 15A service. I think that they lowered the maximum because people were having issues with their receptacles being less than perfect to minimize issues. But, on a 20A service, you could have a device that uses a maximum of 16A continuous. That's also why a 32A EVSE must be on a 40A (minimum) service.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV

metalcaleb
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:23 am

Re: Factory 2015 i3 EVSE "power fault" lit up, covered under factory warranty?

Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:03 pm

Thanks all. I think I got the answers I was looking for. Scheduled dealer for Wednesday of next week. Hope they just shrug it off and give me a new box. If not, in a past life I was an electrician, so replacing a plug, or cracking opening the box for a repair, is in my wheelhouse. I just didn't consider it if the car was still under warranty.

MKH
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:48 am
Location: Dallas

Re: Factory 2015 i3 EVSE "power fault" lit up, covered under factory warranty?

Wed Nov 21, 2018 6:09 am

But, if you have a 15A supply and circuit breaker, unless it was run with 12g wire, you SHOULD NOT install a 20A receptacle, as you could overload the wiring


opps, Thanks for adding that, I should have put that in. Most house wiring done or upgraded in the last 15 - 20 years should be on 20 amp breakers/12 g wiring,, but should be checked.
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 20 inch wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

jadnashuanh
Posts: 4197
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Factory 2015 i3 EVSE "power fault" lit up, covered under factory warranty?

Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:28 pm

Commercial/industrial grade receptacles are available in both 15 and 20A versions. THere are places in a home where 20A circuit is required, but with a strange quirk in the code, you can put a 15A receptacle on it. But, you cannot install a 20A receptacle on a 15A branch.

TO save costs, at least in my area, it's rare for them to run 12g wire where it isn't required.

There's a big difference in quality between a cheap receptacle and a commercial/industrial grade one. Probably not an issue if all you ever plug in is a lamp that stays there for years on end, but can make a big difference if things get plugged in/out often and/or are higher current devices. A cheap one in bulk might go for less than a dollar...a high quality one might be 4-5x that, or more.

Bottom line, especially when using something like an EVSE, having a solid connection is critical to prevent things from overheating. Both in the wiring contacts inside the box and with the plug. If the receptacle doesn't grip the plug well, or it's really easy to install or remove it, it's time to replace the receptacle.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV

metalcaleb
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:23 am

Re: Factory 2015 i3 EVSE "power fault" lit up, covered under factory warranty?

Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:01 pm

I'll update either way. Thank you all for the responses.

metalcaleb
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:23 am

Re: Factory 2015 i3 EVSE "power fault" lit up, covered under factory warranty?

Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:46 am

**UPDATE**

The dealership had it for two days because the service writer wrote "power fault on car lit up"...

Needless to say, he probably started working for BMW when they were carbureted, so I can see why he did not clearly understand me.

Once I spoke with the tech, I cleared things up, he had my car back to me within the day and the warranty covered the new level 1 charger! Nice upgrade too, considering my last one was from 2014/15, and this one is brand new.

All worked out in the end, warranty saved the day.

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