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Discussion Starter #1
Hi - is anyone out there a Zoe owner?
I say this 'cause a lot of posts are Leaf owners and I would like to discuss difficulties people have experienced with Zoe not recognising some charge points.
I have had a few failures mainly at Chargemaster points where the Zoe does her "on going checks" and eventually gives up after a couple of minutes (screen goes blank in the Zoe).
Also, once or twice some Chargemaster posts have refused to give me back my cable!
Ring any bells?
Oh, and has anyone built an EVSE and used it with their Zoe? Or bought a ready built "granny charger" and successfully used it?
I believe some early Zoe's had problems with this and wonder if a software upgrade will sort it out. Or maybe it's more serious than this?
Thanks: Lea
 

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Oh yes...see my thread in the Renault section 'Anyone else had problems with rapid charging'.

I am hoping that, Renault now having proved that (a) their new Zoe will rapid charge and (b) mine won't, they will replace the charging unit on the car next week. However, it's apparently an expensive part so they 'just want to run some more tests'. My patience is now wearing extremely thin; funnily enough I couldn't care less whether they blow their parts budget for the month!
 

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Oh yes I've had plenty of "BATTERY CHARGE IMPOSSIBLE" and the dreaded "ELECTRICAL FAILURE DANGER"
just before Zoe went into limp home mode.
Zoe is VERY picky when it comes to the earth impedance of the charger and if this value is slightly less than the
50 ohm mark then you have BGI or EFD.
The cure was having the software of Zoe's charge control computer. upgraded at Renault Birmingham EV service and all is fine now (touch wood).
Because I had months of problems with the Zoe I only charge at home (charger swapped out 4 times by
charge- master) and use Zoe as a local run-around car. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Paul for moving me to the Renault forum. And thanks Kevin for alerting me to the forum on SpeakEV. (I couldn't find any links when I tried - my search terms were too small, apparently.)

I must have been lucky with my Zoe (despite the wait). I guess people tend to use forums when things are not going well.

However, I have had no problems at all with the Ecotricity fast chargers and my Chargemaster at home. None at all (fingers' crossed).

When the Chargemaster was first installed, the engineer failed to check the mains wiring and it kept blowing the mains breaker until this was fixed and no probs since then.

My problem is still with my home built Mainpine evse unit.

I am waiting for a new lead from EV Connectors and when it is wired in I will report back.
Hopefully, all working well.
But I have a funny feeling in my bones that either Zoe or the unit won't play ball.

Hope I'm wrong!
 

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But I have a funny feeling in my bones that either Zoe or the unit won't play ball.
I've used a Mainpine based EVSE with the ZOE several times without incident. I also know several ZOE owners in Europe are using the solution. If you have your EVSE reviewed by a professional then I would not expect you to have problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Kevin, hi Lee, hello anyone who's interested!

The unit now works perfectly with my Zoe - I have tried two different charging rates (controlled by the resistor between the IC pin of the Mainpine and ground). I think the wiring diagram they gave me (an Adobe file) with the unit is incorrect. The wiring on the NuWorldEnergy site seems to be the correct one.

It dropped out once at the lower charge rate (8A) after a couple of hours for some reason but finished the charge at the higher rate (12A). I've heard that Zoe's don't like low charge rates - we shall see. I want to use surplus power from my solar panels so the 32A is too wasteful if I'm not in a hurry. I have a 40A rated Contactor, by the way.

Incidentally I did tell Mainpine about this but the discrepancy between their circuit diagrams and the NuWorldEnergy version but my observation was dismissed, I felt, as "not important" and that it was obvious what the correct connections were. Zoe begged to differ and second time I went with what was logically correct for me, wiring up as per the schematic on the NuWorldEnergy site rather than the Mainpine one. My last email to Mainpine has been ignored - not ideal customer relations.

By the way Mainpine if you ever read this a thank you would be nice for pointing out the error in your Adobe version - you guys are obviously hot on safety so I suggest you update your manual for the EPC.

