Please disregard the dates the next posts are posted, these were all written then uploaded at once.
The Lightning Bug has been rolling along, pun intended. Several weeks ago I got to take the car out for the first test drive, which turned out great. But unfortunately soon after, I went to power up the battery charger for the first time and it did not work. This ended up causing a couple weeks of delay to send the charger back to get repaired. This week the charger arrived home and the first thing I did was hooked it up to the car to test. It powered up right away, and worked perfectly. At this time, the batteries were in dire need of some energy, so I was finally able to crank this really powerful charger all the way up and get those batteries happy. Great, finally a step in the right direction once again.
This charger, the PFC-40 from Manzanita Micro is quite a powerful charger despite it's cost. It is much more powerful than most of the production EV's out there coming in at a blazing 9.6 kW respectively. This works out to pulling about 40 amps at Level 2, and believe it or not, most of the common charging stations aren't quite powerful enough to supply that. Luckily, this is a variable current charger, so there is a knob available to adjust the current if you have a charging station (EVSE) that cannot supply 40 amps.
A little info on an EVSE, or charging station for those who do not know, it is essentially a fancy extension cord. In essence, it uses a protocol called J1772, which is the current standard for all EV's, except for Tesla. J1772 is the charge port most of us see when it comes to EV's.
As you can see, this is the J1772 standard, and that is the plug used with it. In my opinion, while it is just technically a fancy extension cord, I love the functionality. As EV chargers get more and more powerful, the last thing you want is to try to plug in or unplug 9.6 kW of power! This is not only dangerous, but also wears the power pins on the connector prematurely. The whole goal of J1772, is to make sure the user is not ever connecting or disconnecting under full power of the charger. The instant that you press the button to unlatch the charge plug, power is instantaneously cut off by the EVSE (charging station). And this involves simply little networks of resistors, simple yet extremely effective.
In the next post, I will discuss the J1772 issue I had to overcome when setting up this protocol in the Bug.