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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So there's a free public L2 charger a block from my work where I do most of my charging.

Our local city owned power company (LADWP) installed a bunch of these last year. Most of them were damaged or destroyed by vandals (typically cutting off the J1772 connector) within a few months of installation but this one has been relatively unmolested and gets used quite a bit by regulars such as myself as well as random people you may only see once.

Over time it's getting pretty worse for wear. First the holster (for lack of a better term) where the J1772 plug is stored when it's not in use broke off, I ended up buying a generic one on Amazon and attached directly to the telephone pole.

The bigger problem is when the charger was installed LADWP also mounted a spring loaded cord retractor that lifted the cord and connector to make sure it never touched the ground. The issue with that was it had quite a lot of spring force and pulled up on the J1772 connector very strongly when it was connected to a car. Here is a picture of how it looked when it was in use when the charger was new:


Well eventually the charger stopped working reliably (would not start to charge) with the cord being pulled up by the retractor. I was able to work around this issue by disconnecting the retractor entirely and mounting a hose reel on the pole to store the cord when not in use (keep it off the ground) but lately even that doesn't help, the charger is getting harder and harder to activate and you have to pull down on the cord just so as you plug the J1772 connector in or the charge will never start. Earlier this week I started a charge and when I came back a couple hours later expecting the battery to be ~80% I found that the charge had stopped, presumably because a large truck drove by and moved the car enough to interrupt the connection and stop the charge.

Now I could call LADWP and report the finicky charger, but based on their track record it will take them several months to do anything and they are more likely to just disconnect the charger entirely than to fix it so I'd rather not get them involved if I have any other choice.

I'm virtually certain that the root cause of the issue is one of the signal or ground wires (pins 3, 4 or 5) wires in the charge cable is no longer securely crimped to the J1772 connector, I think being pulled up by the cord retractor put a lot of strain on the connector/cable that it wasn't designed for and one of the cables eventually partially pulled itself loose. If so the "fix" would be as simple as tightening the crimp with some needle nose pliers. I'm extremely confident in my ability to perform this type of repair.

Of course the rub is that I have no way of shutting off power to the EVSE. Even if I brought a ladder to climb the pole the disconnect breaker is behind a tamper seal.

Now based on my understanding of the J1772 protocol there shouldn't be any dangerous voltage inside the connector even if it's powered on as long it's not actively charging because the EVSE doesn't send 220V power down pins 1 & 2 until it handshakes with the onboard charger in the car (this is the part that's not happening now).

I feel like fixing this falls under "don't try this at home folks" (it it matters, I won't be at home ;)). Definitely not something that's recommended but it seems totally doable without exposing myself to any high voltage.

FTR I have not worked on a J1772 connector before but I have a good amount of experience working on live high voltage equipment including 440V/4000A circuit breakers and numerous 440V motor controllers.

Of course I'd bring a multi meter and check every pin before I touched anything.

What to the knowledgeable people here think about my maybe not insane plan?
 

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I think you are fairly safe opening the J-1772 connector. The standard is such that you can't activate the power by just shorting or opening any of the pins. I would probably wear gloves for added safety and definitely use a voltmeter.
 

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It could be that the contact area of the pins is simply dirty or deformed. Also, watch out ground faults. Have you considered replacing the entire J1772 plug? I like the can-do attitude, even if it's a bit crazy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It could be that the contact area of the pins is simply dirty or deformed. Also, watch out ground faults. Have you considered replacing the entire J1772 plug? I like the can-do attitude, even if it's a bit crazy.
That's not a bad idea but it would be more than I want to spend. Spending $10 on a J1772 holster or $12 on a hose reel is one thing but J1772 plugs cost like $80 (which is actually much cheaper than it used to be).
 

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2022 Bolt EUV Nov build
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I would give LADWP an opportunity to fix it 1st. It sounds like LA is all over L2 charging.

I hope they would offer 25 or 50 cents an hour 3.3KW L2 charging... easier on the grid plus lets you charge the car overnight once or twice a week. 6.6KW charging is too fast and would fill a Bolt from empty in 9 hours... not enough time to sleep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would give LADWP an opportunity to fix it 1st. It sounds like LA is all over L2 charging.

I think the metric they care about (for grant money an so politicians can crow) is chargers installed. I just know what they have done when others of these (identical) chargers have been broken. Some of them have been broken for more than a year now and some were simply shut off rather than repaired. I know of none that have actually been repaired.

I hope they would offer 25 or 50 cents an hour 3.3KW L2 charging... easier on the grid plus lets you charge the car overnight once or twice a week. 6.6KW charging is too fast and would fill a Bolt from empty in 9 hours... not enough time to sleep.
Well the public L2 chargers that go in by apartments are the first to be vandalized/destroyed because the apartment dwellers blame the chargers for the inability to park in that spot (because the one "available" spot when they get home is in front of the charger). IMO the only reason this one is still operational (with issues) is because it's nowhere close to any apartment building (closest one is a half mile away) and almost everyone who uses it is either charging while they are at work in the area (like me) or charging while their kids are skating at the roller rink which this charger is literally right in front of. I do know of one person with a new (to them) older Model S who charges there. They actually drive to the charger in two cars, plug in the Tesla and then drive away in the 2nd car, presumably reversing the process later.
 
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