Anyway my faith in Zoe is restored! Thanks to those who have helped me along the way on my self-build. I will keep you posted on any developments.
 

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Incidentally I did tell Mainpine about this but the discrepancy between their circuit diagrams and the NuWorldEnergy version but my observation was dismissed, I felt, as "not important" and that it was obvious what the correct connections were. Zoe begged to differ and second time I went with what was logically correct for me, wiring up as per the schematic on the NuWorldEnergy site rather than the Mainpine one. My last email to Mainpine has been ignored - not ideal customer relations.
The schematic is intended as a guide for developers and is clearly marked as such. It is not an end user step by step guide (which would be impossible given the number of possible component variations).

The resellers are expected to provide EPC support although in this case Mainpine also responded directly to your emails and provided help on this forum and via PM. Clearly NuWorld Energy also did their job and you successfully built your EVSE.

My advice now is to get the EVSE reviewed and tested by a competent and qualified electrician.

I want to use surplus power from my solar panels so the 32A is too wasteful if I'm not in a hurry
A couple of people are already working on the integration between the EPC and Open Energy Monitor which will be a very exciting development once completed.
 

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@dr lea brindle : I apologize that you perceived my communications with you as a dismissal of your concerns. That was certainly not my intention. I did agree with you that there was a difference between the two diagrams, but my response was that I felt like the difference was to-be-expected with the variety of components and configuration methods. That said, I have already requested for another opinion on that very diagram, and I will be most-happy to inform you of any changes that are made as a result.

Thank you for pointing out the differences in the diagrams.

Your last e-mail message to me (6 May) was merely a brief thank-you, and there were no questions or unaddressed issues... so I did not reply further. I apologize, again, if this was perceived as dismissive.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi Lee - I did not intend to criticise anyone personally. Everyone has been most helpful. However, I expected a more formal acknowledgement from Mainpine, the Company. I did send another email which doesn't seem to have been responded to. But no matter - I have sorted it out myself. I was asked to contact Mainpine directly but, despite protestations to the contrary, have not had a reply to my concerns (until now).

A can of worms seems to have been opened by the evse self-build video. I feel I am fairly competent with electrical/electronics projects (having been an engineer in a previous career) but still need reliable consistent information to work from. In my opinion the video did not have anywhere near the caveats that I have had on this forum from associate people from "don't build a stand alone charger" (I'm sure Kevin said it would be covered in a later video but I may be wrong) to "get a competent, professional person (i.e. not me!) to check your work."

I agree these are exciting times & by the way, if anyone is interested, I have used an Aurduino microprocessor to vary an output signal according to the difference between the solar generation and home electricity use using CT sensors. There seems no reason why at some stage it couldn't feed into the IC pin to vary the charge rate according to solar power excess. DON'T WORRY - I am not planning to do this anytime soon! I have been using it to divert power to my immersion heater, a similar load power-wise but not comparable in complexity (e.g. varying the resistance at the IC pin). I used a current-controlled solid-state relay to vary the load to the immersion, by the way.

My EVSE now works fine but it is early days I know given what I read on these forums! I will keep you posted if I am allowed to! So thanks again to those who have helped me. I hope my story will also guide others e.g. don't rely on the Mainpine schematic - use the one supplied by NuWorldEnergy (are they the same people, I wonder?) as it seems to be more accurate. Maybe one day the Adobe EPC manual version will change. It's odd as both versions seem to have been authored by Mainpine.
 

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"get a competent, professional person (i.e. not me!) to check your work"
As a UK homeowner you are entitled to carry out some electrical works in your home, with smaller jobs not requiring notification for Part P compliance.

However, work that is deemed more dangerous, such as in the bathroom, installation of a new circuit, or (IMO) building an EVSE, must be undertaken or reviewed and signed off by a 'competent person'.

Given that most lay people do not have the relevant qualification to meet the 'competent person' requirement it's critical that anyone undertaking a DIY project submits the EVSE to a professional for review and certification.

