Introduction: (3.13)CONVERTING a 2013 LEAF LEVEL 1 (12AMP) CHARGER TO a LEVEL 2 (12AMP) CHARGER

Picture of (3.13)CONVERTING a 2013 LEAF LEVEL 1 (12AMP) CHARGER TO a LEVEL 2 (12AMP) CHARGER

My intent with this design is to make a small, simple, portable level 2 charger out of a level 1 charger that can still function as a level 1 charger. I also want it to be fully automated using the EVSE as the control unit, relays, and a GFCI. I'm also keeping the grid protection device in place because I like the idea that the grid stayed up because my car was plugged in.

Step 1: WARNING

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You will be working with a 220V circuit. All parts used should have a minimum rating greater than or equal to 15AMP and 220VAC. I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOU ELECTROCUTING YOURSELF. If you don't have experience with High Voltage/High Current you may not want to do this.  If you do not wire this circuit as it is in the diagram you can damage your car and house and yourself. NEVER WORK ON A HOT (PLUGED IN) CIRCUIT! Do research beyond this article before you start. I take no responsibility for you or your car or any property that may be damaged.  You are responsible for wiring things properly! If you do not know how to work safely, and how to wire things in reference to a schematic do not attempt this.

Step 2: Parts List

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PARTS LIST AND COST

Three feet of SJOOW 12/4 wire ($1.49 a foot) totaling:                            $4.47
     (If you are using an extension cord you might want
     to get a length of wire, so that you will no longer
     need to use an extension cord.)
Box of 12-10Heat Shrink Ins Butt Conn :                                                    $5.89
Wall plug box                                                                                              $7.47
12/1 AWG XHHW/THWN $0.17/ft X 2ft                                                      $0.34
NEMA 14-50 plug (standard in newer homes and RV parks):                 $10.95

Total :                                                                                                        $29.12

Step 3: Pulling the Cord

Picture of Pulling the Cord

NOTE: I did this a long time ago and did not get pictures so these are a recreation. Drill a small hole in the cork, thread a cork screw in and pull out the cork. Then take out the 6, CR-V3 HEX (This is a 3 mm hex head center hole security bit) head screws out and pop the case apart.

Step 4: Stock 2013 Leaf EVSE, Simple Schematic

Picture of Stock 2013 Leaf EVSE, Simple Schematic

Stock 2013 leaf EVSE layout. FDCD stands for Frequency Dependent Charging Device. Note:I doubt this is the way the windings on the coils of the relay are wired, but this is how they behave.

Step 5: Simple Schematic 2013 Leaf EVSE Post Level 2 Upgrade.

Picture of Simple Schematic 2013 Leaf EVSE Post  Level 2 Upgrade.

2013 EVSE post upgrade. As you can see it's realy just one wire and a plug. FDCD stands for Frequency Dependent Charging Device.

Step 6: Simple Schematic 2013 Leaf EVSE Post Level 2 Upgrade With 110V ADAPTOR Back to Levle 1.

Picture of Simple Schematic 2013 Leaf EVSE Post  Level 2 Upgrade With 110V ADAPTOR Back to Levle 1.

Just undoing step 5. See step 13 for adaptor details

Step 7: Unplug

Picture of Unplug

Remove the screws holding the cord in place, unplug the small square plug, disconnect the tension relief from the EVSE and pull the cord through. Get a 12gauge wire and cut it a foot longer than the cord. Note if you're going to use this outside that 12gauge wire should have a outside rating.A 12 AWG XHHW/THWN would be a good choice.

Step 8: Room for the Wire

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Use a trim saw two cut a in small track for a single wire to run through. Just a little groove in the side of the large existing hole, not a new hole.

Step 9: Adding an Extra Wire

Picture of Adding an Extra Wire

Remove the tension reliever from the cord place the singles 12gauge wire parallel to the cord. Apply some wire lube and pulled the tension reliever over the cord and the 12gauge wire, it's a tight fit.

Step 10: Reconnect Wires

Picture of Reconnect Wires

Reconnect the will wires, tension relief and wire anchor just as they were when you started.

Step 11: Cut the Red Wire

Picture of Cut the Red Wire

The best part, I get a say the magic words "cut the red wire". Cut the existing red wire and cap the end coming out of the circuit board. Cut the new red wire to length so that it will but up against the existing red wire. Strip both wires and place into butt connector and crimp. I used a butt connector that has heat shrink tubing built on to it and would recommend that.Use a heat gun to shrink the tubing.

