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2011 - Dead Battery Charger

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:33 am
by JonoNZ
Hi all,

Went to drive my 2011 Leaf to work and noticed a weird smell in the cabin. Tried driving it but the EV warning light was on and it was in limp mode. Opened Leaf Spy and it showed 67% charged instead of the 80% it should have been. Checked the EVSE and it had no power due to the RCBO (residual current protection and over-current circuit breaker combination) for the charger circuit being tripped. Tried to reset it and the power came on but no luck getting the car to charge. Pulled the DTCs with Leaf Spy and found the following:
P3196 00C0 - EV/HEV CAN Error EVC-274
U1000 00C0 - EV/HEV CAN Comm Circuit
U1000 000E - HV Battery CAN Comm Circuit
P3196 000E - HV Battery CAN Error EVB-99

Took a look at the service manual and it basically says 'replace on-board charger'. Given the particularly epic smell of burning, I pulled the charger out after work and it's absolutely toast. The big electrolytic cap in the box had vented, a film cap had completely melted/burned up and there was black soot all over the bottom of the control board.

So, I'm in the process of trying to source a replacement on-board charger (part numer 296A0-3NA3A). Current situation is that there is only one that I've found available from a wrecked 2011 about an hour away for NZ$1600+GST which is about US$1300. Alternatively, I can see a couple of ebay or a couple of other online auto-parts stores with slightly different part numbers (-3NA2A or -3NA8A) for around the US$1000-1200 mark new. For reference, a 2nd hand

I saw another thread discussing the Brusa charger upgrade option and mentioning that the OBC units could be had from wreckers for a few hundred US$ which would be brilliant, assuming I could find one and get it shipped somehow.

Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions or knows of a 2011 Leaf being parted out anywhere?

For reference (in case anyone is interested) the car is a Japanese import currently living in Auckland, New Zealand. It has 52,000km (about 30,000 miles) on the clock and was imported a year ago at 39,000 kms. SOH was about 82% when I imported it and was about 78% on last check a few weeks ago. Never quick charged while I've had it, always charged using the supplied Nissan EVSE at home from a 240V/16A socket or very occasionally a ChargeAmps Spark cable to charge off a 240V/10A socket at work.

Album of the damage.
http://imgur.com/a/nTeO4

Image

Re: 2011 - Dead Battery Charger

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:25 am
by alozzy
That sucks! Feel bad for you.

I suppose you've already phoned all the NZ Nissan dealerships?

http://www.nissan.co.nz/find-a-dealer

Doesn't help that Nissan pulled the plug on selling the Leaf in NZ.

Wishing you good luck.

Re: 2011 - Dead Battery Charger

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:01 am
by JonoNZ
To be honest, I hadn't even thought to try the dealerships, I just assumed they would be a lost cause given how the whole Leaf scenario went down here and that it's an import.

Doesn't hurt to try so I'll see if they can provide something.

Re: 2011 - Dead Battery Charger

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:36 am
by JimSouCal
Your skill at removal suggests that putting in a "wrecked" secondhand OBC is indeed a course of action... Sorry it happened... As I have a 2011 that is kind of the nightmare scenario. One is left to wonder if it was a power surge or basic component failure that let to both capacitors toasting... I have smelled a capacity failing on a large HMI ballast, and it's pretty smelly...

Sorry for your hassle, but again, you seem to be better equipped to solve the issue than most of us...

Re: 2011 - Dead Battery Charger

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:35 am
by JonoNZ
Thanks for the kind words! I'm a power electronics engineer, so naturally my first thought was 'I'll just fix whatever is wrong with it'. It is probably the single most complicated AC/DC converter that I've ever seen. I'd still be tempted to try some repair work on it, but realistically I would need a working unit to start with and at that point I'm probably not motivated enough to try a repair!

No need to be sorry, I bought the car knowing that there would be no local support for the HV side at all and that anything major would likely either scrap the car or need a donor part from another wrecked car. I'm still 100% behind the Leaf and grumpy that I'm having to drive our second car (a Mazda 3 which I'm starting to hate). It's just a pity that Nissan NZ has been so short sighted with respect to providing access and support to them.

Separate to sourcing a replacement unit, I'm planning to take a shot at sketching out a schematic of the power side and trying to clean up and see if I can get the controller board talking to the car again. At least that will let me get out of limp mode and give me the option to try charging it via the quick-charge port.

Edit:
Yeah, the capacitor toasting smell is definitely one you don't forget in a hurry. I had my suspicions as soon as I got into the car and smelled it, but I was thinking it would likely be one that had gone on the 12V side.

