User avatar
JeremyW
Posts: 1519
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:53 am
Delivery Date: 23 Jun 2012
Leaf Number: 19136
Location: San Gabriel, CA

Adding a Brusa charger under the hood for '11/'12s

Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:16 pm

Welcome! This thread is dedicated to those with 2011 or 2012 Leafs and are interested in adding a Brusa charger (or chargers, more on that in a bit) under the hood in place of the original inverter cover. It turns out the original cover (which looks like a “valve cover” for an engine) is mostly hollow, and replacing it with a flat plate leaves enough room for a second or even a third on board charger. The two originators of this modification are Ingineer and EVDRIVER, but they have decided to not share the details on how they accomplished mounting and interface with the leaf. With the help of many bright minds, I have not only succeeded installing a Brusa in my leaf but also wish to share how I accomplished it and how you can too.

With a single Brusa NLG513 under the hood combined with the existing on board charger in the trunk, your Leaf will able to charge at the maximum rate that most public EVSE’s around are rated for- 30A and 208V for around 6.24 kW draw. With a 32A or higher rated EVSE at 240V, the maximum draw is around 7.68kW. I estimate my charge time at full power is around three hours from near empty to full. This is a bit faster than a 2013 Leaf with the 6kW charger.

The increased rate is a game changer, and to me is often more convenient then a thirty minute fast charge, since I can often have lunch or otherwise occupy my time doing something else while charging instead of waiting for a fast charge to complete. I feel that it has significantly improved the usability of my vehicle.

Here’s a breakdown of what is required:
1. Purchasing one or more Brusa NLG513 chargers either air or water cooled. If going for two under the hood, water cooling is required due to heat and possibly space issues. I would recommend hotter climate owners stick with water cooling even if only getting one. The air cooled units de-rate under high temperature, as I have experienced personally with my air cooled unit in Southern California. See the second post on current pricing and group buys available.

2. A mounting plate and high profile gasket. This is what took a majority of the development time. A pattern is available for you to get a plate and gasket water-jetted or CNC-ed. You will also need new mounting bolts since the plate is substantially thicker than the old cover. See the second post below for more information on availability of plates and gaskets.

3. Modification of the J1772 inlet of your leaf. This involves splicing into the shielded wires directly after the inlet. This part is replaceable if you wish to return the leaf to stock form, and we use metri-pack connectors to allow disconnection of the AC cable so removal of the charger is relatively easy to reverse for a quick trip to the dealer. The connectors hide well in the tubing of the pigtail.

4. A Leaf DD (or similar device) to listen to the leaf’s EV CAN bus for the existing onboard charger messages and relay parameters over the bus to the Brusa. You will need to splice into the CAN lines running to the inverter so that the Brusa can be added to the bus. As scary as that sounds this splice is easily hidden. The CAN bus is meant to have many devices on it, and the Brusa behaves properly and does not conflict with termination or message ID’s used by the Leaf’s systems. The onboard charger gives pilot, proximity, current, and line voltage over the CAN bus which greatly simplifies command of the Brusa. There is an Automatic mode that the Brusa supports, however one would have to manually add current control (to dial things down for lower power EVSEs) and a proximity circuit to cut charging current when removing the plug. Thus, CAN mode is the easiest way to go, with the Brusa acting as a slave controlled by the Leaf DD.

[Below to be updated with more info ASAP! Thanks for your patience! –Jeremy]
The Brusa Models - Features and Pricing
Currently, we are using the NLG513. It’s rated for 3.6kW and puts about 3.3kW into the battery, much like the existing Nichicon charger. However, this sucker is built like a tank, more compact than the Nichicon, and comes in air and water cooled variants. It also fully isolated and contains many protection circuits to prevent destruction of itself and leaf. It’s very well designed and very high quality. The retail price with cables is around $2600, with our group buy it’s around $2,200.

Mounting Plate and Gasket
This was in my opinion the toughest part of the development. We got a bit fooled in the beginning thinking that you could simply replace the top cover with a thin sheet of aluminum and go from there. The trouble is that there is a control board (and associated mounting bracket) for the inverter that sits proud of the cover mounting plane, meaning you must have a plate that is thick enough to “contain” the board protrusions. JasonA and Tony Williams have been very helpful in making template mock ups and eventually making a great template that allows a water jet or CNC machine to cut out a plate that
Modification of the J1772 Inlet

Control of the Brusa via CAN using the Leaf DD
[Will update soon, Jason and I are using prototype units. Working with GregH on testing for automatic amperage selection and ramp down of the Brusa]

Final Installation
[TBD]
Total cost is expected to be around $3000-$3500.

