Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Level 2 Charger DIY vs Online

I have been driving my new Nissan Leaf for about a month, when I bought the car the 100 mile range seemed like it would be plenty for the way I drive.
But what happened was that as soon as I got the car I started driving more because I can now driver places for under a dollar that would cost me $40 if I used my gas car.
So I found out that I limited my driving before because of the expense involved, now that limit has pretty much been removed and I found out how much I would drive if there was no cost involved with driving.

This means that I now drive more than 100 miles on some days, which I never did before, and the days I drive a lot also cuts into the charging time I have since I am driving.

So looking at my charging options it appears that I want something that will charge at the 6.6kw rate which is around 220 volts and 30 amps.

Looking at some of the charger options out there it seems like you have 2 choices. 1. really really expensive, or 2. chargers that break or don't work.

I am not too excited out either of those options, and looking at building a charger myself is a real pain in the butt, however it does give me one thing and that is control over the part and the ability to replace broken parts without buying a new charger. The cost is almost the same but I may be able to build a 30 amp charger for around $500 and if I buy a charger I am only likely to get a 12 or 15 amp charger for that price.
I can also get a J1772 connection rated at 70 amps so I would be able to keep this part and upgrade it in the future where a 15amp charge would just need to be replaced in the future.

Install it Yourself

A 70 amp J1772 plug is going to cost $120 on ebay.

This is the ebay seller I bought it from.

Then I need some cord and I found some

  • 3 Conductors (including gnd) - 6 AWG
  • 2 Control conductors - 18 AWG

it is on ebay for $9 a foot, but I am already running into my first problem which is the plug can accept wire that is 3/4 diameter and the wire I am buying is 1 inch in diameter, not sure how that is going to work out.

also before I start down this road I need to call my electrical wizard and run everything by him since I will be needing his advice when I run into trouble on this project, which will probably be sooner than later.

Option 1: 70 amp

plug $120 + 15 feet of #6 wire $135 = total $255

Option 2: 30 amp

plug plus 13 feet of 10 gage wire attached on ebay $140

How The Electronics Work

I need to figure out what kind of signals are sent back and forth between the EVSE and the electric vehicle.

Google Doc EVSE page - this page has some information on testing the EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) (most people incorrectly call this a charger)

This is another DIY charger project.

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