Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

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Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
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251
Irling said:
Hi Dala. My name is Pavel, Ive been looking for solutions to the turtle problem for my 2014 Leaf t for a long time, but no one can help me(
I installed an additional battery of 14 kilowatts of hours, but the control unit still believes that I have a battery of 24 kilowatts of hours. I have a 285 guide, and as soon as they end, the turtle turns on for the 7 guide, although I have about 40% more energy. How can I solve this problem? You can help?
Hi Pavel, I suggest you make a separate thread on this forum, and add some pictures. It sounds like you need a CAN-bridge too, but we need more details on the build. Make a new thread! :)
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
Messages
251
Happy new year!

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.

image_peuuvp.jpg


It throws 4x Fault codes

image_wsjglu.jpg


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

image_qpacfo.jpg


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

image_gqbonv.jpg


After getting the PDM out, I opened it up and verified that the fuse had blown.

image_jfmrwq.jpg


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 :)
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
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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

image_lihhxe.jpg


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

image_dwghon.jpg


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 :)

image_bgsrih.jpg
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
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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.

image_emalux.jpg


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.

image_qxuxfi.jpg


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.

image_kgocyw.jpg


Once that is done you can fill the whole plug with sealant. Once it has cured, re-apply the plug to the battery.

image_jnyunf.jpg


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-Leaf-Battery-to-OBD2/tree/master/Documentation

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.

image_iobpwb.jpg


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.
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
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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.

image_gaohmi.jpg


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.

image_ecgzal.jpg


Next up installing a CAN-bridge!
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
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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.

image_gsmtdr.jpg


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.

image_qdtdbs.jpg


I also run fused constant +12V power to it, and ground it to a bolt.

image_usbxpp.jpg


After this, I downloaded the CAN conversion software to the CAN-bridge, and was greeted with this lovely sight. Ready to operate.

image_jknkyg.jpg


That concludes the newer battery into older chassis guide. It's not an easy job! Hope you learned something :)
 

not2bme

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Oct 16, 2017
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Nice job! It's great to hear about hacking EV cars, whenthese days everything is all locked!
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
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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!

image_awxier.jpg


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.
 

ARiis

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Feb 2, 2020
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Hi Dala,

Thanks for a really great tread, awesome job!

I have been replacing the cells in my 2011 ZE0 Leaf. It had 64% SOH left, this after 155k km.
Nissan here in DK refused any warranty and would charge me over 10k for a replacement battery.
After a lot of searches I found a 2013 battery with 38k KM's from cold Norway. None of the Scrappers was able to give me any info on the actual battery health, only age and km's from the cars.
I have now changed the cells.
To avoid running into the Turtle mode problem I did reuse the BMS from the old battery.
After installing all the newer cells my Leaf did start with no errors. BUT the BMS does still report 64% SOH and 8 bars therefore also less range than it should.
The Nissan service was consulted, but was unable to reset nor the BMS or LBC.
Next step would be either build in CAN bus modifier, to swap BMS or to live with the misinformation my Leafs GOM is giving.
Do you think modifying the data on the CAN bus would be enough to get more realistic readings on SOH, Bars and range prediction ?
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
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Hi Ariis,

Well done completing the long and potentially dangerous cellswap procedure!

The SOH will climb back to 90%ish or whatever the cells actually are. It will take maybe 20-30 charge cycles, and it will NOT update the SOH during cold weather. The BMS holds off on any corrections during winter. But the capacity bars will not grow back. They will be locked to 8 bars.

You have two options (or maybe one)
1. If the newer battery also was a ZE0 battery, you can replace the BMS with the newer one and perform a re-pairing with a tool. I actually have my own tool in development, that you could try with. If the newer battery was from an AZE0 Leaf, this is not possible, since the CAN messages have changed so much between ZE0 and AZE0, see further up in this thread.
2. Install a CAN-bridge. With the CAN-bridge, you can do whatever you want with the data on the bus. This would solve the capacity bars, since you can make your own function that calculates bars depending on SOH. You would still have to wait until the SOH goes up a bit, or hardcode it to a higher value temporarily. This will solve the GOM.

