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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Disappointed with Siemens VersiCharge and Time Of Use (TOU) charging

Hi. I thought that I would put this review out here so that others have the opportunity to make an informed choice.

I picked up a plug-in 30 amp Siemens VersiCharge from Costco for about $480.


My intent was to take advantage of the Bolt's ability to do time of use (TOU) charging.
  • I signed up for the TOU pilot in Colorado with .08cents / kw between 9p -9a.
  • I installed a 100 amp subpanel in the garage
  • I installed wiring and outlet
  • I plugged in the VersiCharge.
And... if I only wanted to charge the Bolt, that would have been fine.

Here is the problem:

I used to have a previous car that was German. When asked if I liked it, I used to joke that if I drove my Porsche Cayenne like the German engineers intended, it was great. It seems that the Siemens VersiCharge has that same pedigree.

Programing the Bolt for home location, entering in my billing rates, and setting it up to only charge at the lowest rate time... The VersiCharge doesn't work reliably.

The VersiCharge expects the car to send a voltage that communicates to the VersiCharge that the plug has been attached to the car and that it is ready to receive power. However with the Bolt wanting to wait until 9pm, the VersiCharge thinks...

(!) F A U L T (!) ... it turn on the red halo light, goes into fault mode, and needs to be RESET MANUALLY.

Yes, there is a work-around, where I can program a time-delay on the VersiCharge, but that is a work-around that I feel that I should not have to do for such a well designed product. (The work-around makes up to an 8 hour delay)

Reading the fine print of the VersiCharge manual, it says:

Section 5: Troubleshooting
5.1 General Settings
Some of the errors that occur are not caused by the VersiCharge, but by the EV compatibility or by settings which are turned on in the EV itself. If the unit is going into fault, please check the settings in the EV to ensure that these are not causing the VersiCharge to stop charging. Many EVs have a setting for time of charge for example in which the user defines a preference of charging only in certain hours of the day/night. Settings such as these will override all commands within the VersiCharge for safety reasons and will thus stop charging your EV. Adjusting the settings in the car would be the suggested action to take in order to be compatible with the VersiCharge.
Like I said, do it THEIR way. And that just doesn't work for me.

I called the Siemens helpdesk on Friday afternoon, and was told that I would likely get a callback on Monday.

So, the solution is: Back to Costco it goes, thanks to their generous return policy. >:)

I called AeroVironment that same Friday. Their call center was 7x24. The person that answer the phone knew exactly what I was talking about and stated that their EVSE would work well with TOU billing / charging.

So, I've picked on up new-in-box on eBay, 32 amp, 25 foot cable plug-in for $487. Pretty well a wash from a cost perspective. (the AeroVironment rep stated when I called that the warranty is based on original sale date, so I have a bit of risk there).

I know that quite a few folks here have the Siemens VersiCharge. And I hope it works well for you.

If I wasn't planning to do TOU charging, I would be a happy VersiCharge owner as well. But no.
.
 
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Discussion Starter #2
As a follow-up to my above post:


1) Costco did accept the Siemens VersiCharge without a problem. Even gave me a cash refund.


2) The AeroVironment unit that I purchased (32 Amp Level 2 Plug-In EV Charging Station with 25 ft. Charge Cable) works great with TOU Charging.


3) I called AeroVironment and had them switch the warranty from the original purchaser over to me. They did so without hesitation, resulting in me having 2 years and 8 months on the warranty (instead of the three if I purchased it myself new).
 
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I have the Versicharge and a Bolt. Push the 2-4-6-8 button then plug it in. The car charges fine.

I don’t use any settings in the Bolt and just have it set to immediate charging. It always works (except when you don’t seat the charging cable in the car properly).
 

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Hmm, I've also got the Versicharge, and have my Bolt programmed to be fully charged by 7am. I plug in the charger in the evening, it charges for about 3 seconds to determine the capacity of the charger, and then goes idle for most of the night without problems. Never gotten a fault from delayed charging.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have the Versicharge and a Bolt. Push the 2-4-6-8 button then plug it in. The car charges fine.

I don’t use any settings in the Bolt and just have it set to immediate charging. It always works (except when you don’t seat the charging cable in the car properly).



OK, so you choose not to use the ability to program the rates into your Bolt. And you choose to manually induce a charging delay. You are not affected because you choose not to use the feature that I said does not work.


Like I said, the VersiCharge is a nice, weather resistant charger at a reasonable price that I thought would be a bargain. But I want to take advantage of the features that the car offers, and for the Bolt TOU charging, for me, it doesn't work.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hmm, I've also got the Versicharge, and have my Bolt programmed to be fully charged by 7am. I plug in the charger in the evening, it charges for about 3 seconds to determine the capacity of the charger, and then goes idle for most of the night without problems. Never gotten a fault from delayed charging.

That is delayed charging from the Bolt, but not TOU charging. That could be a work-around as well, but it fails with TOU.