Here are some additional reading materials you may find useful:
The Leaf Service Manual. You may download this for $20 from http://nissan-techinfo.com
Brusa NLG513 Data Sheet
Brusa NLG513 User Manual
Brusa NLG513 CAN Command Matrix
Metric Mind Website on the Brusa
Metric Mind Website on Victor's leaf with three :shock: water cooled Brusa's under the trunk
ChargeStar Software Download (probably not needed if just controlling using CAN)
Charging Profile for Leaf if using Automatic control

Finally, a word of caution: Electricity is dangerous. The leaf uses 400V DC for the main traction pack, and is not something to be taken lightly. It will kill you if you try to work on this live, and the pack has sufficient energy to weld tools. DC causes muscles to contract meaning your body could end up clamping down onto a lethal shock. Before performing ANY work, disconnect the 12v negative terminal and pull the main traction pack fuse located in the center of the rear passenger floor.
Last edited by JeremyW on Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Former 2012 SL leasee 6/23/12 - 9/23/15
Now driving Honda Fit EV, License plate: CHADEMO
2000 Honda Insight for long trips

User avatar
JeremyW
Posts: 1519
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:53 am
Delivery Date: 23 Jun 2012
Leaf Number: 19136
Location: San Gabriel, CA

Re: Adding a Brusa charger under the hood for '11/'12s

Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:22 am

This upgrade requires replacing the "valve cover" aka the top cover on the inverter module with a flat sheet. This gives me the room I need to mount the Brusa.

Here's a crop of a picture I took of Ingineer's installation at The Green Drive Expo last year:
Image

Here's a picture of Ingineer's installation at (I beleve) Plug-in-America Day last year curtisy of 'gromett.' Note Engineer switched to a L6-20 cable set at some point to allow a seprate input source besides the J1772 inlet into the Brusa
Image

Here's a normal 2011/2012 under the hood shot:
Image

Here's a picture of the inverter with the cover removed with the cover upside down in the foreground:
Image
[Taken from this PDF from a report from Oak Ridge National Lab]
Last edited by JeremyW on Thu May 23, 2013 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Former 2012 SL leasee 6/23/12 - 9/23/15
Now driving Honda Fit EV, License plate: CHADEMO
2000 Honda Insight for long trips

Roadburner440
Posts: 278
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:42 pm
Location: Hampton, VA

Re: Adding a Brusa charger under the hood for '11/'12s

Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:05 am

I am very interested in this. As I would rather keep my 2012 SL than have to get a 2013/14 when my current lease is up. Is cheaper to add a Brusa charger than to pay for another lease and buy out the car in the end by my guesstimation. However Phil did say that his Brusa setup required LEAFSCAN in order to work. So you will have to build some kind of CAN interface in order to control the charger as well.
Steve
2012 Cayenne Red Leaf SL #16790
2016 Chevrolet Volt LT Kinetic Blue
Turned in: 2012 Chevy Volt #2395

camasleaf
Posts: 611
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:20 am
Delivery Date: 17 Jun 2011
Location: Camas, WA

Re: Adding a Brusa charger under the hood for '11/'12s

Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:03 pm

JeremyW wrote:The Brusa has a CAN interface, and will listen for the maximum current requested by the battery control module.


Is it correct to assume that it is OK if the charger supplies less than the maximum BCM requested?

Disclaimer:
The reason I ask is that I want to slowly gather info needed to start a tread on how to get solar panels DC directly in the battery, no DC-AC-DC conversions and no other batteries involved. This is going to be a longer project than yours, if I am the only one working on it :oops: .
2011 SLe 06/17/11 Over 76000 miles 71%SOH 15.7kWh
2015 SV 09/02/14, Over 36000 miles soon to be returned for a 2018
5.7kW DC System

tbleakne
Gold Member
Posts: 953
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:05 pm
Delivery Date: 03 Jun 2011
Leaf Number: 2400
Location: Claremont, CA

Re: Adding a Brusa charger under the hood for '11/'12s

Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:53 pm

camasleaf wrote:
JeremyW wrote:The Brusa has a CAN interface, and will listen for the maximum current requested by the battery control module.


Is it correct to assume that it is OK if the charger supplies less than the maximum BCM requested?

Disclaimer:
The reason I ask is that I want to slowly gather info needed to start a tread on how to get solar panels DC directly in the battery, no DC-AC-DC conversions and no other batteries involved. This is going to be a longer project than yours, if I am the only one working on it :oops: .

To charge the Leaf battery, you must supply exactly the right voltage it wants as a function of the state of charge and the current. The solar array will have its own voltage vs current curve, which will also vary with the sun angle and the temperature. Therefore you must have a DC-DC converter from the solar. You can skip the conversion to 60 Hz AC, but the DC to DC conversion will use higher frequency AC pulses.
LEAF Ocean Blue SL, "100 % Electric" decals, Delivered June 3, 2011
Sold June 2014 27K miles, 18% capacity loss, 1 bar, 5.0 mi/kWh.
Solar 4.6 KW DC with both string and micro-inverters.

