bobins wrote: ↑
10 Mar 2020, 14:12
Any ideas what knocks most of these chargers out ? Is it physical - cable broken, electronic - need to turn it off and turn it on again, or connectivity - lost the phone signal so can't charge you ?
All of the above and more...
Here are a few problems I've seen myself or seen reported:
1) Broken plugs - usually due to being dropped or left lying on the ground instead of being put back in the holder, but also wear and tear as on rapid chargers there are big heavy cables hanging from the plugs so lifetime of the plugs is limited in an abusive outdoor environment. (plugs/cables are a maintenance item)
2) The emergency stop button has been pressed by someone - either because they're too lazy to end the charge the right way or perhaps due to the machine not letting go of the plug when it should. Some can be reset yourself if you know the trick, some can't and need a callout.
3) Lost comms from charger to back end servers to authenticate customers - particularly problematic on devices where a smartphone app is the only way to start a charge. Most rapid chargers use an M2M 3G signal over a regular mobile network to communicate with the back end servers - this is problematic in areas like the highlands where mobile coverage is iffy.
4) RFID or contactless reader not working, for those that support this. Sometimes hard to tell this fault apart from (3) as the same fault can cause both symptoms.
5) User interface of the charger is not working - locked up, not responding, reporting an error etc. (Have had this happen to me)
6) A fault or design flaw in the high voltage electronics which can lead to failed charging, intermittent cutouts or difficulty starting a charge or compatibility issues with certain models of cars - Ecotricity is the worst offender here.
Unfortunately compared to pouring liquid down a tube, there are actually a lot of different failure modes in a rapid charger or any charger for that matter, one reason why there needs to be redundancy with multiple units available so that if one unit does have an issue there are always others available at the same location. Even petrol pumps aren't infallible - when I went to top the Xantia up not long ago an entire isle at the petrol station was coned off due to the pumps being down, but there were still other pumps available to use.
And that is the point - it doesn't matter if one rapid charger went down if there are 5 others right next to it.