That completes everything inside the box. So put the lid back on the screws back in.

For crimping use a ratcheting crimper.

To strip a multi strand wire use a stripping tool one gage larger than the wire. For example a 12AWG multi strand wire strips with a 10AWG striper.  The number on a stripping tool is for solid wire, multi strand wire is one gage larger.

If some of the strands are cut off when stripping, cut then all off and start over.


Step 12: Keep the Plug

Picture of Keep the Plug

The first thing to note here is that the original cord and plug are kept and are not modified in any way.

The additional wire simply runs parallel to the original cord.

I connect the SJOOW 12/4 wire to a NEMA 14-50 plug And then connect the other end of it to a small self-contained plug. The bottom two panels. When connecting multi strand wires to screw connectors you MUST first connect the multi strand wire to crimp connectors. Do not connect multi strand wires directly to screw connectors. 

The red wire from the SJOOW 12/4 wire Should be butt  crimp connected to the 12/1 AWG XHHW/THWN From the EVSE (Not shown, sorry about that.).

Put the cover back on the NEMA 14-50 plug And the wall plug. Then plug the cord from the EVS see into the wall plug and the NEMA 14-50 plug Into a NEMA 14-50 Outlet.

Note, I then wrapped the whole thing in a cord wrap and wrapped that with a self sealing tape. This is not as aesthetically pleasing as I would like. The fact that the grid protection device is in the plug really forced me to keep plug intact.

Afterthought: it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to add varistors to the 220 V plug as seen in the last part of step 12 of the 3.0. Note the varistorin the EVSE DO NOT need to be removed on the 3.13.

Step 13: 110V ADAPTOR

Picture of 110V ADAPTOR

Warning: This adaptor is only for this unit and should not be used for anything else. The NEMA 14-50 receptacle is wired so that what the NEMA 14-50 plug is plugged in the black goes to black, white goes to red AND white, and green goes to green. The 110v plug is a standard 110V plug with black hot, white return, and green ground.

Step 14:

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This is probably the end of the up-grading the EVSE projects (Unless of course they come out with a new EVSE.). I could make it put out more power (amps) but I do not think that would be safe. I could try some three wire 220V configurations; 220V to 20V transformer - extra cost and work, voltage regulate 220V to 110V - extra cost, work and watts, use the ground as a return - Dangerous illegal wiring.   None of these are as good as what I’ve done: the 110V/20V side of the circuit is run off 110V/20V and the 220V is handled by relays capable of handling 220V and the circuit is built for 12AMPS. This upgrade also preserves all of the safety features including, current limiting, surge protection, GFCI, dead wire until connected and grid protection.

Here is a link to an article on how the grid protection works

http://webhotel2.tut.fi/units/set/research/inca-public/tiedostot/Kansainvaliset_julkaisut/Rautiainen_SGM_EV_Charging.pdf

So what’s next, maybe a charger from scratch, who knows?

If you have any questions please ask.

Comments

sguthula (author)2017-09-04

I am buying parts to do the conversion. Could you please tell me if 15AMP and 220VAC rating of parts is sufficient as NEMA 14-50 port has 50 amps rating. I am not familiar with NEMA so I may be wrong. Thanks in advance ...

GeorgiG15 (author)2017-08-23

Could this work when you live in europe and bought a leaf from the usa? I believe this should work, but it will need a 230v->110v transformer to feed the control circuit board. The rest should be the same.

The only difference would be that I will be feeding 230v hot-neutral to the car and not hot-hot like you guys do in the states.

PaulD369 (author)2017-06-03

did anyone measure the current before and after the mod? I was under the impression you have to reprogram the control module to actually get mor current

Dave-H (author)PaulD3692017-08-06

Hi

V*A= W so if you double the Voltage you double wattage and cut the charge time in half. No reprogramming needed.

Thanks Dave

DirkS45 made it! (author)2017-08-05

I made this with a slight modification on the adapter. Instead of making the 110v adapter with one 5-15 plug I made it with 2, one for each phase. This way you can find two outlets on different legs (phases) and run at 220v, without a 220v receptacle. If I want to run at 110v, I made a jumper to connect the "red" phase to the return.

Thanks Dave

Dave-H (author)DirkS452017-08-05

Hi

There are a lot of things I like about this approach. I made a very similar thing my self. I have a box with 2, 110V cords and a 240V plug and it works. There are however a number of problems with it. The biggest problem with both approaches and mine is that ones one plug is plugged in the other plug is hot and a hot mail end plug is dangers. And this is a surprisingly hard problem to fix.

