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JimB
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After over 5 years of faithfully satisfying the modest needs of my Outlander PHEV my recently started tripping within about 5 seconds of any charge commencing.

The car takes a charge from the 'Granny' charger and I've tested it in on the dealers wall points and there is no issue so the finger points to the charge point.

After hours of reading here and elsewhere I confidently ordered a replacement GARO RCBO.

When it arrived I isolated the chargepoint and took the cover off only to find no evidence of burning or any arcing despite a lot of loose terminal screws including some that appeared never to have tightened at all, who knows. Despite this I replaced the RCBO anyway and tried the unit. The issue remained.

The biggest surprise of all however was finding that the installer had apparently drilled through the back of the chargepoint casing and then started drilling the wall behind, presumably intending to bring the power from the mains through there. Apparently beaten by the reconstituted Derbyshire stonework he took a different route and brought the cable in through the bottom.

What he did not do was to seal up the first hole he'd drilled in the back of the casing and the evidence of dead insects, including spiders and their webs testifies to the ability of the hole to admit solids and therefore moisture.
I subsequently used a continuity checker on all of the wires in the charge lead and they proved to be solid. I checked the operation of the micro switch in the gun and its operation by the trigger looked fine although I couldn't see an easy way to check whether the microswitch actually works. The fact that the charge actually commences each time tends to tell me that the switch is behaving normally.

Now the possibilities include failures of the controller, the contactor and / or the residual dc current module but I think you would agree that to start replacing those in a casing with a big hole in it would be a waste of time and money (could be plugged I guess) but as the short 5 metre tethered cable has always been a bit of a pain I started looking at replacement chargepoints and in the process of that looked at the mains supply cable in case I wanted to extend it to place the new unit in a different position.
I eventually discovered that the cable used on the original installation is SY cable and noted that everywhere I looked to buy some it came with the rider that whilst it could be used outdoors it should only be done if protected.

The cable on my installation, which was carried out under the OLEV scheme is not protected and even though it is only a short run outside the building I'm concerned that this might be inherently unsafe.

So my questions are;

1. Would you consider the original installation leaving the chargepoint with a large hole in the back to comply with the terms of an OLEV funded installation? It's certainly not IP65 compliant.

2. What is the likelihood that installing the box and leaving it in that condition has contributed to the current failed condition of the box?

3. Is that cable suitable for such use in an unprotected state?
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1. Would you consider the original installation leaving the chargepoint with a large hole in the back to comply with the terms of an OLEV funded installation? It's certainly not IP65 compliant.
It's poor workmanship. Whether it complied with OLEV rules 5 years ago is moot really.

2. What is the likelihood that installing the box and leaving it in that condition has contributed to the current failed condition of the box?
Possibly damp or insects have entered one of the modules causing this malfunction. But the only way to know would be to open them up and look - possibly with a magnifying glass.
But at 5 years it's just as likely a simple component failure.

3. Is that cable suitable for such use in an unprotected state?
Strictly, no. But as it is so short and close to the Rolec it could be argued it is protected by that box. (Tenuous.)
It wouldn't be a big job to pull the ends out of the Rolec and slip some Kopex or similar over it. Need a bigger clip though :)
 

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Hard to know what's causing the tripping, you could try plugging the cable into the car after disconnecting the L, N, E inputs from grid, then put a Megger across L and E, N & E, to see if there's any current leak-path somewhere. Maybe a bit of damp's getting into The type 1 plug, who knows. I wouldn't have thought the Contactor would be the problem, they're just a very dumb giant relay with no testing capability in. So that leaves either the Rolec ECU *bains) module, or the wiring to the car surely.

The trigger alters the resistance between PP pin on the plug and the Earth on the plug. So stick a meter on & click away, you'll see something like 150 Ohms & 450 Ohms, or maybe it's 220 & 680 Ohms, whatever. 2 different values in the 100 to 800 ohm range, anyway.

You're charging the car outdoors, so to meet latest regs (should you wish to upgrade) you need either an Earth rod to provide the earthing for the E wire from EVSE to car (you may have this, can't see from pics), or it needs an PEN-loss device which those old Rolecs don't have.

I upgraded my old Rolec to latest space by adding a controller module that uses PEN-loss device, also will need a separate Contactor for the E isolation this does. Details here if interested.
Rolec Dumb Charger upgraded with DC Leakage Protection...

If you go this route, you swap out the (possibly faulty) Rolec ECU, and at the same time you could seal up that hole to make case damp-proof again, and you could also change to untethered socket so next car which will be Type-2 probably will be supported? evbitz.uk sell the parts needed, I think.
 

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JimB
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for that Andy.
To be honest I'm really only competent with this stuff at a relatively low level and most of that is beyond me although I'll probably stick a meter on the gun to check the microswitch.

Rather than replacing more components I'm inclined to just replace it by a Qubev series 18 for £300 or maybe even a new Rolec @ £340 each with type 2 socket output although the Qubev seems to get good reviews.

I'm still fuming regarding the shoddy job the installers carried out.
 

