trumpetnelson
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:16 am
Delivery Date: 26 Oct 2014

Unable to charge my 2015 Leaf from my solar panels - Help!

Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:13 pm

I have installed and operated a stand alone system since 2006, designed to provide lights, tools, fans and air conditioning. It works well and located at my airport hangar. I am off the grid.

My 2015 Leaf has only the 120v cord that came with the car.

I calculate that my fully charged (from PV panels) battery bank has the kwh to provide more than 1/2 of the Leaf's capacity. The system can and will operate at over 20 amps at 120v, and I have it protected by a 20 amp breaker downstream of the inverter. The 120v plug on my Leaf should pull about 12 amps. I have run 15 amp loads (air conditioner) with no issues, including the current starting surge requirements.

All looks well when plugging in the cord and then connecting the Leaf, but after about 4 seconds I got surging sounds from both the inverter and the car, and then the 120v charging brick shut down on fault (probably a good thing with my 2 week old car). I don't plan to try this again (!) until I understand what is happening ...

Any ideas from the brain trust here ??

Thanks,
Nelson in San Antonio

KJD
Posts: 1348
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Leaf Number: 15656
Location: SLC, UT
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Re: Unable to charge my 2015 Leaf from my solar panels - Hel

Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:17 pm

My off grid solar system charges my 2012 LEAF SL without any problem.

What kind of inverter do you have and what is the output rating ?
2012 SL Delivered 12/08/2011
Sold 05/12/2015
2012 Tesla Model S 85

dsinned
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Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:20 pm

Re: Unable to charge my 2015 Leaf from my solar panels - Hel

Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:48 pm

Is your system properly (Earth) grounded?

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RegGuheert
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Re: Unable to charge my 2015 Leaf from my solar panels - Hel

Tue Nov 11, 2014 4:07 pm

Hi trumpetnelson,

I agree that you should ensure that the grounding is appropriate, as the LEAF is very particular about whether the ground pin moves relative to the two hots. There are posts here regarding how to address that safely if the system is ungrounded.

Another idea that I have is to go with EVSEUpgrade.com which not only allows you to access 240VAC charging, but also it permits you to reduce the current allowed by the system down to 8A (IIRC). If this works with 120VAC charging, then it could give you more flexibility on how you charge when other loads are present.

Good luck!
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

2k1Toaster
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Leaf Number: 420903

Re: Unable to charge my 2015 Leaf from my solar panels - Hel

Tue Nov 11, 2014 4:57 pm

+1 on what type of solar inverter.

My main solar inverter (10KW) runs everything fine with a true sine wave output. My little 2KW inverters output a stepped wave that electronics don't like. I haven't tried charging the Leaf directly from it, but without the grid to even it out, it is a pretty bad signal.
2013 Nissan Leaf SV with every option
2013 Prius C Package 4
2012 Lexus RX450h
2006 Prius Gen II, pIV
2005 Honda Civic Hybrid
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smkettner
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Re: Unable to charge my 2015 Leaf from my solar panels - Hel

Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:01 pm

My 2 kW GoPower inverter charges my RAV4-EV just fine. Have run it for over 30 minutes just to test.
What inverter are you using?
1 bar lost at 21,451 miles, 16 months.
2 bar lost at 35,339 miles, 25 months.
LEAF traded at 45,400 miles for a RAV4-EV
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trumpetnelson
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:16 am
Delivery Date: 26 Oct 2014

Re: Unable to charge my 2015 Leaf from my solar panels - Hel

Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:48 pm

Many thanks to the team for all the responses. Here is the info on my inverter, and my planned next step:

- - INVERTER INFO: xantrex DR series Inverter / Charger, Model DR2412, Max continuous 2400 watts, Max continuous AC output current 20 amps, Max AC output overcurrent protection 30 amps. I really don't know if this provides AC energy that is "clean" enough for the Leaf 120v input.

- - MY NEXT PLANNED STEP: good idea on the electronic's sensitivity to ground. The system is currently grounded using the metal frame (welded) of my hangar, which consists of nine 6-inch pipes each set over 4 feet into the ground. But from an electrician's viewpoint, somewhat Mickey mouse. So .... I will drive a more typical copper ground rod into the earth next time I am out there, make sure it is properly moist, and connect up/ground the inverter fed breaker panel in the more conventional manner.

Crossing my fingers and hoping to use "free" (ok - - laughing allowed) solar energy,

Nelson
(hey - - how does someone post a photo here???)

KJD
Posts: 1348
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:06 am
Delivery Date: 08 Dec 2011
Leaf Number: 15656
Location: SLC, UT
Contact: Website

Re: Unable to charge my 2015 Leaf from my solar panels - Hel

Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:01 pm

That sounds like the same inverter I am using, so my guess is the inverter is OK.

How big is your battery bank ?

The reason I am asking is maybe if the solar battery pack is too small the voltage would drop enough to make the system shutdown. This is just a guess, but it is possible.
2012 SL Delivered 12/08/2011
Sold 05/12/2015
2012 Tesla Model S 85

mbender
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Location: The Great California Delta, and environs

Re: Unable to charge my 2015 Leaf from my solar panels - Hel

Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:06 pm

trumpetnelson wrote:Nelson
(hey - - how does someone post a photo here???)
I think you have to be a Gold Member ($30/year), unless the image is online and has a url:
Image
See here and here.
I think I just felt my paradigm shift.

2012 SL (One of the colors): 2-year lease, 2012+,
2015 S w/QC (A different color): 3-year lease, 2014+,
2017 SV (Same color as 2015 S): 3-year lease, 2017+, lower monthly than either above(!)

QueenBee
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Re: Unable to charge my 2015 Leaf from my solar panels - Hel

Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:45 pm

One thing to note is that the EVSE isn't checking for continuity between the ground wiring and the physical earth. It is checking between the hot side and the ground wiring. So if your neutral was not bonded to ground then you'd fail the ground check. It sure seems like since it starts charging that this not a ground issue. Though I suspect it's still a good idea to have a ground rod and have your metal building bonded with it.

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