Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner
1 - 20 of 101 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi EV'ers,

I've been living on this forum for a few days as my unreliable 5 year old Rolec home charger finally failed. After a bit of the usual (off at the RCD in the house, back on again) it was still not working. With a gentle hit the charger lights flicked on for a few seconds then back off. I turned off the power supply then opened it up to find the usual. Scorched RCBO (N wire).

With the advice on other threads I purchased a replacement GARO RCBO and installed it this morning. I noticed the terminals looked reversed and installed accordingly. Brown (L) to the L terminals and Grey/Blue to the N Terminals. After installation I turned the power on and the RCBO 'popped'. Not sure how else to describe it but a popping noise. No sign of damage. No smell.

Since then I have been unable to get any power at all. I have re-terminated with the screws being as tight as possible on the terminals. I have cleaned off the scorched N wire and ensured the contact is as clean as can be. I've flicked the Test switch in every which way to reset.

Nothing.

Have I broken the RCBO? Any advice please?

Many thanks,

Mark

For those curious this charges a Nissan Leaf or a Tesla Model 3 through a Type2 to Tesla adapter. I've been charging the Tesla at 16a for a few months due to the charger tripping frequently. Wish I'd have looked in the home charger sooner!

139653


139654


139655


139656
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,252 Posts
I am not a qualified electrician so probably should not give advice, but I would disconnect the output of the RCBO and connect it to, say, a heater or even a light bulb, to check it is working/testing ok, and the reconnect other parts in turn eg. the controller ,and relay, to see what trips it.

ps. There should be no bare wires visible in photo 3.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Hi.
I'll try and help.
Can you confirm that you definitely have power up to the charger point, you may have tripped something back at the supply end.
If all is ok with the supply I would isolated it, test that it isn't live then re make the cables going into the top of the rcbo, those cables look shocking, ahem,.
The screw terminals on the rcbo have like a clamp that winds in when you screw them up. Sometimes people put the cable in the terminal but unknowingly it's gone behind the clamp so when they tighten the screw it's looks like it's in but it's not.
When you terminate the cables give them a tug and a wiggle to make sure they are clamped securely. Loose connections can create heat and start fires.
Also, bear with me, some rcbos latch in the off position when tripped and won't reset until you manually fully push the switch off and then on, you might have one of those types?
If that don't work you've obviously got problems elsewhere and I advise a visit from a qualified electrician. Be safe and make sure you isolate before working on the charger.
Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi.
I'll try and help.
Can you confirm that you definitely have power up to the charger point, you may have tripped something back at the supply end.
If all is ok with the supply I would isolated it, test that it isn't live then re make the cables going into the top of the rcbo, those cables look shocking, ahem,.
The screw terminals on the rcbo have like a clamp that winds in when you screw them up. Sometimes people put the cable in the terminal but unknowingly it's gone behind the clamp so when they tighten the screw it's looks like it's in but it's not.
When you terminate the cables give them a tug and a wiggle to make sure they are clamped securely. Loose connections can create heat and start fires.
Also, bear with me, some rcbos latch in the off position when tripped and won't reset until you manually fully push the switch off and then on, you might have one of those types?
If that don't work you've obviously got problems elsewhere and I advise a visit from a qualified electrician. Be safe and make sure you isolate before working on the charger.
Cheers
Thanks for the detailed replay.

I 'think' I have power to the charger. The RCD in the house is on which connects to an emlite unit and I then leaves the house to the charger. The emlite unit loses power when I turn the charger RCD off and gains it when I turn it on.

Any hints for how the cables should look? I figured the scorched cable wasn't a good termination. Does the L look any better? Is that what I'm aiming for?

They are definitely clamped securely and in the correct position within the clamp not behind.

