Questions on Elcon/TC chargers

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Questions on Elcon/TC chargers

Post by coulomb » Sun, 25 Apr 2010, 19:36

Weber and I are considering some cheap charging options for the interim while our eventual charge method (charging via a 1200 V silicon Tritium Wavesculptor 200) becomes available.

One possibility is to cut the pack in half for charging, and use something like a 312 V nominal (417 V max) Elcon 2000 W (more like 2400 W) charger. But I have these questions:

1) The internal "charge curves" seem to be specified by voltage (ok) and pack capacity. For example, the 144 V model might come with 5 144 V nominal settings, and 5 for 156 V nominal. The only difference between the 144 V settings seems to be battery capacity, e.g. 40 Ah, 80 Ah, ... 220 Ah. What does the battery charger care about the battery capacity? Surely it's not going to cut down its bulk charge rate, as it will already take ~ 8 hours to charge a decent sized pack. (For example, the ~ 12 A that a 2000 W charger will put out at ~~ 170 VDC is 0.3C for 40 Ah, and 0.15 C for 80 Ah, and so on. So the question is: what does the charger do with the battery capacity information?

1a) Related to the above, can one of the settings be a reduced current limit version of the others? So we could have a 114 cell flat-out curve, and a 114 cell limit-the-mains-to-8A version for the kindest opportunity charging.

2) It's not clear to me whether the user gets to select 10 charging curves to his specifications at purchase (or after purchase from specialists for ~ $US100), or whether you get 10 curves (depending on the voltage model of course) take it or leave it. We'd like to have options for 114 cells, for example, whereas others might want 108 or 96 cells.

3) Is the CAN interface separate for these chargers, and is it typically included in the price?

These chargers seem reasonable quality and price and the specifications are good. However, as so often seems to happen, the Chinese manufacturers seem to fail to provide the information that people actually need to make intelligent purchase decisions.

The so-called 2000 W version (which can presumably supply up to 417 V @ 5.5 A or almost 2300 W) would seem to be a good match for Australian general purpose 10A outlets (at 93% efficiency, that's 2460 W and with 0.98 power factor, that's about 2520 VA). Unless you have the very highest battery voltage at the very end of charge, the power consumption would be a bit below these figures, nicely using up almost all the available power.

Manual here: http://evcomponents.com/cscart/index.ph ... ment_id=89 (covers all models). You may need to download and rename to .pdf to view.

Strangely, the 3 kW unit (217 V max) doesn't have anywhere near the highest voltage of the other models. Some like the 6 kW model don't have a 312 V nominal version, but the 288 V nominal version is capable of almost as much as the others (408 VDC, sadly 114 cells at 3.6 V is 410.4 V).

Edit: somehow I missed finding their website for weeks: http://www.hztiecheng.com/english/

Edit: changed title to include "TC Chargers" (new name for Elcon chargers)
Last edited by coulomb on Wed, 02 Mar 2011, 13:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Questions on Elcon/TC chargers

Post by coulomb » Mon, 26 Apr 2010, 06:30

coulomb wrote: 1) The internal "charge curves" seem to be specified by voltage (ok) and pack capacity. ... So the question is: what does the charger do with the battery capacity information?

I have an answer for that one now. From a document sent by Michael Cheung of EV Assemble:

"Charging process: When charger powers up, external signal from the battery protector board starts constant current charge until voltage
reaches maximum voltage, then constant voltage charge until current falls to a preset value and charging closed."

Presumably, the "preset value" is something like 0.05C, so the charger uses this value to determine when to shut off; not anything to do with the charge process per se. OK, one mystery down.

Thanks, Michael!
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Post by elconcharger » Mon, 26 Apr 2010, 22:18

1)Regarding chargers for Lead-acid batteries, usually we set the charging profile by pre-programming here and we customizes 10 charging curves before delivery according to battery condition. These are 10 combinations of voltage and battery size for the same battery type.
e.g. 60V Flooded battery-1.5KW Charger(Algorithms_106)          
Image

2) Regarding LiFePO4 battery chargers, we have two modes to control/ switching to on or off of charging:
a. via ENABLE Control
We set its maximum voltage before delivery. When two enabling wires connect, charger starts constant current charging while gets the external signal. When it reaches max voltage, the current falls until to a preset value (probably 1/10 of output current), then it stop charging automatically. If external signal is removed, charging stops as well.

b. via CAN module Control
The charging process is controlled by battery management system (BMS) which has the function of CAN communication. A CAN bus interface on the charger is to connect chargers with BMS. Will email you the CAN communication protocol if you need.
Image
Last edited by elconcharger on Sat, 07 Aug 2010, 15:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by coulomb » Tue, 27 Apr 2010, 02:12

elconcharger wrote: 3) We specially customized 10 charging curves for LiFePO4 battery charger for EV components,
e. g. 144V LiFePO4 battery-1.5KW          
Curve Size   Max Volt       Curve   Size   Max Volt
1     40AH     164.25V          6     180AH     164.25V...