My approach has an additional concern. On mine I had a NEMA 14-50 and if used for anything other than this charger it would probably overload the 110V wiring.

And to my surprise there are hotels that only have single wiring. So this will not work at all locations.

Thanks Dave

DirkS45 (author)Dave-H2017-08-06

Actually if you look at the schematic, the only time the second male plug should have hot terminals would be when the charger is plugged into the vehicle. So as long as you connect the 110v circuits before you connect the charger to your vehicle, and disconnect the vehicle before disconnecting the 110v circuits, there is very little risk.

Another nice thing I have found, is that if your two 110v circuits are on the same phase the charger will show a fault.

Dave-H (author)DirkS452017-08-06

Hi

I see what you are saying. I'll have to play with this some more, it's been a while. I think it might be the return on the unplugged plug that will show hot to ground, it is tied to a hot return. If not plug the other one in and try again. Try with long extension cord. let me know what you find.

Thanks Dave

DaveS62 (author)2017-01-01

Dave, a friend is trying to help me with this conversion. The inside of my box looks totally different though. Can you give me a push in the right direction?

Thanks,
Dave S.

Dave-H (author)DaveS622017-01-01

Hi

Flip it 180 degrees.

Thanks Dave

DaveS62 (author)Dave-H2017-01-02

Dave,

My unit has 3 and 4 connectors instead of 3 and 3. The instructions seem to say to cut the wrong color. I am confused. I know this is a 2013 unit but the inside looks unlike anything else I have seen on the net. Any advise.

Thank You,

Dave S.

Dave-H (author)DaveS622017-01-02

Hi

Yours looks Exactly like mine. In the picture you sent it is oriented 180° out from the pictures that I have. But it is the exact same unit with three screw connectors and a plug on one side and four screw connectors on the other side. The work is done on the three screw side.

Thanks Dave

sguthula (author)Dave-H2017-04-27

This image is before and after pics of the same side of EVSE, this took a while to notice that.

https://cdn.instructables.com/ORIG/FT3/99JR/HRWNBI...

Dave-H (author)sguthula2017-08-05

Hi

That is correct. Sorry if there was any confusion.

Thanks Dave

bernandjohn (author)2017-06-26

Dave,
Does this work on the 2015 Leaf?

EVcor (author)2017-02-22

Dave, I measured the device in the original 110V plug with the two
extra yellow wires to be a simple NTC (temperature dependent resistor)
to allow the EVSE to cut power when the plug gets too hot (bad contact,
plugged into a corroded outlet and so on). As I posted in your other
instructable, the frequency dependent charging (power throttling) is a
function of the EVSE processor which will measure very accurately the
period of the incoming AC line and if it sees a deviation from the
nominal frequency, it will modulate the pilot signal to tell the EV to
change its current draw and thereby adjust load (EV) to grid conditions.

The
two yellow wires in my EVSE plug are not connected to the incoming AC
so they can't measure the AC period accurately, so it is not possible
that they are part of an FDR. I measured the resistance between the two
wires at room temp to be about 21k Ohm and after a few minutes in the
freezer it was 26k so it is an NTC embedded in the plug. replacing it
with a 22k resistor and using a 4-wire plug will be the safest upgrade
path, also avoiding the kluge with the external 240V wire.

Hope this clarifies, Cor.

Dave-H (author)EVcor2017-06-04

Hi

There is a code on the back of the plug FDR-10T and back in the day when I made this conversion I did a search on this code and got to this site

http://webhotel2.tut.fi/units/set/research/inca-pu...

and that lead me to believe that it was a part of a frequency dependent charging system.

But upon further research I've found it to be a catalog # for a NEMA 5-15P.

So I'm fairly sure that it is NTC (temperature dependent resistor) and not part of a Frequency Dependent Charging system.

This is a point that I have not been sure of for some time but it dose not matter, I have though of using your approach from the beginning in fact this is the approach used in the (3.0) conversion + a resister. Although this approach has fewer connections and larger wires it loses an over heat safety feature that I think is more important.

Ideally someone would hunt down the right NTC (temperature dependent resistor) and we could just put it in the box and simplify the whole thing.