Cheers!
 

ARiis

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Feb 2, 2020
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Hi Dala,

Thanks for your reply and suggestions, I do really appreciate !

I am pretty sure the newer battery was from a AZE0 as the cells was not the 'sardine can' type, busbars and wires was all different.

The CAN bridge, can I purchase this from ?

If I had known that it was possible to swap the complete battery box as you did, I would have done that.

You are right, it was a risky business to swap the cells, I'm well aware of the danger involved.
A few years back a guy working at some pipes over a large bank of power-backup batteries.
He dropped a spanner, shortcutting the busbars connecting the batteries.
The spanner completely 'blow up', literally vaporising. Luckily no-one was injured during this accident!

Next project is to modify my charger to be controlled remotely ie. through MQTT.
This way I would be able to charge my car when my SolarPanels are producing power or when the tarif on power is low during nighttime.
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
Messages
251
ARiis said:
Hi Dala,

Thanks for your reply and suggestions, I do really appreciate !

I am pretty sure the newer battery was from a AZE0 as the cells was not the 'sardine can' type, busbars and wires was all different.

The CAN bridge, can I purchase this from ?

If I had known that it was possible to swap the complete battery box as you did, I would have done that.

You are right, it was a risky business to swap the cells, I'm well aware of the danger involved.
A few years back a guy working at some pipes over a large bank of power-backup batteries.
He dropped a spanner, shortcutting the busbars connecting the batteries.
The spanner completely 'blow up', literally vaporising. Luckily no-one was injured during this accident!

Next project is to modify my charger to be controlled remotely ie. through MQTT.
This way I would be able to charge my car when my SolarPanels are producing power or when the tarif on power is low during nighttime.

Good, so you didn't use the newer busbars! Good thing you didn't because the wiring changed, so the only way to do the bruteforce is to only use the newer cells.

You can fill out the contact form on my website, www.dalasevrepair.fi But the price of a can-bridge, the time needed to install it, I would recommend you to simply wait until spring, and let the BMS learn the capacity. The SOH and range estimation will go up! It's just the capacity bars that wont come back. So the bridge will only fix those, not worth it imo.
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
Messages
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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.

image_kkzeev.jpg


Feels good resurrecting something that was completely dead :)


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.

image_efscnw.jpg


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.

image_uonzpq.jpg


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.

image_raqcym.jpg


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.

image_dtwxoq.jpg


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 ;)

image_izbidf.jpg
 

Korishan

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Hahah, I like how you say they are exotic plugs :p That's what we use over here in the US.


image_efscnw.jpg


This one I think has one of the blades turned 90* to the other blade, correct? If so, this is standard for plugs here to designate they are 240V. However, it is strange that it specifically says 200VAC, not 220VAC or 240VAC. Most of our devices run between 210 - 240VAC that uses a full phase (we have split single-phase standard house installations. 3-phase is not common here)


image_uonzpq.jpg


And this one is standard 120VAC plug ;)

Perhaps the owners either bought the vehicles in or from the US or the wrong chargers were included for your area(?)
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
Messages
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I'm pretty sure the charger came from Japan, more than that I don't know :)

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 ;)

image_pebjde.jpg


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.

image_daczqj.jpg


So the route from Vaasa->Rauma is E8, though a bit desolate, which has some really nice Fortum fastchargers. These run entirely off renewables!

image_iljrkw.jpg


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.

image_jyulkv.jpg


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 :)
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
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The MUXSAN CAN-Bridges are now available to the public to buy. I just received a pack of 10 that I will put into use over the next few months.

