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PSA: On CCS1/SAE Combo DC chargers, best to stop the charger BEFORE attempting to unplug

8306 Views 38 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Sean Nelson
This only applies to DC charging over SAE Combo/CCS1/Combo1, NOT AC charging over J1772. Unless you KNOW the DC charger will EASILY (w/o excessive force, possibly flexing or breaking the locking tang on the handle), it it BEST to STOP charging BEFORE attempting to unplug a vehicle that is actively DC charging.

Possible methods to STOP first:
  • stop button on charger (not the handle)
  • stop button/action in charging network's app
  • stop button on the car's LCD (you may want to wake the car's or stereo's power button)
  • swiping your RFID card/NFC again (necessary on units like the ChargePoint CPE100 (https://www.chargepoint.com/files/install/install_guide_cpe100.pdf) which don't have touch screens or physical stop buttons beyond emergency stop)
  • last resort: emergency stop button, if any

See Experience with Electrify America, as to why. If you don't, you may break the locking tang on the handle and you might even cause massive arcing if charging hasn't stopped when you pulled out. Or, the broken tang can be a hazard for the next user OR, the handle might be rendered unsuable until it's repaired.

There's been discussion of this before. Examples at Fast charger locked to my car and My Experience DC Charging overnight at hotel. There seems to be confusion, which is no surprise given that it can be different than J1772 AC charging on GM and many other vehicles.
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Possible methods to STOP first:
  • stop button on charger (not the handle)
You can press the stop button on the handle, too. This will stop the charger and unlock the handle. But it would be prudent to verify that the charger has stopped before you try to pull the handle out of the charge port - you can tell by looking at the charging light in the middle of the dash.
See post 3.
I don't see how that contradicts anything I said...?
I've encountered the above when DC FCing my Bolt. On those, it doesn't seem like you can't stop it via the handle. You can feel flexing and might even hear the microswitch in the handle click but it doesn't stop.
Sure, but the "stop" button on the charger itself could be inoperable too. That doesn't mean that you don't tell people that it's a valid way to stop the charger. The plug button is supposed to stop the charger, the fact that some may not do it isn't a reason not to use it on the ones where it works. The only caveat is that you don't try to pull the plug out of the port until you're sure the charger has actually stopped, the same caveat that you'd advise if the charger's actual "stop" button wasn't working or in fact if any of the other ways didn't work for some reason.

Such is my thought, anyway. 馃し鈥嶁檪锔
It isn't a valid way when it doesn't work and could result in breaking the tang on the handle, rendering that handle inoperative or dangerous for that person or the next.
You and I disagree here. In my opinion the most important piece of advice is to make sure the charger has stopped before you try to pull the plug out. Because there are reasons why it may not have stopped no matter which way you do it.

Perhaps the disconnect is the worry that someone will push the button and then immediately try to yank the plug out. Yeah, that could be bad, hence the advice to make sure the charger has stopped first. Push button, verify charging has stopped, then yank.

Again, I've pointed out so many instructions from both the car side and charger side telling people to stop DC FCing via other means. They don't talk about stopping via pressing the button on the handle.
They don't talk about stopping it via the car's menus either, but that doesn't mean it's not a valid way to stop the charging session.

Anyway, that's my several cent's worth.
What is the Emergency Stop Button ? Why shouldn't you use it?
Many DC Fast Chargers or their associated transformer lockers have an emergency stop button that's kind of like the emergency stop button on an escalator - it's there to kill the power if there's an emergency. It's hard for me to imagine an actual emergency that might require its use because of all the other safeguards built into the CCS charging standard, but if you see someone holding the charge cord handle and they're shaking violently then I suppose it would be the logical go-to.

The reason you shouldn't use it under non-emergency conditions is that tripping it will often lock out the power until a service technical comes to reset it. That makes the charger unavailable to everyone else.

My DCFC shutdown protocol is to press the charge cord handle button first 'cause that's the easiest thing to do. If that doesn't work, go to the controls on the charger (typically a touch screen button) and do it there. If that doesn't work, then the least convenient is to go into the car's infotainment system menus and cancel it there. I don't think I've ever had to resort to the latter.
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For CCS DC FCing, I would never press the button on the handle first since as I said, I've found numerous ones where it doesn't work or in one case, it required so much force and resulting clunky (for lack of better words), it didn't seem like an action they intended for people do to much.
When I want to stop charging I'm at the plug anyway, so pushing the button is easy to do. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. But it usually works.
FWIW, now that CCS Combo 1 Adapter is officially for sale Teslas in the US (the vehicle itself must also have the proper hardware), per CCS Adapter for North America, Tesla's car-side software says:
"CCS cable button not intended to stop charging
Use touchscreen or Mobile App to disconnect"
That's interesting. Does the bare Tesla supercharger connector lock into the charging port on a Tesla vehicle, and does it have an "unlock" button?
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