tps
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Re: $20 Panasonic trickle charge mod allows 240VAC @ 12 amps

Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:53 pm

lincomatic wrote:Hmm.. I saw your post in a different thread, about generators, where you mention that the EVSE checks to make sure gnd and neutral are connected together...
Do we know exactly how the EVSE checks for ground continuity?

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Re: $20 Panasonic trickle charge mod allows 240VAC @ 12 amps

Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:31 pm

Jack, Thanks for all your efforts on this and sharing it openly...

I will be keeping an eye on the progress.

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Re: $20 Panasonic trickle charge mod allows 240VAC @ 12 amps

Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:40 pm

mxp wrote:Jack, Thanks for all your efforts on this and sharing it openly...
I will be keeping an eye on the progress.
+1!
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Re: $20 Panasonic trickle charge mod allows 240VAC @ 12 amps

Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:46 am

Thanks for sharing this openly Jack!
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Re: $20 Panasonic trickle charge mod allows 240VAC @ 12 amps

Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:44 pm

Full disclosure I have not opened my Nissan EVSE and am not an EE (although I play one on TV)...

Pictures from http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=2633

I have to agree with lincomatic, the optimal way to upgrade the Nissan EVSE and likely what Phil at evseupgrade.com is doing is to replace the 120V only transformer (2nd picture) with a universal switch mode power supply. Doing so will change the output from AC to DC requiring depoting of the board to bypass the rectification diodes. There may or maybe not be other components which require upgrade due to the voltage increase. As mentioned in other posts the relays do not require upgrade as they are rated at 250V @ 20A (picture 4).

Powering the mainboard on 120 and bypassing 240 to the relays is a bit messy, while it would work I wouldnt do it...Doing it the right way may cost $30 instead of $20 and all the safety features would remain.

I believe the ground check uses the 3rd smaller relay (3rd picture far right) to pass a small current from L1 Hot to ground through a 5k or so resistor. If you listen carefully you can hear a clicking right after connection before the main relays engage. I do not think it is checking to see if Neutral and Ground are tied together only that there is a path to ground. Routing current through the 5k resistor would be enough to cause a ground fault so.... my theory is the EVSE powers the 3rd relay causing current to flow to Ground causing the GFCI to read a fault if so, ground and the GFCI CT coil is good. If ground is bad no current flows and the GFCI does not read a fault and the EVSE goes into Fault state.
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Re: $20 Panasonic trickle charge mod allows 240VAC @ 12 amps

Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:12 pm

The diodes for AC rectification should not need changing.

Yes, a "universal" DC supply replaces the AC transformer.

The input pigtail and plug are replaced.

Testing is probably done before and after the Mod.

At least one component apparently needs replacing for reliable 240v operation ...
maybe a surge protection that was across the two input power lines?
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jwallace3
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Re: $20 Panasonic trickle charge mod allows 240VAC @ 12 amps

Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:48 pm

My digikey parts have arrived so I will be trying the retrofit tonight. Will post results as soon as it's tested and perfected with all safetly features in place.
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Re: $20 Panasonic trickle charge mod allows 240VAC @ 12 amps

Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:27 pm

jwallace3 wrote:I am just posting results of my own mod that is inexpensive for those who are wanting to try it themselves. To build one from scratch costs less than $50 for the electronics and such, the connector is the main cost.

The $20 dollar fix is for those who need a quick, portable option that's cheap and easy to perform. It involves changing out the pigtail and running 2 jumpers. Quick and easy. Not a good permanent solution, but for some, it may meet their imediate needs. Details to come with pics. It's about a 20 minute operation for those that are interested.
Very cool jwallace3! Thank you for having the desire and expertise required to investigate this and thank you for being so willing to share your findings here with the community. I look forward to reading more of your posts. :D

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Re: $20 Panasonic trickle charge mod allows 240VAC @ 12 amps

Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:41 pm

I guess I'd be more interested in this upgrade except one issue. In the 6 months I've owned my leaf I've only charged it away from home 1 time at a family members home, and even then I didn't really need the charge but wanted to feel a bit safe since it was a long drive home. The thing is, even if I had wanted to charge at 240 Volts, there is nowhere I would have been able to find it unless I had started poking around their home looking for appliances that might use it that I could unplug.

Now, if I wanted to use it at my own home, I could certainly run a 240V plug somewhere in my garage. So I could see doing this mod as a cheap substitute for a wall-mounting EVSE. I just can't see the usefulness as an away-from-home EVSE.
Last edited by adric22 on Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: $20 Panasonic trickle charge mod allows 240VAC @ 12 amps

Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:44 pm

I fully support DIY efforts like this, but I'd like to issue a warning that this modification as presently implemented defeats the GFCI function of the EVSE and could result in electric shock or death by electrocution in the event of a mishap. This is why the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) developed a safe standard fro charging EV's and didn't just install a standard plug on them.

EV's are used outdoors, and it's very likely you will at some point connect to something where one or more components are wet. I strongly recommend you do not use any EVSE where the safety has been compromised intentionally. If someone's child plays with your charge cord and gets killed and you knowingly installed a dangerous cord with the safety circuits intentionally bypassed, you could be in big trouble!

The other thing is that one of the 240v legs in the J1772 end is hot all the time, and is not shut off when the handle release button is pulled. In fact, the only way to shut this off is to cut power to the mod. Not very safe at all! The SAE J1772 spec requires that ALL AC power lines be isolated when the pilot signal load is de-asserted by the car.

You just spent many thousands of dollars on your LEAF purchase or lease, I wouldn't sacrifice a few dollars for safety.

I also think any Electrical Engineers that publish details on how to defeat safety circuits are doing a disservice to their profession and the public in general.

-Phil
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