Rat
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Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:47 pm
Delivery Date: 08 Sep 2011
Location: Silicon Valley
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Public Blinks still the pits

Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:35 pm

My home Blink EVSE unit has worked like a charm. No problems. Today, though, I had yet another miserable experience trying to use their public chargers. I drove from Los Altos to Pleasanton where I stopped to use the QC at Strong Tie. Here's the sequence:

1. Strong Tie QC wouldn't read my Blink card after multiple tries. I called the number on the card, got a guest code and was able to quick charge to 80% with that but I lost about 13-15 minutes trying to get my card to work then calling Blink, waiting on hold a bit, getting my identity verified and getting the code entered correctly. It only gave me choices for 50% and 80% and shut off at the end instead of letting me go to 90% or 100%. I decided not to call and get a new code. I assumed guests were not allowed to charge past 80%
2. After driving around Livermore a bit I headed home, thinking I could make it on 6 bars, but at Mission SJ with 2 bars and 13 mi. on the GOM I decided I'd better grab some more charge. I knew Ohlone College had a QC, so I diverted there. (CarWings found it immediately for me and directed me there perfectly.) When I pulled in, the GOM was at 12 miles and 2 bars.
3. The QC at Ohlone left nozzle wouldn't read my card, so I called for the code again. I got through quickly but went through an even longer cross-examination about my identity and the guy wanted to give me a survey about my home unit, but I cut him off. When I tried to enter the code, it was very difficult to see because the unit was mounted so that the setting sun shone through the big rectangular hole in the middle right behind the touch screen. About one time in four when I pushed one of the touch screen buttons, it would double enter the number, so I would have to cancel and start all over since there is no way to delete the last digit. It took me three times to get the authorization code in and accepted. Then I plugged the nozzle in but the screen kept telling me to plug it in. I unplugged and replugged three times for a total of four times. A message came up that it was about to time out and asked if I wanted to keep connected. I pressed yes three times but it didn't register any of them and disconnected.
4. I gave up and moved to the other handle. It wouldn't read my card either, but the Blink rep, who was very patient and helpful, had stayed on the line the whole time and gave me a new code. This took even longer because on this touch screen, it tended to double enter the digits even more frequently. I think it took at least five tries to get the code in. The sun was still blinding me, too. When it said to plug in I did and this time it recognized that it was plugged in (a message said "plugged in" on the screen). The solid blue light came on on the dash. But even though I had pushed the kill timer button, nothing happened. The Blink unit kept saying it was waiting for the car to communicate. It finally timed out and disconnected. We repeated it, again having trouble with the codes, but faster this time with all the practice. The second time the same thing happened - unable to communicate with the car.
5. The rep asked me to read him the serial number on the QC. He looked it up in his database and said it had worked that morning so he thought it was my car, not the unit. He also said he was sending me a new card. Then he said he was going to reboot that unit and it would take about 15 minutes. I had already spent more than that trying to charge here. I told him to go ahead but I was going to use one of the Level 2 Blink units that were right next to the QC.
6. I plugged into one of the Level 2's. It read my card immediately and authorized charging. I plugged in and had no problem with that plug. The machine read "charging" and the blue light started blinking on the dash, so I finally felt that at least I could get enough to get home. I foolishly walked off to see the campus, which I had never seen. It was very pretty, with a really impressive outdoor amphitheater. By the time I got back, 20 minutes later, I noticed it wasn't charging. I later found out from emails at home that it had charged only 1 minute then shut off. Why I don't know. There was no message on the screen.
7. I repeated the process with the Level 2 EVSE and it started up again easily with no trouble with either the card or the plug. This time I stayed with the car and watched the EVSE and the dash lights. They stayed on the whole time and I got 19 minutes worth of charge before I decided I could make it home on what I had. I had two bars and 19 mi. on the GOM.
8. I got home with one bar, a low battery warning, and 4 mi. on the GOM. I was at Ohlone for 50 minutes to pick up 7 miles and 0 bars of charge, for which I was charged a dollar. Or maybe two dollars. I never saw a message after the first charge stopped, so I'm not sure.

The Leaf and the Blink home EVSE are both totally trouble-free and everything I had hoped for. I never even have to think about charging in my normal day-to-day activities, but it is pretty much impossible to go beyond the 70 mile range. Trying to charge away from home is a nightmare. I have had similar problems with almost every public Blink I've used, QC or L2. The ChargePoint ones are better, but they aren't QC. I haven't tried any of the evGo ones, but those require a monthly subscription and I only publicly charge once a year or so, so it's not worth it to join.

