My Openevse build...

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by Jimbo69ny, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. Jimbo69ny

    Jimbo69ny Active Member

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    After going back and forth thinking about all of my charging options I decided to build my own.

    I am in a unique situation because my plan all along has been to install them at my rental properties. I can only assume that using units that are not UL listed or approved has extended a bit of risk but hopefully that never ends up biting me in the @$$. The risk (theoretical) was the only reason I was thinking about going with a store bought unit. However, in the end, I decided to trust my electronics skills and Chris' openevse boards. He has put a TON of work into the open evse project so I trust him.

    I decided to install TWO evse's at each of my properties (which currently stands at 2 apartment houses). I am also going to be offering the electricity free of charge. None of my current residents have EV's or PHV's but I think it will be a nice feature to offer future tenants. There really isn't any infrastructure for EV's in Ithaca so another plus is that this will give me a place to charge my PIP.


    I had to upgrade the electric service for both houses in order to install these.
    For my house on Aurora St I did the following prep work;

    - Installed a larger breaker box so I could add a breaker for new sub panel in the garage. The original breaker box was full and didn't have room for another double pole breaker.
    - Upgraded the wire from the meter to the main breaker box from 8 gauge copper to 4 gauge copper.
    - Installed a sub panel in the garage.
    - I used 8 gauge copper THHN/THWN wire on a 60 amp breaker from the main box inside to the sub panel in the garage. I wish I had gone larger but thats what my electrician told me to run. I can always do that later if I need to.
    - From the sub panel I ran 2 lengths of 6/3 aluminum THHN. Each line is on its own 30 amp breaker. (I definitely oversized to hopefully future proof the install) I am going to cap each of the evse's at 30 amps. The PIP only charges up to 16 amps so it will be a while into the future before the full capability of the evse's is actually utilized.
    - I also included a 20 amp breaker for a standard gfi outlet and a 15 amp circuit for two power garage door openers that I plan to add at some point in the future.


    For my house on Pheasant Walk I did the following prep work;

    - Installed a sub panel just below the main breaker box.
    - Ran 6 gauge copper line from the main breaker box to my sub panel. Sub panel is on a 60 amp breaker.
    - I ran 6/3 copper THHN/THWN inside of 1" pvc conduit to a pedestal I put into the ground. I used a single 60 amp double pole breaker in the sub panel.
    - The soil was littered with rocks. I dug the 16' trench by hand and quite at 15" deep. I couldn't get down any further so that's where I left it.
    - For the post I used a 4"x4" pressure treated piece of wood. I was able to get down to 24" for the post. Once the concrete set I put a white pvc sleeve over it then put the cap on top. I think it actually came out pretty nice. Once the evse's are done I will mount the box on the back of the post and the cable hooks on the left and right sides.
    - I will be splitting the 6 awg line once it gets into the box. Ill post more info on the evse build in my next post.

    I will be uploading all of my photos on my photo bucket page. I will try to make sure they stay in order so you can see the process as it happens.
    You can view them by going here.

    OPENEVSE Build pictures by jimbo69ny - Photobucket

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Jimbo69ny

    Jimbo69ny Active Member

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    Grrr. I just typed up a huge detailed post and it disappeared.... Gotta do this all over again.... Grrr.....

    In this post I will be listing off the parts I purchased for the
    evse's. I will be modifying this post and adding to it as I go until
    the units are installed.

    To get started I used the parts list that Mitch posted on openevse.com. You can find his list here. EVSE_by_mwolrich - open-evse - A portable EVSE built with an Open EVSE board. - Open Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) - Google Project Hosting

    Instead of the box and mounting panel that he went with. I bought a larger one at Home Depot and mounted the parts right to the box using nuts and bolts. I needed more space because the box would contain two evse's plus I saved a few bucks.

    I also skipped his fuse holders. Digikey techs couldnt tell me if they were waterproof and at $4 each I didnt want to chance it. I went with Type H fuse holders I found on ebay. The fuses are very common. If you go the same route you should know that Type H and Type R fuses are very similar. A Type H fuse holder will both fuses but a Type R fuse holder will only accept Type R fuses. I have a couple extra Type H fuse holders. If you copy my build and decided to go with this type of holder let me know.

    I also passed on the Arrow Heart pieces because I couldnt find them for under $20 each.


    Here are the other items I purchased;

    2 - 3/4" and 1 - 1" Gampak connectors.
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_45362-15527-49663_4294722501__?productId=1087351&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&facetInfo=

    1 box of yellow crimp connectors

    1 box of blue crimp connectors

    3 pack 18 gauge solid core wire from Radio Shack $6.49

    4 - Ribbon harnesses to connect adafruit displays
    Jumper Wire - 0.1", 4-pin, 12" - SparkFun Electronics $12

    4 bags of nuts and bolts from Lowes. I think they were about $1 each.


