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Discussion Starter #1
I'm planning to buy an Ampera and I'm doing some thinking about home charging, and in particular the earthing requirements for a home charging unit. I posted over on the "Electric Car Related Topics » EVSE - Charging Equipment" forum, hope its OK to canvas the opinions of UK Ampera/Volt owners here as well! I see references to people needing an earth spike installing as part of the charging unit installation, with possible digging up of drives, etc. Can anyone explain when a new earth connection is required? I know that if the current house earth is to a gas or water pipe then this is NOT deemed adequate (I think I read this in the Pod Point installation guide). In my house (20 yrs old), I have a thick green and yellow earth wire coming out of the consumer unit along with the two heavy supply cables from my meter. This earth wire connects in some way into the supplier side of the meter - it disappears into a plastic housing from which the two thick supply cables enter the meter. I wonder if this means I would have adequate earthing already. What experiences have people had with the earthing arrangements?

Mike
 

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I am not an electrician and so I can only say what happened to us.

We had no special earthing requirements when we installed our Pod Point Home Pod nor have I heard of anyone needing anything special.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Paul Churchley said:
I am not an electrician and so I can only say what happened to us.

We had no special earthing requirements when we installed our Pod Point Home Pod nor have I heard of anyone needing anything special.
Many thanks for that Paul, music to my ears :) Looking at the Pod Point installation guide again, the mention of earthing rods looks like it applies to an externally mounted unit NOT attached to the building fabric (post etc). Mine would be mounted on the garage wall. I'm thinking external, so I dont have to keep opening and closing the garage door - I cant keep my car in the garage (its too small and full of stuff!), it's parked on the drive, nose towards the garage door. The Pod Point solo unit seems quite a bit cheaper than the Rolec Wallpod equivalent...
 

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You are in exactly the same situation as me. Car parked outside garage and charging unit onm garage wall.

The Pod Point is cheaper but it is also nowhere near as good quality as the Rolec either inside or out.

I have had my Pod Point unit now for about 16 months and if I were getting one now I would pay the extra and get a Rolec unit without a second thought. The components used inside are better quality, they are more waterproof (many Pod Points have had water ingestion) and Rolec customer service is excellent.

I wish I had a Rolec unit but I cannot justify the cost of replacing the Pod Point while it is still working. I keep willing it to go wrong!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Excellent advice Paul, thats very useful info. I have to admit, I do like the concept of the Rolec Wallpod; The idea of maybe installing an EV Ready, with just the external 13A socket on a separate 32A MCB, and then at some point simply upgrading to that in-place to a 16A charging unit is attractive. I'm assuming that the charging cable reel that comes with the Ampera is all weatherproof and could be hooked up to an external socket - the photos all seem to indicate this is fine.
 

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The charging cable is certainly waterproof and can be used outside in all weathers but it isn't intended as your only charging method so how it would stand up to daily use in all weathers I cannot say.

One thing is certain though... you will not want to keep connecting it and disconnecting it every day. When it is pouring with rain and blowing a gale the last thing you will want to do is unplug and mess around with the cable. With a permanent charging pod I can unplug, stow the plug and get in the car inside 10 secs. For me this convenience is by far the main reason I recommend a home charging unit.

The Rolec pods are very well designed and as you say, the modules are interchangeable so you can upgrade a 13A 3 pin to a 16A or 32A all very easily. Do put it on a 32A or even better a 40A MCB... you shouldn't need an RCBO as there is one in the pod IIRC (best check that though :) )
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You're right about the plugging and unplugging of course Paul, it had occurred to me - especially the rainy bit! So ideally its charging unit with a 'permanent' (i.e. captive) output cable and J1772 plug isnt it. I see that Zero Carbon World do a Rolec Wallpod 32A type 2 charging unit - but with an output socket, so also would need the separate cable which I guess you could leave connected but probably wouldnt be advised to. They don't seem to do the Wallpod with the permanent cable, though I've seen that elsewhere for just over £800 including VAT... but not fitting. In the pictures of that unit, it looks like the J1772 connector is 'stowed' by plugging it into the unit - looks like it sticks straight out to me, could be a bit easy to knock when walking past it... Lots to think about :)
 

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Yes, lots to consider.