I've pushed the switch to off. With the Test held down and not. Not getting the 'click' some others mention with RCBO's but I presume I've reset it. Anyone familiar with a rest of a GARO RCBO just to confirm I'm doing it correctly?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
When you try and switch on the rcbo does it kind of feel like it's got a bit of resistance before reaching the on position and then immediately tripping off or does it feel kind of 'loose and easy'? sorry I'm from Essex, ;).
If it's got some resistance and tripping it usually means it's detecting a fault.
If it's loose it usually means that the rcbo doesn't have any power coming in.
At the end of the day it could be many things but only attempt what you're comfortable with. I hope you get it sorted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
When you try and switch on the rcbo does it kind of feel like it's got a bit of resistance before reaching the on position and then immediately tripping off or does it feel kind of 'loose and easy'? sorry I'm from Essex, ;).
If it's got some resistance and tripping it usually means it's detecting a fault.
If it's loose it usually means that the rcbo doesn't have any power coming in.
At the end of the day it could be many things but only attempt what you're comfortable with. I hope you get it sorted.
Hey Steve,

It doesn't have any resistance and isn't tripping. One thing I did just test was the test switch. The RCBO was set to On with power coming from the house (presumably) and I pressed the 'T' button and the switch flipped to Off. Does that confirm the RCBO is receiving power or will an RCBO switch off when the T button is pressed regardless of incoming power?

I might try reterminating tomorrow and any other suggestions I get. Other than that I'm out of idea's and looking at getting a professional out at payday.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Hi,
Ah, ok sounds like the rcbo has power at least. They only trip on test when live.
I'd still remake those cables though.
So it might mean the problems downstream of the rcbo. Unfortunately this opens up more scenarios of whats gone wrong. Maybe contactor, controller, cable, hard to say.
I don't want you to believe that it might not be an easy fix but be prepared for the worst as well.
Good luck with it.(y)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,785 Posts
Just pressed the Test button on my Garo, and the switch clicks down to Off as expected. Then a straigt up to On resets it. No need for extra down-press.
You should see the Rolec ECU lighting up the LED on front panel - that's those 4 wires dangling out of pic #2.

In principle, nothing downstream of the failed RCBO should have got damaged by that terminal burning out. But maybe intermittent connection caused some current surge or spike that has damaged something?

Here's what I'd do. Disconnect at CU breaker & check it's all dead.
Downstream of the RCBO you have the Contactor = on/off switch passing L & N straight to EV.
You also have a small power feed going to the Rolec ECU. That's the lot.
Disconnect the L & N wires into the Contactor so they're doing nothing.
Disconnect the other 2 wires into the Contactor, which are the low-current-but-mains-voltage coil that operates it. The L wire for this comes out of the Rolec ECU I think. So all you have now is the Rolec ECU.
Power on everything. You should see the Rolec ECU lighting up the LED on front panel.
If the RCBO drops out, then has to be a fault in the ECU, somehow. Dicconnect everything, and disconnect the Rolec mains from the RCBO. Now there should be nothing at all connected to the RCBO. That's got to work, surely? If that still trips, got to be a short, somewhere. Find that & fix it.
Connect ECU to mains, but not to the Contactor. repeat power-on test & check stays on.
Switch all off, reconnect the Contactor to ECU only. Repeat power on test, if drops out then something's gone bananas with the Contactor coil, = needs new Contactor.
If ok so far, power off, reconnect chunky L & N to the Contactor & power up. If this causes the trip, then either Contactor faulty, or wiring between that & the EV cable/plug is faulty somewhere. Disconect wires out of Contactor into the EV cable, and repeat test to decide if it's the contactor, or the EV cable at fault.

Just a process of elimination, one step at a time, being very careful about any exposed wires around. I usually park them in a spare polythene connector block to be safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just pressed the Test button on my Garo, and the switch clicks down to Off as expected. Then a straigt up to On resets it. No need for extra down-press.
You should see the Rolec ECU lighting up the LED on front panel - that's those 4 wires dangling out of pic #2.

In principle, nothing downstream of the failed RCBO should have got damaged by that terminal burning out. But maybe intermittent connection caused some current surge or spike that has damaged something?

Here's what I'd do. Disconnect at CU breaker & check it's all dead.
Downstream of the RCBO you have the Contactor = on/off switch passing L & N straight to EV.
You also have a small power feed going to the Rolec ECU. That's the lot.
Disconnect the L & N wires into the Contactor so they're doing nothing.
Disconnect the other 2 wires into the Contactor, which are the low-current-but-mains-voltage coil that operates it. The L wire for this comes out of the Rolec ECU I think. So all you have now is the Rolec ECU.
Power on everything. You should see the Rolec ECU lighting up the LED on front panel.
If the RCBO drops out, then has to be a fault in the ECU, somehow. Dicconnect everything, and disconnect the Rolec mains from the RCBO. Now there should be nothing at all connected to the RCBO. That's got to work, surely? If that still trips, got to be a short, somewhere. Find that & fix it.
Connect ECU to mains, but not to the Contactor. repeat power-on test & check stays on.
Switch all off, reconnect the Contactor to ECU only. Repeat power on test, if drops out then something's gone bananas with the Contactor coil, = needs new Contactor.
If ok so far, power off, reconnect chunky L & N to the Contactor & power up. If this causes the trip, then either Contactor faulty, or wiring between that & the EV cable/plug is faulty somewhere. Disconect wires out of Contactor into the EV cable, and repeat test to decide if it's the contactor, or the EV cable at fault.