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You have excellent advice above. I agree with all of it and would say that you can easily repair the casing of the Rolec.
I'm confused by the type 2 comment - is your Outlander not type 1?
Your options are confusing - repairing the Rolec is likely to be the least costly but leaves you with an old brittle case. Changing the unit strictly requires you to bring the wiring up to date which involves extra cost but increases the safety.
 

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Yes Outlander is type 1, hence ref to trigger. I suggested change to untethered, so future-proofing it, allowing original Type-1 & newer Type-2 cars to use it. Would need a new cable for Outlander, or EVSE plug fitting to original (rather short!) cable. But as that cable may be faulty, perhaps new cables all round from EVSE to car, whatever length/flavour.

I have no opinions as to whether these cases get brittle after a few years outside. Mine's in gge, no UV, so is fine.
 

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The other question is what the existing (32A) Rolec is worth as spares or repairs. I suspect quite a bit which offsets the cost of an alternative.
I am conficted about the true benefit of a socketed charge point which costs more initially if you factor in a lead to keep with the charge point and you still have the cost of a new lead when you change from type 1 to 2 so the only benefit is the ability to switch regularly between the two. To change from the current tethered to a socket would cost about £90.
 

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JimB
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, I meant that I'd buy a new untethered unit so will also need new 10 metre type 2 to type 1 lead. I bought a 5 metre one for charging away from home but was a bit of a waste of money for a private use phev, only used twice in 5 years so may be able to sell.

Thanks again!
 

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JimB
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You have excellent advice above. I agree with all of it and would say that you can easily repair the casing of the Rolec.
I'm confused by the type 2 comment - is your Outlander not type 1?
Your options are confusing - repairing the Rolec is likely to be the least costly but leaves you with an old brittle case. Changing the unit strictly requires you to bring the wiring up to date which involves extra cost but increases the safety.
I'm obviously going to think some more about this but if I replaced this chargepod with an up to date but otherwise identical straight swop Rolec non tethered one what wiring would have to be updated?
 

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I'm obviously going to think some more about this but if I replaced this chargepod with an up to date but otherwise identical straight swop Rolec non tethered one what wiring would have to be updated?
It's generally the case that when an electrical installation is altered significantly it must be upgraded to the latest regulations.
If your house is on a TN-C-S (aka: PME) power supply you may need the additional protection mentioned by HandyAndy earlier; that is an earth rod or PEN device. Your electrician should be able to advise, though many are not au fait with EV charging systems and may give you the 'rabbit in the headlights' look when you mention it.
 

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Thanks for that Andy.
To be honest I'm really only competent with this stuff at a relatively low level and most of that is beyond me although I'll probably stick a meter on the gun to check the microswitch.

Rather than replacing more components I'm inclined to just replace it by a Qubev series 18 for £300 or maybe even a new Rolec @ £340 each with type 2 socket output although the Qubev seems to get good reviews.

I'm still fuming regarding the shoddy job the installers carried out.
That's swoping the original Rolec TAT for the latest rubbish from the same brand🙄
 

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What I would say about Rolec is they have chosen to use a plastic case. Some have cracked because they were screwed up tight against an uneven back surface. Whether they survive well outside in sunshine I don't know, but I'd expect them to have all the usual anti-UV stuff in there. If you want to pay more for a metal cased job, fine.

Secondly, Rolec do seem to choose poor quality RCBOs. The original blue-text ones were really nastyily designed inside, and the terminal that invariably overheats does so because the only thing holding the bits in contact against the strong spring is the flimsy outer case! Which gradally flexes, yields, the contact point goes out of line, and it all fails. Other components in there seem to last ok.

There have been 2 or maybe 3 early failures of the newer Rolec RCBO seen here, this one has green text on. It's a failure in a different place, but the outer case starts to char.

Really, all you need to do is bin whatever Rolec RCBO you find around, swap in a Garo, and for about £25 you've restored it to an inexpensive, and very easy to repair yourself, EVSE. I'll be keeping mine, don't need to pay a sparky to repair it, it's so easy to do yourself (if you're happy with electrical work of course!). If the ECU (brains) part breaks, you can diy replace that as well, with a Viridian unit. Cost about £80 for the basic one (needs outdoor Earth Rod for latest regs), £125 for the newer one that pas PEN-Loss protection (needs a Contactor for E wire, so Earth Rod not needed). That's going to be a whole lot cheaper than getting the OEM to repair it.

Yes it's cheap & cheerful, and with the exception of the RCBO, none the worse for that imho.
Get a Viridian if you want similar cheap ease-of-repair but in a metal case & proper RCBO in the first place.
 

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JimB
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks once again Andy. Temporarily thwarted in checking the microswitch as the probes on my meter won't go into the gun's contacts but in the meantime could you confirm the outputs on this gun which doesn't have one named pp.
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The PP is labelled CS and the CP is conventionally labelled on your plug.
 