Am I the only ones with these problems or is it only my car that hates the Blinks? Is there anything that can be done? Are there non-Blink QC units around I can try? The only two I know of are an evGo one in Livermore and the one at Stanford Shopping Center. The technology just isn't ready for prime time. Do the Tesla superchargers work any better? (yes, I know you need a Tesla).
2011 SL down to 9 capacity bars
OnWords

braebyrn
Gold Member
Posts: 94
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:20 pm
Delivery Date: 08 Nov 2013
Leaf Number: 024521
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Public Blinks still the pits

Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:16 pm

Rat wrote:My home Blink EVSE unit has worked like a charm. No problems. Today, though, I had yet another miserable experience trying to use their public chargers. I drove from Los Altos to Pleasanton where I stopped to use the QC at Strong Tie. Here's the sequence:
I feel for ya. When I started using the Blink QC in my area, I came across the same trouble as you. FYI, when you were double punching the code, that is because the screen calibration was changed. I came up to the Blink QC many times and noticed the screen asking for a calibration. Once it was completed, it worked great. I don't know how to access that screen and it would have helped me many times when I had to push the buttons a 1/2 inch down on the keypad to get it to work.

We have at least three Blink QC stations that are located within a few miles of each other and they have been down on a regular basis now. I don't even plan on going anywhere near them now. Hopefully they will get them fixed soon.

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Wennfred
Posts: 383
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:47 am
Delivery Date: 24 Mar 2011
Leaf Number: 000660
Location: San Diego, CA (Imperial Beach)

Re: Public Blinks still the pits

Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:44 pm

Most Blink DCQC stations in San Diego are down, the one here at SDSU is going on 3 months now, lots of calls and emails with no response.

I signed up with the EVGo company, $7.99 for 60 day trial unlimited charge and have been topping off using their DCQC stations with no problems, we have 2 here in the South Bay San Diego. These EVGo stations have the Nissan logo on the side of the pump.


Fred
MFG: FEB 2011, Red Recd 08/10/13 @ 19600 Miles
"Eco Mode" only. 06/24/15 - 9 CB @ 43,000mi 100% charge: GIDS=199, S=95.37, C=46.76, H=50.51 Lost 1st CB at 26300, 2nd CB 34274 3rd CB 43000 miles

Rat
Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:47 pm
Delivery Date: 08 Sep 2011
Location: Silicon Valley
Contact: Website Twitter

Re: Public Blinks still the pits

Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:35 pm

It's good to know that I'm not the only one with a problem, I suppose, but I seem to be having problems with machines that other people are able to use. I'm wondering whether I need to take it to a dealer or it's just Blink that's the problem.
2011 SL down to 9 capacity bars
OnWords

evmike
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:53 pm

Re: Public Blinks still the pits

Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:28 pm

I would use the Nissan Dealer in Fremont for a QC. It is free and there is no card involved. I have had good luck using the Hayward Blink QC several times with no issue. They have a wall of level 2 chargers as well.

There is a sub menu on the Blink QC which allows for 100%. However I have found that you don't always get 100% according to the car.

padamson1
Posts: 308
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 4:58 pm
Delivery Date: 27 Oct 2011
Leaf Number: 9240
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Public Blinks still the pits

Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:13 pm

evmike wrote:I would use the Nissan Dealer in Fremont for a QC. It is free and there is no card involved. I have had good luck using the Hayward Blink QC several times with no issue. They have a wall of level 2 chargers as well.

There is a sub menu on the Blink QC which allows for 100%. However I have found that you don't always get 100% according to the car.
I've never had a QC charge to a level that was confirmed by the car, it is almost always 15-20% Off. Ask to charge to 80% get 8bars, 100% get 10bars. Funny thing is when the machine reports the starting state of my battery it's much closer.

Tried an AeroVironment unit off I-5 awhile back and it worked flawlessly. No wonder Blink filed for bankruptcy.

stevel
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:35 pm

Re: Public Blinks still the pits

Sun Nov 16, 2014 5:00 pm

Hi,

I also visited the Ohlone College Blink fast chargers, on Tuesday November 11, 2014, needing to charge my LEAF to get to Livermore.

Both ports were inoperable. One port had a completely blank screen, so there was no hope even trying that port.

The other port had a dead touch screen. I swiped my blink card and it was recognized, but the screen did not respond to my touching "continue" button so it timed out every time. So this port was also inoperable.

