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Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

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  • Originally posted by whereswally606 View Post
    So i have been thinking about the crappiness of the infotainment in my gen one which i can't easily swap out due to it having the ac and charging menus integrated into it. I wondered whether it would be possible to make a pcb which splits off what i assume is a ribbon cable from the brain to the screen and provides a sort of kvm box functionality. I.e. where you press a button and the screen and its touch interface swap from the nissan headunit to a micro pc of your choice. for me probably a ssd booted pi4. This would mean it could look totally stock lose no nissan functionality but add anything you want via the Pi. What say you Dala?
    Anything is possible with enough time I am focusing purely on providing drivetrain products at the moment, it will take some time before I can start to look into the headunit replacement. But it is strange that the car has been out for 10years and no-one has come up with a good solution...


    • So some updates of what I've been up to.

      I bought a new LEAF! Or rather, I bought an older Leaf. My current black -15 AZE0 only allowed me to develop the software so far, so I needed access to the older ZE0 Leaf. So I went and picked up Finlands cheapest one It's a white -12 ZE0, with the cold weather package. This will allow me to fix the remaining bugs in my software. You'll be seeing more of this car soon


      • So now you have two Leaves! Or would we still be calling them Leafs???


        • Originally posted by Kaktus View Post
          So now you have two Leaves! Or would we still be calling them Leafs???
          Soon I'll have a TREE


          • Some more exciting stuff going on,

            I recently released a Demo version of my upcoming software LeafEnhancer, to all my Patreon supporters.

            The Demo version includes CapacityBoost(AZE0), BatterySaver & GlideInDrive. I'm gonna be making some youtube videos on the new GlideInDrive functionality soon More on this software later on, and if you're a Leaf owner and eager for more info, do check out the Patreon page


            • So I've been coding up some new functionality for my Leaf. This is something I feel should have been mandatory on the Leaf from the beginning, since it makes for safer charging.

              Now I can bring only my 3.3kW charger everywhere, and make adjustments when needed

              I will be pushing this new feature to all BatteryUpgrade customers, and adding this to the LeafEnhancer package.


              • Alright, here is what I've been up to the past few days.

                All this started since I needed a way to charge faster at the workshop garage, where I'm currently conducting all the actual work (battery upgrades, R&D etc.). I wanted to set up a proper charging station, and by proper I mean a safety first install. I already had an OpenEVSE unit that I was going to take into use, but I needed a way to mount a Type B GFCI (RCD/RCCB/RCBO, whatever you want to call it depending on where you live).

                "What is a Type B GFCI?" you might ask, so let's go over that first. A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, is a device that quickly cuts power in the event of a failure/short/touching conductor situation. This device cuts the power if 30mA of current starts to take a path that it shouldn't (like through a human body). In Finland, these devices started to be installed in houses during the 90s, and are now required by law in wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. You can read more on Wikipedia about this device: . But what makes it special when it comes to charging EVs, is the Type B variant. Normally you only encounter Type A, which cuts power on sinusoidal residual current. Type B has additional protection, and can detect steady DC, and higher frequency current, or for combinations of alternating and direct current as may be found from single-phase or multi-phase rectifying circuits. Basically every waveform can be detected with the Type B one. Examples of where Type B should be used is EV charging stations, solar installs, frequency converters, medical devices, X-ray machines, escalators, welding gear and laboratoryequipment. This is set by standards EC 60364-7-722 och SS-EN 50178.

                If a failure with over 6mA of DC leakage occurs, a normal type A GFCI will become blind! This is why it is so important to have this device. Some EVSEs outright lack the built in DC-protection, like the Tesla Wall Connector. fvrsn=0

                Now that we know why the GFCI device is so important, let's get to installing one! The workshop is located in a old building, timber construction from 1912. At some point during the 90s, the workshop got a renewed electrical system. Renewed is a strong word, since the more you look at it the worse it gets.

                The old fuse box uses ceramic porcelaine style fuses, and there is no easy way to add the GFCI. The old box has no waterproof (IPXX) ratings. It will be necessary to replace the whole fuse box with a more modern one.

                So I contacted an electrician, and we went to town. No going back now!

                We settled on a Hager enclosure, and added some extra room at the bottom incase any upgrades will be needed in the future.

                Labelling all the wiring

                The garage recieves three-phase 25A, which I'll definately be using more of in the future.The old unit was mounted directly onto the wooden walls, so we put some insulation behind the unit to make it even safer.

                Once it was all installed, all electrical outlets in the shop were also replaced with IP55 ones. It was so satisfying to see the completed unit.

