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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have been charging and using our Volt fine for 18 months in Canberra Australia. It is a great car and we only wish there were more people who recognized how good they are.

Recently our electricity supplier has offered a new low cost off-peak rate just for electric cars. We decided to take this up and connected to off peak last week. This is when our problems have begun. The supply comes on at 11.00pm and goes off at 7.00am. There is no supply at any other time so no shoulder or normal supply rate to this wall outlet. I set the Volt to delayed charging for 11.30pm and with either 6 amp or 10 amp charge. In Australia we have 240 volts standard so even 6 amps will charge the car in less than 8 hours.

The problem I have is that when the power comes on the standard GM supplied Voltec and the car have not synchronized. Therefore when the power comes on at 11.00pm and then the car should start charging at the delayed start of 11.30pm it doesn't start. Checking the car display it says "unable to charge." After disconnecting the charging cable from the Volt turning off the power to the Voltec and plugging it in again with 2 green lights it all syncs up and starts charging. This is of course not ideal as I have to be up at this time every night to kick off this process. Last night it got so hung up I had to set the car to charge immediate.

Last problem is that when the off-peak power goes off at 7.00am the Volt sounds its pedestrian alert horn for a minute to let you know the power is off. Waking anyone in the vicinity.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to rectify this. Is there an aftermarket EVSE that can cope with the power coming on later and will sync up with the Volt when the power comes up?
 

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So if I understood this right, the car is connected to a separate meter and the power is shut off except between 11 pm and 7 am by an external switch at the power company?

If that's the case, I'd try setting the car to charge immediately, and I'd go in to the config menus and disable the charge cord alarm. I believe the car can't tell the difference between losing power and being unplugged, so the alarm sounds in both cases. I'm not sure if going to immediate charging will solve your startup problem or not, but I think there's a good chance it might.
 

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The GM EVSE freaks out when power is lost and you have to unplug it and replug it to reset it. Either at the wall or the car. It won't work until one of those is done. It drops the pilot signal.

The horn is also an alert for interrupted charging, or cord theft, you can disable that in the menu.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes that's correct Walter. The power is supplied through a separate off-peak meter and is totally off at all other times except 11pm to 7am. The meter is wired and tagged by the electricity supplier to prevent tampering. The meter was used for our off-peak hot water supply, however now with solar hot-water we found we were only using 300kW per annum to boost hot water on cloudy days. We can make much better use of the new electric vehicle off peak rate at 10 cents/kWH.

I will give that a go tonight and set the car back to charge immediate and disable the charge cord alarm. I don't know if it will fix the synchronizing issue. We often have problems where we have to disconnect and reconnect the Voltec to the Volt commence charging (around 50% of the time it doesn't start charging). We have put up with this as being normal as it has done it from day one, and a replacement charger from GM didn't change this.
 

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If the stock EVSE doesn't work I know that Open EVSEs will start charging when the power is restored.
 

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Don't know if they make Aus compatible models, but my clipper creek unit auto reconnects in the event of power loss.
Or at least they advertise it does and it wasn't a red/yellow/off light on the car after the last power outage (couple seconds off)

I think your solution will be a new EVSE, and save the one you have for on the go in your trunk.
This solution also is an opportunity to get a higher power EVSE so that you can fully charge within the 8h window.
 

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The 2014 US stock EVSE does continue charging after an AC interruption (with car set to immediate). Not sure I understand Aseras comment. The EVSE doesn't know the difference between an AC interruption, and unplugging/replugging the AC wall plug.
 

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people using sun charging start and stop all the time with the stock EVSE
 

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People, understand that the Australian power grid is ALL 240 volt, so his "standard" EVSE is different from the ones we have in the US and Canada. So his options for alternate brand charging systems may be limited, too.

I am hoping his switching to immediate charging and turning off the alarm will remedy the problem. Mtsports, I hope you will report back.
 

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The 2014 US stock EVSE does continue charging after an AC interruption (with car set to immediate). Not sure I understand Aseras comment. The EVSE doesn't know the difference between an AC interruption, and unplugging/replugging the AC wall plug.
It's been my experience that if there's a power outage, blip or spike the unit will trip the relay and start flashing the red error light. When normal power resumes it won't work until you either unplug the car, or unplug the EVSE from the wall to reset it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Many thanks for the suggestions. I have trialled these suggestions over the past two nights and here is where I am at.

On arriving home at 6pm I set the Volt to charge immediate and 10 amp charging rate before powering off. I inserted the charge plug from the standard Voltec EVSE into the charge port of the Volt. At this time no AC power was present.

At 11.15pm I checked the Volt and it was not charging. The Voltec had power applied and had one green light and one flashing red light. The Voltec manual indicates this as "fault detected" and suggests resetting the unit by unplugging it from the AC outlet and replugging it in. Since I have a power off switch on the Voltec AC supply I just turned this on and off 2 or 3 times and eventually the car started charging.

I set the charge cord alarm to off, and so the early morning alert when the AC power goes off has been cancelled.

So from all of this I gather that if other Volt owners do not have problems with multiple times powering off and on their Level 1 Voltec, then I may just have another faulty unit. It is interesting however that once the EVSE is happy with the connection and both green lights are on, it charges the Volt perfectly. You would think that if their was a fault in a connection between the Voltec and the Volt, this would reoccur during charging and come up as an error. Both Voltec's have shown the exact same symptoms.

I contacted Clipper Creek and they have responded with a heap of information on their L2 chargers available for Australia (240 volts 50Hz). I am tending towards the suggestions of purchasing a Clipper Creek L2 unit and putting the Voltec EVSE in the boot as a spare.
 

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The Voltec had power applied and had one green light and one flashing red light. The Voltec manual indicates this as "fault detected" and suggests resetting the unit by unplugging it from the AC outlet and replugging it in. Since I have a power off switch on the Voltec AC supply I just turned this on and off 2 or 3 times and eventually the car started charging.
From the sound of it I'm wondering if your utility is switching on "cleanly" at 11PM. Perhaps the relay or time clock is chattering when it turns on? Maybe there's a momentary brownout when everybody's water heaters fire up simultaneously at 11PM? Something is causing your EVSE to fault that doesn't happen later when you switch it manually. (though you did indicate that it takes several attempts to get it "all green")

If it is in fact an issue with the 11PM power-up, I wonder if it might be resolved with a secondary timer? The off-peak meter energizes at 11PM, and then the secondary timer energizes 15 minutes later. Or could you change the 11PM start time through your power company? It looks like ActewAGL offers off-peak pricing for between 6-8 hours anytime between 10PM and 7AM

Buying a new Clipper Creek unit may not resolve your issue, and there's a good chance that the unit you have already was built by Clipper Creek
 

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Following up Rick's suggestion, you might want to test by killing the circuit, plugging the Volt in, setting it to immediately charge, and then turning the circuit back on. If the EVSE throws a fault then you'd know it was the EVSE. If it doesn't, then it's likely the power is not coming on cleanly and you can go the secondary power route. It also helps to know what light is flashing just for informational purposes.

From the sound of it I'm wondering if your utility is switching on "cleanly" at 11PM.
I was wondering about this as well. You probably have a bunch of appliances all coming on at the same time.
 
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