Corbin Dunn
Redwood Monkey

Bug down! Charger broken (again – 3rd time)

Electric Bug

Sadly, the electric VW bug will be taking some time off the road. Last time it was the transmission, and this time it is the Manzanita Micro PFC-30 charger. I didn’t even get a 1000 miles before another problem came up. I was really hoping to hit 40,000 miles and it is nearly there hovering a bit over 39,700 miles. 

Last Sunday I was charging the car and pulling about 27 amps. The charger should be able to pull 30, but quickly goes into a limit mode due to temperature. This happens no matter what the temperature is, and is just a flaw in the charger. It might happen due to the voltage of the car: the car runs at 154 volts, but charges somewhere higher, like 170V – I’m not sure as the exact voltage as the charger has no measurement for this and you turn a dial to adjust it. So, it is stepping down the 220v input to 154v. And, I know the charger is only about 80% efficient, so the extra energy has to go *somewhere*, and that somewhere is heat dissipation. 

The charger has failed several times:

First time: May 2011 – Charger Not Charging — Manzanita Micro repaired it (out of warranty) for $170. I wasn’t quite clear on why it failed.

Second time: September 2012 – Charger Failed again. – $213 to repair it, and they said the reason was from corrosion on the cables.

This time, I’m seeing the same symptoms as the first time; the charger is causing a ground fault, and flipping the circuit breaker that my EVSE is hooked up to (50amp breaker).

I opened the box..I think the bad part is underneath where I can’t see. It smells like magic smoke. 

I don’t have much choices for a replacement charger; it is by far cheapest to just get this one repaired, so I’ll send it back and have them fix it again. The EMW charger looks nice; it outputs 12Kw, and is a decent price ($2300) — but I can’t fit the 12x12x12” dimensions in my current location. And I don’t want to pay $2300 for a new charger, when I can get the current one repaired for a lot less.

IMG 4513

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