TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

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jonescg
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by jonescg » Sun, 07 Jul 2013, 05:18

Hi All,

Well as many will know my race bike's 700 V battery (620 V nominally) will need some special care and attention for charging. So I thought I would document what I have done here for others who want a fairly cost effective means to safely charge a large, high potential pack.

My battery can be split into four sub-packs. Rather than plug a 700 V charger into the port (which will require some special plugs) I can break the pack into half and charge the two half packs as two fully isolated 350 V packs. This means I can use smaller, lower rated plugs such as the Anderson 45 A connectors. They are effectively fingerproof and when the bike or charger is turned off and unplugged, there's no potential there anyway.

Here's the schematic of the battery pack:

Image

The two rectangles top left and right represent the half pack charge plugs. Not shown is the fact that a pair of wires coming from the relay logic board also meet at the plugs, so we effectively have six Anderson connectors - positive and negative for both half packs, and the charge enable loop. You can see the wires dangling on the other side of the complete battery box:
PolycarbpackFTW003.JPG
PolycarbpackFTW003.JPG (240.84 KiB) Viewed 787 times
My chargers are 2 x 2 kW Elcon/TC chargers from EV-Power. They are set to a maximum voltage of 350 VDC each, and will put out 6 amps. Since keeping everything under 700 VDC was the idea, I have kept them fully isolated on the DC side (obviously the AC side may be shared if you plug them both into the wall socket).

Unfortunately my Cycle Analyst won't be able to count down the charge going in, as it won't be able to read the pack voltage (the half pack contactor is open during charge, so it will read 0 V and 0 A. So I have decided to build a charge box which has a voltmeter and current meter (and shunt) for each charger.

This is the basic circuit:

Image

Charger output on the left, output on the right. The digital displays require 5 V and 12 V, so the Myrra power supplies will turn the 350 V supply into the right voltage to work.

I have finished the box and wired up the chargers, but I don't have a 350 V battery to test them on! Even turning the charger on and grounding the enable wire on the charger won't get the charger to work, as it needs to detect a battery first. I will post some pictures tomorrow. At least it will work on a 59 volt battery.
Last edited by jonescg on Sat, 06 Jul 2013, 19:59, edited 1 time in total.
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by coulomb » Sun, 07 Jul 2013, 15:24

jonescg wrote: Even turning the charger on and grounding the enable wire on the charger won't get the charger to work, as it needs to detect a battery first. I will post some pictures tomorrow. At least it will work on a 59 volt battery.

Are you saying you expect the chargers to turn on with a 59 V battery?

We found our 416 V Elcon needed about 200 V to turn on, or about 48% of the maximum voltage. 48% of 350 V is some 168 V, almost triple 59 V. Of course, the threshold may be different from model to model, or even from charger to charger of the same model.
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by jonescg » Sun, 07 Jul 2013, 18:05

No, sorry I wasn't clear - the LCD screens will power up through the Myrra units at 59 V. I can't get the chargers to turn on at all, not until I find enough 55 volt packs to string in series Image
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by acmotor » Sun, 07 Jul 2013, 18:18

Could you just use 2 x Cycle Analyst units, one for each 350V block ? Or some other kWh counting unit. That would continue to provide essential SOC information and identify pack issues if the halves show differences of opinion.
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by jonescg » Mon, 08 Jul 2013, 00:42

Not a cheap way to do it, but yes that could work. I might even put Neville's Ah meter on there too.

In any case, it's done now Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Very bright, but functional. I want a pair of green Andersons for the charge enable loop. I can also put the three wire outputs from the chargers in the box with connections to the on-boards BMS so it can shut the charge off if a cell goes high. All a bit complicated for a race bike, but rules is rules.
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by acmotor » Mon, 08 Jul 2013, 05:51

Bright ? just wait 'till it reads 350V Image

Good work ! lots of information during charging.
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Post by jonescg » Mon, 08 Jul 2013, 06:06

Out of curiosity I measured the voltage between the chargers green wire (Gnd) and pack positive - yep, 58 V. So if you are going to use your vehicles 12 V system to run the chargers, put something in there to isolate it!

Later on I might even make use of a couple of potentiometers to trim the charge current back should I encounter a racetrack with poor charging infrastructure.
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by jonescg » Wed, 25 Sep 2013, 16:58

Just an addendum to this charging worklog -

While playing around with the Elcon/TC chargers, I accidentally shorted the +12 V output to the Gnd wire on the pigtail. Normally the 'Enable' wire is shorted to Gnd, causing the charger to start working. It caused an internal "click". I know it's only rated to 100 mA, so I have definitely tripped something out. What I don't know is whether or not this is automatically reset or if I need to open it up and replace something. I hope it was a simple solid-state circuit breaker...
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by antiscab » Wed, 25 Sep 2013, 17:42

that's just the internal 12v relay opening due to loss of power

just power it back up again....
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by jonescg » Wed, 25 Sep 2013, 17:42

Phew!
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Post by jonescg » Thu, 29 May 2014, 06:01

Just thought I would update this thread - I have added to this charger display box a couple of solid state relays which are used to turn on the charge enable feature of either charger. So now the bike has a 7 plug connector on the top of the pack - 0 V and 350 V for charger A, 0 V and 350 V for charger B, charge enable, ground and 12 V supply (which comes from the same 12 V supply as the quarter contactors). On the charger plug side of things, the enable and ground are shorted, but the ground and 12 V continue back to the inputs of the SSRs. Now then the BMS detects a high cell, the NC loop opens, the reed relay coil de-energises and opens the 12 V supply to the SSRs. These turn off, cutting the charge. Nice and simple :)   Image
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by jonescg » Sun, 01 Jun 2014, 18:31

I have a charger which is putting out 1.3 kW (4.4 A) while the other puts out its rated 2 kW (6.6 A). How can I boost the power on this charger? Will I have to open it up? Of course it's out of warranty since I bought these years ago, so a replacement isn't going to happen soon. But it makes for a very slow charge!!