There is some doubt as to whether the ZCW pods, without a permanently tethered cable, is legal. I really don't know the answer to that one but tI have seen enough doubt and conflicting opinion to question if a non-tethered cable is legal.

You might also want to consider the Vauxhall Home Pod. It is tethered and under £400. These have been discussed in other threads on the forum. They look quite good value but I have never seen one myself but I believe there are others here that have them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thats the one mentioned in a thread you started in May Paul? The one on the Opel spares site, from Europe? Looks good if thats the one, Vauxhall don't seem keen to publicise it though do they!
 

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Hi - My first post! I too have decided to get a home charging point and decided the GM one obtained through my local Vauxhall agent was to be the one. I phoned them to place my order and first had to convince them that I didn't need to go through British Gas and that they should be able to obtain it for me. Eventually they were extremely helpful but discovered that the original part number (as posted in your earlier thread) has been changed 4 times and that Vauxhall are out of stock here and that so is the main distributor in Germany. In fact there is currently a european back order for 176 units. It seems as if we are likely to be waiting some time for our chargers, especially if my local Agent is correct in saying that it is the same model as the one that British Gas use.
 

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@CliveS

When I had the survey done by BG the GM unit was not the one offered. When I purchased the car back in May I made a point of getting the dealer to order the GM charge point. The total cost of installation for me was just over £500 and that included a meter so I could see how much the car was using. I had an electrician wire a 13amp plug from the consumer unit along with the meter and appropriate MCB. When the GM unit was available it was a simple matter to wire that in and all has been working just fine. There is a double pole on/off switch that can be used to isolate everything should that be required. I can now use either the GM unit or the 13amp socket to charge the car so have the best of both worlds should the GM unit fail.

One point though the GM unit has a coil cable and whilst the cable is permanently attached, the plug has no visible way of being locked in it's holster so needs some thought if mounted externally. The Rolec wall pod would look much neater and does seem to have some locking mechanism for the plug if I read correctly.

If the GM unit is mounted inside your garage then you need to think of what type of door you have and if the cable will exit successfully under the door. A point to note, electric roller doors have a sensitive edge that would cause a problem to the door.
 

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@CliveS the Vauxhall unit is definitely not the same one BG use. If your agent is telling you that then it is porkies. Curious as to which is backlogged now.
 

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Think there could be some confusion though as BG are teamed up with Vauxhall to offer free surveys, so they may well try to install their own charger unit unless they are specifically tasked with installing a GM unit.

So one installer for two units... make sure you get what you want.
 

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It is not hard to connect up the three wires - I think they just want to make sure that the earthing is good and it is on a separate MCB/RCBO with a good RCD and everything is correctly rated.

The issue here is that we have a car outside (potentially) in all weathers connected up to the mains. Anyone passing could touch it and if its done incorrectly there could be an accident.
 

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Its very easy to DIY it and ZeroCarbonWorld are about to make it even easier with a EVSE controller DIN Module. I'm considering ripping the open circuit board and crappy 12v psu out of my charger and replacing it with a the all in one Din module.

If you're interested in DIY'ing there's much to read here:
Siemens:
http://www.energy.siemens.com/hq/pool/h ... nen_EN.pdf

http://www.energy.siemens.com/hq/en/ene ... odules.htm

http://support.automation.siemens.com/W ... aller=view

ZCW:
https://twitter.com/zerocarbonworld/sta ... to/1/large
https://twitter.com/zerocarbonworld/sta ... to/1/large
https://twitter.com/zerocarbonworld/sta ... 6033729537

More ZCW Specs:
https://twitter.com/zerocarbonworld/sta ... 7356144640
https://twitter.com/zerocarbonworld/sta ... 2859231232
 
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