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V2G Charger Stopped Working - Reset RCD and now no mains power at all!

  • 21 October 2019
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V2G installed Friday.  Woke up this morning and saw an error on V2G app that said ‘Restore internet connection to continue charging” Went outside and saw box had no power. Opened meter cabinet and noticed RCD for the V2G had tripped so reset. Small ‘pop’ and now no house power, even meter display is off!

 

7am so no one answering calls at OVO, what do i do now?  

 

Ok 8am, called OVO and they have no contact numbers for Kaluza!  Why??  So I have been given a number for ChargedEV and asked to call them first!!

 

So call ChargedEV, they say I ned to call the dedicated V2G number, 0330 303 5063, and when I do I’m back to the OVO IVR again.

 

Not very happy 

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Best answer by DarrenG 21 October 2019, 11:50

Credit to the installer who dropped everything and came over to see what the issue was.  Transpires the 100A mains fuse has blown AND the MCB on the V2G circuit has melted!

 

Now to see why this has happened, looking at the Kaluza app my car only received 2.4kWh of charge so the V2G must have gone offline early hours and it was my resetting the MCB that presumably blew the mains fuse and let out the magic smoke in the MCB!

 

DNO now on route to resolve the mains fuse issue.  Can’t fault the installers but the system for getting help seems very poor, had this happened in the evening I would have had to wait until 9am before I could call Kaluza!

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Called OVO again, and after 10mins on hold whilst they do goodness knows what I’m told that I have to call Kaluza who open at 9am.  And guess what, they don’t have a number for them that I can have, only an internal number,  so how the **** am I supposed to call them??

 

I appreciate issues happen and we’re guinea pigs but surely a dedicated 24hrs line for V2G support is a must have, especially as I have NO mains at all and OVO deem this a Kaluza issue. And it probably is, but you can’t fob off customers like this.

 

In the end I called the installer direct on his mobile, he couldn’t have been more helpful and has now mobilised some support.

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O-er @DarrenG - that’s awful!

Firstly, what has happened to you sound very similar to what Piersjk wrote about last week on this other Topic. Don’t be surprised if the Moderators move your question across and merge the two Topics. That would very helpful… [hint @Tim_OVO ]

Secondly, I’m concerned that your attempt to restore power to the V2G Charger could remove power from the entire house. That suggests that a fault exists on the V2G charger side of the rcd which draws excess current, but that the mcb/rcd combination feeding it didn’t trip sufficiently fast. So instead, it has now blown/tripped something further back (perhaps the main 100A Service fuse?)

Can you please ensure we are kept informed here as the remedy is found?

If it does transpire to be the main Service Fuse, then this is actually the property of your Distributed Network Operator (DNO). You can contact them directly 24/7 by phoning 105. There’s also a comprehensive list of non-emergency numbers here on the SSE site.

 

 

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Credit to the installer who dropped everything and came over to see what the issue was.  Transpires the 100A mains fuse has blown AND the MCB on the V2G circuit has melted!

 

Now to see why this has happened, looking at the Kaluza app my car only received 2.4kWh of charge so the V2G must have gone offline early hours and it was my resetting the MCB that presumably blew the mains fuse and let out the magic smoke in the MCB!

 

DNO now on route to resolve the mains fuse issue.  Can’t fault the installers but the system for getting help seems very poor, had this happened in the evening I would have had to wait until 9am before I could call Kaluza!

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Thanks for the update @DarrenG. My experience of DNOs is that they are very helpful. They would prefer be called out instead of there being any possibility of a safety issue. So this is clearly the best course of action for you.

MCB’s should not, of course, melt!

But this is a fine example of why we are no longer permitted to have consumer units made out of plastic!

Do you have the same Chint rcd and Eaton mcb arrangement which Piersjk showed over here in a photo?

If possible, stick around as the DNO Engineer works on site. He/She will undoubtedly have to remove the feed to the V2G box containing your rcd/mcb, and these will have to be freshly installed by Kaluza. You may pick up all sorts of useful comment whilst the work is being done.

Do not allow the DNO to remove the frazzled mcb. It is important that Kaluza are able to investigate what has gone so seriously wrong.

I’m just tagging @Ollie_OVO and @Sean_OVO to alert them that this topic exists.

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DNO have now replaced mains fuse so power restored - hooray. The OVO Installer is here and a Kaluza manager now on route to inspect and try to ascertain why the MCB melted and mains fuse blew.

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That sounds like an excellent response @DarrenG.

