smart OEM charger meltdown - FYI - Smart Car Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 07:51 AM Thread Starter
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smart OEM charger meltdown - FYI

From Club smart Car: Factory Smart charger meltdown - Electric Drive - Club smart Car
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 06:00 PM
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Definitely want to make sure you aren't charging in open sunlight, that doesn't help. Also want to make sure extension cords are not being used, they can definitely cause the plug melt. There are other factors as well, it's not all just the charger's fault. Just an fyi for those looking to discuss it here.

Last edited by Mister_smart_LA; 05-10-2017 at 07:49 PM.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 04:16 AM
 
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Most of the problems as shown in the picture are the wall outlet: worn or loose contacts or wiring cause it to overheat and melt everything around it. A good way to start house fires, too. And all that for saving a few $$ buying the cheap chinese outlet instead of a quality one.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 07:21 AM
 
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Most of the problems as shown in the picture are the wall outlet: worn or loose contacts or wiring cause it to overheat and melt everything around it. A good way to start house fires, too. And all that for saving a few $$ buying the cheap chinese outlet instead of a quality one.
My personal take on that thread was that smart should not have shipped a charger that had the potential of causing a fire although there might have been warnings to not use the charger on the higher power settings. What was brought up was that the charger has two charge rate settings and I don't think it was mentioned as to what rate the charger was set to when the outlet/plug melted. And that would be of concern to me since the odds of you having a higher quality outlet installed in your garage where you were plugging this charger in are unlikely. I think someone also mentioned that they melted not only a standard outlet but a GFI outlet as well so bottom line is I think the charger has to be also partly at fault as it can be potentially set to exceed the ratings of your typical house outlet.

Outlets have to be CSA approved up here btw also the outlets are installed by the builder and all are rated at 15 amps. Builders will install the cheapest parts they can source as well as put as many outlets on as few circuits as possible (bulk packs at Home Depot) but all are CSA rated at 15 amps. I know of no builder that would install a 20 amp outlet unless it was specifically called for when the home was built. As a home owner you can certainly replace the outlet with a higher spec'd version however I would then upgrade the breaker but the next weakest link would be your house wiring and how many other outlets are on that circuit.

I know this from when we built our house I specified 200 amp service since the builder was only doing 100 amp, you would think today that homes would be built with upgraded service since we have so many more electrical devices but I guess not. Also put many of our rooms on separate circuits, builder had wanted to run the entire upstairs on two but I put a number of very specific requirements in our contract. We wired the home for 100T ethernet and cable tv for example since those were not included in the build but extras. When we studded and reinsulated the basement I ran a 240v line from the box to the garage. I had never thought about an EV charging station at the time, that was set up to hook up our generator. Guess that part is more for someone about to do a new build but look over the plans and make sure you are putting in what you want in the walls before it's all covered up.

Anyhow I'm not so sure I would be quick to blame just the outlet, there were probably several factors involved.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 07:34 AM
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My personal take on that thread was that smart should not have shipped a charger that had the potential of causing a fire although there might have been warnings to not use the charger on the higher power settings.
"The potential of causing a fire?" Doesn't some "responsibility" lie with the owner to not just plug and play without knowing the impact of the draw vs. circuit capacity?

SCoA has some of the best on-line CSI investigators on the Interweb and now we take it "Beyond Borders!"

While not all the facts are in, the wall outlet and circuit capacity are the likely suspects - NOT the EVSE?

That being said, it is understandable that M-B/smart is expecting a "used" but not abused EVSE be returned with their leased ED.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 10:18 AM
 
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This isn't rocket science. The typical garage circuit is rated for 12A continuous (15A circuit). The EVSE will run at 12A. I expect most people to use 12A because it charges faster. (duh).

Connection points are subject to increased resistance, and thus heat, due to poor mechanical fit, corrosion, dirt, wear and tear etc. Hence the problem at the plug / receptacle.

The EVSE design isn't faulty. Neither is the receptacle. But operating at the edge of what is possible is likely to cause problems sooner rather than later.

I'd recommend anyone who can, to install a dedicated EVSE in their garage. Even if it is a plug in unit, it will be safer than a less robust connection like your typical wall plug.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 11:32 AM
 
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"The potential of causing a fire?" Doesn't some "responsibility" lie with the owner to not just plug and play without knowing the impact of the draw vs. circuit capacity?

SCoA has some of the best on-line CSI investigators on the Interweb and now we take it "Beyond Borders!"

While not all the facts are in, the wall outlet and circuit capacity are the likely suspects - NOT the EVSE?

That being said, it is understandable that M-B/smart is expecting a "used" but not abused EVSE be returned with their leased ED.
I went and looked through the owners manual for an EV smart and did not find any reference to recommended settings. I did however see warnings about not using extension cords and that the outlet used was approved by a qualified electrician. So looking at the failed outlet and it being on what appears to be a finished wall I would assume that this outlet was installed by or approved by a qualified electrician. Therefore what went wrong? Well obviously the device drew more current then the outlet could safely handle however if you were to look at any outlet in your home you will likely find that it was rated at 15 amps which is industry standard. In our media room I had two outlets upgraded to 20amp so that I could safely operate very large UPS units, but these plugs have slightly different plug styles plus each of outlets is a homerun to the panel with no other outlets after each.



As one of the clubsmartcar users mentioned they did a homerun to their outlet which makes sense to me though given what occurred I can't help but be concerned that even with that precaution this event could be prevented.

Incorrect in assuming that "While not all the facts are in, the wall outlet and circuit capacity are the likely suspects - NOT the EVSE?" since the EV charger had to be drawing current through it's regulated charging circuit and that exceeded the limits of the wall outlet I would have to wonder if it was the culprit. I get that cheap outlets can be the source however given that logic we could all be sitting on ticking time bombs since how many of you have upgraded your wiring, outlets and breakers?

I've always considered the term interweb to be derogatory,

Definition: The term Interweb, a combination of the words Internet and Web, is most often used in the context of joking or sarcasm, especially when talking about or to a person who is not familiar with the online terminology. It can also be used as a euphemism for the vast information that is available on the Web, or in a parody of someone's knowledge of or experience with Web culture.

Alternate Spellings: Interwebs, Intarwebs

Examples: "Look at me! I'm on the Interwebs, Mom!" "Do you think that the Interwebs could help me find that recipe?"
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 12:32 PM
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I've always considered the term interweb to be derogatory,

Definition: The term Interweb, a combination of the words Internet and Web, is most often used in the context of joking or sarcasm, especially when talking about or to a person who is not familiar with the online terminology.
Probably need to let go of that feeling of my (now labelled) "derogatory" response being aimed at you - it was simply in response to an open Forum thread?

The entire sentence - "SCoA has some of the best on-line CSI investigators on the Interweb and now we take it "Beyond Borders!" is SARCASM aimed at no one, myself included as a member of this Forum!

And the manual that comes with the "fully J1772 compliant so it works on cars such as the BMW Active E, Chevy Spark and Volt, Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Roadster and Model S" EVSE at delivery . . .

http://evwest.com/support/Lear-EVSE.pdf
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 12:32 PM
 
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Just a clarification for anyone NOT familiar with the electrical code. You CANNOT simply replace a 15A receptacle with a 20A receptacle. The wire used has to be a 12 gauge. 15A wiring is 14 gauge.

I think someone commented on using a commercial grade 15A receptacle. There are what are termed "hospital grade" units.
These are much more robust.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 12:34 PM
 
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Interweb
Is that like calling an ICE smart a gas guzzler? <ducks>
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