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Electric Bug: Charger Control – What I want


I’m using the Manzanita Micro PFC-30 charger to charge my car. It basically has technology from 10 years ago, and drastically needs some updates. Now, they are slowly updating the charger, but it still doesn’t have the features I really want.

Things I want in a charger:

* J1772 support. This is the ability to turn on and off an Electric Vehicle charging station, and provide some safety measures when charging. I already have this J1772 adapter box that I’m using. The adapter box works great, but it has no safety measure to respect the proximity setting. Normally, when someone starts to unplug a J1772 plug, pushing down the button will invoke a proximity signal that the charger (inside the car) can detect and use as a signal to stop charging. Without this ability someone could naively unplug the car while the charger is pulling in 30 amps. This isn’t too bad, as the J1772 standard is designed to have its shorter proximity (and signal) pins disengage before the longer power providing pins, meaning the charging station will detect this and cut off power to the charger before the thing is fully unplugged. However, this isn’t good for the charger, as it suddenly looses that 30 amp input, and (I think) the Manzanita chargers will spark back, potentially damaging plugs. It also isn’t safe, and the charger should “soft turn off” when the car is about to be unplugged.

* Timer support. I want to be able to set a timer to charge at night. Before I installed my own EVSE charging station, I had a wall mounted timer that could start and stop the 240v at night. It worked quite well, except I think the turning off was bad for the charger, and might be the reason my charger failed (although, I stopped doing this about 6 or 7 months ago when I installed my EVSE, and even so, I only charged at night using the timer a few times). But, I think it might have caused the burnt plugs I had, possibly due to the charger “sparking back” when the wall mounted timer shut off all of a sudden. Now, it wouldn’t have been a problem if the charger finished charging, as it wouldn’t be drawing 30 amps in, and wouldn’t be a big deal. However, I only want to put an hour or so of energy into the car at night, and finish charging up when I get to work. So, I needed a mechanism to “soft turn off” the charger.

I could buy the DIY Charger that Valery is selling kits for (and I want to do this some day for my next car!), but for now, I want to make my manzanita work the way I want.



5 Responses to “Electric Bug: Charger Control – What I want”

  1. Corbin's Treehouse » Blog Archive » Electric Bug: Charger Control – Design says:

    […] Electric Bug: Charger Control – What I want […]

  2. Rush Dougherty says:

    Corbin –

    Thanks for mentioning the J1772 Adapter Box you bought from me and placing a link to my website. Could you correct the link, it doesn’t work, you’ve actually put the HTTP link in twice so it doesn’t work.

    Do you know if when any J1772 EVSE is turned off at the pedestal there is a ‘soft turn off’, or if the contractor in the EVSE just goes off and there is signal to the charger itself?

    Thanks
    Rush

  3. Rush Dougherty says:

    Corbin –

    Thanks for mentioning the J1772 Adapter Box you bought from me and placing a link to my website. Could you correct the link, it doesn’t work, you’ve actually put the HTTP link in twice so it doesn’t work.

    Do you know if when any J1772 EVSE is turned off at the pedestal there is a ‘soft turn off’, or if the contractor in the EVSE just goes off and there is no signal sent to the to the charger itself?

    Thanks
    Rush

  4. corbin says:

    Thanks Rush! I fixed the link up.

    As far as I understand it, when the J1772 EVSE is turned off it is just a hard “off” that flips their contractor. I’m pretty sure this is the way it is on all implementations I’ve come across, as you can hear the contractor the moment the signal is stopped. So, it seems to be up to the charger to properly stop drawing amps *before* turning off the EVSE. This is why the car’s charger can sense the proximity switch being pushed down as a signal to stop drawing current (it is also a signal for it to start drawing current once “latched”).

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