    I didn't keep track of how much I spent I have a rough idea but I
    never totaled it all. I think the total may scare me. :/


    to be continued...
     
  3. Jimbo69ny

    Jimbo69ny Active Member

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    My Openevse's are almost done. Just waiting on 2 more boards (3 now because I managed to blow one of the first 2 he sent me) :/.

    For the build it took a little digging but there is a lot of help out
    there. I’ll post all of the links here.

    To get started I followed this guys instructions.
    http://code.google.com/p/open-evse/downloads/detail?name=OpenEVSE%20for%20Newbies.pdf&can=2&q=


    Adafruit assembly:
    To assemble the adafruit I followed these instructions.
    http://learn.adafruit.com/rgb-lcd-shield
    It was very easy to do. I was a little confused by the instructions towards the end but I figured it out. Let me know if you have any questions and I will walk you through it. You don't need to install the 4 push button switches on the lower left quadrant of the board. You only need the select button and the orange potentiometer(spelling). You can also mount them so they are on the back side too. I didn't know this at the time otherwise that's what I would've done.

    [​IMG]

    Once it was assembled I needed to know how to connect it to the
    openevse circuit board. I then used Chris' instructions here.
    http://code.google.com/p/open-evse/wiki/AdaFruitRGBdisplay
    (since building mine he has updated the page and given much better instructions. You should have no trouble building yours. Its easy with good instructions.)
    You may be confused like I was. You need to purchase the ribbon cables
    I listed in the second thread in order to connect the display to the
    openevse board. Once you have all of the parts, here is exactly how you wire the display to the evse.
    [​IMG]



    Instead of running the red wire across the board (as seen in the photo) you can simply connect hole 9 (where the green wire is) to hole 8. All it takes is a little solder to make the connection between the two holes. Either way is fine and will work.

    When your evse and adafruit is completed and power is turned on, remember to adjust the contrast of the display(orange potentiometer). If you do not, you may freak out when your display lights up but doesnt show any text like I did.



    .
    Constructing the EVSE:
    The box layout was pretty easy. Really, you can arrange them however you need to in order to make everything fit. You can get a mounting panel like Mitch did but I didnt want to do that. (I also wanted to save the extra few bucks)
    I mounted all of my components directly to the plastic box and sealed the bolt holes with silicone to keep it waterproof.

    EVSE for Pheasant Walk
    [​IMG]
    EVSE for Aurora St
    [​IMG]
    Back of box showing bolts:
    [​IMG]



    Cutting out the rectangles for the displays took a bit of measuring and double checking but it was fine. I kinda wish I took my time a little bit more with this one though. One of my units needed to be waterproof because it was going outside so I siliconed the edges of the plexiglass and sandwiched the silicone as I screwed it down. What I didn't think about is that all of that sticky, nasty silicon has to go somewhere when I tighten it. I put too much on and it got everywhere. The clear plexiglass ended up getting covered in silicon. I cleaned it the best I could and I'm hoping it doesn't distort the visibility of the adafruit display. On the plus side, at least I know its waterproof.
    I decided to skip this step on my second box because it was going to be in the garage anyway.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    If you do this, make sure you measure a lot! Take your time. The nuts and bolts I purchased were about 1 1/4" long. That gave me enough length to secure the plexiglass to the box cover and the length I needed to mount the displays to the nuts on the inside. Ill take more photos of this later.

    All the connections have been talked about in other threads but not with Chris' new all in one boards. These new boards have the power supply and evse on one board instead of two.
    Here is how you wire up the evse.
    [​IMG]


    For the GFCI ring I was at a loss because the rings I ordered only had bare wires, no connector. So I used the 4th ribbon harness and used the plastic connector and soldered it to the ring. Its a 4 pin connector but thats ok.
    [​IMG]


    Here is the evse with one board, still waiting on the second one from Chris.
    [​IMG]



    Almost finished:
    Aurora St:
    [​IMG]




    For more photos go to my page on photobucket
    OPENEVSE Build pictures by jimbo69ny - Photobucket
     
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  4. Chris_SoCal

    Chris_SoCal Junior Member

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    Nice work!

    Thanks for all of the detailed instructions and links.

    You should mention this in your rental add, you never know if a Volt or Prius or Leaf person might be looking at your rental...
     
  5. John H

    John H Senior Member

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    If you add a small, 12V, solar panel at the charging station (the openEVSE needs 12v :) ) you could apply for a 30% federal tax credit for the entire system :)
     
  6. Jimbo69ny

    Jimbo69ny Active Member

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    They are rental properties though. That disqualifies me for all of the solar and alternative energy programs. It needs to be your primary residence. They usually specifically say no rental properties. Its unfortunate, I really want to do all of that to my properties. At least everything I buy is a deduction.
     
