Modernization of an old electric vehicle charging station

One of the drawbacks of being an early adopter is that you can invest in tools that quickly become obsolete. While it’s clear that electric vehicles are here to stay, those who bought a charging station for their EVs a few years ago may find it slow and inconsistent with modern car or billing networks, requiring an upgrade to one of the latest models.

If you don’t mind tinkering, these older chargers can provide an excellent foundation for building your own sophisticated charging station, e.g. [James] Over in the Diary-of-a-Geek. He bought a ChargePoint CT2000 series charger and installed a brand new charging unit inside based on OpenEVSE components. The CT2000 is an older model that is no longer built, and although it can still connect to the ChargePoint network, renewing a subscription will cost several thousand dollars. [James] He was unwilling to make that investment for a unit he was going to install at home anyway, so he decided to buy replacement parts from OpenEVSE, an open-source EV charging station and components supplier.

An OpenEVSE controller is mounted in a bracket
The OpenEVSE charging controller sits in the charging point bracket

The interior of a charging station is actually quite simple, since the original battery charger is inside the car: the station has only one BFI contactor that can turn AC current on or off, with some circuitry to measure current flow and an interface connected to any type of payment network. Please. So the first step was to connect the contactor and the current transformer to the OpenEVSE controller. This was easy since the new part was much smaller than the original and could only be mounted in existing brackets.

The second step was to provide the user interface and network connection. [James] Remove the display and wireless systems from the head unit and cut a large hole in the front to make room for new LCD displays. Status has completed a set of LED and WiFi connections to the system, which now looks just as professional as the original. Experiments have shown that LCDs were difficult to read in bright sunlight, so [James] They have been replaced with OLED displays, but the otherwise renovated charging station has worked perfectly.

Of course, working with high voltages and large currents requires appropriate skills and equipment, which [James] Definitely available; He emphasized the importance of incorporating ground-fault circuit interrupters into any equipment installed outside. He is not the only one to build his own charging station. If you’re confused by the many types of EV charging connectors, check out our recent article describing all the different plugs and sockets. Thanks for the tip, [Kevin]!

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