Let’s keep an open mind here. There may have been more than one “fault”. And it’s not unknown for a mcb to have a manufacturing flaw.

In my years of installing surge-suppressors I’ve learned that some high-voltage pulsed transients (such as lightning) can have the effect of arc-welding the contacts of trips! Thus they fail to open to shut off the supply when too much current flows.

I now carefully plan the position of these suppressors and ensure that the cable-lengths are short-enough. There’s no point in quenching a transient spike in the charger if it’s already glued the mcb’s contacts together en-route!

 

Secondly, whilst you have the Kaluza Manager there, you might want to raise the subject of insurance. If the failure had gone further than a melted MCB, would your house insurance have covered it?

Or would it be excluded on the grounds that a Trial charger remained the responsibility of the Installer/Supplier?

If there’s a grey area I see no reason why OVO/Kaluza couldn’t investigate the possibility of an annual insurance contract to cover mains-connected Smart Devices. It would be another “product” which could be offered within their growing portfolio.

Please let the Manager know that we’ve been discussing these matters here so that he/she can see what the rest of the OVO Forum community are saying. Thanks.

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Sounds as though it could have been a real disaster!

Interesting to know what version of IET Regs your Consumer Unit was wired to; if the MCB was fed from an RCD I’m surprised that it didn’t trip before to main fuse blew, I’m unsure how quickly a main fuse blows but I’m sure and RCD would trip faster.  If you don’t have an RCB I suggest you get an electrician to update your CU.

I wonder, when you tried the MCB for the V2G, did you turn off all the other MCBs first?  If you didn’t that could have caused a bigger than ever surge which wouldn’t help the main fuse.

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My install was the same as that pictured here with the V2G running off a separate mini consumer unit in the meter cupboard. Didn’t occur to me to check the house CU, is that necessary given the V2G is running off its own tail from the meter?

 It was the RCD for the V2G that blew when reset and melted.  After replacing the damaged RCD and cabling the V2G unit errored on boot so it’s now isolated awaiting replacement and I’m back on the trusty Chargemaster Type2 which has been going 6 years now.

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Thanks for clarifications @DarrenG. The link to the photo should, I believe, have been this one.

Can you please confirm that it was the rcd which melted and not the 32A mcb, which you had indicated earlier?

Were they the same manufacturers as in the other photo?

(4-pole RCD by Chint, and the C32 mcb by Eaton)

@PeterR1947is an engineer and may have some valuable insights.

I don’t think he’s suggesting that there was anything wrong with your existing CU. But if the circuits it fed were already using significant current, then reconnecting the V2G charger would produce a surge which could have resulted in the 100A main fuse blowing.

It’s a valid point, and I believe a 100A “Service Fuse” should be able to withstand 50% over-capacity for as much as a quarter-second before it finally blows.

I’d also be interested to know anything you can tell us about the earthing arrangements at your house.

Do you have your own earth-stake, or is the earth provided via the mains incomer (a strategy called PME)?

Any chance of a photo?

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@DarrenG  Glad to see there’s a separate connection for the V2G, no need to check the CU then.  I’m still surprised the RCD didn’t trip before the main fuse blew but presumably Kaluza & Co will establish the reason for this as well as the reason for failure.

As @Transparent suggested, if there had been a large load on your CU the surge might have blown the main fuse but I think this is unlikely.  Just for the future, if your CU main RCD breaker does trip, it is best to turn off all MCBs, then reset the RCD, then turn the MCBs one at a time.

Looking forward to Kaluza’s Post Mortem.

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Thanks for clarifications@DarrenG. The link to the photo should, I believe, have been this one.

Apologies, not sure how I messed that link up!

Can you please confirm that it was the rcd which melted and not the 32A mcb, which you had indicated earlier?

Yes it was the RCD that melted

Were they the same manufacturers as in the other photo?

(4-pole RCD by Chint, and the C32 mcb by Eaton)

Yes the same

I don’t think he’s suggesting that there was anything wrong with your existing CU. But if the circuits it fed were already using significant current, then reconnecting the V2G charger would produce a surge which could have resulted in the 100A main fuse blowing.

There was almost no load at the time, I had only just got up, everyone else in bed and V2G had been offline since early hours as it had only put 2kWh into the car.

I’d also be interested to know anything you can tell us about the earthing arrangements at your house.

Do you have your own earth-stake, or is the earth provided via the mains incomer (a strategy called PME)?