  7. priuskitty

    priuskitty PIP FAN

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  8. Jimbo69ny

    Jimbo69ny Active Member

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    Yeah I definitely will be doing that. How cool would it be to live in a place that allows you to fuel your car for free? It could potentially give me some long lasting tenants.
     
  9. John H

    John H Senior Member

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    business entities can get the 30% federal tax credit. are your rental properties under their own entity?
     
  10. Jimbo69ny

    Jimbo69ny Active Member

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    Probably for their ONE location, for their office and thats it. I have looked into this before and rental properties are excluded.
     
  11. John H

    John H Senior Member

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    Since you put these on your seperate meter, I would claim that they are part of your "office". I realize the credit might only be a few hundred dollars but a dollar saved on taxes is two dollars earned.
     
  12. Jimbo69ny

    Jimbo69ny Active Member

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    But they arent and that would mean I would be lying. Not something I want to do on an irs tax return.
     
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  13. John H

    John H Senior Member

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    You do regular maintenance and have your own facilities at each of these rental properties so it would not be "lying". Property maintenance companies often have offices at each of the buildings they maintain. An email to the IRS help desk might be worthwhile. What's the worst that can happen from asking, a "No"? Hopefully, not likely, they will respond with an explaination.
     
  14. Jimbo69ny

    Jimbo69ny Active Member

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    Its not worth it. I also doubt they would give me any credit for a home made system. Im only going to be out around $1300 and I wrote off all of the components. I am happy with that.
     
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  15. John H

    John H Senior Member

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    You can get credit for a home made system, solar ethusiasts do it all the time, they just keep their receipts for the materials they purchased. They don't claim their own labor, but they don't report their labor as income either. Even if you claim the tax credits you still get to write off all the components, but only the amount after you deduct the tax credit. ie. $1300 - $390 (tax credit) = $910 (write off).
     
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  16. mitch672

    mitch672 Technology Geek

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    Looking good Jim, one thing you need to do is get some of the AdaFruit momentary push button switches, they have them with different color LEDs, and they are waterproof. You connect the N.O. contact to the "Select" switch input on the AdaFruit RGB LCD PCB, that's how you get into the menu system to change max current, and other options. Also I don't bother installing any of the switches on that board any longer, it's a waste of time... I also now mount the contrast adjuster on the rear, makes it actually possible to adjust once the LCD is mounted to your enclosure. :)

    P.S. on the 75A OpenEVSE I am now building, I am not even fusing the primary, I am just fusing the contractors 240V coil and the input to the 12VDC power supply... Have to trust the 100A circuit breaker for the main protection.

    AdaFruit waterproof momentary contact LED light up switches:
    Waterproof Metal Pushbutton with Green LED Ring [16mm Green Momentary] ID: 560 - $5.95 : Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits

    I am partial to the green, they come in red and blue as well

    Mitch
     
  17. Jimbo69ny

    Jimbo69ny Active Member

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    Good to know! I wish I realized all of that a week ago. I have seen photos of someone elses EVSE that had a nice chrome button that had a blue glowing ring. Looked pretty neat. In order for me to access the select button I will have to take the cover off and slide out the adafruit. Its not that bad but regardless I wont ever be changing it anyway. If I ever build another one I will definitely keep your suggestions in mind. I never even thought to put the contrast adjustor and select button on the back side of the unit.

    I went back and forth on the fuses/fuse holders a lot. They take up a lot of space and they add to the cost. I would've liked to have left them out but I didnt know how unsafe it would be without them. What type of fuse holder are you using for the small leads to the power supply? What gauge wires did you use inside your newest evse?
     
  18. mitch672

    mitch672 Technology Geek

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    The fuse holders are just for 3AG low amperage fuses, one set does the .15A draw for the 12VDC power supply, a 2nd set is used on the main 75A contractors coil, it can draw 2-3amps, havn't measured it yet. The low power AC is using 18AWG, but the 75A ITT cable comes with 6AWG for the 2 hots and an 8AWG ground conductor. The input side to the contactor from the 100A breaker is 3AWG copper (to minimize voltage drop/waste power), 4AWG would have been plenty large (1.20/ft), but the #3 was actually less money per foot (.75/ft) from the supplier, see link:
    600 Volt THHN
     
  19. Jimbo69ny

    Jimbo69ny Active Member

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    I just ordered 2 - j1772 plugs. I will need 4 eventually but I didn’t want to pony up the whole $575ish right now.

    Chris has been working on a new openevse board that should be ready very soon. He said testing has been going great. The new board will have the capability of charging two cars at the same time and it has a built in power supply. I believe it will also have the ability to monitor amperage needs and send more to one car if the second is charging at a slower rate. I saw a thread that he posted a while back when he first started messing around with the idea.

    Regardless, Im looking forward to getting it all put together!
     
  20. What a great Landlord! I'm moving to Ithaca!
     
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