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  #1  
Old 12-14-2014, 01:23 PM
eldis eldis is offline
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Default Hacking series - Chevy Volt HV charger

Hi guys,

A month ago I've received my Chevy Volt components (battery, charger, inverter). I'm going to slowly start a thread on each one of those components, to show how they can be reused for DIY (I've posted some info how to use the battery relays and control in the Chevy Volt battery thread already)

Chevy Volt charger:
According to this study http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehicles...rd_charger.pdf
You can expect 3.3kW power from 240V socket and 1.2kW from 120V socket.
Strangely enough, this module also charges 12V battery (0.4kW), but only during the charging period. For alternator replacement, Chevy uses a dedicated DC/DC converter located in the rear trunk.

Charger is composed of three modules:
- Main control board (AC->DC, capacitors, two processors, one mainly for data transfer and high-level planning, other one is for low level DC/DC switching and control)
- PFC section (the board with less magnetic cores)
- DC/DC converter (mounted on the bottom)

From external, there are very few "wires" to control this thing. You will find out that except for the usual (ignition start, 12V, HV cabling), everything is CAN controlled, so there is no way how anyone could reverse engineer the protocol on this thing without having an access to working Chevy Volt and its CAN bus.

Very unusual thing about this device is the use of embedded coils and magnetics - PCB acts as a coil, with ferrite cores clamped through from both sides. Also extensive use of heat-conductive glue/silicon. The whole thing is basically glued on a cold plate (watercooling). This explains how can they get away with such compact cores - a lot of thinking went into the thermal design of this thing.

After playing with this charger for a weekend, I'm pretty sure about how switching elements are controlled and which lines have to be controlled in which order. Protective PCB coating layer is making this rather annoying process.

It is definitely possible to reverse engineer enough of it to replace all control systems with a simple microcontroller. I'm not sure if making this work as open source is worth the time, so that's when you guys come in. Do you thing this is worth the effort?

If someone could capture data on the CAN bus - car standing still, charging cable inserted and then later charging terminated), I might be able to come up with a simple way how to use this thing stand alone without HW modifications. Otherwise we are looking on board-level changes/hacks.

Michal
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Last edited by eldis; 12-14-2014 at 01:26 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-14-2014, 07:21 PM
CKidder CKidder is offline
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Default Re: Hacking series - Chevy Volt HV charger

There are already people working on decoding the hardware from Volts and Leafs. You can go here to meet up: http://forums.evtv.me/?forum=403618

In fact, I do believe they've already got the protocol figured out and they're charging with it. But, information has not made it to the forum just yet.
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Old 12-15-2014, 06:09 AM
eldis eldis is offline
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Default Re: Hacking series - Chevy Volt HV charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by CKidder View Post
There are already people working on decoding the hardware from Volts and Leafs. You can go here to meet up: http://forums.evtv.me/?forum=403618

In fact, I do believe they've already got the protocol figured out and they're charging with it. But, information has not made it to the forum just yet.
Thanks! I'll try to investigate there and test it out. It's time we start reusing all these cool OEM components.
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  #4  
Old 12-22-2014, 06:16 AM
Markijohn Markijohn is offline
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Default Re: Hacking series - Chevy Volt HV charger

Yes, they have the chargers functioning and doing the basics of charging. There are a lot of messages they have not decoded from the charger, but most of which are probably warning messages or other Chevy specific crap that is not needed for our purposes.
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Old 06-06-2016, 07:45 PM
spartan081 spartan081 is offline
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Default Re: Hacking series - Chevy Volt HV charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by eldis View Post
Thanks! I'll try to investigate there and test it out. It's time we start reusing all these cool OEM components.
Sorry to bring this thread back from the dead but I think it is also "time to start reusing all the cool OEM components"

Have you made any progress on your volt charger? I'm working on a Fiat 500e 6.6 kW charger.

Richard
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Old 06-07-2016, 08:51 AM
eldis eldis is offline
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Default Re: Hacking series - Chevy Volt HV charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by spartan081 View Post
Sorry to bring this thread back from the dead but I think it is also "time to start reusing all the cool OEM components"

Have you made any progress on your volt charger? I'm working on a Fiat 500e 6.6 kW charger.

Richard
Yup, several people (including me) are using the Volt chargers. You can find the CAN packages required to operate them on http://forums.evtv.me/
Apparently I'm not on the friendly side with EVTV anymore, so it is better if you go there and read it there yourself.

Here are photos of Fiat 500e charger internals. They were kindly provided to my by one owner of a crashed 500e:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jg0re8ak9...WdWdB4IZa?dl=0

So what is your progress so far? Fiat 500e is a glued compliance car, with parts from different manufacturers. CAN bus communication will be rather trivial. You should be able to log&replay with decent success.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:55 AM
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WolfTronix WolfTronix is offline
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Default Re: Hacking series - Chevy Volt HV charger

I am still working on my Nissan Leaf BMS hack, (so it can be used with different pack configurations):
http://www.wolftronix.com/E10_LithiumUpgrade/index.html

Got side tracked working on other customer projects...

And, I am also on Jack's unfriendly list.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:03 AM
eldis eldis is offline
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Default Re: Hacking series - Chevy Volt HV charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfTronix View Post
I am still working on my Nissan Leaf BMS hack, (so it can be used with different pack configurations):
http://www.wolftronix.com/E10_LithiumUpgrade/index.html

Got side tracked working on other customer projects...

And, I am also on Jack's unfriendly list.
I'm a fan of your work, WolfTronix Can't say I saw all your videos - but I like how descriptive they are, showing success as well as failures.

Out of my EV network I don't have anyone left on Jack's friendly list. It's simply too easy to piss him off (just try telling him that he's wrong with something, and you're done).
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:12 AM
Tomdb Tomdb is offline
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Default Re: Hacking series - Chevy Volt HV charger

I also got this charger working. All be it from a Opel Ampera (same car small plastic tweaks.) Im running it using a simple arduino sketch where I can set the voltage and current command.

however finding the connectors might be an issue if they are not included, had to resort to fitting new ones.

But I cant complain for the price that I payed for it.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:37 AM
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WolfTronix WolfTronix is offline
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Default Re: Hacking series - Chevy Volt HV charger

Quote:
Originally Posted by eldis View Post
I'm a fan of your work, WolfTronix Can't say I saw all your videos - but I like how descriptive they are, showing success as well as failures.

Out of my EV network I don't have anyone left on Jack's friendly list. It's simply too easy to piss him off (just try telling him that he's wrong with something, and you're done).
Yeah, I have some how pissed him off by delivering what we had agreed upon, and then he changed his mind...

I did this for Jack, he sent me the DMOC controller:
http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums...45-173226.html

I was up front on how I was going to take the DMOC apart, read out the EEPROM and then change the "box type" recalculate the CRC and then write it back...

He said he did not care how I did it, he just wanted to make them work (he has something like 100 of these DMOCs), promised me some money for the effort...

Then, after I published my videos, the solution was no longer acceptable.
He did not want open them, He now wanted a software solution...

I told him that was out of scope and not what was agreed upon... and it all went down hill from there... :P
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