Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

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Dala
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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Dala » 09. Dec 2019 21:08

I've been working for over 10+ hours with the CAN database files. I recently stumbled upon new information, and can finally solve 60% of the EV-CAN with this information. I am uploading all my findings to GitHub, so anyone wanting to take it into use will have an excellent starting point.

Database files can be found here: https://github.com/dalathegreat/leaf_can_bus_messages

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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Dala » 12. Dec 2019 21:12

So here is something really necessary when you have a car in a cold climate. Most ICE owners here install systems like Webasto heating in their cars, so they can start heating up the car remotely by burning diesel fuel. These systems are often SMS activated or proximity waves. But I feel like it's possible to be more sophisticated than that. Meet OVMS (Open Vehicle Monitoring System) https://github.com/openvehicles/Open-Ve ... g-System-3

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So this black box contains open source hardware, a clever way to interface with the car via 4G. The software is also open source, so it's possible to tweak this box to your hearts desire. It shipped with a free SIM card (1MB per month), but for my intents I will surely exceed that, so I got a local subscription for 2€/month. What a time we live in, IOT is really taking off!

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And here is the official android app that I just got running. From here it's possible to see how charged the car is, track its location, start heating (most important for me!), start charging, etc.

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The higher tier Leafs have a TCM that has a built in 2G modem (superseded by 3G), but this is light-years ahead. The official Nissan app has many claims open against it, and it often takes 5-20minutes to get a request thru to start remote heating. This OVMS 4G system does it in below 5s.

Now to enjoy :)

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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Dala » 18. Dec 2019 19:22

So, 12V Lead acid batteries. They are a necessary evil, and probably the Achilles heel of many electric cars. Without the 12V battery, the modules cannot start the car or request that the DC/DC charger converts that sweet lithium battery juice (400V), into a more usable 12V for the aux. The first generation of Nissan Leaf, 2011-2013, suffered from over-discharged 12V batteries, since the Telematic control unit (TCU) could drain it too much. Also the 12V charging logic wasn't as good as the later models, so simply having the car plugged in to a wall for weeks could over-discharge the 12V battery! Insane, but so it was. My AZE0 is thankfully not equipped with either a faulty TCU, or a bad charging logic, but I have added both an always on CAN-bridge, and now the OVMS system. This can be a constant draw of 30-250mA depending on the activity.

OVMS recently got updated to support advanced 12V lead acid monitoring. The module will warn you if your 12V battery is on its way out, by comparing the voltage to a reference (12.6V). The app also supports a 12V trend view, seen here
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With all this, spotting a failing 12V battery should be easy, and I expect my 4 year old Lead acid battery to at least last 2-3years still. Some people are overly cautious and replace them before they go bad, but with all this monitoring and trends it should be possible to replace it just in time.

Oh, and my pull requests to OVMS are getting merged, we are working on adding Gen2 Leaf support! Exciting :)
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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Dala » 01. Jan 2020 18:11

Happy new year! :D

I've been busy troubleshooting a Leaf with no heater working. It's a 2010 JDM model, one of the first LEAFs that ever rolled of the assembly line.

When you open the energy consumption screen (and good luck with everything being in Japanese), the kW meter for the heater shows 0 even though you have the heat on for full blast.
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It throws 4x Fault codes
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So lets start with the B2772 "PTC Heater Voltage". This points towards no voltage reaching the PTC element. The power distribution module has a 30A fuse inside it, which handles the 400V supply to the PTC element. It's in the bottom middle area inside the PDM
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So to get to this fuse, you need to dismantle the whole car. Remove HV battery connections, and take the whole front apart. Even the brake lines need to move out of the way! After 6h it looked like this
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After getting the PDM out, I opened it up and verified that the fuse had blown.
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I can see now why Nissan charges over 3 grand to do this! All in all I would consider this fuse replacement on a legendary difficulty level. No wonder Nissan redesigned and simplified the system for the 2013+ Leaf! This car still needs a new PTC element, just to wait until it drops in the mail. Hope this was interesting to see something else for a change :)

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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Sammyboi » 02. Jan 2020 08:45

Holy mother of god what an task.

For one blown fuse..

Well done and hopefully that sorts it for the rest of it's life.

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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Dala » 12. Jan 2020 21:34

All parts have arrived, so I continued with fixing the heat on the customer Leaf.