I want the confidence that my car will charge, as it should, when it should, as I expect it to. I had the displeasure of going out a few mornings and finding the car had not charged.


As I said, may work well for many folks. Does not work with this feature. That's why I returned it. (… and would have rather that I did not have to.)
 

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It's not clear why you don't use the features built-in to the Bolt.
It does TOU charging all by itself, and works reliably with a dumb charger for hundreds less.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It's not clear why you don't use the features built-in to the Bolt.
It does TOU charging all by itself, and works reliably with a dumb charger for hundreds less.

If you are addressing this to me (the person that started this thread), then you may have not understood my intent. Let me ty to clarify:

I specifically WANT to use the features built into the Bolt, as it relates to TOU. I did enter all that info, and verified with Chevy that it was entered correctly.


The Bolt is not the problem. The Siemens VersiCharge was the problem. It would not negotiate correctly for TOU charging with the Bolt. Their manual (which I quoted) even says that it won't do it reliably... something that their sales / product page never mentions as a shortcoming.


That is why I returned the Siemens VersiChage and got an AV EVSE. Problem solved.


I'm putting this out there so that no one else needs to go through what I did to find this out... or if they do, that they have verification that it's not them, or their Bolt.
 

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I have a versicharge and use the TOU programmed into the Bolt. Twice now the versicharge has tripped out for ground fault and required a reset by power cycling the 40 amp circuit breaker... but it’s worked great the vast majority of times...
 

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I have a Versicharge, but never use it's built in delay function. My Bolt is programmed to charge at some point in the night. I don't know if it is power surges or power flashing off, but about once every week or two, the charger greets me in the morning with a red halo ground fault. Power cycling the breaker for that circuit resets it. I contacted Siemens earlier this week and got a the idoit's guide to resetting the device. That does not address or solve my problem... intermittent ground fault preventing the unit from charging. I replied to their email saying that wasn't it and I needed more help, haven't heard back from them.

Anyone know a solution?
 

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No solution. I have not experienced any of the issues others have reported with my Siemens Versicharge. The 2/4/6/8 delay works like you would think. Setting the departure time in the Bolt has worked every time. I have not seen the red halo. I have had my Versicharge since December. I have over 10K miles on the bolt, 99.9% charged via the Versicharge from my house.

I agree, something is not happy with the Versicharge/wiring/something in your setup.

It has been a while since I read the install guide, but there are some dip switches in the Versicharge. I did not need to change any of the switches on mine, it was set to 32A out of the box. I do not remember what if anything the other dip switches do.
 

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No solution. I have not experienced any of the issues others have reported with my Siemens Versicharge. The 2/4/6/8 delay works like you would think. Setting the departure time in the Bolt has worked every time. I have not seen the red halo. I have had my Versicharge since December. I have over 10K miles on the bolt, 99.9% charged via the Versicharge from my house.

I agree, something is not happy with the Versicharge/wiring/something in your setup.

It has been a while since I read the install guide, but there are some dip switches in the Versicharge. I did not need to change any of the switches on mine, it was set to 32A out of the box. I do not remember what if anything the other dip switches do.

I don't recall the DIP switches you reference, but the maximum current selection switch is a rotating type with settings for "100%", "75%", "50%", and "25%". This switch sets the advertised maximum current draw sent to the vehicle via the pilot signal. Default is "100%", which is 30A for the Versacharge.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Anyone know a solution?
The dip switches wont address this, and you wiring is not a problem.... There is no solution. There are work arounds. That is why I posted this thread.

The detailed documentation provided with the Versacharge specifically says (way in the back of the document, it's in there) that it will NOT work with time of use / delayed charging managed from the vehicle.

Even if you call them, they (the support org) are unaware of this limitation. They will be happy to take you through a validation of your install, and explain how to reset it. Finally, they will suggest that you use the delay that is built into the VersaCharge. Which works. But I want the Bolt to do this.

You are getting a fault because the VersaCharge WANTS to provide power, but the Bolt is refusing it (intentionally). The VersaCharge reacts to this as a fault (red halo).

As @millerwb stated: "I have not experienced any of the issues others have reported with my Siemens Versicharge. The 2/4/6/8 delay works like you would think. "... but that is because he is using the delay button on the VersiCharge, rather than the time of use solution managed by the Bolt power interface.

Don't get me wrong: In many ways, the VersaCharge is a great unit. Well engineered and built, able to handle weather outside, likely could be great for being installed in a parking lot.

But it's not for those folks that want to save a buck or two by charging when it's cheaper AND want the Bolt to manage that interaction.

I bought may car because it's remarkably intelligent (and will save a a ton of money over time) . The VersaCharge is not ready to have that intelligent conversation. If that bothers you (like it did me), take it back before it's too late to do so.


Or push the delay buttons on the VersaCharge.


.
 
