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Author Topic: EVSE (EV chargers) Sold without Safety Certifications  (Read 322 times)
rich.carroll
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« on: February 24, 2017, 06:39:38 PM »

My “Charged” magazine arrived today, with an alarming article.  Charged (https://goo.gl/K7ppEX) is a wonderful Electric Vehicles Magazine, available for industry folks at no charge (https://chargedevs.com/free-subscription/ ).  Each cover promotes the articles inside, and I always peel off my mailing label to see the pertinent headlines.  Under my mailing label was an announcement of “Amazon is selling EVSE without safety certifications.”  A quick trip to page 72 showed and article written in early January 2017 (a remarkably short lead time for a print article to appear),  Clipper Creek, a major, reputable manufacturer had produced a video showing the Amazon results, and showing how many of the offered EVSE are not certified.

OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) ( responsible for workplace safety and more) has produced a list of NRTLs (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories) who can test and certify products as safe.  You can find a list of these testing laboratories on the OHSA website at: https://goo.gl/6PvfgC   Each laboratory has a certification symbol; many you won’t recognize, but some you will, among those Underwriter’s Laboratories.  NRLT don’t just test the product once on a pass/fail basis, they have ongoing inspections of factories to determine the products are being constucted in the same manner as they were during initial testing.  Without a mark of certification from one of these NRLTs, you have no right to assume that a product is safe for use.  Some companies say their products have passed rigorous testing, but without the seal of one of the NRLTs, you have no assurances at all.

Based on this, I looked at the Amazon pages for EVSE (EV Service Equipment)  or vehicle chargers. I sorted for price, and the first one listed was a Siemen’s charger, a Versicharge 30 Amp. With a L2 (Level 2) J-1772 plug. https://goo.gl/Fy4udZ  Amazon says, “Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed for quality standards.”

The next charger listed was a Siemens that was very similar to the one above, but with a longer cord. https://goo.gl/V3RTnY This also was UL listed.

The next charger was a Leviton 32 amp charging station with an 18 foot cord. https://goo.gl/EqOBjL  Leviton is a preferred supplier for Honda plug in vehicles, and Leviton states this charger “is compatible with all Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Standards and Recommended Practices, including SAE J1772, NEC 625, UL 2231 and UL 2594.”  I did not have individual UL standards available to me, but I believe this qualifies as UL listed.

But, I did not have to go far down the list to find a Leviton Evr-Green 160 Home charging unit https://goo.gl/Vyt3Be that makes absolutely no mention of any UL or other NRLT certification. Leviton does say it is “Compatible with all Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) standards and recommended practices.” but that does not say it was tested by any of the NRLTs.

Delving farther down Amazon’s list, Charged found EVSE that operated “very hot, worked for a while before acting up, and even burst into flames.”

Please, please, please, if you are purchasing a home charging station, make sure it has a certification from one of the NRLTs and is made by a high quality manufacturer.  Next make sure the electrician who puts it in knows about EVSE and it’s characteristics.

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Rich Carroll                           rc@rc.to
rich.carroll
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2017, 06:08:00 AM »

FYI, the info about unsafe EV charging systems is in the JAN/FEB 2017 issue of CHARGED, and is certainly the newest.  As of right now, it is NOT YET AVAILABLE on their website, but I expect the entire issue to appear shortly.  Recent past issues are certainly available for your perusal.  I guess this is 'bleeding edge news.'
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Rich Carroll                           rc@rc.to
rich.rezny
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2017, 11:52:21 AM »

I just checked my charge station at work-GE Durastation and it has all the certifications listed SAE J1772, NEC 625, UL 2231,2251 & 2294, CUL 2594, 2231, ETL & cETL
My home charge cord-Duosida does not list any UL certifications.  The GE was purchased from Home Depot for $379 and the Duosida from Amazon for $259.  Both work great, are no frills, no displays just an idiot light(s). The Duosida never gets even warm.  It is on a 20 amp breaker and unit is plugged in a 6-20 outlet.  The GE unit at work is supposed to be hardwired but I instead used a 50 amp range cord and it is plugged into a dedicated outlet and breakered at 40 amps.  We have 3 phase power at the shop and is 208vac per leg. I'm only using 2 legs. The output of the GE is 6240 watts (208vac X 30amps). If we had 240 vac the output would be 7200 watts. The Duosida output capacity is 3840 watts (240vac X 16 amps). I'm a little concerned about the lack of a UL rating but the Duosida is in a clear and unencumbered area and I'll keep it that way.  Thanks Rich for the info and link to the publication.
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rich.carroll
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2017, 01:16:22 PM »

You know, for not a lot of money, you can build and program an Arduino and WiFi shield.  Attach a temp probe (I have some extras) and make it text you a warning message by SMS if the temp goes over some amount you set.  Easily done, either 110V power or battery power. That way you would get a warning on your phone when the charger STARTED to get hot.  I'd be happy to help set this up. 
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Rich Carroll                           rc@rc.to
simon.gibson
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2017, 08:08:40 AM »

I'd be interested in working with you on monitoring, particularly remote monitoring upgrades / additions to EVSE installations - I currently have a system than remotely monitors 600 or so PLC installations over the internet (Using VPN connections)
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rich.carroll
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2017, 09:01:06 AM »

That's an interesting thought, much more advanced that my crude design.  I had't posted it yet, but the new Raspberry Pi zero W (with wireless communication on the board) would be my current thoughts.

ComponentCost
Raspberry Pi Zero W$10
Switching Power Supply (1000 mA)$5
Micro sD Card (for OS)$2
Temp sensort$2
Cheap Case$1
Total < $20

This becomes so easy to do, It doesn't take much collaboration.  All I was proposing was a simple module with a temp probe on it, that can be powered by a 110 V outlet.  It would be configured to beep or bleat when an error condition was found, and/or send an SMS to owner telling of a temperature rise.  If it was me, I would want something monitoring my non-UL certified equipment, and this is so simple, it can appeal to any club member.  And, as a DIY project, it should appeal to several club members.

On the other hand, is there anything I can specifically help you with for your PLC installs?  I'm NOT an electrical engineer, simply a hobbiest.

Rich


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Rich Carroll                           rc@rc.to
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