Thanks Dave

EVcor (author)EVcor2017-04-06

OK, I upgraded mine with a standard NEMA 14-30 dryer cord which was barely able to fit through the original cable gland. It was a hassle to take up the slack in the wire ends by looping them around, but the modification was super-clean, since the only real changes besides the different cord, were only the cut in the red wire on the circuit board and crimping that to the incoming red wire and soldering a 22k resistor in place of the connector for the NTC in the original cord.

Once the enclosure was back together, there was nothing hinting at a modification of the charger, it simply has a different but still standard appliance cord. I will post pics as soon as I have them downloaded from my phone.

sguthula (author)EVcor2017-04-27

I just managed to open my EVSE, I would like to see your EVSE pictures before I proceed to modify.

EVcor made it! (author)sguthula2017-04-27

OK, here the pictures. The first picture shows how I cut the standard NEMA 14-30 dryer cord's crimped spade terminals: red is cut back to just the wire crimp and the other 3 (which will be mounted under the 3 input cable screws) have one side of the spade cut off as they are too wide. Now they can fit under the screws. The only modifications I did to the charger itself after removing the input cord and plug: I cut the red wire close to the input screws, to be soldered to the red wire in the cord plus 2 layers heatshrink for protection of this splice, and I carefully scraped the plastic hole for the incoming cable slightly larger, as the cable jacket kept catching on the edge of the hole. Do not modify the rubber grommet, so the charger will still be water-tight. I soldered a small 22k resistor directly onto the pins in the white connector (I used 24k but the result is same). You see the final result in the last 2 pics. The only needed materials are one resistor, 2 inches of heatshrink and a cheap NEMA 14-30 dryer cable. Hope this helps. I already charged by Leaf from the Dryer outlet. BTW, thanks for reminding me to add the pics.

EVcor (author)EVcor2017-04-27

BTW, to remove the 6 "corks" I drill a small hole in them, no more than 1/8" (3mm) and turn a screw into the cork, then pull both out with pliers. Using a corkscrew might be a hassle as it might not properly fit if you have an "official" open corkscrew, such as found on my Swiss knife and all my other corkscrews. Regular wood or sheetrock screws work fine to pull them out.

sguthula (author)EVcor2017-04-28

I exactly did the same, drill with the smallest I have and screw in a screw just enough to pull the plug out.

Bryce Nesbitt made it! (author)2017-04-01

Note there are older instructions that might be better for some people:https://www.instructables.com/id/CONVERTING-A-LEAF...

I used these instructions to make a repair to an already upgraded unit. Water got in, and the 20VAC supply died. I added an external 110V->9V transformer per the attached picture.

People wanting a professional repair or upgrade consider http://evseupgrade.com/ though it is expensive.

Jtran69 (author)2017-03-14

Dave?

I have dryer receptable, 3 prongs, nema 10-30.

do you have instruction to use this instead of nema 14-50?

JonathanG189 (author)2017-01-27

is it for the 2016 Leaf's plug too?

HaseH (author)2017-01-14

thank you, it works great

Salvadorone (author)2016-10-06

I've been looking for a way to modify circuitry in order to connect directly to a single phase 220V/50Hz line, but seems is not possible, any help?

Dave-H (author)Salvadorone2016-10-10

Hi

I take it that you are outside the US. So your charger may not be the same. Send me a photo preferably of the inside and we will go from there.

Thanks Dave
Salvadorone (author)Dave-H2016-10-10

Thanks Dave, Yes I'm in Paraguay and charger is from US 110V, here is a picture. I've been thinking splitting 220V with diodes in order to have 2 semicicles of 110V and use your convertion circuit, but not sure.

Dave-H (author)Salvadorone2016-10-10

Just to make sure we are on the same page you have a type E plug?

And what year Leaf?

Thanks Dave

Salvadorone (author)Dave-H2016-10-11

Plug is B type and Leaf is 2013. (imported from the States).

Thanks

JordanL65 (author)2016-09-27

I made this over a year ago and it was working AWESOME. Until, about two weeks ago I started getting a "fault" error and it would actually drain the battery when hooked up. My trickle charger still works, but not the amazing one you helped me build. And ideas?

Dave-H (author)JordanL652016-10-10

HI

send me a picture of your out side setup and then pop it open and send me a picture of the inside. If I can see it I'm sure I can help you fix it.

Thanks Dave

JordanL65 (author)Dave-H2016-10-10

You are awesome! But, lol, i found a 6k on ebay for 450, so i ponied up the cash. But thank you again for your instuctable and a full year of fast charging!!!

Roostre made it! (author)2016-07-19

Thanks Dave!