Ok, that appears to be 3.65 VPC, slightly higher than the maximum 3.60 VPC specified for CALB/Sky Energy cells.

1) Can we specify at the time of purchase e.g. 162 V in the above example (45 x 3.60), and a different range of capacities (e.g. include 400 and 800 Ah). Or was that a special for EV components because they buy so many chargers?

2) All the voltages are the same for the Lithium Iron example. Within the limits of the charger model, can we specify different numbers of cells (i.e. different voltages)? For example, 114 x 3.6, 108 x 3.6, 114*3.65? (The latter just makes it under the 417 V charger maximum).

Edit: oh, and thanks for the reply.
Last edited by coulomb on Mon, 26 Apr 2010, 16:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by elconcharger » Tue, 27 Apr 2010, 22:41

1)We usually set 3.65Vmax per cell for SE battery in order to consider the possibility allowance.
2)We specify curves combinations by numbers of cells and their maximum voltages (anyway,it was a special case for EV components)
For example, 66V LiFePO4 Battery – 2KW
Curves     Cells     Max Voltage
1           15       54.75V
2           16       58.40V
3           17       62.05V
4-10      15       54.75V
Last edited by elconcharger on Tue, 27 Apr 2010, 12:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by coulomb » Wed, 28 Apr 2010, 02:31

elconcharger wrote: 2)We specify curves combinations by numbers of cells and their maximum voltages (anyway,it was a special case for EV components)
For example, 66V LiFePO4 Battery – 2KW
Curves     Cells     Max Voltage
1           15       54.75V
2           16       58.40V
3           17       62.05V

The limit seems way too low for me. You call it a 66 V battery, but even the highest curve only allows 62.05 V!

This model can (per the manual) output 83 V, that's enough for 22 cells at 3.65 VPC. In fact, a "66 V nominal" battery probably is 22 cells.

Is it not possible to charge 22 cells with this nominal 60 V charger, unless the CAN protocol is used?

Multiples of 4 cells are common; is it not possible to charge 20 cells either?

With the CAN protocol, presumably the maximum output of 83 V can be requested. Otherwise, what meaning does "maximum voltage" have?
Last edited by coulomb on Wed, 28 Apr 2010, 16:54, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by coulomb » Wed, 28 Apr 2010, 02:36

Oh, or maybe you mean the smallest charger, nominally 48 V...

In that case, you could still charge 18 cells with that charger, since 18*3.65 is 65.7 V, and the charger maximum is 66 V. Why not allow that extra cell if the hardware is capable of it?

I'm really interested in the 312 V lithium iron phosphate charger [edit: 2 kW model]. Can you tell us what the default curves are for this charger, please?

Sorry to be such a pest, but it is important for our conversion that we get as high a voltage as possible.
Last edited by coulomb on Tue, 27 Apr 2010, 16:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by polo-ev » Thu, 29 Apr 2010, 02:47

I had been trying to get technical info out of these people for quite some time. The info I got was limited at best.
What I did find out though is these chargers have no Australian Electrical Approval number, no Australian Standards compliance nor do they have a C tick approval.
They may be perfectly fine & never have an issue but without the appropriate approvals, they cannot be onsold & if they cause a fire, injures someone or somehow damage the electricity supply network then you are on your own!

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Post by coulomb » Thu, 29 Apr 2010, 03:02

polo-ev wrote: These chargers have no Australian Electrical Approval number, no Australian Standards compliance nor do they have a C tick approval.

Yes, there is that. I for one am prepared to accept the overseas approvals as valid, even if the Australian authorities are not (and are generally more strict). But as you point out, it may actually matter that the law doesn't.
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Post by polo-ev » Thu, 29 Apr 2010, 14:50

For months I tried to convince them that they needed Australian approvals if they wanted to sell their chargers here. They just did not seem to understand the ramifications, which is a real pity.
Their chargers seemed to be a very viable & cost effective alternative to Zivan.