User avatar
hgoudey
Forum Supporter
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:39 pm
Delivery Date: 03 Jul 2011
Leaf Number: 5132
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Re: Adding a Brusa charger under the hood for '11/'12s

Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:24 am

tbleakne wrote:To charge the Leaf battery, you must supply exactly the right voltage it wants as a function of the state of charge and the current. The solar array will have its own voltage vs current curve, which will also vary with the sun angle and the temperature. Therefore you must have a DC-DC converter from the solar. You can skip the conversion to 60 Hz AC, but the DC to DC conversion will use higher frequency AC pulses.

Assuming the on-board charger will accept DC on its AC inputs (probably just rectified first thing anyway), the OBC can act as the DC-DC of which you speak. It has a wide voltage input 100-250VAC and puts out exactly what the battery management tells it to, so it might be possible to connect a string of PV with ~200VDC at peak power directly in this fashion. You have to make sure it doesn't over volt the OBC at open circuit voltage on the array, though. The PV input could be run closer to 120VDC if you're connecting a Level I size array. Assuming there aren't major problems with the above scheme, (I claim no knowledge and can make no promises/endorsement of such a risky maneuver) the only custom bit might be a microprocessor that measures the DC voltage/current from the PV array and accomplishes MPPT by adjusting the pilot signal on the J1772 inlet to match the power level that the panel can provide. There might be time response/stability issues, but it seems plausible that something like this could work. While it might be fun to try it, just to see if it can be done (assuming you don't mind taking chances with your OBC), it does beg the question, why? Solar charging of the LEAF will be better with a typical grid tied arrangement. I can only see attempting the direct DC connection if you live off grid, or want to drive across Nevada at a rate of 100 miles per day.

Howdy

User avatar
davewill
Posts: 4820
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:04 pm
Location: San Diego, CA, US

Re: Adding a Brusa charger under the hood for '11/'12s

Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:13 am

I wish you guys with the wild "direct from solar" idea would take it somewhere else. It will just derail what promises to be an interesting thread.
2014 Rav4 EV, Blizzard Pearl White
2011 LEAF SL w/QC, Blue Ocean, returned at end of lease

camasleaf
Posts: 611
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:20 am
Delivery Date: 17 Jun 2011
Location: Camas, WA

Re: Adding a Brusa charger under the hood for '11/'12s

Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:14 pm

davewill wrote:I wish you guys with the wild "direct from solar" idea would take it somewhere else. It will just derail what promises to be an interesting thread.

I asked a moderator early this morning to move the two unrelated posts to viewtopic.php?f=45&t=7430. It is weekend, I am sure they will do that. I apologize.
2011 SLe 06/17/11 Over 76000 miles 71%SOH 15.7kWh
2015 SV 09/02/14, Over 36000 miles soon to be returned for a 2018
5.7kW DC System

User avatar
JeremyW
Posts: 1519
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:53 am
Delivery Date: 23 Jun 2012
Leaf Number: 19136
Location: San Gabriel, CA

Re: Adding a Brusa charger under the hood for '11/'12s

Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:36 pm

I purchased the Brusa off ebay for $1100. Aparently the seller has three more for sale. Not sure if they are listed at the moment, but the seller is '-56ItemstoSell' Again, not endorseing anyone but I figured I let everyone know who is thinking about taking the plunge. My charger should arrive on Wenesday.

camasleaf wrote:
JeremyW wrote:The Brusa has a CAN interface, and will listen for the maximum current requested by the battery control module.


Is it correct to assume that it is OK if the charger supplies less than the maximum BCM requested?


Yes. I have knowlage from Ingineer that the request is essencially the maximum that would be accepted, essencially what it could take given a 50kW capable quick charger was connected. The Brusa will operate for values exceeding 3.8 kW but at a reduced rate if the BCM request is below 7.2kW.

I'm working on LeafCAN firmware in parallel which is good, because I think I'm going to need to make a CAN bridge for it. The Brusa has commands and broadcast messages that I don't think will be compatable with the leaf. I don't see anything in the CAN doumention [which is on the evtv forum and I will eventually post it here] that would alow listening for custom CAN messages. Fortunatly there are many ways to interface with the unit and the power side is very configurable.
Former 2012 SL leasee 6/23/12 - 9/23/15
Now driving Honda Fit EV, License plate: CHADEMO
2000 Honda Insight for long trips

KillaWhat
Posts: 866
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:15 pm
Delivery Date: 15 Mar 2012
Location: Southeast Pennsylvania

Re: Adding a Brusa charger under the hood for '11/'12s

Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:32 am

I would be very interested in doing this mod, but I'll be honest.
I'd like to see you guys get it worked out first :-)

I have no problems with the mechanical and electrical install, but the words CAN buss strike fear into my wallet.

I will watch your progress closely and with appreciation.

Thanks
Black SL Delivered 3/14/2012
7.2Kw Charging w/Brusa
Leather Interior
Rosewood Dash
JUKE 17" Wheel Upgrade w/225-45-17 Michelin MXM4 Tires
Horn Upgrade
Infinity 63.9i Speaker Upgrade
WattsLeft Meter System
LED High Beams
Carkit NAV Override

Return to “Accessories / Mods”