Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
495 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Chargemaster seems to have given up the ghost - red light and no charging. It was fitted free in 2014, way before I got the Ampera I am currently running. I'm going to take it down and open it up to see if there is anything obvious but I'm really not hopeful.

I've called them (now BP Chargemaster) and they can't offer much except a replacement at full cost. I wouldn't be eligible for the grant as I've already had it once.

So I'm thinking I have choices -

The cabling appears to be 32A (16.5mm cable) and it's on a 32A breaker. So with an eye to the medium term future when I change my car I'm thinking I should get a 30/32A charger. Can anyone see any flaws with that?

With no wiring to do it is an easy self-install, or at least by my electrician mate. Chargemaster said that the warranty would be invalidated if they don't install it

I'd sooner not spend too much on it and I don't really need smart capability but if it was included that would be OK ( - I gather it's a must for the grant). I have an Octopus smart meter and can manage the switching for the Agile or Go tariff myself (using Home Assistant) so nothing fancy is required there. I do have solar panels but it's not a huge set up so I'm not too bothered about automatically soaking up the excess into the car.

Any thoughts/recommendations would be appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
326 Posts
Go with another company who will give a warranty, bit cheeky as it's a sealed unit connected in a junction box. If it's fed just by a mcb make sure the new charger has o-pen or fit a rod.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,718 Posts
Any thoughts/recommendations would be appreciated.
The cable and breaker will probably be fine, but the regs have changed the last few years. You need an electrician to do a proper install, hopefully using the existing cable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,704 Posts
As it's a replacement unit on an existing circuit there is no requirement for this to be done by a Part P electrician (assuming it's in "Part P land" - England and Wales, not Scotland), any competent person with the right test equipment can fit the replacement charge point and sign off the installation chit.

In terms of test equipment, as a bare minimum there needs to be an insulation resistance test done on the existing cabling, the RCD needs to be tested for trip time and current and the loop impedances need to be tested. To do this needs a vehicle simulator (to turn the charge point on and gain test meter access to the connector terminals safely) plus an ordinary MFT. It goes without saying that any replacement unit needs to comply with the current regs, and so requires DC tolerant earth leakage protection, in addition to some form of open PEN fault protection if wired to a PME supply. If the installation is connected to a PME system, is wired as TT and uses an earth electrode for open PEN protection, then Ra needs to be checked to ensure it's within limits (generally less than 200Ω, but the lower the better).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,718 Posts
any competent person with the right test equipment can fit the replacement charge point and sign off the installation chit.
OK.
But in practice that'll be an electrician, like his mate. Though I doubt many of them will have "a vehicle simulator" yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,704 Posts
OK.
But in practice that'll be an electrician, like his mate. Though I doubt many of them will have "a vehicle simulator" yet.

It's physically impossible to test a charge point without a vehicle simulator box, as there's no way to get the contactor to close without it, and unless the connector can be made live there's no way to do even the most basic of installation testing, let alone that required by the regs.

Not at all hard to make a vehicle simulator, though. Mine's home made, fully compliant with IEC 61851 and does the job just fine. Those with money to burn can spend four or five times more and just buy one from one of the test gear suppliers. This is mine (the 13 A outlet is just to make it easy to plug my MFT in):

141624
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,718 Posts
Not at all hard to make a vehicle simulator, though.
Probably not, but given that most EVSE work is currently done by a fairly small number of specialists I'd be surprised if even 10% of 'general purpose' sparkies would be bothered to make or buy such a device yet. It's still niche work.

That's a nice looking implementation though (y)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,704 Posts
That box cost around £90 or so for the parts, most of that being the cost of the Type 2 connector. Took maybe an hour to build. it could easily pay for itself over a handful of charge point installations, given the prices that some of the so-called "specialist" installers are charging. I don't charge for testing, etc, don't need to, being retired, but I have found a shockingly high percentage of seriously dodgy charge point installs, almost all done by companies claiming to be "specialists" that nine times out of ten just contract the work out to someone local, anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,110 Posts
My Chargemaster seems to have given up the ghost - red light and no charging. It was fitted free in 2014, way before I got the Ampera I am currently running. I'm going to take it down and open it up to see if there is anything obvious but I'm really not hopeful.

I've called them (now BP Chargemaster) and they can't offer much except a replacement at full cost. I wouldn't be eligible for the grant as I've already had it once.

So I'm thinking I have choices -

The cabling appears to be 32A (16.5mm cable) and it's on a 32A breaker. So with an eye to the medium term future when I change my car I'm thinking I should get a 30/32A charger. Can anyone see any flaws with that?