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- I took another look at the manual. It does not have switches, it has a dial. The switches I was thinking of was from my wall mount water heater. My water heater decided to fail at the same time I was installing the wiring for the versicharge.
- I do use the departure time setting on the Bolt. When I plug in, the versicharge turns on for approximately 5 seconds, then it turns off. I am assuming the Bolt is managing the timing. At some time during the night, the Bolt / versicharge begin charging so that charging completes by my desired departure time.
- I do not see anything buried in the back of the manual.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
- I do not see anything buried in the back of the manual.
Let me help you with that. I posted this earlier in this thread. This is from the Siemens VersiCharge documentation, troubleshooting section, section 5.1 of the documentation:

Some of the errors that occur are not caused by the VersiCharge, but by the EV compatibility or by settings which are turned on in the EV itself. If the unit is going into fault, please check the settings in the EV to ensure that these are not causing the VersiCharge to stop charging. Many EVs have a setting for time of charge for example in which the user defines a preference of charging only in certain hours of the day/night. Settings such as these will override all commands within the VersiCharge for safety reasons and will thus stop charging your EV. Adjusting the settings in the car would be the suggested action to take in order to be compatible with the VersiCharge.
- I do use the departure time setting on the Bolt. When I plug in, the versicharge turns on for approximately 5 seconds, then it turns off. I am assuming the Bolt is managing the timing. At some time during the night, the Bolt / versicharge begin charging so that charging completes by my desired departure time.
Time of Departure is not the same as Time of Use.

As you said earlier, you use the delay button on the VersiCharge. As a result, with Time of Departure, the Bolt (at some time of the night) becomes ready to accept a charge. Then the VersiCharge counts down the delay and begins charging for you. Great. Glad that works.

However, the Bolt Time of Use initiates the request for charge later at night, which the VersiCharge cannot handle. VersiCharge wants to be the boss.

With my current EVSU, in the Bolt Power UI, I have programed my home location, set up time of use. When I get home, I plug the car in, and that's all that has to be done. The Bolt manages everything.

.
 

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Just adding a data point. I bought my Versicharge EVSE before seeing this thread. I decided to give ToU a try anyway, so I set everything up in the Bolt, our ToU is kind of complex so that took awhile but I had it all in there, and plugged in. Saw there was no green light in the Bolt an hour or so later, and the EVSE was red, with a fault, and 4 was lit up.

I unplugged, cleared the fault, and put the bolt on departure instead of ToU, so it would charge up such that it's hitting full (well, with hilltop on) at 8am. That worked great.

So just basically backing up zebraitis's OP, ToU does not work so do not expect that feature if you buy this evse. Luckily for me, the departure feature, assuming it consistently works (I have one data point so far), is sufficient. Still a bit disappointing, assuming ToU is possible on other units.
 

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Have no fear, the depature timer on the Bolt will trip out the Versicharge just like the TOU timer does. I've been doing some work on my mother's house this week and haven't had time to play with the versicharge... I've ordered a Smart EVSE from netherlands and will swap the guts of the versicharge this weekend. FWIW, I joine a nissan leaf forum on facebook and asked around about Leaf's delayed charging and the Versicharge and no one reports the fault. Siemens tech support said it's a problem with GM only.... lotta good that does me.
 

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Have no fear, the depature timer on the Bolt will trip out the Versicharge just like the TOU timer does. I've been doing some work on my mother's house this week and haven't had time to play with the versicharge... I've ordered a Smart EVSE from netherlands and will swap the guts of the versicharge this weekend. FWIW, I joine a nissan leaf forum on facebook and asked around about Leaf's delayed charging and the Versicharge and no one reports the fault. Siemens tech support said it's a problem with GM only.... lotta good that does me.

I also noted that one of the Dutch Smart EVSE modes can charge at 32A, instead of the Versicharge's native 30A, for an additional ~480W. That's another couple of miles per hour of charge. I may pull the trigger on a Smart EVSE myself. I actually enjoy mucking about in places I'm not supposed to be, and I've got a brand new Versicharge in its box waiting to be dissected. I may be retired, but I'm a recovering EE. Even teaching HS Physics for 20 years didn't remove the bug. To paraphrase an old saying: You can take the boy out of Engineering, but you'll never take Engineering out of the boy.
 

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I also noted that one of the Dutch Smart EVSE modes can charge at 32A, instead of the Versicharge's native 30A, for an additional ~480W. That's another couple of miles per hour of charge. I may pull the trigger on a Smart EVSE myself. I actually enjoy mucking about in places I'm not supposed to be, and I've got a brand new Versicharge in its box waiting to be dissected. I may be retired, but I'm a recovering EE. Even teaching HS Physics for 20 years didn't remove the bug. To paraphrase an old saying: You can take the boy out of Engineering, but you'll never take Engineering out of the boy.
The Smart EVSE will go higher than 32amps.... it's just a software setting for the duty cycle of the pilot signal. Your limit will be the car's charger at 32amps and the contactor (re)used from the versicharge. I'll try to get on this project this morning.
 
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