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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I'm just about to get and order a home charger for my i3 which isn't due for a few months.
Question is, which one?

There are a few options available for dramatically different prices.

Rolec tethered 32A including locking option - £200 (with current £50 off)
PodPoint (untethered) 7kW - not sure if you can lock it - £359 how much more for tethered?
Chargemaster (not sure if tethered or socket) 7kW - £354

I have a possibly non-standard installation, I'd like it on a detetched garage that has power, but I'm not sure it could cope with a EVSE (think I have a hefty cable going to it and the garage has it's own consumer unit with a 100A "switch" in it)

Anyway, my question is... is there any clear advantage of going to any particular EVSE / fitting company over the Rolec charger? Are the ponpoint and chargemaster ones worth the extra cash?

Thanks!

AJP
 

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I have a possibly non-standard installation, I'd like it on a detetched garage that has power, but I'm not sure it could cope with a EVSE (think I have a hefty cable going to it and the garage has it's own consumer unit with a 100A "switch" in it)
The 100A rating on that switch isn't telling you much.

However, that garage CU is presumably fed from a breaker in your house's main CU - and the rating of that breaker would give a first guess at whether you've sufficient capacity in your existing feed or if you need it replaced.

Presumably all those prices you have quoted are for units with "standard installation", after deducting the OLEV grant?

If your garage feed isn't up to the job, then this is going to be far from a 'standard installation', but on the other hand you may be better off to work with a local electrician to get it upgraded and then have a standard installation on the end of it.

If you do want someone to take on the whole job, going to an independent installer like @Thephoenixworks might be a better bet than trying to persuade one of the equipment suppliers to do a non-standard install.

Whoever you have doing it, if it involves digging up your garden you will be better off agreeing what's needed and then digging the trench yourself.



IMO, it's not worth paying extra for a locking chargepoint (especially in a garage) - the lock doesn't protect you from any realistic problem, and just gives you the chance to lose the key....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The 100A rating on that switch isn't telling you much.

However, that garage CU is presumably fed from a breaker in your house's main CU - and the rating of that breaker would give a first guess at whether you've sufficient capacity in your existing feed or if you need it replaced.

Presumably all those prices you have quoted are for units with "standard installation", after deducting the OLEV grant?

If your garage feed isn't up to the job, then this is going to be far from a 'standard installation', but on the other hand you may be better off to work with a local electrician to get it upgraded and then have a standard installation on the end of it.

If you do want someone to take on the whole job, going to an independent installer like @Thephoenixworks might be a better bet than trying to persuade one of the equipment suppliers to do a non-standard install.

Whoever you have doing it, if it involves digging up your garden you will be better off agreeing what's needed and then digging the trench yourself.



IMO, it's not worth paying extra for a locking chargepoint (especially in a garage) - the lock doesn't protect you from any realistic problem, and just gives you the chance to lose the key....
Good call. There is a 20A breaker in the house consumer unit for the garage. I don't know what the cable is rated at. I'll try to find out more. I'm guessing it'd need to be considerably more than 32A to be worth /capable of taking the power directly from the garage.

Anyway, is there any advantage of paying more for a podpoint or charge master EVSE over a Rolec?

Thanks,
Andy


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I have a very similar arrangement to yours @drandyperry01 with a detached garrage running from a spur off the main CU with a 32a breaker. Although the armoured cable between the house and the garage was rated for more, it had been spliced to standard twin and earth internally inside the house. As such we couldn't just put in a new chunkier breaker.

Anyway, the nice people from EV charging solutions put in one of their wall units and went straight into the secondary CU in the garrage. There is an internal dip switch that they set to limit charging rate to 20a, the next step below 32.

In your case it sounds as if you could get a 16a unit installed (depending on the other loads you have running in the garrage) and just run with what you have already.

To be honest, 16a would be fine for any reasonablely plausible usage that involved overnight charging.....
 

