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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased the OpenEVSE Advanced Series 40A charger with WiFi, in kit form. I'm used to tinkering with Arduino projects, so the build process didn't look too scary to me, and there was a bit of a discount for getting it as a kit instead of plug-n-play. So... Here is a link to a photo album with extensive comments, showing the parts, the finished build, and the installation. There are also pictures from OpenEVSE's data logging web site, where I can browse through my charging history, visualise it as various graphs, etc.


Here is a link to the OpenEVSE Build Guides:


And here's the review: so far I am very pleased with my purchase. It was fairly straightforward to build (and where I was at all confused, I received very prompt and helpful answers from the OpenEVSE tech team). So I would say customer support was a 10, documentation about an 8 (the guide could be made more friendly for first-time builders), product quality a 10. It worked the first time it was powered up.

Setting up the WiFi features was a little trickier than I had expected, but again the OpenEVSE tech team was supportive and so is the user community (there is a good forum). The biggest problem is that the various online guides are written to a moving target, so sometimes the instructions or screenshots don't match what you actually see on your screen. However, the moments of confusion were brief and I fairly soon got it configured. Once you are configured, logging data to OpenEVSE's servers is automatic, no thinking required. The bandwidth is minimal (just a few characters every N minutes).

Operation could not be simpler. You plug the car in. That's it.

Of course there is tweaking if you like that sort of thing: you can set various parameters (from the front panel via a single button and menus, or far more easily from a free app for iOS or Android). The app, running strictly on your local house WiFi (no need for external internet, unlike Chevy's silly app), allows you to start and stop charging, check telemetry (temps, voltages, currents), check for error conditions, etc, all from the comfort of your easy chair.

Moving to L2 from the 120v "big wall wart" charger Chevy provided with the car has been very pleasant. I'm guesstimating the charging speed is about 5x faster than it was on 120v. No idea why, but that seems to be the approximate improvement. I have set my max current to 40A on a 60A circuit, so I'm not pushing any limits as far as the house wiring.

Anyway, I have had this charger up and running now for over a month with zero issues. I'll check back in after a year and let y'all know if I'm still happy. For the present, I think I got a good deal and an educational kit-building experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well perhaps I posted this review too soon. Came back today to find my unit dead and dark after only 1 month of use and abut 6 charging cycles. I have a ticket open with OpenEVSE and will report back when I know what failed and how to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
UPDATE: OpenEVSE responded very quickly to my cry for help. Chris in customer support exchanged a few emails with me and we theorised that a series of ugly power hits may have taken out the voltage regulator. He said that out of thousands of units shipped, they had only one other sudden death in service, and that was a rural customer who (like me) suffers from frequent and nasty power events. So he sent me a new voltage regulator.

Installing the new part was a PITA because I had to take the hard-wired unit back off its wall mount and indoors to work on it. The de-install and re-install was way harder, and took way longer, than the actual part swap. I put it all back together and it booted up and runs perfectly. My wifi configuration was not lost because it is burned into nvram on the wifi card, so I was spared the challenge of remembering how to set it up (not a simple process) and only had to restore really basic settings like max current.

Everything working fine now. I give OpenEVSE top marks for customer support. Even though I had bought the unit months and months ago (didn't get around to installing it for a long time) and was theoretically out of warranty, there was no mention of payment. Now I have to think about how to protect the unit in future. For now, I'm throwing the 60amp breaker whenever a gale is forecast.
 

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UPDATE: OpenEVSE responded very quickly to my cry for help. Chris in customer support exchanged a few emails with me and we theorised that a series of ugly power hits may have taken out the voltage regulator. He said that out of thousands of units shipped, they had only one other sudden death in service, and that was a rural customer who (like me) suffers from frequent and nasty power events. So he sent me a new voltage regulator.

Installing the new part was a PITA because I had to take the hard-wired unit back off its wall mount and indoors to work on it. The de-install and re-install was way harder, and took way longer, than the actual part swap. I put it all back together and it booted up and runs perfectly. My wifi configuration was not lost because it is burned into nvram on the wifi card, so I was spared the challenge of remembering how to set it up (not a simple process) and only had to restore really basic settings like max current.

Everything working fine now. I give OpenEVSE top marks for customer support. Even though I had bought the unit months and months ago (didn't get around to installing it for a long time) and was theoretically out of warranty, there was no mention of payment. Now I have to think about how to protect the unit in future. For now, I'm throwing the 60amp breaker whenever a gale is forecast.
I put one of these in my main panel. It takes the space of two breakers, but provides two 20A breakers to replace them, as well as the clamping surge suppressor on both legs of the 240V feed. I installed mine at the feed end of my panel, so surges coming in on my main feeds theoretically encounter it first.


These types of devices come in a variety of styles and capacities. I chose this one because it was easy for me to install in my Siemens panel, the odds of lightning in coastal So. CA is far less than in the mid-west, and it provides a modicum of protection for the many thousands of dollars worth of equipment, appliances, solar and EVs in my home. I figured a hundred bucks was a good investment.

Do note that pretty much nothing will protect you from a direct strike on your house. A device like this might protect you from a strike on a power pole at a distance.
 
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