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Re: Lightning Strike saga

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:01 pm
by RevBrent
I'm giving this thread a bump, because something similar happened to my 2011 Leaf, but unlike you...I'm stuck in insurance purgatory.

Quick abbreviated story: Middle of the night( my Leaf plugged in to the Blink unit) we hear and feel a TREMENDOUS crash and flash, and we come outside to see the electrical pole across the street on fire. It burns itself out, but the next morning my Leaf has a fault symbol on the dash. Turn it off and back on, and the indicator light goes away. But, go to plug it in that night and it doesn't charge. The Blink unit won't recognize it.

So I figure it is the unit which has been damaged by the lightning, because I used a QC that day and the car charged fine. Order a new Aeroenviroment unit, have it installed (1000 total) and....it gives a vehicle fault symbol. Yep-it's the car.

Now here is where it gets tough... the insurance denied my claim because they say the fuses in between the onboard charger port and the charging unit would have blown if lightning was the cause. But, if the cause was the EMP (as someone else mentioned) wouldn't that not necessarily be true? I love the car, AND Nissan, but right now my insurance company is killing me because of their inability to understand the possible intricacies of an EV.

Re: Lightning Strike saga

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:23 pm
by AntronX
RevBrent wrote:...the insurance denied my claim because they say the fuses in between the onboard charger port and the charging unit would have blown if lightning was the cause...

My BS detector is tingling (about what your insurance claims). Did your policy cover "act of god" damage?

Re: Lightning Strike saga

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:54 pm
by RegGuheert
RevBrent wrote:Now here is where it gets tough... the insurance denied my claim because they say the fuses in between the onboard charger port and the charging unit would have blown if lightning was the cause. But, if the cause was the EMP (as someone else mentioned) wouldn't that not necessarily be true?
You are on the right track. Simply put, fuses blow due to excessive current flow. They are there to keep wires from burning up. But most (all?) electronic devices can only withstand a certain amount of voltage before they fail. In the case of the LEAF's charger, the power transistors (either power MOSFETs or IGBTs) will fail due to overvoltage on the power lines as they can only block a certain amount of voltage. I'm more familiar with MOSFETs and they tend to fail as open circuits due to an overvoltage event, hence NO current flow after the initial event (which would not last long enough to blow typical inline fuses).

Simply put, fuses do not protect your equipment from the high voltages associated with lightning strikes. Instead, what is required is a device which will shunt a massive amount of current once a particular voltage is reached.

IMO, if your policy covers Acts of God and does not specifically exclude lightning strikes, then your insurance company needs to pay up.

Re: Lightning Strike saga

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 7:05 pm
by RevBrent
Excellent responses...thank you both of you. Not being knowledgable about such issues, I am pretty much having to rely on others' knowledge and explanations. It's just that I know what caused it, but I can't explain "how..." if that makes sense.

I'll work to understand the explanations so that I can hopefully explain them to the insurance.

Thanks so much.

Re: Lightning Strike saga

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:25 pm
by Ingineer
I agree, I've seen lots and lots of lightning damage with no blown circuit protection. Usually the only time a fuse or breaker will blow after a strike is if it shorts the diodes or transistors (IGBTs/MOSFETs) as a secondary effect.

I have 2 LEAF chargers that were blown by lightning hits. It left the power stages alone, but blew the logic.

Re: Lightning Strike saga

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:21 am
by AntronX
Ingineer wrote:...I have 2 LEAF chargers that were blown by lightning hits. It left the power stages alone, but blew the logic.

In your opinion, was the logic properly surge/emp protected? Could Nissan do better at making logic more resilient? This is what worries me about having out of warranty and completely software locked car. No way to fix blown components or swap them with cheap parts from a wreck. Nissan hold the key to all part authentication.

Re: Lightning Strike saga

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:50 am
by QueenBee
AntronX wrote:
Ingineer wrote:...I have 2 LEAF chargers that were blown by lightning hits. It left the power stages alone, but blew the logic.

In your opinion, was the logic properly surge/emp protected? Could Nissan do better at making logic more resilient? This is what worries me about having out of warranty and completely software locked car. No way to fix blown components or swap them with cheap parts from a wreck. Nissan hold the key to all part authentication.


Very few parts require anything special with regards to Nissan to be involved to replace them. You will know based on the instructions in the service manual and if there are steps which require a Consult 3. For the parts that do require a dealership to replace it's not uncommon for your dealership to help out using parts that you get from a junk yard. For example I had an Acura dealership replace my ECU with a used one I gave them and they programmed the keys into it. I had a Nissan dealership replace the AC compressor, DC/DC converter and main relays inside the pack from junk yard parts.