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Good call. There is a 20A breaker in the house consumer unit for the garage. I don't know what the cable is rated at. I'll try to find out more. I'm guessing it'd need to be considerably more than 32A to be worth /capable of taking the power directly from the garage.
OK, so it's unlikely the cable would support a 32A chargepoint. It would probably support a 16A chargepoint (maybe the cable rating would support a step up to a 25A breaker), so that's your fallback option if the costs of upgrading work out unaffordable.

In theory you could take a separate cable for the chargepoint out to the garage, but replacing the existing cable with a heavier one and running it all off the CU in the garage would be tidier and probably no more expensive.

Anyway, is there any advantage of paying more for a podpoint or charge master EVSE over a Rolec?
I don't have experience of PodPoint's domestic units.

Personally, I wouldn't get a Chargemaster today (though I have one at home; the situation 3 years ago was different!). They are not BAD as such, but other options are better.

Rolec do have reports of quality issues with the RCBO in some units; on the other hand, it's very easy to repair, and at the prices quoted you could buy a Rolec and replace the RCBO with a better one and still have cash in hand...

There are many other options besides the three you list - mostly installed by indpendents rather than directly by the manufacturer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7


This is my plan view of my house. Planning to park the i3 on the drive in front of the garage (which is what I do now). My wife has the spot in front of the house as she mainly had the kids (3&1).

Are there some EVSEs that are better than the 3 I know about? If people really rate one, can you let me know make and model and I'll do some more research?

Independent installers were mentioned, would I be able to claim the olev £500 grant with one of these? I'm in Staffordshire.

Thanks!

Andy

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This is my plan view of my house. Planning to park the i3 on the drive in front of the garage (which is what I do now). My wife has the spot in front of the house as she mainly had the kids (3&1).
OK. Unless there's an easy way to run a cable to the main CU in the middle of the house (probably not!), then I'd expect an installer to intercept the supply at the meter box and insert a new mini-CU there (at modest extra cost, <£50).

Having done that, a chargepoint mounted to suit your wife's parking location is probably a 'standard install'.

To put it in the garage instead needs a trench across that 13m of lawn and an armoured cable (~£25). If you provide the digging labour, this shouldn't add much to the cost, but does need an installer sufficiently flexible to work with you.

(all of this just best-guess advice based on what I can tell from the info given - it's always possible there are special circumstances that an electrician on-site would be able to spot that I haven't).

Are there some EVSEs that are better than the 3 I know about? If people really rate one, can you let me know make and model and I'll do some more research?
There are many, some here:
Car Chargers | EV Charging Stations | The Phoenix Works
ecoHarmony
and more that don't immediately come to mind.

Many people have praised the ABL as being 'built like a tank' (in contrast to the Rolec). This - reliability and maintainability - is really what you are looking for, as for most people there aren't any extra features that are actually worth having.

The eVolt (first link above) does offer dynamic load control if your house supply is inadequate to supply full power charging at the same time as other loads (or a 2nd chargepoint).
The Tesla unit (which would also charge your BMW, but isn't yet registered for the OLEV grant scheme) similarly supports power sharing if you add a 2nd unit later, and also has temperature monitoring in the plug.

It's hard for most of us here on SpeakEV to give a meaningful recommendation, as we each only have experience with a limited number of the units. Installers can probably give a better indication of which ones they have to go back to under warranty - though again they will be restricted to the units they sell (or have given up selling).

Independent installers were mentioned, would I be able to claim the olev £500 grant with one of these? I'm in Staffordshire.
Yes, if they are on the OLEV list (which is quite a long list).
 

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The next charger I buy will have off the shelf components so at least there will be a chance of getting it repaired without having to chuck the whole thing in the bin and buying a new one.
 

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One bit of advice - go tethered. It doesn't seem much of a job to take the cable out of the boot and plug in and then reverse that process later. It's one hell of faff and horrible in the cold and wet. It also drags dirt into your boot. So much nicer to unroll the cable, plug in (at only one end) and then roll it all back in a couple of seconds. I wish I'd gone tethered.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
One bit of advice - go tethered. It doesn't seem much of a job to take the cable out of the boot and plug in and then reverse that process later. It's one hell of faff and horrible in the cold and wet. It also drags dirt into your boot. So much nicer to unroll the cable, plug in (at only one end) and then roll it all back in a couple of seconds. I wish I'd gone tethered.
Yes, I'm planning to get a tethered one. I imagine it would get annoying getting your big fat cable out of the boot / frunk after a week of rain!