Image
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by antiscab » Sun, 01 Jun 2014, 18:47

check the enable line is making good contact - Elcon's have a feature where if you put resistance on the enable line you can reduce the charger output
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by jonescg » Sun, 01 Jun 2014, 19:09

It's going through an SSR - is there a chance this is adding some resistance to the enable line?
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Post by jonescg » Sun, 01 Jun 2014, 20:19

I just swapped the enable plugs and the two chargers still put out 4.4 A and 6.1 A respectively; so it's definitely not the resistance of the enable line. Looks like I have a dud charger Image
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Post by coulomb » Mon, 02 Jun 2014, 02:06

jonescg wrote: Looks like I have a dud charger Image

Don't despair too much. It just so happens that I'm liaising with some Americans to analyse the software in the chargers, and come up with a scheme where you can program new parameters into them with an Arduino, a transistor, and a resistor.

Hopefully, we'll also be able to read the EEPROM, which contains the hardware parameters, like maximum current.

Oh, wait, these are two separate CAN version chargers? Well, it still may be that the CAN versions limit themselves to what the EEPROM says the hardware is capable of. I have a dual CAN charger that I'll be analysing soon.
[ Edit: Oops, no, these are not CAN versions. ]

We've determined that the non-CAN chargers actually send quite a lot of information about what they are doing over the serial port. Actually, it's optional, but with all the chargers we've examined so far, the option is turned on.

The CAN versions definitely have different firmware; I've long wondered about that. It seems that different voltage chargers of the same power differ by exactly one component (and different firmware constants, of course): the winding ratio of the high frequency transformer. So you could probably change say a 48 V charger into a 156 V charger by changing only that transformer. Maybe the really high voltage ones use higher voltage MOSFETs or whatever they use. I've seen a circuit somewhere, and I thought I saved it, but I can't find it now.

[ Edit: different hardware -> different firmware; grrr. ]
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by coulomb » Mon, 02 Jun 2014, 03:58

coulomb wrote: It seems that different voltage chargers of the same power differ by exactly one component (and different firmware constants, of course): the winding ratio of the high frequency transformer. So you could probably change say a 48 V charger into a 156 V charger by changing only that transformer.
I'm sceptical about that now. Surely at least some capacitor voltages would have to change. But it seems that the number of parts changes for different voltage chargers is minimal.
I've seen a circuit somewhere, and I thought I saved it, but I can't find it now.

I found it back again: TCCH Elcon 1.5kw charger schematics. So it's MOSFETs, at least for the front end, and lower voltage versions of the back ends.
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Post by jonescg » Mon, 02 Jun 2014, 04:17

Well I plugged my trusty plug power monitor in and both chargers are drawing 2.1 kW from the wall (separately, of course). My voltage displays are a bit off too - one felt that 342 V was close enough (it was bang on 350 V) and the other was only out by 4 volts at the top of charge. Both appeared to take just as long to charge their respective half packs, so perhaps the ammeters are giving odd readings? I need to pair some outer sheathing back and put the clamp on to see what's really going in. Perhaps it's not as bad as first thought. Definitely less efficient than I had hoped - these things get toasty!Image
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Post by coulomb » Mon, 23 Jun 2014, 00:30

coulomb wrote: Are you saying you expect the chargers to turn on with a 59 V battery?

We found our 416 V Elcon needed about 200 V to turn on, or about 48% of the maximum voltage. 48% of 350 V is some 168 V, almost triple 59 V.

As a counter to this, I have a 5 kW 144 V CAN model charger left over from an EV kit I won on Ebay, and it charges a 48 V nominal battery happily. That's less than 30% of the maximum voltage mentioned on the outside of the charger (170 V).

In fact, I believe it would charge a battery of at least 18.1 V, so 24 V nominal would also be OK.
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TC/Elcon chargers; a quick worklog.

Post by antiscab » Mon, 23 Jun 2014, 05:14

coulomb wrote: As a counter to this, I have a 5 kW 144 V CAN model charger left over from an EV kit I won on Ebay, and it charges a 48 V nominal battery happily. That's less than 30% of the maximum voltage mentioned on the outside of the charger (170 V).

In fact, I believe it would charge a battery of at least 18.1 V, so 24 V nominal would also be OK.


interesting

I have convinced a 130V Enable model TC Charger to bring a battery up from 50V, but it wouldn't work at some voltage below that (I was bringing back a 120v nimh battery from the dead)

I wonder what the actual lower limit is

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