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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I have a strange problem on my 2012 Opel Ampera.
I use for a while in static the original Voltec EVSE charger in my garage (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DUPKB-8VAAAJzWP?format=jpg&name=large) and I use a small home made EVSE with Simple EVSE board 10/16A to charge abroad on 230V/16A inlet. Then I also have type 1 to type 2 and type 1 to type 3 adapters to plug on public stations in France. Pretty standard equipment I mean...

Everything works well for years now on this side. Two weeks ago during holidays, I plugged my car on a public station, when I came back the charge was stopped at few SOC % and the station was totally OFF. Then I try to recharge in the evening at friend's place on a standard 230V/16A inlet with my small EVSE, same problem, the main differential circuit breaker tripped in the house. I retried the next day on an other public station, same problem with type1->type2 adapter ; station tripped and shut down.

Back home last weekend I tried in my garage with the original voltec EVSE, surprise everything works well with this EVSE !

So I verified all my cable, my small evse, ... i can't found any problem. I also tried on others public station with type 1 cable attached, same problem. The orange LED stay ON for few seconds and when the EVSE close the relay the differential circuit breaker trip. But it work perfectly on the same plug with original Voltec EVSE !

I checked impedance with ohmmeter between L, N and Ground on charge port of the car. Nothing bad apparently.

When I charge with Voltec EVSE I have less than 1Vac between car frame and ground.
Then, I made a brief test, I disconnect ground wire on my small EVSE wall socket, in this configuration the charge start well and works but I can measure around 114Vac between car frame and electrical installation Ground.
I can't understand, if there's and insulation problem on AC wiring in the car (charge port fault, or wiring fault between charge port and onboard charger) why it's working with the Voltec EVSE and not with other EVSE equipments ?

Thanks
 

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It sounds like you have a serious ground fault within the cars circuitry. If you are still within the 8yr warranty, get it to a dealer ASAP
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It sounds like you have a serious ground fault within the cars circuitry. If you are still within the 8yr warranty, get it to a dealer ASAP
I'm not within the 8yr warranty anymore, for few months....
Yes it could be a ground fault on AC side, but how you explain it works with the Voltec EVSE and why I can't measure any ground fault when it's in charge with this EVSE ? It supposed to be safer and more restrictive than other "cheap" EVSE solutions like simple EVSE.

I just dismantle the charge port, everything seems fine on this part. I also tested with success this part with a Megohmmeter between L, N and Ground with insulation >500MOhms.
I also checked insulation with the megohmeter at 200V between car frame and L/N directly on charging port pin. I got 0,15Mohms and 0,13Mohms, seems coherent. I can't find the nominal values in tech service manual or on Volt forum.

Any other idea ?
 

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Recognizing you're not in the USA, is the voltage being provided to the Volt from its own EVSE different than the voltage of the other EVSE's you've been trying?

In the US, typically the portable EVSE would be 120V and the other EVSEs would be 240V. In one case the neutral would be at the same potential as the ground, and the other wouldn't. That would be an aspect I would start using to try and narrow down the exact cause of the symptoms. But if ALL EVSEs over near you are 230V, then aside from different current limits of each EVSE being negotiated with the car, I'm not sure off the top of my head.
 

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The 2011/2012 Volt has a default L1 charging level of 12 amps, and to obtain the reduced charging level of 8 amps from a 120 volt plug in the US, you need to push buttons on the handle of the EVSE that came with the car (starting with the 2013 Volt, the L1 default was changed to 8 amps, and the method of changing it moved from the EVSE handle to the center console touch screen display).

The ability to make this charging rate selection by pushing buttons on the handle of the EVSE suggests the wiring circuits within the 2011/2012 Volt EVSE are different from the circuits in the EVSE for later model Volts or other cars.

The same difference, it seems, also applies to the Ampera. The 2012 Ampera uses buttons on the EVSE to select 10 amp or 6 amp charging. The method of making that choice for the 2013 Ampera has moved to the center console touch screen display.

Perhaps the issue you are experiencing is related to the circuits within the original EVSE that allow you to make the charge level selection. Is your original Ampera EVSE allowing you to charge the car at the 10 amp rate? Can you push the button and reduce that to the 6 amp rate?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Recognizing you're not in the USA, is the voltage being provided to the Volt from its own EVSE different than the voltage of the other EVSE's you've been trying?

In the US, typically the portable EVSE would be 120V and the other EVSEs would be 240V. In one case the neutral would be at the same potential as the ground, and the other wouldn't. That would be an aspect I would start using to try and narrow down the exact cause of the symptoms. But if ALL EVSEs over near you are 230V, then aside from different current limits of each EVSE being negotiated with the car, I'm not sure off the top of my head.
Yes, in France everything is powered with 230Vac. 230Vac between phase and neutral. Potential is almost the same between neutral and ground.

The 2011/2012 Volt has a default L1 charging level of 12 amps, and to obtain the reduced charging level of 8 amps from a 120 volt plug in the US, you need to push buttons on the handle of the EVSE that came with the car (starting with the 2013 Volt, the L1 default was changed to 8 amps, and the method of changing it moved from the EVSE handle to the center console touch screen display).