Everyone involved in the DIY EVSE video and talks is trying to help educate end users about the relative simplicity of electric car charging. However, no one should ignore the legal requirements for product review and certification nor the potential for harm if you get this wrong. If safety is not your paramount concern then you should not undertake DIY projects.

We are making the EPC available in the hope that people will stop building DIY EVSE using parts that are not CE marked or tested. We also hope people will embrace product review and certification by professionals because at the end of the day liability is clearly with the builder of any device.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Kevin for your efforts to protect me from myself. Am I the only evse self-builder inspired by you who has had such attention regarding these legal, health & safety warnings?

I hope that other who follow can learn from the dialogue I have started and criticism I have been subjected to. Meanwhile, I feel it would be helpful to:

1 Put your warnings on any publicity material encouraging us to self-build so that we know in advance the risks (which seem to me to be rather played down compared to the barrage I have had since requesting help on this forum).

2 Encourage the suppliers to get their act together and review incorrect and misleading information, put the safety warnings with the orders they supply to the general public (not just me), and

3 Clarify who is whom in this evse game. For instance, who are the owners, directors, employees in ZeroCarbonWorld, Mainpine, NuWorldEnergy, EVconnectors, etc? Any interest should be declared perhaps before someone else does this first.

I hope we can ALL learn from and end this "conversation" now, moving on to generic issues rather than me, personally, being the butt of all criticism. I know that various organisations have to protect themselves from legal suits, etc. but I think you have more than compensated in my particular case.
 

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Thanks Kevin for your efforts to protect me from myself. Am I the only evse self-builder inspired by you who has had such attention regarding these legal, health & safety warnings?
No, this is not personal, everyone gets the same attention :)

1 Put your warnings on any publicity material encouraging us to self-build so that we know in advance the risks (which seem to me to be rather played down compared to the barrage I have had since requesting help on this forum).

2 Encourage the suppliers to get their act together and review incorrect and misleading information, put the safety warnings with the orders they supply to the general public (not just me)
The DIY EVSE video repeatedly emphasises the safety aspects of the project and all new EPC's production will include additional safety advice following feedback from users such as yourself.

3 Clarify who is whom in this evse game. For instance, who are the owners, directors, employees in ZeroCarbonWorld, Mainpine, NuWorldEnergy, EVconnectors, etc?.
My interest in Mainpine and ZCW is declared in my forum signature. You can also read more by following the link on my about.me page.

@nuWorld Energy is a Mainpine reseller.

I know nothing about EVconnectors and therefore cannot comment.

I hope we can ALL learn from and end this "conversation" now, moving on to generic issues rather than me, personally, being the butt of all criticism.
As I said, this is not personal but I'm duty bound to protect forum members @dpeilow @Grant Thomas @RickMGoldie who are doing their best to help end users by educating them about DIY EVSE.
 

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Hello

I have a Zoe which I cannot get to charge tonight using my zero carbon world charging station. I just keep getting the battery charging impossible error but the car has charged fine for months and months!

Any ideas?

Thanks
 

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Steady blue means "connected". (This means that the controller - Mainpine EPC - in the charging station detects the connection to the car and that the car is configured to communicate with the controller.)

Blinking blue means "not connected".

I would guess that you're looking at a fault in the Zoe, but without bringing-in another EV to charge at your ZCW charging station it's difficult to be 100% certain that the pilot from the EPC is still operating as-expected. To the best of my knowledge, though, we have never seen any EPCs fail in such a way as to disable the pilot signal.

I suspect, though, that you're already getting better Zoe-specific advice:

http://myrenaultzoe.com/index.php/topic/charging-issues/
 

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Thanks for your help, I will try plugging my Leaf into the ZCW charging point tomorrow to check that it is working as I can't do that today as have left my charging cable at work!

Are there any other colours that the LED goes to show different things?

I think I will be calling my local Renault dealer tomorrow!
 
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