With no wiring to do it is an easy self-install, or at least by my electrician mate. Chargemaster said that the warranty would be invalidated if they don't install it

I'd sooner not spend too much on it and I don't really need smart capability but if it was included that would be OK ( - I gather it's a must for the grant). I have an Octopus smart meter and can manage the switching for the Agile or Go tariff myself (using Home Assistant) so nothing fancy is required there. I do have solar panels but it's not a huge set up so I'm not too bothered about automatically soaking up the excess into the car.

Any thoughts/recommendations would be appreciated.
I'd strip out the internals, mount up a Din rail and install a contactor, protocol controller. Just reuse the casing and cable.
You need to check what kind of RCD to fit, get your electrician friend to advise and get him to advise on the earthing too.
Go to EcoHarmony for the contactor and protocol controller.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,704 Posts
I recently made up a new charge point, ready for the Zoe my wife has on order, using off-the-shelf parts, the Viridian EPC, plus a DP contactor, with a time switch added for simple selection of off-peak charging with a weatherproof switch to control the IC terminal on the Viridian EPC. Not hard to build, I used a small Wylex IP65 enclosure, could have used a slightly smaller one if I'd not needed the time switch. I didn't need to use the more expensive Viridian EPC that has the option of DC tolerant earth leakage sensing and open PEN fault detection, as the charge point's wired to a garage sub-main that was already TT, so I just swapped out the Type A RCD for a Type B one. Bought most of the parts from Ecoharmony, the total cost for the charge point, excluding the cable and Type B RCD came to about £130 with the time switch and larger enclosure. If I'd opted not to include the time switch I could have used the smaller Wylex 3 module enclosure and the cost would have come to about £105 (again excluding the cable and connector).

The finished unit, installed and tested, looks like this, fixed to a post adjacent to the end of the drive where my wife normally parks her car:

141638
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
268 Posts
I'd strip out the internals, mount up a Din rail and install a contactor, protocol controller. Just reuse the casing and cable.
You need to check what kind of RCD to fit, get your electrician friend to advise and get him to advise on the earthing too.
Go to EcoHarmony for the contactor and protocol controller.
If you’re lucky and it’s only the controller that’s failed you might not even need to replace the contactor.
Did the old Chargemaster units even have an RCD? I don’t remember seeing any means to reset it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,110 Posts
I recently made up a new charge point, ready for the Zoe my wife has on order, using off-the-shelf parts, the Viridian EPC, plus a DP contactor, with a time switch added for simple selection of off-peak charging with a weatherproof switch to control the IC terminal on the Viridian EPC. Not hard to build, I used a small Wylex IP65 enclosure, could have used a slightly smaller one if I'd not needed the time switch. I didn't need to use the more expensive Viridian EPC that has the option of DC tolerant earth leakage sensing and open PEN fault detection, as the charge point's wired to a garage sub-main that was already TT, so I just swapped out the Type A RCD for a Type B one. Bought most of the parts from Ecoharmony, the total cost for the charge point, excluding the cable and Type B RCD came to about £130 with the time switch and larger enclosure. If I'd opted not to include the time switch I could have used the smaller Wylex 3 module enclosure and the cost would have come to about £105 (again excluding the cable and connector).

The finished unit, installed and tested, looks like this, fixed to a post adjacent to the end of the drive where my wife normally parks her car:

View attachment 141638
That's a nice job. Using a transparent cover means the status lights on the protocol controller can directly be viewed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,704 Posts
That's a nice job. Using a transparent cover means the status lights on the protocol controller can directly be viewed.

Thanks, yes, it's a cheap and easy way to both house things and avoid the need to use an additional LED for the indicator. Using the smaller WBE3 enclosure (without fitting the time switch) would make the unit even smaller. Pity that these enclosures aren't available in black, though, as they probably don't tolerate being spray painted well and black would look less intrusive.

It got tested during the E7 off-peak period last night and worked just fine, started charging at 11:30 (the start of our off-peak period) and stopped about 01:40 when the car had reached 90%.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
495 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's impressive Jeremy, wish I had the skills.

But I am in conversation with EVBITZ about re-using the box with new innards, which they will supply and fit. I'm not completely committed yet but it's close.

I'm quite relieved that there are cheaper solutions out there as to fit a new one would have been expensive without the grant.

Someone upthread mentioned the OHME cable into a commando socket with my Agile electricity. I looked at that but I'm pretty sure the cable is only 5m and I really need 8m. I have an outstanding enquiry with them. The pages seem very light on technical info.

Thanks to all for advice and tips.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top