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Mods for the Blink EVSE ! (was Fix)

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:39 am
by Ingineer
Earlier tonight I did some investigation on the Blink EVSE and determined that the EVSE functions are implemented on a separate board than the Linux computer functions. They are connected by a small multipin harness, and when this harness is unplugged, the EVSE becomes "dumb". It will then always charge just like a non-smart AV or similar.

In addition, you can optionally unplug the Linux computer board which will shutdown those functions and save some standby power. I measured almost 20 watts standby in the stock configuration, and when taken to "dumb" EVSE mode, the standby power dropped to 12 watts. (an 8 watt savings!)

This may be a useful temporary solution until Ecotality gets their bugs fixed, so you can rest easy knowing the you'll wake up with a charged car instead of a dead one!

While I was in there I also noticed that the unit is equipped with a cellular modem, which I assume is used when the unit is installed somewhere without internet service.

They used an off-the-shelf single-phase electronic meter to measure consumption, which is read by the linux board.

Notice: Modification or even opening the case of the Blink EVSE may be a violation of your contract with Ecotality, so consider this before doing anything!

If you wish to turn your Blink into a reliable, but dumb EVSE, simply open the case and unplug the multipin blue cable from the top of the unit on the back board. If you want to shut down the Linux computer also, you can pull the 3-wire blue cable from the bottom of the front board. Note: cut power to the EVSE before opening the case, there is 240V present!

I'll post some pictures when I get time.

-Phil

Re: Fix for the Blink EVSE!

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:46 am
by davewill
That's comforting, knowing that if the logic board ever dies, I can still charge.

Re: Fix for the Blink EVSE!

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:23 pm
by GeekEV
Nice work! Leave it to you to address the shortcomings of other people's products. :)

Re: Fix for the Blink EVSE!

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:25 pm
by Ingineer
Here are some pictures. The First shows the top connector that when disconnected will ensure the EVSE basic function always works:
Image


Here is the bottom connector, when disconnected this will kill the display and all "higher functions", and HAL will no longer be able to send you out of the airlock as dead meat: (It will also save 8 watts!)
Image


This shows the off-the-shelf electronic meter they use to gather statistics. It has a display, so in theory you could extend the wiring and use it still to record your kWh:
Image


Again, I'll warn you that this modification or even opening the case of the Blink EVSE may be a violation of your contract with Ecotality, so consider this before doing anything!

-Phil

Re: Fix for the Blink EVSE!

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:36 pm
by davewill
Now that's hilarious! I mean, they put an entire logic board running Linux in there, but couldn't handle sampling and logging their own usage data? They had to put a whole logging meter, in it's friggin' case in there? I guess the logic board is only handling the display, timer, and network functions. It makes me wonder whether the logging was just slapped in to support the EV Project and is otherwise not part of their design.

Any signs of a serial console? And has anyone port scanned this puppy to see whether they might have left a telnet or ssh or other method of accessing a shell open?

Re: Fix for the Blink EVSE!

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:48 pm
by jamesanne
So this is more of a work around than a fix? To those who are having problems, please report them to Blink and the EV Project. That is the only way a real fix will be developed.

Phil, thanks for helping out those in a pinch, especially going into a weekend when tech support might not be available.

Re: Fix for the Blink EVSE!

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:57 pm
by davewill
jamesanne wrote:So this is more of a work around than a fix? To those who are having problems, please report them to Blink and the EV Project. That is the only way a real fix will be developed.

Phil, thanks for helping out those in a pinch, especially going into a weekend when tech support might not be available.
Definitely a workaround, and not one that's ultra useful while the Project is running because it would no longer send usage data to the mothership (and it still belongs to the Project so we aren't supposed to open it, anyway)...but it might be very handy at a later date if the EVSE malfs, and having it repaired is costly. At least we know we could do this lobotomy and get a functioning EVSE again.

Re: Fix for the Blink EVSE!

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:00 pm
by DarkStar
davewill wrote:Any signs of a serial console? And has anyone port scanned this puppy to see whether they might have left a telnet or ssh or other method of accessing a shell open?
I port scanned the whole damn thing and couldn't find anything except port 80... Hard to believe there isn't a way to telnet or ssh into it...
jamesanne wrote:So this is more of a work around than a fix? To those who are having problems, please report them to Blink and the EV Project. That is the only way a real fix will be developed.

Phil, thanks for helping out those in a pinch, especially going into a weekend when tech support might not be available.
Blink Network support is 24/7/365. They're based in Phoenix, Arizona too...

Re: Fix for the Blink EVSE!

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:02 pm
by Ingineer
Seems like they have had ample time to fix the issues. If anything issue a temporary fix to revert to "dumb" EVSE mode until they can fully test and work out the bugs, then issue another one later.

I recommend this band-aid just until they get their shit together and fix it!

After all, they have the thing checking for updates every 15 minutes! Why not make use of it?!?

I didn't try to locate a serial console port, but I suspect there is one. There are a lot of unused connectors, and it appears the OS is stored on a micro-SD card. The cellular modem appears to be connected via a standard USB port.

-Phil

Re: Fix for the Blink EVSE!

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:06 pm
by chris1howell
What a mess.... wires everwhere...