The final version has 3-ports, the pre-production version that I've been using had 2-ports. So the new version will allow for even crazier modifications :)

v1.0 [2-port]

image_bxfpqm.jpg


v2.5 [3-port]

image_qbwixj.jpg


Here's a link to where you can buy them, in case you have a car that needs modifying :)
https://www.tindie.com/products/muxsan/can-mitm-bridge-3-port-rev-25/
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
Messages
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So this weekend I finished up a quick customer job, and then had some spare time to mount the Brink towbar that I bought a few months ago. Here is a brief overview of the installation.

Started with removing the rear diffuser. Lots of 10mm bolts and plastic clips.

image_exhoqk.jpg


Next on the list was the rear bumper. I also removed the rear taillights. Check out the amount of mud that had been collecting there! Had to pressure wash it before re-installation.

image_mshshy.jpg


The towbar uses the stock location for the RH hook used to strap down/pull the car. This is a very sturdy place to bolt it in. Here is the old one removed.

image_exzbgx.jpg


Next up the bar can be fitted up, and holes drilled on the LH side chassi rail. The kit mounts it with beefy inserts and 10.9grade bolts. It was a bit tricky to drill the 18mm holes needed, but I finally got it done after about an hour of drilling!

image_kkhmiq.jpg


The diffuser needed a tiny section cut out to make way for the protruding towbar. The instructions were really good here, a pair of metal scissors did the job.

image_nsftye.jpg


And here is the final result

image_ccbjrs.jpg


The ball is quick removable with a key. The whole construction is really, really sturdy. Keep in mind that this towbar is officially only rated for 52kg when fitted on the Leaf (bikes only), but the exact same towbar when fitted on other Nissan models are rated for 750kg, hmm. Do what you want with this information :) I still need to hook up the electrical outlet, but that was enough tinkering for this weekend.
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
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Bit of an update to what I've been up to the last week. I helped remotely to upgrade a customer car in Estonia. The upgrade was physically performed by a local garage that I sent detailed instructions to and a CAN-bridge that was pre-programmed for the specific car.


image_udkcvs.jpg


Feels very cool to do these remote support missions :) And due to the coronavirus it's definitely best to avoid human contact!
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
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Hope everyone is staying at home during these times!

To stay creative this week, I pushed firmware updates to all battery upgrade customers. I've done some general bugfixes, but more importantly increased the maximum voltage the car charges to.

image_aapzbv.jpg


The 2011-2013 Nissan Leaf originally charges to max 394V with a cell maximum of 4.1V. I've overridden this, and the on-board charger will now happily go to 404V with a cell max of 4.2V. This will unlock a bit more capacity out of the battery, with the downside being that if you leave it fully charged for a long period of time the pack will degrade faster. But this can be managed with smart charging, timers etc. Anyways, me and the customers are seeing quite substantial range improvements, so I'm quite happy :)
 

Dala

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Feb 16, 2018
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I got an excellent question regarding how is this safe and does it affect degradation? So here is my copied answer

"So if you are worried about overcharging, let me do some more technical explanation on this.

Here are some snippets from the datasheet that Nissan did not provide. First, here is the state of charge for open circuit voltages.

image_hzbtbh.jpg


As you see, true 100% state of charge for LiMNO2 cells are at 4222mV. Note that we taper off the charge AND do emergency stop if one cell hit 4200mV whilst charging (incase a heavy imbalance would occur). When you stop charging, the cells don't stay at high voltage, they usually sag down by a few ten mV's.

The LBC will throw overvoltage DTCs if you would reach the 4260-4400mV range, and there is no chance for this since we also limit regenerative braking when we get into high SOC.

But what about situations other than 25*C you might ask? Here is the max charge current and temperature come into play.

image_sedfcx.jpg


Note that for slowcharging (0.01->0.20 [if you charge with 6.6kW]) the max voltage is almost always also 4.2V or above. This table is being backported into the conversion software.

The 2011-2013 ZE0 LBC is filled with bugs in the lookup tables, the charging behavior doesnt follow characteristics at all. We are actually going to manage the battery better than Nissan did! And remember that we also provide the BatterySaver functionality to limit the charge-%. So you will have more usable battery and the ability to preserve your battery for longer.""
 
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