I replaced the fuse in the PDM and glued it shut. Then installed it back into the car

I then installed the new to this car PTC heater, here you can see the differences. Looks like they switched from safety nuts to normal nuts, and the software version is newer on this one. Also the output is raised from 4kW to 5kW
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But after getting a new fuse and PTC heater installed, the car wont start. The P31E0 error code is critical, since it's not even turning on the battery contactors. Seems there is a massive fault somewhere
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Turned out to be a loose connection to one of the orange high voltage cables. The style which has the black plastic around it has a design fault, it's really easy to get the teeth to mis-align, which causes the cable to not seat properly. This type of cable is used between the Battery->PDM, PDM->Chademo and PDM->Inverter. It was the Chademo cable that was misaligned. Silly mistake that cost me 3h extra work!

Heater is working nicely now and capable of outputting 5kW of heat :)
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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Dala » 16. Jan 2020 12:53

GEN1 Nissan Leaf Battery Upgrade HOW-TO [PART1]

So I thought I would share my deepest secret how to upgrade a 2011-2013 Leaf with the newer 2014+ style battery. I think this is very necessary information to share so that we can keep these cars going for longer. We need more people doing battery upgrades! So let's begin!

Here we have the batteries side by side. On the left is the ZE0 (2011-2013), and on the right we have a AZE0 -15 battery. The same connectors on AZE0 is used on 2014->2020 batteries, so this is the same connectors on all 24/30/40/62kWh batteries.
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One thing you might have noticed on the previous picture is that the newer battery has an additional orange high voltage plug on it. This plug is used by the heating system on the newer cars, but the older ones share it with the main HV connection. So this plug will be unused when retrofitting a battery. So to keep it safe I will plug it.
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Thankfully I got the plug and a few centimeters of wiring with the battery, so let's de-pin it and fill it with sealant. To de-pin this connector, push the tab highlighted in blue upwards. Then pull down the wiring.
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Once that is done you can fill the whole plug with sealant. Once it has cured, re-apply the plug to the battery.
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Next order of business is the wiring harness. The ZE0 has a 22-pin connector for CAN and power signals, the AZE0 has a 36-pin connector. So you need to get this part also from a scrapyard, try to 3d-print it, or order a new one. I have the wiring details on this github repository for anyone playing along at home. https://github.com/dalathegreat/Nissan- ... umentation

Note that they renamed the RLY signals;
RLY1 (ZE0) == RLY P (AZE0)
RLY2 (ZE0) == RLY N (AZE0)

Here is a newer style plug being spliced into the old wiring harness.
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Some tips here if you splice. You can crimp or solder. There are pros/cons to both methods. If you solder, follow the NASA-standard, pre-tin both ends, get shrink wrap with glue inside threaded on, solder wires together and shrink the wrap around it. Once it's all done, electrical tape never hurts. Push/pull the cabling into the car to avoid the splice being exposed to the elements. Again, this is controversial and many swear by their own method of splicing wires in an automotive system for maximum longevity. I will probably be criticized on this, but feel free to give constructive criticism :)

End of Part 1, Part 2 incoming soon.

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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Dala » 17. Jan 2020 10:02

Part2

Drill out the two rear supports that hold the battery to the chassis, so that the bolt hole will align with the new pack. Here is a closeup on where material needs to be removed.
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After this the battery fits physically. If you connect the battery and try to start the car without modifying any CAN messages, you're going to have a bad time. The car doesn't even start.
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Next up installing a CAN-bridge!

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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Dala » 20. Jan 2020 13:08

Finale, part 3.

Forgot to mention, to get the battery splash shields to match, you have to re-drill some bolt holes, very quick operation. All the push-pin styled ones fit, but a few bolts that go around the edges don't line up. Easy fix.
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So the final piece of the puzzle is to get the CAN communication to cooperate. Like you saw in the previous post, the car won't go into ready mode due to multiple CAN issues. The newer style battery sends a few messages too fast, some have different contents and a few ones even have to be blocked out. Depending on which method you use to solve this, the final steps will be different. I am using Muxsan CAN bridges, with custom software, so this step is only applicable to me.

I first localize a good spot to place the bridge. On the ZE0, the wiring is completely different to access the EV-CAN, so I just go in right where the B24 connector enters into the chassis. Under the cup holder is a good place to put it.
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I also run fused constant +12V power to it, and ground it to a bolt.
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After this, I downloaded the CAN conversion software to the CAN-bridge, and was greeted with this lovely sight. Ready to operate.
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That concludes the newer battery into older chassis guide. It's not an easy job! Hope you learned something :)

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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Dala » 02. Feb 2020 14:04

So there is not much to write home about when it comes to my own Leaf. It just works. The 40kWh battery is awesome in winter, and guarantees me 200+km of range.

