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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all Ampera knowledgables,
Just bought my first EV on a bit of an impulsive whim, a 2014 Ampera Electron (MY2013). Should have done some in depth research on here first really, but having said that I still think I would have taken the plunge because it's a brilliantly clever bit of engineering, not at all what you'd expect from a vehicle badged as a Vauxhall.
However we've just encountered our first issue, can't get the Project EV charger we've had installed to work properly with the Ampera. We had been charging via the Voltec granny charger with no issues, other than time it takes. The previous owner also gave us an 'Intertek' branded Type1 to Type2 cable which he states worked fine for him. However the Type1 plug on the Intertek cable is not exactly the same dimensions as the Type 1 plug on the Voltec charger and doesn't fit well.
When I first plugged it in, nothing happened, then a firm push made the catch latch, and the charging status light in the car went orange. However the charge didn't begin until I instructed the charger, via its useless app, to start charging (despite the mode setting in the app being set to 'Plug&Charge'). This has happened several times, the plug has to be pushed and wiggled for before either the car or charger seem to sense a connection is present.
The several experiments to try to get the car to charge overnight have all failed. Either with the car taking control or the charger in control. The charger knows the car is connected, because the large circular LED illuminates green, but the car's charging status light just lights up orange for a bit and then goes out. I believe it should do long green flashes whilst delaying the charge?
Then yesterday, couldn't get the car to charge via any means via the Project EV charger. The charger LED is green, but nothing happens in the car. The manual forced 'start charge' via the app doesn't work either. Resorted back to the granny charger which worked fine. But now we've had the fault warning light come on the car's display.
Is something is not making a good connection within the Type 1 plug, is non-conformity an issue with Type 1 plugs?
I would be happy to buy a new cable if I was sure that's actually the issue, but the weird behaviour of the Project EV charger aside from the plug not fitting snuggly, makes me wonder if the charger is at fault.
The charger is a big big disappointment, only bought it because it was the cheapest one out there I could find that has built in earth fault protection, but would have gone for a dumb charger with a separate earth-rod or earth protection box, if I'd known just how woeful the Project EV software is.
When the charger wouldn't work at all yesterday, I noticed it appeared to be randomly dropping its internet connection, or at least connection to the Chinese server it talks to. The app was claiming the charger was connected to our home's 5Ghz Wifi, clearly it wasn't as the charger only works on 2.4Ghz and it doesn't know the password!. The Wifi ssid it is set up to connect to is a very close by Wifi extender unit, the signal is very strong, stronger than any other Wifi signal in my garage, and my phone gets 20Mps download speeds from it next to the charger.
Sorry to ramble, but any advice would be much appreciated
Many Thanks
 

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Ampera aka IGOR
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A few questions:-
Where are you? Someone local may be able to try your cable on their car and/or their cable on your car.
Have you tried a public charger with your cable? I think the Podpoint units at Tesco do not need a card or membership to use them.
Can you set the 'Project EV' charger to charge all the time? Or is this the Plug&Charge that you mention?

Edited to add that the EML light will come on for a variety of reasons, one of them being the failed charge so I wouldn't worry about that yet, usually, a full charge will clear it, I never bothered unless it was still lit until after a couple of full charges.

Edited again, there should be some kind of warranty with the installation and if you went for the grant then it will be for 3 years. So if the car charges successfully elsewhere then it must be the unit itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply,
No I haven't tried a public charger, but that's a good idea. New to the forum, don't know any other EV users other than the chap I bought the Ampera from, he's got a Tesla now, different cables I believe? I'm in south-east Leicestershire

Re the charger, the instructions are useless / non-existence, but I've read on SpeakEV that with the 'Plug&Charge' mode enabled, charging should start immediately when the car is plugged in.

Just been reading a another thread about damp getting into the charging port on the car, the previous owner charged on his drive so maybe there's corrosion inside the cable plug. I'll give that a look too
 

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2015 Ampera Positiv MY12
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I have a Project EV charger. I agree, the app and instructions are dismal. As for wi-fi/connectivity, I haven't even bothered with this aspect as I don't need it, the car will initiate the charge at 1230am using its built in timer. My charger is set to "plug&charge", as I haven't told it to do anything different. And what's the "built in earth protection" you mention? Mine has a separate earth rod.

Some close up photos of the type1 end might help. Though, if you can get to a free Tesco (or whatever) charger, that would be a good test too. Just use the Pod Point app to activate the charger, then plug in and voila. (I usually plug the the charger end in first, then connect the car.)
 

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this has the signs of a poor cable connection. Try to borrow a type2-Type 1 lead from a local Ampera/Leaf/Outlander owner. Hopefully someone on here will be in the local area.

