i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

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i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by Ultralights » Sat, 09 Jun 2018, 19:01

Ok, well there's your problem.

Anyway, strap in, this is going to be long.

So to begin with about a month and a half ago we went to go to the shops in our iMiEV and as we turned out of our street, we noted that the car had not charged fully, and that we had the red 12v battery warning light as well as the orange exclamation mark high voltage warning light. Hmm, thats weird, so we went back home, and did some troubleshooting. We first plugged it back in, and it did not charge, we then tried our charger from our Outlander, and still no dice. Hmm, ok. We then checked the battery, all good, but it did not appear to be charging when the car was on. Hmmm.

We then tried to get the error codes from the car, and Mitsubishi said, "yeah, nah, you cannot do that". We tried different software and hardware, but nothing would allow us to read the error codes. Hmmm, ok, guess we will need to take it to the local dealer to get the codes, as they seam to be proprietary, which is very annoying, error codes should be available to the owner, but nup, Mitsubishi ain't got time for that.

Ok, we went to the dealers, I told them the symptoms and the research we had done. I told them that based on the symptoms we think the issue is the DC/DC converter as other iMiEV owners with the same symptoms found the issue was the DC/DC converter. I asked them to get the error codes for us, at our cost of course. Two days later, after they said they were having difficulty working out what was wrong, they said that the issue is the Battery ECU, and that it costs $1300AUD to replace it. We knew that the DC/DC converter had a cost in the vicinity of $4000AUD, as we were pleasantly surprised that it was going to cost only $1300AUD. I asked them if they were sure that that was the problem, and I was assured it was, so we agreed to have the Battery ECU replaced.

Well, no ETA was given, and we expected it would be a few weeks. After a few weeks we went to the dealer, and they said that they were originally going to get the Battery ECU in August 2018, but now will have it on June 6th. Phew, August would have sucked. I still have a gut feel that it was the DC/DC converter, but without the benefit of diagnostics from the MUT III, it was hard to argue with them.

So this past Friday we went to see how things were going, only to find out that they have the Battery ECU, have replaced it, and it did not fix the issue. They now believe the issue is the DC/DC converter. Well **** me, I told them that in the beginning. We argued that we should not have to pay for the Battery ECU, but they refused to accept responsibility. I then said to take the Battery ECU out, and put in the original one. "Oh, that will cost you 5 hours of labour at $170AUD an our ($850AUD) and it won't be ready until next week sometime". Fuming, we said to leave the ECU in, we'll pay for it, but we want the error codes and the original part.

We took the car home this morning, and began the investigation ourselves.

So we made the car High Voltage safe, and removed the cover of the DC/DC converter. The DC/DC converter contains two boards, the top one I believe is the AC charger input, while the bottom one is the DC/DC converter. The AC charger connects to the DC/DC converter, where the DC is converted to 330v (?) for the traction battery, and 12v for the axillary battery. The top board looked ok, and both fuses on the top board were intact, and checked with a multimeter.

So we removed the top board, and low and behold there is some soot on a component of the bottom board. Further investigation found that it is an upright board where the soot originated from, which contains two surface mount resistors. One of these had popped its top, and spewed its remains on the black resin casing below it. Houston we have found our problem.

So, what to do now. We have a few options, first of all I may be able to replace the expired resistor, but I need to work out what the resistance of that resistor was. This is also a difficult job due to the placement of the resistor, so I have to be careful to not damage other components in the process. Option 2 is to work out which board contains the VIN locking (extortion coding), is it the top board, or the bottom board. The top board does appear to contain a chip, which may be the MCU for the board, however tomorrow I plan to remove the bottom board and see if I can locate any chips that may be a MCU on that one. If the extortion coded MCU is on the top board only, then we may get away with replacing the bottom board from a wrecked iMiEV.

So at this point we are still considering our options, I think I may attempt a repair first. After-all, I cannot make it any worse, just need to work out what resistance the resistor had (it has loads of resistance at the moment 🤣).

The moral of the story, go with your gut, not the dealer, as they will replace component after component, rather than actually investigate the actual cause, and they will raid your bank account in the process.
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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by Johny » Sat, 09 Jun 2018, 21:28

Good troubleshooting. That resistor has not just I over heated - it's catastrophically expired. That's unusual for a resistor unless it's maybe an inrush current limiter and the DC-DC switch stuff further along is the culprit. The resister simply acted like a fuse.

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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by Ultralights » Sun, 10 Jun 2018, 16:30

Ok, an update.

I think board with the blown resistor has been bonded to the water cooling layer of the DC/DC Converter, it does not appear to want to budge, and I do not want to break it. Possibly it could be attached from underneath, but it does not appear so.

We drained the coolant, and then removed the DC/DC Converter from the car. On the bottom side of the DC/DC Converter is another cover, which we removed. On this side is another board, which has some high voltage components on it. We have not attempted to remove this board as we need to be able to drive the car in a few weeks to our new home shortly.

So for the time being, we will be putting everything back together tomorrow, so that we can drive it to our new home. It has enough energy left in the battery to make that drive, and it still drives just fine.

Once there, it will need to sit for a few months as we have stuff we need to do to the house, so this is where this saga is going to end for the moment.

