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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I'm currently having a lot of work done at my house, of which part is a new porch.. so it seems like an ideal time to be thinking about getting a charge point installed, since there are new electrics being run to that anyway!

I don't actually have an EV at the moment, so don't qualify for the OLEV grant and probably won't have one till next year.. but it seems like a sensible time to get it done anyway.

I'm looking for a good quality 7kw charger that won't break the bank, as i'll be footing all of the bill myself :)
Ideally I'd like something with wifi or ethernet, that has an API I can talk to (most of my home is hooked up via Home Assistant for automation, so i'd like to integrate the charger too!)

I saw that OpenEVSE do a kit, which has nice stuff like MQTT etc built in - but not sure how they rate quality wise, also not sure if it being tethered is a disadvantage?
There does seem to be an overwhelming amount of different chargers out there.. so any tips on what to look at would be appreciated!
 

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I'm also getting a charge point put in soon. The main things to consider beforehand are:

1. Physical location of charge point. Somewhere convenient for the cars (plural, ideally -- one day there may be two EVs to charge) without creating a trip hazard from the trailing cable.

2. How the electrical connection would be made to your existing installation. There are two ways to make the connection: ideally, go direct from the meter cupboard (requires a new mini consumer unit, if I understand correctly), otherwise, go from the existing consumer unit. If the latter, there needs to be at least one free slot for a new circuit, ideally more to provide a gap to help with heat dissipation, and it can't be too old a unit -- anything that still uses fuses is definitely too old.

I would be tempted to think about these two points now, in case it makes sense to tweak the plan for the new porch, but wait until you actually have an EV, and qualify for the grant, before getting the charge point installed.

Kind regards
- Garry
 

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Comms and intelligence may be useful if you have solar power and want to optimise your charging to make use of free electricity during the day (The Zappi is good for this) but if you want manually remote controlled charging or charging on a timer (e.g. to use a variable rate electricuty tariff with cheap night time power) you might find you can get your EV to do this for you and you can use a dumb charger with no expensive extra electronics.
 

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Hi All,

I'm currently having a lot of work done at my house, of which part is a new porch.. so it seems like an ideal time to be thinking about getting a charge point installed, since there are new electrics being run to that anyway!

I don't actually have an EV at the moment, so don't qualify for the OLEV grant and probably won't have one till next year.. but it seems like a sensible time to get it done anyway.

I'm looking for a good quality 7kw charger that won't break the bank, as i'll be footing all of the bill myself :)
Ideally I'd like something with wifi or ethernet, that has an API I can talk to (most of my home is hooked up via Home Assistant for automation, so i'd like to integrate the charger too!)

I saw that OpenEVSE do a kit, which has nice stuff like MQTT etc built in - but not sure how they rate quality wise, also not sure if it being tethered is a disadvantage?
There does seem to be an overwhelming amount of different chargers out there.. so any tips on what to look at would be appreciated!
Get the infrastructure (cabling, spare slots in your CU, metal CU casing etc) installed by all means but don't bother with a charge point until you are ready to use it as any guarantee will start from the day that you buy it. There are changes to the OZEV (neé OLEV) requirements due in March next year and prices are likely to drop as a result.

Depending on your circumstances and likely usage consider fitting the infrastructure for two charge points and possible load balancing.
 

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Can I suggest a budget alternative that may well allow you to claim the grant when you do get an EV? It's essentially what I did (for a different reason, related to Part P) when I built our house. You can run a length of cable to the place where you think you will want a charge point, and terminate it in a small wiska box, as a temporary measure. When you get an EV it's then a very quick and easy job to swap the wiska box over for whatever charge point you prefer, and it will still be eligible for the grant (if it's still available then).

If it were me, then I would run a length of EV Ultra cable, as that includes the data cores, and although a bit more expensive it does make for a neat job. The ends of the cable inside the wiska box can just be terminated with wagos for now, to allow the circuit to be tested and included on the EIC.

Edited to add: Cross-posted with @dk6780 who's said much the same!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice all - funnily enough I did consider just getting the wiring in place to start with, but wondered it it might be worth just going the whole hog and getting everything installed :p

The electrician I'm currently using hasn't done any EV charger stuff before, but as I understand it 6mm on it's own 32a breaker should be fine to run to the porch (from the CU) which is all internal.
Then I guess it needs to be mated to some SWA for a short run up the wall outside to the charger position?

I also saw that data cables (cat5/6) is required for some of the charger units? - What does this get used for and where does it terminate at the (non-charger) end?
 

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Thanks for the advice all - funnily enough I did consider just getting the wiring in place to start with, but wondered it it might be worth just going the whole hog and getting everything installed :p

The electrician I'm currently using hasn't done any EV charger stuff before, but as I understand it 6mm on it's own 32a breaker should be fine to run to the porch (from the CU) which is all internal.
Then I guess it needs to be mated to some SWA for a short run up the wall outside to the charger position?

I also saw that data cables (cat5/6) is required for some of the charger units? - What does this get used for and where does it terminate at the (non-charger) end?

Depends on the layout of the house, CU. meter, etc, but the best solution is to fit a couple of henley's in the meter tails, run extra tails to a small connection box that can house whatever protection the charge point needs. This varies,from just a DP RCBO to a box that includes both open PEN fault protection and DC tolerant earth leakage protection - some charge points have some protection built in. From that connection box either run SWA or NYY-J cable (usually 6mm²) to the charge point. The choice is down to an assessment of the risk of mechaincal damage, as both cable types are UV resistant and rated for outdoor use. SWA is best if there's a risk of someone shoving a spade through it, for example, NYY-J is fine if clipped direct or run through walls, in an area where it's not likely to be subject to severe mechanical trauma.