I've been reading your instructions several times over the last few weeks and finally took the plunge today.

As you can see in the pics I used a slightly different approach. My end is an L14-20 so that I can make up a set of "adapters" for different types of outlets. I even made up a 120v end that twists right on.

For a box I used a standard wall box (blue plastic) and an inexpensive ($3.47@ WallyWorld) outdoor cover. Still more bulky than I'd like, but I don't plan on dragging this one around; it will be mounted semi-permanently in the garage as we have a charger at work.

Again, a big THANK YOU for taking the time to write this up and post it!!

Dave-H (author)Roostre2016-08-07

Hi

A little clunky but I like it.

Thanks Dave

PicChip (author)2015-12-24

Hello,

I am new to this forum. I have a Chevy Volt and been using a
Leaf level 1 charge adapter that I bought on eBay over a year ago for the convenience
of leaving my Volt level 1 charger at home. I would like now to modify my Leaf
charger to a level two. I have reviewed the IEEE specifications for theses type
of car chargers. I have noticed that there is a handshaking protocol that
requires the charger to tell the car what kind of charger adapter it is connected
to, and how much is the Max power the car can draw from the charger adapter.
This is done by a “Pilot signal” sent from the charger adapter to the car. This
connection is shown in your schematics but I don’t see any mention of it in
your modification.

Can you or anyone reading this explain how just bumping up
the voltage is all that is needed without changing/modifying the Pilot signal
to tell the cat it is now OK to draw more power? Is there something I am
missing? Has anyone tried this modified adapter on a Chevy Volt?

Thank you

Dave-H (author)PicChip2016-08-07

Hi

The handshaking protocol tell the car how many amps to draw not how much power to draw. So if we double the volts we double the watts. I would not recommend changing the handshake it is unsafe.

Thanks Dave

Roostre (author)PicChip2016-07-19

I just built mine tonight and hooked it up to my Volt. Worked great! My wife has a Leaf, so it was actually her EVSE that was modified.

Did a similar modification to my factory Volt EVSE about a year ago and it has been flawless.

Dave-H (author)PicChip2016-03-13

The handshake tell the car how many Amps to draw not how many watts to draw. So we leave that alone. We double the voltage at the same Amperage thus doubling the wattage and cutting the charge time in half.

I have not looked at one, pop it open and send me a picture.

Thanks Dave

Chrisyoung61 (author)2016-08-07

Dave H,

Just wanted to let you know you have another satisfied customer. I just finished doing the evse upgrade and it is working just fine. I would not have been willing to try this on my own but the information you have provided gave me the confidence to do it.

Thanks

Dave-H (author)Chrisyoung612016-08-07

Hi

You're welcome, I'm glad I could help.

Thanks Dave

INFOTRAWLER (author)2016-06-07

Hello,

I am new to this site. My purpose in joining was to find out about converting my 2015 nissan leaf level 1 charger to a level 2 charger. I have read through posts listed here going back 2 years. Are the instructions given applicable to the 2015 charger?

Thanks,

Jim

Dave-H (author)INFOTRAWLER2016-06-14

Hi

Yes:)

Thanks Dave

JaredR16 made it! (author)2016-03-16

It definitely still charges the car. So that's great. I can't tell if it's charging any faster though. Is there a definitive display that will tell me that it is going 240v 3.6kw?

JaredR16 made it! (author)JaredR162016-03-18

DERP! The car display shows it. Now that I got the wiring and ground all correct.

Dave-H (author)JaredR162016-03-20

Good!

Thanks Dave

sandworm (author)2015-09-24

Would it be possible to use a Nema 10-30 (standard dryer plug) instead of building an adapter?

JaredR16 (author)sandworm2016-03-18

I don't know how safe it was, but I did use a 3 prong dryer plug initially.

One hot, and the middle (nuetral) went to the 110v wall plug. From the ground on the wall plug, I ran to a water pipe. I know it's the wrong way. It gave me the full 240V though.

It also shocked my son when he tried to unplug it, and plug in the dryer. So I changed to a 4 prong, and went direct to the breaker box.

JaredR16 (author)sandworm2016-03-14

I'm really interested in the answer to this question also. I'll get a picture of how I did it, but I can't tell any noticeable difference in the speed of the charge.

I wonder if maybe it's because I have the "neutral" cable connected to the return side of the wall box. AND to the ground. (that was necessary to get it to work at all).

Would that be messing with the circuit so that it ends up only drawing 120V?