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Post by lithbattboss » Fri, 30 Apr 2010, 05:28

polo-ev wrote: I had been trying to get technical info out of these people for quite some time. The info I got was limited at best.
What I did find out though is these chargers have no Australian Electrical Approval number, no Australian Standards compliance nor do they have a C tick approval.
They may be perfectly fine & never have an issue but without the appropriate approvals, they cannot be onsold & if they cause a fire, injures someone or somehow damage the electricity supply network then you are on your own!


You are absolutely correct polo-ev. It comes down to how much risk the importer is willing to accept. By that I mean that of course the chargers will work without a problem. A problem occurs if there is ever an accident or some kind of fault.
For example for an individual buying any non approved charger it is best to fit the charger in your garage or or some place separately from your EV. It is all about minimising the level of risk. If it is fitted as an onboard charger the level of risk is increased. This is because if it is firmly mounted in the EV it will be considered as part of the EV (or an EV component). If you are involved in an accident or some other "issue" arises I would expect any insurance you have on your EV would be considered null and void by the insurance company (whether it is your fault or not) simply because the charger is not approved for use in Australia. Therefore the EV owner would be totallay liable for any costs.
So it comes down to the level of risk the EV owner is willing to live with by using a non approved charger.
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Post by lithbattboss » Fri, 30 Apr 2010, 05:35

......of course I don't for one minute endorse anyone using an illegal charger. People will still bring into Australia non approved chargers no matter what I or anyone else says so I am only putting my 2 cents worth forward to help those using these chargers to minimise any risks.

If an individual is willing to take a risk then the liability is totally with them. Of course it goes without saying you should never sell an EV to another person without making the potential buyer aware that the charger is not legal to use in this country. Doing so would be irresponsible and that is not what we need in the EV community.
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Post by EV2Go » Fri, 30 Apr 2010, 05:49

Sounds like an ideal way to mitigate some of the risk involved.

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Post by Johny » Fri, 30 Apr 2010, 14:57

lithbattboss wrote:...If it is fitted as an onboard charger the level of risk is increased. This is because if it is firmly mounted in the EV it will be considered as part of the EV (or an EV component). If you are involved in an accident or some other "issue" arises I would expect any insurance you have on your EV would be considered null and void by the insurance company (whether it is your fault or not) simply because the charger is not approved for use in Australia. Therefore the EV owner would be totallay liable for any costs.
Even though it could easily be proven that the charger(s) were not involved in the traction system that was powering the vehicle at the time of the accident. I find that a bit hard to believe. The approval of the charger is clearly to do with the electricity authority, not the Road authorities.
Getting a bit muddy here boss.

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Post by Tritium_James » Fri, 30 Apr 2010, 16:07

I'd be more concerned if it burns your house down and your home insurance not paying out because of the charger...

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Post by Johny » Fri, 30 Apr 2010, 16:17

Tritium_James wrote: I'd be more concerned if it burns your house down and your home insurance not paying out because of the charger...
Agreed. A reason I tend not to fiddle with house wiring unless I can get a sparky to sign it off. But again, if the fire starts in the house or the garage and the car is in the carport then it's not hard to prove that the chargers had nothing to do with it.

Excluding insurance, the risk of an un-approved charger starting a fire, I can live with - and put systems in to monitor and prevent. Then again, none of mine are those dirty great big things that operate "on the edge".

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Post by EV2Go » Fri, 30 Apr 2010, 16:55

Johny wrote:
lithbattboss wrote:...If it is fitted as an onboard charger the level of risk is increased. This is because if it is firmly mounted in the EV it will be considered as part of the EV (or an EV component). If you are involved in an accident or some other "issue" arises I would expect any insurance you have on your EV would be considered null and void by the insurance company (whether it is your fault or not) simply because the charger is not approved for use in Australia. Therefore the EV owner would be totallay liable for any costs.
Even though it could easily be proven that the charger(s) were not involved in the traction system that was powering the vehicle at the time of the accident. I find that a bit hard to believe. The approval of the charger is clearly to do with the electricity authority, not the Road authorities.
Getting a bit muddy here boss.
Fine line because once you put it in a vehicle it becomes a component of that vehicle, much like you need to secure your spare tyre if in the boot, but you don't have to legally have it in there.

As for the house why would you take any less precaution with where the charger is used than if it was fitted in the car? you wouldn't sit it next to a can of fuel or oily rags etc, so really that risk could be hugely reduced.
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Post by coulomb » Fri, 30 Apr 2010, 21:59

For those interested in this charger, you should read this page:

http://lithiumate.elithion.com/php/elcon.php

In particular:
The ElCon cannot handle being on buses that contain more than 2 messages per second!