AJP
 

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Yes, I'm planning to get a tethered one. I imagine it would get annoying getting your big fat cable out of the boot / frunk after a week of rain!

AJP
I went tethered. It is easier. Just remember you won't be able to charge all ev's with it though. So if you get an additional EV in the house, or have a regular visitor, this could be an issue - a type 2 socket almost all come equipped for, or can get the lead affordable

Rolec had the reputation of being modular, so easier to adapt later if your needs change - some other units you may find yourself needing to start again.
 

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I had a 7Kw tethered Podpoint installed last week, they put an extra small consumer unit in so if that tripped it didn't take down the rest of the house. Excellent job of the installation, no extra charges despite having to put an extra earth strap on the gas supply (runs next to the charge point cable) and the consumer unit. They do say that there will be extra charges though if the cable run is over 10m, or is underground.
 

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What's the issue with getting a non-tethered charger and then using a cable that's permanently left plugged into the charger? You could padlock the cable so it couldn't be taken easily if that was a concern.
 

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What's the issue with getting a non-tethered charger and then using a cable that's permanently left plugged into the charger? You could padlock the cable so it couldn't be taken easily if that was a concern.
No issue, it's just more expensive than buying a tethered charger.

And fractionally less neat.
 

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What's the issue with getting a non-tethered charger and then using a cable that's permanently left plugged into the charger? You could padlock the cable so it couldn't be taken easily if that was a concern.
You may fall into the same problem as I had. Went to Charnock Richard en route to get a charge. The Rapid posts (tethered) there cause Zoes to BCI (battery charging impossible)(I did not know this at the time). If I had not left my cable at home to save wieght, I could have gotten a charge on the fast posts there (which I assume are there to answer the BCI problem) instead of ending up on a flatbed. Also quite a few public chargers require you to use your own cable.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The plot thickens. I've looked in my garage CU and there is a fair size cable going into it.

Does anyone know what kind of current I'm likely to get through the following cable? If it's 50A or more then I might be able to run the EVSE off the garage electrics.







The cable doesn't look to be armored. It's about 11mm in total diameter. It's currently on a 20A breaker from the house but am I right in thinking that if the cable is up to it, I can just increase that breaker size as long as I keep smaller ones for the sockets and lights in the garage, then get a "standard" EVSE install from any supplier?

Cheers!

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The cable doesn't look to be armored. It's about 11mm in total diameter. It's currently on a 20A breaker from the house but am I right in thinking that if the cable is up to it, I can just increase that breaker size as long as I keep smaller ones for the sockets and lights in the garage, then get a "standard" EVSE install from any supplier?
The idea is sound, but the chances of the cable being up to it are slim.

If this is direct buried in the ground, then it really needs to be armoured. Direct burying a soft-skinned cable would be extremely rough, and I'd be looking to recommend replacement before someone puts a fork through it. Are you sure that isn't the top of an SWA gland I can see underneath your ruler, with the black 'cable' you are measuring just the bedding on the inside of the SWA? Is the cable accessible on the outside of the CU where it runs into the gland? Is it somewhat larger diameter at that point (with the armour having been terminated into the gland)?

The other thing that would be legit (but rare) would be to put a standard cable into a duct or conduit and bury that; if that is what you've got then potentially you can save some effort by drawing a new cable into the duct.

You need to find out what happens at the house end in any case, since it's common to take an outdoor cable into a junction box where it enters the house and then continue in T&E or similar indoors.

My best guess from your photos is that it's 4mm², though it might possibly be 6mm² - it's extremely hard to tell. If it's 4mm² then it is good for a bit more than the 20A breaker you have now, but extremely marginal for a 32A chargepoint. If it's 6mm² then you are probably in luck, but still need to find out what happens at the house end.
 
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