Monday, June 8, 2015

New Toy

In planning for the charge port on my Porsche EV, I found a charging device that makes charging away from home a real option

I had cobbled up a cable with NEMA 6-20 connections and a receptacle box on the EVTD to bypass the J1772 charging port. I added a switch to the receptacle box to avoid the nasty spark that happened every time I plugged the thing into the wall outlet. Most of the time it had the J1772 box cable plugged in, but would allow me to plug in to standard 110 or 220 volt outlets as well. It took up some space where the 12 volt battery used to be, but worked pretty well. 

I was planning to do a similar thing with the Porsche EV, but since I'm using the AVC2 logic board I wanted to make it a simple "plug in and charge" process rather than the "1) pull out contactor switch 2) turn on receptacle box switch 3) turn on J1772 adapter box switch" procedure that is needed for the EVTD.

Google can be a dangerous thing, and I found the AeroVironment TurboCord Dual and you can check all the specs on the link. My garage charging station is from AeroVironment with a Nissan logo on it, and since it has functioned flawlessly for four years now I figured this was worth a try.

It's a bit pricey, but it is a little jewel! It comes in this nifty bag, so it can be carried around without rattling in the trunk.

With a J1772 plug at the car end, the wall plug is very cleverly designed to handle both a NEMA 6-20 and NEMA 5-15 for 240 and 120 volt outlets.

The 240 volt adapter plugs in to the 120 volt base and locks on with the black slider. The plug contains the logic to recognize the voltage and interface with the car's on-board controller. 

Since I have this NEMA 6-20 outlet in my garage, might as well use it to charge two EVs at once since "Overkill is always appropriate".

Plugging in the TurboCord produces no startling flash, so it just glows blue to indicate it has power. Once the J1772 plug is inserted in the car's charging port and all of the handshake communications have successfully completed, the blue light will flash as charging is under way

It works perfectly with my Nissan Leaf as you would expect.

It works equally well with my EVTD, and the plug is color coordinated with the EVTD's master maintenance switch. 

The receptacle box is now redundant, and I plan to hard wire the J1772 box to the charger and replace the receptacle with a 12 volt battery to maintain power so I can give the DC/DC converter a rest. It is surprising how many amp hours are drawn from the main pack just to maintain the radio settings, speedometer GPS, and JLD 404 display.

For charging from different 240 volt outlets, any number of adapter cables can be assembled. I made this one last year to connect to the RV style outlets in front of the AC Brase Arena in Cape Girardeau, MO, home of the annual EVCCON conference.

The AV TurboCord will work just as well with my Porsche EV, so I hope to get a good bit of use from this device.

Update 12/24/2016:

I received the inquiry below about the adapter wiring, so it's worth posting a few photos:

 I'm not sure it actually matters which 120 volt leg goes where, but mine works so it can serve as an example.

Your mileage may vary.