Is the 2012 i-MiEV CHAdeMO Bi-Directional?

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JoeS

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In Japan, the i-MiEV became famous after the Fukushima earthquake for providing emergency backup power using its CHAdeMO port, demonstrating that it was bi-directional.

Over the years on this forum we've touched upon this subject a number of times, with various links to a small Japanese inverter using the CHAdeMO port; however, I cannot find any posts where our North American i-MiEV's CHAdeMO port was actually used successfully.

In the US, the Nissan Leaf only got this capability in 2013.

Setec manufactures a 6kW V2H CHAdeMO inverter
https://www.setec-power.com/product/vehicle-to-home-v2h-6kw/
They emphasize that this unit has only been approved for 2014+ Nissan Leafs.

Following my successful last year's use of Setec's 10kW CHAdeMO charger, and ever the optimist, I decided to splurge and purchased one of these inverters, figuring it would still be cheaper than a Tesla Powerwall or equivalent battery with inverter for my stand-alone backup power application. Setec set it up for me to put out 240vac 60Hz.

I just finished trying this V2H on a 2019 Nissan Leaf, and in the brief test (we were time constrained) it works up to around 1kW, with the Leaf shutting it down with a 1440W load. Setec says that earlier Leafs could provide full power (6kW) but that Nissan had done something in the intervening years to limit the Leaf's output power. Sadly, with this 2019 Leaf, the V2H wouldn't power my Australian 2500W water kettle that I use daily at home.

I also ran the thing with a GroWatt split-phase transformer to provide two 120vac outputs, and it ran just fine powering various 120vac loads.
https://signaturesolar.com/growatt-5kw-split-phase-transformer-ats-5000t-es/

As far as working with our i-MiEV, long story short, it works putting out the correct voltage and even starts the 2500W kettle load, but for only one full second before the system shuts down.

Speculating that perhaps the V2H was experiencing a low voltage shutdown, a test shows that the V2H still doesn't work with a fully fully charged i-MiEV (360vdc) but does with the Leaf running at a lower dc voltage (Leaf's have a maximum close to 400vdc vs our i-MiEVs 360vdc max).

So far, Setec hasn't been willing to provide me with troubleshooting information in order to try to determine what the possible cause might be, simply telling me it's designed to work with the Leaf. I know, I know, I bought it with my eyes wide open knowing that.

At this moment, I'm stymied. Will welcome any thoughts anyone might have.

After all the trouble and expense of purchasing and having this V2H shipped here, I'd hate to simply have to put it on the market for someone with a Leaf to pick up.
 
Howdy Joe,

Level I and II EVSE charging uses the SAE J1772 protocol which does NOT use the CAN Buss for communication and control--it uses discrete voltage levels and a 1kHz square wave for communication and control.

Level III DCQC is using the CHAdeMO proprietary protocol and connector for charging, which DOES use the CAN Buss for comm and control. The CAN Buss parameters are secret and only available by purcha$ing the expen$ive $pec from the Chademo organization.

Mitsubishi made their own little box that was sold in Japan, so i know the ChAdeMO port is Bi-directional, but i think in your case it is the CANT Buss that is preventing easy access from the Laef box--likely different parameters and codes are unique to each manufacturer.

Your box could likely be made to work, but it would take some CAN Buss reverse engineering and fake out.

i have looked on the Japanese version of ebay/yahoo and found the mitsubishi box for sale, e.g. 135,000 Yen,
but just never wanted to pull out the wallet for one.

https://aucview.com/yahoo/r472308262/

MITSUBISHI MiEV power BOX Part Number: MZ604775(ZHTP1566R)
=====
press release
https://www.mitsubishi-motors.com/publish/pressrelease_en/corporate/2012/news/detail0834.html?fbclid=IwAR0ZEZSl-EoBMPFm9VXJvgA9yTTfvTNeR0Tbs9B755HakskiUuUTLaJMF8o&mibextid=tejx2t
 
Hi Joe
Not much good to you but there is another way to achieve V2H functionality, don’t recall the exact details but there is a way to manually activate the CHAdeMo relay, link below shows that it works. Looked into it myself but abandoned the idea as I couldn’t source an affordable CHAdeMO connector and don’t have access to 3D printer.
Regards
Mickey

https://youtu.be/0acVkoMpxFc
 
Wow Ben is quite clever to build up all that system. i hope he can figure out the CAN buss traffic and post up about how it is done.

From looking at the datastream thru the OBDII port i have found that the car knows the position of the contacts on the main and DCQC contactors, so some smart programmers have protected the car from our meddlings.

Ben was brave to attempt to plug in the EVSE while the DCQC port and contactors were active--i was sweating that move when i saw what he was about to do.
 
Kenny (kiev), thank you for the information. A few years ago I had tried to purchase a new one of those Japanese Power Boxes but they had been discontinued. This one you referenced on Yahoo Auction is already gone, but I've spent too much money already to pursue it. I like how you describe the bus, which I'm now tempted to start calling the CAN't BUS. :lol: Yes, I also cringed watching Ben plug in the J1772 connector while CHAdeMO was live :shock: - happily, the car was smart enough not to react.

