Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner

1 - 20 of 45 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,555 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Today I went shopping in gunwharf quays.

None of the bay's were ICEd so I happily plugged in using my newer polar card and was able to connect and start charge - superb (Mennekes T2)

I went shopping and various hours later returned to my car but was unable to release the Mennekes cable. My card would allow slot 1 (13A) to open, but not slot 2. It was definately the same card!

I called polar. Annoyingly this is an 0845 number. NOT mobile friendly (unlike ecotricity). There were at a loss since they couldn't even see the charger online - in fact it's last communication was 3rd Jan ! My usage of my card was not logged, and they indicated they wouldn't expect charging to even start... (good fail safe tho)

I suggested perhaps a local reboot - the person at polar confirmed this should release the cable, so went to the parking office who were very helpful and recycled the power to both units (no-one else was connected).. At the same time they pointed out these chargers have been troublesome, it appears to be down to SIM/signal, and there is some disagreement over responsibilities between the shopping centre and polar

The polar guy did call back, was happy I was released, and promised they would investigate... though my understanding is that this has been going on a long time .........

Could polar hve modified the firmware to allow charging if they can't contact the backend, but failed to fix the unlock? perhaps?

Fortunately I wasn't in a rush... oh and I also managed to lose my car park ticket in the hassle. My fault, but again the car park guys were very helpful and friendly - in fact they use ANR in the car park, so could reissue my entry ticket at normal rates (they normally do this). cool!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,555 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes the car park guys were great - virtually jumping out of their seat to help -- but they also pointed out the issue they have with chargemaster....

Interestingly enough in the same area of the car park there's 13A sockets. quite a few. Might just ask if I can use those next time (I have before)
 

·
Militant EV driver!
Joined
·
4,936 Posts
Don't alert them to the 13A... ignorance is bliss :)

I've had the issue you describe in Southampton NCP too.

Ashley was told they were working on an ethernet solution here. Not happened yet though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,555 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Does anyone know what network they use? Multiple or single

- Ethernet could be more reliable - but depends what's connected to.
- use of different cell networks depending on location might help (I had ok 3 signal fine next to charger)
- I wonder/suspect their software isn't good enough at recovering from minor glitches
- they should agree to have some sensible offline behaviour. deliver charge (upload/account queued), not validate rfid card beyond supplier perhaps, unlock using card last accessed

what I'm trying to say by that last point is that the simple plugs/sockets is the baseline. Extra accounting etc is of course important in some cases for the business case -- so sure, add that, but it needs to be reliable and when it "fails" revert to some decent offline/disconnected mode
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,106 Posts
I think you are crediting them with actually thinking about all this.

Personally, I don't think they give any of it that much thought. If it works then great but if not then what have they got to lose? They have got their money from OLEV and so there is no incentive for them to care in any way whether it actually works or not. They have their money either way.

Cynical? Perhaps, but it is a cynicism based on observation... nothing more.
 

·
Ampera aka IGOR
Joined
·
3,435 Posts
I've had my cable locked in once at a CYC point and apart from their number being engaged the first couple of times they were able to free me remotely even without any post reference. The trouble with charging points is that there are not enough options when out and about so if you have problems with your card you can't just go to another 'brand' easily and use another card.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,715 Posts
I've had my cable locked in once at a CYC point and apart from their number being engaged the first couple of times they were able to free me remotely even without any post reference.
This might seem a little 'radical' but I'd suggest people consider using a 'dremel' or similar tool to remove the locking tabs from the Type 2 connector on their cable so that it can be removed from a failed post. So long as the cable is still locked at the car end then no-one can steal it and IMO the risk of charge interruption by someone pulling out the connector is small at this time.

In London recently I spotted two Type 2 cables abandoned at charge posts and personally I'm reluctant to take the risk :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,514 Posts
I'd be happy to give one of the abandoned ones a new home! I suppose they will get returned to their rightful owners eventually - massively inconvenient for them and too expensive to write off I would have thought.
 

·
Militant EV driver!
Joined
·
4,936 Posts
I was told by Chargemaster's guy that answers the phone that they can use whichever SIM gets a good signal. However I've seen O2 come up before a few times.

The mystery at Gunwharf is why these points were totally reliable in 2012 but in 2013 they barely worked at all due to lack of signal. All other things being equal, I am wondering if these points were victims of EE's "network optimisation" which in my experience is anything but.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,882 Posts
Still would be good to see a fail safe mode, when no signal is received become a live socket, that way people are not inconvenienced
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,555 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
It's an obvious approach to me -- always consider what the fallback is...

Back to gunwharf... it's worth pointing out that adjacent to the EV charge bays are sufficient 240V sockets (I've used in the past). You should probably ask but I'd be pretty certain they'd let one use them if the polar chargers are offline.

I have no issue getting to gunwharf and back from home (about 50+ miles), but if it's part of a longer day out, seeing friends in the evening, off to another city too, then charging is ideal and slightly makes up for the non-cheap parking at gunwharf!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,555 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I've had my cable locked in once at a CYC point and apart from their number being engaged the first couple of times they were able to free me remotely even without any post reference. The trouble with charging points is that there are not enough options when out and about so if you have problems with your card you can't just go to another 'brand' easily and use another card.
Note that on the occasion I was locked in I did indeed call support (not happy it was an 08xx call from a mobile), and got a reasonably quick reply from a technician, but the issue was he couldn't send any command to unlock/recycle as comms were down.....

they need some local override - perhaps via a PIN code that changes daily & automatically as per an algorithm that would allow for instruction to be given over the phone.

Turning the power off worked, but is crude - in particular any other vehicles charging at the time would have been caught out, probably charge would have stopped, and someone may have returned for a journey home only to find insufficient power in their battery. Fortunately in my case the other bays were empty.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,555 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
chargemaster did respond to me on twitter that they are (again) looking into the charging station in gunwharf. Hopefully a permanent fix rather than a reboot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
I was thinking of trying to use these posts on Saturday (as part of a longer trip) but after reading this I don't think I'll take the risk or incur the hassle. I'll just buy some petrol. Sad really, but I'm getting really disappointed with public charging. Does anyone know if they still work with the "old" ChargeMaster card?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,555 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I can't comment on the chargemaster posts BUT the parking staff in gunwharf are really helpful and the EV bays have regular 13A sockets too, so if that charge rate is good enough you should have a fall back option. Nissan waterlooville has chademo as does rownhams both nr m27
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
I can't comment on the chargemaster posts BUT the parking staff in gunwharf are really helpful and the EV bays have regular 13A sockets too, so if that charge rate is good enough you should have a fall back option. Nissan waterlooville has chademo as does rownhams both nr m27
Many thanks, much appreciated. I'll be there for a bit so 13 Amp will do.
 
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
Top