TC Charger Fixable?

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4Springs
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TC Charger Fixable?

Post by 4Springs »

I noticed that I didn't get any charge the other day when I was plugged in overnight.
It was fine, I had enough, and was able to investigate when I got home. I found that the TC Charger was not displaying any lights (it has a total of one).
This is my charger, this sticker sums it up nicely:
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I have now removed it from the car. On the bench it is similarly un-responsive. So I removed the cover and took some photos.
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The second photo is a close-up of the only obvious damage that I found. The two resistors R1 and R22 are both broken, I can move the top piece with my multimeter probe. The first photo shows the whole board, the damaged resistors are just visible behind the relay at the top of the photo, just to the left of the middle row of transistors.
The transistors in the middle appear to be intact, although I haven't removed their heatsink clamp things to have a good look at them.

I think that there might be some people on this forum with experience of these chargers? I'd appreciate any advice on how I might fault-find the problem(s). In the meantime I have my older, slower charger, so I can afford to spend a bit of time to repair this one. I might be on the lookout for a new charger though, a third one wouldn't go astray.
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Re: TC Charger Fixable?

Post by coulomb »

4Springs wrote: Sun, 10 Oct 2021, 15:48 The second photo is a close-up of the only obvious damage that I found. The two resistors R1 and R22 are both broken,
Yes, those pre-charge resistors often fail. Unfortunately, they usually fail as a consequence of some other underlying failure. [ Edit: make sure that you replace them with appropriate parts; see the link below. Not just any 150Ω resistors will do, or at least last. ]
The transistors in the middle appear to be intact, although I haven't removed their heatsink clamp things to have a good look at them.
Unfortunately, removing the heatsink often reveals four failed MOSFETs. It's tricky, but made much easier with an appropriate tool. See below.
I think that there might be some people on this forum with experience of these chargers?
I've worked on many of these (too many?). I have spare parts too. This post is by far the best starting point, in my humble opinion:
TCCH/Elcon charger troubleshooting and repair. I find Coulom'b index (in post 3) to be very helpful :geek:
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Re: TC Charger Fixable?

Post by Paul9 »

With coulomb on the job you definitely have the best bloke advising you Christopher.

In your post you say " I might be on the lookout for a new charger though, a third one wouldn't go astray."

In case you do buy another charger I would add I have been gradually increasing my pack voltage over the years and have been constantly forced to buy new chargers. I have blown one or two up myself but I have had a number of Elcon TC chargers which were simply not up to scratch. My last purchase about 3 years ago was two KPES 2kw chargers. I like the fact that they don't overheat as quickly as the Elcons. They have open vents at one end and large exhaust fans at the other end. The heat does not build up within the charger as quickly as it builds up in an Elcon. I covered the vents with dust mesh to stop dust getting into the insides of the chargers. The only negative is that the KPES chargers don't have power factor correction.

Just thought I would throw that info in should you end up buying another charger.

Regards
Paul
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Re: TC Charger Fixable?

Post by antiscab »

Paul have you used the UHF TC Chargers?
or has your experience been more so with the older black ones like the one up above?
The older black ones haven't been available since 2015

The new TC chargers (or rather the ones available since 2014,) don't get smaller than 3.3kw for a 144v nominal battery.
they're all waterproof, come with a fan and generate less heat in general (changing to a Ultra high frequency design improved efficiency and made the whole thing heaps smaller)
With can control, you can adjust to what ever battery and voltage range you want
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Re: TC Charger Fixable?

Post by Paul9 »

Hi Matthew yes I have had experience with the UHF chargers. I wouldn't buy one if they were free!

I bought 2 back in August 2017. I hope they have improved by now. I explained my troubles with those chargers to a poster on DIY Electric Car Forums as follows:

" First problem is that the connectors are 4 pin, pin and socket connectors. The female connectors do not fit snugly onto the male connector - they wobble! Even though they are locked in they still wobble.

Secondly the female lugs that go into the female connector don't stay in. If you turn the female connector upside down and tap it, the lugs (and any wire attached to them), fall out of the connector. These lugs are also very thin. Less than 2mm in diameter. Don't drop them on the garage floor as, if your garage looks like mine, you will never find them. And TC only give you 8 pins in total - no spares.

Thirdly, neither the female connectors nor the lugs that go in them are available in Australia. I have tried some online stores suggested to me by "Coulomb" and they have advised they do not have them.

Fourthly the User Manual is less than clear in regard to which hole in the female connector receives which wire. Emails with "Coulomb" and a number of emails to TC in China have, I think, cleared this up.

As a result of the above I managed to blow one of the connectors up (the DC OUT connector). A loud bang accompanied by a large shower of sparks and melted lugs was the result. Despite being very careful that the right wire went in the right hole, I may have stuffed up my connecting somewhere, so I am not laying all the blame necessarily on the charger. End result is one stuffed $1,000AU charger.