The lead must go home with a click into the car. Check the clip on the plug these get bent from dropping on the ground and fail to work correctly. Usually easier to file a little off than try and bend it back. Look also for debris in the socket and plug preventing it going home fully - torch and a bamboo skewer come in handy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's good to hear, so if the charger isn't at fault here then I should be able to charge at night. Lets hope its the cable.

Project EV do several models, not all have the earth protection, its called the Pro Earth model
07S-SE (projectev.co.uk). It worked out cheaper than buying a separate protection device. Earth rod could be problematic, with services running all over the place under the charger.

Did you have trouble setting yours up? It didnt bode well when the laptop wouldn't connect directly via an ethernet cable, then when I tied via the phone app, it took about 10 attempts switching it off and on, before it finally populated the parameter fields and let me input my wifi ssid and password (which it now appears to ignore in favour of an ssid it cant actually connect to!)

Also, what little info there is on the Project EV site suggests your can change the chargers wifi hotspot name and default password, but on my app it wont let me. Network scanner flags this up as a security issue. Had any luck with changing yours?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The plug with green seal inside is the original Voltec plug which works fine, the other is the Intertek plug. Top picture show the difference between the catches, the Intertek one is longer, and maybe stopping the plug going far enough inside the port?
 

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Mine is here. Looks like it could be the same as yours? I can take a pic in daylight tomorrow if you like, but the catch thing looks the same to me. Regarding the charger, I did hook it up to the wifi in the early days with fairly minimal hassle, if I remember correctly. The worst thing was getting my head around the terrible user manual, I couldn't be bothered. I never changed the defaults, since I never intended to use it. However being a cheap unit, I'd guess the wifi capabilities aren't exactly top-end and might not talk to a modern access point. You might find you have success using a 5 year old wi-fi router. Sometimes wifi "standards" aren't as universal as they should be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for everyone's replies. I modified the end of the Intertek cable plug and it now fits correctly, however it made no difference to the charging - still nothing.
So before giving up on the charger, I did a factory reset, entails taking the unit off the wall, taking the front off to get to the reset button, but low and behold its now charging! The app is stating the charger is unavailable, but as long as it charges when the car asks for charge that'll do for now.
I think the moral of my experience is, don't buy Project EV chargers if you want Smart functionality, because they are dumb, very dumb. Even if the app worked as its supposed to, there doesn't appear to be anyway to integrate it with other smart tech to use the Octopus Agile tariff, which is what I had hoped to do.
 

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The method used by the zappi for Solar charging and Octopus Agile is to switch the CP line. Not the best idea with an Ampera as the horn honks each time it switches! You would need to modify the sounder circuit to use it and similar devices.
The Ampera is best left to its own timer with the charger in a dumb mode IMO. Octopus go gives plenty of time to fully charge an Amp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Spiny, yes I had come to that conclusion too. Octopus Go and let the car do the thinking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Finally got a delayed charge cycle to work, needed to keep the Project EV charger from connecting to its servers. Factory reset and don't set up the wifi connection, and it works. Let it connect to the net and it seems to get locked after each charge cycle. Only problem I have is the car still chirps the horn when it starts its delayed charge, is this supposed to happen? Does it forget the chirping nonsense after a certain time of the day? It'll be really annoying to be woken up by it in the early hours everyday??
 

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The car only chirps when it is plugged in and the CP line is present. One chirp for immediate charge, 2 for a delayed charge set in the car, I use the ready by function .... On Octopus GO I have this set to 4:30 AM.

If the car is chirping once, it is set to immediate charge and the CP line is being asserted by the chargepoint. This is the problem I have with a Zappi. Wakes the neighbours if used for turning the Ampera Charging on and Off. The solution is to have the chargepoint set to Always on / Boost / Fast which ever allows use of the in car timer so it chirps twice when plugged in and can then be left overnight to charge.

The Zappy was installed along with Solar at 5% vat in anticipation of a replacement BEV for the Ampera eventually coming along and being able to make use of its "clever" features. Currently its just an expensive dumb chargepoint apart from the ability to reduce the charge current down to a minimum of 6A so handy for sunny days.
 

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Electron Summit White NK13...110k 92.7 and rising
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Almost makes me happy I've got a dumb Rolec (it hasn't caught fire yet!)
 

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If you want to stop your Ampy beeping at odd times (whenever the EVSE changes offered current from 0A to 6 or more), you can build yourself this simple circuit that deactivates the Horn Fuse when the car's switched off. But it will deactivate your alarm as well!
Not able to charge
 
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