Chargemaster Charge installation part 1

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Well today was meant to be the day that Chargemaster installed my 32amp type-2 socketed charger in my garage. However as with all the best laid plans it didn’t happen. It turns out not only is my consumer unit (fusebox to the rest of us) in a awkward place, but it also has no spare ports. Therefore I will require an electrician to come and install a second consumer unit so that the Chargemaster guy can come back and run a big fat cable (32amp) from this new consumer unit to the garage (quite a long way away) and put the charger on the wall there. The Chargemaster guy could not do this as he is not allowed to pull the main fuse (big black thing below the meter) you have to be an electrician or power distributor to do this, and the previous installer did not fit a circuit breaker to isolate the wires to the consumer unit so that they can be split to feed a second one.

This throws up another quandary in that the wiring in my garage (not done by me of course… I’ve only been here for 6 months) is not exactly up to building regulations. So I could ask the electrician to run a really big cable (60amps or thereabouts) from my meter to the garage where it would terminate at a newly installed garage fusebox. Then rewire the garage sockets with a proper ring main, and then connect the charger to this new box.

So as with many similar things the “free” charger will not turn out to be entirely free. I might end up with a much better wired garage for my time and money however, and this is no bad thing, but I’ve been successfully charging the car using the supplied EVSE via a regular three pin plug for the last two months and have had no issues – no RCD tripped, no fuse blew, no cable heated up, nothing caught fire. I suspect electrical safety regulations regarding ring mains (or lack of them), cable sizes and spurs are, in the UK (or perhaps Europe) at least, a little overly-cautious.

More on this problem with some eye-relieving pictures of electrical things, to follow.

 

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charger thermometer voltmeter thingy

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Okay so quick update, I was waiting on one of these things:

$_1And it has arrived from China. Basically you shove it in your cigarette lighter socket and it cycles between showing your current battery voltage (this would be your car battery on an ICE car or the auxiliary battery on the Leaf) and the inside temperature which it cunningly measures with the little probe sticking out of it so it gets a more accurate reading. It also contains a 2A USB phone charger which actually charges at 2A. I know this because normally my phone, a Samsung Note 2, when on the charger actually discharges with googlemaps on. With this gadget it charges slowly.

The temperature and voltage measurement seems quite reliable (yet to be verified with a proper voltmeter) and its fairly well made for a £5 gadget. So basically I am impressed by the range of useful things this gadget does and the very low cost of it.

My lithium auxiliary battery does not exceed 14.4v so I am now not really concerned that it will come to any harm being used in the Leaf.