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Revision 2 upgrade for Nissan EVSE - Allows full level 2!

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:54 am
by Ingineer
I started this thread to keep the main EVSE upgrade thread clean. Please use this for discussion, Thanks!

NOTE: We are now accepting orders for new revision 2 upgrades on the web site.

We are now accepting the "second wave" of units from existing customers with Rev 1 units to also get the Rev 2 upgrade, however, We are only going to ship out on Wednesday, June the 15th. We will be devoting Tuesday/Wednesday to processing these upgrades for existing customers to satisfy demand. It is imperative your unit is delivered to us before Wednesday the 15th if you expect it back upgraded, otherwise you will have to wait until mid July! If you need quick turn-around please try to get it to us by noon on Wednesday, and we should be able to ship back out that afternoon.

There is an ordering button for existing customers at the bottom of the order page on the web site.

Also Note: We will be closed from June the 17th - July the 11th, so any orders received during that time could be refused delivery and may end up sitting in limbo until we re-open. Please do not ship us units during this time, we cannot be responsible for what happens to your package if you do!

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Here's the mini FAQ:

1. Please don't email/pm/call me. More time spent answering questions is less lab time! Ask your questions here so everyone can benefit from the answers.

2. The upgrade is firmware only, no hardware needs to be changed.

3. We are calling it the "Revision 2" or "Rev 2" upgrade to distinguish it from the original.

4. Presently the unit charges at the standard 12A when used on 120 volt outlets and the full 16A when used on 240 volts.

5. All existing EVSE upgrade customers can have this additional revision 2 upgrade applied to their revision 1 units for the same $48 as new customers, we will not be charging extra even though there is significantly more labor required. You will have to ship the units to us as before and cover the return shipping. (see top of page)

6. The cost is $48 additional if you are ordering the original revision 1 upgrade. Initially this may delay the turn-around of your unit (normally same day) by one additional day.

7. The unit charges your LEAF at 16A when connected to 240v, and the original 12A when connected to 120v. There is no way to adjust the charge rate other than this.

8. We have throughly tested this unit at 16a and believe it will be trouble-free, however you need to make double sure whatever source you connect the unit to can handle the 16a load. Please have a fully-qualified electrician inspect your wiring and outlets before use.

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UPDATE:

The revision 2 upgrade has been throughly tested at 16 amps, and even at up to 26.5 amps and had no trouble, failures, melting, etc.

Here's a thermal image of the EVSE after handling 26.5 amps for several minutes, and prior to that, 16 amps for almost an hour:
Image
As expected one of the warmest parts was the fuse, which is still very reasonable. The relays didn't seem to get much hotter even with the 26.5 amp current. There is still several watts of heat from each relay's coil which occurs even without any load, which is the source of warmth you feel after the unit has been in charge mode for a while. At 26.5 amps the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) traces got noticeably warm, but not hot. This means if the unit can survive 26.5 amps, it can easily handle 16!


Here's it charging a LEAF on 240v at 16a:
Image


Just for kicks, my "Quick240" charging my Plug-in Prius at 240v and 14.9a from 2 normal 120v wall outlets:
Image


Here's it being tortured at 26.5a. The cover is off so I can watch for smoke! (The thermal image above was taken soon afterwards.) It never smoked or (surprisingly) blew it's on-board fuse.
Image


Here's the conglomeration of wiring and adapters to plug both a LEAF and a Plug-in Prius into the same EVSE to give us the 26.5 amp torture-load:
Image


I have tested it over a weekend, overnight, and all day today in many situations and found no problems, so I believe it's ready for prime time.

Because of the immediate demand for this, it will be a fixed 16 amp upgrade. It is not user-adjustable down to any lower unless you use 120v. (it runs at 12a on 120v)

After spending considerable time I concluded that adding the mode select is difficult and involves re-writing the entire software for the unit, basically starting from scratch, as there is no source code available to me. This would drive up costs and require much more testing to insure the integrity of the new software.

So we have a relatively simple upgrade, which keeps the cost low, and there is less testing needed. The unit is running it's 99% original, well-tested software instead of an all-new version. The only scenario I can envision that would be problematic is attempting to charge from two 15 amp 120v circuits using a "Quick220", however I believe this is a rare circumstance, and in that case you will be forced to drop back to 12a (120v) or find another source of 240v, such as a dryer outlet.

I envision this as a total replacement for a more expensive permanently-installed home charging solution, as well as a faster "opportunity charging" option.