    * Too many messages on the CAN bus slow down the ElCon charger, reducing the rate of its output messages, and may crash the charger, which will seize the CAN bus
and
The ElCon charger rate is not programmable:

    * For the J1939 version, the CAN bus must run at 250 kHz
    * For the Brusa version, the CAN bus must run at 500 kHz
We're looking to use this with a Tritium controller and Drivers Controls, which conveniently has a spare CAN connector. But it will have all the CAN traffic from the Drivers Controls to the motor controller... then again, while charging, there may not be any packets.

Just another thing to have to deal with.
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Post by elconcharger » Fri, 30 Apr 2010, 22:13

C-tick certificate is available now.
Anyone who needs the test report, please send me an email.
Image

EV Power (www.ev-power.com.au) stocks a range of TC Chargers for resale
in Australia. Please contact them if you require just one or two units
and they will do their best to help you. Rod Dilkes Cell 0428 321 865
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Post by Johny » Fri, 30 Apr 2010, 22:26

Hi elconcharger. Has the CAN Bus software in the charger been made more stable?

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Post by coulomb » Fri, 30 Apr 2010, 23:49

For the curious, this diyelectriccar.com post has a picture of the charger and the tiny CAN bus interface. I don't know what the connector is on the CAN bus box; maybe it's another 7-pin but with CAN hi and CAN lo instead of Rx/Tx. So maybe you use the 7-pin plug that I hope they provide, and the CAN interface, if present and used, goes between the 7-pin plug and the 7-pin socket on the charger.

Image here.
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Post by bga » Sun, 09 May 2010, 03:18

That connector looks like a BNC ???

Hi Elconcharger,

The C-Tick shouldn't be very onerous and it makes the unit easy to retail in Australia. Any retailers will want to hold a copy of the test certificates so that they are immune to attacks from ACMA.

Do you have any idea as to the supply path for Australia. I am interested in the 2KW chargers and probably 800W DCDC units for a project with a 500V DC buss.
The battery will be treated as two 288V units as far as the charger and DCDC systems are concerned. (must be isolated for 1KV+ for this)

This gets me to the my questions:
1) CAN bus is good, can you make public a CAN bus manual for these chargers, as well as the connector specification?
2) 2x2KW (4KW) of total charger will overload a standard 10A (2400W) outlet, so they will need to power limit when plugged into these types of supply.
3) Can the DCDC converters be configured to current share so that they will draw similar current form the the battey halves?

Cheers

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Post by 7circle » Mon, 10 May 2010, 06:30

coulomb wrote: For those interested in this charger, you should read this page:

http://lithiumate.elithion.com/php/elcon.php

In particular:
The ElCon cannot handle being on buses that contain more than 2 messages per second!

    * Too many messages on the CAN bus slow down the ElCon charger, reducing the rate of its output messages, and may crash the charger, which will seize the CAN bus
and
The ElCon charger rate is not programmable:

    * For the J1939 version, the CAN bus must run at 250 kHz
    * For the Brusa version, the CAN bus must run at 500 kHz
We're looking to use this with a Tritium controller and Drivers Controls, which conveniently has a spare CAN connector. But it will have all the CAN traffic from the Drivers Controls to the motor controller... then again, while charging, there may not be any packets.

Just another thing to have to deal with.


http://lithiumate.elithion.com/php/elcon.php
Don't want to distract too much but the wiring for +12 and GND looks a bit odd.

The schematics show detail for the 7 pin connector.
The connection to there CAN/TXRX Bridge box is also shown.
Why isn't the pinout detail in the manual? Image

It would be helpful if the TX/RX protocal was known.
It probably is just a RS232 serial running at 9600bps.

The Elcon website should provide this on their downloads page.

Elcon/ Nancy can you supply the Serial TX/RX protocal?

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Post by coulomb » Mon, 10 May 2010, 07:20

7circle wrote: Don't want to distract too much but the wiring for +12 and GND looks a bit odd.
Well spotted. They've obviously swapped the wires from pins 2 and 3 of the 7-pin connector.
Why isn't the pinout detail in the manual?
To be fair, it is in one of the three PDFs that Nancy sent me when I made my first enquiry:

uploads/689/Notice-_Connection_Instruct ... erface.pdf

I'm sure it's quite detailed if you can read Chinese! Image
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Post by mcudogs » Thu, 13 May 2010, 04:14

Here's a link to the CAN protocol.
CAN

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