I called a blink rep at the site and she did the usual remote reset of the units which did not help.

I told her this situation was unacceptable and that this station needs to be fixed ASAP as EV drivers are so reliant on the few QC stations that exist. She said she would try to get someone out there and would "elevate" the priiority or words to that effect.

Has anyone visited this site since 11/11/2014, and is it fixed yet?

cwerdna
Posts: 11019
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:31 pm
Delivery Date: 28 Jul 2013
Location: SF Bay Area, CA

Re: Public Blinks still the pits

Mon Nov 17, 2014 1:06 am

padamson1 wrote:
evmike wrote:I would use the Nissan Dealer in Fremont for a QC. It is free and there is no card involved. I have had good luck using the Hayward Blink QC several times with no issue. They have a wall of level 2 chargers as well.

There is a sub menu on the Blink QC which allows for 100%. However I have found that you don't always get 100% according to the car.
I've never had a QC charge to a level that was confirmed by the car, it is almost always 15-20% Off. Ask to charge to 80% get 8bars, 100% get 10bars. Funny thing is when the machine reports the starting state of my battery it's much closer.
It looks like the DC FC at Premier Nissan in Fremont is probably no longer free given that it's part of the eVgo network now per http://api.plugshare.com/view/location/5040" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

I've never used a Blink DC FC but the % SoC display on my '13 Leaf (when I've compared) is always within 1% of what the http://nissanqc.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; say on their display. The ones I've used don't ask how full you'd like to charge to. They go until you unplug or AFAIK, are full.

I'm not too surprised it's risky/a potentially a waste of time/some time to use any Blink infrastructure.
Rat wrote: The ChargePoint ones are better, but they aren't QC. I haven't tried any of the evGo ones, but those require a monthly subscription and I only publicly charge once a year or so, so it's not worth it to join.
http://api.plugshare.com/view/location/14866" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; is a http://nissanqc.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; on Chargepoint. I've used it a few times before and after it had Chargepoint equipment on it. http://www.chargepoint.com/press-releases/2013/0905" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; is on Chargepoint but is err... rather far away for both of us. But yes, there are few CHAdeMO DC FCs on Chargepoint.

I don't believe your statement regarding eVgo is correct given what I see at http://www.nrgevgo.com/san-francisco-bay-area/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. But, it may not helped you much/at all when you made your OP. I didn't realize until later that this thread was quite old and only recently got bumped.

'19 Bolt Premier
'13 Leaf SV w/premium (owned)
'13 Leaf SV w/QC + LED & premium (lease over)

Please don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.

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JeremyW
Posts: 1550
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:53 am
Delivery Date: 23 Jun 2012
Leaf Number: 19136
Location: San Gabriel, CA

Re: Public Blinks still the pits

Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:10 am

cwerdna wrote:I've never used a Blink DC FC but the % SoC display on my '13 Leaf (when I've compared) is always within 1% of what the http://nissanqc.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; say on their display
Only 2011-2012 models are horribly inaccurate when reporting SOC to the quick charger.
Former 2012 SL leasee 6/23/12 - 9/23/15
Former Fit EV leasee.
Now driving Spark EV and Model 3.

Pipcecil
Posts: 810
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:15 pm
Location: Midlothian, TX

Re: Public Blinks still the pits

Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:35 am

I just hope Blink goes away and someone more competent takes them over. Seriously. They are the most expensive per use charge around and have the worst reliability. How can you be the most expensive but the worst product? There is something horribly wrong with that statement.

Here in Dallas-Fort Worth we only have level 2's but they have 80%+ of all the stations in the area (probably more). Unfortunately we are an area which "they can't charge per kW" - which is a joke since their own ChargePoint stations in the area charge per kW already This makes their cost horrible; I pay $2.50 per hour to go 12 miles. Gas is $2.50 a gallon. I pay more than trucks for fuel since trucks (which texas has a ton of) easily get 15-18 mpg average now.

And they are STILL unreliable. So many stations broken, so many stations never reported being broke (even on the maps) until you drive up to the units themselves. Its just awful. I was really hoping CarCharging would fix the Blink mess. All they did was fix a few stations, not maintain the rest (which some now broke), and increase our cost by 150%.

We have eVgo here and they are awesome. Yea, its hard to keep doing the monthly payments, but they are consistent, reliable, and will work hard to make sure their units are always functional. To me, that reliability is worth every penny.
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