 

Installers fitted a dedicated earth strake for the V2G.

 

 

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@DarrenG  Glad to see there’s a separate connection for the V2G, no need to check the CU then.  I’m still surprised the RCD didn’t trip before the main fuse blew but presumably Kaluza & Co will establish the reason for this as well as the reason for failure.

As@Transparent suggested, if there had been a large load on your CU the surge might have blown the main fuse but I think this is unlikely.  Just for the future, if your CU main RCD breaker does trip, it is best to turn off all MCBs, then reset the RCD, then turn the MCBs one at a time.

Looking forward to Kaluza’s Post Mortem.

Good to know, will do that if I ever face that situation - hopefully not!

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Ah… you’ve just made two important observations @DarrenG.

Firstly, if it’s the rcd which melted, then it’s unlikely that this was caused a current surge to the charger. The Chint rcd has a higher current rating than the 32A Eaton mcb.

Secondly, I’m intrigued that the Installers fitted an earth stake. The general rule is that either a house requires one or it does not. Earth stakes mustn’t be added to houses that don’t require them (the earth being provided via the substation transformer).

Did your house already have an earth stake? Or was it fed from a substation marked PME?

I have experienced a similar problem at another location where this “mistake” was made without consultation with the area DNO. Mild shocks were given to the house occupants. Unknown to them there was already an issue with the Neutral on the underground cable. The new earth stake enabled the house (and those beyond it) to “float” at around 80v.

These are errors unlikely to occur when local electricians are working. Not only do they already understand the power distribution within their area, but they will have a good working relationship with their DNO.

Out of area Installers don’t have the benefit of local knowledge.

Currents flowing through the earth are precisely what will cause an rcd to trip, and could, in the extreme, result in a failure of the internal current sensing system.

So in your case, that’s where I’d be starting the investigation.

Let me again tag @Ollie_OVO and @Sean_OVO to ensure that my Post is being seen by the appropriate team at Kaluza.

I have a number of possible solutions if this transpires to be a cause of your catastrophic failure. So let’s aim for positive resolutions rather than blame.

 

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I confess I have little experience or knowledge of mains wiring over and above the most basic of things!

 

Pre-install they wanted to know if the water and gas feeds were earth bonded, they were and I provided photos of the bonding locations but aside from that I do not know if an earth strake was already fitted. The house was built in 2000 if that helps?

 

Kaluza are now planning to return and swap out the V2G unit on Tuesday, I’ll ask re. the installed earth strake!

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I think the main benefit of having a Forum discussion is that we can pool our knowledge. That’s why I messaged @PeterR1947 to let him know this Topic was live.

If you look close to your Consumer Unit you should see at least one earth wire emerging. If one disappears into the block holding the Service Fuse, then that suggests your installation is PME (No earth stake required).

If you know where your substation is, it would have a PME label on its entrance. Any overhead cables would also have PME labels on the poles at head-height.

Failing that, I would expect an earth wire leading from your Consumer Unit to an earth stake close outside your house.

There is still a chance that there was nothing wrong with the charger and that all the damage has occurred as a result of incorrect earth design.

Let me just tag @Hari_OVO to check he’s reading this. Hari is the Product Manager for Storage Devices.

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@DarrenG  It’s a bit unclear but IET regulations, 18th Edition says:

What do the Wiring Regulations say?

When opened to public comment, the draft revisions for section 722 came under intense scrutiny from the industry. In the final published document, the option to use a protective multiple earthing (PME) facility was reduced. PME is the most common form of earthing provided in new electrical installations.

There are ways that PME can be used, but these are often difficult to achieve. Therefore, most installations will rely on separation of the earthing system and making the EV a TT system (using an electrode in the ground).

 

There are however many developments on the go such as different types of RCD, new designs of chargers that eliminate the necessity of an earth spike. My zappi (version 1) was fitted with an earth spike but I believe that version 2 doesn’t need one.

For those interested @Transparent there is more here https://electrical.theiet.org/media/1154/the-impact-of-the-18th-edition-sections-722-753-and-new-730.pdf

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Can we have a news update please @DarrenG ?

Do you now have a charger installed and is it operational?

What about the connection box with the RCD, 32A MCB and the earth stake? Has this been reinstated with a new RCD of the same type or has there been a change of strategy?

Are you now feeling confident about the installation?

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Re-Installation is booked in for tomorrow. Will let you know how it goes!