The cost is $48 additional for the revision 2 upgrade if we are already upgrading you to revision 1. It takes significantly more work to add this to an already upgraded revision 1 unit, but as a reward to our existing customers we have decided to charge the same as for new customers. You will still have to cover shipping, however. (see top of page for restrictions)

Unfortunately due to the expensive and complex programming hardware and procedures required, we simply cannot provide this as a "field upgrade" at this time. If we can develop portable programming hardware we may consider it in the future.

If you are not comfortable subjecting your wiring to 16 amps, or feel there may be instances you'd rather charge at 12 amps, simply don't avail yourself of this upgrade.

I'll try to answer all reasonable questions here in this thread. Please do not PM, email, call, or post in the other EVSE thread. I will try to add the questions to the FAQ as I can.

Thanks!

-Phil

Re: Revision 2 upgrade for Nissan EVSE - Allows full level 2

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:56 am
by DaveinOlyWA
thanks for your efforts Phil!

Re: Revision 2 upgrade for Nissan EVSE - Allows full level 2

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:59 am
by palmermd
DaveinOlyWA wrote:thanks for your efforts Phil!
+1

Re: Revision 2 upgrade for Nissan EVSE - Allows full level 2

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:04 am
by Ingineer
As I mentioned, the prototype unit charges at the standard 12A when used on 120v and the full 16A when used on 240v.

I can't think of a reason you'd ever need to charge at less than 16a on 240v unless you are sharing a 20A circuit with another LEAF or device. (which you shouldn't be doing anyway!) The LEAF will only charge at 12a on 120v regardless of what the EVSE tells it.

Charging at lower rates maybe desirable in certain rare situations on 120v, but in those cases is it really even worth the bother? If we are charging at only 8 amps (960va), that's probably only ~850w into the battery. That would be a 28+ hour charge time!

Adding the mode select logic that would allow you to select lower charge rates is possible, but it will increase the development time and thus the cost.

I'd love to hear what everyone thinks.

-Phil

Re: Revision 2 upgrade for Nissan EVSE - Allows full level 2

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:12 am
by chris1howell
Good work Phil,

I think 12A at 120V and 16A at 240V is perfect. I think simple is better, no need for a mode select function to add 12A at 240V...

Chris

Re: Revision 2 upgrade for Nissan EVSE - Allows full level 2

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:18 am
by popak
Ingineer wrote:I'd love to hear what everyone thinks.
Automatically using 12A at 120V and 16A at 240V is perfect. I don't think it's worth the additional time or cost to add the other options that provide marginal value anyway (and also add complexity for the typical user).

And thanks for all the great work you have been doing!

Re: Revision 2 upgrade for Nissan EVSE - Allows full level 2

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:20 am
by palmermd
chris1howell wrote:Good work Phil,

I think 12A at 120V and 16A at 240V is perfect. I think simple is better, no need for a mode select function to add 12A at 240V...

Chris
I agree. Keep it simple. The need to have a reduced rate would be so rare, its not worth the extra cost and effort.

Re: Revision 2 upgrade for Nissan EVSE - Allows full level 2

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:23 am
by Glenn
Ingineer wrote:Adding the mode select logic that would allow you to select lower charge rates is possible, but it will increase the development time and thus the cost.
I'm with Chris on this, Phil. Keep it simple. You know better than anyone what works and how to optimize the product, so give us the best bang for our buck. Let Blink add the bells and whistles, they already know how to overdo things!

Glenn

Re: Revision 2 upgrade for Nissan EVSE - Allows full level 2

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:25 am
by wq2345
Ingineer wrote: Adding the mode select logic that would allow you to select lower charge rates is possible, but it will increase the development time and thus the cost.
I'd love to hear what everyone thinks.
My vote: no need for the lower charge rate.

Lower charge rates don't seem particularly useful (it's low enough at 12A 120V or 16A 240V already).
The promise of a higher rate (20A 240V) is definitely worth it obviously.

That being said, I will likely have to put in a dedicated L6-20 outlet for Revision2 as I don't believe the Quick220 would be wise (or work?) with a 20A draw.
Thanks again for your work Phil.

Re: Revision 2 upgrade for Nissan EVSE - Allows full level 2

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:33 am
by IBELEAF
I am probably way ahead of time, but still curious if this upgrade will work with future Leafs that might have 6.6 kWh chargers