I have been told persistence is a virtue so I got out the other new charger and wired it up without the female connectors and insulated the living daylights out of all the wires. I powered the charger up and it just sat there. The fan didn't spin and no LED lights. But I had achieved something - no explosion! About the same reaction as if I had wired up a house brick.

The old PFC TC Chargers using IEC connectors were just plug and play. The only other thing I have noticed is that the new 3.3kw TC chargers from the USA (based only on photos on their websites) already appear to have wired up the connectors for you and have the wires running out of the connectors so you only have to connect the wires.

I am fully aware than a number of my problems with my EV have been a result of my own stupidity so I took my "good" TC Charger ("good" as in not the one I blew up) over to my electrician brother's place to check my wiring and test the charger. Even though my crimping of wires to lugs was fine, he always likes to solder things, so he rewired all wires with solder.

We then connected up the AC IN as per our understanding of the manual, the DC Out as advised by TC in China, and connected the 12v+ to the enable line as I don't use CAN. He then put a multimeter on the DC out and absolutely no reading. The fan didn't spin and no LED lights showing error messages."


The above is why I prefer to use the KPES chargers.

Thanks
Paul
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Re: TC Charger Fixable?

Post by 4Springs »

coulomb wrote: Sun, 10 Oct 2021, 16:13This post is by far the best starting point, in my humble opinion:
TCCH/Elcon charger troubleshooting and repair. I find Coulom'b index (in post 3) to be very helpful :geek:
This is fantastic, thanks. I'd looked at some of the extensive discussion, but your index helps me sort some of the wheat from the chaff.

I've had a bit closer look today. I made myself a heatsink removal tool (referencing coulomb's lore) and uncovered the following:
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Nothing looks particularly burnt or exploded.
I started tracing the circuit through with my multimeter. I started at the AC input, and things seemed ok until I came to the bridge rectifier (GBJ 2510 in one of the photos above). My multimeter reads all the legs as connected together with about 5 Ohms.

I'll keep on working my way through the DIYElectricCar posts and see what else I can find. Next up might be to remove the circuit board, which sounds like it is a bit of a task.
Last edited by 4Springs on Thu, 14 Oct 2021, 12:48, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added 'coulomb's lore' (couldn't help myself)
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Re: TC Charger Fixable?

Post by 4Springs »

Reading through the posts on these chargers, I've decided that it might be some time before I fix this one (if ever). So I will order a new one to keep me going in the meantime.

My requirements are:
  • About 3.3 kW (draws 15 A)
  • Sealed against water and dust (it's underneath the car)
  • Enable/disable control input
  • CAN bus optional - my BMS does not currently talk CAN, but I might get around to making it do so in the future.
So the new TC Chargers look good on paper. But where do I get one? I haven't been able to find an Australian supplier. Last time I emailed TC Charger directly - does one still do that?
And is there any other type of charger I should consider that meets my requirements?
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Re: TC Charger Fixable?

Post by coulomb »

4Springs wrote: Sat, 16 Oct 2021, 13:35 And is there any other type of charger I should consider that meets my requirements?
The Enpower CH4100-14420 is worth a look; I believe that Oz DIY sell them. CAN bus controlled, 180 V max 20 A max. IP66. It's hard to get straight information on them, though, at least from web sites.
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Re: TC Charger Fixable?

Post by 4Springs »

coulomb wrote: Sat, 16 Oct 2021, 17:19 The Enpower CH4100-14420 is worth a look; I believe that Oz DIY sell them. CAN bus controlled, 180 V max 20 A max. IP66. It's hard to get straight information on them, though, at least from web sites.
Thanks for that, I wasn't finding much. Googling that model number I found the Thunderstruck CH4100, and a user manual here: CH4100 Manual
More extensive Google searches found a picture of the Enpower unit, and it looks the same.
This charger communicates via CAN, and Thunderstruck sells a separate unit to make interfacing easy. The unit is called the EVCC (EV Charge Controller) or there is a cheaper version called the EVCC-Basic. User manual for that is here: EVCC Manual The EVCC manual has lots of information!

The EVCC includes an interface for connecting to a J-1772 type-1 or type-2 socket. The EVCC-Basic does not. Either one lets you control the charger using CAN or an enable/disable wire. They have a switch input that lets you select between different charging profiles (perhaps an 80%/100% selector?). Programming is done from a laptop using a USB interface, just with a simple terminal program (they use PuTTY). The device supports multiple chargers at once, including ELCON, Thunderstruck and Lear. Multiple chargers lets you use three phase.
The EVCC is $300 US, the EVCC-Basic is $175 US.
The Thunderstruck website doesn't list the CH4100. Instead it lists the TMS2500 for $505.

I'm guessing that the Thunderstruck units are the same as the Enpower units, but I'm not sure. The Thunderstruck looks good, anyway!
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