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New V2G unit installed this morning. When they attended to investigate the power outage last week they replaced the RCD and rejigged some of the wiring in the meter box and the isolator for the existing 32A charger so today’s work took less than an hour from start to finish as it was a simple box swap.

From what I overheard they seem too think the issues were due to the wiring into the RCD not having been done correctly, either not clamped down or even not in the clamp at all, just touching.

Anyway all working, earth strake still present. Only annoyance is my history in the app no longer shows the export from before the V2G popped its clogs.

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Hmm, been plugged in since 10am and only recorded 0.3kWh of export, that’s not right.  Before the first unit died on me I’d have exported at least 10kWh by now. Peak consumption period and V2G is sat at Idle :worried:

Ah… you’ve just made two important observations@DarrenG.

Firstly, if it’s the rcd which melted, then it’s unlikely that this was caused a current surge to the charger. The Chint rcd has a higher current rating than the 32A Eaton mcb.

Secondly, I’m intrigued that the Installers fitted an earth stake. The general rule is that either a house requires one or it does not. Earth stakes mustn’t be added to houses that don’t require them (the earth being provided via the substation transformer).

Did your house already have an earth stake? Or was it fed from a substation marked PME?

I have experienced a similar problem at another location where this “mistake” was made without consultation with the area DNO. Mild shocks were given to the house occupants. Unknown to them there was already an issue with the Neutral on the underground cable. The new earth stake enabled the house (and those beyond it) to “float” at around 80v.

These are errors unlikely to occur when local electricians are working. Not only do they already understand the power distribution within their area, but they will have a good working relationship with their DNO.

Out of area Installers don’t have the benefit of local knowledge.

Currents flowing through the earth are precisely what will cause an rcd to trip, and could, in the extreme, result in a failure of the internal current sensing system.

So in your case, that’s where I’d be starting the investigation.

Let me again tag@Ollie_OVO and@Sean_OVO to ensure that my Post is being seen by the appropriate team at Kaluza.

I have a number of possible solutions if this transpires to be a cause of your catastrophic failure. So let’s aim for positive resolutions rather than blame.

 

You’ve got me worried now. My V2G was installed this week and the first thing they did was install an earth stake...

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Well firstly, @colinthechemist you’re better off having an earth stake when you don’t need one, than not having one when you should!

Sometimes I can give a fairly accurate opinion on this, but it depends where you are in the country. Please fill out your Forum Profile because that’s where I look for such info!

 

Secondly, has your charger been installed with the same Chint rcd and 32A Eaton mcb arrangement which Piersjk showed over here in a photo?

 

And thirdly, did your house already have an earth stake?

If you don’t know, perhaps you could post here a photo of your Smart Meter with the adjacent 100A Service Fuse because that will give us a clue.

 

I have been assured that the relevant engineering teams are reading what we post here, and it is highly unlikely that they would continue installing chargers in such a way that another RCD melted. Indeed, it could even be the case that there wasn’t actually anything wrong with @DarrenG ‘s installation. There still remains the possibility of it being a faulty rcd itself, so let’s not jump to conclusions.

I’ll just tag @Darran_OVO here in case he wishes to add anything.

The beauty of airing these issues on an open forum is that we can pool our collective knowledge. So please tell us more about your particular installation and that will help to increase the knowledge-base available here. (And no need to use technical terms either. Plain English will suffice!)

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Just as an update to my comment about no export. Apparently I need a third visit as this issue is due to a problem with the CT Clamp not communicating with the unit.Third time lucky eh!

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You’re fast becoming a Forum Specialist on charger failures @DarrenG !

One’s level of expertise is directly proportional to the number of failures experienced :slight_smile:

And for the sake of those reading this with less technical knowledge, a CT Clamp is a “Current Transformer”. It’s a device for measuring the current flowing in a wire without interfering with the wire itself. It senses the current through the insulation using electro-magnetism, which induces a corresponding small current within coils embedded in the clamp.

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OVO engineer attended today and moved the CT Clamp.  Apparently t had been incorrectly fitted on an output tail from the meter rather than the input. Odd as it was like that when the first install was done and export worked ok then

Now the bl**dy V2G unit is insisting on boost charging my car which was already at 75% when I plugged in. If I attempt to stop the Boost it immediately restarts, almost as if the clock in wrong and it thinks it's 1.30am.

Surely it should not have been charging my car at 1.30 in the afternoon?

Just rechecked now and 30mins later it has stopped charging at 80%. App still set with 25% min charge level and no schedules configured.

Aarrrgghhhh!

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