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Old 06-21-2016, 03:04 PM   #1
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Tesla Model X not recognizing 2016 Sport 16 hookup

Help!

I have purchased our second Airstream, a 2016 Sport 16, which is the right size for a Tesla Model X P90DL with 22" wheels. I have the tow package in the Tesla, and a Prodigy RF brake controller installed on the Airstream. Bottom line: the lights do not work on the Airstream, and the Tesla does not detect it (which is indicated by a blue "trailer mode" icon on the dash). Even if I manually engage trailer mode in the Tesla, the lights do not work on the trailer (running lights, turn signals, brake, backup). If I connect the Airstream DIRECTLY to the Tesla, it doesn't work either.

Some more info:

1. I have my own trailer connector tester, and the Tesla connector works fine, passes every test.

2. The local Airstream dealer has a different connector tester, and the Tesla passes all their tests too.

3. I do not have a brake controller installed, instead I have installed a Prodigy RF controller on the Airstream. Nevertheless, connecting the Airstream DIRECTLY to the Tesla (bypassing the brake controller) DOES NOT WORK.

4. The RF brake controller is successfully paired with the hand held control, which means that it is getting power and it registered the "c" for connect on the display of the handheld controller.

5. I connected my Tesla to TWO DIFFERENT BRAND NEW 2016 Airstream Sport 16s, with the same result, i.e, no lights working.

6. We have measured the output voltage of the tesla connector, and all appears within spec.

and finally.....

7. We connected the Tesla up to a Jayco Trailer, and the lights worked!!

8. We tried disconnecting the battery in the Airstream, but no success.

So what is different? The Airstream from 2015 model year up has LED lights. Does the Tesla not recognize a connection, because there is not enough of a current draw for the lights?

Has anyone here connected 2015+ Airstream to a Tesla Model X successfully? Or has anyone had issues like this with any other vehicles, specifically if the trailer has LED exterior lights?

Any other ideas? Many thanks in advance for any advice. I need to get to the bottom of this, because the ONLY reason we purchased the Sport 16 was to tow behind the Tesla for short local trips (< 100 miles), and obviously I wouldn't be caught dead towing it behind my Ram 2500....
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Old 06-21-2016, 03:18 PM   #2
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I'm sure all the Tesla owners will chime in.

Oh wait, maybe they already did.


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Old 06-21-2016, 03:37 PM   #3
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Well I know that someone towed what appears to be a Sport 22 onto the stage...

Tesla Model X SUV Pulls Airstream Trailer, Out Pops Family of 7

So there is at least one owner. Elon??
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Old 06-21-2016, 04:31 PM   #4
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I don't recall seeing anyone post here, but I know they should work because someone is starting a coast-to-coast trip across Canada. And there have been other installs.

I would pop one of the LED lights and wire in a dummy load to see if that increases the current and makes it good.
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Old 06-21-2016, 04:47 PM   #5
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Looks like this issue is not restricted to Tesla, but is fairly common with other cars too.... So I have ordered a CURT 57003 LED Trailer Light Adapter from Amazon and will see if that will solve my issue.
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Old 06-21-2016, 04:53 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=markdoane;1809456
I would pop one of the LED lights and wire in a dummy load to see if that increases the current and makes it good.[/QUOTE]

That has worked on other led vehicles. There is also an adapter that MB or VW or someone sells. The led vehicle and led trailer seems to be a recurring issue.

Other than that, I agree, ask Elon.
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Old 06-21-2016, 04:54 PM   #7
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On another note, I could help replying, given my avatar and your screen name.
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Old 06-21-2016, 06:49 PM   #8
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This problem is very common with other luxury/european brands. The problem is that the LEDs don't draw enough to activate the system, so it doesn't recognize the trailer and doesn't send the light voltage. Look at the solutions for BMW, Mercedes, and VW, and it boils down to wiring a resistor into the circuit.

etrailer.com sells what you need.

good luck
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Old 06-21-2016, 06:50 PM   #9
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And the inevitable question: how many miles can you go on a charge while towing?
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Old 06-22-2016, 08:49 AM   #10
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Thanks for the advice.

As for the range towing, it is utterly horrible, as expected. The Tesla has an extremely efficient aerodynamic profile, and the trailer obliterates that. Hills of any description would annihilate the range. But.... within a 100 mile radius of Dallas, I don't think we have to worry about hills!

However the Tesla comes with an adapter to plug the car into a 50A 4 prong RV outlet. So with a practical range of maybe 100 miles, as long as there is a 50A hookup at the campsite, it should be good. Of course, a regular 15A 110V would also work, but that would require probably about 2 days to charge the car up. On a 50A, it would take 6 hours or so. In the charge settings, you can set up a charging schedule (to start after 10pm for example) and you can also limit the current. I will have to do some experimenting to see if I can have the Airstream connected to the 30A outlet (need AC all night long in Texas!!) and the Tesla connected to the 50A, and not have the circuit breakers pop. Otherwise, I can limit the Tesla current draw to a lesser amount (say 20A), and then it would take maybe 10-12 hours to charge up.

In reality, with my family of 4, we are not going to want to spend more than 1 night in a Sport 16!! This is really just an option to spend a night occasionally at a nearby state park or lake. And of course the enjoyment of seeing the shocked look of people who see an electric car pulling a trailer! And also blowing sports cars off the line with our trailer in tow...
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Old 06-22-2016, 10:00 AM   #11
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How many solar panels can you fit on the roof of a 16 ft Sport?
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Old 06-22-2016, 10:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unherdable View Post
...
However the Tesla comes with an adapter to plug the car into a 50A 4 prong RV outlet. So with a practical range of maybe 100 miles, as long as there is a 50A hookup at the campsite, it should be good...
Keep in mind that 50A service is actually 2 x 50A legs. 30A service is a single 30A leg.

Grab a 50A x 2 30A pigtail. The camper can use one leg of the 50A to run the AC, the other leg can charge the vehicle.
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Old 06-22-2016, 10:17 AM   #13
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I'm really thinking a second vehicle for towing wouldn't be such a bad idea.
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Old 06-22-2016, 10:55 AM   #14
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Keep in mind that 50A service is actually 2 x 50A legs. 30A service is a single 30A leg.

Grab a 50A x 2 30A pigtail. The camper can use one leg of the 50A to run the AC, the other leg can charge the vehicle.

I like your problem solving ideas, but I don't think this will work with a Tesla. If you adapt down to single pole the charging rate is controlled to the same rate as a regular 120 Vac wall plug. So it wouldn't be any better than using the 20a outlet on the pedestal.
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