Just a process of elimination, one step at a time, being very careful about any exposed wires around. I usually park them in a spare polythene connector block to be safe.
Hey Andy,

thanks for testing your GARO, especially in the cold! That confirms it isn't stuck in test mode.

I'll follow your guide tomorrow in the daylight but just wanted to confirm that the Contacter is the white and black thing on the left and the ECU is the white thing on the right. The 'out' of the RCBO goes in to the Contacter and the LED is controlled and powered by the ECU. Also, after disconnecting the Contacter from the RCBO won't I have some 'loose' leads with a live charge on them? Is that iffy, or do I just need to stay away from them during testing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi,
Ah, ok sounds like the rcbo has power at least. They only trip on test when live.
I'd still remake those cables though.
So it might mean the problems downstream of the rcbo. Unfortunately this opens up more scenarios of whats gone wrong. Maybe contactor, controller, cable, hard to say.
I don't want you to believe that it might not be an easy fix but be prepared for the worst as well.
Good luck with it.(y)
Cheers Steve! Fingers crossed for tomorrow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,785 Posts
Here's a generic wiring diagram for a simple, dumb EVSE with standalone ECU. It's not identical to Rolec EVSE, as connection layout is different, and labels of the actual connections may vary. But this should explain what's going on, and you should be able to print this out, and match-up the wires inside your Rolec.

That's what I did when I replaced my Rolec ECU with a Viridian one (that's where I got the original diagram from, but that has 3 Contactors in, so I've cut it down to resemble Rolec wiring).
140171
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,785 Posts
... Also, after disconnecting the Contacter from the RCBO won't I have some 'loose' leads with a live charge on them? Is that iffy, or do I just need to stay away from them during testing?
Depends which end you disconnect! See diagram I just posted above. Disconnect the L at the RCBO outlet end, and that L wire will be isolated. But, there could be some nasty short circuit somewhere else you haven't spotted, so even then I'd tape it over at the very least. Can't be too safe with this stuff.

Take both ends out if you prefer! Do take a lot of pics on your camera first! Lots of close-ups of all the places wires are screwed in. It's so easy to lose track of what goes where!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,785 Posts
Yes the contactor's that thing on LHS, and the white item with a lot of connections on RHS is the ECU.

If it turns out your Rolec ECU is dead, you may want to repair it obvs, and then I'd suggest upgrading it to one that supports the very latest regs. Viridian make 2 versions of ECU, their original version that's v like the Rolec one, and is a straight swap except the LEDs are the wrong polarity so you remove the Rolec LCD lamp unit, and put a clear plastic window in that hole instead. Viridian ECUs have built-in LCD you can see through this new window. Their new version supports 1 "compulsory" extra safety-check to make you super-safe, and a second "optional" one to make you super-super-safe! Total parts cost for this 2-extra features version is about £250 as there's a 2nd contactor you have to buy separately. £125 without the 2nd optional item. Their original "safe" one is about £90, but looks sold out on the website I just looked at . May be some floating around somewhere. I have no idea what the Rolec original ECU costs to replace, I do rather tend to avoid components with their name on! There's a thread I posted here with gory details of doing all this in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Hi,
Just something else to think of. I'm not familiar with your charger but I know lots of electrical equipment have a safety cut out built into the cover.
Were you doing all this testing with the cover off or not on properly?
Just a thought (y)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,785 Posts
No safety cutout fitted to the old, dumb Rolecs! Just undo 6 screws & the plastic cover pops off. Oh, and they'll happily power-up even if the Earth wire's not connected anywhere and simply floats loose in the air!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Good shout Steve, but I’m not that brave/informed. I put everything back together tightly before each test. Case was always in place with everything connected.
 
1 - 20 of 101 Posts
Top