But what's really awesome is the starting of pre-heating via the OVMS app. It works everywhere! I haven't touched the windshield scraper at all this winter! This also prolongs windscreen lifetime, since you aren't scraping it with a sharp plastic object every morning, and risking gravel particles scratching it. Picture related, compare my car that preheated for 15min compared to the one in front!
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Combine this with the heated steering wheel (that ALSO preheats!) and the heated seats, this is the ultimate vehicle for cold weather. I just cannot imagine going back to a conventional ICE vehicle.

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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Dala » 09. Feb 2020 18:53

I delivered two cars this week! :D

First one up was a JDM 2010 that needed a new battery and a new heater system (Fuse and PTC). This was the one I posted about a few posts up.

Second one was a USDM 2011 that came from a Texas flood. The car was did not go in ready mode and threw 100 error codes. After some tinkering with some connectors, and a fresh battery, the car sprung to life. Picture related.
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Feels good resurrecting something that was completely dead :)

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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Dala » 09. Feb 2020 19:27

So now for something completely different. Both customers were generous, and left me with the original EVSE that came with the car. This is due to them not being useful in Finland, due to 230V mains.

So lets look a bit closer at the OEM Nissan "granny"-chargers.

First up is the OG Japanese 2010 unit. This one is specified to run at 200VAC, and charge with 15A. This totals up to a total watt draw of (P=UI, P=200*15) 3000W. Note also the exotic plug.
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Next is the USDM 2011 unit. This one is specced to run at 120VAC and charge with 12A. This totals up to (120*12)= 1440W. This one is really slow! Note also the exotic plug.
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So lets take the USDM unit apart and inspect it. To take these apart you need to drill out the backside to expose the screws. Good way to spot any voided warranties.
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And here is the inside. It is extremely well put together. Note the glued PCB, GFCI circuit and general sturdy construction. This thing is built to last. The transformer could in theory be swapped from an 120VAC IN, 20.9 VAC OUT to a more EU friendly 230VAC IN, but I think that is more suited to the JDM unit that already is made for 200V and 15A. So from this unit I will be salvaging the Type1 cable.
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And what to do with the Type1 cable you might ask? I ofcourse put it into good use for the OpenEVSE unit that I ordered last year. I mounted it at my parents garage, foreshadowing something ;)
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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Kremilin » 11. Feb 2020 20:26

Hello!
First of all i would like to apologize for this community silent. For most of us this kind of actions with ev cars IS just too scifi.

Very interresting to read all of your posts in this topic.

Keep going and posting!

Btw, is your customers shipping their cars from different countries?

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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Dala » 11. Feb 2020 22:32

Kremilin wrote:
11. Feb 2020 20:26
Hello!
First of all i would like to apologize for this community silent. For most of us this kind of actions with ev cars IS just too scifi.

Very interresting to read all of your posts in this topic.

Keep going and posting!

Btw, is your customers shipping their cars from different countries?
Thanks :)

All customers have still been from Finland, but I've helped one in Sweden perform a battery upgrade. I still have lots of customers inquire from Sweden,Eesti and Russia. Understandable since the next place to get battery upgrades is in the Netherlands :D

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Re: Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

Post by Dala » 25. Feb 2020 20:07

So I went on a mission last Sunday. A customer wanted help with a ZE0 24->30kWh swap, so I compiled software and hit the road. Here are some of my thoughts on using a Leaf for longer journeys.

I started the day by collecting all tools that I would need. The customer already did all the heavy lifting and only needed the CAN-bridge and a new main fuse. And yes, you always need duct tape and zipties ;)
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I checked the route with 'A Better Routeplanner', this will be extremely easy with the 40kWh Leaf. This is a really good tool for planning longer trips, and gives you a good estimate on how long you'll need to charge. In the end, I spent less time charging, since I could also charge while working on the customer car. The trip was about 500km in total.
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So the route from Vaasa->Rauma is E8, though a bit desolate, which has some really nice Fortum fastchargers. These run entirely off renewables!
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So the job went extremely well, had the customer car up and running in about an hour and a half. I then drove back to Vaasa. After the last fastcharge, the temperature of the battery pack was approaching the thermal limit. The 40kWh pack suffers from something called rapidgate (which is overheating after many quickcharges in a row). Thankfully it's now winter, so the battery did not hit the thermal limit, but if this would have been +25*C ambient conditions, it would have throttled the charging for sure.
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Mux' blog has a great post with technical explanations on this topic if someone is interested in learning more how to manage a battery. https://ssj3gohan.tweakblogs.net/

So to summarize, awesome trip, extremely cheap way to travel, satisfied customer and hot battery :)

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