We have not yet decided on how we are going to proceed, as we are considering our options. We may end up getting a second hand DC/DC Converter, and swapping out the top board from our car into the second hand part. I have a feeling that the IC on the top board is where the VIN Locking of the part is occurring, as it was the part that was connected to the cars CAN BUS. We may get away with simply swapping that board over to the second hand part, which will be wonderful news for all the other people out there with the same problem. We may end up writing it off financially, and sell for parts.

The other option may be importing an iMiEV from Japan for parts, and simply swapping out the Battery MCU, Motor Controller, DC/DC Converter and cars ECU, which are all the VIN locked components.

But we don't know just what we are going to do at this point.

So if anyone knows someone wrecking an iMiEV who would be happy to part with the DC/DC Converter, or if anyone has any advice on how we could import the part from Japan from a wrecked iMiEV over there, please let us know.
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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by mikedufty » Sun, 10 Jun 2018, 21:37

Have you considered what Matt suggested for ours - buy a home Chademo and just charge it from DC? Not ideal, but may give you a working car.
There apparently are some small low powered ones available around the $2,000 range.
This is assuming it will still charge from DC - it is possible that the computers disable all charging due to the fault. Have you got any chademo chargers nearby?

http://www.setec-power.com/china/10kw-c ... le-charger

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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by Ultralights » Sun, 10 Jun 2018, 22:00

Sadly the only Chademo near us is the NRMA charger at Olympic park, if we drive it there, we would need it to work otherwise it gets towed home. we are moving house soon, so we have to get it back together and drive it to our new place with whats left in the battery, still about 75% full. and its a 50% use trip.
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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by mikedufty » Mon, 11 Jun 2018, 08:48

I'm a bit tempted to try it on mine while waitng for the parts. It is parked 7km from a Chademo charger, and I think has about 30km range left. Has been sitting there so long the 12v battery has probably gone flat though.

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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by Ultralights » Tue, 12 Jun 2018, 16:40

it is, i have asked Greg if i can borrow his portable chedemo to try it later, so see how that goes, another question has arisen, are the 2010 Japanese models 110 Volt or 240?
considering the 2010 models were J spec cars imported by mitsubishi, i am 99% sure its 240, but there is that 1% doubt.
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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by Haps » Wed, 27 Jun 2018, 20:41

Did you fix it

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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by mikedufty » Wed, 27 Jun 2018, 21:42

Are you trying to fix one too?

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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by Haps » Thu, 28 Jun 2018, 04:41

Yes but mine ion is the charger unit broken i have also an i-miev i changed the dcdc charger box a couple of years ago with a used one

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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by coulomb » Thu, 28 Jun 2018, 07:07

Haps wrote:
Wed, 27 Jun 2018, 20:41
Did you fix it
Pfft. I bet he's let a trivial thing like moving house take priority over his real work, fiddling with cars ;)
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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by mikedufty » Thu, 28 Jun 2018, 09:29

Haps wrote:
Thu, 28 Jun 2018, 04:41
Yes but mine ion is the charger unit broken i have also an i-miev i changed the dcdc charger box a couple of years ago with a used one
Can you tell us more about that? I have the impression from things posted here that it was very difficult or impossible to put in a used one due to the VIN locking.

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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by Haps » Thu, 28 Jun 2018, 20:15

On my i-miev 2011 the onboard charger stopped working except that everything worked fine and i could fast charge it and drive it inside the dcdc/charger box all fuses were fine ,the wrapping on the three elektrolytick capacitors looks like they were exposed to heat .i took the whole unit out and installed one from a c-zero and then everything worked

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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by coulomb » Thu, 28 Jun 2018, 21:25

Haps wrote:
Thu, 28 Jun 2018, 20:15
the wrapping on the three elektrolytick capacitors looks like they were exposed to heat
I've noticed that, but hadn't mentioned it yet.
i took the whole unit out and installed one from a c-zero and then everything worked
Wow. So it seems that not everything is VIN locked, then. Good to know.
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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by mikedufty » Thu, 28 Jun 2018, 21:31

I wonder if the key is getting one from a Citroen? The badge engineering might extend to exempting them from some of the mitsubishi software.

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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by mikedufty » Fri, 29 Jun 2018, 21:55

Just saw this posted on the i-miev facebook group by Jay Donnaway
Looks like VIN locking may not be an issue for the converter/charger.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'm at over 141,000 km and just had my first component failure. The dc-dc or battery charger failed, or at least blew the 20A fuse they share. I replaced the entire assembly with a junkyard unit for under $400 and its good as new. No VIN locking or other surprises. The few others with this problem have had dealers waste up to two months of their time to return a $4000 estimate. Details on the www.myimiev.com forum.

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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by mikedufty » Fri, 29 Jun 2018, 22:54

I found the my i-miev thread.
http://myimiev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4075
Seems like he just had no issue with the VIN locking, but no real insight into why some people get the lock and some don't.

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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by Haps » Sat, 30 Jun 2018, 21:29

Now my ion is fully operationel again maybe the problem is bad cooling fluid

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Re: i-miev DC/DC converter failure, not what we expected.

Post by Ultralights » Sat, 07 Jul 2018, 18:12

cooling fluid was fine, but pulling apart the Converter, we found exploded components.
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