GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
For the last three nights in a row, I have woken up to my Spark EV "complaining" (with repeated soundings of the pedestrian-alert sound) because the timed overnight charge failed / got interrupted. I am charging with an Aerovironment 240-V charge cord. When I unplug the Aerovironment cord from the wall and then re-plug it in, charging starts just fine, but by then I can only get about an hour of charging in before I need to use the car. This has happened once or twice before, but never three nights in a row. Does anybody have any suggestions? Is the Aerovironment being too sensitive to fluctuations in my line or to the initial start of the timed charging? Is the Spark for some reason temporarily pulling too much current?

As a secondary issue I have already posted in another thread on the Volt forum about the fact that this alert noise needs to be able to be disabled by the owner of the car. Although the honking is in my enclosed garage, it is loud enough to be audible outside and through walls, and I am sure my neighbors are annoyed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
The problem sounds like either the charge cord is going bad, or you are getting enough voltage fluctuation that the charge unit is shutting down. I don't think there is ANY way for the Spark to pull more than its stated amount.

Not sure if there is any way for you to easily monitor voltage, but my meter displays it. (Here, my meter shows 240-245 volts. Kill-A-Watt unit shows 121 where it's currently connected.)

You might call Aerovironment and ask them for ideas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
679 Posts
Do you run AC in the night or electric heating? If so that could cause fluctuations. If you want to check Voltage and current when it is running. Get a Bluetooth ODB II connector off of EBay or Amazon and buy Torque Pro. I can monitor the state of charge, Voltage and amps that are delivered. The other day I noticed that my Open EVSE had kicked into L1 mode and dropped to 12 A even though it was charging L2 but only 12 Amp, I saw it through Torque Pro and was able to fix it by pressing buttons on the EVSE. My point is you can see what it is drawing and then determin what is going on. Pretty cheap less than $20 total. You will need to download the VPiD's form this site.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
For the last three nights in a row, I have woken up to my Spark EV "complaining" (with repeated soundings of the pedestrian-alert sound) because the timed overnight charge failed / got interrupted. I am charging with an Aerovironment 240-V charge cord. When I unplug the Aerovironment cord from the wall and then re-plug it in, charging starts just fine, but by then I can only get about an hour of charging in before I need to use the car. This has happened once or twice before, but never three nights in a row. Does anybody have any suggestions? Is the Aerovironment being too sensitive to fluctuations in my line or to the initial start of the timed charging? Is the Spark for some reason temporarily pulling too much current?

As a secondary issue I have already posted in another thread on the Volt forum about the fact that this alert noise needs to be able to be disabled by the owner of the car. Although the honking is in my enclosed garage, it is loud enough to be audible outside and through walls, and I am sure my neighbors are annoyed.
Why don't you try and charge the car immediately on plug-in and see if that happens??? If the same happens on immediate charge or on delayed charge, then you can assume it's either a fluctuation in your line, your Aerovironment unit is faulty, or perhaps there is an issue with the Spark's charger.

If the same does not happen, then it indicates to me that there may be a fault in the Spark's hardware/software that is causing it to drop out of charge when using that mode of charging.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,728 Posts
Probably the easiest way to isolate if it's the charger or line disturbance is to try using your 120V EVSE for a couple of nights and see if you get similar drops. I suspect main line fluctuations or grounding issues perhaps. It's not likely the car triggering to cease charging as there's not been any such condition reported, plus you would likely have a MIL and DTCs present.

If you had the plug for the EVSE professionally installed you might call the installer or another electrician to come check it out and test it for stability and/or grounding issues. Did you call Aeroenironment yet? firmware update?

WOT
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Hello--I want to thank everybody for all of the suggestions. They have been very helpful.

1. Unfortunately, the timed charges are still failing far more often than not. I think I have had one work in about seven tries now. So first off, to make sure I wasn't annoying neighbors, I took the Spark EV to the dealer and asked them to disable the theft alarm, since I read on another forum that was the key to also disabling the horn noise if the timed charge failed. They told me that manually locking the doors before hooking up the cable would do it. They may well be right about the theft alarm, but manually locking the doors did NOT stop the charge-interruption alarm, so I'll need to go back to the dealer and see if there's something else they can do.

2. The car always immediately starts charging correctly if I simply unplug the aerovironment cable from the wall outlet and then plug it back in. Always. And even on long charges, it's been 100% successful on completing the charge all the way through. And I'm pretty sure it always fails right at the beginning of the timed charge, because the car charge is always right where it was when I left it for the night.

3. I think, like was suggested, it's either the Aerovironment cable or my line, and I'm noticing that it's just a bit colder out than it has been most of the summer--not cold enough to trip on house heat, but I do have an electric hot water heater in the garage also, and I'm wondering if this is causing an issue when it fires up.

4. I have contacted Aerovironment (via their "contact" page on their web site) but have yet to hear back after several days. I need to ping them again.

5. I did not know about the ODB II bluetooth and phone app so that I could do my own troubleshooting of my own cars. That is awesome! I will definitely be getting that, even if it doesn't help me with this problem. Thank you, Markh21518!

Thanks again for the ideas. Keep them coming! I was thinking about building my own cable. Unfortunately, it looks like it has to have some circuitry in it based on the Wikipedia page for the SAE J1772 connector. You can get the SAE J1772 connector and several feet of cable (either 14 or 10 AWG) on Amazon, and also the NEMA 6-20P plug that goes into the wall, but I'd have to figure out the circuitry to send the right signals on the J1772 "control pin," which does not appear to be trivial. Does anybody know more about this? Are there any stock parts that are made to help with it? It's too bad the charging system has to be this complicated, but I guess the car can't know a priori what amperage line you have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
As for changing the programming on the alarm, contact your Spark Advisor. I got an email when I purchased my Spark from someone who is also a Volt adviser: Ryan at [email protected]

Want to build your own cable? Two places to start: JuiceBox at www.emotorwerks.com, or OpenEV
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Here is an update for this thread. I convinced Aerovironment to send me a "test" cable late last year so that I could see if using a different cable made the difference in the failed charges. Sure enough, when I tried the test cable, it worked perfectly (for several nights in a row), and when I went back to my original cable, it immediately failed again, so the support person at Aerovironment agreed that my original cable was likely the issue and sent me a replacement (at no cost--my original cable was ~7 months old). The support person at Aerovironment was very professional and helpful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
Here is an update for this thread. I convinced Aerovironment to send me a "test" cable late last year so that I could see if using a different cable made the difference in the failed charges. Sure enough, when I tried the test cable, it worked perfectly (for several nights in a row), and when I went back to my original cable, it immediately failed again, so the support person at Aerovironment agreed that my original cable was likely the issue and sent me a replacement (at no cost--my original cable was ~7 months old). The support person at Aerovironment was very professional and helpful.
Just to be clear, by "cable", it sounds like it is the cord between your Aerovironment box and the car, and NOT the cord between the wall and the box. Is that right?

Glad you found the culprit. It must be a weak connection that is susceptible to heat produced while the car is charging. ...I would guess it is a connection within the J1772 plug.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Just to be clear, by "cable", it sounds like it is the cord between your Aerovironment box and the car, and NOT the cord between the wall and the box. Is that right?

Glad you found the culprit. It must be a weak connection that is susceptible to heat produced while the car is charging. ...I would guess it is a connection within the J1772 plug.
Yes, it was the Aerovironment cord, which plugs directly into my 240-VAC outlet--go to their web site and you can see an example. All of their circuitry is put into the plug itself. I have asked them if they found out what the root cause was. I'll let you know if they respond.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top