                Here is also the openEVSE powered on for the first time, quite the Fallout vibe

                I really hoped you learned something here, and I am so pleased with having a safer installation at the shop. Now every outlet is protected, and there is less risk to use the electrical system.


                • So something that I get asked a lot is, "Can you do something about rapidgate?". The short answer is kind-of, but there is something you can do about it.

                  First what is rapidgate?
                  In short, rapidgate is overheating of the battery, causing slow charge speeds after the second successive quickcharge. Especially annoying on long trips. Nissan released the 40 and 62kWh packs without any thermal management system, so the battery has to rely on passive cooling, or "Natural air cooling" like Nissan says in their internal documents. This means that it is extremely annoying to take these cars on longer than 500km trips here in Finland. If you are in a hotter area, it gets even worse. Oh, and once the battery gets hot, the heat is very hard to get rid of, so to cool down the leaf you just have to wait until the next day.

                  Check out this video if you want to learn more on my take on solving rapidgate:


                  • Thanks for sharing Dala, this is rather fascinating and informative. Interesting that there is so much more to EV cars than we are led to believe, especially the fact that they're not strictly plug and play after all! Also cool to see that you are actually able to do some "modding" to them to make them better in some way, especially the older cars.


                    • Originally posted by Kaktus View Post
                      Also cool to see that you are actually able to do some "modding" to them to make them better in some way, especially the older cars.
                      The mod here applies to 2018+ batteries, and the same CAN-bridge can be applied to 2018+ vehicles! Kinda forgot to mention that in the video So modding of quite new stuff this time


                      • I just uploaded a video on how to setup the development environment needed for the CAN-bridges. Might be of use to someone wanting to start coding for this platform. Super nerdy stuff warning!


                        • So I gave the Leaf some well needed protection this weekend. It now has a fighting chance against the salty winter roads. Sorry in advance for poor pictures, I used my mobile phone which has a cracked lens.

                          Started with removing the underbody plastic. I also re-checked the towbars bolt, and they were all up to the correct torque. This should be done 15k km after towbar has been on the vehicle.

                          Here is what the undercarriage looks like. Quite OK for a 5 year old vehicle, the plastic has protected it well.

                          To properly assess what needs to be done, I de-greased the underside and gave it a quick brush

                          After pressure washing it clean. Be aware that it is extremely dangerous to pressure wash this section. The battery cover flange seal is not rated to withstand pressure, so be careful if you attempt to clean this area with a pressure washer!

                          After letting the area dry for 24hours, I chose these two products for the rear. Since the area is so well protected, I went with a simple rubber based stonechip. This should prevent any stray salt/gravel flying in there from damaging the thin paint layer that the metal has. I also picked up some cavity protection, to fill all beams with.

                          After the stonechip was applied, it started to look like this:

                          And then the final step was to fill all beams with oil. I went thru all holes all around the vehicle, and sprayed two cans of this stuff. I also filled the bottom of the doorskins with this.

                          This should make it possible for the chassis to last to my target of 20-25years. Now I just need to do it on the white Leaf aswell


                          • Nice job Dala! Reminds me I should do something similar to our cars even though the use of salt isn’t that prevalent over here, but it does happen if or when we get a bit of snow during the winter.


                            • Thanks
                              Fixing a bug that haunted ZE0 users for >10 months!

                              So today I got a huge weight of my shoulders. I fixed the last quickcharge bug that affected battery upgraded ZE0 Leafs. Why did it take me so long? Why was it so hard to fix? Lets dive in.

                              For those of you who don't know, there are significant differences between the AZE0 (2013-2017) and ZE0 (2010-2013) Leaf, when it comes to the software side. Nissan fixed a lot of bugs when they released the newer AZE0 Leaf, and the ZE0 was left behind. The ZE0 has bugs in the lookup tables for charging speed, and don't follow the cell characteristics at all. Some of you might have noticed this, when you fastcharge a standard 24kWh ZE0 Leaf, the charging speed gets FASTER once you heat up the battery on a massive trip. They clearly rushed the firmware on these early cars.

                              The problem then is that we need to replicate the odd behaviour of the control system when doing battery upgrades. This means slowing down certain periodic CAN messages (e.g. 100ms -> 500ms), cutting down the content, or converting it from one message to another. No big deal, just take lots of logs, analyze the content, and re-format it. It just takes time. Problem is, I haven't had access to a ZE0 Leaf until a month back when I bought one for my company, specifically to be able to make better software solutions.

                              So what was the bug?

