dddoughboy
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2021 9:04 pm

"Insufficient Grid Power" error at beginning of charging

Sun Jan 09, 2022 12:45 pm

Our 2014 BEV is starting to give problems. The most troubling one is an intermittent (though starting to occur more often) error when we begin to charge. The LED's around the car's charge port will start flashing red and the screen inside will say Insufficient Grid Power and then no charging occurs. This is when using a Level 2 charger in our garage (220/240v). We've had this car for 3 years and never any issues, so not sure why this would be happening now. Recently, when this occured, I drove the car to my neighbor's house and tried his Level 2 charger and got the same error. So that likely rules out the charger being a problem.

When this occurs, if I switch over to the stock BMW Level 1 charger on a standard 110v house plug, that works fine, and get no error.

It sounds like it might be a problem with the BMS in the car? If so, curious if this is still covered under warranty as being part of the battery system which has the 8 year/80,000 mile warranty? I'm in California and it is the BEV, so my understanding is that the warranty isn't quite as generous as the REX models.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

alohart
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Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: "Insufficient Grid Power" error at beginning of charging

Sun Jan 09, 2022 8:42 pm

Have you measured the voltage of your AC Level 2 charging circuit? Maybe the voltage in your neighborhood is low at times.
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2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, JuiceBox EVSE

dddoughboy
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2021 9:04 pm

Re: "Insufficient Grid Power" error at beginning of charging

Mon Jan 10, 2022 9:10 pm

Thanks for the suggestion. I went and measured it today after plugging it in again with the same error and red flashing light. The voltmeter reads 260 volts. So that's on the high side as it should be at 240 max, right?

Nevertheless, even if it were on the high side, one wouldn't expect the error message on the car's nav screen to say "Insufficient Grid Power".

This is frustrating. I get the same error 3 nights in a row at my home level 2 charger, yet the level 2 charger at my office works just fine.

eNate
Posts: 825
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: "Insufficient Grid Power" error at beginning of charging

Mon Jan 10, 2022 9:48 pm

To see 260 volts isn't completely abnormal, but electrical specs suggests a range limit of 255 volts (+6%).

You've got me wondering if "insufficient" is the word BMW chose to really mean "out of spec." This wouldn't necessarily be a J1772 specification or even an EVSE limit, but the charging hardware built in to your car. I can't find anything specific to the i3, but I see references to 256 volts AC max listed for other vehicle BMS units.

The good news (?) is that it doesn't seem the problem is with your car since it accepts power at work.
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dddoughboy
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2021 9:04 pm

Re: "Insufficient Grid Power" error at beginning of charging

Mon Jan 10, 2022 10:42 pm

You bring up a good point. They could be using the term "Insufficient" as most voltage problems likely rest in people having less than advertised voltage. It being out of spec may be the culprit. I will continue to give it more time and as you said, if the level 2 charger at the office continues to charge it just fine, it's likely not a problem with the car, which is good.

I'll have to contact an electrician to see if its even possible to condition or resist down 260volts to 240 or 250 if it turns out the BMS in the car is that sensitive to over voltage.

dddoughboy
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2021 9:04 pm

Re: "Insufficient Grid Power" error at beginning of charging

Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:02 pm

I wanted to follow up on this topic as there appears to be more clarity as to what the problem is/was.

After checking the AC voltage at our house, it appears that we have anywhere between 260-270 volts AC, rather than the 220-240 volts it should be. As a result, the "charger" on the wall, which isn't really a charger just a safety interconnect device (actual charger is in the car itself), was passing too high of a voltage into the car. BMW's warning could have been a bit more clear, however. While the error message says "Insufficient Power", in reality is was too much power, at least in terms of voltage. So maybe its a German translation issue.

After a call to the electric company, they checked and then made adjustments. Now I'm getting much closer to 230-240 volts and everything is working as it should.

Thought I would update in the event anyone else ever experiences the same issue.

eNate
Posts: 825
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: "Insufficient Grid Power" error at beginning of charging

Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:55 pm

Wow, there is an example of a responsive utility company.
Last edited by eNate on Sat Jan 15, 2022 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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frictioncircle
Posts: 216
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm
Location: USA West Coast

Re: "Insufficient Grid Power" error at beginning of charging

Sat Jan 15, 2022 2:54 am

dddoughboy –

Thank you for following up with your EVSE voltage experience!

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