I've checked my house energy monitoring system and it doesn't appear that there was anything untoward going on at the point of failure (2:30am). About 3.6kW was being pulled out of the wall and if there was any higher current surge then it's faster than the ~5s data shows. I didn't think to check the incoming voltage log but I'll do that tonight to make sure. Nothing else appears damaged or has turned off. From an initial look, it's tough to tell whether it was caused by a single component failure or not. It could have been the capacitor slowly going high impedance until the ripple current toasted both it and the film capacitor. It could have been something that caused a persistent over-voltage until something leaked enough current to earth. Really tough to tell, unfortunately.

On the plus side, this replacement isn't actually all that difficult. The only issue is parts availability. Here in NZ, it's pretty standard for new parts to be prohibitively expensive or not available at all so wrecked parts are by far the best bet. I think I'm just a bit ahead of the curve for wide availability. Buying a wrecked vehicle and parting it out would be an option as well, but I'm not sure I'm quite there yet.

Re: 2011 - Dead Battery Charger

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:55 pm
by JonoNZ
After being out of the country for a couple of weeks and not really being able to come to any specific conclusions, it looks like the options for replacing my -3NA3A charger are:

-3NA0A charger out of a wrecked Leaf locally for about US$1500, unknown mfr date
-3NA3A charger used off ebay, US$750 + unknown shipping, mfr 2011.11.26
-3NA0A charger used off ebay, US$1000 + $23 shipping which seems unlikely, mfr 2011.01.17
-3NA1A charger new off ebay, US$800 + $500 shipping, mfr 2011.05.26
-3NA2A charger new off ebay, US$850 + $165 shipping, mfr 2011.09.08

On the positive side, it looks like the US Leafs have the same chargers (so far my 2 data points are a 0A and 3A out of the wrecked one and my one, respectively). Not too surprising given they were all assembled in Japan for G1 but still worthwhile knowing.

The thing I'm still not clear on is whether there is likely to be any important differences between the units. The connectors all look identical from the photos, the input and output specs are unlikely to have changed, so the main thing would be if any of the CAN messaging was different. That doesn't seem particularly likely to me, but it's still probably safest to go for the matching suffix, if possible, especially considering it looks like it will be cheaper than the local option.

I vaguely remember reading that there was a recall related to the chargers at some point, anyone have any more specific details?

Re: 2011 - Dead Battery Charger

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:16 pm
by LeftieBiker
I think the recall you mean was for the Power Distribution Module, and was something to do with it shutting down in hot weather. I don't have the recall info.

Re: 2011 - Dead Battery Charger

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:40 pm
by readonly
JonoNZ,

Here is a leaf oem charger in Houston, Texas
https://houston.craigslist.org/pts/6001985768.html

This should fit you really well.

Good luck

Re: 2011 - Dead Battery Charger

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:44 pm
by JonoNZ
LeftieBiker: Ah, interesting. In that case, nothing specific to worry about.

readonly: Thanks for spotting that! I'm hoping to grab one that's the same model as mine (-3NA3A) but at that price, I'd probably buy one just to have a mule to play with and compare against my dead one. I'll drop them a line and see if they're willing to ship to NZ. Hopefully it won't end up being too much with shipping added.

Re: 2011 - Dead Battery Charger

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:26 pm
by sub3marathonman
JonoNZ wrote:
I vaguely remember reading that there was a recall related to the chargers at some point, anyone have any more specific details?
My understanding of the recall was that it was due to a problem with restarting protocol after a power outage. Nissan essentially blamed GE and their WattStations (which of course was the one I had), GE said their EVSE followed the protocol, and I was left concluding that it was Nissan who didn't do things properly. There was then a firmware upgrade, somebody should know the code for it.

So it might be due to the fact that the onboard charger never had this upgrade, and there was even just a brief power outage, not a power surge.

I would also worry if another one was sourced that it would have this upgrade. Is it possible that the later models are simply ones that have this firmware change already programmed in? If so, then I'd search for as new a unit as I could get.
JonoNZ wrote: It is probably the single most complicated AC/DC converter that I've ever seen.
I had a 1997 S10-EV, from GM, the same drivetrain as the EV1s that were crushed, and the electronics in it were supposed to be unearthly complicated. I never could even find out if it worked, as I couldn't get the batteries, which were a special shape. I'd have had to order $100K worth from Japan, which were nowhere near the quality of the originals just the same shape, and just couldn't justify it.