MickeyS70, I had completely forgotten to look in on Ben Nelson's website and now seeing his video reminded me that we do have the information on our forum on how to close the CHAdeMO contactor. EDIT: I'm still digesting Ben's full post which discusses his setup -
https://300mpg.org/2021/11/11/chademo-relay-hack-switch-and-testing/

The procedure for operating the Setec V2H is -

1. With the CHAdeMO connector not plugged into the car but the CHAdeMO cable plugged into the V2H, turn on the V2H using its POWER switch (it runs off a small internal AGM 12v battery). It does a brief start-up routine which turns on the indicator light on the CHAdeMO plug for a couple of seconds which then extinguishes and the plug is then ready to insert.
2. Plug the CHAdeMO connector into the car.
3. Push the START button on the V2H. It goes through another routine which turns on the indicator light on the CHAdeMO connector, waits a few seconds (presumably doing a handshake with the car) followed by three beeps followed by the AC OUTPUT light turning on and 240vac coming out of the V2H.
4. In the case of our i-MiEV, after one full second there are audible (simultaneous?) contactor clicks in both the car and the V2H and the unit shuts down. In the case of the Leaf, everything just keeps purring along with the V2H putting out 240vac.

So, the question on the table is this: if I were to add a switch and manually activate the CHAdeMO contactor like Ben shows, at what point in this startup sequence would I do it?

I'm scratching my head over how the car and V2H might react to the CAN communications disruption...
 
JoeS said:
So, the question on the table is this: if I were to add a switch and manually activate the CHAdeMO contactor like Ben shows, at what point in this startup sequence would I do it?

At no point as it’s unlikely ever going to work: seemingly the unit switches off once the SOC of the Leaf is around 30%, someone confirmed this functionality:

“After a few hours the garage was nice and toasty :) but by morning everything had shut down, with LeafSpy showing SOC at 33.7%, the HV Battery at 371.8, and 19.1 AHr remaining. “

Battery voltage is most likely used to determine SOC, that leaves you short as 88 fully charged cells on an I-MIEV will only be around 360V I’m afraid…

[Edit] read your original post again, unit doesn’t seems to rely on voltage only, must be cross referencing it with SOC or similar…
 
MickeyS70 said:
... Battery voltage is most likely used to determine SOC, that leaves you short as 88 fully charged cells on an I-MIEV will only be around 360V I’m afraid…
MickeyS70, thanks for your thoughts. I'll have my friend bring over his Leaf again with a low SoC and use LeafSpy to quantify the voltages and verify that the Leaf still powers the V2H below 360vdc, as I agree with you and still suspect that LVP is kicking in. I had suggested this to Setec, but they don't want to even explore this with me, claiming that the i-MiEV is 'too old'.

BTW, I had suggested to Setec that a number of i-MiEV owners might be interested in this product and I offered to be the guinea pig for testing, but...
 
So, my friend brought his 2019 Leaf over with his battery sitting at 351vdc. We fired up the Setec V2H and it was still operating at that voltage which was below the voltage I had my i-MiEV at, so that 'low voltage disconnect' theory went out the window.

Separately, I was told second-hand but from a trusted source that the 2014 i-MiEV CHAdeMO was configured to be bi-directional.

Is there anyone in the greater San Francisco Bay area with a 2014 or 2016 i-MiEV who would like to participate in a Setec V2H test trial? I'll be happy to bring it over to your place to try out.
 
kiev said:
Mitsubishi made their own little box that was sold in Japan, so i know the ChAdeMO port is Bi-directional, but i think in your case it is the CANT Buss that is preventing easy access from the Laef box--likely different parameters and codes are unique to each manufacturer.

Your box could likely be made to work, but it would take some CAN Buss reverse engineering and fake out.

Looks like Kiev was right all along, if you experience the same behaviour with another Imiev then you’re back to brute force tactics, not very optimistic that this will work though…
 
Epilogue...

I ended up selling the Setec V2H to a gentleman from Pennsylvania who has a 2015 Leaf. He was out here in his ICE car visiting family and rented a Leaf and we set up a demo in his hotel parking lot with a dummy load and it worked very nicely as expected.

I sold it at a loss and will still have to pay California Use Tax 9+% before next April for this out-of-state purchase. Customs automatically notifies the state authorities, in addition to taking their own slice.

The good news is that the Setec CHAdeMO 10kW charger continues to work very nicely with the i-MiEV off the NEMA 14-50 outlet and I also have a SAE/CCS cable in case I need to use it with the Kona Electric. This Setec 10kW charger was used daily for quite a few months before I replaced my dead OBC/dc-dc. Nowadays, it's only used whenever one of the i-MiEVs needs an unanticipated quick top-up at home.
 
Thank you for this test of the Setec inverter and all else that you've done to support our little community, Joe! It was great to catch up with you this past weekend as you Tesla'd your way through the Northwest.
 
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