belletenor
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:53 am
Delivery Date: 01 Jul 2017

Can trickle charger break OBC?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:09 am

Hi folks. 2016 Nissan Leaf owner here.

We regularly use the trickle charger that came with the car as we have not felt the need to install a level 2 charger at home, since we can usually get all the juice we need by trickle charging overnight and stopping at level 2 chargers around town as needed.

Recently, our Leaf stopped charging. We tried on multiple chargers (level 2 and trickle chargers) and it would look like it started to charge, but would turn off and stop charging after about 10 seconds or so. We luckily had just enough juice to get it to the dealership.

Fast forward 3 weeks (after having the service dept at the dealership go back and forth with Nissan Canada a bunch of times because they really had no clue what to do with this electric car), they basically told me that we broke the on-board charger by using the trickle charger because it's not built to charge so frequently at such a low charge rate.

While this sounded fishy to me (would that not break the charger, not the car?), I thought it might -sort of- make sense... but, when I inquired further about the differences in how the trickle charger and level 2 chargers charge, they couldn't really tell me much because they clearly don't understand how electric cars work in the service department.

At the same time, some friends of ours had the same issue with their 2016 Kia Soul, except that they charge regularly with a level 2 charger. They were told by their dealer that there was a faulty part in the OBC in many of the 2016 Kia Souls, and that the part they replaced it with was upgraded so it shouldn't happen again.

My question is, have any other Leaf owners (or technicians) heard of the Nissan dealerships essentially blaming you for breaking the OBC? Am I right in thinking that it sounds fishy, and that maybe it's a similar case to our friend's Kia? I could understand that it might occur if we were using an aftermarket charger, but I don't really buy that we broke it with the charger that came with the car. Especially after hearing our friends' car had the same issue even with using a level 2 charger, I am wary to believe that this is on us.

Any questions or comments would be appreciated.

Thanks everyone! :D
Cheers
C

rparry51
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Leaf Number: 301553
Location: Chilliwack BC

Re: Can trickle charger break OBC?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:36 am

The only thing I can think of is there is something I believe they call a Buck Converter that boosts the voltage of the 110 volt wall plug to battery voltage. This is likely what failed, because the components were not spec’d for long time use. This would be a design failure not yours and Nissan should make good on this.

Just my 2 bits worth.

Bob

BrockWI
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Re: Can trickle charger break OBC?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:50 am

Ya, there is no way 120 volt charging could kill the OBC. Fault out yes, either the EVSE side or the car side, but actually break something becasue of too much use, nope, unless it is a faulty part like Bob mentioned and then it is still Nissan's issue. There are many folks here who charge exclusively with the 120 charger and have gone years and years with them.
Last edited by BrockWI on Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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EVDRIVER
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Re: Can trickle charger break OBC?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:57 am

BS- they need to repair it under warranty.

LeftieBiker
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Re: Can trickle charger break OBC?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:59 am

Definitely NO on the L-1 EVSE (it is not a charger) damaging the onboard charger. It is likely a failed diode in the charger, which is a known issue unrelated to the charging cable. The dealer apparently wants to charge you for replacing the OBC instead of filing a warranty claim with Nissan, and is lying. There is a 5 year EV component warranty and a 3 year bumper to bumper warranty. Get on the phone to Nissan, and to whatever consumer protection bureau you have there. There is a fix other than replacing the charger, but since it's under warranty you get a free replacement.
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belletenor
Posts: 5
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Delivery Date: 01 Jul 2017

Re: Can trickle charger break OBC?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:24 pm

Thanks for the replies folks. Definitely makes me feel a little better and validates my thoughts as I really didn't think that the low voltage charger should cause this issue unless there was a faulty part in the OBC already.

To clear things up, they did cover the repair under warranty. However, they gave me a hard time about it, and never admitted to there being a faulty part, they basically passed the buck saying I shouldn't be using the trickle charger because the level 2 charger is "recommended" because it won't cause the same issue. One person even went so far as to tell me if I continued to use the trickle charger, because Nissan Canada now has this repair on their records, they would not cover it under warranty again if it did occur a second time. That really frustrated me... kinda like saying if your transmission goes more than once they won't cover it the second time. However a different service rep cleared that up when I asked about it and said they would cover it under warranty again if it did happen to go.

Little do they know I research these things online like crazy (I'm in IT so I am confident in my online sleuthing abilities) and could not find a single report of a trickle charger causing this type of issue... hence why I had to start a new forum post to find out others opinions :D

I think if possible I'll pick a different dealership to take my car to next time I have a problem. Funny enough, just after I posted on this forum this morning I got an email survey from Nissan Canada. Guess they'll be getting a bit slammed :shock:

Thanks again folks.

belletenor
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Delivery Date: 01 Jul 2017

Re: Can trickle charger break OBC?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:35 pm

I just looked at the work record, apparently they "diagnosed faulty PDM and replaced". Seems to me that if it says it's a faulty part I shouldn't worry about what charger I'm using.... although, now I'm wondering, can anyone tell me what the PDM does? I assumed it was the OBC in question but I hadn't looked at the specific work order.

LeftieBiker
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Re: Can trickle charger break OBC?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:17 pm

It stands for "Power Distribution Module." I'll leave a detailed description to someone else, as I have to go and eat.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
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PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

belletenor
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Re: Can trickle charger break OBC?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:39 pm

LeftieBiker wrote:It stands for "Power Distribution Module." I'll leave a detailed description to someone else, as I have to go and eat.


Thanks for this. I did look it up and to me it looks like it's a part of the OBC? Basically it's what tells the car whether it's a 120V or 220V charger if I'm understanding correctly. If so I guess my concerns about my service still stand.

LeftieBiker
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Re: Can trickle charger break OBC?

Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:49 pm

There was a recall for 2013 (and maybe other years) PDM issues involving it shutting down from perceived overheating, so this is a known problem area.
Scarlet Ember 2018 Leaf SL W/ Pro Pilot
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 3 EZIP E-bicycles.
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

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