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Hi guys, don't mean to hijack the thread, but I have a 3kw rolec, fitted in 2014. wanted to upgrade it to 7kw. spoke to rolec, and they said I need to change the mode 3 controller (ACSE0020), and get new switchgear (ACEQ0185). Is this something I can do myself. I have found the parts online. As above, I could get a GARO RCBO instead of the rolec one (ACEQ0185)
 

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Hi guys, don't mean to hijack the thread, but I have a 3kw rolec, fitted in 2014. wanted to upgrade it to 7kw. spoke to rolec, and they said I need to change the mode 3 controller (ACSE0020), and get new switchgear (ACEQ0185). Is this something I can do myself. I have found the parts online. As above, I could get a GARO RCBO instead of the rolec one (ACEQ0185)
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Buy the Garo RCBO and Viridian controller as suggested above rather than the Rolec stuff. The only issue is whether all of your cables are up to it - the one supplying it, the ones inside the Rolec unit and the one to the car. For all of the current carrying ones I'd be expecting at least 6mm^2 cross sectional area ones. But to quote @HandyAndy above again you'll end up with something easy to maintain for the future.
 
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That one you just linked to is the untethered one. Viridian have a very-similar one for tethered cable EVSEs, so choose carefully.

It's the early Viridian model, and while it's functionally identical to the old dumb Rolec ECU, it no longer complies with the regs for EVSEs charging cars outdoors. If your car & EVSE are always inside the gge that's part of the house, then that counts as "everything's inside the house" and the house Earth is fine. But they're a bit stricter now, so you might want to comply with newest regs to be as safe as poss. If you already have an Earth rod, you're fine. If not, your outdoors-charged car (even if EVSE is inside gge & you dangle the cable under the door, as I do) needs either an Earth rod fitting, or you can get a PEN-Loss protection device instead.

My Rolec lives inside gge, but cable is dangled under teh door, so I decided to upgrade mine to become safer.
I used the newer Viridian ECU, which has the PEN-loss device built in, the coil is the sensor for this.
EVSE Protocol Controller 2.0 (EPC 2.0)
Being a newer design, it caters for both tethered & untethered EVSEs. You will need 1 extra contactor which isolates the Earth wire to the car, rated 32A just like the main Contactor. But only needs to be a 1-pole device. Strangely, these are hard to find! A 2-pole one is easier to get hold of.

The other change is the Rolec ECU drives the LED unit the opposite polarity to the Viridian one, so easiest fix for that is just to use one of the Viridian LED lamp outputs & drive one of the LED unit inputs, ignoring the other 2 colours. There's a load of colours they all play with, but basically you want to know if it's actually charging, or not. That's enough tbh.

Details of all this in post #3 above, I believe.
 
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JimB
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hard to know what's causing the tripping, you could try plugging the cable into the car after disconnecting the L, N, E inputs from grid, then put a Megger across L and E, N & E, to see if there's any current leak-path somewhere. Maybe a bit of damp's getting into The type 1 plug, who knows. I wouldn't have thought the Contactor would be the problem, they're just a very dumb giant relay with no testing capability in. So that leaves either the Rolec ECU *bains) module, or the wiring to the car surely.

The trigger alters the resistance between PP pin on the plug and the Earth on the plug. So stick a meter on & click away, you'll see something like 150 Ohms & 450 Ohms, or maybe it's 220 & 680 Ohms, whatever. 2 different values in the 100 to 800 ohm range, anyway.

You're charging the car outdoors, so to meet latest regs (should you wish to upgrade) you need either an Earth rod to provide the earthing for the E wire from EVSE to car (you may have this, can't see from pics), or it needs an PEN-loss device which those old Rolecs don't have.

I upgraded my old Rolec to latest space by adding a controller module that uses PEN-loss device, also will need a separate Contactor for the E isolation this does. Details here if interested.
Rolec Dumb Charger upgraded with DC Leakage Protection...

If you go this route, you swap out the (possibly faulty) Rolec ECU, and at the same time you could seal up that hole to make case damp-proof again, and you could also change to untethered socket so next car which will be Type-2 probably will be supported? evbitz.uk sell the parts needed, I think.
Thank goodness for old fashioned paper clips without paint all over them! I can hear the groans already ;)

Well I got readings fluctuating from between 650 and 800 + with the trigger untouched but a steady 1. with the trigger depressed.

If this means that the microswitch is defective it might be worth just buying a type 1 tethered cable as I now really want to get the car further away from the garage door (aggravation re bin days!). However, Ironically I had a 32 amp Rolec installed to 'future proof' it and it seems impossible to get 10 metre type1 tethered cables other than 16 amp ones but as the Outlander is the only car that will be plugged in to this chargepoint and no new one will use type 1 anyway I assume that a 16 amp cable will be fine (?).

EDIT - Always the same, as soon as I sent this I found a 32 amp 10 metre one!

I notice that when I isolate the unit then switch back on I get the full range of lights on the front display and wouldn't think that would happen if the controller was us, or could it?

My apologies, it must drive you mad dealing with numpties like me!
 
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