                              The ZE0 Leaf was not fastcharging properly on older stations. This was a big problem for my customers. Not being able to charge at all stations after getting a 30/40/62kWh pack fitted seemed like a downgrade. Having to plan trips with Plugshare, and inspecting the charger type beforehand was a big hassle. I ofcourse informed all customers about this, and promised a fix however long it would take. It sure took a while...

                              So why is it so hard to fastcharge a ZE0 Leaf compared to the AZE0? One of the issues is that the early Leaf is NOT CHADEMO COMPATIBLE. You heard that right, the early Leaf is actually Chademo v0.9 only. Why?, It doesn't send SOC% on the QC-CANbus. The charger actually doesn't know what the state of charge is of the car, it has to calculate it from the "Wh current" and "Wh full" value. This is a big problem. Another hack that they did was to always send 60min charging time to the station, and not calculate it in the vehicle. Overall a very cobbled together solution.

                              The first issue we need to overcome, is that the VCM will then present the two Wh values to the charger. The VCM is locked to 24kWh max, so when you battery upgrade, you will need to s**** this Wh value, and scale it down from 40kWh down to 24kWh when fastcharging. Otherwise the station will see 100% once battery is roughly 55% charged.

                              The second issue then. The real bug. This is where it took many hours of debugging. During the start of the quickcharge, the older station types will do some handshaking with the car, and agree to what power will be supplied to the battery. The stations simply stated "Communication error"/"Current CMD timeout" on the battery upgraded Leaf. The current commanded got passed thru properly to the VCM, but for some reason the VCM did not apply this value that the battery requested. The solution came from looking at the logs. I'll be switching to some Leaf specific defines, that are available on the Leaf CANbus messages github-repo;

                              When succesful quickcharging is started

                              - LB_BPCMAX is initialized to 92.3kW (92.3kW signifies unavailable value, 3FFh)
                              - Unavailable value for LB_BPCMAX is held until chargers "Charge_StatusTransitionRequest" goes from 3->0->2 (stop,other,quickcharge)
                              - As soon as quickcharge state is entered, LB_BPCMAX goes to 0kW. This is held for 1s
                              - After one second has passed, LB_BPCMAX jumps to 20kW, and starts then to ramp according to algorithm

                              Failed QC: 0x000001dc 8 0x6e 3f 8f fd 01 38 c6 78
                              Successful QC: 0x000001dc 8 0x6e 3f ff fd e1 09 0d 2d

                              The problem was in[4]. 01 insteaf of e1. The 'e' signified 0b111, a maximum value of BPURATE. There is no documentation on this value available, it is simply 0-7 amount of "levels" according to a leaked document. But I know better now, and this value is actually a ramp-rate that the battery sends to the VCM. If the value is low, the VCM will override the current demand that the battery sends, and instead ramp slowly to this value. If you set it to max value, it will instantly follow the demand without ramping. I will be adding this information to my Github page. So after forcing a higher value to the bus, the quickcharging station started to fully function with the older battery upgraded Leafs. Oh, and as a bonus, the slowcharger started to ramp according to reference.

                              It finally works!

                              I have no clue if you found any interest in this, but this is the culmination of months and months of debugging, sending logs, testing things etc. I would like to thank one customer in particular for helping me with taking logs for this. Huge thanks to Per for having the patience to get thru this. All our vehicles will be better now!

                              Changelog for v2.32 of CAN-bridge BatteryUpgrade firmware
                              - All older QC-stations are now working with battery upgraded ZE0 Leafs (Major milestone)
                              - Slowcharging now ramps faster to target on ZE0
                              - Quickcharging now ramps faster to target on ZE0 (Example, previous sw took 7min to reach 45kW speed, now this is done in 5seconds)

                              Dala out


                              • The hidden world of chinese battery upgrades

                                Okay so here is something interesting. Nissan made a Chinese only market BEV, that is called the Nissan Sulphy. Take a look at that picture, it looks so, normal! Why EU doesn't get something like this is perplexing. The english Wikipedia page for Nissan Sulphy doesn't even mention that it comes as an EV version!

                                It seems to share very much of the drivetrain with the Nissan Leaf, so I am piloting the first customer upgrade in China next month. The Sulphy comes in a 38kWh variant. You read that right, it is a 38kWh battery, not a 40kWh battery like in the Leaf. Judging by the pictures I received, there is also some strange access port on the rear stack, very unsure what this is about. Anyone got ideas?

                                So, as I was saying, I've sent a CAN-bridge to a customer there, that will be testing out putting a Sulphy battery into a Leaf. Exciting!