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TomEV 12-31-2011 11:05 AM

ElCon Charger
 
Part of doing the upgrade to 64v in the Citicar was to source a new charger. I found that the ElCon PFC2500 can be programmed for 64v nominal, and is capable of using both 120v and 240v as input without making any changes - just plug it on to the different voltage.

At 120v, the PFC2500 is a 1.5kW charger; at 240v it is a 2.5kW charger. Either way, it is a little more powerful than the old Lester ferro resonant 1.4kW charger, and much faster when using 240v.

The main reason I wanted to use a multi-input voltage charger is to allow me to eventually use J1772 charging stations, and also to recharge at all the places I normally do that have 120v plugs.

Not as cheap as the open source charger at around $700 (tax, shipping, etc.), but still a good deal.

Next step is to get the parts to install the J1772 inlet.

bennelson 01-08-2012 08:39 PM

Hey Tom,

Let us know more about your experience with that charger as you go.

At some point, I would also like to have a 120/240 charger, and would want a J1772 connector available for when we do start having some public EV charging in the area.

TomEV 01-12-2012 09:47 PM

So far, the ElCon has been very good - and much faster than I would have expected. And very quiet! With the ferro resonant charger, it would only put out the full 1.4 kW for a while, making a very loud hum when it was putting out power above 1kW. As pack voltage increased, the amperage dropped off, slowing the charging time. If I happened to plug in to a weak outlet (lots of sag, or plain low voltage) I would not get a complete charge, or it would take forever. In one location the input voltage sagged to just about 100 volts, and the battery would not charge above about 80%.

I've used a number of outlets with the ElCon, purposely doing opportunity charges to see how things work. The fastest so far has been my house (6-20 plug / 245 measured volts) at about 10 miles per hour of charging. All the 110/120v charging I've has been at about 6 miles per hour of charge. Voltage sag doesn't seem to affect it that much.

The wh/mile on the CIticar has improved compared to the old charger as well. The performance factor (pf) of the old Lester was around .96 . With the ElCon, the pf measures at .99 or 1.

The battery pack in the Citicar is about 4.5 years old, and recent wH/mile readings were about 300 with the old charger. With the ElCon, it has gone down to a bit less than 250. When I get a new pack this summer, I'm hoping for less than 220.

TomEV 04-03-2012 02:26 AM

The ElCon 2500 has been in the Citicar for three months now, and continues to work well. I've ordered the parts to make it work with the crop of J1772 only charging stations that are popping up - they should be here in a couple of days. The basic parts are a J1772 inlet and a J1772 car-side signal generator.

Ryland 04-03-2012 09:51 AM

I ended up ordering an Elcon charger as well, finished installing it a few days ago.
I went with the same charger as Tom, only mine is set up for 48v, specs say the input voltage can be from 45 to 65 hz and from 85v to 265v, so a nice wide range of inputs.
I'm not sure if mine is a newer design then Toms or what is going on because the specs don't seem to match what it's doing exactly, it will charge at 1,700 watts, or 35 amps for a bit when I first plug it in while the specs say that it should max out at 26 amps when plugged in to a 110v outlet, so I haven't tried charging from a 220v outlet yet, but at 220v the specs say it will max out at 40 amps.
Needless to say I'm impressed, the only way you can tell it's doing anything is by looking at the gauge or to listen for the quite computer fan, unless you look under the seat for the colored LED to tell what phase of charging, equalizing or floating it's in and having to look under the seat is the only thing that I wish was different, they have a plug on the side for battery temp probe, why not give the option for a remote charge status light?

TomEV 04-03-2012 01:18 PM

When using 120v, my ElCon 2500 draws about 1,640 watts (according to the Kill-A-Watt) - just over 13 amps @ 123 volts. I haven't measured the amount of amps it is putting into the pack. I don't have a good meter to measure the amount of power used at 240v, but since the specs match very well at 120v, it probably puts out the rated 2.5 kW at 240.

My charger is a bit different than a 'normal' off-the-shelf 48v or 72v charger. Since it is set for 64v nominal, they used a 72v charger and 'turned it down' a bit to work with 64. These chargers have a bit of range they can be adjusted to, but you must tell the factory what you need to do. It came with a test chart that shows the amp/volt relationship when going through the various stages (bulk, equalize, float). They can also be programmed to charge other types of chemistry, including lithium variants.

It does charge differently if the temp probe is not plugged in. Fortunately, I used the space where my old charger was mounted (in front of the passenger, on the shelf near the wheel well) and I can see the LED very easily.

Ryland 04-03-2012 03:02 PM

I haven't plugged in the Kill-a-watt meter yet, I'm going by the amp and watt meter on my paktrakr gauge, reading the power going in to the battery pack.

Any idea how hard it is to reprogram these chargers? someday I'd like to get lithium batteries.

TomEV 04-03-2012 03:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryland (Post 297844)
Any idea how hard it is to reprogram these chargers? someday I'd like to get lithium batteries.

AFAIK, you have to send the charger back to Electric Conversions (ElCon) in Sacramento. They'll need to know what brand of lithium cells you have, if you use a BMS, and how many cells/size you are using. As long as the voltage you want is within about 15% of the nominal voltage on the charger you have, they should be able to reprogram it. The high limit on your charger is 68 volts.

In a similar fashion, you'd also need to reprogram if you decided to get SLA batteries instead of floodies because the charging curves are different.

It turns out that I have a 60v charger that was turned 'up' slightly to 64v (my previous post incorrectly stated that I had a 72v model turned 'down'). The specs for the 60v model are 35 amps output at 240v, and 20 amps at 120v. Your 48v model is 40 amps and 26 amps respectively.

TomEV 04-04-2012 10:51 PM

J1772 Upgrade Parts Have Arrived!
 
I received the J1772 inlet and vehicle-side control board today!
http://pluginwithtom.com/images/J177...nd%20Board.jpg
I performed a benchtop test with a J1772 charging station, but haven't attached the charger yet. Once connected to the new inlet and control board, the charging station went through the self-test just fine. After a few seconds 240v was available at the charger connection. Success! Next step is to decide where exactly to install the J1772 inlet, and wire it up to the charger.

bennelson 04-05-2012 10:31 AM

This is going to be so odd yet cool to see a Citi with a J1772!


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