The ability to make this charging rate selection by pushing buttons on the handle of the EVSE suggests the wiring circuits within the 2011/2012 Volt EVSE are different from the circuits in the EVSE for later model Volts or other cars.

The same difference, it seems, also applies to the Ampera. The 2012 Ampera uses buttons on the EVSE to select 10 amp or 6 amp charging. The method of making that choice for the 2013 Ampera has moved to the center console touch screen display.

Perhaps the issue you are experiencing is related to the circuits within the original EVSE that allow you to make the charge level selection. Is your original Ampera EVSE allowing you to charge the car at the 10 amp rate? Can you push the button and reduce that to the 6 amp rate?
Yes, I can select 10A or 6A by pushing the button on Voltec EVSE, as I was able to select 10 or 16A on my small EVSE.

I will try to find an other EVSE adapter to triple check but that's really weird. I missed to specify that I don't have any DTC error codes in car logs.
Does someone have the diagram of the original Voltec EVSE, I just want to try to understand why this one seems to prevent the differential breaker to trip.

Thanks
 

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well, if the differential trips then obviously you have an isolation issue. So current flows from L to GND.

Also, try one more thing: twist the plus 180 degrees and plug it back in the wall outlet. Sometimes reversing L/N fixes differential problems.
 

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It sounds like there may be a grounding fault in your cars on-board charger that doesn't appear until the EVSE applies charge power. This may be undetectable by your "home built" EVSE since connection start-up safety tests have completed, and believes it's safe to continue.

I checked impedance with ohmmeter between L, N and Ground on charge port of the car. Nothing bad apparently.
This is with the on-board charger not operating.

When I charge with Voltec EVSE I have less than 1Vac between car frame and ground. Then, I made a brief test,
I disconnect ground wire on my small EVSE wall socket, in this configuration the charge start well and works but I
can measure around 114Vac between car frame and electrical installation Ground.
The fault appears after charging begins. The fault is inside your cars on-board charger. I'm guessing a switching devices has developed a short that appears on one half cycle, hence 114VAC when powered from 240VAC. You might also check for a DC bias between the car chassis and wall ground in the same test.

A separate issue becomes: Why isn't your EVSE picking up on that when every other EVSE trips off.
In the US, that would be GFCI - Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt; Other places might be an RCD - Residual Current Disconnect.
Perhaps your home doesn't have such protection for that outlet.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It sounds like there may be a grounding fault in your cars on-board charger that doesn't appear until the EVSE applies charge power. This may be undetectable by your "home built" EVSE since connection start-up safety tests have completed, and believes it's safe to continue.



This is with the on-board charger not operating.



The fault appears after charging begins. The fault is inside your cars on-board charger. I'm guessing a switching devices has developed a short that appears on one half cycle, hence 114VAC when powered from 240VAC. You might also check for a DC bias between the car chassis and wall ground in the same test.

A separate issue becomes: Why isn't your EVSE picking up on that when every other EVSE trips off.
In the US, that would be GFCI - Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt; Other places might be an RCD - Residual Current Disconnect.
Perhaps your home doesn't have such protection for that outlet.
Thanks for your reply ! Sorry I missed your message on previous days...

So yes it sounds like a ground fault on onboard charger, but that's ****ing weird, it still works perfectly with the original GM Voltec EVSE, without any ground fault measurable between car frame and ground in this case (I recharged my car more than x20 times since this problem happened, on many different 240V inlet, at different places, all equiped with RCD as 99% of inlet has RCD in France, rated at 30mA).

Meanwhile, I tried with an other portable EVSE and an other public chaging station equiped with attached Type1 cable, it trip instantly. As you said, just when the charge start (when the EVSE relay close, between fix orange and fix green light on dashboard).

So, to sum up, since this problem happened one month ago, I tested and recharged my car on many different inlet, in many places, all of them equiped with RCD device. Each time it works perfectly with the original Voltec EVSE without any problem and without any ground fault measurable between car frame and ground. But at the same place same inlet and same conditions it trip instantly with any other EVSE equipment, when the EVSE relay close.

So I can consider to replace the onboard charger (which was replaced 1,5 years ago under warranty), but I really want to understand what's the physical difference and why it works on any inlet with the voltec EVSE. Someone have the electrical diagram of it ?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hello,

I ran out of time on last days but I investigate a bit more on my problem. I measured precisely between car frame and ground during charge with my portable EVSE (earth disconnected on AC plug). As you can see enclosed I get almost half the rms voltage (blue : Car frame, Yellow : Phase voltage) in this condition.

One possible reason could be a ground fault on the CP line in the vehicle (inside the onboard charger or on the AC harness between charging port and onboard charger) and I supposed that the CP input on the Voltec EVSE is opto-isolated ? 117VAC could be explained by a voltage divider created by 880ohms (2,7k+1,3k) equivalent resistor on cp line in the vehicle and around 1kohms in the evse. So, if yes the Voltec evse doesn't detect any ground fault, but when I use my portable EVSE with a cp line not isolated it generate a ground fault instanly.

What do you think ? Nobody knows if the cp input can be isolated in the Voltec EVSE (that's my only one solution to recharge my car today, so it annoy me to dismantle my voltec evse) ?

Thanks
 

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