The connection box makes terminating the SWA simpler, rather than going in to the main CU, plus it may help reduce heat build up in the CU). The best cable to use for future proofing would be EV Ultra, it's available as either SWA or NYY-J spec, and includes data cores that would allow the fitment of load monitoring/limiting using a CT on the tails. The 6mm² run of cable can be temporarily terminated in a wiska box where the charge point will eventually co, with the wires just being terminated with wagos for safety and to allow the final testing to be done more easily.

When you come to install a charge point it's just a matter of putting the right level of protection in the connection box and replacing the wiska box with the charge point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Great thanks for all the detailed info. Really useful stuff 😃.

Will have a chat with my electrician, but I like the idea of having everything say ready in a wiska box.
 

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Great thanks for all the detailed info. Really useful stuff 😃.

Will have a chat with my electrician, but I like the idea of having everything say ready in a wiska box.

When I built this house I ran several outdoor cables around for things I thought I might need, but wasn't sure about, terminating each in a wiska box. It was the very best idea I've ever had, my only regret is that I skimped a bit on some of the cable runs, not thinking I'd need as much power as it turns out we did in some places (mainly the detached garage - didn't realise my wife would also want an EV, and hence need another charge point). I put in runs to where our shed is now, another to where the greenhouse will be (when I get around to assembling it), and two runs for the place where I intend to build a small shed to house a battery storage system one day. I also ran several runs around the garden, some of which are now hooked up to things like garden lights, a water feature and some cameras I've put in for watching hedgehogs (and spotting the neighbour's cats making a mess around the garden). The cost of all these extra cables was pretty small, really just the cost of the cable (often less than £3/metre) and yet they have really made adding extra stuff very easy. One thing I did that has turned out to be equally useful is draw the location of all the underground cable runs on a site plan, so I know pretty much exactly where they are. Came in handy when we had a contractor in to dig a pond last year, as we could mark the known run of the pond cable on the ground for him, reducing the risk of him hitting the cable with his digger.
 

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I would agree with most of the advice above but would fit a 32A interlocked commando socket instead of a wiska box. That makes your cable run useable for other things while it waits and allows you the low cost option of buying a smart Ohme EVSE (£200 in recent years if you are with Octopus) when the time comes.
 
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Like others say right now things are very inflated because of the grants available, which is a little frustrating, as it means they remain inflated even if you are not taking advantage of the grant. You might do well just to have conduit / cabling in place ready for when you do get a charge point.

With regards to OpenEVSE - they are an option and seem to be OK, but are not very aesthetic - and I thought I read somewhere that there's the potential for water ingress around the LCD? Also a concern with a limited warranty (although generic enough to get parts off shelf to repair).
The only other EV charger supported on Home-Assistant is Wallbox. Then again looks like sensors only and no control capability. The smart / app based capability of most chargers is an absolute minefield. Some apps are there but are basic or lacking capability.
It would take sniffing app traffic to reverse engineer APIs they use for creating an integration. I've been meaning to integrate mine at some point but not had the need as yet as being on Octopus Go I've just relied on my car's timer.

Some chargers support an open charge protocol (OCPP) which is a central management type system, but there is limited open source implementations of these so far - but at that point it's just getting a whole lot more complicated!
 

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I would agree with most of the advice above but would fit a 32A interlocked commando socket instead of a wiska box. That makes your cable run useable for other things while it waits and allows you the low cost option of buying a smart Ohme EVSE (£200 in recent years if you are with Octopus) when the time comes.

The snag is that this incurs significant additional cost, that may be wasted. An interlocked commando will require both open PEN fault protection and DC tolerant earth leakage protection, adding maybe another £200 to the cost. The chances are that any charge point installed in the future may have this built in, so it may need to be ripped out and binned at a later date.
 

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I am pretty sure it doesn't. I don't think that a commando socket installed for general use requires anything over and above what a 3 pin 13A socket requires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I would agree with most of the advice above but would fit a 32A interlocked commando socket instead of a wiska box. That makes your cable run useable for other things while it waits and allows you the low cost option of buying a smart Ohme EVSE (£200 in recent years if you are with Octopus) when the time comes.
Thanks for the tips, the ohme looks like quite a nice unit!
I have a friend who is on octopus but already has a zappi.. I wonder if I could get them to order the unit for me with the octopus discount :ROFLMAO:
 

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I am pretty sure it doesn't. I don't think that a commando socket installed for general use requires anything over and above what a 3 pin 13A socket requires.

Not according to Section 722 of BS7671:2018, amendment 1.

Anyway the point is that this would not be a commando installed for general use, it would be a deceit with intent to break the law (in England and Wales where non compliance with building regulations is a criminal offence) and even if it was genuinely never likely to be used for charging a car the installer is required to assess whether or not is it likely to be connected to any non-class II appliance. The same applies to a 13 A outlet installed outdoors. If the installer is content that it's only likely to be used to run garden appliances, that are all class II, then that's fine. If the installer believes it may be used to run a non-class II appliance (say a hot tub) then it requires open PEN fault protection.

For as long as I can remember there has been a need for the installer to assess the risk from exposed conductive parts on anything outdoors, and fit open PEN fault protection if the supply is PME. This is why all commandos installed at places like caravan parks always have open PEN fault protection - it's because they will be connected to metal bodied caravans.
 

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There is also the level of ugliness inherent in an interlocked commando to consider too (if it is to go where a charge point would be convenient). Unless you like ‘industrial and plastic’.
 
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